Thursday, January 31, 2008

Jungle Cruise Conundrum

Once again my limited knowledge of the park leaves me with questions, this time about the Jungle Cruise. Questions that you can answer! I am wondering if these two photos, taken seven years apart, depict the same area of the Cruise? There are many differences, but then again, there are lots of similarities as well. In this first picture from 1965, You can see the mysterious monkey god sitting in his ruined temple, guarded by an enormous spider. I'm sure the spider has been there for hundreds of years, protecting the monkey god (and perhaps some hidden treasure)!

Fast-forward to 1972, and the scene now shows a different temple, this time housing a golden idol that appears to be surrounded by precious gems. Don't even think about taking the loot, is guarded by another (or the same?) giant spider, a swaying giant cobra, and a couple of hungry crocodiles as well.

I know that the Jungle Cruise has received more upgrades and changes than any other attraction at Disneyland, since Walt wanted to be sure to keep things exciting and new for repeat visitors!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Trio from December 1960

December, 1960. Most of you probably remember it as the month that King Baudouin of Belgium married Doña Fabiola de Mora y Aragon (Ah, Doña Fabiola, she loved a saucy limerick!). But if it doesn't have to do with Disneyland, then I don't want to know about it. So here are three lovely photos from that park, from that happy month.

This is a Disneyland band, but it isn't the Disneyland least not all of 'em. Is this the Tyrolean band that used to wander around the Matterhorn playing oom-pa-pa music? Anyway, they are standing next to the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru, and impressively, are playing with carefully trained chickens balanced on top of their hats.

I love the warm golden glow in this next photo. Everybody in the front of the horse-drawn streetcar is smiling and happy, laughing about somethin'. It has to be a knock-knock joke, because what could be funnier?

"Knock knock"
"Who's There?"
"Tom Sawyer"
"Tom Sawyer Who?"
"Tom Saw yer underwear!" HA HA

(Major Pepperidge waits five minutes while you try to regain your composure....)

There's not a lot to see in this night shot, but there is just enough so that I thought that it was worth posting. We're looking towards the Monorail queue area, you can see the ramp that goes up to the top level. To the left, the Yacht Bar, and silhouetted against it is the Astro Jets.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The House What Come From The Future

These pictures were taken six years apart (this first one in 1963), but you'd never know it to look at them. That's because the Plastic House of the Future was immune to the effects of the sun, rain, and wood munchin' bugs. It also protected its inhabitants (if it had any) from cosmic rays and the microwaves that the Russkies send out, the ones that scramble my thoughts and make me so very dizzy. A word to the wise: always line your hats with aluminum foil.

Ya know, now that I really look closely, this next photo is from 1957, and the HOF actually does look newer, whiter, shinier and cleaner. It probably smelled like brand new sneakers! Maybe plastic wasn't the answer to all of our problems (just my very special - and unspeakable - problems). Or maybe the house just needed a coat of white paint.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Canyon That's Grand

We all know that 1958 is the year the Civil War ended. But I like to think of it as the year after 1957. 1958 is also the year that this first picture was taken (I accidentally labeled the jpeg "1956" because I was suffering from nitrogen narcosis). There's the train station - - again! I wish I could see what the "population" was at this point. The freight train has some covered excursion cars here (as well as the infamous "cattle cars"), I believe that they were brand new, added so that you could see the Grand Canyon Diorama in all its glory.

And raise your hands if you're sick of me going on and on about attraction posters! Not that it'll do any good, because here I go again. There's a Rocket to the Moon for you (Jed!). And there's the first version of the beautiful Grand Canyon Diorama poster...later versions only listed three train stations at the bottom. Because Fantasyland station was removed when "It's a Small World" went it. You there, why aren't you taking notes? And are you chewing gum??

Here's a nice big jpeg that I took of my own Grand Canyon Diorama's a much larger image than I usually post, so it might take you a while to see, depending on your connection. Somehow I doubt I'll get many complaints! I love the unusual color scheme, this is definitely up there as one of the most "zowie" of all the Disneyland broadsheets.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Sunday, Nutty Sunday

Sometimes you find old slides from Technicolor, and ironically, they usually kind of suck. Unlike the old 3-strip Technicolor, which still looks amazing today (The Wizard of Oz for example), the slides tended to turn green...and this one was no exception, so I did the best I could to make it at least presentable. Here's a pretty nice view of the Indian Village, with a group of folks getting chummy with the Indian dancers. The little girl has her Donald Duck squeaky hat on, I still have mine from when I was a kid.

A year or so later, this picture was taken of a young girl riding King Arthur's Carrousel. It's a bit dark, I know, but I like photos of the Carrousel back in the days when the horses were all sorts of colors (instead of the stable of albinos that it houses now).

And finally, here's sort of an unusual angle showing the Snow White Grotto. The Wishing Well is just visible through the foliage as well, and it was the site of a terrible tragedy. See that kid? He wasn't visible when the photo was fact he only appeared when it was developed. Some say he is the ghost of a boy who fell down the well while trying to get at all of the money at the bottom. And late at night, just before the park closes and it is quiet and lonely, listen just might hear his pitiful cries for help!

Would I lie to you?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Monorail, December 1960

It's Monorail time! Didn't you get the memo? Oh well, you can still do the Monorail Dance at lunch. Meanwhile, I hope that these photos provide inspiration.

Here's a nice picture taken not long before nightfall. The last remaining sunlight is still glinting off of the train, though. Those two guys in suits seem kind of out of place, I wonder if they worked for Disney in some capacity? The Skyway is operational, but it appears that the Matterhorn was down, or at least this particular load area wasn't in use.

Bubble dome! Bubble dome! Oh, if only I had been able to ride in that seat. The mere fact that it was even designed into the thing makes me smile, since it would have been cheaper and easier to leave it out. But that's another example of the "plussing" that Walt was so willing to do. The amber emergency light was another interesting touch...completely unnecessary, but it added a dash of coolness (particularly at night).

Friday, January 25, 2008


I wonder where the idea for the Clock of the World came from? It doesn't really seem to be very futuristic, and yet it's funky fifties look fit right in next to rockets and flying saucers. It appears in a few early concept sketches closely resembling the finished product. Check out the family with their straw hats bedecked with red ribbons as they admire the plastic house (or are they looking at the posters?).

Both of today's pictures are from May, 1958, although they are from different lots. This one, taken from inside Tomorrowland, shows us that it is about 3 o'clock (we can't see the minutes, which appeared on the small globe). Behind it is Circarama, sponsored by American Motors.

As you can see, there was a large diagram showing the concept behind Circarama for those who had no idea (and why should they?).

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Night Shots, December 1960

I have found that nighttime is typically the darkest time to visit Disneyland. Fortunately, that's when they tend to turn all of the lights on, making things look extra splendiferous. Night photos at the park don't often come out so great, old film stocks were just too slow. But once in a while you get lucky!

These first two pictures are unusual, showing the fountains that were outside the Hall of Chemistry. The one below is reduced to an abstract weirdness...

...and here we've taken four steps back to get a better feel for what this looked like. There's the flagpole for the great state of Maine, where the fish stick was invented*. Mmmmm, fish sticks!

Enough with the strange pictures already! Here's a pretty one that actually came out good. Main Street is at its most beautiful at night, it's almost like a mini Las Vegas! You can see the glint of the tracks for the Horse Drawn Trolley, and the silhouette of the Omnibus.

*I made up the "fact" about fish sticks, please don't use that information in your Doctoral thesis!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Freedomland Yet Again

Mules are some of the most bloodthirsty, ferocious killers in the wild. They've been known to skeletonize a cow in less than 3 minutes! But when tamed by man, they become a theme park attraction. Here at Freedomland, it was just that sense of danger and adventure that made their pack mules such a thrill to ride. The "rugged" landscape isn't very convincing, but the perhaps the designers should be cut some slack, since the park was still brand new (having only opened about three months earlier).

Remember that commercial with the native American, the one that cries because of all the litter? Well, look at that mess these guys have made. What gives? Maybe they meant for those paper coffee cups and cigarette packs to wind up in the fire made up of two-by-fours (just like in the wild west). They left parts of their feathered costumes hanging on wooden poles, and probably played poker at that cute little table. At night, they all slept in that yellow plywood box. I do my research!

Sorry about the blur, you really should get your eyes checked! I figured that as long as I was talking about the Indian Village, I would include this view taken from the Skyway. I mean, from the "Tucson Mining Company" Ore Car ride. In the distance you can see the stage coach, moving at mach 3, while folks walk beneath the track of the Santa Fe Railroad. Directly below us are those crazy tipis.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Knott's, June 1960

The more I see photos of Knott's in its present-day form (via blogs such as "Outside The Berm"), the more I appreciate what a special place it was back in its glory days. The pre-Snoopy days!

I love this shot of the beautiful Ol' number 41, the "Red Cliff", a real antique full-sized locomotive with a nice southwest color scheme. Can you imagine a time when old steam engines were being scrapped, basically considered worthless trash? Luckily for anyone who wanted one, they could be had for a song...I've pointed it out before, but I'm sure that nearly all of the surviving steam engines are still around due to the existance of amusement parks and a few die-hard enthusiasts (like Ward Kimball). Anyway, this is one of those pictures that just makes me happy.

This one is interesting to me...I've seen endless photos of the cement (fiberglass? plaster? play-doh?) saloon gals and cowboys that you could pose with, and of course there's old "Sad-eyed Joe", and the prospector with his mule. But I've never seen this fella, eternally panning for gold. I am assuming that he is next to the creek that led to the area where mere mortals could pan for gold themselves?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monorail, 1960 & '63

Here are two similar photos, both taken from the Skyway as it passed over the Monorail loading platform in Tomorrowland. I wish that they had managed to get the whole train in both photos, but then again, I wish I had ten million dollars.

As you can see in this first picture, we are looking at the blue 3-Car "Mark I", introduced in July 1959 (about a year before the photo was taken). You can see that this version had a mini bubble dome, which I guess was basically a li'l sunroof. The windows have no glass, and it's nice to be able to see inside the train and get a feel for the way the seats were arranged.

By 1963 the "Mark II" trains were in use (now lengthened to 4 cars), and there's the big bubble dome. That's where the pilot got to sit...those guys got all the babes I'll bet. The windows now have glass (or plexi) in them now, more throwing stuff at the suckers down below.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Disneyland Mix

Thank goodness I can count up to three, because that's how many pictures we'll be reviewing today.

This first photo is from September 1959, and even though it's kind of blurry, it shows the seldom-seen trading post, and the stoic wooden indian (as opposed to an excitable one, I guess). Most of the photos from this lot (you'll see more in the future) share an odd least two-thirds of each picture is empty ground. Photo after photo. It would be funny if it wasn't so frustrating! I'll have to put up several examples together, you'll see what I mean. The photographer also had a penchant for taking photos in which I have no idea what he/she was aiming at, because there isn't much of anything to look at. Nutty.

Now we move on to December 1960...the sun has set, and the lights have been turned on, making everything that much more beautiful. A father and son seem to be considering what to do next, maybe a ride on the Carousel, and then some of the dark rides? Sounds good to me. I can almost hear that distinctive carousel music.

This photo looks like it was taken with one of those cheap "Holga" cameras from has a strange soft quality (but not unpleasing), not to mention the slightly "off" colors. Perhaps it's approriate that these odd attributes accompany a photo of the psychedelic Alice in Wonderland attraction, as seen in 1970

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Saturday Jumble

We have four photos for you today, can you handle it?!! Sure you can, because you're awesome. And I'm not just saying that so that you'll loan me money.

The first offering is a bit of a mystery to me. It was in a lot that was mostly Disneyland images, but there were a few Walt Disney World pictures too. I could easily tell which was which, except for this photo. I have my doubts about it being Disneyland, it just feels wrong. Let's hear it, experts!

I assume that this was taken from the Monorail, circa 1961. There's the Fantasyland Autopia load area, remember when there were two separate Autopias? (Don't even get me started on the Midget Autopia or the Junior Autopia!). O'Malley the cop is sneaking up on those two ladies...go get 'em, they look suspicious to me too.

Even grandma enjoys a cheeseburger once in a while. Cheeseburgers are nature's candy. More questions from me: what eatery is this? I'm not sure if it is in Frontierland (since we can see the stockade in the distance) or if it is in Adventureland (since....well, I don't really have a good reason). This slide is from the 1950's, if that helps.

Now it's 1965, and the early New Orleans Square has appeared on the Rivers of America. You can see the building that would eventually hold Pirates of the Caribbean, with its distinctive must be brand new, since pictures from 1964 usually show green construction walls and not much else. I assume that you could wander the streets and explore the shops at this point.

Friday, January 18, 2008

That Fabulous Monorail! July 1961

We've seen a lot of Monorail photos of the last few years, but this one is exceptionally nice in my opinion. There's something about the combination of elements that all come together to make this a thing of joy! The colorful flags, the Skyway buckets overhead, the Yacht Bar, and bits of the Castle, Matterhorn, and Sub Lagoon...what could be better?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Knott's 1969 part two

Here's a few more Knott's shots for you! Months ago I posted this photo of the small stationary autos that kids could ride for a bit of low-key fun. Here is another later now a small town has been built to add some themeing to the area. There's "Red" again, looking like she's 10 feet tall next to the Apollo theater. She's holding something that could be a rolled up map (?).

A slightly different angle...

And now for an unrelated picture that I threw in for the heck of it. At first I thought that a guest decided to climb up and have a photo taken while "playing" the calliope, but I have since found another Knott's slide from a different lot, and you can see the same lady in that picture too. I'll scan it and post it when I have a bit of time. The frontier-style dress, kerchief, shades, and mink stole add up to a unique ensemble that makes me assume that this lady was a bit of a character!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Knott's 1969

I loved Knott's berry farm back in the day, but I haven't been in ages. Plus my knowledge of that park has never been much to brag about. So I'm not going to be able to add much commentary to these photos!

Say hello to "Red", we've seen her before in some pictures taken at Disneyland. She and her husband visited both parks, but I suspect that they did not do them both in one day, the way some crazy people used to. She's walking through the brand new Fiesta Village (it opened in 1969) which was constructed (according to one website) "under the supervision of daughter Marion Knott as a tribute to California's early Spanish heritage".

From these photos is appears that Fiesta Village was (is?) primarily made up of shops and dining areas, and shady plazas where you could sit and rest your weary feet.

This pond has the look of a rustic swimming pool...and those little immobile "houseboats" look like a nice place to relax. I'm assuming that you could buy crafty items of the sort you might purchase in Mexico....pottery, sombreros, textiles, postcards, baskets, maracas, and generic Viagra.

You could have Valerie make a silhouette portrait of you or your loved's a lost artform because it's weird.

If anybody out there has any interesting tidbits about Fiesta Village, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Two More from 1957

Hey ho, it's back to 1957 we go! Arg, I'm running short on time, so this is going to be a rush job.

From the same lot of slides as yesterday, here's a nice view of Harper's Mill. As a kid I could just watch that water wheel go 'round and 'round....until I was HIP-MO-TIZED! There's somebody skulking around Fowler's Harbor, which makes me wonder - - could you go inside any of those picturesque, rickety buildings? Or were they strictly for maintenance crews and leprechauns? In the distance, a group of folks are walking on the trail from the Indian Village, and beyond them (barely visible) is a train tunnel.

We're looking down upon a Storybook Land boat and good old Casey Junior. I am sort of fascinated by what appears to be lots of earth-moving going on over that wall. What was going on out there?

I added this detail because I remember reading about how somebody had the bright idea of sticking a walnut tree upside-down in the ground outside of Toad Hall (above Moley's house), supposedly the bare roots made such a nice looking "scraggly tree". It's pretty clear that the story is true, because that sure looks like roots to me!

Monday, January 14, 2008

1957 Skyway and Stuff

Here's a nice way to start your week...take a gander at this great photo, circa 1957! In addition to giving us a nice view of the early Skyway and the busy Autopia queue area, we can see the "salmon" (i.e. red) Viewliner at the Tomorrowland station. It's the train of the future - - today! Beyond that, there is a pile of dirt with the elegant name of Snow Mountain (or at least, that was one of its names). I've seen some photos where you can see trails criss-crossing the peak, for those guests who didn't mind a bit of an uphill hike. The view was probably worth it!

Want a closer look?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Two Views from 1958

There are lots of Main Street photos in my boxes of slides, but this one is at least a little bit different...sort of an odd angle taken from the edge of the hub. Behind us and to our left would be the Red Wagon Inn, and beyond that, the entrance to Tomorrowland. Not many people are at the park on this cold March day, and there's not a child in sight.

Two months later, things have certainly warmed up, and the crowds look more like what I'm used to. The picture is a bit blurry, but there are a few details that I enjoy, like the balloons visible through the castle's arch, and the beautiful "antique" clock to the right, reminiscent of a clock you might find in some little Austrian town.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Publicity Photo

Fashion-conscious women around the world used to wonder, "What are they wearing at Disneyland this year?". Especially if they planned on standing on the deck of a nuclear submarine. Thanks to this publicity photo, we know that they should wear a bathing suit designed by Patty Woodard, with spaceage fabrics courtesy of Monsanto. I wonder if "Joan" was one of the mermaids that used to grace the lagoon? The photo is undated, but I would guess that it is from the late 60's.