Sunday, August 31, 2008

Entrance & Exit

Today's first photo shows a nice family portrait in December 1960. Junior is holding some sort of a Christmas treat, and is apparently expecting a flood. His two sisters are wearing appropriately colored socks for the season. The one on the left looks like she's not too sure about this place, while big sis to the right smiles sweetly.

Some details in the background: the exit, and some bike racks just outside (can you imagine being a kid and living close enough to ride your bike to Disneyland whenever you wanted to?), The Ken-L Land Pet Motel, and the exit turnstyles out into the vast parking lot. To the extreme right is a Disneyland map, probably on display next to the east news stand.

And just for yucks, here's a damaged slide of the exit, from 1955. Through the blur you can see that there must have been no bike racks at that point, kids just left them leaning against the chain link fence. Did anybody lock up their bikes back then?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Three From Frontierland, 1956

I've always loved the fact that one has to raft over to Tom Sawyer Island. I'm hardly ever on a raft in my day-to-day life! The concept feels like one that Walt Disney would have come up with himself, since I can only imagine that people would have said it was too slow and too inefficient. But it turns out to be juuuuust right!

Here's a view taken from the Mark Twain looking towards TSI. Some of the slides in this lot say 1956, but I suspect that this might be from '57, since the foliage appears to be more lush than I would expect it to be when it first opened. Anyway, you can see the raft landing to the left, Tom's treehouse (once the highest point in Disneyland), and the dock where you could catch an audio animatronic trout.

And finally, there goes the choo-choo train, chuffing through the wilderness. The E.P. Ripley's li'l moon roof is open, apparently it gets really hot in the cab!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Get the Feel of the Wheel of a Ford

It's time for more fun from the '64 World's Fair!

Hooray, another photo of the Autoparts Harmonic Orchestra! This whimsical (or is it just plain silly?) feature had musical instruments crafted from pieces of Ford automobiles. Each instrument had a chair, apparently for some ghostly musicians who woud eventually work at the Haunted Mansion. Why they needed chairs is beyond me.

The posts are in no particular order, because now we're outside the Ford pavilion! It looks like we're close - - so close - - to the entrance, but I suspect that those Disney lines are deceiving. You can see part of the "Magic Skyway" itself as it wound around outside the attraction. On display is a beautiful red Mustang convertible; I wonder if they had any idea what a winner the mustang would be?

Another picture from inside the attraction (but before you got to ride in your late-model Ford) is this scene from a series of miniature views known as "International Village". Wonder where in the world this is supposed to be? All I know is that the cars parked on the street are all Fords.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Two Twains, 1955

In spite of some annoying light leaks, todays photos are nice early views of the Mark Twain (from sometime within the first month of Disneyland's opening).

This one is my favorite of the two, I guess because I love the early, undeveloped Frontierland. Why? I don't know, it doesn't make much sense! If I went to an amusement park and found a large chunk of it was just dirt and weedy shrubs, I might not be too happy about it. But, this is early Disneyland after all, so all reason goes out the window.

Here's a nice closeup detail, more about people-watching than anything else.

Sorry for the quickie post, things have been busy lately!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Toothsome Twosome

I've two from the 50's for you today, starting with this view looking up at the Skyway as it heads to (and from) the Chalet (frm 1958). I guess I've come to terms with the Skyway never coming back, but maybe they could turn the Chalet into a nice restaurant or something. Maybe it would a good place to watch the fireworks from! I've got ideas...!

And it's ye olde tyme castle, circa 1956, gleaming under a cerulean blue sky. There's one of those short-lived signs with a map of the land you were about to enter, in this case Fantamotiousland.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Main Street USA, 1956

Here's a beauty, a wonderful shot looking up Main Street towards the castle. I'm not sure why, but this is one of my favorite photos of this street; the slide has taken on a warm tone over the years, which adds to the nostalgic experience. I also like the clear look at the buildings on the west side, the bunting (which makes it feel like it's almost the 4th of July), the streetcar... it's just a nice picture, OK?!

You wouldn't know it, but this photo is supposed to be featuring those two little girls up on the poop deck. Meanwhile, I am distracted by the curvy woman to the right who is coming down the steps.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Living Desert, July 1960

The desert. Scorching heat, endless miles of rocks and sand, and no water for your pony Eduardo. But even in this inhospitable environment, life exists. As you can see, the saguaro cactii are in bloom, perhaps indicating a recent flash flood (these rare and lovely blossoms are the state flower of Arizona). I think I spy an ocotillo (see that spidery looking plant to the left?), some yucca plants, and a (dead) manzanita.

The Devil's Paint Pots are definitely a real mystery of the desert! Bubbling pots of mud in all the colors of the rainbow. Bloop. Bloop. Bloop! Meanwhile, geysers are pretty mysterious too, if you ask me. Watch out! She's a-gonna blow!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Nothing Interesting, 1962

Just another photo of the Mark twain.... nothing much to say.

See? Nothing going on over here...

...and not much going on over here either.

Hey! Guess what? I haven't missed a day of blogging since sometime in February. Seriously! Go ahead and check. Anyway, I will be taking a few days off; have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Entrance, 1957

I never get tired of these vintage photos showing Disneyland's entrance, along with a heap of fabulous attraction posters! I never had an Art Corner, but I do have the others. Or have I told you that already? "Only twenty times, Major Pepperidge". Meanwhile, what is going on to the right? Is that man being escorted from the park by three security guards? Or did a group of airline pilots decide to check out this place that they'd heard so much about?

Each one of these Storybook Land boats appears to be manned by... well, men. I insist on an adorable young woman with white knee socks (love those knee socks!).

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Mine Train & Rainbow Ridge, 1972

Today I'm making a rare foray into the 70's! 1972, to be precise. The photographer was quite enamored with The Mine Train and Nature's Wonderland, he took nearly a dozen photos from the ride. And about half of those were in Rainbow Ridge. Let's take a look, shall we?

This first shot is an odd angle... I can't tell if the photographer is aboard a second train next to the one that we can see, or what. Anyway, it's a nice POV shot, those of you who never had the pleasure of riding this classic attraction can get a nice feel for what it was like as you prepared to head through that tunnel. Meanwhile...

...a flock of mules returns home, like swallows returning to Capistrano. How do they do it? Those long ears probably helped them use a primitive form of echolocation. I never rode the Pack Mules, but MAN, do I wish I had!

From later in the day, here's a nice image of the Opera House and the Hardware Store. You can buy copper wash tubs, stove pipes, graters, saws, washboards, pots, pans, funnels, those hats that hold two cans of beer, and other essential items for your sod home.

OK, this one isn't so great, but I threw it in because I didn't want it to feel like it wasn't loved.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aerial View, August 1964

Here's an odd one! Mixed in with a bunch of non-Disneyland slides was this photo, taken from a passing airplane! Somebody was quick on the trigger and captured the park from its western edge. It's blurry, sure. I should change the name of this blog to "The Blurry Blog"! But you can see the Matterhorn, Cascade Peak, and the Douglas Rocket to the Moon, no mistake about those.

If we look over here to the right, you can see the Haunted Mansion's exterior building, already completed and driving kids crazy for years. When is it going to open?? But more interestingly is the construction (beyond the train tracks) of what would be the rest of the "show building". Does anybody know specifically what those two parallel passageways were for?

In this closeup of the right edge of the photo, you can see the red and white striped sails of the Pirate Ship, and many utility buildings. Presumably storage, lumber facilities, and offices.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fort Wilderness, September 1958

Fort Wilderness, on Tom Sawyer Island, was a prime example of an attraction that was built to make the whole Frontierland experience richer and more "realistic" (as absurd as that might seem). Disneyland did not lure additional visitors because of the fort, but it added so much. Tom Sawyer Island was all about exploration and discovery! Rock formations and caves, treehouses and suspension bridges - - even the act of having to raft over was a mini-adventure. The fort evoked images of Indian wars (at times, arrows poked out of the top of the towers) and a welcome safe haven in the middle of an unfriendly prarie. In the scheme of things, rebuilding this fort seems like it would have been a bargain. But it was deemed to be expendable, especially since pirates were moving in. Such a shame! ANYWAY, I love this photo (with its super-saturated colors!) from a happier time, those two little girls are having a good old time!

As a bonus, here's a 1956 photo of the Golden Horseshoe. My favorite detail is that wonderful sign out front featuring the lovely Slue Foot Sue herself. The establishment was owned by her after all! I wonder why this sign was removed?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Pair from 1956

It sure seem like I been posting a lot of slides from 1956 lately! But they won't last forever. Here's a shot of one of the Casey Jr. Circus Trains way up on the hilltop, while another one loads up in the foreground. I love being able to see the beautiful details!

The friendly Indians are enjoying a sunny day wedged between the river and the train tracks. Those fellas to the left appear to be making something to hold or catch fish. The telephone wires show how close they are to the edge of the park as well!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Souvenir Saturday, Frontierland

It's been a little while since I've posted any vintage souvenir slides. Maybe you don't care! But that's what I'm posting today.

Here's a great view of the C.K Holliday at rest at the tiny Frontierland Station. I love the modest scale; but they've still gussied it up with some nice gingerbread details. Notice the raw, fresh wood on the water tank, it looks like it was built very recently. To the left of the tank you can see one of the teepees of the early Indian Village (is that a pair on nuns walking past??), and a corner of the adobe side of the Plantation House. The locomotive is decked out in patriotic bunting, and waaay at the end you can see a guy (the conductor? I just know I'm wrong) doing something that I'm sure was very important. Notice the parallel tracks, this was in the days when the freight train could only be boarded in Frontierland, and the passenger train (which boarded at Main Street Station) could pass at selected points. Also notice what looks like large quantities of grease on the tracks!

This is a nice, sleepy shot of the stockade entrance to Frontierland. There are the stumps of the very trees used to build the wall! And of course you can see the Davy Crockett Arcade, where Davy liked to play foosball, whack-a-mole, and air hockey when he wasn't out killin' bars.

I'll be out of town for a few days (Bass Lake, near Yosemite), but never fear, I already have several posts ready to go and set to automatically publish. I won't be leaving comments on my favorite blogs (you know who you are), but look forward to catching up when I come home.

Friday, August 15, 2008

An Assortment from 1956

Today I've got three beauties from 1956 for you!

Howabout this shot of the "Nile Princess" embarking on its trip through the mysterious Jungle? After only a year, the foliage has filled in nicely, giving a pretty convincing feeling of rainforesty goodness. The areas of bright sunlight contrasted with the deep shadows, along with the misty river, give this photo a great mood!

The jungle might have filled in, but Frontierland was still pretty raw in '56. Nevertheless, this is a nice photo of Gullywhumper, framed by the ornate ironwork of the bandstand that used to grace the shore of the river. Tom Sawyer Island is obviously open for business.

If I had a nickel for every photo I've seen of the Pirate Ship, I'd have... well... a lot of nickels! But this one is mercifully different, a nice detail looking up at the (heh-heh) poop deck ("the aftermost and highest deck of a ship"). I'm sure many people were drawn to that high vantage point, the same way King Kong was drawn to the top of the Empire State Building. Let's hope that a squadron of biplanes didn't seal this lad's fate in the same way as Kong's! Look at that complex arrangement of ropes, adding to the authentic feel of this fantasy ship.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Pirate Ship Construction, 1955

Ahoy, mateys! The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship was not ready for prime time when Disneyland opened in mid-July of 1955. It didn't start serving tuna sammiches until August 29. These two photos were taken sometime in the intervening weeks, while workmen scrambled to finish this icon of the park. Here you can see plenty of scaffolding, particularly at the stern-end, where so much of the ship's magnificent ornamentation would be. Looks like quite a bit of painting still needs to be done, even the mermaid figurehead is unfinished.

Here's a closer (blurrier) look!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Two from 1957, Frontierland & Tomorrowland

Mother and daughter pose dutifully at the entrance to Frontierland. Either that gate is very large, or the people are very tiny. Some might even say itty-bitty. I've always liked how the Frontierland sign is made from two rough boards, nothing fancy. Maybe they used an old Disneyland wood-burning kit to add the lettering? You can see the Pendleton shop, the Mark Twain, and the Trading Post as well.

Monsanto's House of the Future made its debut in '57... look at the line to get in! There were plenty of folks who wanted a glimpse of the near future. Women dreamed of ultrasonic dishwashers and irradiated food that wouldn't spoil (plus it glowed in the dark!). Men dreamed of a house that didn't need its gutters cleaned or roof reshingled. Kids pretty much went because their parents dragged them along, but that doesn't mean that they didn't enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Three from July 1960

Did you know that the 50-star version of the United States flag made its debut in July 1960? I'm not sure why it took so long, because Hawaii had been the 50th state since the previous August. Anyway, there's a li'l factoid for you to start your day!

Today's three photos were also taken in July 1960, starting with this shot of the Motor Boat Cruise loading dock. The Motor Boats replaced the notoriously unreliable (but cool looking) Phantom Boats, and lulled countless guests into a deep, relaxing slumber as they puttered around. It didn't matter if they were asleep, the boats always returned home. Like magic!

I'm not sure how many people truly appreciated the spirtual nature of the dances performed by Disneyland's Native Americans, but this amazing photo shows this particular dancer summoning an eagle (OK, it could be a pigeon), visible in the sky. Pretty impressive, just like when Aquaman summons the fishes of the sea to do his dirty work.

How do they keep the Mark Twain so sparkling white? My steamboat is always so drab and gray. It's embarrassing. Frontierland looks verdant and lush here, and the Twain is churning the water impressively, probably chopping up a few ducks in the process. You can just see part of the bright yellow banner (to the right) announcing the path to the Indian Village where you could see the guy in the first photo doing his thing!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tomorrowland, July 1958

There's only one image today, but it's a nice one at least! I'm not entirely sure if this photo was taken from the Skyway or from Snow Mountain (my guess is the latter). As you can see, there's the salmon-colored Viewliner curving around the track. It was the fastest li'l train in the world! Don't believe me? Go find one that was faster. No, I insist! I'll wait...

Anyway, some other photographer might have been lucky if he was standing in just the right place, he would have gotten a nice shot of the Viewliner and the Disneyland Railroad running side by side.

Meanwhile, there is the Midget Autopia, the Junior Autopia, and the Invisible Autopia (rarely photographed!).

(By the way, check out the smog!!)

For the sake of comparison, you might want to take a gander at this beauty recently posted over at Daveland!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday Fun

For today I went through some miscellaneous leftovers and decided to choo-choo-choose three images with a train theme. Because we all love the trains, don't we?

Before the "Nature's Wonderland" expansion, there was the "Rainbow Cavern's Mine Train". There was no "Bear Country" or Cascade Peak yet, and the trains themselves were a very dark green. I believe that this shot was taken from one of Casa de Fritos' outdoor tables (with the palm frond "umbrellas"). You probably don't remember that gentleman and his daughter, but we saw them before in this photo of the Columbia.

The E.P. Ripley chugs past us, I think that the white wooden fence is over in Frontierland, not far from the train station there. Not much to say about it except that, yes, it's blurry.

And here we are, back (roughly) to where we were in the first picture, only now the train cars are a happy yellow hue. And as you can see from the attraction poster, it is no longer just the Mine Train, but "Nature's Wonderland". Wheeee!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Random Stuff

Since there is no theme today (besides "Disneyland" of course), let's jump headfirst into today's post, it'll be like jumping into an ice cold swimming pool!

We'll start with this photo from August 1960, showing the ticket booths at the park's entrance. There's Minnie Mouse to the left, even she has to buy a ticket to get in I guess. You can't read it in this scan, but there are big scary signs warning people that picnic lunches are strictly verboten in the happiest place on earth! The penalty: death by churro.

Yep, it's the castle. And since it's 1958, there are signs on the banners out front advertising the opening of some new attractions like the "Alice in Wonderland" dark ride and the "Columbia".