Monday, June 30, 2008

Rainbow Ridge, December 1959

I have lots and lots of slides taken from the Mark Twain from many journeys around the Rivers of America. The Columbia? Not so many. As far as I can tell, anyway. But here is one view that, at first glance, appears to be nothin' special. But wait! There's a little construction wall blocking that walkway near the center of the picture. And by gum, Rainbow Ridge is undergoing some kind of major construction. I know that you don't want to take a closer look, but I'm going to do it anyway.

Zooooom! That's the sound that's made when we zoom in, see? Let's look for some familiar buildings. You can see the distinctive "flat-than-round-than-flat-again" roof of the hardware store (down low), and further to our right is the El Dorado Hotel ("flat-than-pointy-than-flat"!). Looks like there is no Assay Office or Opera House yet, and I believe that the buildings being framed to the left are ones that were more visible from the Pack Mule loading area, such as the Pioneer Hotel, the Horse Shoe Cafe, and the Gold Nugget Saloon.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sunday stuff

Here's a random assortment for you on this fine Sunday.

I guess our Skyway-riding photographer was aiming at the blue Monorail in the distance... only three cars long in this late 1959 photo (it is dated January 1960, but is actually from December 1959). Look at the line for the shiny new Matterhorn! I have to admit that I've seen worse. There's that ride, the one that goes underwater. Something something... something. I forget. And there's the Fantasyland Autopia, which by definition can't ever be as cool as the Tomorrowland version. Sorry Charlie!

This is kind of a pretty portrait of the Matterhorn. Was it taken near the Snow White Wishing Well? I can't quite get my bearings. Anyway, it's unusual to see the mountain without any other buildings in view.

And finally, here's a slide that I already posted once before. But faithful reader "Mr. Wiggins" decided to try his hand at doing an improved restoration, and his results speak for themselves. It looks way better! The color is more natural, and he has managed to lighten up some of those dark areas without letting the film grain take over. Thanks, Mr. Wiggins! We'll have a few more slides that he has worked his magic on in the future.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Main Street & Jungle Cruise, October 1963

Ah, the Crystal Arcade! When I think of the many many (P.S., many) hours I spent in there, weeping uncontrollably. Good times....

Actually, I'm not even sure what's inside the Crystal Arcade. Ancient crystal skulls of possible alien origin? Healing crystals for hippies? Flavor crystals? Or is the place just full of stuff? Plush toys, antenna toppers, lightup thingamabobs, keychains, and the like? It looks like dad means business, he has his briefcase with him. "Honestly, Roger, can't you leave your work at home?".

One Jungle Cruise boat has returned from its trip through the exotic tropical rivers of the world, only a few victims were lost along the way. There's a few more boats tht appear to be out of commission, while the boat that we are presumably going to ride in is to our right. Looks like a slow day in Adventureland... but it is October, after all. The kids are in school, and devil worshippers are busy getting ready for Halloween. That doesn't leave too many others!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Two From June 1958 (and one extra)

Today, Speedy the intern picked out three images for you.

First up is this interesting angle looking at a bridge that passed over a waterway that I believe has been long covered-up. The bridge took you to the Plantation House to our right, and the waterway was actually a continuation of the Jungle Cruise rivers. That's right, a crocodile might very well be hiding down there, still waiting for a hand out. As you can see, there was also a loading area for the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, and even storage for unused rafts. All of this was paved over (though I am pretty sure that the water still runs through a tunnel) when New Orleans Square was added.

I've always liked this mysterious temple from the Jungle Cruise, seen here guarded by a swaying king cobra and a giant spider. Not to mention a couple of crocs in the water, you can just see their serrated backs in the water.

I thought I'd throw in this early souvenir slide as an added bonus. I believe that the photo is from 1955 or '56, and you can see that the animals hadn't been hired as guards yet. There are no gleaming jewels surrounding the golden idol either, though they were added later. And notice those mangey monkeys who have taken over the place... they didn't stay too long!

Speedy was feeling blue because he got a bad haircut, but I'm sure he feels better now. Thanks Speedy!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Three More from June 1969

I'm back with three miscellaneous photos from June, 1969! Starting with this nice shot in Tomorrowland, showing the complex series of Monorail beamways, Peoplemover ramps, and Autopia overpasses that crisscrossed over the Sub Lagoon. There's a Peoplemover now, in a lovely shade of 1960's aqua (or is it a 1950's aqua?).

I'm not entirely sure where this photo was taken, but those colored lights overhead (in the upper right) were near the Mine Train and Casa de Fritos. I believe the Fritos restaurant is just to our left, mostly out of frame. Some folks are taking rest beneath a shady arbor covered in flowers. Is it Bouganvilla? Having had the misfortune to have to cut back some Bouganvilla, I know that it isn't very people-friendly, what with its inch long thorns. Anyway, this looks like a pleasant place to take a load off of weary feet and do a bit of people watching.

For sheer thrills and and hair-raising fun, there are the speedboats of Storybook Land! You can't tell from the photo, but this boat is moving at about 200 miles an hour. It's a miracle that the Photographer managed to catch it in the frame! Notice the kid in the front with the mouse ears. No, it's not a hat, those are his real ears.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monorail Madness, July 1961

I know, I know... you think you've already seen these three photos of the Monorail. But Major Pepperidge wouldn't do that to you! Instead, these are three nearly identical photos taken on a different day. See how the cars beneath the rail are different from those other pictures?

I never really thought about it, but it looks like the beamway is gently banked for the curves. Does anybody know if that is in fact the case?

I gots to get me a Monorail!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tomorrowland & Exit, December 1965

I just don't seem to get tired of nice shots of the moon rocket, especially when the photo is as nice as this one! Tomorrowland has a very "tinker toy" look about it here, and there is an unusal mix of tropical flowers, palm trees, and conifers. There's the hat bar, where you could order up a steaming plate of hats for lunch. Mmmmm-mmmm! And the flight circle is kinda visible too. Enjoy the view, because all of this would change drastically when the "New Tomorrowland" begins construction the following year.

Before you are allowed to leave Disneyland, you must run the gauntlet around these freaky characters from Alice In Wonderland. It looks sunny, but Alice is wearing a sweater, so it must be kind of chilly. She's looking good though! Her dress is considerably shorter than it was in her movie. But I'm not complaining. Meanwhile, nobody wants to go near the Mad Hatter because he is just freaky.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Two from 1957

It seems like it's been a little while since I've delved back into the 1950's, so I'm glad to be able to present these nice images from '57.

Here's a very nice shot of the Indian Village and Dance Circle as taken from the Mark Twain. There are a lot of spindly saplings! And plenty of nice 1950's families making the scene. The red-and-white striped tent in Holidayland is just visible over the hill. And if you look closely to the left of the tent, you can see a man way up on the hillside! Presumably he was a guest who wanted to see what was on the other side. Was the berm purposely built up extra high here to hide the tent?

It's Monkey Mania again! It's not every day that you see an organ grinder with a monkey, especially a monkey wearing a coonskin cap! The lady in the background looks a little bit wary, and I have to admit that the monkey scares me. Those things can rip your face off in seconds!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Souvenir Sunday - Tomorrowland

It's time to dig into the box of vintage, souvenir Disneyland slides! This first image is so great, showing the Tomorrowland Spaceman and his Space Lady as they wave from the foot of the atomic-powered moon rocket. Souvenir slides were often made with inferior film stocks that had fugitive dyes, and this one was a vivid magenta. But the picture was so great that I thought it still was worth looking at even in sepia tone! By the way, there aren't a ton of photos of the Tomorrowland Space Girl, but it seems that the costume is slightly different in every photo I've seen. Just an observation!

From a slightly more recent batch, here's a great view taken from the top of the Matterhorn, looking down on the Sub lagoon, Autopia, and the Monorail. This one was somewhat restorable, as you can see! The Monorail is in its three-car incarnation, so this is probably from before 1961.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Rivers of America, June 1969

I always like it when I can post photos with a common theme (I mean, besides the fact that most stuff is from Disneyland). And so, today is a hap-hap-happy day for me, and hopefully for you as well. The theme is: "The Rivers of America". That's right, "Rivers", plural. I know it looks like one river, but it's a bunch of them.

The Columbia is scooting past Cascade Peak... it's interesting to look at older images taken from approximately the same location, and see the growth of the trees and other plants along the river. Although it looks more "natural", it probably blocked a lot of nice views as well.

See what I mean? Now that the pesky boat is out of the way, you can really get a good look. The yellow Mine Train is just about to pass beneath Big Thunder Falls.

Now we're looking over towards the loading dock for both the Mark Twain and the Columbia. I like the signage over to the left!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Tomorrowland 1969 and Another Poster!

Today we (that's me and Elvis) have a couple of tasty treats for you. First up is this nice photo of the old "New Tomorrowland", opened just two years before this photo was taken. The photo must have been taken from the Skyway, it's too high to be from the Peoplemover. Anyway, it's an unusual view. To the extreme right you can see part of the multi-level Peoplemover platform with the Rocket Jets on top. Is that a ticket booth just below the "Goodyear" sign? Very cool, whatever it is. Then you can see the Flight to the Moon building with the red Peoplemover cars going overhead. And finally, there's the large "Carousel of Progress" building.

Which brings me to this photo of my scarce "Carousel of Progress" poster! I haven't seen too many of these around. It has a simple graphic look that is slightly different from the posters designed in the 50's, and it shows our narrator and his wife ("Mother!") hangin' in different eras. Mother, in the "good old days", has made an impromptu ironing board out of two chairs and a plank, while wearing her high-necked dress and high-button shoes. The man (is he ever referred to as "Father"?) is reading the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated in his curvy modern chair, while "Progress City" shimmers outside the window. They stare at us with their blunked-out eyes (Lulu Arfin' Nonny - - anyone? anyone?) because they want to eat us. That part of the show was apparently removed prior to its debut.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Indian Dancers, 1956

These photos have given me a great idea for a mid-summer reality show, "Dancin' with the Indians" (or "Native Americans", if you prefer). Each week, a group of annoying contestants (who you would avoid in real life) dance their li'l hearts out in front of three Indian judges. Besides dancing ability, they would be judged based on, "Best use of bells", "Skimpiest costume", and "Personality" (hey, we don't want a jerk to win!).

Of course the show would be missing a lot of the excitement that Disneyland's version had, being right on the Rivers of America, with the Mark Twain splashing past. What are all those do-dads hanging from the poles? I see at least two bright yellow Keppy Kaps, and possibly one white one. No giant ostrich plumes, however.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Matterhorn, June 1969

OOPS, forgot to press the little orange "publish" button this morning! Sorry this is a bit late.

Here are a couple of nice photos of the Matterhorn, taken in 1969. Today's "Fun Fact", Apollo 11 would blast off just a month later and land on our moon, cleverly named "the moon". Or was it really just a hoax? Nope, it really happened. There, that should put an end to that nonsense once an for all!

But I digress. It must have been a chilly year, look at all the snow that has accumulated on the mountain since the early days! The Skybuckets are rectangular, and more roomy. Their cheerful primary colors looked great, although I did love those metal buckets from before.

Now another view from the opposite side, with the lagoon (boiling mysteriously, as always). The waterfalls add so much to this attraction as a visual element, adding movement and sound... the thing is just fun to look at!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Down on the Farm

I hope that two days away from Disneyland won't make you go berserk! But a few pictures from Knott's Berry Farm are always welcome in my book.

In this first image, a group of folks is gathered outside the jail, and I am guessing that "Sad Eyed Joe", the jail's permanent prisoner, just said something pretty funny. Grandma thinks so, anyway!

I love this beautiful photo looking down the main drag of the Ghost Town in the golden afternoon sunlight. The Indian Chief is probably starting to think about clocking out and maybe getting a nice hamburger for dinner (one reader said that he drove a Porche home at night!). The Train is down at the end of the street, just waiting for you to take a ride! That stand of magnificent eucalyptus trees (I can smell 'em now!) really adds to the feel of "old California".

Sorry that this one is kind of dark and murky, but it has a monkey. A MONKEY, do you hear?? And monkey's get automatic priority here on GDB. The organ grinder is wearing a shirt that is as brightly colored as a gypsy wagon. The crowd loves him! That's because of his magic monkey. I was reading about gypsies, also known as the Roma people (not Romanian, though...). They in fact have their origins in India! "The Roma are still thought of as wandering nomads in the popular imagination..." although of course that isn't true these days.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Six Gun City, Jefferson, New Hampshire

I recently found a small bunch of slides from an amusement park in Jefferson, New Hampshire known as "Six Gun City". Even folks in the northeast weren't immune to the western craze sweeping the country! Here are a few highlights.

Six Gun City started life as a dairy farm owned by James and Eleanor Brady. They opened the little park in 1957, which must be around the time these photos were taken. According to the official website history, "When first opened, the Frontier Western Theme Park consisted of a few buildings, of which some were "fronts", an Indian Camp, and a Gift Shop. Visitors were entertained by Cowboy Skits, stagecoach, and pony rides, as well as artifacts on display."

Sounds like the Brady family and the Knott family had a lot in common! This Stage Coach has a "home made" look about it, not quite as fancy as the Disneyland and Knott's versions. But I'm sure it was lots of fun to ride! I love the way you can see that this park was built right in the middle of a small neighborhood. Notice the surrey the background.

Yeehaw! I sure hope they don't run into any unfriendly warring Indians tribes, I reckon these folks won't look so nice with their scalps missing.

Over the years, Six Gun City has expanded into a full-fledged theme park and water park, with roller coasters and other thrills that modern audiences expect. If you're ever in New Hampshire, be sure to check it out! From the looks of things, it still retains much of its 50's charm along its western area.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Storybook Land

From a bunch of undated slides, here are two views of Storybookland. I'll go out on a limb and say that they are from the early 60's, but who knows.

I assume that this was taken from the Skyway, looking down on (among other things) Cinderella's Castle. The "Storybookland" flowered sign is bare, presumably being replanted? And look at all of the undeveloped land in the background, including a bunch of old eucalyptus trees.

Now for a closer look at one of the boats - - "Katrina" to be specific. Wikipedia says that this is one of the 15 original boats, and one of 2 that are no longer used. Through that "natural" stone archway is a side canal where boats were repaired or probably removed from service on slow days.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Boring photos, October 1963

Saturday is typically a day when this blog gets fewer visitors, so I am posting these less-than-exciting pictures today. For those of you who did come by, I hope you'll find something of interest!

See what I mean? It's almost a photo of nothing. Oh sure, there's the Pirate Ship, and the Casey Jr. ticket booth (and even a smidgen of Casey himself). But the true star of the photo is the lady with the red pants.

Our adventurous photographer went to the trouble of panning up a few inches, and a friendly guy in one of the Skyway buckets decided to wave "hello"!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Aerial View (1964?)

Don't you hate cleaning up your secret underground vault? I know I do, and I am only on the first level. But once in a while you find something that makes it all worthwhile, like this neat aerial view of Disneyland. I estimate that this is from '64, but if anybody sees a clue that gives them another date, please let me know! This was from a large negative, though I have no idea if it is a duplicate negative or not. I somehow doubt that I own a unique view that hasn't been replicated a zillion times!

WARNING! This slightly closer crop is pretty large, so for those of you who get your internet over a tightly-pulled string, it's going to take you a while!

Note the New Orleans Square area, basically a big hole in the ground and lots of steel beams. You also get a pretty good look at the backstage area behind Tomorrowland. There's the Flying Saucers, and the Rocket with the Douglas markings. But there's no "It's a Small World" yet, or a Peoplemover. Did all of that land north of the park belong to Disney at this time?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Matterhorn, January 1960

I lied to you. All of you. And I am ashamed. Well, not really ashamed so much as very very itchy. I told you that these were taken in January of 1960, because that's the date stamped on the slides. But they were in fact taken on December 29, 1959. If you carbon-date your monitor, you'll see that this is correct.

Anyhoo, the Matterhorn was basically brand-spankin' new when these photos were snapped, and it even looks as if they never quite finished painting on the snow. I can only imagine how excited this post-Christmas crowd must be to take their first ride on this amazing attraction. Meanwhile, other folks to our left are gazing upon a fleet of submarines, because that's not something you see every day. Unless you live in Norfolk or some place like that. You can't tell here, but the line actually snakes on for quite a long while, eventually meeting up with the line for the subs.

Looks like our photographer couldn't resist, and got in line himself. Those clever Disneyland queues fool you, he's not as close as he thinks! But it was a beautiful clear day, and it's pretty fun to watch bobsled after boblsed splash through the icy Alpine stream.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Douglas Rocket and Flower Mart, October 1963

Tomorrowland looks kind of sleepy and deserted in this 1963 photo. And there's nobody home in the Flight Circle... did that tend to operate during the busier seasons? I know that at least one of you can tell me! Anyway, the lack of crowds gives us a chance to get a really nice look at the Rocket to the Moon with its Douglas colors.

Nobody loves fake flowers more than me. NOBODY! Which is why I like this unusual view of the Flower Mart, looking back up East Center Street towards Main Street USA (pronounced "oosa"). That lady is wearing a long dress to hide the fact that she has tentacles instead of legs. She is timidly approaching a Lunch Lady (I'd recognize that uniform anywhere!), perhaps to borrow 5 bucks. That's what I would do, anyway. Across the way is the Hallmark Store, with that cool crown over the entrance.

Can you tell that I wrote this at the last minute?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Holdup and Saucers, December 1965

The termite inspector is doing a thorough job of examining every inch of the Pendleton store in Frontierland. If he happens to find a wood-munchin' varmint, he will plug it full of lead!

The Geneva Convention clearly states that you aren't supposed to take pictures with the sun in front of you. How can we consider ourselves civilized if we ignore such basic rules? But this photographer didn't care! So we get a strange and ugly look at the Flying Saucers. A nation weeps.