Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

At last, October 31st is here! I hope you all have your costumes ready. This seemed like a good year to go door-to-door dressed as "The Gimp" from Pulp Fiction. Or maybe I'll bust out my "Sean-Connery-in-Zardoz" outfit. 

I have some spooooky images for you today, starting with this wonderful shot of the Phantom of the Opera, loitering in front of the Main Street Cinema. Maybe I need to start wearing a cape.

The Haunted Mansion loomed on the shores of the Rivers of America looking ready to go, but in fact it wouldn't open for years. Meanwhile, look at all the people waiting to go to Tom Sawyer Island!

Check out this very nice photo (from August 28, 1965) of the famous sign that hung outside the Mansion, enticing ghosts and restless spirits to move to Disneyland. Heck, I would do it, and I am still kickin'. 

Amazingly, the photo was a stereo view. Why take a 3D image of a flat sign? Why NOT? I've created a "WiggleVision" gif for you so that you can get an idea of what it might look like if you were there in person.

I hope everybody has a safe and fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Vintage Halloween, 1960 & '61

Halloween is almost here! And while I don't have any photos that are super amazing, I did find this small group of faded slides from over 50 years ago. Please forgive the strange colors... these were very magenta, and restoring them did not work out quite as well as I'd hoped. But they're still fun!

Casper the Friendly Ghost is getting ready to put on some tunes, or perhaps a spooky story for kids (it says "Golden Records" on the back of the cover). No candy for you, Casper... your cartoons are bland and repetitive!

I love this robot costume... check out that mask! Presumably this is one of those Ben Cooper costumes that you could buy in a box at your local Five and Dime.

Some sort of exchange is being made her by the evil bunny and the nice lady. Is he handing her a miniature loaf of Wonder Bread? Meanwhile she has what appears to be a cupcake wrapped in cellophane. There is a basket full of traditional candy (Milky Way, one of my favorites)... I have NO idea what is going on.

Well kid, you get points for your "meta" costume. Instead of just carrying the ubiquitous Unicef donation box, why not actually BE one? Gramps is giving him a shiny buffalo nickel ("In my day you could spend all day at the bijou for five cents!"). I hope Unicef doesn't spend it all in one place.  Maybe gramps gave the kid some candy too, or at least some cigarettes. PS, awesome Trick or Treat bag!

And finally, here's another mystery exchange. The pint-sized jet pilot ("Col. McCauley") is handing the lady a liverwurst sandwich or something (cookies maybe?), while she holds a small ceramic jack-o-lantern and a bag of... what? That's another great Ben Cooper costume, made of high-quality vacuum-formed plastic and flammable polyester.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Around New Orleans Square, 8-12-96

It's time for more photos from the Nifty 90's! 

Not too far from the entrance to the Haunted Mansion (which is out of frame to our left) you will find this lovely fountain. A friend of mine always calls it the "Spanish Fountain", though I'm not sure if anybody else calls it by that name. I like all of the trees and the pleasant view of the river beyond.

The next three are all from the New Orleans Square train station. I don't think it has changed much in the past 16 years, but I still enjoy seeing photos of it. Here is the tail-end of one train as it heads into the tunnel.

And the tail-end of a different train!

And finally, a nice view of the water tower, looking appropriately aged and weathered.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Matterhorn, September 1959

The Matterhorn. Perhaps you've heard of it! Kind of pointy? Snow-capped? Infested with abdominal snowmen? 

Here are a few pictures from when it was all brand-spankin' new. Look at those blurry guests, splashing down in their non-cramped bobsled. Life is but a dream.

The Matterhorn is sort of hard to miss... we're used to it today, but it must have been quite a sight 53 years ago.

Looking at this photo, it occurred to me that the Matterhorn looks like a Venusian.

See what I mean??

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Kids At Play!

For today's "Anything Goes" installment, we will be playing with the neighborhood kids.

This undated photo (certainly from the 1950's) shows three kids aboard a sturdy toy Pony Tractor. The tractor is almost looks home-made to me. That thing has more sheet metal than a modern car! The slide was labeled, "Cynthia, Jim, and Mike". Cynthia doesn't appear to be peddling, and I don't see anything like a bicycle chain, is it possible that this tractor has some sort of small motor inside it? Or was it strictly "push and go"?

From January 1964 we have this picture of a boy and girl (?) enjoying a few moments of rocking back and forth at the coin-operated horsey. Using my incredible powers of deduction, this might have been taken at a service station. Little horses are great and all, but I prefer the space rocket that was in front of the supermarket near my grandparent's house in Minnesota.

Now it's November 1960, and two little girls are enjoying giant wads of cotton candy. The hand-written label says that the picture was taken at Pacific Ocean Park, but unfortunately there is not much evidence to prove that fact. I've looked for other pictures with one of those distinctive tree planters, and so far have had no luck. You might remember the girl on the right from this picture at Jungleland USA!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Souvenir Letters, 1955 - Part Two

Note: I will be out of town for the weekend, and away from computers for most of the time! But I will check in when I can.

It's souvenir time again! I am sharing the remaining batch of pre-printed letters that were available at the park in the early years (these are "copyright 1955"). See the three letters and their accompanying envelopes HERE.

The envelope for the Frontierland letter features a very creepy bunny, perhaps an ancestor to Br'er Rabbit. When you get close enough, he is going to ask if you for money.

Again with the rabbits? Wuffo? The text is, as always, corny and funny. "Zippers in their wigs" indeed! Notice the mention of New Orleans, many years before New Orleans Square was added to the park. For a second I was so interested in the "... special compartment where mothers can take naughty youngsters", until I realized that I had been completely pwned. 

Fantasyland. Hey, I've been there!

You know what? People are damn hard to draw. Let's just populate Fantasyland with cartoony animals and be done with it. The puns are painful, and yet I love them just the same.

In the future, trees will be will be spherical.

And last but not least (in fact it's my favorite), we have the letter from Tomorrowland! I love the line about asking the lady behind you to remove her hat in Circarama. And how about "Shine on havest Earth"? Eat your heart out, Bruce Vilanch.

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage souvenir letters!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

3D in 2D

Here are a few scans of some "ho-hum" stereo slides.

Normally this photographer took pretty good pictures, but the composition on this one leaves a LOT to be desired. I suppose the palm leaf does pop out at you when viewed through a stereo viewer but... so what?

Now for a familiar view of the most photographed dead settler of all time.

And finally, a stereo photo of a flat sign! Walt Disney's opening-day dedication speech is concise and inspiring; I can practically re-play the entire thing in my head, from the tinny audio quality to the particular midwestern twang of Walt's voice (slightly roughened by years of smoking). That's what happens when you've heard something a thousand times!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New York World's Fair

It's July 1965, and we're at the New York World's Fair! In this first photo we are over in the Amusement Zone, looking across Meadow Lake at the Florida pavilion. There's the amphitheater where you can watch the thrilling water ski show (the theater is left over from the 1939/40 Fair). There was also a porpoise and seal show, and exhibits heralding all of the wondrous qualities of the Sunshine State. Another attraction (not part of the Florida pavilion) is the full-sized replica of the Santa Maria. Researchers in Barcelona and Washington DC went to great pains to make this 110-ton ship as accurate as possible. Right down to the rats!

Hey, mom and dad, let's go the Festival of Gas next! I have plenty of gas-related puns and jokes just itching to be used and abused. Some of the featured attractions: a fun house, a carousel, a magic show, and a puppet show. But the carousel must not have been an ordinary merry-go-round! "A giant elevated carousel carries visitors on a tour of the World of Gas, from gaslit streets of yesteryear to a futurstic city of tomorrow." Sounds pretty fun! 

The Festival of Gas makes a cameo appearance (over to the right), and the spires of the Mormon Pavilion can be seen near the center of the photo. It's a 3/4 size replica of part of the famous temple in Salt Lake City, and man-oh-man, was it a popular photo subject. Most lots of slides that I have from the Fair feature at least one (and sometimes several) pictures of this building. But the things I like about this picture the most are the Sikorsky helicopter that is on its way to or from the top of the Port Authority building (which still stands today), and the jet that is probably leaving from John F. Kennedy Airport (see this view, taken from an airplane!).

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Frontierland, September 1959

Unlike most photos of the Indian Village that we see, this one doesn't seem to have been taken from the  deck of the Mark Twain. I think that if we were able to look behind us, we'd see the load area for the canoes. The village looks pleasantly busy and lively; notice the folks waiting for the next performance by the Indian dancers. Favorite detail: the little girl in the flouncy blue dress.

The Columbia moves silently - an mysteriously, considering that most of the sails are furled. Maybe magnets are involved. Or trained pink Amazon dolphins might be pulling it beneath the murky waters, like a soggy mule team. It could happen.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Bride of Wiggle Vision!

It's the sequel that nobody was clamoring for! Feast your eyes upon "The Bride of Wiggle Vision". 

First, let's see this horrible 2D photo that just sits there like a lazy hippie. Join the army, Skyway!

And now for the exciting 3D version, wiggling like Columbian megastar Shakira!

These three little pigs are so flat. Like uncooked bacon in a skillet.

Now they are so round and adorable that we can practically hug them and wuv them.

This has always been one of my favorites from my collection, even in its 2D state.

But when it is extra-wiggly, look out! It's an 11 on the Richter scale. You can almost reach out and grab a hat.

I almost prefer to see the animated versions in their thumbnail size, personally. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Frontierland Riverfront, December 30 1969

What a beautiful December day this was, way back in '69. The park looks moderately busy, from what we can see here. Tom Sawyer Island, the Columbia, and several rafts are visible. Gramps smokes his cigarette, making him cool like James Dean. The glossy leaves of the magnolia tree evoke the deep south, which is appropriate considering our proximity to New Orleans Square.

A second picture taken from just a bit further back, and looking a bit more eastward, shows the mighty Mark Twain, which we have never seen before ever.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Angels Flight, Los Angeles - June 1964

Los Angeles is a city that is constantly rebuilding itself, so there aren't a lot of artifacts from the early 1900's. One of my favorite remnants of "old L.A." is Angels Flight, a funicular railroad that first opened in 1901. It is said to be the world's shortest railway!

Angels Flight (that's right, there's no apostrophe in the word "Angels") is seen here as it glides up (and down) the very steep hill between Olive Street and Hill Street. There are two cars, the "Sinai" and the "Olivet", that are pulled via cables up and down the two-block stretch. They used to run very close to many apartments and offices that shared the hill, but those buildings were razed in the 1950's as part of an effort to modernize the city's image.

Angels Flight was removed five years after these photos were taken, but the original cars and the decorative orange gates (one can be seen at the bottom of the hill) were saved while the property was developed. 27 years later, new track was built half a block south of where it used to be, and the little railroad reopened on February 24, 1996. It closed again after a fatal accident; new modifications and safety measures were added, and it finally reopened in March of 2010. For a mere 50 cents, you can ride Angels Flight today!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Instamatic Pix

Today's first classic Instamatic picture is this interesting view of the old Motorboat Cruise dock (sometime in the mid-1960's), sans water. I can only guess that it was empty for routine maintenance. The water appears to be about 3 or 4 feet deep here when full. Is that contraption to the left part of the track that guided the boats? If so, how did the boats get from the docks to the track, and then "hook on"? I don't have any other photos like this, so it was a welcome discovery!

I can't tell if this is the Fantasyland Autopia or the Tomorrowland Autopia, but either way the photo was taken from the Disneyand R.R. as a single turquoise car passed by, with a father and son enjoying the ride. Notice that the steering wheel is on the right... I don't think I flipped the negative by accident, but you never know.

The Painted Desert is beautiful, but unforgiving. You don't want to be caught out there with no H2O, for sure. Thankfully, we have discovered this oasis, with cool water bubbling up from an underground spring!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Japanese Village, Buena Park - July 1976

Back in the 70's, you could fly to Japan; OR you could just go to Buena Park's Japanese Village and Deer Park. Conveniently located just a few miles from Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm! I was lucky enough to go there a few times, and always enjoyed its beauty and exotic ambiance.

I'm not 100% sure, but I think that this building was a gift shop, even though it looks pretty grand for a place hawking souvenirs. I remember buying an oyster in a can, guaranteed to contain a pearl when the oyster shell was pried open. I also remember the smell when I opened the can. Phew! Somebody shoulda warned me.

There's just something peaceful and relaxing about koi fish, swimming gracefully in all their variety of colors and patterns. These must have been the world's happiest koi, since visitors were constantly tossing handfuls of mysterious pellets into the water.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Walt Disney World, September 1973

Here are three slides from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida! The park had been open less than two years when these were taken. For some reason these were the only pictures of WDW in a lot of many hundreds of slides.

When I first held this slide up to the light, I assumed that it was a photo of a Jungle Cruise boat. Imagine my surprise when I scanned it and saw that it was a Swan Boat! It sure looks like it is going through the Jungles of the world. What's interesting is that Wikipedia says that the Swan Boats opened in 1974. Since this photo is clearly date-stamped "September 1973", somebody is mistaken. It also says that the boats (which lasted until 1983) took guests on a ride around the hub of the Magic Kingdom and the Swiss Family Treehouse; judging by that torch in the lower right, I can only assume that this photo was snapped from the Treehouse.

Here's a shot of one of the rafts crossing the Rivers of America from Tom Sawyer Island back to the mainland. This looks pretty similar to Disneyland, except that the trees are much smaller and there is no berm. Notice the canoe loading area to the right.

This one is a bit of a mystery to me, though I would wager that it was taken inside the Mickey Mouse Revue. As usual, I have no clue! But I'll bet one of you out there in blogland knows.