Saturday, October 31, 2009


Happy Halloween everybody! I never know what to post on this spooky day, so I decided to fall back on the good old Haunted Mansion. It's the 40th anniverary year after all, and this is the first tribute I've made to that venerable attraction.

Let's start with the beautiful POSTER! We've all seen it, since it's been reproduced over and over. But there's something about having the real McCoy from 1969! It features the three famous "hitchhiking ghosts" (Phineas, Ezra, and Gus); behind them looms the mansion itself, bathed in eerie green light, with bats circling the sailing ship weather vane. And of course there is that typography that has become so famous. This was the last of the regular silk screened posters; the laborious process had become too expensive, and lithography was used after that.

This flyer from 1970 was a fun find for me; my family lived in Huntington Beach back then, and my dad was in the navy; of course I anxiously looked forward to "navy nights" as one of the highlights of the year! It seemed so strange to arrive at Disneyland at night... in my memories it was never very crowded, and even though ticket books were normally still in use, you didn't need them on navy nights. Like today, you rode whatever you wanted as much as you wanted, but it somehow seemed a whole lot cooler back then. So, I was at Disneyland on October 24 1970, and rode the Haunted Mansion (notice how prominently it is featured in this simple flyer!) for my very first time. Over the years every detail has become familiar, but on that night, it was one of the most amazing things I had ever experienced. And yes, I was totally scared to even walk through the front door!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Disneyland Cast Members, July 17 1968

Hi everybody! I'm back! I sure appreciate all of the splendiferous comments that so many of you left for my 1200th post. Just so ya know, I've spent the last three "days off" working on this blog, so it wasn't much of a vacation; but it's good to be back just the same. Today I have two nice portraits of Disneyland employees, circa 1968; one from a shop, one from a restaurant.

This first lovely lady works at Main Street's "China Closet". Doesn't she have a nice smile? I'm not even remotely interested in china, but maybe I'll wander in and see if she'll go out with me (when I get that time machine working).

Here's a pretty waitress, working at Aunt Jemima's in Frontierland. I like the themed outfit, a gingham dress with lace, and a little hat that is just like the one I wear to job interviews. I'd like a stack of buttermilk pancakes with a side of bacon, orange juice, and her phone number.

Monday, October 26, 2009

1200th POST

That's right homies, today marks the one thousand two hundredth post on Gorillas Don't Blog. Other than the fact that this blog has a stupid name, I'm pretty proud of the accomplishment. I received a congratulatory phone call from President Obama this morning, turns out he comments as "anonymous" all the time. Who knew!

On with the photos... I think that this first photo featuring Main Street USA circa 1956 is pretty spectacular. I've even posted it a bit larger than usual for you. There's so much to enjoy; Main Street itself looks fantastic, you can really appreciate the incredible level of architectural detail that made Disneyland so unique. Each building is distinct and colorful, and yet it all feels unified. The Plaza Apartments are still there (soon to be the INA Carefree Corner), and notice the sign for the "Disney Artist Exhibit". Let's go and buy some original Disney artwork for a buck or two! The perfect American family is walking towards us; dad is in his tourist duds, but mom looks pretty sharp. The lady leaning against the lamp post is presumably the photographer's wife. I like her hat! Behind her, a security guard is making sure that horse doesn't do anything funny.

Now we are riding the Skyway in 1957, and dang! It's hard to take a clear photo from those moving buckets. Nevertheless, there's the Viewliner heading towards us (about to take a turn to cross the lake). It's hard to believe that this attraction was only there for 15 months. To the left is what I think is the Fantasyland Autopia (or is it the Junior Autopia?), and you can see part of the Motorboat Cruise waterways as well.

Now, on to another Skyway view, this time from March 1958. Our bucket is headed towards Tomorrowland; the metal support tower is perched atop Snow Mountain. You can just see the jutting roof of the Yacht Bar to our right, with the Autopia and Viewliner track to our left. And look at that empty field right next to the park - valuable real estate!

If we look at a detail, we can see some construction going on. I presume that it is the Administration building, which also contained the Grand Canyon Diorama.

And what the heck, I like that little gas station over there too!

Thanks as always to everyone who has stuck with this blog over the years. Hey guess what? I have't missed a day since my 1000th post on April 8th. Insane, I know. So I will be taking a few days off. Eat your vegetables, wear your mittens, say your prayers, and I'll see you all real soon!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

3 Sunday Leftovers

Leftover is my favorite religious observance; as you all know, it honors the day when Moses ate meatloaf that his wife had made the previous day. Yea, verily!

In keeping with the leftover theme, here are three images that, for one reason or another, wound up not being posted with their similarly-dated brethren.

Let's start with this very nice photo of the Bertha Mae, from October 1958. Other than those metal handrails on the back of the thing, that keel boat sure looks authentic to my eyes. Everyone wants to ride up top except for that surly teenager who is sitting all alone at the bow.

Hey look, there's an empty teacup just for you! And lucky for us, there's hardly any barf in it at all. I can just picture waiting in line, and then you finally get through the gate onto the giant turntable, where people jump into every teacup that you are already headed for. And then you cry and refuse to cheer up until dad buys you a cotton candy. And by "you" I mean me.

Boy, a gray overcast day really does take a lot of the pizzaz out of what would ordinarily be a sweet photo. That and the fact that we've seen this very same angle of the Pirate Ship about 1000 times. But I'm posting it anyway, for tax purposes.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Around Main Street, November 1960

If today's cops stood on street corners and played saxophones, the crime rates would go way down. Or way up, what the heck do I know? In any case, it would be cool. Ukeleles would be good too. Here is an extremely rare saxophone quartet with five musicians! They said it couldn't be done, but by gum, anything is possible at Disneyland. I believe that these guys are playing that olde tyme classic, "Tequila".

There's our gal Dorothy, with her white gloves (why don't you wear white gloves to Disneyland? Yeah, I'm talking to you!). She is timidly hiding behind the bushes as Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band go marching by (heading to the Mark Twain, I'll wager). Don't be scared Dorothy, they're tame.

And there's Dorothy's husband George. He always faces to the left. Always. Anyway, look at the terrible air quality! It's as if there was a brush fire nearby, but I'll bet it was just that famous, charming SoCal smog. See those olive trees with the twinkling lights? Tony Baxter has at least one or two of them, taking possession of them when they were removed (and with their twinkling lights intact). Hey, drinking fountain alert! And who left their garden rake in the bushes?

Friday, October 23, 2009

3 More From The Fair, September 1964

Who likes photos of the 1964 New York World's Fair? Cool people, that's who.

Here's a great picture of the Tower of the Four Winds, out in front of Pepsi/Unicef's "It's a Small World". It's like a crazy, gigantic eggbeater, with propellers and pinwheels and whirligigs and gigglywhirls. It looks pretty cool, you have to admit! I thought I had heard that a scale model of it was going to be built for the Walt Disney Family Museum, but if so, it hasn't shown up in any of the photos that I've seen.

I guess you had to pay for each ride individually at the Fair (?); or did you buy a pass? Because if I could, I'd probably ride that Skyway back and forth to give my aching feet a rest, and to enjoy the fantastic view, gliding over it all.

You can still see these two towers over at the New York State pavilion, although they are dilapidated and haunted by pirate ghosts. You'd think that somebody in Queens could find a cool use for these unique, historic buildings. When I win the Lottery (any day now, I can feel it!), I am going to buy the pavilion, restore it, and make it my swingin' love nest. "Clothing optional" of course!

*I'm happy to report that I managed to avoid being selected for a jury yesterday!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stagecoach and Exciting Mud, 1957

While I am reporting for jury selection today, you get to do whatever you want! Like view these old pictures from Frontierland, 1957.

Here's a swell picture of the Disneyland Stagecoach, galloping back to civilization after a harrowing trip through the hostile wilderness. Kids got to sit up top; their bodies absorbed arrows in order to protect the adults down below. And it worked great! The door of the coach has been removed to increase visibility, although it looks like some sort of cloth covering could be lowered in the event of one of those sudden prairie downpours. In the background, folks line up for their chance to ride a crunchy mule.

This is 1957, or pre-Nature's Wonderland for those of you with a life. So for now, these mysterious bubbling mud pots are in many glorious shades of brown. There's some yellowish gunk, and some reddish glop, and some blackish-green goop. Yes, there's a brown for everyone. Whatever that means.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Two From Frontierland 1960

Just look at this: It's a sunny, beautiful day in 1960 Frontierland. Grandma and Grandpa have been married for 54 years, and they've worn their sunday best to the park (as people sometimes did back in those days). What better way to capture a precious memory? Only to have it ruined by that other lady, sticking her tongue out like a 9-year old! Why, if I didn't think she could still beat me up, I'd give her a piece of my mind!

You know it, you love it; the F.I.V. or Friendly Indian Village. I'm not sure how friendly it is, since most of the Indians seems to be ignoring us completely, but for now I'll just go with it. That kid standing on the canoe (minus his dog) is much shinier than most people you meet. I admit it, I'm jealous.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Around the Park, February 1960

In today's first picture, we get a look at a tiki that I'm not sure I've seen before. But then again, my memory is so fuzzy since my alien abduction. The tiki bears a resemblance to the Moai of Easter Island, although they were made of volcanic stone, and this one is fashioned from the trunk of a palm tree.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a horse, tied up to a horse hitch? Neither have I. But this lady has. Behind her, the Matterhorn soars, and the House of the Future peeks out behind two orange trees that are full of fruit.

By law each visitor to Disneyland had to take at least one photo of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. Might as well get it out of our system...

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Hostesses With The Mostesses, July 15 1968

Here's a fun photo taken inside the INA Carefree Corner in 1968. Three lovely young ladies are there to help us. The one on the left is flirting outrageously, and it's working. Behind them you can see the rows of bound guest registries. I believe there was one for each state. Wonder what became of these large volumes? In front of them is a glass-topped case; let's take a closer look!

Disneyland was so cool that they would happily send you to the competition, confident that you would be back no matter what. From right to left I can make out flyers for Forest Lawn, the Los Angeles Zoo, and Marineland; Universal Studios, the MGM Studio Tour, and Independence Hall at Knott's; Jungleland, Knott's Berry Farm, Movieland Wax Museum, Calico, and what might be the San Diego Zoo. And a few more that I can't quite discern.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Family in Adventureland, September 1958

Let's visit Adventureland today, shall we? I hope you've all had your shots, mosquito-borne diseases are no fun.

The gateway (and bridge) to this happy land is festooned with skulls, scary masks, shields, and spears. Nothing says "welcome" like skulls. Even in this little slice of Adventureland, you can see a surprisingly rich mix of textures, shapes, building materials, and architectural styles.

Here's a kind of unusual angle looking at the Jungle Cruise load area. The ride might be down for rehab, there were no photos of hippos or headhunters in this lot, and it looks pretty empty back there.

I'm not sure how to read the expression on that little girl's face, but I think I've just been insulted. She does look pretty snappy in her straw hat (not quite a sombrero). Dad hovers over her, looking like Kramer from "Seinfeld".

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Disneyland in Black and White, 1958

It's time to delve into the old box of black and white snapshots. Can't you just smell the aroma of old paper? There's a bunch of pictures of old people I can't identify. And look, there goes a silverfish. Gosh those things are swell.

They should have kept the Skyway, I'm telling you. I say bring it back, only crank up the speed so that it crosses from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland in 15 seconds. It won't be that different from the Rocket Rods. This photo is interesting because the Viewliner sign is still there. But not for long! Wish I could read that one with all the text(I can write, but I can't read). Somebody is waving to us from that bucket...

This picture has it all. Action! Romance! Suspense! Well, it has a weird clock anyway. And that's good enough for me.

Note how the photographer skewed the persepctive slightly to give the viewer an inexplicable sense of dread. I believe that the large palm tree in the background can still be found in the park.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Souvenir Friday - Dial Guides

It's friday, and it seemed like a good day to do a souvenir post. I hope you agree!

I dig Disneyland maps of all kinds. The big poster-size wall maps get lots of love, but there are many smaller examples too; the line-art maps found on the backs of Hills Bros. menus, the early and charmingly inaccurate maps found on metal TV trays and on a set of cut-out 45 rpm records, and the simplified maps found in a variety of gate handouts. To name but a few!

Today's "dial guides" are two of my favorite souvenirs! The concept is simple: a card stock map has holes punched in it at various points of interest. Turn the paper wheel, and a pink dot appears inside a hole on the front, and a corresponding description appears in a window on the back. Like I said, simple... but great! A souvenir that you could spend a long time playing with if you happened to be a Disneyland-obsessed kid. Know any?

This first one is copyrighted 1970 and 1972, so I can only assume that there was an earlier version that doesn't mention 1972 at all. That extreme pea soup green is an interesting choice (thank you, 1970's).

If we look at the back, we can see that this dial guide is technically a postcard as well. As an avid Disneyland postcard collector, I heartily approve. Notice that, for some reason, the Haunted Mansion is listed as a Frontierland attraction, leaving Pirates of the Caribbean all alone in New Orleans Square. Bear Country is also listed as Frontierland, though I guess some people considered it a new "land" for a while. Not me!

This next example is from 1983. Fantasyland has been redone, so goodbye Skull Rock and Pirate Ship, hello "Pinocchio's Daring Journey". "It's a Small World" is now candy-colored (yuck). Space Mountain is makin' the scene (as is "America Sings"), and the Mine Train has been replaced with Big Thunder.

This version has lost its postcard status, but there is a lot more colorful artwork, so I forgive it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

On Main Street, February 1960

Let's take a stroll around Main Street, circa 1960. I love this first shot, a "you are there" picture showing the northwest side of the street. There's the Penny Arcade, where you could watch brief "flip book" type movies on the hand-cranked Mutoscope machines, play unique arcade games, test your strength, and even buy ticket books. The Gibson Greeting Cards shop is still there, though it will be replaced by the Hallmark shop pretty soon.

We've walked all the way to the famous "hub", and stop to watch Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band go by. I wonder if he tended to play more traditional Sousa marches, as opposed to songs like "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" or even the "Mickey Mouse Club March"?

Somebody needs to clean the schmutz off of the lens, this picture is pretty blurry (though it gets sharper as you look to the right). But it does give the photo a dreamy quality that I like. And I know it might be considered heresy to say so, but I've never been much of a fan of the "Partners" statue that is now in the same spot as this charming little flower bed. I am a big admirer of Walt Disney, but that statue... yeesh. Somehow I don't think that even Walt himself would dig it. Just my opinion!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Gather 'round, children! Today's poster is a goodie... Rainbow Caverns! This much-missed feature was originally part of the "Rainbow Caverns Mine Train"; for the first few years, you traveled through a bit of the Rainbow Desert, finishing with a trip through the glowing, magical caverns.

When the attraction was expanded and renamed "Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland" in 1960, I can only assume that this poster design was retired, since Nature's Wonderland got its own poster extolling all of the new wonders to be seen. Does anybody know if the caverns were expanded as well, or did they stay more or less the same? In any case, this is a scarce poster that I am very happy to have.

Here's it is, looking pretty awesome... the mine train and its passengers are reduced to an energetic line drawing, almost as if they are rim-lit. And of course everyone is oooo-ing and aaaa-ing over the colorful spectacle that was Rainbow Caverns. Notice the union "bug" in the lower right corner, found only on early posters.

As part of my black light experiment (they're still talking about it at the Université de Paris), I took another photo - a 25 second exposure - using ultraviolet light. And while it looked kind of neat glowing in that unique manner, I have to admit that it really works better under ordinary white light. C'est la vie!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

City Hall and Friends, 1957

Our photographer of the day loved City Hall and Town Square!

There's City Hall, decked out in Christmas decorations. As you can see, the California winter was cruel this year, requiring people to wear itchy cardigans and maybe even a dreaded flannel shirt. Is that crowd to the left in line for the Horse Drawn Streetcar?

Our photographer managed to pivot to the right somewhat, and captured a Streetcar filling up with a fresh load of guests. I sure love the way the ladies look in those 50's skirts!

The Surrey passes by the Streetcar, drawn by two snowy-white horses (the Streetcar used one horse, but he's a big fella!).


Following up yesterday's Kiddy-Land post, I received an email from Jennifer & Tim Doane, suggesting that the photos could be of Kiddy Land from Melrose Park, Illinois. Since some of the other photos in the lot were from Illinois, this sounds like a good guess. Take a look at some reference they sent, here and here. Sadly, this little park closed LAST MONTH! I love the little train, which must have been manufactured by the same company, but now I am thinking it might not be the same place (many thanks for the research and the email though, Jennifer and Tim!).

In the comments, Vaughn suggests that it could be from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has found "Mayo's Garden Center", which just happens to be up the road from a "Kingston Pike Shopping Center". It really does look like that could be it, you can see a sign for a Kingston Pike Center in the background in photo. If you look it up on Google Maps, it sure seems like you can tell where Kiddy-Land used to be (although there is no miniature train any more).


Monday, October 12, 2009

Kiddy-Land, Whereabouts Unknown, August 1958

Disneyland was a popular destination, no doubt about it. But for most of the country, you had to find other ways to have fun. There were plenty of frontier towns and fairy tale villages, kiddy parks, and even local drive-in restaurants. Enterprising owners added an attraction or two to bring in families and give the patrons something to look at.

Today's photos are from the summer of 1958... and I wish I knew where this was! There were slides in the same lot from Michigan and Illinois, but there were also a lot from Florida and other places. The name "Kiddy Land" is just too generic without more information to go on - but it wouldn't surprise me if one of my brilliant (and good-looking) readers will figure it out!

Anyway, Kiddy-Land Drive In was mostly a place to grab a snack. Just looking at that sign makes me hungry! A cherry snow cone would be mighty tasty right now. And if you have a buck, you can get half a fried chicken. Such a deal!

No nonsense architecture is the way to go. Unnecessary frills only distract the eye and make the patron forget to buy more food! As for the giant frog just visible in the upper left, the less said about it the better.

It might be a good idea to paint that popcorn cart. The streaks of rust don't inspire confidence. On the other hand, there is a sign in the window with the letter "A" prominently displayed... did that mean that the restaurant passed inspection with flying colors?

Hey, there's a miniature train! It looks very much like the one we saw at Skyline Caverns. This one is smaller, but they both have that winged, silver emblem beneath the headlights. There are no passengers, but that little girl clearly wants to ride!

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Kiddy-Land!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Entrance, August 1958

Here's Main Street Station with the E.P. Ripley just pulling in. Two nice ladies found a bit of shade on this August day, and I don't blame them for standing in it. Look, it's nearly five o'clock... it's not going to be dark for a while! And (you knew this was coming) then there are the posters... there are at least a couple that I want for my collection. Like the "Alice in Wonderland" poster with the word "Fantasyland" at the bottom (those are rare), and the Rocket to the Moon poster (one of the absolute coolest!).

Once inside, our caveman instincts tell us to climb to a higher vantage point to look for wooly mammoths and black rectangular monoliths. Past the Horse Drawn Streetcar (I didn't know horses could draw) is the sign optimistically announcing "Liberty Street - Grand Opening 1958". At the time this photo was taken, 1958 was more than half over, so somebody made a mistake.