Friday, August 12, 2022

Magic Kingdom Parade, 1988

Today I am sharing the first of four blog posts featuring photos taken by Lou Perry during a 1988 visit to Walt Disney World. As we have seen previously, Lou loves parades! Take a look HERE and HERE to see some past examples. Of course I wanted to know the theme of this particular parade, and found that this one was called "Spirit of America". Apparently it started in 1987 and ran for approximately a year - this thing was elaborate, with many large, unique floats (though I suspect that some were repurposed from earlier parades). 

Whether he was at Disneyland or the Magic Kingdom, Lou liked to view his parades from the steps of Main Street Station. It eliminated the problem of having his views eclipsed by bouffant hairdos. This first image shows the Motorized Firetruck, with the hosts of "Good Morning Britain". Timmy Mallett is threatening the crowd with an oversized maul, while Mike Morris and Kay Burley pretend to not be embarrassed.

Next comes the marching band known as the Main Street Philharmonic, resplendent in red, white, and gold. They're followed by a float that appears to have a large graham cracker in front.

Say, that's no graham cracker! That's the U.S. Constitution. Could it be the biggest copy ever made? I'm going to say "yes", based on 0 minutes of research. These days such a thing might be printed on a giant inkjet printer (Really! They make billboards that way), but back then a squad of artisans must have painted it by hand.

Mickey and Minnie Mouse are wearing their finest colonial outfits, complete with powdered wigs. Just behind them is what must be the Liberty Bell. 

Next we have a float with a bunch of clean-cut singers in dazzling white. I watched a video of this parade to hear which patriotic song they might be singing, but it's a tune specifically composed for this event. They might have been lip-syncing the song, too.

A lighthouse brings to mind the rocky shores of Maine, perhaps. A-yuh. Unfortunately they did not play the deafening sound of a foghorn. Such a lost opportunity. Just behind the lighthouse is what I believe is a "little red schoolhouse". Let the whippings commence!

A silo brings to mind thousands of acres of rolling farmland. Those silos hold corn, wheat, oats, and all the things we need to make delicious pre-sweetened breakfast cereals. Sorry, I'm getting emotional...

If there's a silo, there's probably a barn right next to it. This is a barn that housed giraffes, a source of meat in the early days of this country's history. Say, who's that up in the hayloft?

Well I'll be! It's Clara Cluck. I'm always happy to see one of the old-time Disney characters, and Clara definitely qualifies. She debuted in 1934 in the Mickey Mouse short subject, Orphan's Benefit. Looking good, Clara!

Many thanks to Lou and Sue! Stay tuned for more "Spirit of America" in the coming weeks.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Two Beauties From May 1980

I love Main Street almost as much as I love short shorts, and that's saying something. Especially when it's "classic" Main Street! I will randomly assign "1980 and before" as "classic" because it suits my needs today. Ask me tomorrow and I will probably give you a different answer.

SO... 1980 was Disneyland's 25th Birthday. And that was 42 years ago. Look, I'm not happy about it, but you depend on me to state the facts. It's part of my journalistic integrity. 

Check out this beautiful late-afternoon photo looking north toward the castle. The Chinese Elms have gotten pretty tall, but they've obviously been given haircuts so that they don't block the view too much. (I originally mis-typed "Chinese Elmos", which is something else entirely). It's very busy for May, but gosh it looks so nice. I'll bet the air was starting to cool, and soon the lights would turn on, and the sky would continue to darken. What ride do we want to do first? It's never an easy decision.

We've walked through the castle, and into Fantasyland proper, with the Carrousel twinkling (always twinkling!). I am imagining the song "Once Upon a Dream" playing in that unique carrousel sound, smelling popcorn, watching the Skyway come and go in the distance... no wonder I loved Disneyland so much!


Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Lenticular Pinback Buttons

Say, have I ever told you about my Big Bag O' Buttons? It's big. And full of buttons. Pinback buttons, that is. Swimmin' pools. Movie stars. Due to my incompetence, I have had to move many posts around (hither, and also thither) so these were originally going to be seen by you, the Junior Gorillas, months from today. Oh well. Anyway, I will  be focusing on lenticular ("flasher") pins. I obviously liked those, because I have quite a few!

Well I'll be a.... A WHAT? A silly goose? WHAT WILL I BE?

Oh, a Monkey's Uncle! This one is (of course) from the 1965 Disney film starring Tommy Kirk and Annette Funicello. (Yes, yes, I see that the button has a 1964 copyright, don't worry about it). You may be familiar with the theme song, sung by the Beach Boys before they'd made it big. Whoa-whoa!

John F. Kennedy? Say, I've heard of him.

Presumably this was produced during the dark days not long after JFK's assassination, which makes it historically interesting.

Remember the 1979 movie "The Black Hole"? It was Disney's answer to "Star Wars", with a plot that had many similarities to "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea". Only with more goofy robots "hovering" on very visible wires. The last time I saw a portion of it on TV, I was astonished at how cheap some of the sets looked - a control panel with buttons and blinky lights appeared to be made of painted foam core. Yikes.

Still, I have a fondness for this movie, in spite of its many flaws. And so I am happy to have this flasher pin with the name of the movie swirling into the inexorable gravitational pull of THE BLACK HOLE!

After JFK's death, Lyndon B. Johnson became President. And of course his candidacy for the 1964 election would not go uncontested. Here we can see LBJ, his wife "Lady Bird" looking bewildered as they moved out of the White House.

And who was supposed to be moving in? Why, Barry Goldwater (Senator from Arizona) and his wife Margaret ("Peggy"), riding on a smiling yellow elephant. Peggy looks like Keely Smith! Turns out LBJ won the election in a landslide.

I've always liked Cap'n Crunch (did you know that his full name is Captain Horatio Magellan Crunch?). More info: The character was created by Jay Ward and voiced by Daws Butler (in imitation of actor Charles Butterworth). Cap'n Crunch sailed the Milk Seas in the S.S. Guppy in search of adventure, joined by his loyal crew, Seadog, Alfie, Dave, Brunhilde, and Carlyle.  

In both 1985 and 1999, Cap'n Crunch went missing and the kids of the world had to find him. I'm not sure where he was eventually discovered, but I hope it wasn't one of those places that sailors tend to frequent. And by that I mean video arcades.

Well, I hope you have enjoyed this batch; I have LOTS more pinback buttons to share with you.

Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Costumed Characters, April 1975

Here's a pair of fun scans featuring some costumed characters from the 1973 animated feature, "Robin Hood". Even though this was two years later, Disney wouldn't release "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh" until 1977. So by some standards, it was still a relatively recent "classic". 

There's the scheming Prince John, I like his big nose and beady little eyes! He's hanging out next to a trash can, which is a bit odd. You're royalty, Prince John! Even if you are conniving and heartless. And probably stinky. Two young girls have been granted an audience with the Prince; check out that coat on the one to our left! Maybe it reflects her big personality. The girl on the right seems to be a bit more shy and demure.

Lovable Baloo - oops, I mean Little John - wears mostly green so that he can vanish into Sherwood Forest after robbing from the rich. I do that too! Maybe Baloo is a distant cousin? Kids seem to be drawn to him, though the one to the left (with the light blue shirt) is frustrated. "I'm Little John's biggest fan, and he doesn't even know I exist". Life is unfair, kid.

Monday, August 08, 2022

Omnibus, June 1970

If you're going to build a bus, and you want to carry more passengers, you might consider making your bus longer, or wider (or both). But you could also add a second story to your vehicle! GENIUS! Let's call it the "Omnibus", shall we? 

Here's a nice photo of an Omnibus as it passed the Swift Market House. Ironically, the market house just sat there, it wasn't swift at all. The folks on the upper level can see into the second story windows, I hope that the people inside are "decent". What if a child saw a bare ankle? There's nothing more shameful or traumatizing. Notice that C&H Sugar gets a mention on the Market House sign, they shared the space starting in 1965, but 1970 would be their final year. 

This next one is from a different lot, but is also dated "June, 1970". The bus is jam-packed! Those guests will ride all the way to the Plaza, while the rest of the suckers have to walk. Let's point at them and laugh, shall we? You can throw things too, just don't be too obvious about it.   

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Snoozer Storybook Land, March 1962

Here are two very boring photos of Storybook Land. We don't even get half a Monstro! No canal boats either. When you consider all of the things that a photographer can capture at Disneyland, it's easy to wonder why our hero decided to take these pictures.

Well, at least we see a bit of the Casey Jr. Circus Train - just barely. Otherwise it's the Storybook Land sign, and some bare earth embankments. And a glimpse into "Never Never Land" to the right (though not a very good one).

This guy just loved that sign! I give it points for getting some of the old wood and chain link fencing that used to be common all over Fantasyland. And hey, I even like the exit turnstiles; just imagine the clicky noise they made as they counted each guest as they exited! Click - click - click. So satisfying.

Whew! It feels good to get these published so that I don't have to worry about them again.

Saturday, August 06, 2022

Universal Studios 1950s

I recently found some slides of Universal Studios that are undated, but they seem to be from before it became a big tourist attraction (Wikipedia says that what we consider the "modern" studio tour began in July of 1964). I admit that I don't recognize a lot of these backlot locations - to the point where I started to wonder if these photos really were from Universal. But some additional scans (to be seen in a future post) confirmed it.

OK, I don't even have a guess as to what this massive structure is supposed to be. It's not exactly medieval, even though the towers have crenellations. Oh yeah, say it with me... CRENELLATIONS. But it also has those fancy spiral columns, and those Romanesque (?) arches. Maybe it's supposed to be Constantinople. Yeah, probably not.

There it is again, I could probably stitch the previous photo together with this one, but that involves effort. And you know how lazy I am! 

Universal Studios has suffered from several devastating fires over the decades, so much of what we might see in old photos is likely long-gone. Apparently there were fires in 1932, 1949, 1957, 1967, 1987, and another in 1997. Hey, where were YOU in 1997? Your eyes suddenly got very shifty! Anyhoo, this set appears to be set in France. Or Belgium. "Livres d'occasion", that means "Liver for every occasion". 

"Anselmo Fine Italian Foods"... so... little Italy? That building looks pretty fancy for Italian Foods. Where are the bricks and the fire escapes and the kids playing in the open fire hydrants? Those trailers are where astronauts spend weeks in quarantine, in case you were wondering.

Check out the houses to the right, up on the hill's ridge; I always thought it would be fun to overlook the studio, you never know what you might see. Charlton Heston punching a monkey? Steve McQueen driving irresponsibly? Audrey Hepburn wearing a floppy hat? ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.

I sure wish I knew what they were filming; Universal Studios is a real working movie/TV studio after all. This looks like Old Mexico, perhaps. "Vineria", that's where they sell Red Vines. I prefer Twizzlers. 

Well, I know that my commentary wasn't very edifying, but at least it was terse. Stay tuned for "part two", whenever I get around to it!

Friday, August 05, 2022

Two Beauties From the '50s

Here's a pair of extra-nice scans from the 1950s! Let's start with this great look at the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal - which means that this one is from no earlier than mid-June, 1956. I've always loved the ultra-modern look of this structure, mostly no-nonsense horizontals and verticals; but there's also the addition of the tower with the colorful shapes that would turn in the breeze - like something that the Eameses would cook up. Below the tower and a little to the right, we can just see some of the vending machines at the Space Bar, where guests could presumably buy sandwiches, or maybe a hot cup of coffee, just like the automats in big cities.  The pine tree to our right blocks a decoration above the Space Bar showing Santa sitting astride a rocket.

If you walked through the archway of Sleeping Beauty Castle, you'd find yourself in this charming courtyard, with Merlin's Magic Shop to the left. I've always liked the half-timbered look of Merlin's, as well as the winding waterspout, and even the hanging sign. This photo is from a different lot than the first one, which is why we can see the entrance to the castle walk-through. That opened in April of 1957.

Thursday, August 04, 2022

Storybook Land 1950s

I'm delving into a lot of slides from the '50s; in spite of them being Kodachrome transparencies, they've turned an odd murky yellowish shade. So strange, since I have other Kodachrome slides from that same era that are vivid and beautiful. Still, these aren't a total loss.

Somehow the lighting makes this shot of Cinderella Castle resemble a Mayfield Parrish illustration. All good castles have a tunnel underneath them, though they don't all have colorful circus trains that pass through those tunnels. Sadly, the framing of this image does not show the tiny pumpkin coach, my favorite detail.

I almost skipped this one, but then figured, "What the heck!". That's what I said to my pet parrot, Perry, and he said it right back to me. The Seven Dwarfs live in that cottage, and the surrounding forest is the kind of dark place where it's easy to believe that witches and scary, grasping trees could be found.

This is actually a pretty nice look at Geppetto's Village, one of the more intricate scenes in Storybook Land. So many charmingly-crooked little buildings. I love the details, such as the bridge leading to the village gate. "Who goes there?". Even the cobblestones on the street and tiny marionettes in Geppetto's window are there. Not to mention the show-covered mountains that watch over the village.

Wednesday, August 03, 2022

A Pair From August, 1966

Here we are, in Disneyland, near the end of the summer. August that is; soon, the kids will be heading back to school. But for now, there's still plenty of time for some theme park fun. This trio is taking the opportunity to rest their weary feet in the afternoon. The younger couple is laughing at a dirty joke that Grandma told, even though she appears to be very prim and proper. She's a firecracker, though! The woman in the middle has a large bag from the Hallmark store, what could be in it? 

Judging from the crowd, you'd think that there was a sale on Zamfir albums (he was the Master of the Pan Flute, after all), but instead, Goofy and Pluto are in the Plaza, greeting guests and taking photos. Or having their photos took. Tooken. Taked. Man, I don't talk so good. It sure looks like the adults are as thrilled to see these big stars as the kids are. "Get out of my way, I'm the vice president of a prominent fertilizer conglomerate! My employees worship me!". Goofy and Pluto just shake their heads in amusement, they've seen it all.