Sunday, November 30, 2008

Main Street, December 1960

Arg! Yes, I said arg. I just got back from a long drive home, so today is going to be a quickie post.

Photo numero uno: A look up Main Street, and the halls are decked with boughs of somethin'. Not holly, looks like evergreen branches. I wonder if there were lights in the swags of greenery? It wasn't hard to find a water fountain back in those days, this one was right in the middle of the action.

OK, here's a mystery photo, mixed in with the same batch of December 1960 images. This miniature carriage resembles Cinderella's magic coach (OK, maybe not). Was it on display in some Main Street window or store? Only the shadow knows...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Quartet from April 1974

Today I have four photos from 1974!

First up is this picture of the Submarine Voyage's "Seawolf". The real Seawolf was the U.S. Navy's second nuclear submarine (the USS Nautilus being the first), and the only U.S. submarine built with a liquid metal cooled (sodium) nuclear reactor. So now you know! It appears that it wasn't in use the day this photo was taken.

But don't worry, as we can see from this aerial view, there were at least four subs in use (and probably one or two others inside the show building). They are kind of backed up, which reminds me of the last minutes spent staring at the barnacles outside the porthole, waiting to disembark. One time we could hear the fireworks starting, and in fact we missed the whole show.

Here's another familiar Skyway view of the Pirate Ship. Captain Hook moved in, but I think you could still get a good tuna sandwich! Look at the wake coming off of the bow, that thing must be going at least seven knots!

And finally, the other square-rigged ship at Disneyland. I'm not even going to say its name, how do you like them apples? But it rhymes with "folumbia".

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rodent trouble, February 1962

Today I have a few fun pictures from 1962, showing that most famous of cartoon mice. He's dressed a bit formally, with that top-hat and tails; but after all he IS greeting guests as they enter the park that had become his home. And he knows that first impressions are important.

Our photographer saw his chance to take a nice portrait of Mickey... there's not a soul around. It's perfect! But then this Cub Scout barges in and ruins everything. I'd be angry except that Ricky looks so darn excited!

It looks like the Cub Scout realizes that he has ruined another photo. The "Oh NO!" expression on his face is priceless. Even Mickey looks amused.

Ah Minnie, your smiling face, flowered hat, and outrageous ensemble (the very latest from Milan) always makes my day. Ditch Mickey and run away with me, you temptress!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Snoozing Beauty Castle

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Today I offer two beauties taken on January 5, 1957. The days are short this early in the new year, and the sun is already setting. Looks like some rain just passed through, the intense blue late-afternoon sky and the N.C. Wyeth clouds are pretty spectacular. The castle itself is bathed in golden light, as if Tinker Bell has covered it in pixie dust. There's no Matterhorn yet, otherwise we'd see it here. A Christmas tree is lit... this whole picture puts me in a holiday mood!

From the same photographer, but perhaps a minute or so later, and some of that "golden hour" magic has already dissipated. It's still a pretty nice photo, though! You can almost feel the chill in the air, but lucky for me I am wearing mittens and a nice warm coat.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Main Street, July 1959

1959 was a year full of amazing things at Disneyland. I can't think of any of them at the moment, but take my word for it - - amazing things!

Today I have two shots (with a couple of details) showing Main Street U.S.A. on an overcast day. The dreaded June Gloom!

This first image is nice enough, but the fun (as is often the case) is in the details. There is a "Disneyland 1959" banner on the side of the Omnibus, which makes that bus even more omni than ever. And check out all of those wonderful signs, hanging from wires in the middle of the street, and affixed to every lamp post: fabulous graphics in the very best traditiion of Disneyland poster artwork!

Here's a closer look...

Our photographer has crossed the street for another photo. I can only assume that the bunting and streamers were in place for the parade and other televised festivities, celebrating the opening of the Matterhorn, Monorail, and Submarine Voyage. The clock tells us that it is 10:30-ish, hopefully that layer of clouds will burn off in a few hours. Not likely!

Here's one final detail of two more signs. These were silkscreened on masonite. A large group of the masonite signs and paper examples (as well as a few large cloth banners) were auctioned off a year or two ago, and the poster collector in me coveted all of 'em! I didn't get any though, but at least I have the photos of them.

*I will be out of town for the next couple of days... there will be new posts, but I may not be able to reply to comments, or comment on some of my favorite blogs. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Red Wagon Inn, August 1958

This photo makes a nice companion to this picture from Matterhorn1959's blog! I admit that his picture is better, but can't we all just get along? This family has stopped for a bite to eat at the Red Wagon Inn. The waitresses are dressed in their old-fashioned servant's duds! You can sort of make out one of the green lunch menus on the table, with a '58 guidebook underneat it. Notice the printed paper placemats too... everything's a collectible! It must have been nice to take a shady break, the August sun looks intense.

Here's a look from the Red Wagon Inn's entrance, looking towards that nutty castle. That's a nice shot of the signage, and what I assume was an example of the menu in that ornate case. It says that the restaurant is "air conditioned", I seem to recall that this feature was rare in the park's early days.

Monday, November 24, 2008

3 from February 1962

Welcome to February 1962! How about that John Glenn orbiting the earth? Pretty exciting stuff. Ol' Major Pepperidge hasn't made the scene just yet. Soon, though!

Anyway, let's begin with this nice shot of the Horse Drawn Streetcar in Town Square. I'm guessing that those boys don't see horses too often. I'll bet they got those sweaters from grandma. Red for Tommy, blue for Stevie! Their hair is nicely combed, with plenty of goose grease to keep it in place. I like this busy, colorful photo.

And here's another lovely picture. California winters produce some awfully pretty skies! The castle is bathed in bright sunshine, a nice contrast with the clouds. You can still sense the slight chill in the air, look at all the sweaters and coats. Ice cream sales are probably slower than usual!

Hey, there's a marching band going 'round the hub! Not the Disneyland Band, however. Imposters! GET THEM! Their cheerful red jackets really pop. I wonder if the Disneyland Band was given time off, and local high school bands got to fill in?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Autopia & Matterhorn 1962

Today I've got two slightly faded images to share with you from 1962. First up is this shot of the Autopia; this kid is actually driving so fast that he is in danger of slipping into another dimension. By '62 the landscaping had matured, no longer a tapestry of dirt and weeds. In fact it is a pretty convincing replica of some stretches of real Southern California highways.

This "worm's eye view" of the Matterhorn makes this man-made mountain look even more massive!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Columbia Dedication, June 14, 1958

Disneyland's replica of the "Columbia" is still with us today. I haven't seen it sailing in a while, but I do tend to go to the park in the off season. Anyway, here are some photos (kindly donated by the same reader who sent us these) taken during the Columbia's dedication ceremony on June 14, 1958.

This first shot shows a crowded Columbia. If there were rafters, it would be packed to them! It's interesting that it appears to be just ordinary folks on board... perhaps they were actually invited guests for such an important ceremony.

There's Rear Admiral Joe Fowler, one of Walt's key helpers in realizing Disneyland, on the left. He is presenting a bible to Mrs. Richmond, wife of the officer to our right; he is Vice Adm. Alfred C. Richmond, Coast Guard commandant. And of course there's our pal, Walt Disney, looking on. I'm not sure what that round sticker is on his lapel, but I wish I had one in my collection!

My guess is that they decided to take another picture, only this time Walt offered to hold Mrs. Richmond's glasses. I wonder how she and her husband were chosen to participate in such a momentous occasion!

Whoa, lady! That champagne was for drinking! We can't take you anywhere, honestly. Thank goodness nobody handed her a loaded gun. Just imagine!

Thanks again to the mystery reader who sent these to share!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Souvenir Friday - - Matterhorn Decals

Fairly early in my days collecting Disneyland souvenirs, I found myself wanting certain items -- A LOT. Like the wall maps, ticket books, and attraction posters. When I first saw a Matterhorn Bobsled decal (kind of visible here) , I think it was at a Howard Lowery auction, and I was outbid. But I was determined to get one. Or more!

I got my first one from ebay, and it was a "used" version that somebody managed to peel off (supposedly an aquired skill). That's it on the left! The sticky side was all gross, fuzz and spirochetes and cockroaches were stuck to it. But a little naptha cleaned it right up! It is printed on a kind of plastic or vinyl, so it's pretty durable.

Then I got one from yet another Howard Lowery auction, it's still on its original paper backing. Yay! Note that the striped border is a bit different from the first one.

I forget where I got this third one, but bought it because it was clearly an updated design. To be honest, I don't think it is as attractive as the first design. The gradient sky weakens the look of it. It also has a different striped border!

And finally, just for fun I added a small souvenir decal, it is about 3 inches high. The word "Bobsled" is replaced by a a rope, a pickaxe, and a Tyrolean hat. And the gothic script for the word "Matterhorn" has been switched out for a more legible typeface.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cars 'n Stuff

Who loves short shorts? Well, too bad, you won't see any of those here. Sorry! Instead, I've got an assortment of goodies, they're like bon-bons for your eyes.

Looky, there's a flock of flivvers on Main Street! This September 1955 photo (blurry, yes) shows the first in a series of annual events in which owners of antique autos displayed their Model Ts, Appersons, Moons, Hupmobiles, Colt Runabouts, Packards, Stutz Bearcats, and so on. A parade down Main Street was part of the jollification; I can't count myself as a card-carrying car nut, but I do love antique autos! There's just something about 'em.

Here's the front of a flyer showcasing the fun to be had at the 1958 "Jamboree"; It's nice to see Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow, who were mostly retired by '58. They were still happily married and living in Palm Springs.

Some fun, eh kids?

Souvenir time! I bought this funny little metal plaque years ago. Cheap! The back looks like it had adhesive on it, which has happily lost its stickiness. I'm not sure if a "Disneyland Rally" had any relation to the antique auto displays... the "Sports Car Club of America" must have been something different. Does anybody have a clue?

Now we move over to the Red Wagon Inn, where Goofy and The Mad Hatter are causing a scene. I don't know why, but I like observing the faces and body language of the folks waiting for a moment with each of these great Americans. (Or is the Mad Hatter a Brit?). The little girl in the foreground, with the mouse ears, looks so much like a girl I used to date (a kid version of her, I should say!). Maybe it IS her!

And lastly, more blurry fun, this time from 1957. Why would a parent not let the kid drive? Unless they couldn't reach the gas pedal of course. I seem to recall that the last time I drove an Autopia car, you had to apply about 10 billion pounds of force per square inch to keep the pedal down. I was exhausted by the time the ride was over!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

'56 Panorama & Fountains

OK, I admit it... today's photos are kind of "eh". I'd explain how it happened, but that would make things even worse! So, let's keep it short and sweet with two slides from 1956.

First up is this shot (taken from the Skyway) overlooking Sleeping Beauty Castle. I think that there is the "Christmas Bowl" stage over near that white Christmas tree. You can also see the entrance to Frontierland, and the area where the Monsanto House of the Future would eventually go. You can even see the roof of the Plantation House.

Here's a closeup detail of the fountains that used to grace the front of the Monsanto House of Chemistry... playful jets of water help to keep Tomorrowland from looking too sterile and lifeless. And if there was a breeze, you might get an unexpected shower as well.

Sorry about the lame post today!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fort & Monorail, 1972

Today I've got two fun images from 1972, starting with this photo taken inside Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island. I like the way the drinking fountain was combined with the well. You could quench your thirst, and maybe throw a penny in and make a wish too. Or throw your leftover popcorn.

And here's a great picture looking down on the bubble-topped Monorail from the Peoplemover track. An unusual perspective with some pretty cool stuff!

Monday, November 17, 2008

August 1957 Views

August 1957 would have been a fun time to visit Disneyland, I think you'll all agree. A lot of the rough edges had been smoothed out, but there were plenty of cool things to do that would be gone soon enough. Like the Viewliner! No pictures of that today, sorry!!

This picture of two kids on the bridge/entrance to Frontierland is great, I love the way the castle looks slightly out of focus, dreamlike in the distance. The body of water looks surprisingly broad! Notice the orange tree, full of fruit that apparently was picked before it could hit the ground.

Here's a great picture of sis taking a ride on the Autopia, those great early cars in vintage metallic hues. For some reason these Kodachrome slides have acquired a slightly golden cast that adds to the nostalgia.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Annette at Disneyland

Recently, a generous reader of this blog emailed a bunch of very fun publicity stills to me. He was anxious to share them with the rest of you, and was nice enough to let me do the sharing! Today I'm posting five photos featuring the lovely and charming Annette Funicello as she accompanied Princess Sophie of Greece around Disneyland. These are dated November 23, 1958.

This first picture shows Princess Sophie and Annette, as well as an unnamed chaperone posing in front of the castle. Annette is looking very pretty and grown-up (she had only just turned 16).

Here's an alternate shot with two motorcycle cops making sure that things don't get out of hand. There is nothing more dangerous than an enraged Mouseketeer!

The two girls share a laugh with an anonymous man (possibly a Disney PR guy?) while aboard the Jungle Cruise.

Here they are again, with plenty of looky-loos up at the station. Princess Sophia looks like a nice girl. In 1962 she married Juan Carlos of Spain, and in 1975 he ascended the throne. So she is now the Queen of Spain! Read all about her here if you are interested.

And finally, one last photo with everyone on the Main Street Surrey. I wonder if Queen Sophie has any memories of this trip to Disneyland? Did she and Annette remain friendly? I sure wish we could find out!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Whirlybird, July 1968

Talk about coolness... just imagine flying to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), with Disneyland planned as your first destination. You could rent a car (or have Uncle Leonard pick you up) and drive all the way to Anaheim. Or, if you have a few extra bucks, you could take a helicopter! I know which I would rather do. Imagine getting the chance to view Disneyland from the air (snapping LOTS of pictures all the while)... even in 1968 it would have been a great experience.

Our photographer caught one of the whirlybirds as it waited at the heliport near the Disneyland Hotel. Check out the rows of (presumably) orange trees in the background! I am also assuming that the modest building to the left is where you would check your baggage, and do all of the other things that a passenger might need to do. That long fence to the center right looks like the kind designed to keep golf balls from going astray.

Since these were in no particular order, I kind of assumed that the 'copter was taking off. Notice the red (amber?) lights along the low fence, helping to make for safe landings and takeoffs at night.

Let's wave goodbye to to the flying eggbeater, and then we'll all pile in the hot station wagon for a 70 minute ride home.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Today I'm featuring one of my favorite subjects of all: Disneyland posters! Attraction posters mostly, but there are some other examples of vintage poster art that are pretty great as well. I apologize for any imperfections in the photos... the posters are large, and it's difficult to light them consistently.

First up is this classic Monorail poster, with the snazzy metallic-silver background! The composition is wonderful, that dynamic curve of the track and the Monorail itself give the feeling that this train of the future is about to zoom out of the picture. This is the scarce 1967 version of this poster, in which the Moonliner has been replaced with the Rocket Jets and the "Carousel of Progress" building. I do have that earlier version as well, though not the very first version, which only says "Tomorrowland" at the bottom (no mention of the Speedramp or the hotel). Love the variations, though!

Here's another poster from 1967, for the beloved "Adventure Thru Inner Space"! Quite possibly my favorite extinct attraction (though I go back and forth between it and "Nature's Wonderland"). The graphics definitely have a more modern feel when compared to the posters of the 50's, but that is only natural, since the ride itself was abstract trippy, and just plain wonderful in its simplicity. Sorry about the reflection of the slightly glossy black Atomobiles.

Here's one that is not an attraction poster; instead it advertised the 1960 theatrical short (or was it a "featurette", clocking in at just under 30 minutes?) "Gala Day at Disneyland". The artwork is great, with eye-popping reds and yellows, and muliticolored balloons. You can watch "Gala Day" on YouTube, and it is always nice to see vintage color footage (it really should have been on one of those DVD sets by now). However, it features a lot of stuff that has been recycled over and over (a ride on the Matterhorn, a voyage on the Subs), not to mention lots of parades and dancing. I guess that's what 1960 audiences wanted to see, but it is kind of a snooze-fest by today's standards.

And lastly, take a look at this nice poster (no date unfortunately, but presumably from the fifties), courtesy of the fine folks at Greyhound. Leave the driving to them! The illustration is reminiscent of what you might see in a Little Golden Book from that era. It is a simple, bold design that would "read" even if you passed it from a speeding, out of control bus.