Saturday, June 30, 2007

Golden Horseshoe Revue

Here's a nice interior of the Golden Horseshoe Revue during a show. That looks like Wally Boag/Pecos Bill to me, or is it one of this stand-ins? I never had the pleasure of seeing this world famous show in person, but from what I understand it was the rootin' tootinest!

The slide was quite scratched and faded, so I am fairly pleased with the results after investing lots of TLC, even if it is a bit grainy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Frontierland Viewmaster, 1956

Here's something a bit different. I decided to try to get the best scans that I could from the scarce souvenir Frontierland Viewmaster packet (1956). Considering that the transparencies are only about half an inch square, I think they turned out pretty good! Today I thought I'd concentrate on the Stagecoach.

Looks like the sheriff showed up just in time to stop a bunch of thievin' coyotes from robbing the stage. That kid in the coach doesn't look too worried, probably because he knows he's in good hands. Our hero!

It's amazing to see the way Disneyland guests could sit on the very edge of the top of the stagecoach, feet dangling off the back. Too dangerous in today's litigous world. I blame society!

Here's a neat view of the old load area, you can almost read that rustic sign. Standing on a fence rail is a li'l muleskinner in a buckskin coat (inspired by Davy Crockett himself, I'll wager). In the background is a small group of teepees...nobody appears to be home, though. They are over on Tom Sawyer Island setting fire to a cabin. Or something.

If I was really ambitious I would scan the more common "Vacationland" Frontierland images, you would see very similar but slightly different pictures. However, I thought I'd do the rare packet first, for those of you who don't have one handy! Let me know if you'd like to see more of these, and I'll get to work.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Close Encounters!

I always get nervous when flying saucers are around. You'd think that beings from another galaxy would at least have the courtesy to warm up those metal probes. Is that too much to ask?

Disneyland's Flying Saucers were one year old at the time this picture was probing going on here (as far as I know). Some of the astro-nuts are smiling, others are concentrating on making the thing go where they want (they were notoriously tricky to control). Personally, I'd want to glide around and avoid crashing into the other guests. But this was a fancy version of bumper cars, after all...the more sadistic you were, the more fun you had, I suppose.

Music is so important on most Disneyland attractions; does anybody know if there was music that played during this ride? Maybe a nice Buddy Baker theme for Matterhorn1959?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's a Small World

There are two kinds of people in this world. People who believe that there are two kinds of people, and people who don't. Wait, I mean there are people who love "It's a Small World", and then there are the commies who loathe it. You know who you are! To this day I'm still a little bit shocked when I hear somebody say, "Oh, I hate that ride".

This first photo is from the year It's a Small World opened at Disneyland (after its smashing success at the New York World's Fair, of course). In spite of the brilliant sunshine and blue sky, it is obviously a chilly winter day. "IASW" has one of the most whimsical, joyful exteriors of any Disney attraction, in my opinion. You've got the ticking clock, and the marching dolls every 15 minutes, and even the Disneyland Railroad gets in on the act. Mary Blair (colorist extrodinaire) considered white to be the most festive of colors, which sounds odd at first. But when I see this attraction I have to agree.

Here we are two years later (with warmer weather), in a "postcard worthy" image. Two boatloads of folks have just completed their happy many of them will have that song stuck in their heads for hours to come? Somehow I was never bugged by the song...there were too many other diversions at Disneyland.

From now on, when I think about "It's a Small World" I will always remember how excited my 8-year old niece was to finally experience it last year. She already knew the song by heart because they sang it at her school. I sat with her in the front seat of the boat, and she commented on how AMAZING the ride was. And she sang along, as happy as can be. What could be better?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tomorrowland 1964

Tomorrowland is bustling in this great image. The Skyway is so low at this point it almost looks like you could jump up and touch one of the buckets. Michael Jordan could, anyway. I love the color and activity (and brilliant sunshine) of this photo...this qualifies as a picture that I would like to step into.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Disneyland Hotel

Here are some nice vintage photos of the old Disneyland Hotel. None of them are dated, and the first one is not from the same batch as the other three. Nevertheless they look like they are 1957-ish.

I love the "modern" look that was achieved by the simple rectangles, use of glass, and general lack of frippery (unless you count those pierced metal beams). Would this be Bauhaus-influenced? Does anybody care??

The next three are from the garden areas surrounding the pool. We see the edge of a golf course (or at least a putting green), and a survivor from one of the original orange groves.

Nothin' much to say about this one....

I like this warm little tropical pond with water lillies, and the way it contrasts with the vivid blue swimming pool beyond. What, no goldfish?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Snaps

In the Tiki Gardens pre-show, you get to listen to Tangaroa, "father of all gods and goddesses. Here in this land of enchantment, I appear before you as a mighty tree. Stand back! Oh, mystic powers, hear my call. From my limbs, let new life fall!"

Looks like somebody didn't provide enough shaded seating for hungry Disneyland guests! So they put up some inexpensive cloth shades (lots and lots of them). It's not elegant or beautiful, but judging by the number of people beneath the shades, it was appreciated.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Storybook Land

I was inspired by daveland's post from several days ago, where he showed images from Storybook Land (then and now!). I don't have any "now" pictures, just "then".

I love the details, and in this first photo there's a little church. It's been a while since I've taken the trip through Monstro's mouth, so I have no idea what Disney movie this church is supposed to represent. Could it be from Alice In Wonderland's village? The experts will know! Anyway, I noticed that there is a nice little mural on this church, I wonder if it is there today! My memories of bible stories is rusty...there's a boat on the sea with a couple of fellas (Saint Peter on the Sea of Galilea??). I'm pretty sure the story ended with a car chase.

Here's a closer look.

This next shot is similar to Daveland's...Gepetto's village, with many quaint little buildings, cobblestone streets, and snow-capped mountains. There is a concept painting (by Gustaf Tenggren) for the 1940 movie version of Pinocchio that seems to have been the inspiration for this scene.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Corriganville, 1958

Ray "Crash" Corrigan was a "stuntman-gunfighter" and a fairly successful Western star for Republic Pictures back in the 1930's. He even played roles in a home-made gorilla suit! In 1938, he purchased a 1500+ acre parcel of land in Simi Valley for $10,000 (that's less than $7 an acre!). Legend has it that he originally bought the land in the hopes of finding a lost Spanish treasure. No loot was found, but Crash began renting his property to Republic Pictures and other studios, and he made a tidy sum.

Here's a picture of Crash that I nabbed from the internets, just so you could have a look at him!

In addition to the Western town seen here (known as "Silvertown"), there was a lake ("Robin Hood Lake"), an oak forest, a "Corsican Village", mines and caves. Bandit's hideout shacks dotted the many canyons and stagecoach roads. Hundreds of movies and television shows were filmed there, including John Wayne's "Fort Apache", the Lone Ranger, and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin.

In 1949, Crash decided to open up the ranch on weekends. Thousands of people would come out to see a real operating movie ranch! One of the main attractions was a live-action Western show, complete with noisy gunfights every half hour. There was a rodeo, and you could take a tour of the sets on horseback (with pony rides for toddlers). There were "medicine shows", stunt shows, beauty contests, vetriloquists, and you might even see Bozo the Clown during special appearances. It was quite a place!

In 1955, Corrigan leased the property to Outdoor Amusements, Inc., which was eventually controlled by Jack Wrather (who operated the Disneyland Hotel). Corrigan eventually sued to get the ranch back, and Wrather relinquished the rights to it. After changing hands several times, Bob Hope bought the property in the mid-1960's and it became known as "Hope Town". It was soon closed to the public, although the property remained in Bob Hope's hands until the 1990's. During that time, several fires wiped out most of the movie sets. In 1997, homes were built on a large portion of the land, but there is still a Corriganville Park that is open to the public.

"Crash" Corrigan passed away in 1976 at the age of 73.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Aboard the Columbia

Here are a couple of views from on board the Columbia. While looking for some fun facts about the original Columbia sailing vessel (1836-1867), several websites cite the Columbia as one of the first U.S. naval ships to circumnavigate the globe. You mean it wasn't THE first? Inquiring minds want to know.

I like this unusual view. The friendly Indian chief on shore looks close enough to talk to. I'd ask him if that war bonnet is itchy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Pirate Ship Ahoy!

Yeah, need another photo of the Pirate Ship like you need a case of cooties. But you have to admit that it's a nice picture! BOLD, brightly patterned clothing was the name of the game in those days.

There was a request yesterday from somebody who wanted to see the Kaiser Aluminum Telescope photo in all of its 3-D glory. So I scanned the pair and have included them here for any of you who can "freeview". Sorry it's small, when I tried to make it work at a larger size it induced major eye strain. The 3-D effect isn't spectacular, there's no major foreground element....hope it works for you!

Incidentally, some websites recommended "crosseyed" viewing (placing the left image on the right and the right image on the left), and others recommended "parallel" viewing (left for left and right for right). I put these up for parallel viewing, FYI.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Freedomland, September 1960

What was built on 205 acres, shaped like a large map of the United States, and bore more than a passing resemblance to Disneyland? FREEDOMLAND!

After the spectacular success of Walt Disney's California theme park, other folks decided that they would go into the amusement park business. C.V. Wood was one of Walt's closest collaborators during the design and construction of Disneyland...the two men had a falling out, and Wood went on to beget three parks of his own. "Magic Mountain" in Colorado (not to be confused with the one in Valencia, California), "Pleasure Island" in Wakefield, Massachussetts, and "Freedomland" in the northeastern borough of The Bronx. There were a number of themed lands; "Little Old New York", "Chicago", "The Great Plains", "The Old Southwest", "New Orleans-Mardi Gras", "Satellite City", and more.

Below is a photo of a train at the station in the themed area known as "San Francisco", which had a mock-up of San Fran's famous Chinatown, as well as an "Earthquake" dark ride. Note the Skyway (...I mean, the "Tucson Mining Company" ore buckets), and the Santa Fe logo on the train station. This train has unusual open-air seating.

In this nice image (taken from an ore bucket!), we are looking down upon one of the Santa Fe trains. I can't find much information about Freedomland's trains, although you can see that this locomotive bears the name "Ernest S. Marsh". Hmmm, where have I heard that name before? Those yellow passenger cars look familiar too, there's even a "Grand Canyon" banner.

Freedomland opened on June 19, 1960 (only 3 months before these photos were taken). Due to a number of factors (blame even extended to the 1964 World's Fair), the park closed in September of 1964. It seems hard to believe that this park failed to find an audience with the folks in New York...almost no expense was spared in making this a serious competitor to Disneyland. It's interesting to imagine what it would be like if it had survived to the present day. I have more Freedomland slides (lots of train views, for some reason), and I'll post some if folks seem interested.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Kaiser Aluminum Telescope

What do you do when you see a big aluminum telescope at Disneyland? Why, you don't just look through it, you walk right into it!

Here's a scarce photo (from a stereo slide, no less) looking down the barrel of the 'scope itself. The entrance is at the far end (obscured by the blinding flash), you made a hard right as you entered. Our photographer is standing with his back to the magnificent displays that demonstrated the myriad ways that aluminum embiggened our lives.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Jumble

It's "twofer" Tuesday on Sunday! First up is a look at the Matterhorn in 1964. There's two guys at the top, boy did they make a wrong turn somewhere. I still remember watching some climbers when I was a kid. Little did I realize that my entire family kept on walking. The next thing I knew, I was lost! A helpful security guard somehow figured out what was going on (I wasn't crying, I swear) and he somehow found my parents quickly. I'd like to believe that they were looking for me!

Here's a slightly blurry look at a cute waitress inside the Golden Horseshoe. I am pretty sure that I have at least one other slide of this same waitress, if I can dig it up I will post it! Hidden behind a foreground hat is a Chinese fellow working behind the bar...we've seen him in one of daveland's photos too.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tomorrowland circa 1978

I recently found a packet of negatives from around 1978 containing photos I personally took when I was a kid. As usual I was prone to taking pictures with my finger blocking part of the lens. I ain't no Weegee! Family members were photographed purely by accident (or under duress). I wanted nice clean pictures of Disneyland, or the best that I could get with my Kodak instamatic. Even then, Tomorrowland was my favorite!

Here is a pretty decent look at the exterior for Mission to Mars, and lots of groovy late-70's kids. Get a haircut! (My hair probably looked just like that).

I sure seemed to be enamored of Space Mountain...there are at least five nearly-identical photos of the soaring white cone graced with spires that reached up towards the stars (hey, the stars are there, we just can't see 'em in the daytime!). There's the old ramp to the upper level...I sure remember waiting in some long lines. And how often was the ramp not operating? My guess is that this was the first time I ever saw this fantastic roller coaster.

Another view of Space Mountain from the Peoplemover loading area...

And now we're up yet another level to ride the Rocket Jets.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Mine Train & Rainbow Ridge

It's a quickie post today folks...a nice shot of a pre-1960 Mine Train with its classic dark-green paint job. Notice that it says "RMRR" (Rainbow Mountain Railroad). In 1960 the trains were painted yellow, and the lettering was changed to "NWRR" (Nature's Wonderland Railroad).

I wonder if the ride was down the day this photo was taken...Rainbow Ridge looks more like a ghost town than a bustling little mining town.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I love this undated slide of a father and son getting strapped in and ready for an exciting ride on the Autopia. Come on, dad, can't you let the kid drive? Perhaps in those days (before the center rail) young kids were discouraged from driving. In any case, the kid looks pretty happy. The little gold sports car is pretty cool, even cooler than the Ferrari-red one behind it, in my opinion.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

GE Pavilion, New York World's Fair

General Electric's "Progressland" was one of the more visually stunning buildings (at a fair full of stunning buildings)! As most reader's of this blog know, this was the home for the original Carousel of Progress. Viewers sat in one of six theaters that revolved around a center stage. They were treated to vignettes of a "typical" American family in the 1890s, 1920s, 1940s, and 1960s, showing how progress (and in particular, electricity and related appliances) were going to make life better than ever.

The show was probably considered a bit corny even in 1964, but I have always loved it's optimistic tone. No "Blade Runner" here!

We are looking across the Pool of Industry. It's peaceful now, but at night the Fountain of the Planets put on a display of fireworks, spectacular lighting and (of course) fountains (which used more than 400-tons of water ejected through 2,000 nozzles - - that's a lot of nozzles). Themes changed regularly, from classical music, broadway show tunes, popular melodies, and death metal.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Portrait, July 1964

This sketch artist had better leave plenty of room at the top of the paper for the blonde lady's hairdo! Back in the good old days, one end of Center Street held an area where masterpieces of art could be purchased, and you could have your portrait rendered exquisitely in pastels. A boy in a krazy-colorful shirt watches with interest...what exactly is that pattern, military hats and refrigerators? Behind our lovely model is the Coke Corner, where I used to go to order a Pepsi just to mess with them.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Disneyland in 1955

Here are two slides from 1955 (I believe they are from around the first month of Disneyland's opening). Rather than messing with the colors and contrast in Photoshop, I decided to leave them as is...I like the nostalgic, dreamlike feel that these old images evoke.

I don't post too many photos of Sleeping Beauty's Castle, but once in a while I'll see one that gives me a feeling of what it might have been like to be there 50 years ago. This is one of those slides!

Mom has just realized that little Timmy is making a break for it and is in danger of being run over by a surrey or something. Young man, you get over here, what did your father tell you about crossing the street? I can hear it now! We'll see more of this kid (and his brother) in future posts.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Conestoga Wagon

The Conestoga Wagons was an attraction that debuted about a month after Disneyland opened. I wonder how many actual prarie schooners there were? No more than two, I would guess. For about four years, they offered guests a chance to experience a bumpy ride through the Living Desert.

"Westward Ho!" was a tie-in to the 1956 Disney movie, "Westward Ho! The Wagons". It has never been released on DVD, but from what I've read, it is a routine western starring Fess Parker, along with Jeff "Mike Fink" York, Iron Eyes Cody, and Sebastian Cabot. A wagon train is headed to Oregon (I've seen another Conestoga Wagon with "Oregon or Bust!" painted on the canvas), and along the way they pass through dangerous Pawnee country, with an attack on the wagon train choreographed by Yakima Canutt. Upon their arrival at Fort Laramie, Fess (a doctor) helps a Lakota medicine man to save a sick Indian boy. The Indians and the settlers learn that "Two medicines are better than one", a nice message of tolerance and acceptance.

The following image is a scan from a 1956 Viewmaster packet, it's a great view of one wagon splashing through a pool of alkaline water (the remains of one of the desert's unpredictable flash floods). Don't drink it or you'll go plum loco!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Town Square

Town Square was a good place to catch a ride, whether you wanted to take the Horseless Carriages, the Surrey, the Fire Wagon, the Horse Drawn Streetcars, and (later) the Omnibus. In at least one early postcard you can see a buckboard being used as well.

As you can see from the sign, it cost 10 cents for a ride on a Motor Car. What am I, made of money? We just spent an hour in a motor car to get here! In the background, mostly obscured by trees, is the sign announcing "International Street".

I see a piece of litter on the ground! That can only mean one thing...there are hippies nearby.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Autopia, July 1964

This sure is a nice picture...too bad I can't think of much else to say about it! It is kind of an unusual angle (taken from the Monorail Station?)...and I don't think I've ever noticed so many trees behind the Skyway station. What are they trying to hide? There are plenty of spare Autopia vehicles ready to be called into service as the park gets more crowded.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Crowded day at Disneyland!

Yeesh, take a look at this crowd! What a nightmare. As much as I love Disneyland, this is a day that I am glad I missed (although I wasn't born yet, so that wouldn't have been an issue anyway). I wonder if there was some special even that attracted so many people that day, or if it was just "one of those days"?

Another interesting detail is to note where the photographer was standing when this picture was taken. This must have been from the brief period when people were apparently allowed up in the castle (but before the castle "walk-thru") to take in the view from the upper level.

Say cheese! At the extreme bottom of the picture there is somebody aiming what appears to be an old 4x5 Speed Graphic camera at us.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ford Pavilion, New York World's Fair

Today, let's visit the Ford Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair. We are standing outside of the much talked about "Magic Skyway", created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers. The ride system was a precursor to what became the Peoplemover at Disneyland, except that you got to ride in brand new Ford automobiles, while Walt narrated your experience through the car's sound system.

Partially visible beneath the Ford logo is a red Mustang. According to Wikipedia, the Mustang "was introduced to the public at the New York World's Fair on April 17, 1964, and via all three American television networks on April 19. It was one of the most successful product launches in automotive history."

Visitors were carried along a track on the rotunda's exterior for a sweeping view of the Fair, then on to the spectacular scenes in the main exhibit hall. The dawn of life on earth showed huge dinosaurs battling while primeval birds soared above. Life-sized cavemen appeared "in a spectacular display of electronic animation" (in fact, the animation was very crude, one reason the cavemen were left out when Primeval World was moved to Disneyland). In the Space Age the viewer glided on a superskyway over a City of Tomorrow complete with soaring spires and bubble-dome buildings.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Aerial View, September 1961

If I owned a bright yellow airplane in 1961, I would have definitely flown over to Anaheim for a bird's eye view of Disneyland! It's too bad that it isn't a bit clearer, but the view is still great. You can see homes and other developments beginning to encroach on the Happiest Place on Earth. I want to live right next to Disneyland so that I can complain about the fireworks at night! There's still a surprising amount of farmland right nearby, including some where DCA is today.

Let's take a closer look. You can see the bright blue oval of the Flying Saucers attraction (it had opened only a month before this picture was taken), as well as the snow-capped peak of the Matterhorn. There's no "It's a Small World" yet, but there is the striped tent of Holidayland. I believe that the long building at the upper left corner of Disneyland is the roundhouse, even though it isn't round (please correct me if I'm wrong, folks). The desert from Nature's Wonderland is also visible. According to Donald Ballard's book about the Disneyland hotel, 1961 was the year that the Monorail "connected to Hotel's Monorail Station". He also notes that this was the year that a minature golf course, 50-tee driving range, and 18-hole golf course were added (the golf course was removed ten years later for the addition of the marina and the Marina Tower). I can't see the miniature golf course in this photo, anybody know where to locate it?

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sunday Selection

Amid the vast Gorillas Don't Blog archives (housed in a salt mine in Utah), there are many views of the subs. But this is the only view of it's kind that I have. Where was it taken from? The Skyway Chalet? The wooden railing at the bottom should be a clue. Anyway, there's the Ethan Allen sailing past. Ethan Allen was an American revolutionary who is famous for his furniture stores.

Damn those hairdos! There is an exciting holdup (or something) going on in front of Casa de Fritos. There's a man in black, looking like he's up to no good. A swarthy man with a white hat is holding a bag that certainly contains money...probably Disneyland's gross receipts for the day. But if there's anything else interesting going on, we can't see it. Frustrating!