Monday, August 20, 2018

Flower Market, July 1971

I've got two nice photos of the Flower Market (conveniently located on West Center Street). If you wanted to show off your prowess as a color photographer, this would be a good place to practice. There's every color of the rainbow - even indigo, the least-popular color in the world according to data that I just made up. 

The Disneyland florists have responded to constant requests for bigger flowers. Giant irradiated daisies and black-eyed Susans are the perfect accent to every floppy hat or extra-wide lapel. 

I also need some faux fruit for that bowl in the entryway that I always forget about. I'll take three each - lemons, oranges, apples (what, no 'nanners?). I also need all of those giant pink flowers - each one is the size of a human head, so a bouquet will make a really big impression.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

It's a Small World, April 1969

Today's photos aren't too bad, though the gray sky seems to drain much of the fun and color from these scenes.

Still, ya gotta love a shot of the #3 locomotive, the "Fred Gurley" (they should rename it the "Fred Grandy") as it passes by (and even through) parts of the massive fa├žade of "It's a Small World". When I build my mansion it is going to have plenty of spinny, whirly bits, just like IASW. 

Yeesh, the lack of sun makes those white panels look like they could use a squirt of 409, even though the ride was only about 3 years old at this point. Even the gold-plated pieces (yes, real gold!) look brassy and cheap. Don't worry, Small World, the sun is never gone for very long in Anaheim - you'll be back to your glory in no time.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ponderosa Ranch, Lake Tahoe, April 1977

Today I have a number of slides from Ponderosa Ranch; a tourist attraction that was located near Lake Tahoe (on the Nevada side), approximately where the fictional Ponderosa from the long-running show "Bonanza" was supposed to be.

Bonanza debuted in 1959 and ran until 1973 - 14 seasons. It was hugely popular! I certainly watched it a bunch when it was syndicated. Over the years, thousands of people who were already in the Lake Tahoe area searched in vain for the Ponderosa Ranch. So wily entrepreneurs cooked up the idea of creating a place for tourists to visit, and they also made a deal with NBC to film the show there. It debuted in 1967.

Here's a group of greenhorns next to a conestoga wagon. Sure, they're smiling now, but wait until they've had to work the ranch for 12 straight hours! They'll be sorry.

In reality, interior scenes were filmed at Burbank Studios, while the Virginia City scenes were mostly filmed at the backlot at Paramount Studios (1959 - 1970), and later at Warner Studios for the remaining run of the show (because it was cheaper). Various exteriors could be filmed at many locations near Los Angeles. Of Bonanza's 431 episodes, only 15 were actually filmed at Ponderosa Ranch.

Here's a nice shot of the park's main street. Look, Ben Cartwright has a country store! I guess being a lumber and cattle baron just didn't satisfy him the way he expected. His heart is in retail. "Y'all come back now, hear?".

Some people thrive in jail; it looks like these two are right at home. I've heard that they have some hooch hidden in the toilet, but I'll just have a root beer.

Looks like they had themselves a "Haunted Shack"/"Mystery Spot" type of attraction. Which automatically earns them my admiration and affection. You could also experience an armed holdup, tour the Cartwright home, enjoy a "Hoss burger", pan for gold, watch wild-west shows, and tour their recreation of Virginia City (located on a few miles from the real Virginia City).

I only went to Lake Tahoe once, and saw signs for the Ponderosa Ranch - I really wanted to go! But it had closed mere months before, in 2004. The land was purchased by a billionaire. (Editor's note: I was not the billionaire).

And, just because they were part of the bunch, here are two photos of Virginia City (the real one). All of the brick buildings look suitably ancient. I would definitely be interested in the 1858 Boarding House exhibit ("Upstairs!"). 

Kitty's Longbranch? Somebody was glomming on to the popularity of another iconic TV western, "Gunsmoke" (which ran for 20 seasons). Miss Kitty worked at the Long Branch Saloon, although that was based on a real saloon in Dodge City. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Ponderosa Ranch and Virginia City!


Extra! Extra! Just for fun, I thought I would include this scan from a notorious "Bonanza" Viewmaster set. Notice that all four Cartwrights are subtly flipping the bird to millions of children! Lorne Green can hardly contain his glee. I'm told that this image was replaced in later editions.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The 70's!

Today we're gonna take a little trip back to the 70's. It's gonna be real nice, see? Real nice. We're gonna be pals, see?

Let's start with this photo of a very busy Tomorrowland, from April 1978, when Space Mountain was less than a year old (it opened on May 27th, 1977). Now that it's been there for over 40 years, it is hard to imagine the park without it. 

There's lots going on here, with "America Sings" (now in its fourth year) to our left, and "Mission to Mars" just peeking out in the distance. The Rocket Jets and Peoplemover seem to be packing them in, and you can even see people going up the Speedramp to the 2nd level for the Space Mountain queue.

Have you used up all of your E-tickets already? No problem! Just buy another ticket book at that cute little ticket & information stand. 

To our right is the delightful Tomorrowland Terrace; so many legendary bands performed there. Sunshine Balloon! The Entertainment Committee! The New Establishment! The Better Half! Sound Castle Ltd.! To name but a few.

A few years earlier (in 1973, to be exact), someone took this nice shot of Main Street at 5:30. There's nary a hippie to be seen, much to my disappointment. A balloon is stuck in a tree, which you all know is good luck, so make a wish. The clock may read "5:30", but the little girl being carried by her dad is done for the day. All of her synapses have been overloaded.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Mule Ride, Knott's Berry Farm

Here are four more slides of Knott's Berry Farm, from a lot that was so damaged that I almost threw them away. But I decided that in spite of their obvious flaws, they were still pretty fun to look at.

As I said in the previous post, I guestimate that these are from around 1960 (for what that's worth), and today's photos all feature the long-gone mule ride. Or are they donkeys? Even scientists can't tell the difference. While we do see a few adults here, it seems that this attraction appealed to children, for the most part.

Notice the sign for the Haunted Shack in the background.

Any idea what the cave-like area is in the background? Perhaps that's where guests hopped on to their trusty and gentle mules (or donkeys). Also, what is the large stucco wall? I'll bet TokyoMagic! will know.

After only a few minutes, these children have turned from greenhorns into tobacco-chewing, poker-playing, whiskey-drinking desperadoes. They cuss, too! They are just starting to go past the Calico Mine Train, covered with prickly pear cactus and ocotillo. 

One of the saddle blankets (pads?) tells us that the mule beneath it is named "Maude".

There's more Mine Train stuff. The boy with the hat loves to hear the way his "yahoos" reverberate inside the tunnel, and who can blame him? Meanwhile, the girl in the red shirt is so over it.

Stay tuned for more damaged (and undamaged) photos from Knott's Berry Farm!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Nice Magic Kingdom, November 1971

Who's in the mood for some frozen custard?! Oh man, so cold and creamy! It's chocolate, for me. Perhaps you like the simple pleasure of vanilla. Man, I can't think of anything much better on this hot summer day. Well, sorry, I can't get that for you, but I can get you some photos of the Magic Kingdom, the way it looked before they had scraped the price tags off of everything in 1971.

Let's start with this very nice shot of a Jitney ("A bus or other vehicle carrying passengers for a low fare") as it motored its way up Main Street. The Gulf Hospitality House is in the distance, while the GAF Camera Center is just across the street. "Get some crummy GAF film for fugitive colors and generally unpleasant results!", grumbled Henry Fonda to some kid walking by. Luckily for us, Mr. X (who took these photos) used Kodak film.

The Jitney has that classic Bob Gurr look, but it is considerably larger than the any comparative vehicle that one might have seen in Disneyland. The driver wears one of those change gizmos on his belt; if you didn't have a ticket, could you just buy admission directly from him?

Here's a beautiful shot of the "Admiral Joe Fowler" steamboat as the last passenger or two boards from the upper level of that load building. So clear and colorful! Henry Fonda was ashamed that he shilled for GAF; he could hardly hold back the tears as he deposited his $100,000 checks.

There's a Keel Boat a-comin' 'round the bend!

I feel guilty about teasing you with the prospect of frozen custard, but now, through the magic of HTML 6000, we can all step into our computer/phone/tablet screens and get some Borden ice cream at the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor. I'll even treat Hank Fonda. Oh happy day!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

More From Frontierland

It's time for more vintage Frontierland scans, donated by the one and only Mysterious Benefactor!

Guests took zillions of photos in Frontierland - but for some reason they didn't take many of the Shooting Gallery. Which is why I like this one (dated "1967") so much! You can see those odd, warty logs that were used for some of the construction - apparently these were from diseased trees. Somebody decided that they added character to this structure, and I think I'd agree. I tried to sell Disney some diseased squirrels, but today's management has no vision.

Also from 1967 comes this wonderful view of the Rivers of America - quite an unusual angle. Presumably the photographer was standing on the shore of the Friendly Indian Village - notice that many people in the canoe are staring right at us! We get the added bonus of the other Indian Village -  including some of the totem poles that were added in the 60's - as well as the stadium-style seating for the Ceremonial Dance Circle.

This next one is undated, but se can see the Douglas Moonliner in the distance, so it must be from  before 1967. It's a spectacular view of the Columbia, possibly as seen from up in the Swiss Family Treehouse - or maybe from some other vantage point. Suggestions? I absolutely love this photo!

(Late addition: Based on a few other photos from this treasure trove, I now believe that this photo was taken from the roof of the Haunted Mansion).

Have no fear, there are still hundreds of photos to share from the Mysterious Benefactor.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Disneyland in Black and White, 1962

I have a small batch of very nice black and white snapshots from 1962 - let's take a look at a few!

Both are Skyway views, and in this first example we have just left the Tomorrowland terminal toward Fantasyland, while the gondola in the middle of the frame is heading the opposite direction. The young boy in gondola #6 is wearing a somewhat scarce variation of the famous "Keppy Kap".

It's kind of cool to see the Monorail in the foreground, and the other scooting over the submarine lagoon.

There are at least six different Keppy Kaps, but the kid in the previous photo is probably wearing a version like the one on the left. The example on the right is the most common style. The more you know....

This next one has all sorts of Tomorrowland goodness, including the Autopia, the Tomorrowland train station, "General Dynamics" posters in the Submarine Voyage queue, and the Stephens-Adamson speedramp up to the Monorail Station.

My great grandfather worked for Stephens-Adamson, and I was surprised when I did a little bit of research and found this newspaper article. "Mr. Piersen" is my great grandpa! My mom says we have photos of Mr. Stephens and Mr. Adamson (and their wives) in our boxes of family photos - I'll have to do some digging for those.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Rhinocerworst, May 1969

If you only have the ability to shake a stick at a single rhinoceros, then the Jungle Cruise had more rhinos than you could shake a stick at. 

First there was this skittish fellow, hiding in the underbrush. He knows that people want his horn (made of the same material as fingernails and hair) for aphrodisiacs.

This next rhino is the very opposite of skittish - he's downright ornery. Or at least I think he is! Normally this fella is terrorizing the hapless "Lost Safari", but the hunter, his porters, and even the tree trunk upon which they perched are all missing for some reason. Perhaps he finally gobbled them up.

Here's another photo (also from 1969) showing how the scene usually looked.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

San Juan Capistrano

Today is the second time I have posted photos from Mission San Juan Capistrano (see the first post HERE) - the third of 21 Spanish missions in California. Most kids who went to grade school in California studied the missions, and know all about Father Junipero Serra (in the first photo you can see a statue of him near the center).

Capistrano is probably the best-known mission of the bunch, thanks in part to the legend of the "Return of the Swallows" - thousands of the birds used to fly all the way from Argentina (where they wintered) to nest in the ruins of church. In recent years, the number of swallows has dwindled.

Below you can see the ruins of the "Great Stone Church", destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. 

You can see why visitors would have been drawn to this beautiful, peaceful place. Strangely one website says that Capistrano was the 7th of the 21 missions. Wikipedia has an article listing it as the third mission. I think that it might be the 3rd one as you head north from the bottom of California, but it was the seventh to be constructed. Please correct me if I'm wrong!

There's nothing like a few graceful, crumbling arches. Especially if they're made of adobe bricks. Can you say "adobe"? 

Here's a lovely final shot with the silhouette of a woman standing in an archway - it reminds me of the final shot in "The Searchers".