Sunday, July 30, 2006

Flying Saucers, August 1961

Here's an attraction that I wish I had been able to experience at least once. From all accounts, it wasn't so easy to maneuver, sliding around on a giant air-hockey table. I don't even particularly like bumper cars, and this was basically a cool looking version of those.

This photo was taken shortly after opening (it opened on August 6, 1961)...there isn't much of a line for a summer day. I think we can see the spanish tile roof of the administration building to the right (the old Dominguez home). The pylon with the name of the attraction is also pretty neat, resembling the one for the Submarine Voyage. It could double as a cell phone tower today!

The Living Desert

For all of you fans of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, here are two views of The Living Desert. Ya got yer deadly, poisonous rattlesnakes (from 1962), ready to leap from their boulders to sink their fangs into some unfortunate person's throat. I seen it happen with my own two eyes!

The next photo shows a whole heap o' saguaro cactuses (cacti?), circa 1957. They look like the real thing, wonder if they sculpted each one individually, or if they were cast from actual saguaros. I like the fact that they have blossoms, since the spiel reminds us that "the desert's got 'er beauty, too".

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Tomorrowland, 1970

Wow, Tomorrowland was still a happenin' place in 1970. This is the version that I grew up with, and I remember it fondly. There was so much motion going on all around, with the Skyway, Peoplemover, Monorail, Autopia, Subs, Rocket Jets, and the spinning Carousel of Progress really felt alive in a way that seems to be lacking these days.

Who knows, I could be one of those itty bitty people in this picture, looking forward to a journey through liquid space, or a trip into a snowflake, or maybe a drive through America the Beautiful.

I hope people don't mind the occasional detour from the 50's and 60's into the groovy 70's!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Snow White Exit, October 1969

This photo appealed to me even though it is not from the 50's (and barely from the 60's!). Father and son have just finished riding through Snow White's Adventure (it didn't become a "Scary Adventure" until 1983), and dad looks like he is pointing out some detail on the ride vehicles.

We get a pretty good view of the old mural...I think that the artwork was basically copied from old Disney story books related to the Snow White movie. Anyway, this image takes me back to my own childhood, waiting with my family, slowly getting closer and closer to the loading area, looking at the murals and trying to imagine what I would see once we went into the attraction.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tomorrowland 1956

Here's a nice early image of Tomorrowland. I always enjoy views of the Clock of the World (and the Moon Rocket), and you even get a glimpse of the Monsanto Hall of Chemistry, as well as the fountain out front. Bet that fountain got people wet more than once.

Hmmmm, I've got an empty popcorn box, I wonder where I can toss it? Oh yeah, in the red trash can labeled "TRASH". This must have pre-dated the famous themed trash cans, as it is one of the ugliest Disneyland trash cans I've ever seen! I have at least one other slide showing a similar can in Town Square.

(Sorry about the inconsistent posts, Blogger has not been behaving for me lately!)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Skyway Station, October 1958

The Skyway isn't going anywhere in this photo, but I still like the bright, colorful buckets as they stretch towards Snow Mountain (or is it Holiday Hill?). Check out the attraction posters...two brand-new-for-1958 attractions (the Columbia and Alice in Wonderland) as well as the Mark Twain!

It also appears that there is a wall around the lagoon where the Phantom Boats used to overheat. The Autopia doesn't look especially busy, but I sure to do love the colors that they used on the cars back in the 50's.

This is an unusual angle, does anybody know where the photographer was standing? The Disneyland RR, or Tomorrowland Station?

Tom Sawyer Island, 1962

I've always liked this lovely image of the old mill on Tom Sawyer Island. I would assume that it wouldn't be long before people had to take the rafts back to Frontierland, since the island "closes at dusk". You can see the fishing pier in the background, and it does appear as if a lot of people are waiting at the loading area for the rafts.

My favorite part of the photo is the sight of Rainbow Ridge across the water...the lights in town have been turned on as the darkness approaches, I would love to see a more closeup view at this time of the evening!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Plantation House

This is an unsual view of the Plantation House (or Chicken Plantation?) that formerly stood at the bend in the Rivers of America. Eventually it would be removed for the addition of New Orleans Square. Some say that if you stand in the general vicinity today, you'll hear the clucking of ghostly chickens!

Until I saw this photo, I wasn't aware that this building looked as if it was built from adobe when viewed from the side. When viewed from the river (or the Mark Twain) it look like a stately southern plantation - - with lots of tables.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Autopia, 1958

There's nothing more fun than driving a car! Well, at Disneyland, anyhow. For children, the Autopia let them pretend to be grownups for a few minutes of putt-putting excitement. The most fun was, of course, rear-ending the car in front of you! Whiplash at the age of seven.

The ride seems to be equally popular with adults who just love the li'l not-so-speedy cars for reasons I'm not sure I understand, but I love 'em too. Maybe it's just the chance to feel like a kid again.

What's really amazing is how one Autopia was not enough...over the years there was the Fantasyland Autopia, the Junior Autopia, and the Miniature Autopia, as well as the Tomorrowland Autopia pictured here. It is clear that some major construction is going on, in this case it is the addition of the Submarine Lagoon, the Monorail, and the Matterhorn. Tomorrowland was about to be transformed completely! Another amazing thing is how all of those major attractions got built in the space of a year (or less), while today it takes several years to convert the already-existing ride into the "Nemo" attraction.

My grandma always called this ride the "Autotopia"!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Main Street, USA

I just love this early photo of Main Street (undated again). The warm light of late afternoon gives Disneyland the nostalgic glow of a golden summer from yesteryear...if we didn't already know that we were looking at the park, one might think that this was a real main street in the midwest.

My dad's side of the family is from Minnesota, and when you drive through the farmlands of that state, you'll still pass little towns with their main thoroughfares looking not much changed from the 1930s. I was really surprised how much some of them reminded me of Disneyland. Just not so clean and bright!

Check out the horse-drawn streetcars, and the Gurr-mobile (followed closely by an Omnibus), as well as the girls and ladies in their poofy 50's skirts. It's a photo that inexplicably makes me happy

Friday, July 21, 2006

Knott's Berry Farm Train, 1960

Here's another one for Tangaroa...Images of the wonderful steam train at Knott's Berry Farm are not hard to find, but I posted this because you can see the tiny bit of the Calico Mine Train, still under construction in this August 1960 photo. The addition of the Calico Mine Train and the Log Ride really transformed Knott's into a "real" amusement park. My family loved these rides! If you've ever seen photos or postcards of the old "scenic railways" from places such as the old Venice Pier (in the early 1900's), you can conclude that the Calico Mine Train is a great-grandson (much improved) of those fire traps!

Extra, extra! Burning Settler's Cabin!

Here's a li'l extra image....check out Daveland Blog, he has a great shot of the old burning settler's cabin. We were debating whether the settler's corpse was once draped over a bench. I was SURE that this was where I had seen that dramatic pose, but obviously I was mistaken.

This is from a set of "story cards" by Sawyers (the early makers of Viewmasters). These are in a single strip rather than on a disc (to watch via a projector?), and there are 7 images on 10 different strips (2 strips per land). So....70 images in all. They appear to date from roughly 1960, and there are many unique shots compared to Viewmaster reels. The color, unfortunately, has shifted, since these were clearly not Kodachrome.

While I was disappointed that the settler was not in the gruesome pose, it's still an unusual shot with the cavalry officer in the foreground.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jungle Jim and Tour Guide

This image is from a stereo slide dated November'll have to take my word for it when I tell you that the 3-D effect is pretty nice! It was labeled "Jungle Jim"; was he a Jungle Cruise skipper? I can't tell from the costume.

Standing next to Jim is a pretty tour guide (Tourguide Trixie?), riding crop in hand, ready to discipline naughty guests who don't pay attention! I've always found the tour guide costume to be a bit ridiculous with the hat and the plaid skirt, and the poncho (or whatever that red garment it a cape?). Still, there's no mistaking them for another tourist, which was probably the point.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Stagecoach, 1958

In the 50's, Westerns were incredibly popular thanks to television. Hoppy, the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Gene Autry, Cheyenne, Bronco, Colt .45, Annie Oakley, Wagon Train....the list goes on and on. Judging from the ratio of Frontierland slides to those of other "lands", everyone had a hankerin' to experience life in the old west.

This photo shows a Stagecoach as seen from the Mark Twain. It is full of passengers, and certainly appears to be a bit top-heavy. Look at the folks casually draped over the edge of the vehicle, no restraints to be seen! The story goes that the coach tipped over at least once, leading to their closure in September of 1959. I would like to believe that I would have held on to the still-charging horses by the reins, a la Yakima Canutt!

Monorail, 1960

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car Monorail! Lyle Lanley knew what he was talking about in that classic episode of "The Simpsons". This is a great early image of the 3-car "Mark I" Monorail sitting at the station - where the heck is everybody?

Walt dreamed of cities adopting the ultra-cool Monorail (I guess Los Angeles considered it, though who knows how seriously). I have to admit that this would be a pretty sexy way to get to work, maybe it would make people more willing to give up their cars for their commutes. We'll never know, unfortunately, although monorails seem to be successful in Las Vegas and Seattle.

By 1961 the Mark II was introduced, and besides adding two additional cars, it also changed from being just a round-trip ride to becoming an actual transportation system to the Disneyland Hotel and back.

Incidentally, you might notice the sign for the Subs with the letters "GD" from when General Dynamics sponsored this attraction...I don't know how long the company was involved, but it sure doesn't seem to be for very long. At some point the GD was replaced with a graphic of an atom.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Fishing at Knott's Berry Farm

Here we go, this is the first time I've posted a non-Disneyland slide on this blog. My Disneyland slide supply is finite, maybe I have a few months of stuff worth posting - - if I'm lucky! Besides, I loved visiting Knott's Berry Farm as a kid. We lived in Huntington Beach, and while Disneyland was our once-a-year (twice if we were really well behaved) destination, Knott's was the place my mom would frequently take us for a few hours of quality fun. Ride the Log Ride, drink some ice-cold boysenberry juice, watch the corpse in the hearse sit up (and lay right back down), pan for real gold, and maybe run around the pond marvelling at the Woodimals... Knott's was a wonderful playground.

Until I found these slides, I did not know that there had been a trout pond at the old berry farm (I estimate that this photo was taken around 1964).Ya got your cane poles, and probably a corn niblet as bait - - those poor trout didn't have a prayer. Just like at Disneyland, I would imagine that guests had no idea what to do with their trout after they caught them. I love the happy look on the boy's face as he displays his trophy after what was surely a four-hour battle.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Frontierland Mess!

This image seems to be somewhat related to the one that Stuff From The Park had on July 12. See that yellow banner? Wish I could read it, I assume it says something about the Indian Village. It was relocated in 1956, and I suppose that the banner could have been the entrance to the dance cirle and various Indian living quarters.

I am also curious about the little construction wall in the foreground, what could that be for? The workmen just left their tools unattended, that would never happen these days!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Tomorrowland, June 1958

There are a few details that I really enjoy in this photo. One, the color is so nice! Two, check out all of that undeveloped farmland! And although we can only see a sliver of it, the salmon-colored Viewliner is at its station. Is that the junior Autopia station to the left? I do wish the photographer had managed to frame the edge of the Skyway bucket out of the picture, but what can you do.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Surrey, 1958

OK, that foreground vehicle is the Surrey. So what's that other horse-drawn conveyance next to it? A jitney? A buckboard? They certainly appear to be popular with the 1958 crowds, and at a mere ten cents for a ride, it is no wonder.

Over the years there have been a number of Main Street vehicles that have been retired, including the Surrey. One friend of mine misses the traffic, but it seems that when I visit the park, there are so many people crowding the streets that it is hard to imagine the addition of horseless carriages, surreys, and chemical wagons.

On a side note, in older park photos I've noticed that most Disneyland guests stuck to the sidewalks, just like on a "real" street.

Cascade Peak, August 1961

OK, I will be the first to admit that this is a kind of boring shot of Cascade Peak. But I wanted to post it because if you look closely, you can see two audio-animatronic Bighorn Sheep towards the top! I have many slides of Cascade Peak, but so far this is the only one with the sheep. This one's for you, Tangaroa!

So if they were audio-animatronic, what did they do? Or were they really just static dummies? And why were they removed? I have to admit that they seem a bit out of scale to me (kind of like when you see crows sitting on the higher slopes of the Matterhorn...kind of destroys the forced perspective). Still, it's a fun detail, I'll have to dig to see if any of my other slides of the Peak give a better look at the sheep.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Bear Country, October 1962

When you consider that Disneyland was once flat groves of walnut and orange trees, a scene like this is pretty remarkable. Thanks to the skill and artistry of the landscapers, the little mine trains took passengers around Cascade Peak's waterfalls, through scorching deserts, past rumbling geysers, and through leafy forests.

The Santa Fe & Disneyland RR was always considered a natural extension of Walt's love of trains. But if I could build some sort of rideable model railway, the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland would be my preference (though I do love the SF&DLRR)!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Hats, Hats, and More Hats

Here's a cool photo of Tomorrowland, circa 1960-something. Besides having great saturated colors and a nice gander at the Douglas Moonliner (and a glimpse of the Wenmac Flight Circle), we got yer hats. Lots and lots of 'em for sale at the Tomorrowland Hat Bar. I am not sure if this is the same souvenir stand that is pictured in the June 6 looks kind of different. I love the pink and black (or is it dark blue?) sign. Your name free, is that still an option on hats at the park?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Submarine and Mermaids, June 1960

As if the post-1959 Tomorrowland wasn't lively enough, there were once real live mermaids swimming in the lagoon! Some say they were just girls in costumes, but I know better. The story goes that on at least one occasion, some love-struck shnook jumped into the water...the mermaid's song cannot be resisted. And on a hot summer day, looking at that blue-green lagoon with groovy girls waving from their island, it might seem like a good idea! Can this be why the mermaids were eventually given their walking papers? Maybe they were just a bit too sexy for Disneyland circa 1960.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Skyway, 1958

It's really hard to see in this scan, but beneath the blue skyway bucket is the remains of the Tomorrowland Viewliner station. From the looks of those construction walls, it won't be long until work begins on the Monorail, Motor Boat Cruise, the Submarine Voyage, and the Matterhorn. I am always fascinated with these glimpses of impending change, particularly as Tomorrowland is about to undergo a fairly wondrous transformation.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Flag Retreat, 1950's

In honor of the 4th of July, I chose this lovely image of the flag retreat in Main Street's Town Square. There's Vesey Walker in his white bandleader's uniform. Main Street itself really comes to life when all of the twinkling lights come on...I can almost hear the music and smell the popcorn. Perhaps this photo was taken in the fall or winter when it gets dark earlier...I also wonder why it appears that one of the glass globes on the light fixture to the right seems to be missing! Pesky teenagers I'll bet. Why don't they get haircuts! Anyway, happy 4th of July, everybody.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Astro-Jets, November 1964

Here's a nice look at the Astro-Jets ride, with the Moonliner looming dramatically in the background. Douglas took over sponsorship of "Rocket to the Moon" in 1960 I was nice to still have the rocket, but it wasn't as graphically striking as it had been with the TWA markings. I do love the fact that it would occasionally spout "steam", as if it was just getting ready to lift off.

The Astro-Jets were a surprisingly "off the shelf" attraction that operated for many years. They were, of course, replaced with the Rocket Jets for the 1967 Tomorrowland. While the ride itself was not much different, it was brilliantly placed atop the Peoplemover loading area, making for an attraction that was as much fun to look at as it was to ride.

Monorail, 1960's

Sorry about the late post! Unlike Patrick, I was not up early today :-)

Anyway, here is a nice photo of a busy day in Tomorrowland. The slide is undated, but I would guess it is from around 1966. There is some construction going on in the background, could that be for the Peoplemover? Notice that it must be winter time, since many folks are wearing jackets.

There was a lot of work going on in Tomorrowland in 1966..."20,000 Leagues", the Clock of the World, the Moonliner, and Astro Jets are removed. The Art Corner closes (yeesh!), the Art of Animation exhibit closes, and the Hall of Chemistry goes bye-bye. Oh, and I believe that both the Space Bar and the Yacht Bar were removed. All in preparation for the New Tomorrowland, which will debut in 1967. I loved that Tomorrowland, but it kills me to think of all the cool stuff that disappeared within the space of a few months.