Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rainbow Ridge, 8-14-58

It's time for another look at Rainbow Ridge! You can see the old dark green Mine Train cars loading up while the cast members keep an eye on everyone. Were any of the buildings in Rainbow Ridge used for storage, maintenance, or even office space? There is the staircase to the far right, it appears to lead up to at least one of the structures.

To the far left, Black Bart is wandering into the frame. He looks preoccupied...he's probably plotting his next nefarious deed. You'll see more about him on Friday! Meanwhile, the kid with the yellow shirt, khaki shorts, and long black socks and brown shoes gets my "Fashion Statement of the Week" award!

Hope everybody has a safe and happy New Year's Eve!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Tomorrowland Skyway Station

Here are two views of the Tomorrowland Skyway building, both were likely taken from the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad. This first photo is from a bright sunny day in October, 1958. The colorful shapes on this building are fun, in a way they are reminiscent of the much more playful and fanciful "Tower of the Four Winds" that Rolly Crump designed for the 1964 New York World's Fair (though Rolly didn't join WED until 1959). There are a few attraction posters those days the posters were obviously used to add color and fun to areas that were not especially attractive to the eye (light poles, walls, etc).

This second image is from an undated slide, but there is the Matterhorn, so we know that it is from 1959 or later.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Autopia, June 1960

Here's a great vintage look at the Autopia, from June 1960. The landscaping looks wonderful, and the two Richfield gas pumps in the background are awesome! I wonder how many times a vehicle could go around the track before it needed a refill?

It's easy to image being this typical 60's kid...the desire to drive seems to be strong in boys, especially. After two days at Disneyland, my five year-old nephew said that his favorite ride was the "little cars"!

Meanwhile, I drove one myself, and was amazed at how hard it is to push on the gas! After careful research, I discovered that you have to exert 3 million pounds per square inch to get the car moving.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

White Cloud & Chief

Sorry about the very late post, folks! Things have been crazy. Today we'll visit the Dance Circle in the Indian Village. The first slide (1958) had a fairly detailed description written on's what it said:

"White Cloud, from Santa Clara pueblo near Espanola, New Mexico. Son of Chief Little Deer."

That's the kind of minutae that you don't find every day! I thought it was pretty cool to have that much information on a tiny slide.

The second photo is from 1960. Part of me wonders if this Chief is Little Deer any case, he's resplendent in his feathered war bonnet, and with microphone in hand, he is probably introducing one of the dances from various tribes. Entertainment combined with education - - people seemed to like that back in those days!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Plaza Gardens, 12-29-56

The Plaza Gardens looks busy in this photo from December, 1956. It must be lunch time, although the long shadows and bright crisp sunshine look more like morning to me. For those of you digging out of blizzards (!), take a look at that young photographer...he appears to be pretty comfortable in jeans and a short-sleeved shirt! If the Christmas tree wasn't in the picture, you'd never guess that it was almost January.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of the readers of this blog for your support and interest...there wouldn't be any point in doing this if folks didn't care! And for those of you who comment regularly (you know who you are!), I offer a special thanks. I love learning more about the photos that are posted, and always appreciate the compliments. This blog will continue until I run out of slides worth sharing...I am hoping to make it to the one year mark, at least! But until then, be sure to keep checking in for more stuff. I plan on running a few more non-Disney images in the future, but never fear, it'll still be fun!

Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Frontierland Stuff...

Time for yet another un-Christmasy post. Let's spend some time in's as good a place as any! First up is a fun view of the can-can girls from the long-running "Golden Horseshoe Revue". Looks like a full house! This show ran for over 30 years, logging some 39,000 performances (a Guiness Book world record). I can't imagine telling the same jokes 39,000 times without going crazy, but Wally Boag and the rest had a wonderful time, from all accounts.

Next is a nice photo of Cascade Peak. The foliage and waterfalls look really nice here...I've seen photos from slightly different angles, and it appears as if you could view this same area while riding the pack mules (the trail would have been to the right of this picture). Cascade Peak was (of course) part of the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland, and that attraction closed in 1977. When the "Big Thunder Mountain Railroad" was added in 1979, Cascade Peak continued to provide scenic beauty along the river until 1998. As the Yesterland website so concisely states: "Years of water damage had taken their toll on the man-made peak’s structural integrity. The problem was solved with a bulldozer."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Matterhorn, July 1963

I don't know about you, but I'd like a little break from Christmas right about now! So today I am offering a nice view of the Matterhorn as taken from Tomorrowland. I love the vibrant blue sky on this crowded July day! And there's the Yacht Bar to the left...I can almost smell the burgers.

Just a note for you folks who check out this blog daily (thanks!), I am leaving town later today to celebrate Christmas with my family. So for the next four days, the posts might be sporadic...I'm not really sure if I'll have regular access to a computer. I am preparing some drafts so they'll be ready to go, if possible. If not, it will be nice to take a few days off, I have to admit!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas, Main Street 1960

I don't have many Christmas images from the Happiest Place on Earth...but here are a couple! First we have a nice shot of Main Street, from December 1960. The sun is setting, decorations are everywhere, and the Fire Engine is comin' towards us. Pretty soon, the lights will come on...making everything just a little bit more magical.

This second photo, also from 1960, is from a window display on Main Street. When I first saw the slide, I thought it was a non-Disneyland image. But you can see the lights of some buildings reflected in the glass! The color is way off, but you get the general idea. This display seems to hint at the concept behind "It's a Small World" from the 1964 World's Fair. "Christmas Around The World With Dolls From Foreign Lands"...that's pretty much what you see in November and December when you ride IASW.

I wonder what the basis was for Walt Disney's obvious interest in the customs and cultures of foreign lands. Could it have been the "People and Places" series of films made for "The Wonderful World of Disney" in the 1950's? Whatever the inspiration was, this looks like another example of Walt assuming that if he was interested in something, the public would as well.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Christmas Around the World, 1960 (part 4)

Here are the last three backstage photos from the "Christmas in Many Lands" parade. The first one leaves something to be desired, but I'm including it for anybody out there who might want all of the details that can be gleaned from these pictures.

Wow, this school had a great look! All white...I love the indian headdresses. Back in the good old days, it was cool to participate in the band and show your school spirit!

Walt Disney was obviously interested in the many costumes and cultures of countries around the world. Tomorrow I will post another slide from this same lot that, in my opinion, demonstrates that the basic concept for what became "It's a Small World" had existed for years before the New York World's Fair.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Christmas Around the World, 1960 (part 3)

It's time more backstage photos of the "Christmas in Many Lands" parade...part three of four, if you're keeping track. Hope you are not getting bored, 'cause there's one more day to go!

Does anybody have a clue as to where exactly these pictures were taken? If you look at some of the previous posts, you can see a distinctive little wooden building (it almost looks like a guard station made of logs!). Maybe that will help?

In Matterhorn1959's opinion, this parade was performed only once a year. If so (and I would bet on his knowledge any day), these are extra special photos of a parade that was only seen 8 times.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Around the World, 1960 (part 2)

Today I am forcing you to enjoy the second installment of my backstage photos of the "Christmas Around the World" (a.k.a. "Christmas in Many Lands") parade! Folks are scurrying about, getting ready to dazzle a park full of guests. These young boys are happy to stop and show off their portable manger scene...and their stripey pants!

I spy an accordion, and that means a party is about to happen. I would love to know more about how this parade came to be. Were costumes provided by Disneyland, or did the kids bring their own? How often was the parade performed? There are quite a few children and teens, did they participate in every showing of this parade? I need answers!

I love these two rather scary figures! I wonder what country these are representing. Spain? Brazil? I'll have nightmares about being chased by these effigies! The image below shows the same figures actually in the parade, circa 1958. This photo was provided by a kind Disneyland fan who wishes to remain anonymous. Thanks, anonymous!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Around the World, 1960 (part 1)

If you check out Matterhorn1959's excellent "Stuff From The Park" blog, you will see his photos of the "Christmas Around the World" parade as it makes its way through Frontierland. I've also seen it referred to as "Christmas in Many Lands" any case, this parade ran each holiday season from 1957 through to 1964. It was replaced with the long-running "Fantasy on Parade" starting in 1965.

For the next few days I will be posting photos taken from behind the scenes as the participants of the 1960 parade get ready to do their thing. Matterhorn1959's photos are also from 1960, so I am hoping to see some of the same faces in our respective images!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

More random Tomorrowland...

I'm doing a bit of "housekeeping" on my computer, and have these two slide scans that I've never gotten around to posting. So, seeing as this is the weekend, they are finally getting their chance to shine! The image above is from March, 1963. It's kind of an usual angle from the Monorail track, looking back towards Tomorrowland. This appears to have been taken during one of the zombie attacks of that decade, I don't see a single living guest in the park. Or maybe it was just early in the morning? You can also see HoJo's on the horizon, looking much the way it does today.

This second image is undated, but probably from around 1957/58. It is very similar to another scan that I posted a few weeks ago...because it is from the same lot. The Viewliner track is at the bottom of the photo, and the Autopia looks busy nearby. The Disneyland RR is also visible, is that the Excursion Train? Anyway, not the most exciting pictures you'll ever see, but hopefully of some interest!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Castle Rock

Even though I have been an adult for some time (!), there is a part of me that still loves the idea of an island like the one Tom Sawyer frequented at Disneyland. Not many kids get the opportunity to explore caves and climb rocks, hike trails and swing on swaying rope bridges. When I lived in Pennsylania years ago, we would spend many summer days wading out into the Susquehanna River (which would be fairly low at that time of year). There were lots of small islands (Mark Twain would probably call them "snags"), and we would find a particularly good one - - not too much brush or junk - - and build a crude "clubhouse". Not that we did that much with it once it was officially christened. But it was cool to have our own "secret hideout"!

Back then, I would often think of Tom and especially Huck's adventures along the Mississippi, fishing for catfish and laying on the raft at night looking up at the stars.

Here's to the simple pleasures of Tom Sawyer Island, I hope that they won't change that much, even if the name and decor will be different.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tomorrowland & Ken-L-Land, July 1962

Here are two more examples from a lot of damaged and discolored slides from July, 1962. First up is a nice view of Tomorrowland as seen from the Skyway. Holy smokes, look at the crowds! There's the Yacht Bar (for Disneydutchman), and the yellow Monorail is just nosing its way into the picture. There are a lot of people waiting to ride it!

Oh sure, you hear a lot about Tomorrowland, Frontierland, and Adventureland, but poor Ken-L-Land is forgotten by most (it's seen here, photographed from the Monorail)! This pet-boarding facility opened in 1958...according to a brochure from 1964, it cost a mere 25 cents to board your dog in style (this included a meal of Ken-L-Ration dog food) for the entire day (sorry, no pets can stay overnight). By 1977, the cost had risen to an outrageous 50 cents! Nowadays, the sponsor is Purina. The building is still there, though it looks considerably different. Oh, and the price is different too...$15 per day.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flying Saucers, January 1962

They may just be gussied-up bumper cars, but the legendary Flying Saucers look like a whole lot of fun! I've read that they were located on the site that now contains Space Mountain, so I can't complain about the replacement.

At the time this photo was taken, the saucers had only been open about five months. The steering was accomplished by leaning this way or that...I have to admit that I would love to give it a try, but at over 6 feet tall, maybe I would be too heavy, and just sit there like a crying, futuristic lump. 16 saucers flew at a time, while 16 more were loading. That's not much capacity for a busy amusement park!

The problematic saucers were finally removed in 1966. I seem to remember reading rumors of a new and improved flying saucers attraction on the drawing now the air-flow problems could certainly be controlled using computers and/or elves. But the low rider capacity might still be an issue that will prevent us from ever gliding in our own saucers again (not counting the ones with those icy cold probes).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Mark Twain, 8-13-1955

Here's an early one! I apologize for the grainy quality...what can ya do. Frontierland is looking mighty sparse, and there is a crane in the distance (wonder what it's helping to build). The mighty Mark Twain is chugging past Fowler's Harbor...even the harbor buildings seem to be bare, lacking the props and aged appearance that they acquired later.

In addition to the passenger train puffing by, there is an automobile parked near Fowler's Inn. Interestingly, it is the same kind of car that was used by Andrew Jackson!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Tiki Room

Here's a nice look at the Tiki Room's exterior circa 1965 - - mostly the upper roof area, but there are still some good details to look at. Like the famous "Barker Bird"!

The Barker Bird supposedly caused a traffic jam in front of the Tiki Room, and so he was eventually removed. Wonder if they reused his mechanical corpse (perhaps in Pirates of the Caribbean?), or if he went into storage?

Next is another photo (from July 1963) showing the seldom noticed and long gone Uti, the goddess of fishing. If you don't mind weeping, you can read more about the demise of this wonderful detail at the Re-Imagineering Blog.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Canoes & Wooden Indian

For today's post I thought I'd post a couple of photos that are unrelated...I just wanted to put 'em up and this seemed to be as good a time as any! First up is a photo from 1968 at the loading area for the Canoes. At this point they were still called the Indian War Canoes (as they had been since they opened on July 4, 1956). In 1971 they were re-named Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes. On busy summer days you can still sometimes see the canoes out on the river at Disneyland. Sadly, Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland have all removed their canoe attractions.

Next up is a photo of a guest making friends with the Tobacco Shop's famous wooden (or fiberglass?) Indian way back in 1957. I saw this very same fellow (the Indian, not the guest) at the park last month. Could he be the same figure that has been on display since 1955? Or has he been replaced with lookalikes over the years? This wooden warrior will not reveal his secrets, no matter how many hours I stand in front of him, talking and pleading (while wearing my tinfoil hat).

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Fort Wilderness

Fort Wilderness was "the last outpost of civilization" on the Rivers of's nice to see it with the doors open! Nowadays, if you are subject to an attack from river pirates or unfriendly indians, you'll have nowhere to go.

During my recent trip to Disneyland, I took my nephew over to the island, and he had a great time climbing the rocks, exploring the caves, and crossing the suspended bridge and the floating bridge. I had a whole new appreciation for the winding paths and hidden surprises. It makes me a bit sad to know that Tom, Huck, and Becky (or their spirits, anyway) will probably be gone soon...I loved Mark Twain's books when I was a kid, not only because they are great stories, but because they afford a look at life in America from over 100 years ago. Can it be true that children don't know or care anymore?

At the bottom of this image you can see Huck's Landing, and a sign for...yes, the Pirate's Den!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Disneyland Entrance, December 1960

I'm not sure where all the Christmas decorations have gone, you'd think that the train station would be decked out with some garlands and lights in this photo from December, 46 years ago. In any case, this is a great view taken by a guest approaching from the parking lot. In the center you can see some tour guides (in the early costumes?) waiting to greet folks, while just to the right Minnie Mouse has her back to us. Someone should tell her that her bloomers are showing!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Dumbo Entrance, July 1963

This colorful entrance/ticket booth for the Dumbo attraction fits in with the "medieval faire" theme of Fantasyland 1963, and yet it feels "circusy" too. The structure became unnecessary with the introduction of ticket books in late no longer had to buy a ticket for each individual ride.

I like this photo, lots of activity and a bright sunshiny summer day! I also like the souvenir hat that the kid near the middle of the photo is wearing.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Tomorrowland & Helicopter, 1957

I seem to be on a Tomorrowland kick this week, though it is unintentional. I don't hear any complaints though! Today I am posting only about one half of a slide, since the other part was damaged (light leak in the camera?). But the remaining image is pretty cool. Taken from the Skyway, looking past all of the familiar vintage attractions, there is a helicopter coming in for a landing.

What a cool way to visit Disneyland! Just having the opportunity to hover over the park back in those early days would have been awesome. I know I'd take a few dozen pictures and feel mighty superior to those mere mortals below me!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Hmmm, I could get into the second door of this super cool Monorail and enjoy my ride, or I could go crazy and hop into the pilot's seat. Let's see what this baby can do! How long would you spend in Disney Jail for highjacking the Monorail??

Piloting the Monorail must be one of the coolest jobs at Disneyland. I wonder what the qualifications are? I imagine that those fellows (and ladies?) are the "best of the best", like in "Top Gun"! Or maybe, by week five or six, it gets pretty boring. Hard to imagine.

It's neat to get a glimpse inside one of the cabs.

There are three photos for folks to look at. The first one appears to be identical to one of the vintage "PDL" postcards.

Then there is a photo of Mr. Lincoln. The third photo is hard to matter how much I squint and strain my eyes, I can't really make out what it is. A parade? Is there a tour guide? I am pretty sure bigfoot is there, in fact that is the only thing that I am certain of in life.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Astro Jets, September 1958

The thrilling Astro Jets are approaching warp speed, and the poor astronauts are almost crushed by the increasing centrifugal forces! This is a neat angle taken from the Skyway, there's lots going on. In the background you see the moon rocket, the flight circle, and the awnings of Hobbyland. I never knew that the Hobbyland souvenir stands extended past the area that would eventually contain the Flying Saucers. In the upper right...the Art Corner.

I like the colorful checkerboard shades that were used around the park back in those days, you even see them around the Disneyland Hotel pool. And you get a glimpse "backstage", with parked cars and buildings.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Fantasyland Pirate Ship, July 1963

Ahoy mateys! Today post is a quickie - - hey, I have a life! Anyway, not much to say about this's the beautiful Chicken of the Sea pirate ship, with its striking red and black paint. The Skyway glides overhead, and in the background you can see Skull Rock (looking oddly small my memory it dwarfed the ship), and the teacups are off screen to the right, with the colorful lanterns visible. This busy summer image of Fantasyland in its prime is perfect for a not-so-warm saturday!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tom Sawyer Island

We're looking along the shore of Tom Sawyer Island in this early (undated) slide, possibly from around 1958. A raft is about to dock, look at those guys standing right on the very edge of it. Guess maybe that was considered OK in those days? A number of folks are fishing from the dock in the background (I think this is used as a smoking area now). To the left, the grist mill, and the trail up to the treehouse.

OK, nothing special about this picture, it's even a little blurry on one side. But there is one detail I especially love....the kid who was not satisfied with just climbing the treehouse. He has climbed outside the treehouse and is WAY up in the branches. If the treehouse was the highest point in Disneyland back then, this kid has reached a pinnacle that most people would never achieve. If you are a Disney lawyer, you are clutching your chest right now. We salute you, crazy kid!