Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Queen Mary, Long Beach

Ahoy, salty dogs! Today we be visitin' the most fearsome ship that ever sailed the Atlantic Ocean - The Queen Mary. You can do a search on this blog for info about the QM. Or visit your local liberry!

There she is, looking mighty fine. And as big as she is, today's cruise ships make her look like she needs to eat more steak. For instance, in the Queen's heyday, her weight was around 81,000 gross tons. The modern-day "Allure of the Seas" weighs in at over a quarter of a million tons!

Here is an artistic view of a smokestack, (also called "funnels" because they were used to pour sugar into bottles). As I said in an earlier post, the original funnels had to be replaced when it was discovered that the only thing holding the rusted metal together was many layers of paint. Notice the two great horns, also known as "tooty things".

Can somebody explain to me why ships like these usually had a large mast? Was it for radio communications?

I want to pull every one of those levers, and yell, "Ice berg, dead ahead!" into the speaking tube. And meet Kate Winslet, maybe. I'm sure she reads this blog.

Is this still something you can see on the QM? I remember looking down into the large enclosed pool that contained the giant bronze screw. Yes, I said it.

I have more photos from the Queen Mary, like it or not!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Jungle Cruise, May 1965

Howsabout some scenes from the fabulous Jungle Cruise?

There's the "lost safari", so I guess we found 'em. That rhinoceros has chased them up that tree, and when they finally grow weary, he will gobble them up. Because that's what rhinos do.

You'll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that there is a group of headhunters behind that foliage. Headhunters are cool! So are shrunken heads, which are the perfect accessory for any season. They never go out of style!

Schweitzer Falls! I've always wondered if that "back side of water" gag was written by Wally Boag; it is funny and corny, which seems to be his trademark. Does anybody know?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

More Last Frontier, Las Vegas - 1955

This is a sort of follow-up to this post from a few weeks ago; you remember! The Last Frontier Hotel and Casino. It was the most huggable casino ever.

This guy is admiring a car that was probably made around the time he was born. Maybe he owned one just like it when he was a teenager, when he took Betty Lou to the nickelodeon. Notice that the buildings show some Chinese influence, adding a touch of historical accuracy to the olde-timey Western town.

It's hard to believe that there was a time when old steam locomotives were valued only as scrap, unless you needed an eye-catching display for some reason. This old girl probably hauled ore and tailings around the old west back in the 1800's. Now she has a dummy in her cab!

To the left you can see the livery stable, and even some horses; at one time folks could take a ride out into the desert, away from the glitz of The Strip. General Store was one of the Civil War's most famous officers, and here is a museum devoted just to him. Inspiring!

Are you sick of the Last Frontier yet? I have more if you want to see it!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Anything Goes Saturday - The Matterhorn

We all love the Matterhorn, with its thrilling bobsled ride, and the memories of the Skyway passing through it. But hey! there is another Matterhorn! Who knew! It's located in the Pennine Alps between Italy and Switzerland. This one doesn't have any crazy rides, but I guess I like it anyway. Here are a couple of photos circa 1955, in glorious Kodachrome.

Isn't that totally boss? I believe that this photo was taken from the nearby Gornergrat, which affords visitors a spectacular view of its neighbor, when the weather cooperates (it was completely clouded over when I went years ago). If there was ever a mountain that needed to be climbed, it would be the Matterhorn! It was finally summited in 1865, but over the next 130 years, 500 other climbers lost their lives, so it is no cakewalk.

As for that semi-ruined building, it might be what is now a hotel - the "Kulmhotel Gornergrat". It's hard for me to say, but I'll bet somebody out there knows.

Another nice photo, with plenty of tourists relaxing at an outdoor cafe. A railway (the "Gornergratbahn") carries folks up, and they can hike down if they choose. That's what I did, it's not terribly strenuous, and man is it beautiful!

I zoomed in on the crowd, mostly because I like the woman near the middle who is enjoying the warmth of the sun. Don't you wish you were sitting at one of those tables with your cappucino and a croissant?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Tomorrowland, April 29 1956

I hope today's photos make you as happy as they make me! Of all of the "lands", the pre-1959 Tomorrowland fascinates me the most. So much of Tomorrowland's history is poory documented, leaving us only with intriguing titles like "The World Beneath Us", "Space Station X-1", and the "Color Gallery" (though one or two photos have sprung up to whet my appetite even more).

This first picture was taken from the entrance to Tomorrowland; swivel your head to the left and there was Circarama, the pre-cursor to "Circlevision 360". The first film shown in this format was "A Tour of the West", and as far as I know, no copy is known to exist. Hopefully it will be discovered in one of Disney's vaults someday! Imagine seeing the American west in glorious color, circa 1955!

Without taking a step, we look to our right, and can see the façade of Monsanto's "Hall of Chemistry". Another attraction I'd give my prehensile tail to see! Even if it was just full of beakers of colored water and bubbling dry ice, I would be a happy fella. Throw in some blinky lights, and I'd be grinning for a week. The Hall of Chemistry would survive until September 1966!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New York World's Fair Assortment

It's time for another visit to the Fair!

This must have been quite a sight for weary New Yorkers on their daily commutes - the gleaming World's Fair buildings, in all their strange futuristic shapes. Imagine it at night, too! And even though the Fair was only there for about 18 months (with a 6 month winter hiatus), people probably got used to the view and didn't even notice it any more. It's human nature!

From the "moon roof" of the Eastman Kodak pavilion (see it here) comes this view looking sort of south and west; to our left you can see the square top of the "House of Japan". The Austrian pavilion has the 3 laminated-spruce a-frame supports that actually suspended the building 15 feet off the ground! Just to the right of the 7-up tower, you can see a golden, spiked ball. What is that?

It's the "Solar Fountain"! The fountain, situated in a 120-foot diameter pool, consists of a golden bubble with sparkling glass inserts. A vertical column, 40-feet high, supports a 6-foot diameter golden sunburst waterfall.

Now, if you go back to photo #2 and imagine looking just slightly to your left, you get a good look at the "Sermons From Science" building (with the huge Unisphere looming in the background). This would be the third time that a Sermons From Science pavilion had been at a World's Fair (it was also at the 1939 NYWF, and the 1962 Expo). A California pastor came up with the idea of using scientific demonstrations as a way of communicating Biblical concepts to younger audiences. Presentations included "Eyes That See In Darkness", "A Cry That Shatters Glass", and "A Flashlight That Talks".

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

It's A Small World, June 1968

Here are four more photos from somebody who really loved "It's a Small World"!

When you are one of the Three Little Pigs, you are used to adoration and stardom. It just comes with the territory. Which piggy is this? The "Piper Pig"? Or the "Fiddler Pig"? Either way, that young girl is thrilled! Meanwhile, check out the guy who has completely unbuttoned his shirt. Thank goodness for t-shirts! I'll bet he wishes he had a cold can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

The Big Bad Wolf has mellowed since 1933. Now he loves kids, especially when they are fricasseed. The older of the two boys notices that the wolf is covered in the same shag carpeting that can be found in his front hallway.

I hope that Apple sponsors "It's a Small World" and that the façade is changed to a smooth, glossy white rectangle!

Did you know that topiaries contain NO tapioca?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Souvenir Dungeon - Kibbles and Bits

Here are some oddball Disneyland souvenirs that you might enjoy taking a look at! They don't have to be ultra rare to be fun.

Hey looky, it's a li'l plastic Mark Twain in a li'l plastic bottle! It's resting on a blue marshmallow blob. This cheesy item is probably from the late 1960's or the 1970's; it was cheap, and I really like it! (The glued-on end of the bottle says "Walt Disney Productions" on it, in case you were wondering).

Months ago I posted photos of some metal "tip trays" featuring Main Street vehicles. Here's another one that I just got, with the lovable and infrugable Omnibus.

I love pinback buttons, and I love postcards, and this souvenir combines them both. This giant button (about 6 inches across) has a lenticular postcard (those are the kind that have a 3-D effect when you wiggle them) affixed to it. There were 3 other lenticular cards in this set, so I can only assume that there were 3 other buttons too.

Here's the back of the thing, for those of you who are curious...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Special Guest Monday! Knott's Berry Farm (part two)

Here are the last four vintage Knott's photos from GDB reader Bill Youmans! See part one HERE.

There's Bill (age 9) and his sister Barb (age 5) frolicking among the tombstones on Boot Hill. The headstone that Bill is looking at reads, "Joe McGee - Died April 1 1865 - Rest In Peace Until I Come - Your Widow Anna". I can't tell if that's supposed to be kind of beautiful, or really creepy!

What a great photo of the train! There's the ticket depot to its right. The new Calico Mine Train ride would be sort of behind us.

Dino the Donkey (that's what I call him, anyway) gets more lovin' from Bill and Barb (that's their mom Marian in the white dress). In the foreground you can see a bit of the arastra, which was a thingamabob originally used to crush gold ore.

And finally, Barb has just finished a slice of boysenberry pie! Mmmm-mmm. I'm jealous! I almost want to drive all the way to Knott's just for that.

I'd like to send a big THANK YOU to Bill Youmans for sharing his family photos from Knott's Berry Farm!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Universal Studios

I recently acquired a group of slides from Universal Studios (California), from March, 1985. 1985? Why that was just yesterday, wasn't it? Seems like it, anyway. About half of the slides were a bit on the blurry side, but I decided to share them anyway. Hopefully they won't drive you too crazy.

Part of the famous tram tour takes you past the peaceful town of Amity, where there has been a series of gruesome shark attacks. (I believe that Amity used to be this nameless tropical harbor). See that snack - um, I mean person, sitting in that boat?

Well, he's just been violently yanked into the water, boat and all! A plume of bright pink/red water used to shoot up right afterwards. I used to go to Universal's "City Walk" (think Downtown Disney) fairly regularly, and from the parking garage way up on the hill I could look down onto this scene and watch the little boat repeatedly sink and re-set itself as trams came by. I could also hear the recorded screams of the fisherman!

Oh my gosh, it's a Blurry White Shark! They are much more dangerous than a Great White. I was at Universal just last year with my niece and nephew, and it was hilarious to see the looks on their faces when this mechanical shark lurched towards our tram.

And, just because I am trying to use up the blurry photos, here's a shot of the famous house from Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho". It always surprises me how little it looks when you are there. Notice the light on some scaffolding... I believe that "Psycho 3" would have been shooting right around March 1985 (the movie came out in July, 1986).

Stay tuned for more from Universal Studios!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Anything Goes Saturday - Atlantic City

Today we're going to spend some time in Atlantic City, New Jersey!

AC's famous boardwalk opened in 1870, and was one of the first of its kind. It's over four miles long! That's a lot of boards. As you can see from the photo (circa June 1962), it was quite a place; sort of a cross between old Las Vegas and Times Square - except that there was an ocean right near by. To the right you can see some signs for attractions on the famous Steel Pier, including "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!", and the Diving Horses. Check out the enormous sign to the left, for Planters Peanuts...

There's Mr. Peanut himself, looking lightly-salted and elegant. Apparently there used to be a bench in Atlantic City with a sculpture of Mr. Peanut... you could sit next to him, touch him, confess your sins to him, and have your picture taken with him. But he's gone now...

From a different lot comes this bird's-eye view, taken from a nearby hotel (I assume). You can see lots of assorted carnival-style rides, including bumper cars, a Ferris Wheel, a carousel, a "spook house" (oh, how I wish I could see the spook house!), and much more. Notice the rows of pilings that probably helped to absorb the energy of storm waves in the winter.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It's time for another installment of POSTERAMA! We're down to the last few (only three more)...

Technically this poster is for all of the Fantasyland dark rides, since the text mentions Snow White, Peter Pan, and Mr. Toad (Alice's ride didn't open until 1958, and she got her very own poster). But it's the Peter Pan attraction that gets the star treatment here! What a beautiful design. The golden pirate ship (able to fly because it is covered in golden pixie dust) carries a father and two kids above a moonlit London. Only six colored inks were used in this one (ultramarine blue, light blue, pink, brown, light brown, and yellow/gold), with the white of the paper allowing for a seventh hue.

Just for the halibut, take a look at these variations on the Peter Pan poster. On the left you'll see updated artwork for Disneyland (scanned from a note card). The design and colors have been futzed with, not necessarily for the better. Why have a soft pink when you can go with a vibrant magenta? And darnit, make those people orange! Why is the pirate ship yellow? Everyone knows a pirate ship is brown!

On the right is a version that was used at Euro Disneyland (nabbed from somewhere on the interwebs). A gradation has been added to the sky, along with some squishy Adobe Illustrator clouds. Neither version is terrible, but they don't beat the original either. Not that I'm biased or anything.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Twain and Columbia, July 7 1961

It seems incredible to me, but this photo of the Mark Twain at its loading dock is unlike any other that I have! And I have plenty of pictures of the Mark Twain at the dock. The angle is unusual, and even dramatic! Maybe there's a bit more empty asphalt than I would normally want. Notice our girl with the fluffy hat to the right.

There goes the Columbia! Look at all the masts and spars and ropes and sails and stuff. In its day the original "Columbia" was probably the state-of-the-art in high-tech travel. Imagine going around the globe in this thing!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New York World's Fair, 1964

Ford's "Magic Skyway" and GM's "Futurama" got a lot of press, but Chrysler had a pretty awesome series of exhibit's at the World's Fair too. One of the stranger offerings was the Autofare "Zoo", which featured fanciful sculptures of animals, entirely made from car parts. There was a porcupine (I see him in the background!), a frog, a mantis, and whatever the hell these two things are supposed to be. Caterpiggles?

Here's a great shot of Avis' "Antique Car Ride". Did Arrow Development have anything to do with this attraction? This must have been an "off the shelf" ride (don't get me wrong, I'm sure it was still fun). Wouldn't it have been cooler if the cars were all futuristic atomic cars? The Ford pavilion is in the background.

There's the familar Moon Dome, part of the Travel and Transportation pavilion (I call it the T&T pavilion, please don't go to the T&A pavilion by accident). Among the features seen here was a film sponsored by United Airlines about the miracle of jet travel; a flying saucer show (complete with a visit by martians!); "Around the World With The Navy" (another movie); and the attraction that you would see within the Moon Dome, "Beyond The Moon", which explored man's environment from the nucleus of an atom to outer space. Sounds very "Disney"!

First of all, I labeled this image "Timex", for reasons not clear to me. It was right after I bumped my head. This giant clock is not quite as cool as the Clock of the World at Disneyland, but it told you the time, and (judging by the number "10") also served as a landmark on maps (please correct me if I'm wrong!).

As always, stay tuned for more New York World's Fair images!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Entrance & Main Street, September 1963

Today's first image was taken from a speeding Monorail as the photographer pointed his camera toward Main Street Station (and the exit). Somehow there is no blur at all! Well, maybe a little bit in the lower left, but still, I'm impressed. The grassy areas and rose beds are all long-gone (as are the water fountains, I presume). Bike racks show that some lucky kids lived near enough to not need mom and dad to drive them to the park. Imagine being able to ride your bike to the park whenever you wanted!

The Disneyland Band performs a noon-day concert, but the thing I like the best is the banner in the background: "Disneyland Welcomes Benny Goodman". For all you young'uns out there, Benny Goodman was famous for making adorable animals out of felt and googly eyes.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Special Guest Monday! Knott's Berry Farm (part one)

For today's "Special Guest Monday", GDB reader Bill Youmans was kind enough to share some of his family's color photos from Knott's Berry Farm, circa June 1966.

Let's start with the great picture of Bill's sister Barb (age 5 here), standing next to her new friend. From the look on his face, he is enjoying having his noggin scratched; if only she had a carrot, everything would be perfect!

One of the sturdy little mine trains is just about to enter the Calico gold mine! Did you ever get the feeling that everyone is looking at you?

These guys are getting pretty fresh, but Nell and Belle have seen it all and can take care of themselves. In fact, they seem to be enjoying themselves. I emailed Bill to ask him about these follows, and here's what he had to say: "...that's my dad Ray on the left, and his buddy Rich (with glasses) on the right. They are both professionals (dentist and college professor), so its really funny to see them so out of character. And since we have the slides, my mom must have taken the picture!! They are really enjoying themselves! We drove to California from Kansas to visit Rich and his family, and they took us to KBF while we stayed with them in Long Beach. My recollection is that my father and Rich had known each other since the Army, and Rich had lived in Kansas near us and had moved to California in 1964, so my folks decided to visit them on our summer vacation in 1966. I believe my parents still get Christmas cards from Rich and Lois, so they are still in Long Beach and doing well!" It's so great that everyone is still around, and that they've been friends all these years.

Here comes the Stage Coach! They only lost 2 passengers on the journey this time - they were being chased by a pack of hungry wolves, and the guy who is waving pushed two nuns off the top of the coach. They were gobbled up in a trice, and the coach got away. When you think about it, "waving guy" is a hero.

You can't have photos from Knott's without a picture of Handsome Brady and Whisky Bill, loitering in front of the Gold Trail Hotel as usual. It's a good place to pick up half-smoked ceegars. Bill (our contributor) is to the left in his stylin' straw hat, his mom (Marian, now age 87!) is in the middle, and Barb has climbed way up Whisky Bill.

MANY THANKS to Bill Youmans! I'll have more of his Knott's slides to share with you next week.