Sunday, August 25, 2019

Even More "America On Parade", September 1976

Just when you thought it was safe to look at this blog on a Sunday, you find yourself visually attacked with bad photos from "America On Parade". 

Here's a typical keelboat, much like the kind you might have seen on the Mississippi ("Commerical highway, romantic waterway"). There's dancin', and fishin', and snoozin', and maybe a little boozin'. 

The parade designers got fancy... the ornate thingamabob that these river folk moved represented the fancy gingerbread filigree on a Mississippi riverboat.

"Stagecoaches brought more and more people to the frontier, as pioneers left comfortable homesteads and headed further west". "Simi Valley Route", was that a real thing? 

Steam locomotives opened the west to the average citizen, bringing goods and passengers across the nation. Sadly, Pringles potato chips did not exist back then, so the trains didn't carry those.

"The traditional Sunday picnic brings out Americans' love for the fun food, like ice cream, candy, popcorn and hot dogs. But the all-time favorite and best snack of all is the giant jumbo sandwich!".  

Don't worry folks, there's only one more "America On Parade" post remaining. It will all be over soon.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Shootout at Knott's Berry Farm, August 1959

I have a series of photos featuring a shootout in Calico Square! I believe that they were all taken from the upper balcony of the Calico Saloon. 

Some desperadoes have heard that the train was going to be carrying the weekly payroll, and they thought they might help themselves to it. One varmint has already been shot, and he is crumpling to the ground. It's so funny to see the men, women, small children, grandmas and grandpas, all watching the carnage right up close.

Is it over so soon?! Did the other gunman get away? Two train officers appear to be trying to calm the locals ("Nothing to see here folks, move along!"), and perhaps remind them that crime doesn't pay most of the time. To the right it looks like the Indian Chief is helping to keep that young boy at a safe distance from the gore.

I love observing the people in the crowd! One boy (to the left of the denim-clad deputy) is suspicious. "Hey, I think he's still breathing!".

I noticed some odd diagonal shadows on the mail car (or combine?) and decided to zoom in for a closer look...

... as you can see, it has been pierced by many arrows as it passed through the plains. That was too close.

The top-hatted undertaker has finally arrived, and the dead 'un is being hauled away to his just rewards. Boot Hill is too good for him!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Matterhorn & Autopia, November 1975

It's time for more views from a runaway Peoplemover train, circa 1975.

 This first shot is very pretty; it's kind of surprising to see Tomorrowland looking so lush and landscaped. How do I know it's tomorrow if all I can see is trees? A question for the ages. I think our Peoplemover car was near the Carousel Theater, though of course it now held "America Sings" and not the Carousel of Progress.

This second shot gives a nice look at the Autopia, with the Skyway gondolas heading back and forth from the Tomorrowland terminal which was practically right beneath us. I love the colors of the Autopia cars, red, yellow, blue, and green. Very toylike! It's nice to see the Monorail station with its zig-zag roof, and It's a Small World gleaming in the distance.

I was driven mad with power, so I cropped in a little bit for this closeup view.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Souvenir Time

Kids who lived in Orange County had many fun things to choose from. There was Disneyland of course, and Knott's Berry Farm. And there was Movieland Wax Museum, and Japanese Deer Park, Movie World (with Planes of Fame and Cars of Stars), and last but not least, the California Alligator Farm. It was right next to Knott's, across La Palma.

My mom took us to see the gators a few times. There was just something about these reptiles that was so fascinating! I've always loved the cheeky "Drop In" slogan.

The smell of the place made an impression, but hey, it's a zoo after all. A creepy zoo! I remember alligators being coaxed to go up a ramp and slide down the other side, and the way the gators snapped at chicken carcasses at feeding time. Mostly they just basked in the sun. Another memory is of an absolutely enormous Nile crocodile, alone in his own pool (because he would probably eat the smaller gators and crocs). Thanks to the text below, and my own incredible math skills (1907 + 50 years) and my Cray super computer we know that this flyer is from 1957.

The place didn't just have alligators, oh my goodness no! Snakes, lizards and turtles could also be enjoyed for a satisfying afternoon for amateur herpetologists.

Due to lagging attendance, the Alligator Farm finally closed forever in 1984. Wikipedia says that the animals were moved to a private estate in Florida! Yikes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Random Pix From August 1967

Here is a random pair of photos from Fun Dad!

Guests are milling about near the Submarine lagoon, beneath the Monorail track (I almost typed "trackS"). The picture is sort of a neat perspective, with the people in shadow in the foreground, and then the sunlit folks beyond that, and then the lagoon and Sub (plus the Autopia, Peoplemover, and Motor Boats) beyond that. As is the case in many of these 1967 photos, I just love the styles, colors, and patterns on the clothing. Polka dots, stripes, plaids, it's all here.

How about a nice lunch over at the French Market? You can hear some live Dixieland jazz too, courtesy of the Strawhatters.  In the distance,  you can see folks walking up the steps to Frontierland station to the left, while the brick walls surrounding the Haunted Mansion are just visible to the right. 

Thank you, Fun Dad!

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Keelboat and Cascade Peak, 1996

I'll bet a lot of today's Disneyland fans (or "whippersnappers", as I calls 'em) have no idea that there used to be two little Keelboats that plied the Rivers of America back in happier days. But WE know! Mr. X took many photos of the Gullywhumper as it headed toward us. Slowly, slowly! But nobody is in a hurry.

Part of Fort Wilderness can be seen on Tom Sawyer Island, I think this was around where the emergency escape tunnel used to be, though I'm pretty sure it was long-gone by '96.

One of the highlights of a ride aboard a Keelboat was when the pilot would take guests perilously close to Cascade Peak's big waterfall. Meanwhile, I've never been clear on what that object that looks like a hangman's gallows was supposed to be. Any ideas?

Aw, he could have gotten closer than that! Maybe he was avoiding an reef or a sandbar that only an experienced river pilot would know about. I went a little heavy on the "saturation" slider on this one. I blame society.

Unlike the Mark Twain or the Columbia, at this point the Keelboat was only about halfway along its journey around the Rivers of America (since the dock was over near the Haunted Mansion). Enjoy it while it lasts, folks, the Keelboats would close forever the following year. 

Thank you, Mr. X!

Monday, August 19, 2019

More Nice Pix From Lou and Sue!

I am proud to present three more wonderful scans of photos taken by Lou Perry, and graciously shared with us by Lou's daughter Sue B; the photos are from September, 1977.

In May of '77, Disneyland's Space Mountain made its debut, and 42 years later it is still one of the most popular rides at the park (and one of my favorites). Here's how the speed ramp looked in September, 1977. It actually worked!

Here's a wider shot - the line doesn't look too bad, really. I thought that the photo showed a green-haired woman, but I guess she's wearing a kerchief or babushka. Which is disappointing. Green hair is cool!

Here's a great look at the front of the Mission to Mars attraction, which was pretty new at this point - the ride had changed from "Rocket to the Moon" (1955) to "Flight to the Moon" (1967), and in March of 1975, it reopened as "Mission to Mars", where you would find my close personal friend Tom Morrow. 15 extra points are awarded because we can see the Peoplemover reflected in the glass!

A huge THANK YOU to Lou and Sue for these wonderful photos from their family collection!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

More "America On Parade", September 1976

I'm so, so sorry, everybody, but it's time for more bad photos from "America On Parade".  Did I mention that I am sorry?

It's hard to tell from this terrible picture, but that's supposed to be none other than Benjamin Franklin, inventor of the 100 dollar bill. "This man carried the word from the Colonies to the King of England that this new land, America, wanted its independence". That's cool and all, but not as cool as flying a kite during an electrical storm.

There's the disco Liberty Bell! "Let freedom be heard, let the Liberty Bell ring out across the land!". By golly, I'll do it.

There are two of the many cannons that were used in the fight for freedom. The bright colors struck terror into the hearts of the redcoats.

Aw yeah, there's Betsy Ross. When the country was fallin' apart, Betsy Ross got it all sewed up!

"Pushing across the frontiers into the west, pioneers made their way in covered wagons. New land was being explored; America was expanding". When did this happen? I never got the memo.

Yes, there will be yet another installment of photos from "America On Parade". So very, very sorry.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Vintage SoCal

I have two vintage photos from around Southern California; perhaps these will only be of interest to folks who live (or used to live) here?  I never know.

This first one (undated, but probably from the early 1960's) was in a batch of random slides, and I could see that the license plate on the car in the foreground (Nanook?) is a California tag - but the area didn't ring any bells. Luckily, there is a legible street sign to the left; "Plymouth Street". There were several Plymouth Streets to choose from, but I eventually found one that crossed North La Brea Avenue, in Inglewood (in southwestern LA). Eureka!

Granted, this is not a particularly beautiful or exciting photo, but I really like these typical street scenes from 50 or 60 years ago. "Eddie's Inn" and the "Pink Garter" would be swell places to have a brewski. There's "Carlson's Auto Radios and TVs" (a TV in an auto??), "Art's Hobbies", a motorcycle shop, a beauty salon, a Safeway, a Richfield gas station and a Shell gas station. On our side of the street, we can go buy a 1960's Harley! Also to the left is a Chevron billboard with Santa Claus.

Here's a Google "street view" screen grab, showing how the area looks nowadays. Of course things have changed over the decades, and many of those small businesses are gone.

Next is this undated (but 1950's?) photo looking southeast along Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach (at the corner of Cliff Drive). This is another photo that's nothing that exciting, but it oozes 50's charm. Notice the sign for the Victor Hugo Inn, a restaurant that was built in 1938, and finally closed in the 1970's (it became Las Brisas Mexican Restaurant in 1979).

These days the Laguna Art Museum is on the corner to our right, and there is a eucalyptus tree that might be the very same one closest to us.

Here's a vintage postcard - the photo is older than my example - notice the change in street lights and the missing telephone poles. Still, it's a similar angle.

And from the other side of PCH (and a different old postcard), we get another look facing southeast!

Friday, August 16, 2019


Here are the last two Instamatic scans, photos that were taken by Mr. X when he was a mere teenager. I'm sad that this is the last of the square-formatted Kodak images; so many of them are really nice.

We'll start with this beautiful photo of the Monorail, Skyway, Yacht Bar, Sub Lagoon, and Matterhorn. The red really pops, and the blue sky and warm, sunlit Swiss mountain really look incredible. The bubbles in the lagoon are likely from a volcanic vent, and they help hide some of the wonders below the water.

How about a closeup? Just for fun. It's interesting to see how the rocks were applied to that concrete wall. There's just something about the park at this time!

And finally, here's a lovely twilight shot of the blue Monorail as it passed above the queue structure for the Motor Boat Cruise (which would place this in Fantasyland, I suppose). The open windows on the Monorail allow us to see the lucky passengers. It's sort of fun to observe the guests milling around, relaxing, and enjoying a perfect evening in Disneyland.

Many, many thanks to Mr. X for so generously giving me these incredible photos. I still have more non-Instamatic photos from him, coming up.