Saturday, March 31, 2007

Disneyland Hotel

I realize that the title of today's entry borders on false advertising. But there was just something about the photo that I liked. Yep, that's the Disneyland Hotel waaaay over there. You can see the yellow Monorail to the left, just about to pass the classic sign for the hotel. There is also the red sign for the Gourmet restaurant as the Monorail approaches the hotel station. And as an added bonus (at no additional cost), there's one of the little parking lot trams.

Check out Daveland's blog entry from a couple of days ago for a similar (better?) view!

Friday, March 30, 2007

1964 New York World's Fair Panorama #3

Today I thought I'd post another view of the 1964 New York World's Fair. Once again I used Photoshop to merge two slides into a single panorama, with pretty nice results!

This photo was taken from the top of the New York State Pavilion's observation tower (over 200 feet high). If we could magically turn the camera just a bit to the left, we'd be able to see the impressive General Motors "Futurama" building. No such luck! Fortunately there is plenty of other neat stuff to see.

From left to right you can see the Travel and Transportation building including the distinctive Moon Dome, which showed a Cinerama production on a 360-degree screen that explored "man's environment from the nucleus of the atom to outer space".

The building that looks like a giant "T" is the Port Authority Heliport (see the helicopter landing on top?).

Between the Moon Dome and the Port Authority buildings is the huge Chrysler pavilion. Among the wonders that you would see here were a giant "one-million horsepower" engine that visitors could walk through. You could also take an airborn ride along a simulated assembly line. Sounds pretty cool!

U.S. Rubber constructed a huge tire-shaped ferris wheel that soared 80 feet into the air. There were 24 gondolas seating 4 people each. To the right of that was Sinclair Dinoland, which displayed 9 life-sized fiberglass dinosaurs (some animated). Inside its building you'd see "erupting volcanoes, flashing lightning and bubbling streams show what the earth was like at several stages of its growth starting with its birth 4.5 billion years ago."

If you look carefully to the right of Dinoland, you can see the Alpine building from Lowenbrau Gardens, and the Avis-sponsored Antique Car Ride. In the distance you can see the curvy Hall of Science building (which still stands today).

And finally, to the extreme right, there is the massive Ford Pavillion which holds Walt Disney's Magic Skyway.

For those of you interested in the 1964 New York World's Fair, I highly recommend this wonderful site!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Columbia, January 1959

Today is a sort of last-minute post, for reasons too boring to explain! Here's a neat view taken off of the bow of the Columbia in 1959. This replica of the first American ship to circumnavigate the globe made its debut only seven months earlier, and it still appears to be shiny and new here, with bright paint. Look at the attention to detail with the ropes. I love the view past the figurehead towards the peaceful indian village. The indian boy is standing on the overturned canoe by this point...I wonder when he arrived at the village? Earlier pictures show the canoe all by itself.

Next is a nice look at Harper's Mill from November 1958. Frontierland is still very undeveloped even after three years, it makes a pretty convincing wilderness.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Adventureland Entrance and Main Street Surrey

Today I'm serving up two somewhat random photos for your viewing pleasure. First up is this nice picture of the entrance to Adventureland only two days before the end of 1956. The foliage is still rather sparse, affording us a better view of the buildings than we would get today. It looks strange without the Tiki Room! There is a sign that is edge-on to us to the left, I wonder if that was one of the maps of the area to help visitors find their way around?

I noticed on my last visit to Disneyland that the "elephant tusks" on the sign had been painted to resemble wood. Just in case anyone believed that they were genuine ivory? No elephants were killed in the creation of Disneyland, folks. Don't worry about it!

Next we see jump to 1964 for a look at the Main Street Surrey. Thanks to "Oklahoma!", you can't have a surrey without fringe on top. Some kinda law or somethin'. Looks like you could wait beneath a shady tree if you wanted a ride, which is nice. A kid with mouse ears looks pretty excited as he hops on board.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Douglas Rocket to the Moon

The Rocket to the Moon is looking fine in these two Douglas-era photos. The vapor escaping from the vents of the rocket indicates the tremendous power that is barely contained in this spacecraft! I've always loved the retractable legs and the "nose up" landing stance that this rocket had...very reminiscent of many 50's space movies (especially "Destination Moon").

Tomorrowland is a hive of activity in this photo...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Main Street Station

Back in 1955, Main Street Station was the first thing you saw when entering Disneyland. Today you might spot the Matterhorn or Space Mountain first. And of course, after walking through one of the tunnels that go beneath the train tracks, you are immersed in the world of yesterday. The sounds make a huge impression, from the train's whistle and bell, to the clip-clop of horse hooves, to the music playing throughout Main Street.

In this first photo (from September 1955), we see a bunch of vintage automobiles lined up in front of the train station. This became a regular event for many years (somewhere I have a metal badge frome the mid-60's)...the owners of these old cars would often show up in old-fashioned costumes, and presumably there would be a parade as well.

Next up is a photo from around 1957. If this wasn't so familiar to us as a Disneyland scene, it wouldn't be too hard to imagine it as a picture of a small town in the midwest (pre-World War I). I wonder if the folks sitting on the bench to our left grew up in a town similar to this one? Even today, if you drive through the midwest you might see the remains of Main Streets like the ones our grandparents grew up with.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Rocket to the Moon

The feller with the hat don't look like he's from around here. But he seems mighty neighborly! You get a sense of how really big that moon rocket was in this photo. I love the way people gathered at its base to eat lunch and rest their feet. Don't they know that they will be burnt to a crisp when the rocket takes off?

Just for fun I thought I'd include this slightly out-of-focus image taken at the entrance to the Rocket to the Moon show buildings. Oh if only we could see more details! The glimpse of the ticket booth is kind of cool. I wish they had an attraction that was like this now. How about a flyby of the planet Jupiter? No jokes about that planet that starts with the letter "U" please.

I'll be out of town for a couple of days, and should be back Sunday night. Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Flyin' Saucers!

The Flying Saucers attraction was one of those concepts that seemed like it couldn't fail. Even now (over 40 years after it closed) folks wonder what it was like to "fly their own" saucer. Unfortunately the ride was plagued with technical problems, and the hourly capacity was low. So the saucers were eventually returned to our alien overlords, where they are used for random night probings. But that's another story!

I wonder if the inventor of air hockey ever saw this attraction? According to Wikipedia, "Air hockey was invented by Bob Lemieux, an avid ice hockey fan and engineer at Brunswick Billiards, in 1972." That's way after our saucers became extinct.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Chemical Wagon and Castle, June 1956

From a stereo slide, here's a nice early photo of the Chemical Wagon. Love that kid with the oversized Keppy Kap on his noggin. What chemical was in that wagon, anyway? Rumor has it that it was lysergic acid diethylamide, but I hate rumors, so you didn't hear it from me.

I believe that if you were able to pan just a teeny bit further to the left, you'd see the bandstand. Which explains why there are lots of people in the background, possibly listening to the Disneyland band.

From the same series of images, I thought I might as well show the followup photo. Look at all the people lining up to ride the wagon! Back in those days it seems that people were a lot more interested in experiencing the charms of Main Street. Now it's a place to buy some souvenirs, or a street to walk through as quickly as possible so that you can get to the rides.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caterpillar vehicle, January 1962

Here's a great photo of my all-time favorite ride vehicle. The Caterpillar (or "caterpiggle"*) inching his way through the oversized leaves at the end of the ride. Last year I listened to a podcast in which somebody suggested that the Alice in Wonderland attraction was passé, and that it should be replaced with a Beauty and the Beast attraction. OK, bring on Beauty and the Beast, but leave Alice alone! As I've mentioned before, this attraction is unique to Disneyland, and I think that most people dig it.

I want one of those caterpillar vehicles. No, I mean it. I really do. I'd drop in an engine and drive it to work each day in day-glo splendor. Is anyone aware of an auction in which one of these was sold? Don't they ever get replaced?

*Thanks to Pogo Possum for the word "caterpiggle"

Monday, March 19, 2007

Mad Tea Party

The Mad Tea Party (or "Teacups" as most people call them) is one of the classic Disneyland attractions. Depending on who you are, they are either fun or barf-inducing. I happen to love them, the color, the accompanying music, lanterns overhead (at night). They don't spin much anymore, but that is because there is more gravity in 2007 than there was in 1955. Everybody knows that! This 1956 image is ultra-saturated in color, but lite in calories.

Here's a nice aerial look, taken by someone wearing a rocket pack. It's the only logical explanation. The lady exiting to the right is saying, "Oh, my aching back". A new group of guests is anxiously awaiting their turn to be dizzy or nauseous.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Castmember at Disneyland, March 1958

Back in October 2006, I posted this picture of a cast member in front of Rainbow Ridge. Matterhorn1959 thought that she might work at the Disneyland Hotel, and that her red carnation might mean that she was part of a wedding. Well, here she is again in two more photos from the same lot (I believe that I misdated that original post, and said it was from 1960...sorry about that).

You can see the woman with somebody (Her mother? Aunt Gladys?) standing by the Swift Market House on West Center Street. It sure looks empty there. Is that wagon from the Red Wagon Inn? Or did the Swift Market House have its own wagon?

In this next image you can see our heroine to the extreme right, glancing across Town Square as the horse drawn streetcar is loading. I'm surprised that in 1958 there was still a fire hydrant right out in the open. Maybe it made it feel like a real Main Street?

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Where is it?

Here's a slide that has puzzled me for a while. I'm pretty sure that we are looking at a Southern California location. That "faux oriental" architecture is pretty distinctive, does it look familiar to anybody? I thought it might be the Indio Date Festival, but can't find any photos showing those minarets and domes in the background. I also have two other slides from what appears to be a county fair (pony rides, and miniature train), and you can see similar architecture in the distance. Any help identifying this place would be appreciated!

Man, I have a lot of photos of the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship. It I had a nickel for every photo of that thing, well I'll bet I'd have 6 or 7 bucks. Anyway, I thought I'd post another one and do it on the weekend so that nobody will yell at me and make me cry.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bertha Mae and Gullywhumper

I am sorry to say that I never rode the Keel Boats. I always liked the Mark Twain, and headed right to the top of that stately sternwheeler. There's just something about being way up high! Omnibus Syndrome. But it would have been fun to ride these smaller craft, and to hear the spiel told to us by our pilot (or whatever he was called)...LIVE, not pre-recorded. (On a side note, wouldn't it have been great to ride the Mine Train with a live spiel? Apparently they did it that way in the early years).

In this first photo we see the Bertha Mae in 1965. The land in front of us looks mighty empty. You can see construction walls for New Orleans Square to the left. I guess that the Haunted Mansion is just out of the frame to the right, since the house was definitely there by '65 (though of course the ride wouldn't open for years).

Next we have a nice picture of the Gullywhumper, circa 1968. You'll notice that both Keel Boats have three openings on the side. In many earlier photos, at least one of the boats only has two openings. I'm unclear as to whether these are the original boats that were in the "Davy Crockett" shows, or if they were rebuilt several times over the years. There's no cannon in front, maybe those were removed?

The Keel Boats were notoriously top-heavy, and apparently overturned more than once. A friend of mine told me that when he rode them, the pilot would purposely make the boat rock back and forth. Seems like a bad idea! And if you think about ride capacity, the numbers must have been pretty low. I miss them though, they were great to look at and added a lot of activity to the river.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Skyway Ride, January 1962

Today's photo isn't too different from one that I posted a few weeks ago. We're looking towards the Fantasyland Autopia, and the Motor Boat Cruise to the extreme left. In the distance, suburban sprawl is slowly taking over Orange County. Run for your lives!

I get the biggest kick out of this modest picture! Sort of a "you are there" feeling, after passing through the big (mostly empty) Matterhorn mountain, we are about to exit into Tomorrowland, which appears below us...looking pretty wonderful.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Bre'r Bear & Bre'r Fox, September 1972

For some reason I remember seeing Bre'r Bear and Bre'r Fox at Disneyland often when I was a kid. They were everywhere! I guess folks were more familiar with those characters back was pre-Splash Mountain, but "Song of the South" continued to be rereleased until 1986.

Anyway, as a very small child, Bre'r Bear scared me because he was so big. At least Pooh was short and plump, with a hunny pot on his head. In the first photo, the two Bre'rs are dancing up a storm in New Orleans Square. You can see evidence of Bre'r Bear's tracheotomy. To the extreme left you can just see one of the Main Street Bachelors.

In this second photo we see Bre'r Bear interacting with a woman who seems to be recoiling in fear. I know the feeling, lady! Meanwhile a little girl in a yellow top looks pretty excited to be so close to Bre'r Fox.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

NY World's Fair

It's back to the fair we go...the 1964 New York World's Fair, of course. I love this first photo, showing a view taken next to one of the busy roads near the fair (the Long Island Expressway? I'm a California boy, what do I know). The fair seems to have magically sprung up in the midst of the city. From left to right you can see the Unisphere and the giant photos atop the Eastman Kodak pavilion. You can also see the tiled roof of the Republic of China pavilion, and part of the Tower of the Four Winds. The "white umbrella with legs" is the Johnson's Wax building, and finally the Tower of Light.

This next photo was taken from the undulating "moondeck" of the Eastman Kodak Pavilion, looking towards the Pepsi Cola building. There's that famous Tower of the Four Winds again. Rolly Crump's creation seems to epitomize fun and happiness! The Disney folks encouraged people to say, "Meet me beneath the Tower of the Four Winds". Eastman Kodak wanted you to "Meet me at the Kodak Picture Tower". I like the Four Winds tower, personally.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Town Square, '56 & '59

It looks like it was a beautiful summer day when this photo was taken in 1956. There are lots of people milling about, some of them eyeing the horseless carriage...maybe they weren't sure they could ride in it. Get out those "A" tickets, you might as well use them!

Now we jump to January 1959. The only thing that really interested me about this photo is the tour guide, who is NOT wearing the standard plaid outfit with cap and riding crop. I didn't know that they ever had another uniform at any time.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad

Here's a fun slide taken in 1966 aboard the Disneyland Railroad. Two nice kids and one scamp are posing in the front car, with the locomotive (and watchful engineer) just behind them. This photo was a fun discovery, since it was in a box with no other Disneyland images. The two well-behaved kids look like they are siblings, maybe the prankster was a friend.

Next up we jump forward a few years to 1970, and get a look at part of Frontierland Station. The telegraph office clicks out Walt Disney's opening day speech in morse code, or so they say. It could be dirty limericks for all I know!

PS, Did you all remember to Spring Forward?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rainbow Ridge, 8-61 and 6-58

I know we've seen plenty of photos of Rainbow Ridge. Remember when you actually got excited to see images of this extinct attraction? And now you sit there eating bonbons and playing your ukelele (which needs tuning, by the way). For shame!

There's not much of a crowd waiting to ride the Mine Train in this first image. If I could turn back the clock, how many times in a row would I ride this attraction? One fun detail is the pack mules visible on the hillside above the buildings (to the right). I'd love to see night shots of this area, with the strings of colored lights overhead.

This next photo is not entirely in focus, but it goes with the first picture, so you're stuck with it! Was the trestle to the left purely decorative? I can't imagine what would have crossed those tracks. You can just see the horses that pull the Stage Coach coming into view...they wouldn't be employed for much longer (the pulled their last coach in September 1959).

Friday, March 09, 2007

Tomorrowland 1970

Here are a few unusual photos of Tomorrowland, taken from the Peoplemover in 1970. In this first photo, we are looking back towards the elevator that folks took up to the the loading area for the Rocket Jets. To our lower right, you can see the Flight to the Moon, as well as seating for the Tomorrowland Stage. On July 20 1969 (just months before this picture was taken), many people were able to watch the first moon landing from these very seats. That must have been amazing! I love the little ticket booth (if that's what that structure is...can't read the sign).

Next we are beneath an overhang...there is plenty of shaded seating. I remember that there was a restaurant nearby, though the name escapes me. Was it the Space Place? My brother and I used to joke about "Pluto burgers", although now I can't remember if those actually existed or if we just made it up. You can see the futuristic Tomorrowland Terrace

OK, This photo was NOT taken from the Peoplemover obviously...instead we are on the Monorail track, with the Peoplemover overhead. The Autopia roadway is beneath us as well. An unusual view, if not the most exciting in the world.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Skyway & Spacebar

It seems like I've been spending a lot of time in Tomorrowland this week. But I don't hear any complaints! Here's a nice view taken from the Skyway (again) on a hazy day, looking back towards the loading area for the Skyway and the Autopia. We get a nice look at the Space Bar as well. Look at the queue for the Skyway, the railings are lined with attraction posters on both sides. I wish this slide had a date, but no such luck. It must be pretty early though, check out the undeveloped land in the distance...lots of trees and fields.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Best Costumed Dog Show

Here's an image that goes with Davelandblog's entry from yesterday.

Is it just me, or do the kids in this photo appear to be some of the same kids in Daveland's photo? The girl with the dalmatian, the girl with the stroller (aarg! Dave hates strollers!), and maybe the kneeling girl in the middle. Amazing! I'd love to see a closer view of Daveland's picture to be sure.

I don't have a date on this photo, unfortunately. Meanwhile, I assume that the "mountie" is non other than Sergeant Preston of the Yukon (of radio-drama fame). His faithful Malemute ("Yukon King") must be standing nearby, ready to take on ne'er-do-wells.

I wonder if there was a cash prize, or if the kids won a lifetime supply of delicious Ken-L-Ration dog food? Mmmm-mmmm!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Astro Jets, June 1958

Wow, I sure love this photo (from the same lot as yesterday's Alice In Wonderland pic)....there's something about the saturated colors and the blurred Astro Jets as they approached warp speed! I'll bet they looked extra-stunning at night with their cyclopean headlight shining. I also like how they dressed up the relatively bland Tomorrowland buildings with pennants and applied colorful abstract graphic shapes in the windows. It looks like Matisse got in there and decided to brighten things up. Maybe someday Matterhorn1959 will find some photos showing the fronts of these buildings in all of their glory?

Incidentally, if you want something to seem futuristic, add the "Astro" prefix to it. Startle your friends, annoy your enemies. Try it and see, it works every time!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Alice in Wonderland, June 1958

You might already know that the Alice In Wonderland dark ride was not one of the original 1955 attractions. It didn't open until June 14, 1958, and this photo was taken that very month. I can almost imagine the intoxicating "new ride smell"!

The Alice in Wonderland attraction has one of the most playful and whimsical exteriors of any Disneyland ride. It amazes me that this classic dark ride is unique to Disneyland, for some reason it was never duplicated at any other park. Which is pretty cool! Try to imagine the feeling of winding your way down that twisty ramp (squinting in the bright sunlight after emerging from the relative darkness). I especially loved the way they made it seem as if you might head straight off the edge each time you reached a curve...a simple effect that keeps you feeling a bit off-balance. Just like the whole crazy ride!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


I've always loved Tomorrowland - - more specifically the original version and the 1967 version. Of course there's the "cool factor" of a rocket to the moon, nuclear submarines, flying saucers, and monorails. But I also find that the hopeful (naive?) dream of a better tomorrow is extremely appealing.

That's probably one of the reasons I am fond of the two New York World's Fairs. 1939's "World of Tomorrow" was particularly evocative, especially to a country still suffering through the Depression (and on the brink of war). And while the 1964 fair's official theme was "Peace Through Understanding", it is remembered by many as a salute to progress and the space age (among other things).

Maybe that's why I never get tired of looking at Tomorrowland, my favorite!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

This 'N That

Occasionally I find that I've scanned some slides that don't quite merit their very own post on this blog, but I still want to share the images with people who might enjoy them anyway. Here are four images that fell into that category. I guess.

First up is a nice early shot of the Disneyland Band in their spiffy blue uniforms. It looks as if they've just emerged from a backstage area...or maybe they are just keeping out of the way of the Main Street traffic. It's hard to tell, but it doesn't look like Vesey Walker is leading the band on this particular day.

Next is a nice photo of three folks standing in front of Monstro. They look like they are about to be chomped! The gentleman is holding the tickets for their upcoming ride (I think), and he's loaded with clunky camera equipment.

The third photo is from July, 1966. The Monsanto House of the Future has only about a year left until it meets the wrecking ball (or hacksaws if you believe the stories).

And finally, here's a kind of different angle of Skull can see the cave-like entrance to the dining area to the right. I love the use of waterfalls to add movement and even a bit of ambient sound (use your imagination!).

Friday, March 02, 2007

New York World's Fair, September 1964

It's high time we revisited the 1964 New York World's Fair! This is a panorama made from 3 slides taken in September of 1964. They were most likely shot from the top of the New York State pavilion's observation 226 feet high, it was a popular place to take photos.

The three original images were taken without the aid of a tripod, but thanks to the miracle of Photoshop, I was able to merge them together. The odd shape is due to change in perspective (parallax) from when the photographer turned...I could have cropped it into a nice, neat rectangle, but decided to show as much detail as possible for you "fair freaks"! It's a large-ish file, so I apologize if it takes while for some of you to download.

In the second version, I have added an overlay showing the names of many of the features pictured. While incomplete, it gives you a good general idea of what you are looking at. If you spot an error, please tell me.

The only Disney-related pavilion visible in this photo is, of course, the distinctive white dome of the General Electric pavilion (to the right). This is where you would go to see the popular "Carousel of Progress" as well as the Sky Dome Spectacular and the huge model of Progress City. What a fair!

I am tentatively planning to post more photos from the NYWF, hopefully you will enjoy looking at them once in a while.