Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rainy Treehouse, December 1964

Years ago, I visited Disneyland on a day that turned out to be rainy and cold, and it wound up being one of the best times I've ever had at the park! Disneyland was practically deserted, and it gave me and my girlfriend an excuse to get cozy.

Here are three photos involving the Swiss Family Treehouse on a soggy day in December; starting with this ground view looking towards the complicated system of waterwheels, pulleys, and doohickeys. The rain actually enhances the feeling of being in a tropical paradise during the monsoon season.

This is a lovely shot looking through the branches towards the Mark Twain, steamin' up the river, with only a few brave souls aboard on the top deck. Note that the steam actually comes out of those two white stacks, while the ornamental black stacks are actually filled with skittles. I believe that the restaurant below is Aunt Jemima's?

I like this unusual angle looking down on the Jungle Cruise, with a flock of crocodiles terrorizing one of the boats. You can't tell from this angle, but they are guarding a ruined temple full of jewels.

Now I'm in a rainy mood, but I look out the window and it's bright and sunny!

Monday, June 29, 2009

3 From February 1962

I like photos taken during the mild southern California winters, because you often get the beautiful skies like we see in these first two pictures. Gentle breezes and light rains wash the smog away, leaving fluffy picturesque clouds behind.

Here's Casey Jr., he ran away to the circus when he was young and never looked back. Casey Sr. is steamed about it (pun intended)! The plantings look a bit rough, I guess they are preparing everything for the upcoming spring bloom.

Walt Disney built this castle full size, but security only allows 5/8 scale people to stand near it, so it appears even larger.

There's lots going on in the picture, but it's all around the edges. Bobsleds, Skyway buckets, Pirate Ships, rabid monkeys... you name it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Disneyland in Black and White, June 1956

Here is a group of four small black and white snapshots from Disneyland, dating from June 1956.

The first two feature the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad. Beloved by many, the train used to be the first attraction that you could see as you approached the park. Now you might catch the Monorail, and I suppose you can count the peak of the Matterhorn as vying for that honor. Anyway, my family often wanted to ride the trains first, although it was less about the train than it was about "seeing the dinosaurs". Here's the E.P. Ripley (believe it or not!), pulling the old yellow passenger cars...

... and here is the C.K. Holliday (with its distinctive "balloon stack") hauling the freight cars (the notorious "cattle cars"). If I had the choice, I think I'd choose standing in a cattle car, mostly for the novelty of the experience.

The next two feature the Horse Drawn Streetcar (ol' number 2!), with the dapper looking horse out front.

Hey, that horse doesn't look like it's 5/8 scale! But it will definitely get the job done, even with a full streetcar. Quick, everybody on board!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Aerial Postcard Views

For years, I was an avid (or rabid) Disneyland postcard collector. Trust me, it was ridiculous what I wound up paying for some rarer cards. But that's another story! Today's post was inspired by another blog, the Disneyland Postcards Blog. I decided to share three other postcards that have nice aerial photos of the park. All of these photos were taken on the same day, during a single flyover, which is sort of interesting. The cards all credit photographer James Blank (any relation to Jerri?) and were printed by a company called "California Scene".

Since we can see that Mickey's Toontown is under construction, it seems pretty safe to guestimate the date of these photos at around 1992. If anyone sees a clue that can narrow things down more accurately, please chime in! "It's a Small World" is covered in scaffolding, I wonder if this is when it was repainted in the pastel palette that I don't miss? You can also see the roundhouse for the Monorails and Trains in the upper right, and there is still a Peoplemover in Tomorrowland.

This one is kind of odd... of all the aerial views that one could take, and then publish, why this one? Half the fun of an aerial photo is using your imagination to "walk through" the park, the same way I did when looking at the giant maps when I was a kid. I guess the card's title doesn't lie when it says "Anaheim" rather than "Disneyland".

Due to my bionic vision (not to mention my kung fu grip and lifelike hair), I could spot some of the same cars in the parking lot that are in the previous photo. This shot gives you a nice view of the "backstage" area between Main Street and Tomorrowland. Does anybody know anything about a backstage road called "Shumaker (sp?) Road"? Can it be seen in this photo?

I hope you've enjoyed these bird's-eye views, I will see what other neat postcards might be of interest to you.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Frabjous Friday

I don't think you'll see a more frabjous blog post than this one! These are some random leftovers, which I have warmed up in the oven just for you.

Check out the gloom in this picture, it is probably the most frabjous gloom ever. Even the guy in his blue pajamas and slippers to our left would agree! He thinks he's just having one of those dreams, like when you show up to school in your underwear. With the exception of Mr. Jammy Jams, everyone else is dressed nicely. It must not be quite as chilly as it appears, because folks are eating at some of the Plaza Pavilion's outside tables.

Here's Cascade Peak, back when it was sponsored by Cascade dishwashing liquid. It will leave your dishes spotless! Eventually it changed sponsors and became "Hotdog On a Stick Peak".

This dude (an aspiring dentist?) didn't get the memo about not walking in the street. He's lucky to be alive! I know we've talked about it before, but it really is interesting to me how folks behaved as if Main Street was a real street, and so they generally stayed on the sidewalks. I'm not sure why that attitude has changed, but now the streets are packed with humans.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


It's poster time agin', maw! But just one today.

This beauty from the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" walk thru attraction is definitely up there in terms of my favorites. It's certainly not the rarest poster, but zowie, what an image! The family is silhouetted against the Salon's huge oculus, while the ferocious giant squid glares at them with that yellow eye.

Besides being spectacular to look at, this poster is notable for using more colored inks than any other vintage silkcreened poster. Typically a poster used about 5, with the white of the paper making a 6th hue. This poster uses 11 inks! The red used for the lettering is actually a vivid, day-glo red/pink. For years I only knew of this poster from black and white photos, so when I finally saw the real thing, it was pretty unexpected. But I love it!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Knott's in Black & White, part 2

Today is the second half of a small group of black and white snapshots from Knott's Berry Farm. You can see the first post here.

This brother and sister duo are pleased as punch to be Indian braves, and don't they look noble? There's just something about wearing a feather in your hair and crossing your arms. Even the Chief looks amused.

Sis is apparently training to be a dentist, and she's checking to see if that guy has been flossing. At least she's not pretending to pick his nose, that was always my favorite pose. Junior thinks it's all pretty funny!

We've seen that monkey before! Those three boys look just a little nervous, and are making sure not to get too close. They know that if he bites you, then you turn into a monkey. It's true!

Let's face it, people just love seals. They're sleek and shiny and playful, and you can feed them little fish all day. It's just as well that Walter Knott ignored my suggestion to drain the water and fill that enclosure with thousands of hungry rats. They'd eat the garbage, or anything else that you chose to throw in, like your mother-in-law.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

View From a Bucket, 1957

I would imagine that there are more than a few readers of this blog who never had a chance to ride in the Skyway. Which is just sad! Not only was it a handy way to get back and forth between Fantasyland and Tomorrowland, but it provided some of the coolest views. Which explains why there are so many photos taken from those little buckets.

In these photos we are heading over Fantasyland, circa 1957. A very good year! There's nothing too remarkable about this photo that we haven't seen before, but it has a great vintage feel (due largely to the warm, mellow colors). The bronze Skyway bucket reminds me of my brother's beat up 1967 Volkswagen Bug, which was that same color (it was eventually stolen). Also, we are being watched by the mysterious "man in the hat" in that other bucket, he looks sinister in silhouette!

Yep, it's the back of the castle, and you can even see some Main Street and Frontierland bits as well. All for one low low price!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Keelboat & Parking Lot, July 1963

The humble (and lovable) Keelboats are only a memory now (unless you happen to be at Disneyland Paris); they stopped operating in Anaheim sometime in 1997, and I believe that that was also the year they were removed from Walt Disney World. While lacking in thrills, the Keelboats offered another way to see the Rivers of America, and they added movement and energy to the river for those observing on shore.

A sea of cars stretches nearly as far as the eye can see in this photo taken from the Monorail. In this 1963 image, you can see a surprising number of late-model cars, and not nearly as many 50's cars as I would expect. How many Volkswagens (bugs and vans) can you spot?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Knott's, April 1967

Today's Knott's views aren't the most spectacular in the world, but I had 'em, so I figured that I might as well use 'em.

The Cable Car Kitchen got it's name from General Joaquin de Cable Car. No, no, that's a joke, please don't use that information in your Master's thesis. I'd feel guilty for days. The CCK had been there since the late 50's, placed near the tracks of some former San Francisco cable cars that Walter Knott had purchased. Sorry, they didn't serve Rice-a-roni. Is it still there?

This petrified horse and the wagon advertising Doc Skinem's World Famous Indian Medicine Show are in the world's tiniest corral. Doctor Mal de Mer's Medicine Show was still going strong in 1967, so I'm not sure what exactly was up with this odd display for a competing snake oil salesman's show.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Souvenir Saturday: Main Gate Passes

I guess it's time to delve into the ol' souvenir vault. By that I mean the three smallish cardboard boxes that hold most of my Disneyland paper! Trust me, it's not that great. But perhaps there are a few items of interest for you...

I have some vintage Main Gate passes, starting with this one from 1960. It is printed on card stock with a hard-to-counterfeit texture and scratchy green pattern. I wonder if studio employees received these? It was a pretty sweet deal to be able to bring 3 members of your biker gang with you.

The 1962 pass is pretty much the same deal, only it's on paper the color of, um, cooked salmon? And it has an interesting texture that reminds me of the cowling on "The Spirit of St. Louis", for whatever that's worth.

By 1963, it was the same swirly-textured paper, but now you had sharp corners. Don't put your eye out!

And finally, things get a bit more modern with the 1965 "tencennial" pass; ya gots the familiar Disneyland '65 logo, and a big, bold, graphic look.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Friday Randomness

Perhaps I should have titled this post, "A is for ADVENTURELAND", since that land is a common thread among all three photos.

Starting with this May 1958 photo of Adventureland's entrance, which has barely changed since yesterday's 1955 view. There is some additional bamboo up by the giant "shrunken head", and the plants are more lush, and maybe there are more skulls and shields to be seen. But that's about it!

I love this enigmatic stone idol (circa 1965), part of a ruined temple that has been reclaimed by the jungle. What became of the people living there? The expression on the carved face seems to be amused and not too worried about mere worldly concerns. Some day the roots of that strangler fig will completely envelop the rock figure until there is nothing left to see.

Those fierce warriors can split a gnat's eyelash with those spears, so you'd just better sit still and behave yourselves.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Two from 1955

I'm always happy to be able to present any images from 1955 as part of the first few months of Disneyland's existence. Today's slides are from the same damaged lot as the TWA rocket photo that I posted a short while ago, and required similar restoration efforts. They were so blotchy and discolored that I had to actually go in and digitally paint areas back in.

Here's a familiar view of the early entrance to Adventureland, complete with genuine simulated ivory tusks, and that thing that looks like a shrunken head, except that it's really big. Much too large to have dangling from your rear view mirror. Two ladies are relaxing at that bus stop - - well, it looks like a bus stop to me, anyway! I like the appearance of the buildings in the background, and the fabulous 50's folks crossing the bridge.

The gaping maw of Monstro is a pretty striking thing to see, and it obviously draws curious people like moths to a flame. CHOMP! Looks like the photographer caught Monstro in mid-blink (does he still blink?). The little lighthouse/ticket booth says "Canal Boats" on it, that was eventually removed and replaced with the word "Storybook Land" (sorry it's hard to see in that photo...). To the right, in the background, we can see a bit of what appears to be a tent. WHA?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Montreal Expo 67

Welcome to "World's Fair Wednesday"! Today I'm returning to Montreal's Expo '67, which, as I've mentioned before, had the largest attendance of ANY world's fair.

First up is this lovely photo of Britain's pavilion: "The British presentation can be summed up in three words - Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. It tells a compelling story, about a people who became a great nation and helped shape the history of the world. The pavilion housing it, set amid lagoons and moats to remind visitors of Britain's island heritage, is dominated by a 200-foot tower. It is on Ile Notre-Dame adjacent to the Expo-Express station." Hmm, I'm pretty sure I've heard of Britain!

That inverted pyramid was called the Katimavik, and is part of the Pavilion of Canada "... the Katimavik... dominates the buildings of the Canadian Pavilion. It takes its name from the Eskimo word for "gathering place", significant reminder of Canada's welcoming role as host to millions of visitors from every part of the world." Well alrighty!

There's the United States pavilion: "A huge transparent geodesic 'bubble' contains a multi-level system of exhibit platforms interconnected by escalators, and walkways. The platforms support a variety of exhibit components specially selected or designed for the new environment created by the structure.

Looks kinda like EPCOT's Spaceship Earth...

Let's get a bit closer! "Situated on Ile Sainte-Hélène close to the Métro station from which there is Minirail connection with the Expo-Express, the bubble is 20 stories high and has a spherical diameter of 250 feet.""

I stumbled across this startling image while doing research!

In 1976, during structural renovations, a fire burned away the dome's acrylic panels. The steel latticework was left behind, but the site remained closed until 1990. Since then, it was purchased, and transformed into a museum with new building constructed inside the dome. The museum addresses environmental issues related to climate change, water, and development.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Today I am following up on some discussions I've had in recent weeks...

So, forgive this repeat, but there was some question as to where exactly this photo was taken in the scheme of things. But thanks to Imagineer (and all around nice guy) Chris Merritt, I think we can say for sure where it was.

Years ago, and just because he wanted to (!), Chris drew an incredible, detailed map of Nature's Wonderland, in a style that is very reminiscent of Sam McKim's classic park maps. He gave me the "OK" to share some of it (well, all of it actually, but I don't want to be pushy). I am reasonably sure that the mules and mine train are right next to the western edge of Rainbow Ridge, about to circle Cascade Peak. Thanks Chris!

This photo of Harper's Mill, circa 1957, was posted back in January. Reader James Gluth was generous enough to send a photo to me showing the southern tip of Tom Sawyer Island the way it looked in January 2009, from almost the same exact angle. Wow, what a change! That "Fantasmic!" stage is massive, and I guess there is some sort of a pirate show performed here? Nevertheless, I do wish that it was a little more picturesque. Thanks for sharing your photo, James!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Three From August 1960

Here are three leftovers from a lot dating from August 1960...

If you just saw this photo out of context, you probably wouldn't even guess that it was taken at Disneyland. But that girl is sitting on one of the "floating" sidewalks next to the Monsanto Home of the Future. One of the splashing waterfalls is visible directly behind her. I can imagine that the water looked particularly inviting on a hot summer day; until this picture, it never occurred to me that folks would take a break and cool their feet in the shallow pools surrounding the house.

The hub was nearby, and it was a busy place. Which way should we go? Let's face it, there is no wrong direction here.

It's later in the day, the sunlight has taken on a warmer afternoon hue, and the shadows are stretching across the street. We're riding aboard a Horse-Drawn Streetcar, while another one heads towards us. A Surrey is hugging the curb to our right.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Souvenir Sunday - Decals!

It's been a while since I've done a "souvenir sunday", so today seemed like as good a day as any! I have a very small collection of vintage travel decals (or "water decals"), probably dating from the 50's and 60's. These inexpensive souvenirs were plentiful, and when you had a lot of them stuck on your rear window or suitcase, everyone knew that you were well-traveled, worldy, and wise. I find myself drawn to the simple graphics, and the slightly off-register, garish colors.

From Knott's Berry Farm, here's Sad Eye Joe.

The Monorail from the 1962 Seattle World's Fair is worthy subject matter...

From Marineland (formerly in beautiful Palos Verdes), here's Bubbles the pilot whale. Not only could he leap and twirl, but he could recite pi to 1000 decimal places. Eat that, Shamu!

Here's a nice vintage decal showing Las Vegas when Fremont Street was the happening place. There's "Vegas Vic" from the Pioneer Club, along with plenty of other classic neon signs. Glitter Gulch indeed! The actual decal has some wild day-glo pinks that did not translate when scanned.

I'll share some additional decals someday!