Monday, May 23, 2022

Wonderful Tomorrowland, November 1959

I have some excellent slide scans from photos taken by Lou Perry, and shared with us by his daughter, Sue B.! These are from November, 1959, when Disneyland's newest additions were truly new. Not many people realize that the price tag was still on the Matterhorn when it opened. What a faux pas! 

It is plain to see that Lou was mighty impressed with the Submarine Voyage and Monorail (even if he did lament the removal of the Viewliner the year before). And who can blame him? This was like no other amusement park. Even the queue area and the loading dock is a sight to behold. Look at the lack of crowds, only months after the debut of these attractions!

I love this beautiful view looking across the lagoon toward the red Mark I Monorail (Li'l Stubby), with only three cars because it was just a baby. There's the waterfalls, and the Monorail track, and the Autopia roadway... there's nothing I don't like about this picture.

Before Lou passed through the nostrils of the Matterhorn he snapped one more shot of that blue-green lagoon with its coral reef. Too bad there's no merms, but I guess you can't have everything.

THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Funky Frontierland

As I have mentioned before, I recently scanned a rather large lot of 1950s Disneyland slides. And while most of them were A-OK, some were mysteriously murky. Perhaps our visitor went to the park on more than one day, and experienced some extreme June Gloom? One can only speculate. 

This first one is still worthwhile, mostly because we can see one of the short-lived Conestoga Wagons ("Westward Ho") and a Stagecoach (equally short-lived) as they rumbled along the shores of Frontierland (our photographer was standing at the river's edge on Tom Sawyer Island).

Next is this view from up in Tom's Treehouse, looking north. There's the Canoe landing, and a Raft landing, and we can just see part of Fort Wilderness, but Frontierland was still pretty wild and undeveloped at this stage. Some of the elk and deer that populated the shores can be seen, since the landscaping hadn't had time to flourish yet. 

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Times Square, October 1954

I have some scarce night shots from New York's Times Square, circa 1954 - with the slow film speeds of those days, these are kind of a miracle. Sometimes called the "crossroads of the world", Times Square was (and still is) famous for its gigantic neon signs and movie marquees - some of them were the largest in the world at the time. Here we have ads for Canadian Club whisky, Admiral television and appliances, and Pepsi Cola. To the left, the movie theater is showing "The Adventures of Hajji Baba", which debuted on October 1, 1954. To the right is a huge billboard for "Suddenly" starring Frank Sinatra and Sterling Hayden.

Also in Times Square was this large billboard for Kleenex, featuring the then-beloved comic character "Little Lulu". Lulu debuted in the Saturday Evening Post in 1935 as a character from artist Marjorie Henderson Buell, but became even more well-known when John Stanley began writing and drawing comic books with Lulu and her friends in the 1950s. She is largely forgotten today, but those comics are widely regarded for their clever writing.

Here's an old ad for Kleenex featuring Lulu and her dog Rover. They sure love Kleenex!

There was even a Little Golden Book with Lulu and Tubby showing you "things to make and do with Kleenex tissues"! Synergy.

I almost threw this one away, but figured I'd post it just for kicks. Besides giant ads for Budweiser and the Capitol Theatre, we can just see the enormous electrified ad for Camel cigarettes to the right. It changed over the years, but always had a character blowing real smoke rings. It was there from 1944 to 1966.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Times Square!

Friday, May 20, 2022

Fantasyland in the Fitties

I have two swell views of Fantasyland from the early days, they are colorful and fun. Let's start with this shot - an unusual angle - from just outside of the Snow White dark ride (the mural is barely visible to our right), it looks like it was a busy day. The haze gives the scene a dreamy quality, don't you think? As busy as it was, the wait to board your mine cart couldn't have been too long, although those Fantasyland dark ride queues could be deceptive. 

I absolutely love these scenes from the classic 1950s Disneyland!

Nearby there was the Mad Tea Party ride, caught in mid-spin. The present of the Skyway tells us that this is at least 1956 - if I had to bet, I'd gamble that the photos are from that very year. It's nice to see the wonderful Skyway Chalet; while it sat unused for years, I'd always hoped that they might find a use for it. No such luck.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Scenes on the Plaza, October 1967

Here's a pair of slides taken by a photographer as he/she strolled around the Plaza on an October afternoon. Sorry the color is a bit odd, these slides had turned sort of purple, and I had a hard time restoring them to anything that looked normal.

First up is this nice shot of the Plaza Pavilion had been there since opening day, and, like many Disneyland eateries, was originally sponsored by Swift and Co. That oval sign to the left originally said "Swift". All of that gingerbread decoration is impressive, presumably all done by hand by old-world craftsmen who learned their skills building sets for studios. It's amazing that there is not a single person eating, or even standing around twiddling their thumbs!

Here's an odd one; a group of men, in suit jackets or shirt sleeves, seems to be walking alongside Baloo and King Louis. Maybe all of them are heading toward the Plaza Inn for a nice lunch. Could those men all be Disney "suits"? 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Town Square, March 1962

I have two nice ones for you today, circa 1962. The place: Town Square.

I particularly love this first one, with a tour guide leading her baby ducks through Town Square. That gentleman appears to be smitten! It looks like they are headed toward the Opera House, which might have contained the sets from "Babes in Toyland" at that point. I'm especially proud of this one, because it was initially a reject - there was a bright orange light leak right up the middle of the picture. But (through the magic of Photoshop) I was able to fix it, though you can still see evidence of it if you look closely.

Speaking of looking closely, we can see two other tour guides in the distance, one framed by the archway of the Police Station to the left, and another at the extreme right. They must have just released them from their enclosure!

This next one was taken around the same time, with the clear early morning light making everything look so pretty. There's an Omnibus waiting for what might be its first compliment of passengers; we also get a Surrey and a Horse Drawn Streetcar at no extra charge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Sue's Birthday!

 I'd like to wish our good friend Sue B. a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY today! I told Sue that I'd like to post something special for her, if she was willing, and she scanned some fun family photos to share.

Awwwww! There's little Sue, in her frilly bonnet, held in the arms by her mother Donna. I love the expression on her face! She's a happy baby.

Here's Donna and Sue again. Sue is looking very dramatic, I think she might be quoting Shakespeare. "Now is the winter of our discontent!". When I look at my own family photos, it's always so amazing to see my mom when she was a new mother, she looked so young.

And here's LOU AND SUE! What an awesome photo, with Lou proudly holding his daughter, they will be pals for decades to come. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images, Sue!

I do have some Disneyland images for you today as well; not "Lou and Sue" scans, but still pretty nice in my opinion. Both are from April, 1959.

A good photo of the original Moonliner is always a thing of beauty; even though it was half-scale, it still looked like you could climb aboard (maybe you'd need a jet pack to fly up to the cockpit?) and take that baby for a spin. It had an AM radio, so you know they spent all the money. I like the little family gazing at the sign at the base of the rocket.

Next we have the wonderful Monsanto House of the Future, where "wood" is a four-letter word. Plastic is where it's at, baby! It's always fun to see it juxtaposed with the castle - Disneyland is a kooky place. I told Walt that the Monsanto house should rotate, and suggested 45 rpm - a good round number. As usual, he ignored my brilliant idea.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Last Two From July 1976

Like the title of today's post says, I'm using up the last two scans from a small lot from 1976. They were fun while they lasted.

Two girls (who have appeared in most of the photos from this batch) sit in a Mad Tea Party teacup; At some point the teacups were repainted with new colors and graphics, not sure when that was done. Somehow that cup with the hearts looks very '70s, don't you think? Notice the ornamental arches that now surrounded the attraction. They look good, and they keep vampires away.

One of the Dumbi soars to a height of 20 feet, and both girls are about to gray out due to the speed and lack of oxygen. Hey, that spire to the left has its own little dent!

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Blurry Fantasyland 1950s

After scanning a fairly large batch of slides from the '50s, I found a number that were very dark for some reason. Others turned out to be blurry, though not so blurry as to be without merit. Rather than delete those blurry scans, I figured I'd share them today. Because, you know... Snoozer Sundays!

I've made an executive decision - that our Skyway gondola was heading toward the Fantasyland chalet terminal. Since most people sit facing in the direction that they are traveling, I'm probably wrong, but I'm afraid that there will be no refunds. 

Say, there's a big ol' whale down there. And he's hungry! Sure, Monstro likes the steady meals, but maybe just once he'd like some spaghetti and meatballs, or maybe taco. While it's too bad about the blurriness, we can still see things like the Midget Autopia and the little yellow garage; above that, the blue Viewliner can be seen leaving the station (with its pink arched sign). And let's not forget the Fantasyland train depot.

Man, I hope that's not smog reducing our visibility - but it probably is. Yuck. To the right of Cinderella Castle in Storybook Land we can see what I believe is the red barn that was part of the Pony Farm. Notice the train tunnel just to the right of the Pirate Ship.

Well, we've come to the end of our journey (or is it the beginning?), this would be the view right outside the Skyway Chalet, with Cinderella Castle again. I wonder why those eucalyptus trees to the left have been so drastically pruned? Tree Talk, every Sunday here on GDB.

I'll be home soon, but for now I am still out of town!

Saturday, May 14, 2022

LAX Theme Building

Most airports are not things of beauty (though some have structures that stand out, such as the former TWA terminal at JFK). Their purpose is to move many thousands of people through as efficiently as possible, and not much thought seems to be given to aesthetics. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is a typical big-city airport in most ways, but it has one of the most striking pieces of architecture anywhere; the "Theme Building". There it is (from November, 1964), looking futuristic and cool! The Theme Building was dedicated by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1961.

Here's a wonderful 1961 architectural rendering. From Wikipedia: Influenced by "Populuxe" architecture, it is an example of the Mid-century modern design movement later to become known as "Googie". Constructed near the beginning of the Space Age, the building is an example of how aeronautics and pop culture, design and architecture came together in Los Angeles.

The distinctive white building resembles a flying saucer that has landed on its four legs. The initial design was created by James Langenheim, of Pereira & Luckman, subsequently taken to fruition by a team of architects and engineers headed by William Pereira and Charles Luckman, that also included Paul Williams and Welton Becket. 

The next two images are from 1977. The glassed-in area used to be a restaurant, which never rotated, though many people will swear that it did. Even those breezeway blocks are wonderfully mid-century. The appearance of the building's signature crossed arches as homogeneous structures is a design illusion, created by topping four steel-reinforced concrete legs extending approximately 15 feet above the ground with hollow stucco-covered steel trusses. To counteract earthquake movements, the Theme Building was retrofitted in 2010 with a tuned mass damper without changing its outward appearance.

Here's a view from the observation deck, with the airport's old control tower to the left, along with some hangars and a bit of runway in the distance.

Here's a contemporary shot of the building at night, as you can see, it's pretty great! Ocean fog often descends on LAX in the evenings, as in this photo.

Here's a nice interior (from Wikipedia) showing the inside of the "Encounters" restaurant, designed by Walt Disney Imagineering, which opened in 1997. I had dinner there one time with a friend who is a Jet Blue flight attendant, it was a fun experience. When the elevator doors closed, a kooky song (by Esquivel, perhaps) played. Sadly, Encounters closed at the end of 2013, mostly due to the fact that travelers had to leave the secure areas to dine, and would have to go through the whole security screening process again if they wanted to return to their gates. As far as I know this area has been shuttered ever since.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the LAX Theme Building!

I'm still out of town, but should be home soon