Saturday, May 31, 2008

June 1969

Here's a selection from the summer of '69!

First up is a nice shot of the castle on an apparently breezy day (look at how those banners are billowing!). Are those torches on top of the banners? I don't recall ever seeing a photo with flaming torches in front of the castle, but I'll bet it would look great!

Here's a different kind of castle - - Castle Rock, that is. Looks like fun, huh? Who knew that it would eventually go to theme park heaven. In a little more than a year after this slide was shot, Castle Rock would be crawling with yippies!

Yep, it's Town Square, and the Horse-drawn Streetcar is hauling a full load. Just visible through the streetcar is the Disneyland Band, sitting around the flagpole. The Wurlitzer building (that yellow one right in front of us) - - in fact the whole corner of Main Street - - looks kind of dead, as if a bunch of business had closed. What gives?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Swiss Family Treehouse

I remember when a Swiss family tried to move into the olive tree in my parent's front yard. For about two weeks, my mom had to chase them away with a broom each evening until they finally got the message. Those nutty Swiss!

Disneyland welcomed their Swiss family with open arms when the attraction opened in November 1962. While I'm sure that the construction of the tree itself was a major undertaking (just look at all those leaves!), this is one of those attractions that was simple and encouraged the use of your imagination. It was as if the family had just stepped out for a bit, and you got to snoop around their multi-level home. I can still hear the "Swisskapolka" and the sound of the water splashing (and the sound of people stomping up the steps). Even now I want a treehouse like that!

The ingenious system of waterwheels, pulleys and wooden troughs that brought water to every level of the treehouse always fascinated me; it's like a wet version of "The Tower of the Four Winds", with all of the pinwheels and whirligigs. Did Rollie Crump have a significant role in its design?

Now is as good a time as any to share a photo of my Swiss Family Treehouse attraction poster! This one's a beauty, with its tropical oranges and pinks. Only five colored inks were used (along with the white of the paper), all to a stunning effect.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Knott's Assortment, 1967

I feel lucky to have seen Knott's Berry Farm back in the days when it was still a charming, relatively small park. Pre-"Roaring 20's"! These photos are a bit before my visits, but it still looked a lot like this!

The Stagecoach is all loaded up and ready to go... I wonder if Knott's coaches tipped over like the ones at Disneyland did? Does anybody know how long they ran at the berry farm? Anyway, I love this photo, somehow it captures a feeling of lost Americana. When you think about it, the whole place existed because of Walter Knott's love and fascination with the old west and the pioneers who settled the country 100 years before.

(Chris Merritt and Outsidetheberm pointed out that this photo is flopped, I will fix it tonight - - meanwhile, my apologies!)

Sorry if this photo scared you! I believe that you saw this fellow after you exited the Haunted Shack. The door is propped open here, but I seem to recall that, when I went, the door used to open as you passed and the skeleton would say something to you... a friend of mine slammed the door shut, and I was sure that we were going to get in trouble! I'm not sure why a skeleton needs to be in an outhouse, but maybe that's where he died.

Thanks to the input from informed readers, I now know that this lady playing the calliope is Mae Mennes. I predict that the booping sound of the calliope is going to make a huge comeback (accompanied by barbershop quartet harmonies), all the kids will be into it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Da Fair, 1964

Today we'll take a break from Disneyland and visit the 1964 World's Fair - - again!

Here's a spectacularl shot of the Progressland building, gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight (under a dramatic, stormy looking sky). It must be a chilly autumn day, everyone is wearing a coat . Wouldn't you love to be able to get in line? I especially want to be up on the second level... the "Carousel of Progress" is quite well documented, but I am as curious as can be about the "Skydome Spectacular" that was also part of this exhibit. And I also wish I could see the display of Nuclear Fusion, anything with a 'splosion is OK with me!

Here's another view, this young couple must have just exited the lower-level exhibit ("Medallion City"), and they are enthused about all of the helpful G.E. products that they saw. The guy is saying, "That was bee-yoo-teeful!"

And one more for luck... one of the pavilions that I wish I could have seen (and it didn't involve Walt Disney) is General Motor's legendary "Futurama II" (as opposed to the original Futurama from 1939 - -I want to see that one too!!). I believe that early EPCOT attractions tried to capture the same optimistic feeling about the future that this exhibit displayed. In this photo (taken from the top of one of the towers at the New York pavilion) you can see the massive building, it looks something like a spaceage vehicle, with a saucerlike front to the left, and a gigantic curved fin at the back. Just look at that line!! Yikes. Hours, I would imagine.

After Futurama, let's go over and watch the Helldrivers!! Like I don't see enough of them on Los Angeles freeways.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let's Eat! July 1963

Today's photos were a fun find! They are both terrific shots of the Space Bar in Tomorrowland - - up close and personal! You can really get a sense of what it was like to be there back in those days. Hmmm, everything sounds so good (isn't that always the way when you are hungry?). Chili served with Fritos brand corn chips! Shakes made with Carnation ice cream! Golden brown french fries! And you can wash it all down with your choice of Pepsi OR Coke, or perhaps some Sunkist lemonade.

Here's another view, this time from the opposite end. The people are almost as fun to observe as the Space Bar itself. Check out the kid with the pink shirt and straw (souvenir?) hat! And the guy behind him looks like FBI Director Walter Skinner from "The X Files". The ladies fashions range from skirts that still looks very 1950's to the more sporty styles that emerged in the mid-60's.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Sub Lagoon and Indian Village, January 1960

More goodness from 1959 (the slides are dated January 1960, but they are from a trip in late December 1959). Here's a beautiful shot of the Sub Lagoon, the color of emeralds and aquamarines (with some sapphires thrown in for effect). The Submarine Voyage had to be the most ambitious theme park attraction of its time, and that is saying something considering that the venerable Matterhorn was right next to it. The addition of millions of gallons of water surely made the whole endeavor quite a bit more complicated.

The skies were bluer in 1959! Especially on a lovely winter Southern California day. We see a bunch of Norman Rockwell folks standing on the Columbia, checkin' out the Indian Village; the railroad is just visible through the foliage.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Tom's Treehouse, January 1960

Everybody loves a treehouse! I know I do. The idea of having a home up in the treetops is appealing for so many reasons. Tom Sawyer obviously felt the same way, given his love of the romance of secret hideouts. And our photographer must have concurred, because he took no less than five nearly-identical pictures of the treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island! I decided to only show you two of them.

That's a pretty good-looking man made tree, it must have been good practice for when they later built a much bigger, more spectacular treehouse in Adventureland. Yes, I'm talking about Fred Glutz's Treehouse. Incidentally, tomato red was apparently a very popular color in 1960. And are those two kids entering where that big "Exit" sign is??

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Big River, June 1960

There's a big river in Frontierland. Maybe you've seen it! When you're in the wilderness, a river makes a mighty handy way to get from hither to yon (!), but you need a boat. Or two.

Or three! Here's two Keelboats and the Columbia - - and they're all just sittin' there. What the heck! And these slides are dated June - - peak season! No doubt the Mark Twain was still running...

One of the rafts is loading up to return to the mainland after those kids managed to burn off some energy while exploring Tom Sawyer Island! It always amazes me how empty the west side of Frontierland was back then. Over the treetops you can see the top of the Holidayland tent.

See? I told you the Twain was still running. There's the brave riverboat pilot up in the wheelhouse. He has memorized hundreds of miles of untamed river, so that even at night he knows the position of every bend, every island, every snag and sandbar. But nobody can bring themselves to tell him that his fly is unzipped.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Two From October 1963

Here's an interesting view of some Native American totem poles, located in the Indian Village. I don't know if I've ever noticed these in photos before, and thought that the Indian tribes that were represented at Disneyland tended to be from the Southwest. But I guess that there is no reason why they couldn't have a tip of the hat to the people of the Pacific Northwest!

Look at this... no line at all for the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland! Sure, the ride was a "people eater", and the photo WAS taken when all of the kids were back in school. But even so! I'd ride it, get off, and get right back on again, over and over.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Let's All Go To The Fair!

Time for a little side trip to 1964, Flushing Meadows, New Yawk.

Arg, I say, ARG! I wanna go to this fair! My time machine was almost ready, but you know those little loopy things, the things with the wires? Those dealy-bops, you know? I forget what they're called. Well, OSH doesn't sell 'em. And without them, I'm screwed. Time for plan B!

Meanwhile, these slides will just have to do. Here we see Britney Spears on the upper level of the entrance to It's A Small World. Her backup dancers are sadly out of step, but the girl still knows how to put on a show!

I generally stick to Disney-related stuff from the Fair, but I'm going to break that tradition! This photo shows the "floating wing" design of the Bell Systems pavilion. "FROM TOM-TOM TO TELSTAR. The visitor, sitting in a moving armchair fitted with stereo earphones, sees filmed and three-dimensional scenes that include primitive signaling by drums, the development of the alphabet, the advent of the telephone and a communications satellite orbiting in space." Sounds like fun! And it certainly sounds like the kind of thing that Disney would have done - - and in some details they actually did do it at the park!

In this photo taken from the top of the Better Living Center, you can see the Bell building again, with the Continental Insurance building just offscreen to our left. Just past that is the stroller rental (sorry, Daveland!), and behind the trees in the Rheingold restaurant with a "little old New York" theme.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Rocket to the Moon

Zowie! I don't know about you, but I think that this is a pretty darn nice portrait of the fabulous TWA Rocket to the Moon! It's undated, but I am guessing that it is from around 1956, give or take a year. The rocket was supposed to be a scaled-down representation of what a REAL moon rocket might look like. Can you imagine if this were twice as tall? Of course it would have been completely overwhelming for Tomorrowland, this version looks just right.

Folks in the foreground are eating their burgers in the meager shade provided by what looks like Martian playground equipment. Maybe they got their food at the short-lived Dairy Bar? I believe that might have been just to our right, out of frame - - depending on when this picture was taken. Otherwise they could have gone to the venerable Space Bar. Why were all of the restaurants in Tomorrowland called "bars", anyway?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Monorail & Main Street, October 1963

Here's a super image of Tomorrowland from October 1963, with lots of stuff going on over our heads. Monorail Blue is comin' atcha! It's just passing the Yacht Bar, and the Matterhorn looks dramatic and huge in the background. If you look closely at the Skyway bucket closest to us, you can see two kids peering down to our right, enjoying the view of the Submarine Lagoon (or maybe they are watching their penny fall into the water).

The sun is setting early by now since it is autumn... if the clock on the train station is to be believed, it is only 4:10. A few shoppers are about, but Main Street looks relatively empty. Not a balloon vendor, vehicle, or costumed character to be seen! It's kind eerie, actually...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Blue Viewliner, 1957

Who loves them some Viewliner? Whee-doggies! Then this one is for you. And it's not just a Viewliner, but the rare and extremely camera-shy blue version. Sorry it's a bit blurry... much like taking photos of Bigfoot, trying to capture a Viewliner on the move is tricky business. (Who would like to see my photos of Bigfoot?)

Meanwhile the Skyway heads over Snow Mountain or whatever the heck it was called. Maybe Progressland (Mr. Nomenclature!) can settle this one, since I've mentioned before that it is alternately called Snow Mountain, Snow Hill, and Holiday Hill. Help! Anyway, the hill looks pretty much like what it actually was: a pile of dirt leftover from the various earthmoving projects elsewhere in the park. They put a few trees on it, but you can't fool me!

Also from Tomorrowland, here's a whirlybird headed in for a landing. Wait, it's headed right for us! A giant flying Cuisinart. Oh, the humanity! I can hardly imagine how cool it would have been to arrive at LAX, and then hop on a helicopter to be whisked over the crowded freeways. You'd get a fantastic view all the way (I'd have used up my film by then), and best of all, an aerial view of the park that you were about to enjoy. Whoo hoo!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

2 From Tomorrowland, December 1965

Here's a couple of so-so images from 1965! Hey, they can't all be winners, can they?

The House o' the Future is a classic Disneyland icon that many people still remember fondly. Not me! I guess I *could* have seen it when I was very young, but I don't think I ever did. What nobody mentions is the remarkable way this house was installed! Listen: A man from the Monsanto corporation showed up with a tiny capsule, looking like something that you might take if you had a cold. He placed it on the ground, put a drop of water on it, and headed for ze hills! Within seconds there stood a gleaming white plastic structure; the eighth wonder of the world. It's all true, so help me jebus.

This slide was dark and murky. Well, it still IS dark and murky, and that's after a considerable dose of Photoshop. But I like the shot of the Disneyland Band marching through some corner of Tomorrowland. I'm not exactly sure where this is though! The undulating roof above us, the futuristic signpost...hmmm. Maybe this was taken from the entrance to "America the Beautiful"? There's the Avenue of Flags, which is right by the entrance. Oh, I give up!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Souvenir Saturday, and "By Special Request"

The Land of Tomorrow...! Has a nice ring to it. There was a time when people seemed to look forward to a better tomorrow. Or is that just the old "rose colored lenses" phenomenon? I believe that Walt Disney certainly believed in a bright future, at any rate. This photo is from a souvenir slide that turned a lurid magenta that was not restorable. To me, at any rate! If you think you can do something with the original scan, feel free to speak up. Anyway, even in its sepia-toned state, it looks pretty great.

And, as I promised long ago (and promptly forgot), here is a larger version of my image from last April first. It holds up better than I expected (less so in some places, though...) combining some 30 images (the original, plus 29 "gotchas"). I would have added more, but I ran out of time... so, no Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean references. Rats!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tomorrowland, July 1963

Let's all hear it for Tomorrowland! My favorite land of all, at least it used to be. I'm not sure where this photo was taken from, perhaps the upper level of the Monorail loading area? Anyway, we get a great view of the Autopia. I've seen lots of pictures where there are hardly any children, but that's certainly not the case here! Is that the dreaded center rail I see? Or is it just some modification so that kids wouldn't kill somebody when they arrived back at the loading area?

OK, I'm pretty sure that this photo was taken from that upper level that I mentioned earlier! This is a great view showing the Rocket Jets and the Douglas-sponsored "Flight to the Moon". The interior entryway to the rocket attraction is now painted an interesting red, perhaps in an attempt to be a bit more inviting. I wish I had zoomed in on that yellow and white wall to the left, there are people just beyond it. Are they eating? Is it the line for the Skyway? Do those people have hopes and dreams and fears? I did, however, zoom in one one detail...

Pancakes? Don't mind if I do! In older photos I've seen a sign for a Hotel (or maybe it says "Motel", it's kind of indistinct). But at some point it became a restaurant. Sure, you could go have flapjacks with Aunt Jemima, but now you had options.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

DUN dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun....

Major Pepperidge (that's me) apologizes to all of you who have seen enough pictures of the Indian Dance Circle to last 1000 years. But I had to do something with all of these slides. You've gotta believe me, I didn't want to do it! They are OK as photos go, but how much else is there to say?

These guys should sue the Whammo company, since the Hula Hoop had obviously been around for many years before 50's America found out about them.

This trick is isn't as easy as it looks, because our dancer is actually hovering for up to 3 minutes at a time. Rumor has it that David Blaine got his idea from Disneyland.

Now the whole crew takes the floor in a brilliant display of feathers and shiny bells. I'd imagine that everybody who worked this attraction stayed in great shape! Better than Jazzercise, and that's saying something.

Little Bear is dressed like an eagle again. It's just a phase.

Again with the hoops?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


It was just a coincidence, but I had planned on posting these images for about a week. But Daveland posted his own amazing images yesterday, so it's a nice tie-in!

My Viewmaster collection doesn't get much love these days, since my obsessive desire to get every variation available has abated. Somewhat. I did manage to get many very rare packets, but there are still a few that continue to elude me! Anyway, I had scanned these images from the first Tomorrowland packet (which has an entire reel devoted to the 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea walk-thru attraction) a long time ago, and forgot to post 'em. So here you go!

Here's Captain Nemo's distinctive pipe organ. Whoever came up with the idea of the organ's pipes arranged in that fan shape was a genius! When nobody was around, old Nemo liked to come down and play "Polly Wolly Doodle" and "Beautiful Dreamer". He wasn't always surly! Most of you know that this organ survives (minus those pipes) in the Haunted Mansion.

When Cap'n Nemo had to write home to mom, he did it here. "My underwear made from seaweed has left me terribly chafed, mama". One of my favorite scenes from the book. Those books are for show, he hasn't read a single one of them, the big showoff! His sea chest had many well-worn issues of "Mad" magazine, and that's nothing to be ashamed of.

The GIANT SQUID! There aren't too many color images of this famous guy, who is well-remembered by anybody lucky enough to have experienced this attraction. I, unfortunately, never saw it. I think I see wires in this picture, probably the ones that made the tentacles flop up and down menacingly. Is it possible that the squid just wanted to be friends? Poor squiddy.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

July 1960, Jungle Cruise and Tomorrowland

For the third day in a row we are traveling back to 1960! July, that is. First up is a shot of the loading dock for the wonderful Jungle Cruise. A castmember is carefully helping grandma into the "Irrawaddi Woman"... has anybody ever fallen into piranha-infested waters? Inquiring minds want to know. Notice the two boys who are looking on, one of them is wearing pants that still bear the creases of the suitcase that they were stored in. But he looks pretty sharp by today's standards! We can also see the back cover of one man's souvenir guidebook.

Now we get a lovely shot of the Matterhorn and Tomorrowland, taken from the Skyway. If you look carefully you can see a red bobsled way up high on the side of the mountain. The lines for the Matterhorn are long indeed, so long that they almost merge with the line for the Submarine Voyage. But, I've seen worse! Meanwhile the line at the Yacht Bar is short, this would be a good time to grab a quick burger or ice cream bar.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two from June 1960

For some reason I have a LOT of slides from 1960, that must have been some sort of peak year for Disneyland attendance. Or at least Disneyland picture-taking. The opening of the fabulous Matterhorn Bobsleds probably had more than a little to do with the increase. Walt Disney knew something about publicity, and there can't have been too many people who weren't aware of this unique attraction. And the Matterhorn added some welcome thrills to the formerly coasterless park. Here's a neat view as one bobsled is just underway, heading towards the first tunnel into the mountain. Note the mirror image track just on the other side of that stone partition... I've always considered the two track idea to be a stroke of genius! If this picture doesn't make you wish you were on this attraction right now, I don't know what does.

From the same day, here's a familiar view full of color - - and people. The Skyway's wires heading towards the Chalet add a bit of dramatic perspective, and folks to our left are probably watching multiple flying Dumbos, while others rest their weary feet in front of the Pirate Ship.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Fantasyland & Main Street, July 1960

Here's a nice picture taken in Fantasyland, and while it doesn't show any rare signage or unusual details, it has a nice "you are there" feeling. The crowds, the bright colors, the souvenir booth (it must have something that is worth hundreds today!), and yes, even that darn Pirate Ship all take me right back to July 1960. I wasn't even a twinkle in my mother's eye!! Notice the souvenir map on display against that red wall to the right.

It must be a typical July day, and that means it's HOT. As is evidenced by the line out the door of the Coca Cola Refreshment Corner. The photographer took a self-portait in the window next to the two gentlemen who are already enjoying their cups of fizzy stuff. The forced perspective is pretty noticeable here, if you happen to be upstairs, you'd have to be about three feet tall to look out those windows!