Friday, February 29, 2008

Astro Jets

Hey, let's go over to Tomorrowland and see if the Yachtsmen are playing! What the - - there are RIDES in Tomorrowland too?

The Astro Jets went 'round and 'round from 1956 until 1966. Carry the six, divide by the hypotenuse, be sure to account for the curvature of the earth, and add the remainder... that's ten years! These colorful rockets (rockets with headlights, no less!) were Tomorrowland's answer to the Dumbo attraction. But seriously, which would you rather ride? Here's a little-known fact; they spun faster than the speed of light, so that when you departed the ride, you were younger than when you boarded. Incredible!

The Astro Jets had their very own attraction poster, and it was a beauty. I like the fact that it bears only a slight resemblance to the actual attraction. The artist's version shows pointy nosed rockets and cool looking fins that were absent on the real vehicles. One interesting variant of this poster (sold at auction years ago) simply said "Jets".

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Monorail Gliding Redly, 1961

Deja Vu! That mysterious feeling that you experienced something before. (By the way, "redly" is a real adverb! Who knew).

Remember the photos of the yellow Monorail from a few weeks ago? The same photographer took these three pictures of the red Monorail from the same location (the Disneyland Hotel station). And guess what? There are even more pictures of this futuristic train to come. This guy was just KArazee about them Monorails!

The details aren't that different from the previous photos. However, notice those boxes underneath the track? They are full of 1955 castmember badges, waiting to be melted down into ash trays.

I dig seeing the Santa Fe logo on the train of the future. I wonder how Alweg felt about that development? Well, looks like my train is here, I'm going to take it to

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kaiser Hall of Aluminum Fame (and post #600)

Hi Folks - here is another repost, in an attempt to stop bots that are commenting on this particular post at the rate of several hundred times a day. I've found that if I delete the original post and then republish it, the spam stops. Of course I then lose the original comments from readers, so I have copied them and will append them to the text. Now you know!

Welcome to my 600th post, everybody!

In honor of this momentous occasion, here are two very rare slides taken inside the oddly-named Kaiser "Hall of Aluminum Fame". This was one of a number of sponsored exhibits in Tomorrowland - - basically an entertaining commercial for the lightweight wonder metal. In order to get into the exhibit rotunda, guests walked through the 40 foot long aluminum telescope (I seem to remember reading that Monsanto's "Mighty Microscope" was built in the same spot years later). 

What we see in this photo is a group of people checking out the "time sphere". I assume that it used a two-way mirror effect, and (according to the souvenir booklet) people would see an "ancient knight, today's firefighter and spaceman of the future telling of the advantages of aluminum". I wonder if a script - or even recordings - of that original spiel exist in Disney's archives?

Here's a detail... look in the background, there's KAP, the Kaiser Aluminum Pig! There must have been several figures of Kap throughout the exhibit. It looks like his display might have read "aluminum won the war", or something to that effect. Kap looks like he's sitting in a - - biplane? Quoting the souvenir booklet again, "You and Kap Pig put aluminum on its mettle in a series of tests and demonstrations of the advantageous properties of this wonder metal." Raise your hand if you would like to have an original KAP figure. Anyone? The Kaiser folks need to bring KAP back, sell toys and other merchandise with his likeness.

Below is a second photo, with a similar view. What I wouldn't give to be able to see more of the displays in the background!

Is this Anubis, the jackal-headed god of the dead? Back in the days of ancient Egypt, all of the best mummies were wrapped in lightweight, recyclable aluminum foil - - It kept them fresher, and made for easy reheating. And you could clean up in a jiffy! The Hall of Aluminum Fame closed in July, 1960... gone, but not forgotten! 

I didn't think that I would EVER do 600 posts when I started this blog! It's been a lot of work (but fun) and the comments that many of you leave are what keep me going. I learn new things all the time, and of course it is always nice to know when folks are enjoying my efforts. So thanks to those of you who take the trouble to chime in.

On a side note, I have not missed a day since Thanksgiving, and so I will be taking a couple of days off. See you all real soon!
Here are the original comments!

Progressland said...
Congratulations on your milestone! These photos are outstanding for their rarity and especially interesting because of the reflection of the Guests. They look hypnotized! It seems very possible the display could have said "aluminum won the war," given Henry J. Kaiser's efforts in that regard. That spiel you reference does still exist!

Davelandweb said...
Wow! After a rare post like that, you definitely deserve some time off! Excellent shots into an exhibit that is hardly seen or remembered. Thanks for all the great work, Major,

Congratulations on 600 Major, all have been appreciated to the MAX. It has definitely been a "E Coupon" ride. Looking forward to 600 more. These pictures from Kaiser are fantastic. Thanks.

Anonymous said...
Congrats on the 600 posts! I have read and enjoyed them all! I started reading a year or so? ago, and have gone back and read thru the older ones, and now I read daily (along with the posts from your fellow bloggers)- yes, even on the weekends (especially on the weekends, cuz more time to admire the pics). Thanks for taking the time to bring these to us readers! B in Orange

Congrats on 600 posts! Dang, I'm just about to hit 100 and I thought that was a lot! My hand is up for that PIG, I've only seen drawings of it, now that I've seen a picture of it, I want it!

These pictures are so amazing I will have to study them all day, so much for work today!

Thanks and Congrats, have a nice break, we'll be waiting patiently for your return!

Hearty congratulations, Major!

600 posts is truly amazing.

Thanks for sharing theimage of the Kaiser Hall of Fame. As you are aware, there aren't many shots from the inside of older Disneyland attractions.

Chris Jepsen said...
Progressland: Okay,... WHERE does the Kaiser speil still exist? It needs to be in the Disneyland folder on my MP3 player.

Major: Thanks for the first 600! I'm looking forward to many more! But enjoy your break from it.

Fred Cline said...
I don't care about aluminum. Show me something else.

jedblau said...
Post of the month! Thanks so much for these amazing images!

mr wiggins said...
Congratulations on 600 -- next stop, 1000! 

You don't know how much your work is appreciated.

Merlinsguy said...
Give me a G! Give me an O! Give me an R! Give me an I! Give me and...oh you get the point. 

We all love your blog.

Magical Hotel said...
I linked your site to my new blog

Kevin Kidney said...
Major, this is wonderful!
You've inspired my blog's post this week...

Thanks for all the work you do to keep this going. It has been a great source of fun and brought back many memories.

Dan Goodsell said...
what a great post to hit 600 on. I have always wanted to see the KAP and you deliver that classic tantilizing peek.

Also I am thinking that is a Wolf there in the background as in the Big Bad Wolf who is giving KAP a hard time possibly about some building.

Thanks for all of your nice comments, folks. And yes, maybe that IS the big bad wolf!!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Matterhorn and More, July 1961

I would like to climb the Matterhorn someday... the Disneyland version that is. Imagine the view from the peak! The next Disney suite should be at the top of the concrete mountain. In this photo we can see two intrepid climbers descending, they are lucky to be alive. There were three of them on the way up, but they had to eat the other guy during a freak snow storm. It's tragic, but the will to survive is something to be admired. Watch out - - those survivors now have a preference for human flesh!

This photo is a favorite in spite of its blurriness... the sight of the family of ducks (complete with fluffy ducklings) relaxing on the backs of the crocodiles is a wonderful one. Just keep on laughing while those crocs are munching on you, why dontcha!

When they're walking on the ground, a group of Dumbii are known as a herd. When they fly, they are a flock! A flock that you don't want to be under for any reason.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Yet More Stuff from July, 1961

You may have noticed that I often use my saturday and sunday posts as an excuse to do a little "house cleaning", posting scans that might not be the most exciting in the world... but hopefully still nice enough that you were still glad you visited the blog! Today I am taking care of four slides from that large batch, circa July 1961.

Here's the E.P. Ripley, hauling those original yellow passenger cars. It's 4:15! Thanks, Timex clock.

It's the stockade, portal to all things fronitier-ish. There's a frame on one of the gates, I've never seen an attraction poster in it, although that's what it appears to be for...

Looks like it was a perfect July day when these photos were taken. The crowds aren't too bad, considering. There's the Surrey, and you can see an airplane overhead in the upper left (the plane required 20 "E tickets").

And lastly, it's the horse-drawn streetcar with a full load of passengers. Including kids with their souvenir hats and Mickey-shaped balloons.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Your Motives are Loco

Today let's enjoy three photos of the fabulous full-sized steam locomotives at Knott's Berry Farm.

This first picture is from 1960... I'm guessing that the sun is setting and not rising (which way is west?). Old number 41 (the "Red Cliff") looks magnifico! Who doesn't love an old train? If you could only look out of frame to the left, you would see the Calico Mine Train mountain under construction (though nearly finished). Which, in fact, our photographer took a picture of! You'll have to wait for that one though. Always leave them wanting more, that's what I say.

Now it's 1967, and we have a portrait of engine #40, the "Green River". One of the things that has always amazed me about Knott's trains is the way the track cuts right through the park. You could cross the tracks all the time. Wasn't that dangerous? I don't believe that Knott's ever had any sort of depot like Disneyland... let's hear it from the experts!

If only this was a stereo slide! Even in 2-D the train looks like it's going to leap off the computer screen. Get out of the way!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Pair from 1967

Perhaps, like me, you've reached a moment in your life when you become aware of a certain emptiness, an ache and a longing for something. Slowly it began to dawn on me that the only thing that can alleviate those feelings is by owning more woolens! Yes, I long for those itchy wool sweaters of yesterday, and the smell of damp wool coats in the closet in winter. Need a "49er jacket"? Just head on over to the Pendleton shop at Disneyland.

I am interested in the benches shaded by a leafy bower, how long were those at Disneyland? And what's that nun doing there? Also, why is that upstair awning missing from the Golden Horseshoe?

The Disneyland Fire Department has to be one of the sleepiest fire departments in the world. How often have they been called upon to extinguish a blaze? They don't even get to rescue cats from trees (because, unknown to most guests, animatronic Abe can do that in a jiffy). The DL fire department is jealous of the Maytag repair man!

There is some scaffolding visible over that fence, I wonder if it was used for regular paint maintenance?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Indian Dancers, December 1960

If you had any idea how many vintage photos I have of the Indian Dance Circle - - it's crazy. I don't even know what to do with them all. I keep finding more. Remember that scene in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", where Mickey is beseiged by brooms? Well, that doesn't have anything to do with anything. Why are you thinking about that movie? Anyway, one way or another you're gonna be seeing a lot of dancing Indians. Forgive me.

First picture: the last rays of sunlight dimly illuminate the Indian Village. A meager crowd, unafraid of the zombies who will soon emerge from the darkness, await the final display of tribal dancing.

My mom taught me to never run with scissors, and I'm pretty sure she wouldn't be too thrilled about dancing with a bow, either. Those children in matching blue coats at the foot of the "stage" are watching with mute horror.

Let the wild rumpus begin!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mono & More

It's a "twofer" Tuesday!

This first image is from a tiny slide, roughly 3/4" by 1/2" (but still in a standard 2" by 2" cardboard mount). It was undated, and I have labeled it as being from the 70's, although it could be from the late 60's as well. I always thought it was exciting when the Monorail would swoop past above our heads, looking graceful and cool. The idea of a working monorail system in a real city setting has become something of a joke (thanks, Simpsons!), but I can't help thinking that it would still be a cool solution to some of our commuting problems.

One more thing, notice the Douglas "Flight to the Moon" poster on the 3rd pylon!

Here's a nice overview of the Sub lagoon and Monorail station. Hey, what's that guy doing up on the roof? Somebody call the cops - - terminate him with extreme prejudice! I miss being able to see views like this for myself... little details are visible that you might not see from any other angle. Note the resevoir above the Sub's waterfalls; who wouldn't want to swim in that! It's hard to see at this resolution, but the Sub load area has several Frontierland attraction posters on display, which seems like an odd choice. Also notice the mystery box at the end of that pier, similar to an earlier version that eventually vanished (see this post).

Monday, February 18, 2008

"Up, Up, and Away..." with TWA

Speedy the intern returns today with two beautiful images for you, featuring the TWA Rocket to the Moon.

Here's a fantastic photo circa 1957, and yes, there is the thrilling rocket, poised to leap into outer space as soon as that shiny red button up in the cockpit is pressed. Speedy asked me to Photoshop out that Skyway cable, but I gently reminded him that it wouldn't be kosher to do that. It's OK Speedy, we understand! Meanwhile, I love the 50's families below, especially the girl in her floucy skirt. We also see the shades over Hobbyland, where so many rare Disneyland treasures were sold.

Almost as interesting is the view outside the park. Anaheim really was still farm community back then, see for yourself.

Next up, Speedy wanted to share this spectacular travel poster from TWA. If you can't have one of the original silkscreened attraction posters of the rocket, than this is the next best thing. It is a lithograph, although the bright pink/red on the rocket and the yellow lettering both look silkscreened on if you ask me. Check out the inaccurate depictions of the castle and train station...artistic license, or was the poster produced before those buildings had actually been built? The rocket itself was certainly portrayed accurately. Meanwhile, up in the eye-popping sky, we see a classic four engine, propeller-driven Lockheed Constellation with its distinctive triple tail. Introduced in 1943, it was an extremely popular aircraft, but jets eventually made it obsolete. The "Connie" still has legions of fans around the world.

Great job, Speedy! At this rate, it won't be long until your promoted to vice president of Gorilla Industries.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday Mash-up

Happy sunday, everyone. Let's all look at a few random pictures of Disneyland, shall we? If I call them a "mash-up", it makes my blog seem hip and cool!

First up is a photo of the Skyway station in Tomorrowland. I posted this image before, way back when I had my first crummy scanner. When I tried rescanning it to see if there was much of an improvement, the answer was a resounding "Si!". Since so much of the image was empty sky, I cropped it just so. Someone out there once asked if I had a full-frontal all nude image of the Richfield eagle, and this one is a pretty good (if candid) view.

There's nothing that says "the world of tomorrow" more than a marching band, with the colorful uniforms and gleaming brass. They don't let obstacles affect them, note how they slip around the trash can and sanitation cart like a river passes around a rock. The TWA logo is gone from the Rocket to the Moon, you might have noticed.

And lastly, but not leastly, it's that wacky barrel bridge again. Look at the size of those pontoons! No no, I really mean the pontoons. They're big. There's some construction going on in the background, apparently the suspension bridge needs work.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

City Hall and the Fire Station, 1956

The sun is low in the West, and the shadows are stretching further and further across Main Street in this 1956 photo. Back in those days, sunset meant that a lot of people headed home. Crazy, but true. The Surrey is in the foreground, and there's City Hall. Please don't try to fight it! In the distance, the Fire Station...

...upon closer examination, there appears to be a figure of Smokey the Bear, and a mysterious dalmatian (um, "Sparky the Spastic Firedog"?) wearing a suit and a fire helmet. This is just weird! But oddly familiar, I wonder if one of my fellow bloggers had a picture of the same thing at some time? There are also (I think) a few firefighters keeping watch over things, or goofing off!

Friday, February 15, 2008

"I Hear Those Things Are Awfully Loud...."

"It glides as softly as a cloud!"

It's hard not to think of the classic "Monorail" Simpsons episode when I see pictures of Disneyland's attraction. The guy who took these two photos was fascinated, since I have at least eight more photos of the Monorail from this location alone. Do you care enough to see them all? Whichever the case, you will see a lot of photos from this 1961 lot, there were around 200 Disneyland slides in the bunch. Stay tuned.

Anyway, here it comes, that funny looking one-legged train. And it's yeller...YELLER!

It's close enough to throw your chewing gum into one of those open windows. I double-dog dare you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tom Sawyer Island Bridges, August 1958

The designers of Tom Sawyer Island knew that a rickety bridge or two would add a whole lot of fun and visual interest to this land within a land.

Here's the suspension bridge, see how popular it is? Adults are obviously enjoying the experience as much as the kids. I can almost feel the swaying, the vibration of dozens of other footsteps, and the sound of laughter. Look at the hillside beneath the bridge...are those some kind of rustic steps for gardeners and other maintanance people to use?

Early photos of this floating barrel bridge amaze me, mostly because there is nothing to prevent people from falling through those wide-open sides. It HAD to have happened, seriously. Kids being kids (and adults being just as clumsy)...

Apparently mom decided she would be happier on solid ground, so she took one picture through the foliage. Notice how wet the wooden planks of the bridge are...I've seen more than a few kids jumping up and down on the bridge trying to make as much splashing as possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Jungleland, part deux

If you ever passed through Thousand Oaks back in the 50's and 60's, there were so many sights to see. Sheep! Cows! And lots of rolling hills covered in (what else) oak trees. But there was Jungleland too! I posted a few photos before, take a look at those if you want.

Here's something you don't see every day! A heffalump standing on two legs. What's the big deal, I do that all the time. This picture really brings back those faint memories that I have when I visited Jungleland as a child. Here's a specific odd the rare and exotic animals entertained us in the caged arena, I found myself entranced by a squirrel running back and forth along a wire overhead. Kids!

This lucky lad is someone we've seen before at Knott's, Disneyland, and Santa's Village, although he is a bit younger here. I'm pretty sure that the big cats did their thing in this cage, and have no doubt that if you got nice and close, one of them could have reached through the bars and taken your head off. Now that's entertainment!

While you can't see much of Jungleland itself in these final photos, you can still sense the kind of place it was. Kids could burn off some energy playing on some of these simple rides under the shade of oak trees. Some of those trees are certainly still there, I drive by the former location of Jungleland fairly often, since my folks live in Thousand Oaks. Now it's a performing arts center with a neighboring shopping mall.

What is that critter in the cage, a hyena? Anyway, dad finally makes it into the picture...he must have been quite the amateur photographer, preferring larger-format slides. I feel a fondness for this family, having seen them in so many slides, looking for all the world like the ideal California family!

And finally, there doesn't seem to be much Jungleland stuff out there, but I do have this fun pennant, probably from the 50's.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Space Station X-1 poster

Today I am showing off one of my favorite attraction posters of all time...Space Station X-1! Not only is it a fantastic 50's design, but the attraction itself is mostly forgotten. And, since I am very immature, it is not hard for me to imagine being that kid with the silly helmet; mom and dad have somehow managed to get tickets aboard the new space station, and this is our first view from orbit, looking down on the southwestern edge of the U.S. (with a bit of Mexico for good measure). I think I can see our house!

The poster has a bit of wear on the lower left edge, but it doesn't bother me. I've posted a large jpeg for you, so prepare yourself!

Back in June 2006, Matterhorn1959 (of the "Stuff From the Park" blog) posted a photo that amazed me, a picture showing a variation of the X-1 poster that I had never heard of before. He was generous enough to send me a nice jpeg of his photo and allowed me to show it again here (thank you, Matterhorn!).

In 1958, the attraction's name was changed to "Satellite View of America". Maybe "Space Station X-1" was too vague to entice guests to come inside? Seems hard to believe. Whatever the reasoning was, new posters were created. I grabbed the image of the poster and attempted to adjust it as much as possible, correcting the perspective. As you can see, the entire upper right is now a black semi-circle with the new name of the attraction in bright yellow letters (the purplish, wavy shape is a reflection off of the plexi that protected the poster while it was on display). It's super rare, and I have never seen one of these for sale. I would flip if I could find one, but am very happy to own the original "X-1" version!

Many thanks to Matterhorn1959 for sharing his great image!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Subs, 1960 & 61

Submitted for your approval...feast your eyes on this nice photo looking down on load building for the Submarine Voyage and the Monorail (from a stereo slide, as is the second image). I love the saturated colors! In the distance, you can see Tomorrowland Station; were plans ever made for a more elaborate station than the one that we wound up with? It resembles a car port when you compare it to Frontierland Station. Out on one of the docks of the sub lagoon, in the shadows, you can see the covered enclosure where I believe that the mermaids changed. There even appears to be towels waiting.

A year later, that enclosure is gone. Probably by then the cast members changed into their mermaid costumes out in the open for all to see because in those enlightened days the sight of unclothed ladies incited no comment. You can see a little platform there too, presumably for divers who maintained the lagoon.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Somethin' for Sunday

From the 120th floor of Gorilla Industries headquarters, we've let Speedy, our newest intern, choose a smorgasbord of wonderfulness for you today! He's selected four pictures from the 1950's.

Where exactly is Main Street in Disneyland? I must have missed it somehow. Maybe it used to be next to the Ferris Wheel. I'm guessing that it was removed years ago and replaced with a thrill ride? This slide was undated, but is probably from around 1957/58.

Hooray for the Rocket to the Moon! Here's a nice closeup, it really gives a sense of scale. I also like looking at the crowd milling about...I'm sure none of them imagined that strangers would be seeing them in a photo 50 years later.

And finally, Speedy loves looking at pictures of the Castle, no matter how many he has seen before. So here is one from a stereo slide, circa 1957. Nice activity as crowds of adults (and one lone child) walk towards the castle to enter Fantasyland, or perhaps to pause to buy an ice cream sandwich from the vendor.

Here's one more, a nice detail of the front. I would love to be able to go up into the castle and view the park from one of the towers. We've all heard about the basketball half-court that's inside the Matterhorn, but not many people are aware of the miniature golf course that is located at the top of the castle. Speedy has played it often, and he is a regular Tiger Woods of putt-putt golf.

And finally, by request, here is a closeup of yesterday's photo with the Huckleberry Hound shirt!

Thanks for your help, Speedy....a grateful nation salutes you!