Friday, January 08, 2021

Two Beauties For Friday

I sure love nice photos of the old Motor Boat Cruise - kind of surprising considering that the ride was slow and not terribly eventful (although we see the boats desperately trying to avoid those boulders and survive the dangerous rapids). These days I would think that park guests would welcome a tranquil ride through the pretty, wooded areas of Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. I hope that kid in the blue boat enjoyed his right hand, because he's about to lose it.

Next is this photo from July, 1961. It was the only Disneyland image in a box full of other slide-subjects; my guess is that the box had already been picked over. It looked bad, here's how it looked after the scanner tried to do some color adjustments. Still... pretty crummy.

I thought that there might not be enough color information left to allow for a satisfactory restoration, but am pretty happy with this result after some serious Photoshoppin'! Dad panned the camera from left to right and managed to perfectly capture his wife's sweet smile and his little boy's wonder as Dumbo swooped past at Mach II. Nice job, Dad! 

A LATE ADDITION! It only just occurred to me, but it is very possible that the charming mother in the second/third photo is the very same person as the little girl in THIS photo. I do have other pictures of that girl as she grew up, maybe even a wedding photo. So it's very possible!


Nanook said...

These images are lovely. I love the two gals in boat #222 (where's Lloyd Haynes-?) It looks as if the 'pilot' has just told her friend 'Janice' an off-color joke, as Janice appears to be yucking it up-! Undoubtedly, the Motor Boat Cruise was the scene of many a ribald story, and the perfect place for spies to pass secret information-!

The Dumbo image sums up perfectly the magic of Disneyland.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

I wonder if the kid who is about to lose a hand, has his foot stretched over to the gas peddle. I know the boats were on a track, so trying to steer them was futile, but we did get to control the power by pressing on a gas peddle, didn't we? Or am I remembering that wrong?

Nanook said...

@ TM!
The boats were actually propelled by radio waves-!

Andrew said...

The first one is perfect! Can we see a blurry Skyway bucket in the Dumbo picture?

TM!, of course I never rode it, but I remember reading that the gas pedal just made the engine rev louder, so maybe that was true.

Anonymous said...

I love that second photo, not only because of the joy it captures but also because I understand the technical/expertise and planning that had to go into it before Dad pushed the shutter button.

Nanook, according to David Koenig's Mouse Tales, the MBC was apparently also the scene of some other types of shenanigans during Grad Night parties, based on the discarded objects they would find floating in the water the next morning.

Stu29573 said...

In the first picture we see a boat being piloted by... A...G....G....Ghost!!! (said in my best Goofy voice). That kid won't need his hand now that his soul has been sucked out. Bwhahahahahahaha!
I love the second pic. The mom and kid just seem so darn happy. That's what Disneyland should be all about!

DrGoat said...

Neat photos Major. I'll add my admiration of the Dumbo photo. If that isn't an art shot, I don't know what is.
Anon, if that was a purposeful, planned shot or just a lucky circumstance, it certainly does, as Nanook wrote, sum up perfectly the magic. With just a smidge of surrealism.
I think that lad in pic #1 is trolling for Mr. Limpet. I'm pretty sure that incredible fish vacationed in the park during the summer.
Great work, Major. From Hellboy Disneyland to the happiest place on earth.

MRaymond said...

Many people didn't know that a few crocs, from the Jungle Cruise, were dropped into the Motor Boat Cruise when New Orleans Square was created. That boy is about to discover that the croc is waiting for a handout.

Stu29573 said...

She does have the same smile!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, man, a “Room 222” joke; that’s a deep cut! Whatever happened to Karen Valentine anyway? I’m trying to imagine the kind of off-color joke that the seven year-old (?) driving that boat might tell. Kids these days!

TokyoMagic!, I think the boats would continue moving whether your foot was on the gas pedal or not. In my recollection, if you pushed the pedal down, there was a slight sound of the motor revving, but I don’t think it really did anything.

Nanook, are you saying that those are the world’s largest RC boats??

Andrew, yes, there is definitely a blurry Skyway bucket (among the other blurry things)! See my comment to TokyoMagic!… I don’t think the gas pedal really did anything significant on the Motor Boats.

Anon, I think luck might have played a little bit into the second photo as well! I have heard about the naughty things that supposedly went on in the Motor Boats… Disney is famous for having cast members hidden along the routes of many rides (“Pirates”, the “Haunted Mansion”), I guess the Motor Boats had none of that. And hey, at least those rowdy kids were using protection?!

Stu29573, I wonder how the g-g-g-ghosts decided whether a boat would go to the left of the rocks, or to the right of the rocks?? Because we can see them doing both. And if the color was better, the photo of the Mom and her son would almost qualify to be as good as an official publicity photo for Disneyland.

DrGoat, ha ha, I told Anon that I think the photographer might have been a bit lucky. I mean, how can you truly plan for that? You snap the shutter and hope for the best, at least in my experience. Ah, Mr. Limpet… one of the weirder movies of that era. But I sure loved it when I was a kid. I probably haven’t seen it for 30 years, easily. Supposedly they’ve tried to remake it (including with Jim Carrey), but could never figure out how to update it in any relevant way.

MRaymond, I am all for adding crocodiles (and maybe a few piranhas) into all of the Disneyland waterways. More of those “hard facts” that Walt talked about on opening day!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, I love your Late Addition info and photo! What a fun discovery!

JC Shannon said...

Room 222, remembered by three of us. I feel my age showing. Major, I saw Karen V. in a Hallmark movie awhile back. She still has that cutesy pie face, only with a few more wrinkles in it. I love what you did with the Dumbo scan. I have this image of you in the middle of a room, piled to the rafters with old cardboard boxes, filled with slides. Elbow deep in a box, you yell out, "Found it!" Okay, so the Motor Boat Cruise was not exactly a thrill, but I think Walt might have been trying to make amends for the Phantom Boats fiasco. Thanks for all you do, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JC Shannon, make that 4. I remember Room 222, too, and enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

I love the motorboat shot and while I didn't have as much fun there as Anonymous 1 alludes was possible, I can confirm that it was a fine ride to go on with your sweetie, even in daylight.

The Dumbo photo is sheer genius. I love it. Perfect capture of what Disneyland is about. Major, thanks for resurrecting it. Even better to believe that we will see more pics of the pretty lady, and maybe her cute little kid too. What a shame to think these family photos almost slipped away.

Andrew, I think you are right, we are seeing a combination of an old-style skyway bucket and the Tuna Clipper masts, blurred by camera motion. I think the little mouse is on his mirrored ball also. Not sure when that happened, but might be able to date the photo more accurately.
Also note the hinges on Dumbo's ears.


Nanook said...


Oh-! That late addition. It certainly gives every indication of it being the same 'little girl' all growed-up-!

By 'radio waves', I was thinking more along the lines of The Big Broadcast of 1938, and the flimsy plot involving ..."The Race of the Ages," and the new forty-million-dollar “radio powered” Streamlined Ocean Liner - the S.S. Gigantic, challenging the S.S. Colossal.

Posted on these pages back in March, 2017, was THIS great shot my dad captured at POP . Another one of those lucky moments, made even more-so by the lack of digital technologies.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, I haven't seen The Big Broadcast of 1938, so I wasn't sure what you meant by radio waves, but I knew you weren't referencing Alfalfa, Porky, Buckwheat, Waldo and Darla's boat race out on Toluca Lake!

"Lou and Sue" said...

That IS a great shot, Nanook! Catching all that fun-in-motion is priceless! Btw, it looks like you’re trying to smoosh your friend - just like the Major tried to do to his poor niece.


MAJOR: your memory is correct : the MOTOR BOAT gas pedal had no affect on the vehicle’s speed - nor did the free-spinning steering wheels. The attraction’s boats were sent out in “brigades”: groups of boats .... and your group would return at the same time - evenly spaced out.... as when your group disembarked.

I think the MOTORBOAT CRUISE “grad nite” story’s may be myths ... as MOTOR BOAT CRUISE stopped operation at dusk .... and Grad Nites started pretty late after regular park hours. It’s possible in the early days of the event it operated, but not in the 70’s thru it’s closing.

I had a high school biology teacher who was kicked out of his grad nite and over the years and kept a scrapbook of newspaper articles all featuring stories of bad kids and bad things that took place at Disneyland grad nites over the decades . One was if two boys who climbed into Disneyland Grad Nite by attempting to climb a monorail beam and enter off of Harbor - one of the boys was electrocuted. That same teacher in college turned down a internship at WED Enterprise because he had such a grudge about the grad nite incident .

Major Pepperidge said...

Lou and Sue, I don’t know why I didn’t see it before! But I’m glad my brain eventually started working.

Jonathan, I always felt bad for Karen Valentine, she seemed to be America’s darling for about a year, and then practically vanished after just a few roles in Disney films and such. Maybe she stepped back because she wanted to raise a family or something? I WISH I was in a room piled high with old boxes full of slides!! My dream, ha ha. Thank you for the very nice comment!

Lou and Sue, I mostly remember Ms. Valentine, Michael Constantine, and of course Lloyd Haynes, but I couldn’t tell you what any of the episodes were about. LSD? Teen pregnancy? Delinquency? All of the above??

JG, just looking at some of the photos of the Motor Boat Cruise make me realize that there was more to it than I remembered. It really does look like the boats went through some beautiful scenery, and sometimes that’s enough, especially on a hot day with summer crowds. I’d ride it in a heartbeat if it was still there! I will be sure to find more photos of the pretty lady, though most of them show her as still a young girl. And yes, we can just see cruel, sadistic Timothy Mouse on the mirror ball, with his whip! (I kid, Timothy is one of my favorite characters).

Nanook, I don’t think I’ve seen The Big Broadcast of 1938, sadly. I’m sure I would love it, those old musicals are tons of fun. And I certainly remember that great photo of you at POP, your dad did an excellent job!

TokyoMagic!, your comment makes me wish that I could watch all of the “Little Rascals” films on some streaming service. I especially loved the older ones.

Lou and Sue, you can’t help smooshing somebody if you are on that ride! It’s amazing how strong those centrifugal forces are.

Mike Cozart, I always joke that a passenger could fall asleep during the Motor Boat Cruise, you’d wind up back at the dock in fine shape. I didn’t remember that the Motor Boats stopped operating at dusk. It wouldn’t entirely surprise me if they did operate it after sunset for a while - perhaps they stopped that because of all the hanky panky? Funny that your teacher (the one who was kicked out on Grad Nite) saved all those stories. Maybe he wanted to prove that he wasn’t the only one! I wonder what he did to get booted out? Did he sneak in booze (or reefer)? Climbing on the Monorail Beam and getting electrocuted, YIKES. I’ve mentioned that my Grad Nite was in 1980, the night that somebody was killed on the Peoplemover, though I wasn’t aware of the accident until the next day.


Major: the funny thing is I know my teacher told me why he was kicked out ( and he felt it was unfair ) and I recall it wasn’t anything serious — so minor I can’t even recall what it was . His friends got kicked out too.... I think they used swear words (??) . Besides keeping the GRAD NITE HORROR scrapbook - he was so mad at Disney he refused to show Disney science or nature films .... he said they were bad because Disney always added human emotion and behavior implied to everything - from cells - algae to scallops.

And I’m sure he was the only person in history to turn down an internship at WED!!

Wow!! You were at Disneyland the very same nite as one of the PeopleMover killings!!?? That’s historic! I remembered when it was in the news - and everyone in school the next school day ran up to tell me about the Disneyland accident and how everyone was so shocked that it was the PeopleMover .... the fun loving 4mph mild-mannered attraction .... lol.

I was at Disneyland the day the original 1983 New Fantasyland Dumbo failed and seriously injured a few people including a very small girl. Disneyland had every available employee from custodial - security - maintainence- guest relations and every office worker they could find to make a human fence blocking all of Fantasyland from guests and any area or attraction that offered a view of DUMBO was shut down or also blocked . The word spread quickly from guests who had witnessed the Dumbo arm and vehicle drop and fall while up in the air “in flight”.

This was the accident that had the new Dumbo made in Italy for Euro Disneyland be sent to Disneyland while a replacement was built for Paris.
The Paris version was replaced a few years ago making the current DUMBO mechanism to be at least Disneyland’s 5th version.

Anonymous said...

Those are some sad follow-ups, Major and Mike.

I had heard about the Dumbo Euro-diversion, but did not know it was connected to the accident.


Major Pepperidge said...

Mike Cozart, when you consider that they used to keep men out if their hair was deemed “too long”, I’m not surprised that they might kick guests out for minor infractions. Using swear words! I’ve been in line and overheard people using the F-word 10 times a minute. It’s a bummer that their actions made him so mad, though I don’t blame him. And yes, Thousand Oaks High School was one of the Grad Nite schools in 1980. I remember that at some point the Peoplemover wasn’t running, but at the time I just assumed it was a mechanical issue. Even today, reading about how it all happened is shocking (and gruesome). I’m not sure I knew about the 1983 incident, somehow it’s extra awful when the victim is a child (though of course it is bad when anybody is injured or killed). And on Dumbo of all things! A ride that most people would almost certainly consider one of the tamest.

JG, I had also heard about the Euro Disneyland Dumbo swap, but had no idea why it was done.


Major: the DUMBO accident happened around 1991 - not in 1983. It just involved the failure of the DUMBO attraction built for the New Fantasyland if 1983.