Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Indian Village, August 1961

The big chief who ran things over in Frontierland's Indian Village took a little time off from his duties to say "hello" to this nice lady. They both seemed to be enjoying the moment! Love the teepee behind them (sure wish the chief wasn't blocking the sign).

Here we see the same Indian (from the same lot of slides) standing off to the side during one of the performances of Indian dancing. I've seen photos of him holding a microphone, presumably he was our host and narrator during the proceedings, explaining the symbolism of the various dances.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Disneyland Fun, September 1960

These three images were from a small group of extremely faded and damaged slides (beware of "Drewery Color" slides). I decided to pick out the ones that were reasonably salvageable and give 'em the old Photoshop treatment (you'd be surprised how bad they looked beforehand). Some are still a bit rough around the edges, but they're fun just the same.

This couple is having a good time flying on the back of a big-eared elephant. Who wouldn't? I love the sense of motion, with the blurred background. Notice that Dumbo's ears are hinged, a holdover from the days when they actually moved up and down.

Here's a nice portrait of three friends in front of the Pirate Ship. As you can see, I left most of the slide's damage alone and just fixed the color.

More fun, this time on the teacups. Two gals and a guy. I believe that a very large percentage of Disneyland's guests are adults, even though it is generally seen as a family park (or less kindly as a "kiddie park"). As you can see, this slide is slowly disintegrating around the edges.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Sunday Smorgasbord

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Here's another random selection of stuff for you.

This nice lady is taking a little break. She's only been walking in Disneyland for about a minute, but that bench is pretty inviting. Note the two tour guides to the right.

Everybody's favorite corpse can be seen (blurry though it might be) next to the burning cabin. It's hard to tell, but he appears to be on his side, rather than flat on his back. This has all the signs of an attack led by renegade beavers.

Once upon a time, the mighty bison roamed Disneyland in herds so large that they took days to pass. By 1955, this solitary buffalo was all that remained. When will we ever learn?

This photo might be grainy and uninteresting, but you have to admit that it is dark. We're inside the Matterhorn, passing through in our Skyway buckets. The track for one of the bobsleds in curving dramatically, this is where I like to remove my seatbelt and stand up.

The House of the Future is barely visible outside in the sunlight.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Disneyland Hotel, March 1963

Here's a fairly nice photo of the shops that were part of the Disneyland Hotel complex. There was something for everyone! Personally I'd like to take a look at what's for sale in Magic Land. A giant saucer full of succulents adds a decorative, modern touch, and in the background, a sign directs us to gourmet dining and cocktails, and how to get to the Monorail platform.

This was from the same lot, so I decided to include it here, even though it is gray and deserted...it must have been a chilly March morning.

Note: I'm going to be out of town for a couple of days...I'll keep posting if I can, depending on computer accessability.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Frontierland Viewmaster, 1956

A few weeks ago, I posted some scans from a scarce set of Frontierland Viewmaster reels. Here are three more images from that same set...they all feature Disneyland's resident Indians.

Am I the only person who finds this first image a bit odd? The U.S. was not very kind to Indian tribes, to put it mildly. I wonder if this was a photo of a regular flag-raising ceremony in Frontierland, or if it was staged for the Viewmaster photographer on this one occasion? Anyway, the Indians are being good sports, to say the least.

These Indians are migrating in order to follow the buffalo, I guess. And they're all dressed up for the occasion! There are a couple of kids among them, they look like they're about eight years old, while two more are reclining on a travois. The Yellowstone Coach is bringing up the rear.

I think I've seen this fellow in a number of photos from the early 50's, usually on his Pinto, waving at the passing Stagecoach. That strange little structure next to him looks like it belongs in the Alice in Wonderland attraction. Any ideas what it's purpose was?

Thursday, July 26, 2007

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Here's an interesting photo of Florida's submarine lagoon from 1976. The water has been drained for maintenance, and you can see at least one workman walking around down there. It sure looks like that lagoon is (was) considerably larger than the one in Anaheim, and I like the tropical themeing, reminiscent of Vulcania in the movie.

I think I saw Disneyland's lagoon drained at least twice when I was a kid. I took some photos...at night. Naturally the flash on my little Kodak Instamatic was unable to light the scene sufficiently, and I got back mostly black prints.

Let's take a closer look! I have no idea if this ride was a carbon copy of California's (not counting the cool "Nautilus" subs, of course)...does anybody know if most of the famous scenes were duplicated? Sunken Atlantis, the Killer Whale battling the Giant Squid, and of course the silly Sea Serpent? I'd love to hear about any differences.

This is the first image I have posted of Walt Disney World (I think)...while I don't have a lot of slides from there, I'll put up a few more once in a while. Come on, it'll be fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Twofer Wednesday

The "Orinoco Adventuress" has a full load of passengers in this vintage 50's image. Are they leaving, or did they just return? If the two guys with light blue shirts are cast members, they had to contort themselves like this all day long. The pilot is wearing a stripey shirt, just like in the classic attraction poster. In the background, two workmen are headed backstage, probably to repair a broken hippo or somethin'.

"It's broad daylight! Why are we going home already?? I'm not tired!" You might recognize our Pendleton-wearing lookalike boys and their mom from previous posts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Motor Boats

The Motor Boat Cruise! It was an attraction "where boredom goes to relax" (I stole that from Patton Oswalt). If the lines were long elsewhere and you needed to give your feet a rest, you could sit and enjoy the scenery throughout Tomorrowland (even though the boats were a Fantasyland attraction). I remember that even when I was a kid I considered this ride to be pretty lame.

(This family of redheads will show up on this blog again, they're kind of hard to miss!)

Here's a slightly earlier shot..."you are there"! The Autopia passes overhead, as does the Monorail (as you can see in the first photo). At this perspective, it almost looks as if we could ride our boats right into the sub lagoon ahead...just don't hit the "Patrick Henry" over there. Not that you could do anything about it, since you had no control over your boat at all.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Peter Pan Exterior, 1960's

52 years after its debut, Peter Pan's Flight continues to be among the most popular of all the original Fantasyland dark rides. The scenes that are the most impressive (to me) are the flight over London and the aerial view of Neverland...they always go by way too fast, no matter how many times I've seen them.

Today I am posting two photos in which the exterior of this attraction can be seen. This first one is from 1964, and lines are long as usual. Apparently it was warm enough (even in November) to have those cloth shades strung across Fantasyland's courtyard.

Here we are, two years later. Looks like the park just opened...there is a ticket booth (or something) at the front of the Peter Pan ride that wasn't in the first shot. I wish it was a better photo, but that's amateur photography for ya.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Sunday Stew

It's Sunday, and that means it is time for more random images from my collection.

Here's a nice closeup of a cannon that used to be in the dining area behind Captain Hook's Pirate Ship. It's a cool detail of something that was completely unnecessary, but it added a bit more "piratey" atmosphere to the place. Nice craftsmanship!

It's September 1960, and the E.P. Ripley is comin' into the station. Or maybe it's already leaving? I still love riding the DLRR as much as ever.

"Carol and Popcorn", that's how this image was labeled. Carol is looking smashing (like Audrey Hepburn's mom) with her black hat, simple-yet-elegant black and gray outfit, and of course the white gloves for that finishing touch. Carol and the popcorn vendor seem to be enjoying their conversation with each other!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Snow White Load Area, August 1968

Two little girls are about to embark on a scary journey through Snow White's adventures. They will be safe though, especially with Snow White herself at the controls! Just look at all those knobs she has to twiddle. You can clearly see the red "self destruct" button that she's supposed to press in extreme emergencies! She's been working on her tan, and Prince Charming bought her a new wristwatch at Woolworth's.

I guess that blue-green box to our right is where they put the tickets ("C" tickets?) after they were removed from the books. And at the bottom of the "Grumpy" vehicle, you can see some sort of pedal sticking out if you look closely. I wonder if that's the release for the lap bar?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Skyway & Tomorrowland (1958?)

I am convinced that at least half of the photos shot at Disneyland were taken from the Skyway. Here's another one of 'em! It's a gray, uncrowded day in Tomorrowland...the yellow passenger cars of the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad can be seen in the distance. And of course the Rocket Jets, Autopia, Space Bar, and part of the Rocket to the Moon attraction are also visible.

At the bottom of the picture is the Viewliner station...this slide was stamped with a "July 1960" date, and the Viewliner was long gone by then, replaced by the Monorail, Matterhorn and Submarine Voyage in 1959. Maybe somebody had this roll of film sitting in a drawer for two years before they had it developed. Anyway, it appears that there is somebody inside the ticket booth, so I am assuming that the ride was still operating when the picture was taken (unless the person was put in there for being naughty).

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Canoe Load Area, 1950's

Here it is, THE most exciting photo as voted on by "US" magazine.

On board the Mark Twain, we can see the old Indian Village and the load area for the Indian Warrior Canoes. Two of the canoes are missing, either in the shop (smog checks) or skimming across the Rivers of America through the untamed wilderness. At the far end of each canoe dock is a container of paddles...and looking at the queue, it appears that it is mostly ladies who will be on the next canoe.

The slide was very dark, so unfortunately our view of the Indian Village is somewhat grainy. I do like the large map of Tom Sawyer Island that you can see, who wouldn't like that in their collection!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Freedomland, Part 3

Here are two more photos from Freedomland (see the other posts here and here)

These are from the San Francisco area, with a rare look at the Northwest Fur Trapper's Ride. The guidebook for 1962 says, "Ride a bullboat up the Columbia River, through a land infested by dangerous animals and warlike natives. Be careful - or you'll be caught in the crossfire of an Indian ambush. It takes courage and daring, but you'll come through the trip unscathed. And when you dock safely, you'll agree it was the thrill of a lifetime".

I'm not sure exactly where this ramshackle ghost town fits in with that description, but it is pictured in the guidebook. Turkey buzzards have picked those skeletons clean, even the one hanging from the gallows (boots still on).

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Jungle Cruise

The Jungle Cruise doesn't get a lot of coverage on the Disney photo blogs, I think that we blogmeisters have seen too many photos of bathing elephants and hippos with gaping mouths. But today I thought I'd post some vintage images (both from the 1950's) that present some details that are interesting to me.

First up is a view of a native village - - headhunters, no doubt. Pygmy headhunters, judging by the size of those tiny huts! They have some unfortunate critter (lion? wild dog?) ready to throw into a big pot that is usually reserved for missionaries and exploreres.

Here's a mysterious little waterway that leads miles (!) into the jungle...how many people ventured back there, never to return? Colonel Kurtz, for one. There are signs of human presence, though. I love the detail of the suspended bridge, skillfully woven from vines; was it purely decorative, or did the landscapers and other workmen use it to cross the waterway? And is it still there?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Autopia and the Phantom Boats

Arg, this is one of only two slides that I own in which you can see the Phantom Boats, and even then they are barely in the picture. That's them in the lower right hand corner. Apparently, Disneyland bought them directly from Batman. The caped crusader got rid of them because they had a tendency to overheat and conk out.

This attraction lasted only about a year, opening in July 1955 (when they were known as the "Tomorrowland Boats") and closing forever the following summer.

At this point, the park was still surrounded by fields and orchards rather than hotels and restaurants. Hard to believe how much it has changed!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Roundhouse

Here is a series of photos (supposedly from the 80's), showing trains in and outside of the roundhouse. Sorry they're so grainy...

The first photo shows the E.P. Ripley on one of the tracks, with a pit beneath it so that work can be done from below. I sure wish we could see into the roundhouse (which obviously isn't round) better.

Here's the Ripley again, with steam hissing from the locomotive. I wonder if it was about to head into the park? Seems kind of late in the day to start running.

Here's ol' #3, the "Fred Gurley". I'm not sure if this is still in a "backstage" area.

And finally, the C.K. Holliday (with its distinctive "balloon stack") sits, awaiting some TLC from the skilled crew.

NOTE: I think I'm gonna skip tomorrow, I need a day off from blogging once in a while! See you Monday.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Did you know that "paraskavedekatriaphobia" means "Fear of Friday the 13th"? I'm not afraid of Friday the 13th, but I am afraid of long words like "paraskavedekatriaphobia". Which ironically means that I suffer from "Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia". YIKES!

But I digress. The Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland presented Disneyland guests with all kinds of assorted eye candy, from bubbling colored "mud pots", anthropomorphic cactii, geysers, tumbling boulders, battling elk, fishing bears, and so on. What could possibly top all of that? How about a dark cavern filled with glowing pools, colorful fountains, and shimmering waterfalls in all of the hues of....well, the rainbow? And let's not forget the unearthly chorus that was heard echoing through the caves!

You'd never know it by looking at these two rare interior photos, but Rainbow Caverns really was spectacular, in my memory at least. Only when seen by "black light" though...flash photography pretty much ruined the effect, as you can see!

I am including this scan of a slide dated April 1962 that relates to yesterday's photo. As you can see, the bandstand is considerably different from the one that the Trio Gonzales used two years later. Is that the Strawhatter's performing? A few of you may have seen this image before, as it was contributed to another, much-missed blog.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gonzales Trio, July 1964

As if the prospect of riding the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland wasn't enough, lucky Disneyland guests were sometimes treated to the music of the Gonzales Trio. Notice how the park spared no expense when fabricating the portable stage, decorated with four casks and plenty of burlap.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fun Fotos

Well, Daveland already had some amazing slides of some of the cutouts that were on Main Street years ago (see them here). But I was still happy to find this slide, showing one more in the background that hasn't been seen before: Mickey in his "Beanstalk" getup.

Novelty photos of this sort have been around nearly as long as photography itself...I'll bet this simple idea would still be popular today. You, as Buzz Lightyear, or Alice in Wonderland, or even a Hitchhiking Ghost. They could even shock everybody and let you take your picture for...free!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chemical Wagon, 1955

Disneyland was only a few weeks old when this great photo was taken. The gleaming Chemical Wagon is about to embark on a trip up Main Street, but it's not going anywhere until the two little boys get their picture taken. They're looking sharp in their Pendleton shirts!

Money was tight when Disneyland was being built, but it was well-spent on the Main Street vehicles...this fire wagon is a beauty.

Curse you, "No Admittance" sign! What are you trying to hide? Backstage seems so intriguing to mere mortals like me...surely there are dark secrets and wonderous mysteries at every turn! It's probably about as exciting as walking behind your local Sears, in reality.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Rocket to the Moon

Attention earthlings! Here is one of my favorite Tomorrowland slides. It probably dates from 1956 (I assume that those cables in the background were for the Skyway, even though there aren't any buckets), and gives us a dramatic view of the TWA Rocket to the Moon. One either side you can see the distinctive outdoor booths of "Hobbyland", where so many wonderful Disneyland souvenirs were sold. To the left there is a selection of Revell plastic models just waiting for some boy to take home. Nearby you could almost certainly find the Strombecker models of the Moonliner and the Stagecoach. Also to the left, in the background, you can see the fencing that surrounded the Wenmac flight circle.

This is another example of a slide that had turned intensely magenta. Thanks to the spaceage miracle of Photoshop (with assistance from the RAND corporation and NASA), Tomorrowland lives again.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Sunday Jumble

Welcome to another Sunday of random images!

First up is a nice view of a Horseless Carriage making it's way around the Plaza. The kid in the foreground is holding his souvenir guide from the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-through. In the background is the anachronistic Monsanto House of the Future. Or is it Main Street that's the anachronism??

I always loved the experience of walking through one of the tunnels into Town Square...Disneyland was largely designed by people who originally worked on movies, and entering the park really is "cinematic". The tunnel temporarily constricts your view, and as you walk forward, you see more and more until you are completely enveloped by the "world of yesteryear".

It's interesting that the park designers (or Walt himself) did not choose to make Frontierland feel like a typical Western backlot (a lá Corriganville). Instead it looks more like a prosperous town along the Mississippi, pre-Civil War.

I love the "Indians" who are manning the canoes (called the "Indian War Canoes" back then). Today I would choose the name "Pooh Canoes", just because it makes me laugh. I am officially starting a band with that same name. Who's with me?

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Indian Dancers, 1957

Here's a great Kodachrome slide showing the Indian dancers in 1957. Actually, we are getting a better look at the audience, which is just as fun. Check out the kid in the "Mickey Mouse Club" shirt! I also see 3 "Keppy Kaps", at least one guidebook, and one kid holding a large shopping bag (from the Emporium?).

It is interesting that one of the Indian dancers is a child of about five years old...labor laws must have been lax in the 50's, to say the least! Do you think he actually pulled down a salary?

Eventually the Indians left Disneyland, I'm not sure if it was because of waning interest on the part of the guests, or if the dancers themselves were unhappy.
Probably a bit of both. Still, it's fun to see these photos and remember how the whole country was once crazy about anything to do with the American west.

Friday, July 06, 2007

More Freedomland

By popular demand, here are two more images of Freedomland, from September 1960 (see the first couple here). Here's the Ernest S. Marsh pulling into a station (how many station were there?). The gingerbread details don't seem to be on the San Francisco station, perhaps it is in the "Old Chicago" area. According to the 1962 guidebook, "After a tour of Chicago, you can board the Santa Fé Railroad for a fabulous trip to San Francisco - and back, if you wish. As the "Iron Horse" picks up speed for the long climb over the Rockies, you'll pass the State Fair Midway, Borden's Farm, and Fort Cavalry. Once over the crest, the panoramic Pacific Coast comes into view."

I know there are one or two collectors out there that would love to have that railroad cap with the badge. But you can't have it because I saw it first.

Next we get a look at Freedomland's canoes. I can't find much information about them, maybe they were a short-lived attraction at a short-lived park. It looks like there was not much of an attempt at any western theme, as contrasted with Disneyland's "Davy Crocketts Explorer Canoes".

In the distance you can see part of the Autopia, I mean the "Horseless Carriages". It consisted of a "...fleet of 40...authentic models of 1909 Cadillacs ready for a run - with you at the wheel - through Freedomland's "New England". They're real gasoline buggies, with old-time Klaxon horns that really let other drivers know you're coming. The entire family can go right along with you as you motor over a half-mile of rolling countryside. The highway patrol is no problem here: a special governor keeps your Caddy at a safe and comfortable speed."