Monday, December 06, 2021

Disneyland Ephemera

One of my favorite things to collect is ephemera - mostly paper ephemera - from Disneyland. These days, prices can be astonishingly high for choice examples; and even relatively common pieces have been fetching higher prices on eBay, much to my bafflement. Here's a random selection of items for you.

Here's a brochure encouraging guests to get a guided tour; it's pretty scarce. There's no date, but there is a clue inside that helps us date it to 1962. Can you stand the suspense?

It's always amazing to see what it cost for admission and a ticket book. Using a certain year (you still have to wait for it) we can calculate that $4.75 for an adult "Jumbo 15" ticket book is the equivalent of about $43 in today's money. Still an incredible bargain, even with inflation. I believe I've seen a variant of this brochure.

Reading?? If I wanted to read I would go to the library, am I right? The park was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, how many people made long trips to Anaheim only to find the gates shut? Luckily Knott's Berry Farm was just up the road. SO... under "Special Events", there is mention of a live TV broadcast from Disneyland on Saturday nights. The D23 website tells us about a program called "Meet Me at Disneyland", a summer series of television shows on Los Angeles independent station KTTV airing live from Disneyland weekly from June 9 to September 8, 1962. The Osmond Brothers made one of their early television appearances on the show. Now you know! 

This next item is neat little flyer (hard to find, but they do come up on eBay once in a while) announcing the opening of "Pirates of the Caribbean". Maybe you've heard of it?  So exciting! It blows my mind to think that the Auctioneer figure pictured on the cover used to be the pride and joy of the company, being one of the most advanced AA figures. He has retired to a sandy beach somewhere, replaced by a female pirate named "Red".

Imagine seeing "Pirates" when it was brand-new! Now most of us know every gag and detail, but back then it was all a source of wonder and amazement.

A related item is this mini-poster from the Magic Kingdom Club. It's 9" X 12", on stiff tan card stock, and it's pretty neat.

And finally, here's a commonplace item, an old locker token. I've always wondered how so many of these wound up on the collector's market. Did people pay for a token and not use a locker, just for the souvenir? Did they leave their Fabergé Easter eggs in the locker when they went home? I need to know!

I hope you have enjoyed today's Disneyland ephemera.

Sunday, December 05, 2021

River Scenes, August 1966

Sunday. Snoozers. GO!

I wish I had a big artificial (but realistic) river to frolic in. I'd get into so many amusing shenanigans with my pals Brace Face and Knuckles! But eventually I would save a beautiful damsel as she was being attacked by ducks, and she would fall in love with me of course. How could she resist? Then the locals would ask me to be Sheriff or Mayor or something. Maybe both!

My first order of business as Sheriff-Mayor would be to line the shore with plenty of cast-iron benches. I don't want my constituents to ever have sore feet. I'd also invent soft-serve ice cream machines and make sure that everybody had one. Who's in the mood for a root beer float?

Saturday, December 04, 2021

Knott's Berry Farm, July 1963

It seemed like a good day to share some vintage Knott's Berry Farm scans. I hope you agree!

First up is this view from Old MacDonald's Farm, where you could pet a goat, watch a chicken play the piano, and talk to a mule that spoke in rhyme (Did I make that up? I'll never tell). The Farm opened in January of 1955. In the photo, you can see two goats on the roof of the "barn". To the right is a framed snow scene, does anybody know what that was for?

In the distance is an old prospector, panning for gold dust. "I'll strike it rich any day now, by cracky!" That's how you know he's authentic, because he says things like "by cracky" and "consarn it". I'm not exactly sure where this guy was located, was he near the gold mine where guests could also try their hand at panning for gold?

Out on the lake, right near the Church of the Reflections, you could see this fellow in his boat. He's not fishing, he just needed to get away from the kids. Sometimes a guy just needs a little peace and quiet. He always brings his taxidermied elk head with him for company.

Here's a nice photo of one of the old San Francisco cable cars that Walter Knott acquired, they ran in an oval around the parking lot from 1955 through to 1979. Why go to San Francisco when you can just go to Buena Park?

There's more Knott's Berry Farm stuff for you, coming up.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Beautiful Tomorrowland, 1950s

I have a pair of very nice slide scans featuring Tomorrowland as it looked in its first few years. They're undated, but I'd guess that they are from around 1957. Just a hunch!

So, there it is, as we look across Meteor Plaza (I just made that name up, but look forward to the name appearing elsewhere!), with that crazy Moonliner to our left, perfectly accessorized by that toothpick-and-olive light fixture. Right in front of us is the Flight Circle, though nothing's going on there at the moment. And beyond that is the Tomorrowland Art Corner, where some of the best (and years later, most valuable) Disneyland merchandise was sold.

Here's another view, with a closer look at the Art Corner building. I love those abstract graphic panels, which resemble Matisse's paper cutouts. Folks are dressed for cold weather, so I would guess that this must be November or December. Or January! The lady to our right sure has some yellow hair.

Oh man, the window display with attraction posters. Other bloggers (ones with amazing collections of vintage park ephemera) have published scans of catalogs in which you could order an entire set of silkscreened posters for a few dollars. Go back in time and buy a few sets, and then sell them for tens of thousands of dollars today!

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Monorails, August 1970

Here are two more photos, taken by my friend Mr. X back in August of 1970. I hope you like Monorails, because if you don't, this is not going to go well. The rest of you should be OK though!

Whoo-cool there goes "Ol' Greenie", the Monorail that seems to be less-photographed than the other versions. Monorail Green was added in 1968, so it was still under factory warranty at this point. This was the era when avocado green was in fashion (both the dark and light hues), but I admit that there is a part of me that would have liked something a little less muted. This after all my complaining about the bright colors that are used at the park these days! I guess I'm just a phony.

There's the blue Monorail! Or is it "Monorail Blue"? I always associated the latter with Walt Disney World, but maybe it was used at Disneyland too. Nobody tells me nothin'. I should merge the top photo with this photo, so that it looks like the two trains are going to collide head-on. And then I will sell it to the National Enquirer for a million dollars. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Town Square Vehicles, April 1959

After scanning a fairly large lot of slides from April of 1959, I was surprised to find that there were only two photos taken from Main Street USA. It's no surprise that many visitors took their first four or five photos as they first entered the Magic Kingdom; the only comparable place was a movie backlot.

If you're only going to take two Main Street photos, they might as well be nice ones like this! There's the antique Firetruck, the driver is "doing donuts" in Town Square (while shouting the lyrics to "Zip-a-dee-doo-da"). As one does. Everything's so bright and clean, and... where are the crowds? 

And there's a Horse Drawn Streetcar (or "Horse Car" I guess), only two passengers are disembarking. The elbow of a guest aboard the Firetruck. At this point, I don't believe that there was anything going on inside the Opera House (at least not anything that guests could enjoy). Hard to imagine that in just two months, the park would be crawling with people for the debut of the Matterhorn, Subs, and Monorail. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


I have a fun one for you today, with a big THANK YOU to GDB friend Michael Sandstrom, who has amassed quite a collection of Disneyland images from all over, including the ones featuring today's subject: THE DENT. That's right, the mysterious and somehow beloved dent on Sleeping Beauty Castle's rightmost front turret, caused when Tinker Bell crashed into it head on (not the cast member who zips down the cable from the top of the Matterhorn - the real Tinker Bell. Don't worry, she was OK)! It has been the subject of much discussion here on GDB, and now we can all feast our eyes on lots of images - some so clear that there is no missing it.

Because Michael found these photos on the internet, there might be one that is yours. If you would prefer not to see it posted here, please let me know and I will remove it.

This could be the cover of a souvenir guidebook, except for that dent, which will cost four million dollars to remove using NASA photo technology. I volunteer to do it for three million as a service to Disneyland fans everywhere.

I personally had no knowledge of that dent until only a few months ago, much to my astonishment. That's the kind of minutiae that I typically looked for as a Disneyland fanatic.

The castle seems to have a lot of gold on it, so perhaps this one was taken sometime around the park's 50th anniversary.

The paint is getting pretty colorful on this example! And the dent really stands out too.

Here is one of Michael's own photos, circa 1992. The dent is very evident!

And here is a much more recent photo, there's Michael sitting on the wall. 

While I totally believe the Tinker Bell account of how the dent was made, some people believe that there was some other reason that it is there. I'd love to know what some of those theories are. Perhaps a rhinoceros attack?

The Carnation Plaza Gardens is still there to our left. Two fellows in identical outfits (watermelon-pink shirts and cargo shorts) are over there too. I'm going to steal their look.

Some of the topiaries from It's a Small World came to life one night and waddled over to this area. Sometimes they make low growling noises when approached, and guests seen near them have occasionally vanished. I'm just sayin'. 

Here's a dramatic view, I always love photos in which the foreground is bathed in brilliant sunshine while the sky ids dark and stormy. Very striking!

And here's one last super-saturated view. If you happen to have synesthesia, you can probably taste these bold colors. The sky is blue raspberry, just like an Otter Pop.

Many thanks to Michael Sandstrom for sharing these photos of THE DENT!

Monday, November 29, 2021

Sue and Pinocchio! May, 1964

It's time for more photos from 1964, when little Sue B. (I guess she was little "Sue P" back then!) visited Disneyland with her Aunt and some of her aunt's friends. See more from this batch, along with more info, HERE, HERE, and also HERE.

May is just before June, and you'd expect it to be pretty temperate in Anaheim, but it must have been chilly, based on all of the coats and jackets. Still, look at that beautiful sky. Meanwhile, our little Sue has happened upon Pinocchio! The star of my favorite Disney animated feature. The girl to the right is doing a, "Well, there he is!" gesture. I think she has just served Pinoke with a subpoena. "See you in court, Little Wooden Head".

Aw! Sue looks delighted, and maybe a bit bashful, but Pinocchio is doing his best to put her at ease. He probably said something like, "Listen, I felt the same way the first time I met the Blue Fairy. Did you know that she smells like fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies?". There's nothing more comforting than warm chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm, cookies. What were we talking about, again?

Pinocchio reenacts the moment that he was transformed from inanimate carved wood into a miraculous walking, talking puppet. "The Blue Fairy waved her wand and said a rhyming couplet, and the next thing I knew, ZAP!". Sue is skeptical (she wasn't born yesterday), but she is too polite to say anything. 

Notice the yellow "runabout" in the background. I think those might have been electric-powered, but they might have run on baking soda and vinegar.

 THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Mark Twain, May 1981

Hey hey, it's the Mark Twain! I wonder how Sam Clemens would have felt if he knew that a steamboat at an amusement park would eventually be named after him? I'm sure he'd have something snappy to say, but I'd like to imagine that he'd be flattered. Anyway, there's the familiar boat (or is it a SHIP?), looking lovely, reflected in the water. To our right is a flock of sleeping canoes.

I assume that our photographer was standing on the upper level of the Hungry Bear Restaurant; watching the passing river traffic was always one of my favorite things to do while eating at that establishment.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

The Magic Kingdom, December 1982

Hooray, it's time for more scans from Lou and Sue! This time you'll see photos from the Magic Kingdom, circa 1982. I'll bet that was a great time to visit that park!

First up - unlike Disneyland's smaller castle, the towering Cinderella Castle actually contains a restaurant. It's a little odd that King Stephan (Sleeping Beauty's father) has an eatery in Cinderella Castle; clearly I am not alone, because I read that the folks in charge got so tired of addressing this quandary that they eventually changed the name to "Cinderella's Royal Table". I would have called it "Cinderella's Squat and Gobble", but nobody asked me. Did they have chicken strips? It's all I want.

Speaking of Cindy, here is a nice shot of "Cinderella's Golden Carrousel". Look at the lack of crowds! The Carrousel was renamed "Prince Charming Regal Carrousel"... there's an involved, hand-wavey story of why it was renamed (something to do with Prince Charming needing to train for tournaments). Was anyone upset that the princes didn't get much attention at the park? Who knows.

Look at that yellow Skyway gondola to the left, it's swinging and swaying, I hope they throw those guests in Disney Jail.

Lou snapped this artistic view from inside one of the shops so that the Clock Shop across the way would be framed by the darkened doorway. Does anybody know where Lou was standing?

Whoa, Lou had better run for cover, or he's going to get rained on. He's pointed his lens at the Dumbo attraction - again, very few guests are around, which sounds like heaven. This is the old, original 10-elephant version of the ride. That orange iron fence is rather plain and unmusical, but I kind of like it because it is humble.

In 1993, the ride was updated, for a total of 16 elephants. It's not easy to find an additional 6 flying elephants, so kudos to Disney. This ride is so popular that in 2012 a second Dumbo ride was built right next to the first one. They spin in opposite directions, in case you are keeping track of such things.

Some modest Christmas decorations adorn Main Street USA... just enough so that you know that it's that time of year. The Emporium sure looks grand and ornate. In spite of the weather, it must have been plenty warm, it's short sleeves for nearly everyone.

I usually can't help wondering what kind of fantastic merchandise was being sold at that time. Sorry, it was too early for Beanie Babies, the greatest merch of all.

There's the Carrousel again, and the Castle looming (always looming) over everything. I believe that the thing to our right is the Fantasyland Theater (the shield on the awning as "FT" on it), I could be wrong though. Chime in, experts!

MANY THANKS as always  to Lou and Sue!