Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Selection From Lou and Sue

Sue B. has been so generous with sharing scans from photos taken by her dad, Lou Perry - I thought I would combine two pairs into one post!

First up (from 1986) is a popcorn cart near the Fire Station.  Patrick Duffy, also known as "The Man From Atlantis", orders an extra large box so that he can share it with random strangers. This generosity is typical of Atlanteans. Omnibus alert!

Nearby is this balloon vendor - all those balloons jostling together made a squeaky sound that was enough to drive a person MAD. *Squeakety squeak squeak squeak!*. Plus that funny thumping noise that they make, you know what I'm talking about. Which is why each CM was only allowed to do this job for 46 minutes at a time. MIT determined that by minute 47, it was too late.

Moving forward to November 1991 we have this view looking over the feathered headdress of the Tobacco Shop's wooden Indian at some patriotic bunting above a doorway into the Emporium. The golden eagle looks like something you'd find in early American folk art. 

I'm not sure when the Tobacco Shop stopped selling tobacco products, but it looks like they've switched to sports-related paraphernalia by '91. I'm glad they kept the Indian there, it's the kind of artifact one might have found in front of a real old-timey store.

Thanks as always to Lou and Sue!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

River Construction From Huck

Our pal Huck has provided even more photos from a trip to the park in October 9, 1991. Today's images feature some of the drastic changes that took place along the Rivers of America when "Fantasmic!" was added. Poor Tom Sawyer Island would never be the same. 

Any idea where Huck was standing when he took these? Was it the queue for "Pirates"? Or the stairs up to the old Walt Disney Gallery? I could ask him but I'm too ashamed.

Of course the sleepy Old Mill that had been on the south end of TSI since 1956 had to go, and the too-large (and ugly) stage was built in its place. I assume the riverbed had to be deepened to add equipment for the fire effects, the water screens, and other marvels.

You can see vehicles and teensy hard-hatted people amongst the construction chaos. The green fence works its magic, in all the photos the guests are facing away from it ("Nothing to see here!"), except for the few in line for a treat from the ODV cart to our left.

Huck was nice enough to stitch all three images together! He's pretty dismissive of the results, but I think it looks quite good. And my own attempts looked much worse. 

Now we can really enjoy the appearance of the Granny in red (and her friend), who magically appears three times. Is she a witch?? She can bend time and space to her will.

MANY THANKS to Huck! There's more from him in a future post.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Ask Any Pirate You Happen To See.... January 1962

... "What's the best tuna?" Chicken of the Sea! Don't eat that Starkist garbage, I've heard it's mostly cat meat anyway and I believe it. I also believe that the Earth is flat and you'll never convince me otherwise.

Today I have two lovely photos of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship on a brilliant January day. No matter how many times I've seen it, I love the level of artistry and detail. For instance, I never noticed the sculpted clamshell ornament above the stern windows before! I also love the various lanterns on and around the ship, I wonder if anybody got to take those home to install them in their backyard when the ship was razed?

It was almost possible to stitch this photo and the previous one together into a delightful and crispy panorama, but the ropes didn't want to cooperate. This is why I propose banning the use of all ropes by 2025. Ha ha, the mermaid is picking Skull Rock's nose.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Goof Troop, July 1976

Good old Goofy; he may be clumsy, but he's so lovable that everyone wants to be around him. Rich, poor, tall, short, Goofy doesn't care; hugs are free. Look at how delighted that little girl is! Meanwhile the little boy is delighted for a different reason - he just lifted Goofy's wallet. Joke's on him, the wallet is full of old gum.

Goofy invented the "noogie", though his version is considerably more gentle than the kind offered up by meanies. His noogies merely tickle. I don't recognize the doorway behind everyone, do you?

Saturday, February 22, 2020


I'll be honest - I'm sort of "unloading" a whole bunch of not-very-exceptional scans of slide from Universal Studios (Hollywood) today, circa June 1987; I have a decent number of USH slides, but a lot of them are kind of "meh". Still... worth a look, I hope.

This looks like the "Court of Miracles" area of "Little Europe". It's easy to imagine an angry mob of torch-bearing peasants chasing after Frankenstein's monster, isn't it? The original sets that were used in those 1930's Universal monster movies burned in a 1967 fire, so these are recreations. Still, one of my favorite parts of the tour.

OK, I admit it; I'm going to need some help on some of these! You guys (and gals) are so smart. And good-looking. Our Glamour Tram passed this spaceship, I wonder if it had anything to do with Battlestar Galactica (which is generally agreed to be the Greatest Movie Ever)? In case you are wondering what those mysterious cylindrical shapes are to the right...

... we see that it is a a selection of aircraft noses. Place them in front of a blue backdrop, bounce them up and down a little, and voila - MOVIE MAGIC. It's hard to tell from this strangely murky photo, but it appears that we are headed toward a quaint little town.

Why, it's a ramshackle village, located on what was formerly called "Singapore Lake", but it was changed to "Jaws Lake". I'm sure there's no significance to that name. (Parts of this town represented "Cabot Cove" from "Murder, She Wrote", which is almost as good as "Matlock").

I think I see the fin of a largemouth bass! Much to the shock of everybody, the fisherman in that small boat would be dragged underwater, and a fountain of bright pink blood would spew forth. I wonder what they used as "blood", since they repeated that effect over and over and the lake remained a soupy green?

Aieeeee! Hold me, grandma! Look at those rows of razor sharp teeth. 

I threw a nearby kid overboard, so I think we're safe for now. Young Napoleon Dynamite is looking to me with gratitude.

Here's one last look at Jaws Lake. Next year we are going to Godzilla Lake instead. No sharks there, or so I've heard.

A long-lived feature of the tram tour is a stop in a sleepy Mexican village that is plagued with flash floods every few minutes. Why, I just saw it a few months ago! Instead of posting four boring individual photos, I decided to try to make a sequential animated gif, which came out OK in spite of its imperfections.

Here endeth Part One! I hope you enjoyed your visit to Universal Studios.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Interesting Fantasyland View, 1956

Today's primary image is from sometime in 1956, taken on the walkway (and lawn) in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle on a beautiful, sunny day. As you can see, a brave knight (with requisite pageboy hairdo) was relaxing on some leftover castle bits. But why? I have no idea! There was no 1956 Disney movie featuring knights - the 1953 film "The Sword and the Rose" might fit the bill, though I've never seen it. Maybe it was as simple as "We have a medieval castle, people expect to see knights".

Favorite detail: the bobby pin holding the knight's hair away from his face. Just like in ye olden days! Second favorite detail: the sign indicating the way to Professor Keller's "Feline Fantastics" (Wild Jungle Killers IN ACTION). Originally part of the ill-fated Mickey Mouse Club Circus (which closed on January 8th of '56), George Keller's trained animal show continued under the big top from February 19th through September 5th. Some say his big cats were tranquilized until they were docile, which just seems like good sense to me.

Here's a previously-shared photo looking down from the Skyway. It's the back side of the sign.

And finally, I might as well throw in this classic view of the Castle and the bridge that crossed the moat, leading guests into Fantasyland.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Casa Mexicana

I have a group of photos (courtesy of our pal Mr. X) featuring Casa Mexicana in Frontierland. Of course this was the former Casa de Fritos, and later became Rancho El Zocalo.

Casa Mexicana opened in 1982, months after Casa de Fritos closed and after a remodeling of the exterior and interior. Here's a photo of the sign (kind of washed out by our nearby star). All the plants make this look like a very pretty little corner of the park.

The interior was the standard "buffeteria"-style eatery; grab your tray, load it up with whatever you want, pay at the register, and go find a seat! I like the dark wood, ceramic tiles, and muted stucco, brightened with colorful streamers on the ceiling.

Here's what's on the menu! From an image scrounged off of the web.

I'll have two enchiladas, a taco, rice and beans, and a Coke! 

There are more Casa Mexicana to come, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Disneyland Hotel Convention Brochure 1956

Today I am presenting a fairly rare Disneyland Hotel item from 1956; according to Don Ballard of the "The Original Disneyland Hotel" blog, this was the "first convention brochure". I was lucky to find this at a paper show about five years ago, it is about as new-mint as can be - always a plus.

The hotel originally opened in October of 1955, about two months after Disneyland's debut. Wikipedia sez: The hotel originally consisted of just over 100 rooms in 5 two-story guest room complexes (later known as the South Garden Rooms and even later as the Oriental Gardens) that rented for $15 a night with shopping, dining and recreational facilities added in early 1956. Additionally, it had a doctor and dentist on site as well as a barber and beauty shop. 

On August 25, 1956, the hotel celebrated its "official" grand opening with many Hollywood stars and celebrities attending the festivities. It was quickly expanded in 1956 with three North Garden guest room structures, one more North Garden structure in 1958 and lastly, two more North garden structures in 1960. The hotel now boasted over 300 guest rooms and suites. It was one of the first hotels in the region to offer accommodations for four persons per room.

Say, what's inside that durn brochure? Everything you need to know, that's what!

The banquet rooms were available for all of your usual convention needs, including weddings, cocktail parties, and clothing-optional Tupperware extravaganzas. These days I don't think they'd have 8-foot ceilings, but it sure makes things cozy. Be sure to get the arrangement that includes the bar if you want a successful event!

Some of these rooms seem so small by today's standards, but I guess groups didn't always need a cavernous space. I'm going to rent that "Board of Directors" room, and sit at the raised table. I'll bring my own gavel, thank you very much. People will have to address me as "Professor".

Note that this was still "Wrather-Alvarez Hotels"; Helen Alvarez's involvement in the hotel is fascinating to me; she was the first female television CEO, and was a millionaire by the age of 29. At some point (I believe in '56) her business relationship with Jack Wrather soured, and she sold her shares to him.

"Fun for the family..."! Yes, while you are in meetings all day, the rest of the family can relax by the Olympic swimming pool, peruse the "16 smart shops in the Hotel Arcade", play shuffleboard, practice your putting on a "championship course", or take a convenient tram (no Monorail service yet) to the front gates of DISNEYLAND. 

I hope you have enjoyed this Disneyland Hotel brochure!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Two Instamatics

I'm happy to continue sharing more Instamatics from Mr. X. I call him THE KING OF THE INSTAMATICS! You can bow to him, but you don't have to, he's a nice fellow. As I have explained before, X found a small stash of negatives, and generously gave them to me so that I can share them with you.

I'm sure there was a time when I wouldn't have been very excited to find a nice photo of one of the Tom Sawyer Island rafts, but nowadays I love 'em. I'm trying to figure out where this one would have launched from - I think there was a landing near where the Keelboats loaded, but I'm not completely sure. There was at least one other raft landing closer to the old Plantation House. All of those guests are going to explore a TSI that is long-gone, the lucky ducks. 

This negative was very beat up, but I took a lot of time to clean it. Even so, you can still see some dust specks and other flaws, but I think it looks fairly presentable now. The mostly-unfurled sails with their red and white stripes are always so graphically striking, and I like that the shade cloths match over in the dining area. Pirates knew how to coordinate. "Aaar, yer polka dot bandanna goes great with yer blue breeches! AAAR!". And of course I always love the Chicken of the Sea mermaid, blessing us with her scepter.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Restaurant Time - May 1978

Today's photos are from the Mysterious Benefactor, with a continuing look at the mysterious kitchen areas from some of the old park eateries.

This first one is said to be from the Stage Door Cafe, and we see a master chef carefully placing a hamburger into its paper bag (you can just see a stylized "castle and fireworks" design on the bag, I need one of those in my collection! Preferably free of grease and cheese).

The remaining images are from the River Belle Terrace. These young people had to work hard to cook hundreds (thousands?) of meals each day for hungry crowds. A ham steak sits on a plate, while the cook has something on the griddle - maybe some scrambled eggs? The woman in the distance is on the horn to HQ.

This fellow is slicing up tomatoes by the dozen; I can't quite tell if the gizmo near his hands is a specialized slicer for that task. 

This lady is cooking up some eggs, sunny-side up, while wielding a bottle of some sort of vegetable oil (I believe). In the lower right corner, something sits on the griddle - it resembles novelty vomit (or the real thing?), to be honest. Maybe it was a Denver omelette. You can just see the "Oscar Mayer" pin on the woman's shirt.

Mere seconds later, our intrepid photographer fired off another photo!

Nobody said that working in a kitchen was glamorous - this guy is taking freshly-washed trays and stacking them in alphabetical order. I wish we could see if these trays had the River Belle Terrace logo on them - those things show up at auction occasionally, and can fetch $100 and up. 

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor!