Friday, September 30, 2011

World's Fair at Night!

Today's photos give a tantalizing glimpse into what it might have been like to visit the 1964 World's Fair at night. Of course you don't get the sounds and the movement and the smells, but it must have been a beautiful sight.

The Eastman Kodak pavilion looms in the background, with the giant color photos glowing brightly. They look like backlit transparencies, but they were actually color prints (30 feet by 36 feet!). In the foreground, a souvenir stand sells hats, hats, and more hats. I've seen some of my Disneyland favorites - the kind with the brightly dyed ostrich plumes - at the fair. Balloons can be had nearby; something tells me that sales of hats and balloons were not as brisk at night.

The General Motors building was almost as impressive outside as it was inside. The big 110 foot tall, curved canopy was one of the icons of the Fair. What a sight it must have been with the red/pink lights! Speaking of lights, notice the wonderful street lights, called "luminaires". These were made in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. Some of them were relatively small and simple, others were pretty massive. After the fair, these wound up all over the country, and on occasion they will be offered for sale. Me want.

Apparently, Coca-Cola was a popular soft drink back in 1964. I wonder what ever happened to it? I prefer Moxie, anyhow. You can sort of see the carillon (610 bells, folks!) inside the 120-foot spire. A description of one of the exhibits intrigues me: "During a 15 to 20 minute walk, fairgoers visit such faraway places as a bustling Hong Kong street, a serene Indian garden, a Bavarian ski lodge, a Cambodian forest, and the harbor of Rio de Janeiro ."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Entrance & Main Street, January 1960

If you're visiting Disneyland, you've got to have your photo taken in front of the iconic Mickey Mouse floral portrait! (Just like when you come to my home, where you can have your photo taken in front of a floral portrait of me. It's stunning). One little kid is entranced by the locomotive that is just coming in to Main Street Station; possibly the first train he's ever seen. There's the Kalamazoo hand car. The fact that there is a real place called "Kalamazoo" makes me happy.

The lighting in this photo is strangely diffused and yet still bright. The street is still a bit wet from its morning scrubbing. No trash (or horse apples) here, thanks in part to the hard-working sanitation dude to our left. Guests stay on the sidewalks, something I always enjoy seeing in these vintage photos.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Adventureland, July 7 1961

Here's a terrific vintage photo of Adventureland, showing a kind of "you are there" view as if you had just walked from the hub through the entrance archway and into this exotic land. There's my favorite tiki, as inscrutable as always. He knows all, but says nothing! Notice the group of older ladies with their faux block-printed tapa cloth dresses; also, see the woman with the white fluffy hat to the left? The one with the special light that shines only on her? She must be the wife of our photographer, because she shows up in a number of pictures from this lot.

Here's a detail of the sign in the background, for Chiana.

Fluffy hat alert! But you have to look carefully to find it. The older ladies are here as well; maybe they were all together in a huge group. I'm picturing the tour bus that brought them to Disneyland! Beer cans and empty pork rind bags everywhere. The Yangtze Lotus is full up, but don't worry, another boat will be ready for us in no time.


It's me again, faithful readers! Just thought I'd mention that I spent all of Tuesday at Disneyland, and will write a brief trip report in a day or two. Is that exciting or what?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

3 More From WDW, May 1972

Here are a few more photos from an 8 month-old Walt Disney World. You won't see any evidence of construction or anything exciting like that, but hopefully they are worth a look anyway.

How can you not be impressed by Cinderella's Castle? At 189 feet tall (compared to Sleeping Beauty Castle at a mere 77 feet), it soars.

In Fantasyland, Cinderella's Golden Carrousel is an authentic 94 year-old merry-go-round originally built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company in 1917. It has 90 horses - and every horse is unique! Just like each of you, faithful readers. For reasons that aren't even worth going into, it was clunkily renamed "Prince Charming Regal Carrousel" in June of 2010.

Florida's Frontierland is looking awfully bare in this photo. I can only imagine what it must look like today after 40 years of growth. The sternwheeler named after Admiral Joe Fowler is churning the waters; does anybody know if it is basically the same in size as the Mark Twain in Disneyland? I learned (via Wikipedia) that a second sternwheeler, the Richard F. Irvine, was added in 1973; and in 1980, the Admiral Fowler, somehow suffering damage during refurbishment, was scrapped! Sacre bleu!

Stay tuned! Just a few more left in this lot.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Main Street, April 29 1956

Welcome to Main Street, circa 1956. Disneyland was less than a year old, but boy does it look great!

Once again, I am amazed at the beautiful details that were lavished on the buildings on Main Street. I can only imagine Walt Disney's pleasure at seeing it all come together in the final days of construction. Color choices, window styles, textures, and the wonderful signs, they all add up to an impressive achievement. This late-afternoon photo shows the Disneyland Band marching up the street for an added dash of old-timey goodness. There's Trinidad, the "white wing", to the right.

It must be Dapper Day, because everyone looks pretty snazzy. This beautiful view from the hub demonstrates just why Disneyland was unlike any other American amusement park. I'll just let you step into the picture and relax!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Li'l Mining Town, 1975

The Rainbow Ridge hardware store has almost everything you could want to make life easier on the frontier. But do they have a potato ricer? Huh? Do they? No! And what about a gelato maker? Or a pocket fisherman? I'm going to write an angry letter to the proprietor. Angry letters are my specialty!

The El Dorado Hotel, where the beds are made of solid gold! I feel sorry for all of you folks sleeping on soft, comfortable mattresses made of memory-foam.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Freedom 7

It seems like every boy was fascinated by the U.S. space program back in the 60's and into the 70's. Girls too, I'm sure, but I wouldn't fraternize with them because of their astro-cooties. I drew pictures of Saturn V rockets, wrote reports about moon launches, looked at Life magazines and National Geographics, and was generally enthralled by every aspect of the "space race".

Today's photo of the Freedom 7 spacecraft ("capsule"), from the Mercury program, evokes those feelings in me once more. The picture was taken inside the old Smithsonian museum, long before there was a separate Air and Space building. It dates from November 1962, about 18 months after it had carried Alan Shepard (atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket) to an altitude of approximately 116 miles (185 kilometers). The craft traveled in a ballistic arc, eventually splashing down in the Atlantic after only 15 minutes and 22 seconds.

Here's another similar photo taken about 2 years later.

According to Wikipedia, the Freedom 7 craft survived its mission so well that it could have been reused! It is now on display in the lobby of the Armei-Leftwich Visitor Center at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Knott's, 1959

I loves me some nineteen-fitties Knott's Berry Farm!

Here's a "photo-op" location that I don't remember seeing before! A charming outhouse (built by Slanty Sam?) provides a bit of good old fashioned potty humor. That lady seems to be enjoying herself, and isn't that all that matters? Notice the sign in the shrub to the right, informing us that it is a "Tamarix". Wikipedia says that the tamarix was used as a windbreak (no pun intended) and a popular ornamental, and that during the Great Depression, millions of them were planted to help prevent soil erosion.

Each day (presumably during the busy months?) the KBF train was robbed, and each day the robber was shot and kilt. KILT! Crime doesn't pay, except for when it does. You can see the thievin' varmint's hilarious, lifeless corpse about to be hauled away to become tomorrow's hamburgers. This is an interesting view because there is no Calico Mountain yet (it would be there in a year, though); beyond those trees was a stadium for horse shows that nobody wanted to see. Anybody know what that little building is just to the left of the train engine?

Just north of the wagon camp (and right near the lake) was this lovely flamingo pond. And not just flamingos, but chickens, and penguins, all living together in peace and harmony. We could learn a lot from those delicious birds. Notice the parking lot full of awesome cars, all sturdy products from Detroit, I'll wager.

Hey, I noticed that when I right-click these photos to see them larger, I no longer get the annoying and unwanted slideshow!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gals In Disneyland, August 1959

Let's spend some more time with 3 Neat Gals!

Here they are, a study in contrasts, hanging out at the entrance to Adventureland. Creepy Dude with a Keppy Kap (to the left) is observing the gals. (I'm starting to wonder if people think I look creepy when I wear my Keppy Kap to the grocery store). Mom looks smashing in her white dress with roses. She's admiring the carved African mask, imagining how it might look over her fireplace. Her pal in the blue dress tugs on the mask's plaited beard, still a bit discombobulated after her encounter with Minnie Mouse. Maybe the tall blonde is an Olympic swimmer, preparing for the 1960 Summer games in Rome! Ignore the cigarette.

Here they are again, this time on the bridge that leads to Frontierland (only a few steps from the Adventureland gate). The background is pretty, with the castle and the landscaping. The gal on the right is thinking, "Enough with the pictures! Let's ride some rides already!". She's cranky.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

2 From the Jungle Cruise, 1956

The good old Jungle Cruise! It has undergone many changes and updates over the years, but it is essentially still the same fun ride it has been since the day the park opened. May I suggest the addition of a Johnny Depp animatronic? Genius, right? Anyway, here's a lovely, color-saturated photo of the loading dock. This is from the days when the skipper's spiel was more dry and straightforward... the humor evolved later.

There's a rare rhinocerworst, laying his eggs by the water so that, when they hatch, the babies can swim to freedom. They will eventually return to this same shore to smoke cigarettes. Let's kill him and grind up his horn for aphrodisiacs. Er, not for me, for a friend - yeah, that's it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

New York World's Fair - Miscellaneous

Here's a batch of oddball images from the 1964 New York World's Fair!

Let's start with this fearsome, axe-wielding "muffler man". Yes, I am accustomed to seeing these giant figures holding giant mufflers. But this one has been modified to be more "Bunyanesque". I'm looking for clues to figure out why he's there. The souvenir shack looks like it was once used to sell fireworks by the road. The golden bear sculpture? Who knows. Alaska? Sugar Crisp cereal?

In the foreground stands another giant, this time a viking. He's guarding the Smorgasbord dining area against barbarians who might want a free meal of meatballs. Behind him is the New York State Pavilion, and to the right is the pointy Astral Fountain. I learned from a previous post that the spiky cylinder rotated. Hopefully it rotated really fast, and chewed up some pesky pigeons!

Here is one of the most exciting, dynamic displays I've ever seen. The oddly-named "Picatinny Arsenal" (?!). Was this where you could rent a machine gun? I have NO idea what the point of this area was. Maybe you could take a nap. Clearly, guests stayed away in droves. What do those many white supports hold up? Meanwhile, the Sikorsky helicopter can be seen up in the air.

Here's a strange display of Geodes and bits of coral. And pennies, lots and lots of pennies! Geodes are nodules of limestone, usually filled with layers of chalcedony, and within those layers, quartz or amethyst crystals. I knew a kid who called them "gonads". It wasn't me, I swear. Why the pieces of coral? What pavilion would display something like this? Where do babies come from?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Main Street Scenes, April 29 1956

Here's a nice shot of the Carnation truck as it sits by the curb on West Center Street (pre-Flower Mart). Mom and dad seem mighty amused at the sight of their dapper little boy pretending to take the wheel (dad is talking on his 1956 cell phone). The little girl in the blue dress is wearing her Carnation paper hat (presumably given to all kids)... you can get a better look at a similar hat in this photo.

The Swift Market House was designed to mimic the experience of an old-fashioned neighborhood store, including a cast-iron stove, a checkerboard, and a telephone where you could listen in on the party line. Other than some soaps that I've seen, I'm not sure you could even really buy much.

I'm always interested in the windows on Main Street, especially in these early years. Zooming in provided only a little bit of additional info, but I'll share it here anyway. The window in the lower right corner has artist Ken Anderson's name (apparently he liked to fish!). Mr. Anderson worked in Disney animation for years, and was instrumental in developing the look for many aspects of Disneyland.

Arg, I just can't quite discern some of these. Who is the stone mason (upper left)? Bob Mattey, center top, worked on the mechanical animals on the Jungle Cruise, among other things (and eventually on "Bruce" the shark in the movie "Jaws"). Below that is a window for "Geo. Whitney GUNS". Anybody know who he was?

Sunday, September 18, 2011


Welcome to another edition of POSTERAMA! We're getting down to the last few examples in my collection. I kind of wish I had only done one poster at a time from the beginning (early on I'd share 3 or 4 in a single post) so that they would last longer - but there's nothing I can do about it now.

Today's featured poster is the one created for the Disneyland Hotel. The bold graphic design is pretty striking, even though this is generally considered to be one of the less desirable posters among collectors. Not by me, though! The triangle at the top contains a stylized map of the park (although Tomorrowland gets cut out). Had this been created a few years later, I'm sure the Monorail would have made an appearance, connecting the two segments.... in fact, it's a bit surprising that this wasn't done.

Anyway, the bottom triangle shows a playful representation of the hotel and its pools. Note that six inks were used in the printing of this example - light blue, dark blue, green, pink, gray, and black - with the white paper as the seventh "hue". Six colors is fairly typical.

I hope you've enjoyed today's POSTERAMA!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Anything Goes Saturday - Lucy the Elephant

Today's photo (circa 1950) features a novelty structure known as "Lucy", in Margate, New Jersey (near Atlantic City). She was built in 1881 (!), and is six stories high, made of wood, covered in tin sheeting, and is the oldest surviving example of "zoomorphic" architecture in the United States.

A man named James Lafferty built Lucy in an effort to help sell real estate and to boost tourism. In fact, he built several elephant-shaped structures; one - The Elephantine Colossus - was 12 stories tall, with legs 60 feet in circumference! All of the other pachyderm premises burned down or were demolished over the years.

Here are some fun facts: Lucy is 65 feet high, 60 feet long, 18 feet wide, and weighs about 90 tons. She is made from almost one million pieces of wood. Her "small" ears delineate her as an Asian elephant, and yet she has tusks, which only male Asian elephants have.

She has served as an office, a restaurant, a tavern, and even a cottage... but never a hotel, despite rumors to the contrary.

You can still visit Lucy today! She had fallen into disrepair in the 1960's and was scheduled for demolition; but a successful "Save Lucy" campaign allowed her to be moved and completely restored. Hooray! She is now a National Historic Landmark.

And here I am living in a regular building, like a sucker.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Knott's Berry Farm, 1970's

Let's head back to the 1970's... those thrilling days of yesteryear! And while we're there, we'll head over to Knott's Berry Farm.

Here's a nice shot of the Timber Mountain Log Ride, not long after it opened. This is an unusual angle (taken from "Gate 3"), you can see how the show building is sort of sliced off next to the roadway (where the Stage Coach ran, I think). There's a little tunnel at ground level, was this for employees? Or maybe the pack mules went through there.

One of the railroad trains came by, and our photographer caught a slightly blurry photo of it.

Here's a detail of the exterior of the blacksmith's shop. I like the use of cattle brands as decor... something like Native American pictographs. Is the name "R.F. Kovacs" significant, or did somebody just like the sound of it?

After an emotional visit to the Undertaker's (in the background), this gentleman needed some comforting. Fortunately Nelle and Belle, our favorite dance hall gals, are always ready to help! Meanwhile, that coffin in front of the funeral parlor was a good place to have your picture taken while you pretended to be a corpse.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Main Street in the 80's

I've only posted a few photos from the 1980's, and those were examples that I took myself. But I have since acquired a group of slides dating from the early to mid 80's, and it seemed like a good time to start sharing them.

I've always loved the little figures that can be seen in the popcorn vendor's carts, endlessly turning a container full of popped kernels. At most parks it would be a little clown, but the Disney folks customized theirs; in this case we see Big Al himself, and by golly, he looks a bit slimmer! I've also seen Oogie Boogie, the Rocketeer, and a Haunted Mansion ghoul toiling away. Have you seen any others?

The late great Wally Boag was most famous to Disneyland fans as Pecos Bill in the Golden Horseshoe Revue. But he did much more than that! Walt apparently loved him, and Wally contributed to the script for the Enchanted Tiki Room, as well as providing the voice for Jose (and the Barker Bird). He was also the editor and contributor to the "Backstage Disneyland" magazine. Not to mention a few small rolls in a number of Disney movies. Here, above the Carnation ice cream parlor we can see the window that is a well-earned tribute to Wally, who just passed away in June at the age of 90.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Disneyland Lunchbox, 1960

I was going to put today's post into the Souvenir Dungeon, but technically this item would probably not be a souvenir - meaning that I doubt anybody purchased one of these at Disneyland to bring home later.

This Disneyland lunch box (circa 1960) ranks pretty high in my list of all-time favorite items in my collection - it's not especially rare.... I just love it. Not surprisingly, they are hard to find in good condition. When I think of how beat-up my own boxes were by the end of the school year, it amazes me that this one managed to survive with only the lightest wear. I saw one on ebay long ago that was about as minty fresh as could be, but it went for something like $250.

Check out the beautiful artwork and high-quality lithography. In 1959, the old gothic typeface used for the word "Disneyland" was updated to this more playful version, with its off-kilter curls. The Matterhorn and the Monorail are featured prominently here, with the Subs, Autopia, and Skyway making the scene too. Even the Omnibus sneaks in for a cameo.

On the other side you'll find this great artwork showcasing the Submarine Voyage. The sub itself is considerably "off model". I can only imagine a kid looking at this, and dying to see the ride; a beautiful mermaid, a fearsome shark, and sunken treasure, wow!

This side of the box shows the Columbia sailing on the moonlit Rivers of America, with the burning cabin to the left, and Fort Wilderness to the right.

The bottom of the box has the Mark Twain chugging past the Plantation House (going the wrong way).

Still in Frontierland, we see a thundering team of horses pulling the Stagecoach out of town (with a full cash box, I'm sure), while a hotshot gunslinger sizes us up.

Fantasyland and Adventureland aren't featured at all on this box, but you will see the Disneyland Band marching down Main Street.

Aladdin Industries really outdid themselves with this lunch box! I even love the safety suggestions printed on the inside of the lid.

Who's in the mood for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, chocolate milk, a Dolly Madison "Zinger", and an apple?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

View From an Omnibus, August 1959

One of the simple joys of a ride aboard the Disneyland Omnibus is the elevated perspective that a guest experiences. 12 feet (or so) up in the air feels plenty high in this scaled-down environment. In this first photo we can see the Surrey with its shrunkified horses; each bench in the background has a colorful umbrella to provide shade in August.

A second photo captures the Horse Drawn Streetcar and the brand-new Matterhorn.