Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Souvenir Dungeon - Disneyland Pencils

I found today's "Souvenir Dungeon" entries in a junky antiques store in beautiful downtown Owatonna, Minnesota. And it's the most exciting item in the world!!

It's a set of 4 extra long (14 inches) Disneyland MAGIC PENCILS, each with a squishy rubber character head on the end. Two Goofys, a Donald, and a Mickey. While undated, the little graphics on the sides of the pencils include the Rocket to the Moon, so... pre-1966 anyway.

The pencils have 4-color leads. There's a reason why most pencils only have leads of a single color - 4 colors winds up looking like a mess. I used one for a resume, and it was a disaster. "Magic pencils" - more like tragic pencils!

The squishy rubber heads have melted some of the paint off of the adjacent pencils, and oil from the rubber (or plastic) has leeched into the cardboard backing (presumably these originally came in a box, maybe with shrink wrap around them). In spite of these issues, I was still happy to find these in that junky little shop!

When I tried to return to the shop the following year, it had vanished! Well, OK, it was still there, but that's not such a good story.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Submarine Lagoon, January 1960

We've seen plenty of photos of Tomorrowland's Submarine Lagoon, but I can't think of any others quite like this one. As a rule, if a photo provides a bird's-eye view, it was taken from the Skyway. But notice that we are actually looking down on the Skyway! Which can only mean that this picture was taken from a speeding Matterhorn bobsled. In the foreground we can see just a bit of an icy waterfall, and one of the little fir trees that grow on the sides of the faux mountain. The 3-car blue Monorail is also in the picture.

Maybe I'm overdoing it, but I think this is a pretty great photo!

And now for a more standard (but still lovely) view.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tom Sawyer Island, June 1960

Sorry about today's post! I'm in "use up the leftover junk" mode, which explains these two uninteresting Tom Sawyer Island pix.

I believe that Castle Rock (on the left) is the remains of an extinct volcano, and that it was discovered by film director William Castle ("The Tingler"). At one point the rock became infested with Yippies, and it had to be fumigated. Fortunately they have never returned.

This second photo is in incredibly "Blur-O-Rama", the most exciting innovation in photography since the flash cube. It's like really being at Disneyland, only with your glasses off. Here you see the two bridges that are on the island; the floating, bouncy pontoon bridge (looks like that lady to the right is barfing), and in the background, the suspension bridge, with nobody barfing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Folks at Disneyland, March 1968

What happens when three 70-something swingers go to Disneyland, stop being polite, and start getting REAL? Not much. But you have to look at the photos anyway.

Gunther, Hildy and Marlene have just spent a saucy evening at the Disneyland Hotel. Just look at the expression on Gunther's face - the cat that ate the canary. He has a movie camera. If only it could talk.

Marlene and Hildy are on their way into Tomorrowland. Aren't we all, in a way?

Gunther, you sly dog! I can practically hear him calmly taunting James Bond. Marlene smokes her Gauloises (French cigarettes) while Hildy recalls last night's escapades. Who is the mystery woman concealing her identity with her souvenir map? Gunther, Hildy and Marlene will know her well by the end of the day!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Airport

I have a fondness for vintage photos of airports and airplanes... they harken back to an era when travel by air was still a special experience. Men and women dressed up for the occasion, and the promise of getting to your destination in just 6 or 7 hours was almost unbelievable. Lucky kids got metal "Junior Pilot's Wings" or "Junior Stewardess Wings" with an actual sharp pin on the back. I also remember trips to various airports when I was a tadpole; even then I found the experience fascinating (instead of tedious).

This "Anything Goes" entry is unmarked and undated, but it is almost certainly from the early 1950's. As for the location of the airport, I haven't a clue. The presence of those Italian cypresses on the hills in the distance makes me think this could be California, but... who knows. The fact that it is apparently on top of a hill might help one of you readers to identify it. I love the stubby little propeller-driven airplanes! No giant jumbo jets here. And the old cars in the parking area are cool too!

I showed this photo to a friend, and he said, "It looks like Northern California to me." Pause. "It could be Texas...." - pause again - "... it could be anywhere!".

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fabulous Tomorrowland! January 1974

Here's a pretty sweet photo featuring the wonderful Rocket Jets and the even more wonderful Peoplemover! The memories of the Rocket Jets whirling around in the distance (and way up high) is a fond one for me. As for the Peoplemover, I tried to describe it to my niece, who probably didn't quite understand my love of such a slow-moving ride. But there was just something neat about being above the crowds, relaxing, enjoying the colorful and exciting views, and listening to the prerecorded spiel.

Here's another neat photo; the rectangular Skyway vehicles are passing overhead, we've got more Peoplemover action, and a beautiful shot of the Matterhorn.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Two From January 1960

This little girl is having a good old time riding her gleaming Carousel horse. Notice that the horses are not all white like they are today (I know I point that out every time, but that's how I roll); I prefer that look, personally. But the powers that be at Disney presume that everybody wants to ride a white horse. Meanwhile, note how shiny and perfect that black horse is. I'm going to call him "Snertles".

This next photo is kind of a "nothing" shot (taken from the Monorail?), looking past the base of the Matterhorn and the queue at the load area for that attraction. Notice the one bobsled just zipping past on the right!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three From Knott's, 1955

We've seen plenty of photos of Knott's Berry Farm's two vintage locomotives. But there is another oddball locomotive there as well: the Galloping Goose! It appears to be hitched to one of the antique engines, and I am wondering if it was brand-new to the park and not yet able to move under its own power?

Here's what I wrote about it a long time ago: The Galloping Goose is one of "...a series of seven railcars built in the 1930s by the Rio Grande Southern Railroad (RGS) and operated until the end of service on the line in the early 1950s." According to Wikipedia, "the geese were painted in black and dark green. In 1935 they were all painted in a silver scheme which they retain to this day." Only the very first galloping goose no longer survives, many of the others are still operational. The Knott's version (their is #3) apparently is still used on occasion, typically during the off season when attendance is low.

The famous cable cars of San Francisco are such an icon that it is hard to believe that at one point they had fallen into decline and the city was in the process of replacing them with buses, and in some cases, streetcars. Fortunately, Walter Knott acquired a couple of the vintage cable cars; at least one of them actually operated, and another one sat stationary for folks to sit in and rest their feet.

OK, who can tell me if the grist mill is still at Knott's? I'd like a bag of corn meal please. I'm gonna make a big batch of hush puppies (fried in bacon fat). Or maybe some johnny cakes (fried in bacon fat). Or some fritters (you know the drill). Sometimes I just like to eat corn meal right out of the bag! Mmmm, gritty!


UPDATE! TokyoMagic! kindly sent this photo of the former Grist Mill - now the Glass Blower's shop. It's interesting that there are still grindstones on display out front. If you look at the details you can see that it really is the same old building. Thanks, TokyoMagic! Be sure to check out his Meet the World blog, why don'tcha.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fairyland Village, August 1966

Here are four photos from a little tourist attraction known as "Fairyland Village". I have NO idea where this park was... a Google search was not much help. There's a Fairyland Village in Australia! I won't be surprised if one of my readers knows exactly where this place was.

It's not exactly the most beautiful place in the world, but it has ice cream (soft serve!), and that moves it up a few notches automatically. Come see our huge gravel parking lot!

These slides were developed at Montgomery Ward's, and they are pretty awesomely crappy. This is how they look after I've tried to restore them, so just try to imagine how they looked beforehand. Here's a very crude Gulliver after he has been captured by the Lilliputians. They brought along a cask, which I'm sure was filled with a non-alcoholic beverage. Yoo-hoo, maybe.

Oh my god, it's a freakin' DRAGON! Run for your lives!! Oh wait, it's not real. But it fooled me for a minute. How embarrassing. He really looks like he was made of papier-maché! To be honest, the childlike quality of these figures is charming to me.

There's the lovely Rapunzel, with her freakishly long golden braids, and her scary witchiepoo godmother is climbing up to deliver a can of whoop-ass. It is clear that Disney totally stole this whole scene for the movie "Tangled".

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Fairyland Village!

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Pair From August, 1959

Today I am sharing the first pair from a small lot of slides from August, 1959.

Three women pose in front of Main Street Station, with the yellow passenger cars and the Kalamazoo handcar. The tall blond on the left is pretty striking, I'll bet her short hairdo was quite daring in 1959. What do you think, is the lady in the middle her mom? I think I see a family resemblance. The one on the right is unhappy at having to remove her dark glasses for a photo.

Hey, there's Minnie! She's not quite as scary looking as we've seen in other photos. I like the two plugs on top of her head, which is where a hat could presumably be nailed on. Or maybe they provide some additional ventilation to the poor bastard inside.

We'll see these ladies again, soon!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Boring Sunday Post

Every once in a while, I will post some photos that I consider to be underwhelming. And in most cases I will get at least one or two nice comments along the lines of "Hey Major, these aren't boring!". But today I give you two truly unexceptional photos. They were scanned and ready to go, and I might as well just get it over with and use them.

Toad Hall from Storybook Land; I love 'em both. But this grayish image does neither of them justice. Even the cast member in the background looks bored. The only interesting detail I see here is the Romanesque bridge that is covered in ivy, unlike earlier views.

A Dementor has just left Disneyland, having sucked all of the joy and life out of scenes like this. I swear if I was involved in maintaining this ride, I'd be so tempted to place a little plastic skeleton somewhere.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Atlantic City

It's Saturday, and that means it's time for another "Anything Goes" installment. Today we'll visit Atlantic City, New Jersey! AC is about 120 miles south of New York City (by road), and while it has experienced many economic ups and downs over the years, it is still widely considered to be the Las Vegas of the East. Ya gots yer shopping, and casinos, and fine dining. And somebody put the Atlantic Ocean right next to it too, which was a smart move.

This cheerful lady appears to be having a swell time at the beach. I imagine what life might have been like back then. Summers on the east coast can be hot and humid, and most folks probably didn't have air conditioning back then. So a drive to the shore was just what the doctor ordered! Heck, looking at that blue sky and bluer water makes me want to got to AC! In the background is the famous Steel Pier, originally opened in 1898. All of the hottest acts performed at the Pier... Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Mae West, and so on. And you could see the high-diving horse, a human cannonball, high-wire acts, ride the roller coaster... it was like a permanent carnival.

Here's our girl again, this time with her hubby. Hotels aplenty line the shore, with the famous boardwalk in between. We'll see some other photos featuring the boardwalk area in the future!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Entrance & Main Street, August 1959

To all who come to this happy place, welcome! Unless you're a hippie, in which case you can go to Russia and live with the other commies.

I love this first photo of the C.K. Holliday sitting atop the east tunnel entrance to the park. Mostly because I love the Disneyland Railroad in general; I could just ride that about four times in a row (except that the people I'm with never want to do that). Check out the banner for "Disneyland '59". So many wonderful attractions made their debut only weeks before this photo was taken. As somebody else pointed out on another blog, it is a bit odd that the "Skyway and Glacier Grotto" is heralded as a "new adventure". The Skyway had been there for 3 years; and what was Glacier Grotto?? Was it just the vast hollow interior of the Matterhorn?

Here's one of Main Street's "white wings", the sanitation workers who wore spotless white uniforms. What I wouldn't give for one of those helmets (or is it just a hat?)! This White Wing might not be smiling on the outside, but he is smiling on the inside. And that's what counts. These two men are posing in front of the Swift Market House, home of the world's fastest meats.

I wanted to zoom in for a closer look at some of those street lamp signs (which I covet), as well as the sign suspended over the street, and yet another banner.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fantasyland Stuff, October 1975

Here's an undistinguished selection for you, featuring some views from Fantasyland.

The exterior of It's a Small World is almost as fun (some would say more fun) than the ride itself. My new 25,000 square-foot mansion has a façade that is nearly identical, except that it is a tasteful shade of day-glo orange.

I was going to have topiary animals like these in the vast manicured gardens of my estate, but then I read "The Shining", and the part where the topiaries come to life and attack freaked me out. So instead I have giant Chia pets. If they come to life, then it's all over. Cha-cha-cha-chia!

Good old Skull Rock! Maybe I should have one of these added to my exclusive compound. The grotto will be full of well-built, hand-picked honeys, and the skull will be King Kong's actual skull. Gotta mix it up, right?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Miscellaneous Wednesday

Today's post is called "Miscellaneous Wednesday" because I love eskimos. Long story.

Anyway, let's start in Somewheresville USA, and visit the amazing, baffling Mystery Hill! Mystery Hill is clearly one of many similar roadside tourist attractions found around the country (the signs even look just like the ones at the "Mystery Spot" up in Santa Cruz). For those of you who remember the Haunted Shack at Knott's Berry Farm, the illusions were probably just like that; by playing with perspective and building a structure on an incline, water would appear to run uphill, tall people could shrink (and short people could grow), and so on. There are four Mystery Hills listed on Wikipedia, and I have no idea which one this is. Brooklyn, Michigan? Marblehead, Ohio? North Carolina? New Hampshire?

Here's a photo of Long Beach, California (circa 1967), taken from the harbor. Long Beach had a wonderful beach-side amusement park known as "The Pike" (and later the Nu-Pike). By 1967 the Nu-Pike had fallen on hard times, but you can see the famous "Cyclone Racer" roller coaster. In just a few years the Cyclone would be demolished as part of the preparations for the arrival of the Queen Mary.

Now we hop over to Sarasota, Florida (and back in time to 1956) to see a young Orville Redenbacher sitting at the wheel of a 1906 Autocar at "Cars of Yesterday". Founded in 1953, Cars of Yesterday had a display of more than 70 automobiles, as well as antique music boxes, bicycles, a recreation of an old blacksmith's shop, and so on. The museum changed hands several times, but you can still visit it today as the Sarasota Classic Car Museum! (PS, that's not really Orville Redenbacher).

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Walt Disney World, Main Street, May 1972

Let's return to Florida and the Magic Kingdom!

Today we're going no further than Main Street; but what a Main Street! Florida's version is considerably larger and more ornate than Disneyland's version; the effect is much more of a movie-set fantasy. Which is not a bad thing, just different from Anaheim's relatively cozy street. The architecture reminds me (just a little) of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair's "White City"; Walt's father Elias was one of countless workers who helped to build the Chicago fair, for whatever that's worth.

Towering Cinderella Castle is quite a sight too. I'm guessing that the cooler, bluer colors were used intentionally to help force the illusion of atmospheric perspective (we've all seen how the atmosphere tends to drain distant objects - mountains for instance - of their local color and infuse more of the sky's color); this helps to make it feel even more distant (and thus larger) than it already is!

Now we're down on the street looking back toward the very grand Main Street Station. Again, the large scale can't help but impress. As in Disneyland, I wonder how much of those upstairs spaces are used for storage or offices. Meanwhile, Florida always has the best skies.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Knott's Selection

Here's a somewhat random assortment of photos from Knott's Berry Farm.

I never get tired of the trains at Knott's. This locomotive (seen in a 1956 image) is the real deal - big cast-iron beast. No 5/8 scale for Walter Knott! And yet there is a beauty to it. It really is something to consider when you think that this particular locomotive was hauling freight and passengers back in the 1880's! Just beyond the train you can see part of the depot; and beyond that... plenty of trees!

Jumping forward to 1977, and take a look at the old fire wagon. This amazing contraption was originally steam-powered. It was like a train without tracks. I'm sure it's been many years since it has moved under its own power; now it's happy to have kids climbing aboard.

Here's a very authentic looking Prairie Schooner over at the Covered Wagon Camp. Folks could sit in one of these and look down into a dug-out amphitheater (which had additional seats/terraces, sculpted with concrete to look something like rockwork). They could eat a box lunch or dinner and enjoy live musical performances and square dancing. Swing your partner, do-si-do! A group known as The Wagonmasters played at the Wagon Camp for many years.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Souvenir Dungeon - Popcorn Boxes

Today's "Souvenir Dungeon" entry definitely falls under the category of "One man's trash is another man's treasure". You've probably seen these early popcorn boxes on one or two other blogs before, but it might not be such a terrible chore to have to look at one of them again. Collectors love ephemera like this because it is a direct link to the early guest experience. The turquoise stripes add a dash of 50's coolness!

Main Street USA doesn't get a mention on the boxes. By the way, I had an extra example of one of these boxes that had turned brown on one side, and it still sold for over $160 on ebay.

You can see one of these boxes in the lady's hand in this 1958-ish photo.

Leaping forward to 1967, here is another example, now with a groovy orange, aqua and lime green color scheme. I wonder if the park offered a variety of sizes; this photo might be a bit larger than the actual popcorn box! It's a serving for a child, perhaps. Or folks just weren't the gluttons they are today.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Blimptastic!

Hey there, blimpie boy...

Everybody loves blimps. It's a scientific fact! There's just something about a silvery Goodyear blimp floating dreamily in the air; I sometimes can see them waaaaaay in the distance (like during a Dodger game) and it always makes me smile.

Both slides are undated, but seem to be from the very early 50's, or maybe even the late 40's. I am reasonably sure that they are both from Southern California; one friend thinks that the location is Baldwin Hills (part of South Los Angeles) - due in part to the numerous oil derricks that can be seen dotting the hills in the background. And who am I to argue? Knowing my brainy readers, they will be telling exactly where this is anyway, so I'm not going to sweat it. Check out the old car. And what is that airplane with the twin tail? It reminds me of a shrunk down P-38 Lightning. Oh yeah, and there's a blimp too!

Kudos to our photographer for also getting this stunning (in my opinion) panorama looking down on the airfield, with its quonset huts and blocky buildings; a blue sky and puffy clouds (must be winter in Los Angeles) add to the picturesque scene. And hey, there's a blimp!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tomorrowland 1957

Here are two Tomorrowland views (both taken from the Skyway) circa 1957.

Well, looky looky! It's the short-lived Viewliner; from up here it resembles a strange orange serpent. It appears to be just pulling into the the Tomorrowland station (there was another station in Fantasyland); the landscaping is still pretty minimal, and it wouldn't get more than about another year to mature before the whole thing was removed for the Matterhorn.

Here's a familiar view. By law, each rider of the Skyway had to take a photo of the Moonliner, or suffer the penalty (which was death)! Check out the considerable crowd next to the rocket, probably a combination of folks waiting for the Rocket to the Moon ride, and those watching a demonstration at the Flight Circle.