Saturday, February 28, 2009

June 1963, 1964, & 1965

These three photos were all from a single lot, apparently somebody liked to go to Disneyland every June!

In 1963 we get this nice photo approaching the entrance. Is this line just to buy tickets to get in? Ay caramba! This must have been the day that the Beatles fought Elvis on stage at the Golden Horseshoe (Queensberry Rules strictly enforced). You all remember that one, don't you? Elvis won, despite being outnumbered four to one. That country boy could fight!

Not many people know that Main Street was much blurrier in June 1964. Walt Disney and the Imagineers were so busy working on the attractions for the World's Fair that nobody noticed that the focus knob had been bumped. It was fixed before Disneyland's ninth anniversary in July! In spite of the blur, there is a man in white coveralls up on a ladder, just to the right of the clock. Strange that he would be there in the middle of the day.

Skull Rock, June 1965. This was right after the disastrous experiment in which the Pirate Ship's lagoon was filled with tuna casserole, in honor of the sponsorship by "Chicken of the Sea". The sight (and sound) of tuna casserole spilling out of the skull's mouth was too reminiscent of... well, you know. Just goes to show you that even Walt Disney made mistakes sometimes.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Family in Disneyland, July 19, 1960

The following three images were the only Disneyland photos in a big batch of medium-format slides. Unfortunately they were Ektachrome, and had turned vivid magenta. I could sort of restore the first one, but the other two were just too far gone.

Here's our little family, just about to buy their tickets. The two little girls are wearing their flounciest dresses in honor of the occasion. Junior looks like he's not too sure about this Disneyland place, and he's ready to run. Gramps looks natty with that fedora, which only leaves his head when he's extremely surprised.

Yep, this one was too far gone, so you get to see it in sepia-tone. The family has stopped at a souvenir stand, I'm guessing it was the one near the Carrousel in Fantasyland. Little sis is checking out the selection of postcards, while the other kids admire the giant pencils and felt pennants. Mom's going to buy a guidebook!

Here's a fun photo of the old entrance to the Jungle Cruise. I love the sign, it looks like it has been painted on a stretched animal skin. Are those some sort of tall paper lanterns flanking that sign? There doesn't appear to be much of a line, but I wouldn't go into that inky blackness for all the tea in China!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Three from June 1965

Nothing says "the world of tomorrow" quite like an old-fashioned marching band! This is especially amusing, because nowadays bands float rather than march, wearing anti-gravity suits. They are just about to march past the Art Corner (I think), maybe they will pick up a "Sleeping Beauty" cel for you if you are really nice.

Gee, from way up here in my Skyway bucket, the people down below look like ants. Ants riding in giant caterpillars. Or maybe I've been shrinkified!

I labeled this one "Hills Bros.", but have no idea if it was really taken over at the Coffee Garden or not. Any suggestions? Maybe it's not even in Disneyland. All I know is that there are lots of older ladies, and that's good enough for me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Mr. Lincoln Steps Out! April 1974

At first glance, this photograph shows a nice view of Tomorrowland in all its 1970's glory. Yes, there's the Matterhorn, and those Skyway buckets, and the Peoplemover... WHAT THE...?? Is that who I think it is?

Sure enough, it's Abe Lincoln himself! He was sick of being cooped up in that Opera House, so he borrowed some maroon slacks and a plaid sports coat (keeping the string tie because it was cool), and away he went. I guess it only makes sense that he would be curious about the land of tomorrow. You'd think more people would recognize him, but he once said, "Don't worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition." Way to go, Abe!

Oh yeah, there's this picture too. No former presidents to be seen, although if I squinch up my eyes I can make out the face of Rutheford B. Hayes (19th Pres) in the rock patterns of the Matterhorn. See what I mean?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Princess Aurora, August 1958

Sleeping Beauty Castle's original walk-through made its debut in April 1957, and featured dioramas of scenes from the upcoming movie, "Sleeping Beauty Vs. Godzilla". For those of you who have been living in a cave, the dioramas have been restored to their better-than-original glory thanks to Imagineers like Chris Merritt.

This lucky girl had a chance to meet Princess Aurora herself. At least I assume that's who this tiara-wearing woman is supposed to be! Aurora is looking splendid in her pumpkin-colored gown, and is handing out those wonderful souvenir booklets that are fairly plentiful on ebay. They must have given away zillions of those beautiful, full-color booklets!

Here's the front of the familiar castle... the girl and her dad pose before heading through archway into Fantasyland. Notice the sign for Columbia on the light post!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Freedomland Friday

Howdy folks! I'm back from the Big Apple, and sassier than ever! I had a great time... the fine people of New York were about as nice as could be. It was cold alright, but nothing I couldn't handle. Highlight: The American Museum of Natural History.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for the nice comments that were left during my absence, I do appreciate it!

But I digress! As you can see from the title of this post, it's "Freedomland Friday". I know what you're thinking, but let's face it, "Freedomland Monday" just doesn't sound as good. Here are a few photos of that short-lived park.

Elsie the Cow has been a celebrity for many years as a Mascot and spokescow for Borden dairy products. She seemed to be especially well-loved in New York, gaining legions of fans during her appearance at the 1939 World's Fair. When Freedomland came along, they built a special boudoir for Elsie and her calves.

Just for yucks I thought I'd simulate the "tilt-shift" effect. You know, when you alter a photo so that it looks like it was actually a picture of a miniature. Anyway, I think that the results were pretty decent for my first attempt. It's completely useless, but fun.

And now let's visit the section of Freedomland known as "Little Old New York". Guests got a taste of their own bestest city the way it was when it was a mere tadpole. Authentic in every detail, down to the horse poop. Actually, this looks somehow rather sterile and phony-baloney... does it need more plants? Is it too clean? Maybe the buildings look too much like movie sets.

Right near Casa Loco, it appears that there was a "picture spot" where you could climb aboard a mule and have your picture taken. There was a pack mule ride, but something tells me that this isn't it! Anyway, that pretty mom is helping junior aboard, while sis gives the mule a hug. It's not a pony, but it will do!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

3 Classic Amusement Parks

It's time for a little break from Disneyland! There were lots of other fun things to do in Southern California, and here are three of them.

This photo is from a slide that was labeled "Bob Barker". That certainly could be him holding the microphone. I have no idea what he's doing at Marineland, but I'm guessing it might have something to do with the TV game show, "Truth or Consequences", which made Bob a household name (before "The Price is Right" made him even MORE of a household name). Bob is about to push that other gentleman into the water, where he will be eaten by rare flying Manta Sharks.

For many people, the Christmas holiday season is long enough. But there are those among us who crave that yuletide experience all year long. Let's all go to Santa's Village! If I am reading that calendar/clock correctly, it is August, and it was probably a real treat to escape the city heat and head on over to Lake Arrowhead, where there were pine trees and hopefully cooler air. The mushrooms grew very large up there, as you can see. And Saint Nick himself looks like he could use a break.

Here's a random shot from the Universal Studios backlot, circa 1971. You can see the PT-73 from the TV show "McHale's Navy" (1962-1966), which starred Ernest Borgnine and Tim Conway. By 1971, the PT boat was on dry land, and from the looks of things, starting to fall apart. According to Wikipedia, "PT-73 was later sold to the mayor of Hawthorne, California, and was converted to a sport fishing boat. It was later destroyed when it broke loose of its mooring near Santa Barbara and washed up on the beach during a storm." So now you know.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Indian Dance Circle, 1960

Well, whaddaya know, it's the old Indian Dance Circle! My favorite dance circle ever, and I've seen 'em all. I don't want to say that all photos of the d.c. look the same, but... they really do pretty much look the same!

That being said, this one has a girl dancer! Now that's kind of different. She has some serious fringe going on!

And I have to admit that I do like photos of the finale, in which kids from the audience were invited to join in the fun.

For the first few years, guests had to stand to watch the show (except for the lucky few who found an empty log up front). But at some point, comfy rocks were installed. Imagine how hot they could get on a blazing August day! That explains the mysterious smell of frying baloney that we've all read about. Meanwhile, in the background are three different peaks... Cascade Peak, Castle Rock, and the mighty Matterhorn.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Frontierland, 1956

Today I have a neat treat for all's y'all, three Frontierland images from 1956, each one showing at least some evidence of construction.

Whoever took this photo managed to fill at least 75% of the frame with empty blue sky, so I cropped it down to the juicy filet. You can see that Rainbow Ridge is looking pretty good, but has some buildings that are just being framed with 2 X 4's, and there are stacks of lumber around. Not to mention that crane in the distance.

Here is a view of Fowler's Harbor, you can see the arched tunnel for the Disneyland Railroad in the background, while the rockwork for the tunnel to the old Indian Village is in the early stages of construction. Also, what is that platform filling most of Fowler's Harbor? If you look at another photo from around the same time, it is missing.

In this view of the west side of Frontierland, you can see that there wasn't much there! The Plantation House is out of frame to our left. The shoreline looks pretty raw, no plants or anything. To our right is Tom Sawyer Island, which I am sure was not yet open for business. There is a wheel barrow and some unfinished plywood where the rafts would eventually land, and the path is some sort of crushed stone. When the island opened, they were dirt paths.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Tomorrowland, July 1959

This first photo was taken by a person with the amazing ability to walk on water. As you can clearly see, he (or she) was standing right in the middle of the Sub Lagoon! If the camera had panned down you would have seen a pair of sneakers and turquoise water. There is no other rational explanation, no there isn't, uh-uh!! Probably caused quite a ruckus with security I would imagine. I wish I could walk on water. And shoot laser beams from my eyes. And fly.

There was a time when a photo like this would have really made me sit up and take notice. "Whoa! Rocket to the Moon, bitchin'! Flight Circle and Astro Jets too, totally rad!!". But these days I am jaded and lack what you hu-mans call emotions. I think that there is something wrong with my positronic subroutines!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A Trio from July 1959

You know what I was doing in July 1959? Sitting on a little cloud in heaven, waiting to be hatched. I figured you might be wondering.

Meanwhile, other folks were enjoying the classic Disneyland experience. Like these folks on the Jungle Cruise. That boat is about to disappear into stygian darkness. That's right, I said stygian and I'm sticking to it. Notice the one worried face looking back at us... too late, sucka! It really is as if they are about to be swallowed.

Nothing too remarkable about this shot, except that I like its cast of characters. The little kid with the classic popcorn box, flanked by grandma and grandpa (who is carrying a ticket book). Folks are loitering outside of the Golden Horseshoe, while others are presumably waiting to ride the Mark Twain. Even the trash can and the helpful sign are fun.

Why would anybody be leaving Disneyland when it is still the middle of the day? There oughta be a law. But this is a nice photo of the exit turnstyles. Bike racks can be seen to the extreme left, complete with one lone bicycle. You can see the blacklight used to view the fluorescent-green hand stamps (I always got one even if I had no intention of coming back... one final souvenir; it lasted longer if I didn't wash my hands!). The kid at the right is getting a nice drink of water so that he will have to "go" at some point during the ride home, aggravating dad.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Skyway and Snow Hill, 1957

"Snow Hill"... the name evokes wintery, beautiful images. However, Snow Hill at Disneyland was a big pile of dirt left over from various excavations. No snow in sight! Nevertheless, I like this early landmark. It was sort of a baby Matterhorn. Here's a nice shot of Snow Hill with the old Skyway tower on top. The orange tree in the foreground is presumably one from the original grove.

I've zoomed in for a closer look. Hey, there's somebody up there! At some point, paths were added to Snow Hill, and guests were allowed to climb them if they felt like they needed to do even more walking. At least you were rewarded with a nice view from the top, like the ones seen here. (Although in 1957 there was no Alice in Wonderland attraction in Fantasyland).

This shot was taken from the Fantasyland Skyway chalet... look at all those Skyway buckets! I tried to shake a stick at them, but there were just too many of 'em.

To anyone who might give a hoot: I am flying to New York City today, and will be gone for six icy cold days. There will be new posts, so keep checking in! But I will probably be unable to comment on my favorite blogs. See you on Monday!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Firehouse Five, August 28 1965

Most of you know about the Firehouse Five (plus two!), a Dixieland jazz band that was originally formed in the 1940's by a group of writers, animators and artists. They eventually achieved quite a bit of success in various clubs (such as the famed Mocambo). They also performed at Disneyland regularly! The personnel changed over the years, but I will make a guess (based on several references) at who's who: On the left is Frank Thomas on piano (one of Disney's "Nine Old Men"); Dick Roberts on banjo, and hidden behind him, George Probert on saxophone.On drums, Monte Mountjoy. Partially obscured, Don Kinch on helicon (sort of like a sousaphone), and up front, Danny Alguire on cornet. And finally, grinning like the Cheshire Cat (and looking right at us!) is Ward Kimball holding his trombone. Pretty cool!

Here's another great picture, from July 27, 1968. There's a saxophone quartet of Keystone Cops - - something you don't see every day. They're inside the INA Carefree Corner - maybe it was really hot outside. Oh, how I wish I had one of those hats, I'm sure that the metal badge was something incredibly cool. Matterhorn1959 probably has one!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Two Restaurants, May 1965

Today I have two photos featuring a couple of Disneyland's more notable restaurants from the good old days (both long gone now).

First, here's a nice exterior of Aunt Jemima's Kitchen, tucked back in corner of Frontierland. There's Auntie's smiling face on the sign. Oh man, pancakes suuuure sound good! The Swiss Family Treehouse can be seen over the roof, with its distinctive russet foliage.

This is admittedly not the greatest photo of the Casa de Fritos! But there it is, just to the right of center, lookin' all adobe-esque! Can you say "adobe"? ADOBE! Meanwhile, there is absolutely nobody over at the Mine Train queue, it must have been closed because of chiggers.

Who likes tickets? Who likes signs?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Saturday Selection

Having your photo taken with one of the many Disney characters wandering the park (with giant rubber heads) is a popular pastime for many Disneyland visitors. In fact, these days the Disney company milks the characters for all their worth, with "character lunches" and so on. It kind of surprises me that some people are so into it... we all know that it is just a person in a costume! And yet, somehow, they still bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people.

There's nothing especially notable about this picture looking down Main Street, but that's OK, I like it anyway!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Fabulous Tomorrowland, July 25 1961

Who's in the mood for waffles, swimming in butter and syrup? Well, I can't offer you waffles, but I can present these delicious photos of Tomorrowland for your brain to devour.

If you remember a kid who was proud to be an American (see him here), you can spot him in both of these photos. Kind of a "where's Waldo" thing! There he is to the right, pretending to be a robot. Meanwhile, this is about as nice a shot of the 60's Tomorrowland as you could want. What a place!

Now Waldo is to our left, sans Ray Bans. This photo is almost as nice as the first one, in my opinion. It has so many familiar landmarks, you don't need me to tell you what they are. One interesting detail, however, is the giant thimble over the Thimble Drome Flight Circle...

Here's a closer look. Now that's a big thimble! Yet another Disneyland prop that I would love to own. It's probably turned upside-down and being used as a waste basket in somebody's garage.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Chrysler Exhibit, New York World's Fair

The Chrysler pavilion doesn't get a fraction of the love that GM received with "Futurama" (admittedly an incredible attraction!). But I would have loved to have seen Chrysler's offerings, without a doubt.

Here's an exterior shot of the Airborne Ride: "Seated in car bodies, visitors travel through the air along a simulated assembly line. Mechanical men wielding huge instruments "check" each auto for imperfections."

This will give you an idea of what it was like to be inside one of the autos on the assembly line!

At one point it looked like SUVs would require engines just about the size of this giant "walk-in" model: "Dominating the display is a giant "one-million horsepower" engine through which visitors walk. Its crankshaft is a fearsome dragon with snapping jaws. The real world is represented by a turbine engine and a montage of power plants of the future." Cool!

When it came to the space race, everybody wanted to get in on the act. I can only assume that Chrysler had some connection with the U.S. space program, and they presented this rather fanciful scale model to remind everyone that they were just about cars.

It's hard to believe that there might not even be a Chrysler in the near future!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Tomorrowland, February 1962

Hooray for these classic shots of Tomorrowand! That's the place for me. Check out this beautiful image looking across the lagoon towards the Monorail, Skyway, and even the Rocket to the Moon (which would soon be repainted with its Douglas markings). Who wouldn't want to be transported to this scene? You might want to bring a jacket though, it could get chilly at night.

From the same lot is this exciting picture of a Tomorrowland full of vitality and movement. Wheee-doggies, I'd give my prehensile tail to be there!