Saturday, March 31, 2012

Las Vegas!

There is just something about vintage Las Vegas. I think you know what I'm talking about! For today's "Anything Goes" post, I'm featuring three old views of Sin City.

Here's a fun shot of the Sahara casino. It looks so little and quaint compared to the huge monstrosities that you see in Vegas today. The Sahara opened in 1952; the 1960 film Ocean's 11 was filmed there! After 59 years, it closed on May 16, 2011.

Check out those tailfins!

Now we'll jump forward to 1968 for this shot of a crowded intersection in front of The Mint. I admit that this is more of a "people watching" image, but I love it anyway.

From the same lot is this shot looking down Fremont Street toward the Golden Horseshoe. You could go see Shelley Berman (remember him in an episode of The Twilight Zone, when he makes everyone in the world vanish?) at the Pioneer Club's "Fiesta Room".

Friday, March 30, 2012

Tomorrowland & Inner Space, April 1968

I typically try to post something a little bit special on fridays; today's photos definitely quality as special!

If only I had the ability to step into a photograph, I'd step into this one. It's the New Tomorrowland in all its glory, still shiny and fresh in 1968. You've got the Mary Blair murals, the Peoplemover track (though, oddly, no Peoplemover vehicles are visible in spite of the guests up on the load area), the wonderful Rocket Jets, and you even get a bit of fun people-watching. How about that daisy dress! And then there's Monsanto's "Adventure Thru Inner Space", an attraction that I loved so much when I was a kid; it just captured my imagination like no other ride.

There's the wonderful "Mighty Microscope"! Brave guests were shrunk to the size of an atom; you can see some who have already begun the process in that transparent tube! I recall this queue area as being considerably darker, but of course the camera's exposure could explain that. Many Disneyland attractions start to "set the mood" before you've even boarded your vehicle... in the case of ATIS, you'd wait in the darkened room, listen to the trippy music and hear the voices of technicians: "All phases stand by to verify resolving power.... phase blue, phase blue... light wavelength approximately .5000 millimeters... atomobile definition excellent." It was like entering a realistic dream, to an impressionable child at least!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I heart the 80's, continued

Visiting the 1980's was so much fun yesterday, I've decided to continue the 80's theme today.

If you were at Disneyland in 1982 and wanted to see all of your favorite Fantasyland attractions, you were out of luck; the entire land was in the midst of a thorough makeover. The stylized "Medieval Fair" look would be replaced with rich architectural details that really did evoke a fairytale village. The sign below was atop the construction walls, and gave a tantalizing glimpse of what was to come. Scenes from the revamped attractions were displayed on those round panels; they resemble collector's plates from the Danbury Mint (or wherever).

There's Cyril the horse and his friend Mr. Toad (who appears twice!).

Peter Pan and Captain Hook rumble while Wendy goes for a swim.

Snow White shakes a leg with Doc and the six other dwarfs.

And for the newest Fantasyland dark ride, we see a scene from Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy seems to have asked her teenage sister to fill in for her.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I heart the 80's

Today I am taking another rare foray into Disneyland from the 1980's; to help get in the mood, I have had my hair styled into a perfect "Flock of Seagulls" 'do.

Fantasyland received a (mostly) wonderful overhaul in 1983, and this closeup from the front of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" is a good example of the level of rich detail and quality that was the result. When I build my own manor house, I will be sure to have a sculpture of myself ensconced above the front door, just like J. Thaddeus Toad (Esq.) has done. SeƱor Toad is posed as if holding an invisible monocle (or is there an actual glass monoacle between his thumb and forefinger?).

Here's a view shot from on board the Disneyland Railroad with a look at the lengthy queue for "It's a Small World". And there are the familiar topiaries of playful animals that I still enjoy to this day.

I like this photo, also snapped from the train; as you can see, there is a mysterious pathway that leads to the Disneyland Navy Yard - Submarine Division. Cool! This was in the pre-"Nemo" years. Is that some sort of tool shed to the right, or did a pale and lonely security guard live there?

We'll see more from the fabulous 80's soon!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New York World's Fair, June 1965

It's time for more World's Fair!

I enjoy regular visits to a message board called The World's Fair Community, a friendly place where one can learn a lot of neat stuff. Months ago I saw a message thread regarding the U.S. Post Office exhibit at the 1964 New York World's Fair, and one person mentioned that no interior photos had surfaced yet.

Hey, I have some! But first, here's a shot of the exterior. This was a real, functioning post office; a selection of mail boxes from around the world were on display out front, as you can see.

Here's the first interior view; yep, that's pretty much how I imagined the working area of a post office would look like!

I like the numbered light fixtures that remind me of Christmas ornaments. According to the official guidebook, "... advanced sorting and handling machines process mail for twice-a-day delivery to all Fair exhibitors." Golly!

Sorting, sorting, all day long. I'm sure that most of the work pictured here is completely automated now, or they use the new Cylon model that has just been perfected. Over the shoulder of the cruel supervisor you can see portraits of President Johnson and Postmaster General John Gronouski (I learned about Mr. Gronouski from the World's Fair Community!).

Now, write a letter to somebody you love and mail it to them.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Flying Saucers, September 1961

Today I have two great photos featuring the Flying Saucers! The Saucers were a relatively short-lived attraction (opening in 1961 and closing in 1966), but they made a big impact. It really was just a high-tech kind of bumper cars (and I've always hated bumper cars - they bring out the sadist in people), but the sensation of floating on a cushion of air sounds like fun.

As you can see in this first picture, the Imagineers were their usual ingenious selves; one set of saucers was corralled (via a moveable boom) into a pen for loading and unloading, while the other set of saucers were free to bonk into each other. In spite of this ingenious solution, the ride capacity was notoriously low - even when everything was working smoothly.

This fellow is amused by our puny Earthling technology. "If this is the best flying saucer they can build, then the inhabitants from my planet will have no trouble in subduing these puny people." (They really like the adjective "puny"). Fortunately, nothing never happened. OR DID IT?!?!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


Today I am finally unloading two orphan images that need love and a good home.

I'm guessing that a lot of visitors to New Orleans Square walk right past the "Court of Angels" with nary a glance. Why is it called the Court of Angels? Was it named after Sir Albert Court? Because I don't see any angels. All I see is that statue of a little troublemaker with a horn (nice pantaloons, kid!). Detail of the day: real genuine gaslights.

It was usually hard to get good photos inside a dark attraction, but those Country Bears didn't move very fast. Of course Disneyland's CBJ is long-gone; if they had listened to me and switched from country music to death metal, I believe that it would still be with us.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Viewliner

There's no "Anything Goes" post today... just good old Disneyland.

From a large color negative (possibly a dupe), we get this swell shot of Tomorrowland, probably 1957-ish. I always love seeing Tomorrowland from the air, and the fact that we get a primo look at the Viewliner is a real bonus! For a futuristic train, it sure takes a lot of its styling from typical automobile designs of the period. The Viewliner station is pretty simple, much like the Disneyland Railroad equivalent.

The muddy lake to our left and the landscaping (or lack thereof) is not exactly something to admire. You can see the Autopia, the Space Bar, the Skyway (naturally), the Astro Jets, and the Rocket to the Moon too; all for one low low price!

I'm going to try an experiment and remove the comment verification feature (because I hate the two-word CAPTCHA that is now being implemented); to be honest I expect to be spammed like crazy now, so don't be too surprised if the captcha comes back.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Diorama Dinosaurs, 1980's

I just acquired a group of slides from the 1980's, which is considerably more recent than most of the photos that I share on this blog. The photographer used GAF film, which almost always looks grainy and awful, and the color leaves much to be desired (faded, shifted to magenta). But... there are still some pictures worth looking at.

The Grand Canyon Diorama (seen from the Disneyland Railroad) is a feature that I enjoy a lot; and the 1966 addition of the "Primeval World" section is still a highlight. In this first photo, we see a family of Triceratops; mom, dad (which is which?), and a trio of adorabobble just-hatched babies. I wanna take one home and feed it and walk it and wuv it.

This pair of Brontosauruses (Brontosaurii?) reenact a scene from "Fantasia" - you know, the "Rite of Spring" segment? Critters were always trying to grab food from one another. Haven't they learned anything from after-school specials? Scientists now use the term "Apatosaurus" rather than Brontosaurus, but then you wouldn't have Bronto burgers, and that ain't right.

These two dummies are so busy fighting that they don't even notice the erupting volcanos and flowing lava nearby. Head for ze hills, you dopes! You're going to be extinct soon anyway, so you might as well enjoy life.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Knott's, January 1960

It's time for some more vintage Knott's Berry Farm photos!

A happy family poses in front of the beautiful steam locomotive while two grown men admire the machine just like they probably did when they were boys. As always, I love the stands of eucalyptus trees! And I love the quality of the light as the sun was about to set.

There are signs of life at the Wagon Camp, for a change! Folks are starting to gather, and there is an impressive campfire already blazing. I assume that the dude in the cowboy hat and the gal next to him are Knott's employees; maybe even performers. If these pictures were really taken in January, it's going to get cold when the sun is gone!

I decided to include this picture even though it was very dark; lightening it up made it grainy, but what can ya do. More people are gathering for the upcoming show, you can see (sort of) some people in the nearest Conestoga wagon already.

I love this twilight photo of the Stage Coach near the Church of Reflections! On the post (right in the middle of the picture) there is a loudspeaker, and a sign telling us that "Happy" will be performing. Who, or what, is "Happy"?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Castle & Dumbo, September 1959

Today I'm sharing part of a small group of slides from 1959; the photos aren't as sharp and clear as I normally like - maybe the camera lens was smudged, or just cheap - but they are still nice.

We'll start with this bright sunny view of Sleeping Beauty Castle, framed by olive trees.

Jumbo Jr., a.k.a. "Dumbo", soars around and around cheerfully for hours...

... while his buddy Casey Jr. chugs through Storybook Land in the background!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Streetcar Named Ralph, June 1969

Somebody was really really fond of the Horse-drawn Streetcars. Or the horses, anyway; streetcars be damned! Here's a magnificent fellow, proud of his flowing blonde mane. I call him "Fabio".

Could that be the same horse? I've been told that the streetcars are rather easy to pull - though maybe the weight of a driver and passengers makes it a bit more difficult. Fabio wears blinders because otherwise he's always trying to go into the China Closet.

And finally, one more (blurry) photo; Town Square looks fine, as does that lady's groovy yellow outfit. Far out!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Fantasyland, September 1963

Here's a nice, busy (and smoggy) view of Fantasyland as seen from the deck of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. I like how they use those yellow "bug lights" in the lantern! If only I could add motion to the image so that the teacups were spinning and the Skyway buckets moved past. The dark rides (Snow White, Toad, Peter Pan) all have respectable lines. Hey, what's going on down there by the teacups?

Looks like the Firehouse Five (plus two) are preparing to put on a show! One band member appears to be fiddling with something on top of a tripod, but I can't quite tell what exactly. I always think of the FF+2 as Ward Kimball's band, but he was a busy guy; could he have been there (with his trombone) standing off to the side?

Also, do you think the lady to our left (with the apron) is a cast member?

And just "because", here's a shot of the Pirate Ship; I am assuming that the fellow in all white carrying a lunch bag is also a cast member.

If you have been reading the comments below (TokyoMagic!, D ticket & Glen Banks, with extra cool info from Bill in Denver), here is a larger look at the record cover that is mentioned!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sleeping Beauty Castle, June 1968

Welcome to "Snooze Sunday"! What could be more snooze-inducing than two photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle? I love it, but I have so darn many pictures of it! It's enough to give a person the wobbles.

See? Wobbles. Come back tomorrow, I promise there will be no castles.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


It's time for another "Anything Goes" saturday post!

Today's vintage photo features the Kalakala! "What's that, Major Pepperidge?" Well, the Kalakala was a wonderful streamlined art deco ferry that operated on Puget Sound from 1935 through 1967. Isn't it cool? "Kalakala" supposedly means "bird" in the Chinook Jargon.

After the Kalakala's retirement, it was towed to Alaska and used as a cannery for shrimp and crab, and was actually beached and turned into a building, with cement floors and drywall. The indignity! It was discovered in 1984 as a rusting hulk, after much negotiation, it was refloated and towed to Seattle. Since then, there has been much talk about restoring the ferry, but the owners have had trouble coming up with the money.

Here's a 2004 picture of the Kalakala in Neah Bay, Washington.

It was then relocated to Tacoma, Washington; as you can see, it is in rough shape!

At some point the vessel was listing dangerously, and the Coast Guard declared it to be a hazard to navigation. The current owner tried to sell it for $1 to a buyer who would agree to restore it, but as of now, no buyers have been found.

Let us remember the Kalakala in happier times, when it was used during the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle (1962)! In 1963, Seattle World's Fair visitors declared that the Kalakala was the second biggest attraction after the Space Needle.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More NYWF, May 1964

Oh yeah, it's more from the New York World's Fair!

Walking around the huge fairgrounds all day makes you hungry and thirsty; let's go to the Schaefer Center and grab a brewski! The building is notable for its use of plastics. The roof was made of air-filled "floating plastic" discs attached to transparent plexiglass walls. The whole structure was so lightweight that steel columns were used to anchor the building to the ground rather than support it! In the first year over 2,250,000 glasses of beer were served here.

Here's a neat shot from the Chrysler pavilion; to our left is the world's largest car, to the right is Chrysler's "Show-Go-Round" building, where you could watch Bil Baird's puppet show. And of course we can't ignore the US Royal Tires Ferris Wheel.

The funny thing about big cities is that there are millions of people around, and yet you can feel so alone. This poor guy is experiencing that right now! I think it's pretty amazing that the gigantic Unisphere was the hub of the Fair, and somehow there's practically nobody else around on this beautiful sunny day.

Night shots of the Fair are pretty scarce, so I thought I would share this one. I think (but am not sure) it was taken from near the train station, possibly taken just as our photographer was about to head for home. Love those street lights!