Thursday, September 23, 2021

From the Moondeck, 1964

If you happened to visit the Eastman Kodak pavilion during your trip to the 1964 New York World's Fair, you would probably make your way up to the undulating, slightly-surreal "Moondeck" for some wonderful views of the rest of the Fair. There were even raised platforms on the Moondeck so that you could take better pictures.  

This is what happened for one photographer, who took no less than six precious film frames while breathing moon air. Was it worth it? You be the judge.

We'll start out with kind of a whimper, there's not much to see when facing south except for the mundane "First National City Bank" and a tiny bit of the Belgian Village. Beyond the Monorail track was the Amusement Zone.

Next they faced west along the Avenue of Africa, with that nutty Unisphere towering in the distance. Can a sphere "tower"? I guess so! to the right of the Unisphere is an egg-shaped dome from the Sudan pavilion; to the right of the globe we can just see the "bones" of the Ford "Magic Skyway" pavilion, the blue cone from the Sierra Leone pavilion, and the curved wood of the American-Israel pavilion.

Pivoting a little bit left, there's one of the "moonberries" inflatable insect-filled egg pods that loomed above Brass Rail eateries. And we see the familiar New York pavilion with its two observation towers, while the General Motors "Futurama" building can be seen beyond that. The grassy area nearest to us is the Garden of Meditation.

Continuing to turn to the left, we see more of the Belgian Village, the largest pavilion at the Fair. That curved "tent" slightly to the right is the roof of the Vatican pavilion.

I had to try to do a photomerge of the previous two photos. The results are... interesting?

Our photographer walked along the Moondeck and got this north-facing shot with another moonberry (my word, which must become canon), with the Johnson's Wax arched roof beyond. The Austrian pavilion's wooden A-frames are near the center, with Shea Stadium way in the distance, and the Solar Fountain spraying impressively to the left. Nearest to us is the Pan American Highway Gardens, where guests could drive little cars. 

Once again we are facing due west, with the "Sermons From Science" building to the left, and the Japan pavilion to the extreme right.

I hope you have enjoyed your time on the breezy Moondeck!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

More Stuff From the Box

It's time for more Stuff From the Box! I'm going to have to switch to a different box pretty soon - I've already photographed another 50 or 60 items. But for now, we're near the end of box #2. 

Let's start with this fun "Kool-Aid Treasure Hunt" premium ring, from 1940. The mysterious symbols were "...used by pirates to point the way to hidden treasure", while the bronze insert was supposed to be a replica of an old pirate coin. Until doing research for this post, I had no idea that this ring was over 70 years old!

Here are the sides of the ring, for those of you who needed to see them (K. Martinez!). 

Here's an amusing, large pinback button encouraging us to VOTE FOR IKE. His opponent for the 1952 Presidential race, Adlai Stevenson, had been photographed with his legs crossed, exposing a large hole in the sole of one shoe. It became a meme, 1950s-style. Stevenson responded with as much good humor and grace as he could, but it was just too rich for the Eisenhower campaign to ignore.

In 1959, Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states (respectively). Jay Ward was the creator of "Rocky and His Friends" (1959-1961) and "The Bullwinkle Show" (1961-1964); I'll let Wikipedia tell the story, since it does such a good job: In 1962, as a publicity stunt, Ward leased a small island on a lake between Minnesota and Canada, which he named after "Moosylvania" (shown in the later Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons). In a campaign to make the island into the 52nd state, he and Bill Scott (Ward's head writer) drove a van across the country to about 50–60 cities collecting petition signatures. Arriving in Washington, D.C., they pulled up to the White House gate to see President Kennedy, and were brusquely turned away. They then learned that the evening that they had arrived was during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This is why we only have 51 states today.

Here's a rare decal from that same failed campaign for Moosylvania Statehood.

Next is this 1936 ring from Ovaltine, telling all of your in-the-know friends that you were a member of Radio Orphan Annie's SECRET SOCIETY! It seems unlikely that this ring would have real silver in the metal, but these do tend to tarnish.

Speaking of Orphan Annie, here is a porcelain bisque figurine of her faithful dog, Sandy. ARF! This is from a set  of bisque figures made in Germany; I think I have the Annie figure somewhere, but I don't have Daddy Warbucks, or Joe Corntassel, or Punjab. Sadly.

And finally, here's a 1937 Tom Mix "Straight Shooter" badge, released as a premium prize by Ralston cereals. It looks like Tom's horse Tony is doing a polite bow, which shows how smart and civilized he is. There's a silver-toned version of this medal too, and I believe that Ralston released at least two different designs for other years.

I hope you have enjoyed this STUFF FROM THE BOX!

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

All Aboard the Columbia, 1978

It's time for yet more Frontierland slide scans from the Mysterious Benefactor! As is the case in many of these, they are from 1978, and we are right in the thick of the flurry of photos featuring the Mark Twain and (today) the Columbia. 

All of these pictures show guests walking up the gangplank to board the genuine square-rigged Sailing Ship that had plied the Rivers of America for 20 years at that point. Nice muttonchops on that young father in the green shirt!

A cheerful cast member says, "Watch yer step, me hearties! Yo ho ho! Avast, ye swabs!" (etcetera). The weird thing is that he graduated from Yale. The clock on the green building says it's 5:15, that looks about right if it's summertime.

I wonder if any guest managed to fall off of the gangplank? And could wheelchairs go up that rather steep incline? 

Hey kid! Stop staring, it's rude! I'd give him a piece of my mind, but he might know karate.

I'm sure a lot of you guys out there are like me - you are just waiting for the first good opportunity to take off your shirt at Disneyland. I hate feeling all confined and uncomfortable. I need to be FREE! I don't envy that father carrying his diaper-clad child - presumably he had to leave the stroller ashore, which means that wheelchairs couldn't access the Columbia. But if the Mark Twain was operating, they could board that vessel, at least.

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor!

Monday, September 20, 2021

Three Never-posted Slides

I have a folder of scans of slides that I am pretty sure I never scanned before. So they are "new old stock", in a way. All of today's photos feature Sleeping Beauty Castle and its surroundings. 

First up is this postcard-worthy view of the castle (from July, 1963), artfully composed with some trees in the foreground, as well as those flowers for a splash of bright color. I like the little family standing near the moat, taking it all in.

The next two are from August of 1958. While there isn't a lot going on in them, they are kind of interesting just because they show an area that is not normally seen; there's a winding path leading to a small bridge, continuing (I believe) to an arched passageway through the castle that leads to the courtyard beyond.

The photographer liked the scene so much, he used two precious frames of film! I have to admit that it is pretty, with all of the flowers and greenery.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Sunday Snoozers

It's another Sleepy Sunday! Proceed at your own risk.

This first photo if date-stamped "July 1964"; we're right at the base of the Mighty Matterhorn, and our photographer tried to capture the moment a Bobsled passed by that waterfall. But he was foiled by those flowering bushes! It's not the worst picture ever taken, but it's kind of a disappointment. 

I am only just noticing that I labeled this slide "Nice Town Square", for which I have no explanation. The photo is from September 1959, a Skyway view looking down on a part of Fantasyland that included the queues for the Matterhorn and Fantasyland Autopia, the Alice in Wonderland attraction in our lower right, the Midget Autopia (out of frame to our left), and then some Tomorrowland features that you all know well. I love views of the stubby little 3-car (Mark I) Monorails. If this picture wasn't just a little bit blurry, it wouldn't be relegated to a Snoozer Sunday!


Saturday, September 18, 2021

Solvang, California

Today's post is focused around Solvang, California, in Santa Barbara County. Wikipedia says, Solvang was founded in 1911 on almost 9,000 acres… by a group of Danes who traveled west to establish a Danish community far from Midwestern winters. It has been developed as a themed town since attracting national media attention in 1947. The city is home to a number of bakeries, restaurants, and merchants offering a taste of Denmark in California. The architecture of many of the fa├žades and buildings reflects traditional Danish style.

I drive past it on my way up and down the 101 Freeway to visit family, and occasionally exit to stop and get a bite to eat, since it's sort of the halfway-point between my sister's house and my home. It's a bit surreal to suddenly be surrounded by buildings that look like traditional European structures. My grandmother liked a bakery in Solvang and always bought Danish bread and pastries to bring home or to give as gifts.

First up is this photo from the 1950s, with the "Iron Art Gift Shop" nearby. I guess they sold well-pressed clothing. Notice the stork on the roof, a traditional symbol of good luck in Denmark. Much to my surprise, I learned that the white storks (as of 2008) are extinct in the wild in Denmark, which is a bummer.

I admit that this next one (from 1958) is a bit of a cheat, since Pea Soup Andersen's restaurant is in neighboring Beullton, but in my head I always associate Pea Soup Andersen's with Solvang. What's a few miles between friends? There's a fun photo op where guests could pose as "Hap-pea" and "Pea-wee". This restaurant was established in 1924, and in 2012 it sold between 500 and 600 gallons of pea soup each day. If you happen to have a spare $4.7 million to burn, it went up for sale in January.

And finally, here's a photo from July of 1975. Summer business was brisk, with so many people heading north or south for various vacation destinations. You can see some fun places to visit; how about the place in the distance selling toys? Or get yourself a nice sandwich (peanut butter and banana, the Danes love those, right?), and then buy a decorative hand-blown vase for mom.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Beautiful Fantasyland, June 1956

Today I am happy to be able to share some really nice 1956 photos of Fantasyland, as taken by Lou Perry. They really evoke that "early Disneyland" mood!

Let's start with this first shot of guests gathered around the Mad Tea Party - grandparents, parents, and very small children watch their friends and loved ones - the people who like to spin around until dizzy. It's fun to look at the folks, their clothing and hairstyles (all the ladies are wearing dresses - only a year or two later, many would switch to pants). 

There is a poster against that striped banner for the Mickey Mouse Club 3D Jamboree, there's Jimmy Dodd's smiling face in the upper right. Notice that the wrought-iron bracket above the Mickey Mouse Club Theater is lacking the round shield with Mickey's face. 

Next is this great view as seen from the poop deck (heh heh) of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. Some folks are watching the flying Dumbi, others are heading into the "Fantasyland Emporium" on the corner...

... while others are checking out the Fantasyland Art Corner - views of this are rare. Have your portrait drawn in pastel by a real artist! Or just buy special paintings created for sale, featuring Disneyland icons like the castle or the Mark Twain. Or if you're smart, you'll buy a stack of animation cels for a buck or two apiece!

Construction is going on just behind the Castle, with an impressive pile of dirt creating a berm between Fantasyland and Frontierland. That wood-framed building is where Rainbow Caverns would be (as part of the new "Rainbow Caverns Mine Train" attraction). 

THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

The Autopia, August 1970

Here's a pair of swell Instamatics, from slides generously given to me by my pal, Mr. X.

Oh yeah, two streamlined, cerulean blue Autopia vehicle are moving along the roadway at blinding speed! I have said it before, but just look at how beautifully landscaped the grounds are. No sterile concrete, steel and glass Tomorrow for Walt Disney. In spite of the criss-crossing roadways, the Peoplemover track, and the Monorail beamway, it feels like a drive in the country (well, almost). In the lower left is the pool of water that overflowed into double waterfalls, perfect for passing submarines to go through. Every time I see it I want to go for a swim, it looks so inviting.

The first six iterations of Autopia designs had their issues, but it seems that by the time Bob Gurr hatched the Mark VII design,  he'd figured it all out. Lightweight, sporty, reliable. They sure look great when you put a few different colors together.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Mad Tea Party, August 1965

The Mad Tea Party. Actually, it's not really mad, it's more "disappointed". And somehow that's worse! If you want color in your photos, you can't do much better than to point your camera in the direction of the many-colored teacups, and that red and yellow swirled platform. Don't stare at it too long, or you will be HIP-MO-TIZED (as David Letterman used to say).

No smiling or laughing allowed! Only heavy sighs and the occasional cough or hiccup. There's the Fantasyland Theater to our right, let's go see some cartoons there after our ride, hopefully the dizziness and nausea will wear off after a few minutes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

The Magic Kingdom, June 1979

I wanted to use up the last three scans from a batch from June, 1979, and these are they. Them. Those. Whatever! 

Here's a moody view of Fort Sam Clemens on the Magic Kingdom's version of Tom Sawyer Island. It sure looks very much like Fort Wilderness at Disneyland, I wonder how alike they really are? Or were, since Disneyland's version was razed and replaced with junk. How did the Florida fort manage to avoid termite problems? Did they call the Orkin Man? In the shadows you can see kids playing on some rock formations, classic fun no matter when you were born.

This one is the nicest of the bunch, in my opinion; a lovely shot of the Admiral Joe Fowler as it sat at the landing. This angle shows how guests boarded on the second level, and exited down below. Gosh, what's that spooooooky building in the distance?

It's the Haunted Mansion, of course - by most accounts, a superior version to the original in Anaheim, due to some extra scenes. The original is still pretty great, though! I've never known if the rumor that the ornaments on top of this Mansion are based on chess pieces was true, or if they just resemble them by chance. We can see the bat weathervane clearly, and the window that is somehow ominous just by being red.

I have lots more WDW slides for you - I just need to scan them.