Thursday, November 30, 2006

Storybook Land Canal Boats & Casey Jr.

Storybook Land has had some minor changes over the years, but it remains very much like it was nearly 50 years ago. In this photo we are riding in one Casey Jr. Circus Train, while another chugs away up above you. A canal boat (with a male host, what a ripoff!) has just passed what I think is Toad Hall (help, experts!). I love the patchwork quilt look of the hillside in the background, reminiscent of some of the Silly Symphonies backgrounds, such as "Lullabye Land" (1933).

This slide is undated, but I believe that it is from around 1957 based on the other slides in the lot.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Monorail, July 1963

It's a busy summer day in 1963, and the blue Monorail is waitin' at the station (you can see the yellow Monorail in the background). There's a tour guide showing her group around, four ladies in colorful shorts and patterned shirts. There is the familiar sight of strollers all in a row!

When I recently visited the park with my niece and nephew, we had one stroller. It was a pain in the butt, however it also made our lives easier in a lot of ways. Guess it made me see strollers in a slightly different light!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Gunfight in Frontierland, December 1965

Look out! There's desperados up on them roof tops! This is a dramatic shot of one of the gunfights that were enacted in Frontierland back in the good old days - - when shootin' and killin' were still considered to be good ol' family entertainment. I am assuming that the bad guys are up there on top of the Pendleton facades, since only a yaller-bellied sidewinder would ambush someone that way. The sheriff is certainly down below with the common folk, protecting them with his deadly six-shooter. I heard he can shoot a tail feather off a crow from 100 yards away.

I can only assume that nobody falls from the roof of the building, like they did at Universal Studios...unless they are counting on soft tourist bodies to cushion their fall.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Raft to Tom Sawyer Island, August 1961

Here's a "postcard worthy" image if I ever saw one! At my recent trip to Disneyland, we asked the little kids to pick one last ride before heading home, and I was pleased that one nephew wanted to ride the Mark Twain! Unfortunately it had closed hours before for Fantasmic. Booo! Anyway, I love the blue sky and the reflections in the water.

I've noticed in more than a few photos that the cast members on the rafts often have that "head down" pose. Maybe it's just coincidence? I am usually impressed with the way that they can take that fairly massive raft, cross the river AND turn it around as you go, and bring the raft to the docks with barely a bump. Must take a lot of practice!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Matterhorn from Fantasyland, December 1960

This is an interesting twilight photo of the Matterhorn...the sun is just setting, and the lights have come on. I'd like to know where exactly the photographer was standing, because there is a construction wall around the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship (there are several ladders visible). The formerly bare and relatively uninteresting pool that the ship sat in is being transformed into a beautiful lagoon featuring the Skull Rock. The addition of the rockwork, trees and plants, and waterfalls turned this part of Fantasyland into a place, rather than just a cement pond with a fake ship. And who can forget the skull's glowing green eyes at night!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tomorrowland, July 1962

I almost posted this image backwards, since my brain wants to be able to read the sign for the Motor Boat Cruise. We're looking at it from the back, though. Look familiar Disneydutchman? ;-)

This is another unusual angle taken from the Monorail. I believe that the striped awning to the left is part of the Fantasyland Autopia load area, please correct me if I am mistaken! I kind of like the fact that you can see the Skyway go all the way to the itty-bitty station in the distance, as well as the roof of the Tomorrowland Autopia load area.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Tomorrowland Entrance, 1961 & 1963

Here are two views of the entrance to Tomorrowland...what wonders await the Disneyland guest as they leave Main Street U.S.A.?! The first photo is from 1961, and you can see posters for the Flying Saucers and the Rocket to the Moon, as well as America the Beautiful and the Matterhorn. Was this part of Tomorrowland called the "Avenue of Flags", or am I mixing up my World's Fair and Disneyland info? Over to the right there is a glimpse of the destinctive "Hall of Chemistry" building.

In this second photo, two years have elapsed. The rocket sports the Douglas markings now, and the only poster visible is the fabulous "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" example (one of my all-time favorites). The guy in the stripey overalls is making a bold fashion statement! Could he be a performer or cast member of some kind?

Anyway...I wasn't sure I would be posting anything today, but since I was able to...HAPPY THANKSGIVING to everybody!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Disneyland Band and Main Street USA

I'm posting a "threefer" today, since I will be away for the next few days. Like many of you I will be going out of town for Thanksgiving! For some reason, Main Street seemed like a good topic for a Thanksgiving post. The first photo shown above is a nice shot of Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band playing in front of the east tunnel and news stand. The C.K. Holliday sits on the tracks overhead, ready to go.

Next is a photo of Main Street in the morning, looking mighty empty. Does anybody have an idea what the poster is, the one displayed on the sidewalk in front of the Main Street Cinema? I've seen one or two other images in which the poster advertised what what showing on the screens (such as Rudolph Valentino in "The Shiek")...

And lastly, I wanted to include this shot of a nicely dressed couple, obviously from the 50's, about to board the passenger train at Main Street Station. Nice fedora, buddy! This slide had turned magenta, but I liked the image so much that I decided to share it anyway (after a bit of adjustment).

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Rainbow Ridge, July 1958

If ya want a colorful view of Rainbow Ridge, you've come to the right place! This is a nice busy image with lots of activity on this July day in 1958. The line looks pretty short considering that it is the middle of summer. I have a lot of pictures of the little mining town, but this is one of my favorites.

The lot that the first slide came from had a very similar view, only you could see the entrance sign. I decided to zoom in a provide a closeup for those of you interested in minutia (like me)!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Matterhorn, Motor Boat Cruise - July 1962

Here's another slide rescued from decay and discoloration! I like this unusual angle showing the loading area for the Motor Boat Cruise (taken from the Monorail?). The little boats have to putt-putt through some pretty rocky rapids.....I think that all of you readers will agree that the motor boats were one of the most terrifying and dangerous of all the extinct attractions. Thank goodness that they are gone!

Thanks to Disneydutchman who pointed out that I originally posted the photo in reverse. I'm so ashamed!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Jungly Cruise, January 1965

With images of the fabulous Jungle Cruise still fresh in my memory, I thought I'd post this very nice photo from 1965. It's January, but that doesn't stop our intrepid cast member from wearing short sleeves! The Disneyland guests (being unaccustomed to rugged outdoor life) are wrapped up in sweaters and jackets. Note that the cast member is not wearing huaraches, as we've seen in some other photos...shiny black loafers are proper jungle attire in 1965.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Disneyland Entrance, October 1960

Hey everybody (all five of you!), I'm back from my two day Disneyland trip. Long story short...we had a great time!

Going there with my family, and especially my young niece and nephews, made me nostalgic for my own childhood visits to my favorite place. Seems like everyone remembers looking for the Matterhorn from the freeway, and the excitement that they felt when it was finally visible. But pulling into the big ol' parking lot really meant that we were THERE.

Even though I was not around when this 1961 image was shot (though I would be very soon!), the whole scenario would have been pretty much the same as my own trips. The hot sun would be beating down on the station wagon, while we kids were piled in the back with a ton of blankets (yep, no seatbelts or car seats for us!). Maybe grandma and grandpa were along for the fun...I sometimes think that my grandfather got a bigger kick out of Disneyland than I did at the time. He obviously loved the place!

Anyway, after parking the car in the vast lot, you would check to make sure you knew where you were parked, ("B for Baloo!"), and then take the little tram to the front gates. I can smell the asphalt and diesel fumes even now! Maybe the train would whistle, always a thrill! Or the Monorail would zoom by, what could be more intriguing to a little kid back then.

Then you paid your admission, grabbed your ticket books, and away you went, under the train tracks and into another world!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Tom Sawyer Island Treehouse, August 1961

Before the Matterhorn was constructed, the treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island was the "highest point in Disneyland", a fact that is mentioned on the early island maps, and also on the first version of the TSI poster. It doesn't look that high from the ground, but when you look at photos taken from that vantage point, you are definitely up there. Take a look at my post from August 15th to see for yourself!

I think every kid dreams of having a place like Tom Sawyer Island, with treehouses, trails, suspended rope bridges, caves, bottomless pits, and so on. It has been been rejiggered and dumbed down over the years in the name of safety (or something), and even in its current neutered state it is in danger of becoming another extinct attraction.

Just a note for everyone, I will be spending Thursday and Friday at Disneyland! Various members of my family, including my niece and two nephews (who have never been to the park before) will be there, and I am really looking forward to seeing everything through their eyes! I should be back posting vintage photos for you on Saturday. See ya!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monorail and Mark Twain, July 1962

Here are two more slides from a batch that took some restoration before they were presentable. First up, we get a nice close look at the yellow Monorail. The pilot is waiting, presumably for the next load of passengers to board safely. Love that very cool Alweg logo! Check out Matterhorn1959's blog, Stuff From the Park for more chocolatey Monorail goodness this week.

From the "World of Tomorrow" to the wild's an unusual angle taken from the bow of the Mark Twain. Folks are watching the Indian dancers on shore. I have a neat live recording of the Mark Twain from 1969 (I think), and love the fact that you can hear the Indian drums and chanting as the Twain passes by this very spot! As you can see, this slide was a mess, and I did bring the color back to something reasonable. I didn't have time to spend forever painting and cloning in the slide is what it is!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Nature's Wonderland, September 1967

Today I'll be sharing three photos from Nature's Wonderland. I can't get enough images of this classic attraction! The first photo shows "bear country" (the original slide was pretty dark, and it got grainy when I lightened it). Here's what the spiel described:

"We're comin' into Bear Country now, folks, and while we're crossin' the old trestle yuh gotta sit real still. No tellin' how long she's gonna last! Yuh know, bears are one of the most playful animals there is. Lazy, too! All they wanna do is lay around, 'n' scratch, 'n' fish, 'n' swim...that is, when they ain't sleepin'!"

I don't remember seeing this scene with the bobcat in the attraction, wonder where it was exactly? There's no mention of it when you listen to the spiel. Wasn't there another bobcat that was stuck at the top of a saguaro (threatened by wild pigs)? Those silly owls crack me up!

"Say, ever hear of the Devil's Paint Pots? Real mystery of the desert. Bubblin' pots of mud in all kinds of colors. This is geyser country, too. Uh-oh! There she blows! Sure glad you all brought yer raincoats! But look out now! We never know when she's gonna go off. That's why we call 'er Ol' UNfaithful. LOOK OUT NOW! You folks in them last cars be ready-- she's a-threatenin' agin!"

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Disneyland Exit & View from Skyway

Once in a while I want to post certain photos even though they are not the most exciting or interesting images in the world. Today I decided to show two of those!

First up, a view of the exit (undated, but almost certainly from the 50's)....the sun is low, shadows are long, and some families are heading home after a day of fun.

Next is an unusual view taken from the Skyway, overlooking the Tomorrowland lagoon, from about 1957. There's the Viewliner track crossing the water, and ARGH! the Viewliner train itself is partially hidden as it is about to emerge from the trees to the left. Beyond the lagoon is the Autopia (I think it's the Tomorrowland Autopia, maybe the Junior Autopia, can anyone tell for sure?).

Over the berm, it looks like there are still some orange trees, and what appears to be a park for mobile homes nearby. Things are still pretty rural around the park, but not for long.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tomorrowland from Train, April 1962

We've been enjoying a leisurely ride on the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad, and after a brief stop in Tomorrowland (not many people got on or off here), the train is continuing on its way towards the Grand Canyon Diorama. No Primeval World yet!

I originally thought that the Autopia might be down for refurbishment in this picture, but upon closer inspection, you can see a few motor maniacs. Guess there are just a lot of cars that are not in use on this April day. There is a tiny speck at the tip-top of the Matterhorn, that's one of the intrepid mountain climbers!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Band Concert, July 1963

In honor of Matterhorn1959's salute to the Disneyland Band (at his Stuff From The Park blog), I thought I'd add an image from my collection.

Vesey Walker was the leader of the Disneyland Band until his retirement in 1970, but this obviously isn't him. Maybe he was on vacation! This could be his son, Tommy Walker...if anyone knows, please chime in. I could only find one blurry photo of him (with his dad), but it's hard to say for sure whether that's him in my image.

Tommy was an interesting guy...he wrote the famous six-note "CHARGE!" theme (Da-da-da-DAT Da-DUM!) that is played at virtually every baseball and football game nowadays. Yup, somebody actually wrote that, it didn't always exist. Who knew! He was a star placekicker and bandleader at USC. Wikipedia does not say what year Tommy Walker started working for Walt Disney as the first director of entertainment and operations, but it does mention his career after leaving Disney:

"In 1966 Walker left Disneyland and began a production company to put on the same kind of spectaculars he had created for Disney. He directed the opening and closing ceremonies for three Olympics and had a hand in the festivities for five World's Fairs and two presidential inaugurations. He directed the halftimes at three Super Bowls. And he directed the fireworks that highlighted the Statue of Liberty's centennial celebration on the Fourth of July 1986."

He passed away during open-heart surgery in 1986, at the age of 64.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Skyway leaving Tomorrowland

It's yet another Skyway view, from an undated slide (perhaps 1957). We've waited in a fast-moving line in Tomorrowland before boarding our "bucket", and we have just gotten underway, enjoying the swaying feeling and the smooth rise in elevation as our view of the park gets better every second. The Autopia loading area is below us, and you can see Fantasyland Station off to the right. I believe that the Junior Autopia is way over there too, but it's hard to say for sure. And there's the "Yacht Bar"...why not the "Rocket Bar" or the "Moon Bar"?

The muted colors of this slide give it a soft nostalgic feeling, especially the Skyway buckets themselves in their 50's hues.

Disneydutchman requested a photo of the scarce Flower Mart postcard that Matterhorn1959 mentioned on Daveland's blog about a week ago, so here it is. It looks like it's from the 60's? Pre-zip code I guess (and I think that the zip codes came into being around 1963)...anyway, it's a fun one.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fantasyland Theater, November 1969

Happy Windsday! Hey, what's going on over at the old Fantasyland Theater? Well, they are showing the Academy Award winning "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day", that's what. The theater is air conditioned, let's get out of the hot sun and relax for 30 minutes.

"Blustery Day" was the follow-up to the hugely popular "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree", released in 1966. This was the film that introduced Tigger, whose voice was wonderfully performed by Paul Winchell. We also first learn about Hefalumps and Woozles, and discover that Piglet can be a hero in his own way too. One of my favorite things about these films is the use of the books themselves, the way the pages turned, or the way the text on the page washes away in the rain.

Nowadays the park is full of Pooh -- nearly eclipsing Mickey Mouse in popularity -- and it can be easy to forget just how wonderful the original Pooh films were, warm and charming. As a kid, I was always incredibly happy when these were aired on The Wonderful World of Disney. That's how I choose to think of Pooh, no matter what the company does to him these days (and it ain't pretty)!

For merlinsguy, here is a scan of the Matterhorn slide from a couple of days ago, without any Photoshop adjustments.

I would also like to thank all of the folks who have taken the time to leave comments over the last six months or so. There are the frequent contributors (matterhorn1959, daveland, perkypickle, amazon belle, disneydutchman, tangaroa, tinker bell, etc.), and those who show up now and then, but they are all makes the whole blogging experience more fun.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Plantation House, December 29 1956

It's only a few days before 1956 turns into 1957 in this wonderful photo of the Plantation House. Folks are enjoying their lunches outdoors, some of them in short sleeves despite the fact that it's December. I really love this relatively close-up shot of this restaurant (taken from the Mark Twain of course)! Lots of folks are checking the Twain out as it chugs past, several of them with cameras. I've mentioned it before, but sailor hats were obviously a fun kid's fad for a few years. Was this the result of some popular TV show, similar to Davy Crockett and the coonskin caps? Or did they sell the sailor hats at the park? There are at least a couple of other souvenir hats visible in this image.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Going Through the Matterhorn, July 1962

Thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, I was able to bring a group of badly damaged slides "back to life" so that I can share them with you. I love this great view of the Skyway buckets as they head into the Matterhorn...I have other slides that are like this, but none of them give the "you are there" feeling as much as this one does. The massive structure with its wonderful rock work, waterfalls and foliage all add up to an amazing attraction, the very first peak in Disneyland's "mountain range". I wonder why we head into the mountain on the "left side of the road"? Is it because the Skyway was imported from Germany?

Like most things at the park, the Matterhorn doesn't feel quite as enormous as it did when I was a kid. Crows sitting on the snowy upper reaches help to destroy some of the forced perspective (either that, or those are big crows!). And it seems like the waterfalls are often not all working. But this was the first roller coaster I ever went on, and it is still a great ride 47 years after it opened.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Tomorrowland, June 1964

I am intrigued by the small glimpse into the entrance of the Rocket to the Moon attraction in this 1964 photo. What are those large spheres? A blast of vapor is escaping from side of the rocket (with Douglas markings at this point), hinting at the power of its liquid-fueled engine. The Autopia seems to be down, no young commuters are fact things look suprisingly calm for a June day. Maybe it's still early! And unfortunately, you can't see the Flying Saucers in this shot (futuristic pine trees block our view).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Frontierland Entrance & Fowler's Harbor

It's Frontierland Friday! First up is a photo from just inside the stockade at the entrance to Frontierland. The still-shiny-and-new Matterhorn looms in the distance while folks mill about...a lot of them seem to be looking over towards the right edge of the picture. What the heck is over there? The bathrooms? Drinking fountains? Free balloons? I'm also wondering what that structure is to the left (the wooden contraption with a bundle on top of it, sticking out towards us from the upper level of the stockade). No idea at all, me not so smart!

Next up is a nice, fairly early shot of Fowler's Harbor, named after Admiral Joe Harbor. Hey-yo! OK, I basically swiped that joke from the Jungle Cruise. Anyway, it was named after Admiral Joe Fowler, a man who was instrumental in the building of Disneyland and Walt Disney World. And he could dance the Turkey Trot like nobody else, even better than me!

It's pretty cool the way the Disney designers made a drydock - something pretty mundane - and turned it into a picturesque (if often overlooked) element on the river. The ramshackle, crooked buildings makes me think of Popeye's Sweethaven. One of the Keelboats is sitting unused way to the left, and above that you can see the tunnel entrance into the Indian Village.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Shirley Temple at Disneyland, 1957

I bought a photo off of ebay a couple of years ago, it was described as "woman and children at the Disneyland Hotel". When it arrived in the mail, I realized that the woman was Shirley Temple. I did a search on the internet, and found the other two images of Shirley at the rededication of Sleeping Beauty's Castle on April 19, 1957 I'm really glad I saved them at the time, because I can't find them online now. There beside her are her children...oldest daughter Linda, son Charles, and youngest daughter Lori. You can see in the photo with Walt that they are wearing some of the same clothing as the hotel tram picture. I believe that this is when the castle "walk-thru" was added, with its dioramas illustrating the story of Sleeping Beauty.

Back in 1939 (February 7th), Shirley had presented Walt with an honorary Academy Award (one big Oscar, seven little ones) for "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs". So it was a nice reunion for the two of them! Shirley went on to host a few television shows ("Shirley Temple Theater", for example), before embarking on a successful career as a diplomat and ambassador.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Disneyland Band, August 13 1955

It's just another lazy summer day in Disneyland as the marching band heads towards Main Street for an afternoon parade. The park is less than a month old at the time this photo was shot, and it sure does feel smaller. In early images, you'll often see families relaxing on the park benches, taking in a band concert at the gazebo, and chillin' (but never illin'). Which makes it feel more like a "real" small midwestern town.

This slide had turned a deep magenta and required quite a bit of Photoshop adjustment...which explains the slightly wonky colors!