Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pack Mules, June 12 1956

It looks like varmints have eaten all of the Disneyland guests during their dangerous ride through the Living Desert. How is the trail boss going to explain this when he gets back to Rainbow Ridge? Even the coyote ("the voice of the desert") in the cave looks worried for him.

Wish I had something spooky to share today, but I don't...so I'll just wish everyone a happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

C.K. Holliday

The paintwork and brass are gleaming on locomotive #1 in this early (though undated) photo. I love the festive candy cane stripes on the light poles, and can only assume that the train is pulling in to Fantasyland Station (help, experts!). I am SO looking forward to taking my niece and nephew on the Disneyland RR for their first trip to the park next month, it was always one of my favorite attractions.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Submarine Loading Dock, August 1968

Tomorrowland, circa 1968...looks like the photographer is just about to board one of the submarines (while the one in front of it is about to let loose its passengers). I am really looking forward to the return of the submarine attraction...as a kid, there was nothing as exciting as going down the ladder, getting to your seat, and then anxiously staring at the wall (covered in barnacles and the occasional sea star) waiting for the ride to begin. It really was like nothing else!

Another sub is returning from its dangerous journey through liquid space (I don't care if that sea serpent was crosseyed, it scared me!). I loved the use of the waterfall, it looked great if you were standing in line, and when you were on board, it created a mass of bubbles that added to the illusion that you had returned to the surface.

Don't get me started on the peoplemover, I just want it back!

I thought I'd throw in this photo of the sea serpent even though it's not the greatest quality...just for fun! (Sorry for the late post, blogger would not let me update last night...)

Friday, October 27, 2006

Souvenir View: Wenmac Flight Circle

Want to watch grown men play with gasoline-powered model planes, remote-controlled cars, and itty bitty remote-controlled boats? Then the Wenmac Flight Circle is for you! Every hour (until 7 p.m., according to the sign), things get a bit noisy in this patch of Tomorrowland. Folks seemed to enjoy it, although it really does feel like a "space filler". I guess its location makes sense since it is near Hobbyland. There's the Art Corner in the background, and to the right you can see the Yacht Bar...or at this point, it might have still been called the Yacht Club.

Just for fun I am including this image of the Rocket to the Moon, both of these slides are from the Treasure Tone souvenir series of images.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Parking Lot, July 1958

Check out those cool old cars, wowee. If I won the lottery, there would be no Bentleys or Ferraris for me, just some beautiful 1950's autos restored to original pristine condition.

But I digress! One of the things I like about some of the "parking lot photos" is the feeling of anticipation and excitement that still comes through almost 50 years later. The person who took the photo is finally here...they see the passenger train pulling in to Main Street Station (perhaps the sound of the train's whistle got their attention)...the station itself draws you towards the entrance. And off to the side, you can see the top Opera House and the bank. I'd like to imagine that music might be filtering out to the lot, and maybe the smell of popcorn and other goodies as well.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rainbow Ridge, August 14 1958

This is an unusual view of Rainbow Ridge, looking very cute and quaint in 1958. They've brought one of the pack mules out for folks to meet, and the dark-green Mine Train is loading up for another journey through the Rainbow Desert. You can't read it here, but there is a bit of "graffiti" on the General Store that reads, "Viva Pecos Bill".

I see sailors in a lot of early Disneyland photos, maybe they came from the Long Beach navy yard for a little "R & R". Crowds are light for a day in mid-August, but it looks like it's early (the street is still wet from its nightly cleaning, and the shadows are long).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Here's a bunch of happy people listening to Disneyland's mariachis in front of one of the Frontierland eateries (Casa de Fritos?). This is a wonderful example of the entertainment that you could find all over the park in the old days (I've never cared for the ultra cute non-word "streetmosphere"). There's something so warm and happy about mariachis, with it's Mexican and "old California" heritage, it seems to be a perfect fit in Frontierland (back when Davy Crockett and Zorro were still fresh in the minds of visitors). Check out the Keppy Kaps, I've got to get me one of the yellow ones someday!

Of course there are still some street entertainers, in New Orleans Square and on Main Street. I hope they never go away!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Main Street USA, July 1958

I sure love this image, with the Disneyland Band parading down Main Street on a bright sunny day. I wonder if the band did this at noon every day during the summer (it looks like the clock to the right says 12:00)? The guests are decked out in their finest 50's apparel, and I think I see more than one souvenir chapeau. Old Glory still only has 48 stars, too.

There's a couple having their photo taken as the band marches by...little did they know they were having two photos taken!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Fantasyland, 1950's

I hereby present a lovely Kodachrome image of Fantasyland for your viewing pleasure! The "medieval faire" facades are there in all of their Eyvind Earle graphic glory. I don't think I ever really paid attention to the variety of patterns used...everything from polka dots and stripes to diamond patterns, checkerboards, and so on. Walt may not have really wanted his Fantasyland to look like this, but in hindsight it worked well enough. By the way, is that one of the original orange trees in the foreground?

The imagineers did a wonderful job of revamping Fantasyland in 1983, it really is spectacular. If only they could have saved or re-positioned the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, it would be near-perfect!

I'm not sure where this photo was taken from...who will be the first to make me feel dumb for not figuring it out?! ;-) At first I thought it was from the Pirate Ship, but I believe that the ship is to the left.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Alice In Wonderland, March 23, 1960

There is a big smile on the face of the woman riding in the caterpillar with the young boy (her grandson?). I can't help but think of my own grandmother and the wonderful times that we had at Disneyland...both of my grandparents were responsible for my first trips to the park. They even had some extremely brief home movie footage of Main Street from 1955 (the quality isn't so hot, unfortunately).

I love the Mary Blair leaves surrounding pathway, her colorful artwork really defined the look of Disney animated films for so many years that it feels right at home in Disneyland.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Carousel of Progress, 1940's & 1960's

Continuing the theme from yesterday, here are two more photos from the Carousel of Progress. This time we see the 1940's scene, and the final 1960's scene.

Father's enjoying a baloney sandwich, and he's wearing a sweater because it is autumn, after all. He has to stay in the kitchen because grandma and grandpa have taken over the den. Meanwhile, that kitchen looks just like the one at my grandparent's house (that they bought in 1947 and it didn't change for years).

It's Christmas in the 1960's, and Mother is more excited about all of her appliances than ever before. In the past, you could see a smidgen of small neighborhood outside the window, but now (unlike at the World's Fair), you can see beautiful Progress City in the distance. I sure miss that huge model that you could view many years ago...I think it is still on display in Florida, though it is not complete.

If I can successfully scan some of the other slides from this batch, I'll try to post them soon!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Carousel of Progress, 1890's & 1920's

I thought I'd post these photos as a compliment to the Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow blog (which is excellent!). It's too bad that these are undated, it would be nice to be able to compare this 1890's picture with the one on the GBBT blog, with a bit more info. There are differences, but they seem pretty subtle...Father's hair, mustache, and clothing all seem basically the same to me. As Rod Bennett points out, his hair did get lighter and fuller eventually.

Next is a photo from the 1920's segment, with electrical cords going all over the place. I seem to remember reading that during the show, blacklights come on to highlight the cords....there is a blue/violet light coming from the top of this image, maybe that's the blacklight. Does anyone remember this part of the show?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Backstage, Fantasyland

I know, this is a fairly ugly photo as far as vintage Disneyland images go. Mostly you get a look at the rooftop over some of the Fantasyland dark rides. So why, of all things, would I post this one? Only for the little detail out behind the Peter Pan attraction. Look at the Pirate Ship unceremoniously parked by a dumpster...hey, if they don't want it, I'll take it off of their hands! I'm kind of fascinated by the piles of moldings and other stuff, I would definitely go dumpster-diving here.

There are some construction walls in the lower left hand corner, presumably in preparation for the building of the Matterhorn. You can even see the top of some sort of earth mover and some caterpillar vehicle tracks.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mill, Tom Sawyer's Island 1958

Here's a very nice photo of Harper's Mill...so often it is seen from a distance. You can really appreciate the level of detail present even in this relatively simple set piece. The mill feels like it's been there for 100 years instead of just two or three by the time this photo was snapped. There's even some sacks of grain waiting to be milled...I like to think that it's corn, since Huck Finn often mentions the cornbread he and Jim eat with their catfish.

Lots of rumors are flying about how Tom Sawyer's Island is no longer relevant (who is Tom Sawyer?), and the "suits" want it to be transformed into a pirate-themed island. More Jack Sparrow, etc. I love "Pirates of the Caribbean", but enough already! Kids in 2006 enjoy exploring caves and climbing rocks just as much as they did in 1956, and changing the theme to a "treasure island" only serves to dilute the Frontierland experience and lose one more shred of Disneyland's history.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fantasyland from Pirate Ship

Fantasyland is looking pretty lively in this undated, early photo. Is that a Brownie troop to the right? Wish I could see 'em more clearly, I almost think that they are dressed in some sort of "Tiger Lilly"-type Indian costumes. Probably not! Anyway, I don't have a lot to add regarding this picture, but it's one that I like a lot. Some photos just make me want to "be there" so much, and this is one of them!

I'll be back home soon, and then I'll be able to spend more time on this blog. Thanks for your patience!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Riverfront, 1950's

Here's a "quickie" post for y'all today, since I am on the road until late Sunday. It's an early view of the Frontierland shoreline (like I'm telling YOU!). I think that the buildings to the right of the Golden Horseshoe are slated to be torn down soon, to be replaced with...??? Something better hopefully, but another piece of Disneyland's history will be gone. "It's not a museum, it's not a museum.....".

You get a slightly fuzzy view of the old Aunt Jemima pancake house (see the detail), which is rarely seen in photos. Mmmmmmm, pancakes!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Disneyland postcard display

Collecting Disneyland postcards can be a fun hobby for beginning collectors or for die-hard veterans with money to burn. Many vintage cards can be had for a couple of bucks, but of course there are always those super rare examples that fetch amazing prices.

This is a publicity photo (undated, naturally) showing a wonderful display of postcards...I am guessing that this might be from the Gibson Greeting Card shop on Main Street, since there are a few Gibson note cards on the rack. I have no idea who the two gentlemen are. But they are checking out Disneyland's selection of cards for gay occasions, so draw your own conclusions! (Sorry, I couldn't resist this tasteless joke).

In the detail, you can see two very rare postcards. At the upper right, there is the card where Donald is riding a train. There is a wheel you can turn to change his headgear and destination. This one is priced an outrageous 15 cents. You can also see a stack cards featuring the wonderful painted panorama of the Mine Train ride (this is one of my favorite cards)...be prepared to shell out 10 cents for this one. I'd buy two, but 20 cents??

These days, both of those cards can fetch hundreds of dollars apiece. Unbelievable! You can also see the Tinker Bell "flasher", the Professor Keller card, and the top of the "balloon vendor" card. Not to mention a couple of nice "jumbo" postcards. Amazing!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Jungle Cruise, September 1958

The good old Jungle Cruise...a beloved attraction if there ever was one. While I have refrained from posting photos of hippos, elephants and crocodiles (and believe me, there are a LOT of photos of them), I think that viewers of this blog will enjoy this beautiful image of river launches at the loading dock (circa 1958). I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again...), I miss the striped awnings on the boats. Silly I suppose, but there it is.

The view from the observation tower must have been nice...according to "Disneyland: The Nickel Tour", the tower was demolished in 1961 because the jungle foliage had become so lush that it was no longer useful (in 1994 a new tower was added).

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


Here's an undated look at Fantasyland (probably 1956-57) looking towards the Skyway Chalet. Matterhorn 1959 had a great photo of it a couple of days ago on his Stuff From The Park blog. The chalet is such a neat building, you'd think that it could be used for something (no character "meet and greets" though).

You can just barely see the large sign that looks like an open story book, advertising the Skyway. Not sure why they needed the sign...all you had to do was look up and see the colorful buckets overhead. Who wouldn't want to ride it?

"The Art of Disneyland" (released for Disneyland's 50th) has a neat image of the preliminary artwork for this Skyway sign. Here's a scan...please don't sue me, Walt Disney Company!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Indians on River

One of my favorite geeky things to do is to compare vintage Disneyland photos with more recent examples, and to try to spot all of the many changes that have occurred over 50 years. In these two examples, the changes are not exactly subtle! The top image (from an undated slide) shows a friendly indian on horseback, saluting us as we pass by in the Mark Twain (the natives call it "penelore", which we all know means "fire canoe"!). At this stage, he has no feathered bonnet, and instead of a war party behind him, there is a lone warrior at the top of the rise.

The second photo is from August, 1958. Still pretty early! By now he looks the part of a full-fledged chief, and he is backed up by a gang of tough looking customers. I hope they weren't the guys who set fire to the settler's cabin.

Eventually the chief was alone on the riverbank. The foliage behind him had matured to the point where guests wouldn't have seen the war party...and maybe the static figures were considered too primitive.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Souvenir Views

I thought I'd share some nice images from two early souvenir slides. These are from the "Treasure Tone" series, and appear to be from early 1956 at the latest (no skyway!).

I can never get enough aerial views of Disneyland, and this bird's-eye view of Tomorrowland is no exception. There's the Wenmac Flight Circle, the Rocket to the Moon show building (which really looks like a throwback to the 1939 New York World's Fair), the Space Bar, and as they say on TV, much much more.

The second picture is an interior of the Nautilus from the much-missed "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" walk-thru attraction. This is Captain Nemo's salon. No, not where he gets his hair done...this is where he does his scientific research, plays Bach on the organ, and generally broods. If I am not mistaken, that organ eventually wound up in the Haunted Mansion. It sure looks like there is a tropical sea outside the portholes, wonder how they achieved that. I'm sure it was a simple effect!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Autopia, August 1968

Wow, I just realized that I need to scan some stuff for this blog! Fortunately there are still plenty of images to share with you, the faithful reader (all five of you!!). This is a last-minute post, so please forgive my lack of preparation.

Here's a nice photo from the Autopia, from August 1968. The vehicle is fairly distinctive, with the "eyebrow" in front. Somebody out there is better informed than I am and can tell us what they are called. Mark VI?

The dreaded center-rail has been added by this time. Kids don't know the difference, but it must have been pretty exciting back in the old days when you really could crash into walls. Keep those children on their toes!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Junior Autopia

This fun series of images was taken from a film strip released by the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1957. Film strips were made for all five lands, but I only have the one for Fantasyland. These views of the Junior Autopia are particularly interesting, you don't find many photos of that attraction...and look how bare that section of the park was! This Autopia opened on June 23, 1956, and was built at least partly on the land formerly occupied by the Mickey Mouse Club Circus. Mark II cars were used, though extensions (wood blocks?!) were added to the pedals so that kids could reach them.

The Junior Autopia closed after only two years, on September 15, 1958. The Fantasyland Autopia replaced it (opening on January 1, 1959).

Thursday, October 05, 2006

House of the Future from Skyway

Among the sights that we see as we "float" on the Skyway from Tomorrowland to Fantasyland is Monsanto's House of the Future. This slide is undated, but (judging from the other slides in the lot) I think it is from 1958. There is a pretty long line outside...lots of folks want a taste of the future!

Snow Hill (or is it Snow Mountain, or Holiday Hill?) is to the left, but not for long. The first of the Disney theme park mountains will be built soon. You can get a glimpse into the backstage area between Main Street and Tomorrowland. Those are some big warehouses...and I think I can see some of the Spanish tile from the old Administration building.

The plastic house was there for 10 years until its removal in 1967.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

King Arthur's Carousel

Most of us know the story of Walt Disney's love of trains, and how his miniature railroad hobby evolved into Disneyland. But a carousel (specifially the Griffith Park carousel) was also an important inspiration, sparking the idea that there should be a place where children and adults could have fun together. Most of us know that story too!

Here are two nice vintage views of King Arthur's Carousel...one (from March, 1960) giving us a nice look at the original "tent" structure, as well as its fun ticket booth. The second photo (June 1964) gives us a better look at the ride itself. You can see that in these days, the horses were different colors. I think that they were all painted white in the 70's, and they remain that way today.

This is another attraction that is almost as fun to look at as it is to ride. The music, the color, the motion, and the twinkling lights at night say "Disneyland" to me as much as any ride in the park.

Incidentally, you can still go to Griffith Park in Los Angeles and ride the original carousel that inspired Walt Disney. It's not always running, so be sure to check before you head over.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

America the Beautiful at Night, December 1960

Here's another nice Tomorrowland image from December 1960...America the Beautiful, which made its debut in June 1960. I believe that from 1955 to 1959 the film had been "A Tour of the West" and the sponsor was American Motors. Bell Systems took over in 1960, and "America the Beautiful" ran (with occasional updates) for the next 24 years, eventually replaced with "American Journeys".

I remember this attraction vividly, especially the strong illustion of motion as you stood in the round theater holding on to the railings. I also recall some of the pre-show, in which a young woman could tell you your area code no matter where you lived in the U.S. And of course there were the phones with messages from your favorite Disney characters.

I would love to see the original films, with their old cars and views of the country 40 or 50 years ago. Someday I hope that we will be able to download these directly from Disney (along with so many of the "Wonderful World of Disney episodes). But I digress!

EPCOT and other Disney parks still show various Circlevision films, if I ever manage to get to Florida I am going to check some of them out.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monorail, December 1960

Here's a nice twilight photo of the old 3-car red Monorail passing over the Motor Boat Cruise load area. Things are looking pretty sleepy in this corner of Tomorrowland...there's some construction going on to the left...any idea what's happening, all of you experts out there? I know that the Monorail's beamway was extended around this time, but obviously that attraction is operating at the date this photo was taken. Could it be the Midget Autopia under construction (or destruction)?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Rainbow Ridge, March 23 1960

Not much of a crowd on this overcast day in Rainbow Ridge. Let's ride the Mine Train over and over! I'm guessing that the woman in the foreground is an employee, possibly from one of the shops on Main Street. It's the striped outfit! Lady, if I am mistaken, I apologize. Love the red hat!