Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two From Fantasyland, September 1966

Here are two not-very-spectacular pix from Fantasyland... seems like I have a lot of "ho hum" stuff in my file of scanned images. Sorry! I guess I'll have to find something extra good soon. On another note, I have just started dipping into my LAST BOX of slides. It's a big box, but still... it's the last one. When they're done, they're done.

Anyway, here's a nice view of the whimsical mechanical clock that is a part of the "It's a Small World" fa├žade.... I love the stylized dolls because they remind me of some wooden figures that my mom brought home from Germany in the late 1950's. You can see folks being directed to their seats in a boat in the lower right.

The Snow White Grotto is reminiscent of the fountains and sculptures that you can see at the famous Villa d'Este just outside of Rome. Dopey has his fishin' pole, though the fish are more interested in squirting water than eating.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Columbia, 1966

I like today's first photo, taken at Frontierland's Indian Village; during one of the dance performances, the mighty Columbia happened to pass by, and our intrepid photographer managed to grab a striking image. The performer grins at the camera in a way that reminds me of Fulton Burley.

The Columbia was packing them in! All it needs nowadays is a pirate, or a yeti, or maybe a pirate yeti.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Jungle Cruise, 1959

It's time to look at a few classic scenes from the good old Jungle Cruise!

I like this unusual view, possibly taken from the back of the boat, and looking behind rather than forward. See the ripples of the boat to the right? A snaky snake looms overhead (snakily), while crocodiles guard some temple ruins.

Man, I used to think that the hippos were SO realistic. And you know what? They still look pretty good. The wiggling ears is a nice touch.

Now I realize that my fishing boat looks drab and boring because it doesn't have a pyramid of skulls. Notice how they gleam in the tropical sun! Time for a trip to "Just Skulls", a store at my local mall.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Calico Ghost Town, April 1966

I have another small group of photos (circa April 1966) featuring the old silver mining town of Calico, located out in the Mojave Desert. For about 15 years, Walter Knott, who had purchased the town in 1951, had been restoring Calico and created a sort of museum/tourist attraction. This neat sign tells us what Walter was thinking when he embarked on such an unusual enterprise. Notice that the woman is dressed for cold weather in spite of how hot the place looks!

I'm pretty sure we've arrived! My "spidey senses" are never wrong. It's amazing to see what kind of harsh living conditions people were willing to endure in the hopes of striking it rich. In 1966, Walter Knott donated Calico to San Bernardino County, and it is now a County Regional Park.

Imagine crossing that vast desert with wagons and mules or oxen, and one of those early wooden iPads. I wonder if that is smog? San Bernardino can get pretty darn smoggy. I choose to believe that it is a cheerful alkali dust storm.


If it wasn't for the few man-made structures, this could pass for a photo from the Mars rover. That is some serious desolation. The little Calico and Odessa Railway used to actually haul silver ore. Now visitors can take a short ride and see what it feels like to be a nugget! Admit it, you've always wondered.

I'll have a few more photos from Calico coming up.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

It's a Small World, 1966

Man oh man, there is no shortage of pictures showing the exterior of It's a Small World. There really was nothing like it at the time... it makes me think of paper sculptures and pop-up books, and even the gold-paper filigree that you might find on antique valentines.

Topiaries. Tapioca. Tapotio. Tippi Hedren.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New York City

I consider myself a California boy, having spent the better part of my life in The Golden State. But I love New York City too! There's no place like it. With over 8 million people, it is the most populous city in the U.S. of A. 

This first photo is from August 1955, and was labeled by hand, "Lower Manhattan From Lady's Crown". Pretty self-explanatory, I'd say! The Empire State Building was still the tallest skyscraper in the world. You can see the Brooklyn Bridge, and beyond that the Manhattan Bridge, and what appear to be several Staten Island ferries. Just a neat, vintage view!

Here's a recent photo for comparison.

Also from August 1955 is this picture taken from the observation deck of the Empire State Building looking toward the East River. There's Roosevelt Island in the middle of the river. The U.N. building sticks up in the lower right, while the beautiful Chrysler Building is to our left. Any idea what skyscraper is under construction in the lower left?

Here's a similar shot, from Wikipedia. Lots more tall stuff!

And finally, I thought I would throw this one in even though it isn't as obvious as the others. In fact, I wasn't entirely sure this even was New York until I noticed the very top of the funnel of the great ocean liner, the SS United States, peeking up over that rooftop to our left. So wherever this was, it was very close to New York harbor. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Instamatic Autopia

Here is a pair of beautiful photos from the mid-1960's, taken while waiting to board the Tomorrowland Autopia. The colorful fiberglass Mark VII vehicles were introduced in 1967, and I would bet dollars to doughnuts that these photos were taken that very year. Today I am feeling partial to the yellow cars! Notice the Monorail pulling into the station in the background.

Even if there wasn't a Christmas star atop the Matterhorn, I might have guessed that these pictures were taken sometime during the winter months. There's something about the blue sky and the quality of the sunlight. And the fact that the people are wearing coats and sweaters!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Tiki Room & Back Side of Water, September 1963

I went to Disneyland many times when I was a kid, but my family never wanted to sit through most shows (including the Golden Horseshoe Revue), and when I was old enough to go without the family, I kept walking past the Tiki Room. A bunch of singing robot birds? Phooey!

Finally, a mere two years ago, I took the plunge. Guess what? I loved it! Especially the music, which is wonderfully "Disney" and so evocative of the 1960's. I'm happy to say that the attraction was packed, too.

The "Barker Bird" is missing his little straw skimmer, but any bird that has brilliant blue plumage doesn't really need to accessorize. 

I wonder when the joke about seeing the "back side of water" was hatched, and if the person who thunk it had any idea that it would live on for decades.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Random New York World's Fair

It's time to go back to the New York World's Fair!

Located near the impressive Eastman Kodak pavilion was the "Garden of Meditation". The Fair was an amazing place, but I'm sure that this oasis of green grass and trees provided a welcome respite from crowded sidewalks and crazy architecture. Those stone markers along the edge of the walkway were probably similar to....

.... this stone plaque, with a quote from Francis Bacon. Not only did he invent the most delicious breakfast side, but he apparently wrote once in a while too. This quote is pretty good, but old Francis  should have mentioned that ice-cold Pepsi also provides great refreshment.

Here's an odd one: this "tree" was found in the "Hall of Free Enterprise". The "Tree of Economic Life"! According to the souvenir guidebook, "…A symbolic revolving tree standing 12 feet high is designed to demonstrate the factors of economic growth: the natural resources that man taps, the jobs at which he works, the tools he uses, and the goods he buys". "Visitors push a button and ask any of 120 questions on economics, and a machine prints the answers."  I have seen small cardboard table-top versions of this tree that were given out as souvenirs... and I wish I had one!

Guy Lombardo is synonymous with New Year's Eve, with his version of "Auld Lang Syne" (or at least he was before Dick Clark and Ryan Seacrest). But he and his "Royal Canadians" performed at the Tiparillo Band Pavillion for the entire two years of the Fair, every night except Mondays. That's  Guy himself standing under the letter "G".

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Swiss Family Treehouse

I sure loved the old Swiss Family Treehouse; the Tarzan incarnation is OK, but for me it doesn't spark the imagination the way the original did. I like how some of the support columns were disguised as thick air roots, and I also like the unusual reddish hue of the leaves. And how about the reddish hue of that fire hydrant! With so many water features incorporated into the treehouse, fire would not seem to be much of a problem.

I might as well round off today's post with a few Jungle Cruise images. Nothing great, but this way I get to use them up! How about those Crocodiles? They shed their skins every 2 weeks before spinning a ball of silk and laying thousands of eggs. I learned it on Wikipedia!

The distant sound of rhythmic drums can strike fear into the hearts of even the bravest explorers. A jungle clearing barely reveals a circle of dancing headhunters; they find sweet corporate jobs for qualified applicants.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Parking Lots!

Now that DCA has had a major refurbishment and upgrade, people might not be quite as nostalgic for the old parking lot as they once were. But for those of us who remember, it was all part of the experience. 

This first photo, from August 1963, was very dark, and I've lightened it as much as I dared. It almost looks like one of those old "day for night" shots that you used to see so often in movies with that deep blue sky. The Matterhorn still catches the sunlight; you can see the striped roof of a tram and the masts of the Columbia, but the real stars are those wonderful vintage automobiles. I love love love all of the two-tone examples! And at some point I grew to love old station wagons a LOT.

Two years earlier, somebody snapped this picture while aboard a speeding Monorail. I hope you will forgive the motion blur! I presume that the Disneyland Hotel is over where those distant palm trees are. Check out the vintage bus  too. This angle mostly shows how darn big that parking lot was!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cypress Gardens, Florida

Let's take a trip to sunny Winter Haven, Florida (about 30 miles south of Orlando) for a visit to Cypress Gardens! World-famous for their water ski shows, lush gardens, and lovely Southern Belles, Cypress Gardens was a popular tourist destination for over 50 years.

There is nothing wrong with this first picture! One of the lovely gals poses with her skis... she is both wholesome and sexy. She reminds me of the pinups from the 1940's. Just think, she is somebody's grandma now!

It's hard to believe, but even Florida gets cold in the winter. So Cypress Gardens, which was open all year, was a different experience! No bare-shouldered babes - instead you get sweater-wearin' sweethearts. They are still adorable though, and isn't that what is truly important?

This last one is a repeat, but I wanted to leave you with some pretty women and sunshine.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Virginia City 1952

Today we're going to visit Virginia City, Nevada! Virginia City (pop. 855) was a mining boomtown that sprang up virtually overnight during the Comstock Lode silver strike. It is said that over 400 million dollars' worth of silver came out of the ground (and that's back when $400m was real money!), but like all boomtowns, Virginia City's fortunes fell when the much of the silver had been mined.

As you can see, VC managed to retain much of its vintage ambiance - it almost looks like a street on a studio backlot. More than 2 million visitors a year come here, and they can still see famous buildings like the "Bucket of Blood Saloon", the "Silver Queen", and the "Suicide Table". I can't help noticing those unusual rain gutters running diagonally from the roofs - never seen anything quite like that before. And while we're at it, check out the cars!

As a kid I knew the name of the town from watching reruns on the long-running TV show "Bonanza". Pa and the boys were always going into the city for supplies or to have a talk with Sheriff Coffey.

Friday, January 18, 2013

More Magic Kingdom, December 1971

Here are four more images from the Magic Kingdom's first few months.

There's the stately Haunted Mansion across the river. I love that the Florida Mansion has its own unique architectural style, with amazing attention to detail. 

Main Street USA is so darn huge that you need a much bigger marching band to make an impact during a parade. In this case the band appears to be made up of school kids rather than the grizzled veterans at Disneyland. Note to self: buy some stripey pants.

This is a great shot of the extinct "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction, with the Skyway overhead. The Harper Goff subs really do look like sea monsters from this angle, and that lagoon looks considerably bigger than its Anaheim counterpart. Isn't this where the new Little Mermaid attraction is located now?

This picture was so dark that I couldn't do much with it; still, maybe some of you will enjoy seeing it anyway. That tower to our left is part of the Tropical Serenade attraction, aka the Tiki Room. 

Stay tuned for more Walt Disney World images!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Century 21 Expo, Seattle - June 1962

Here are a few more photos from Seattle's "Century 21" Expo!

This first one is really a portrait of a pretty lady, but behind her you can see a souvenir stand ("Free Engraving!") and in the distance to the right you can see part of the bright orange "Union 76" ball that was atop the Skyride terminal - the two examples at the Seattle Expo (one on top of each terminal) were the first ever, and were so successful that they were added to all Union 76 gas stations.

That strange white ziggurat is actually an enormous fruit cake! Each year it is re-gifted to another family, because nobody actually eats fruit cake. (I can already hear my dad: "I love fruit cake!" - he also likes salami and jelly sandwiches). Located inside the Food Circus, the cake was 23 feet high, 60 feet around, and weighed 25,000 pounds. The seals of all 50 states decorated one layer, and Paul Bunyan stood at the pinnacle with his mighty axe.

Both General Motors and Ford had exhibits, relatively small compared to their 1964 spectaculars. I'm not entirely sure where you would have found this wonderful model of a futuristic car, but I am sure that I want a car that looks like that! Maybe this model still exists somewhere.

Much of my information was gleaned from Bill Cotter's book, "Seattle's 1962 World's Fair", from Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series. I recommend it to those who are interested in the '62 Expo!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In Frontierland, March 1959

The Indian War Canoes (now Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes) are jam-packed in this 1959 photo, presumably taken from the Mark Twain. I doubt that there were too many other canoes in the world that could hold 21 passengers! Notice the "Indians" piloting and steering the canoe.

Over in the Painted Desert of "Nature's Wonderland",  we can see a Stagecoach vanishing beneath the distant stone arch - this would be their last year of operation. Years of wind-borne sand and seasonal flash floods have shaped the desert's rocks into the strange shapes seen here; and we get the added bonus of a cactus "forest".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Random Souvenirs from Buena Park, CA

Somehow, little Buena Park in Orange County, CA, became the city where you should build your amusement park. Unless you were Disneyland, in which case you built it practically next door. 

Anyway, I love me some vintage souvenirs, sometimes the cheesier the better! Like this "bullet pencil" from the California Alligator Farm (across the street from Knott's Berry Farm). Bullet pencils were a popular souvenir for many years, I have one from the 1933 World's Fair. The colors and graphics on this tiny item are part of what makes it so fun.

I generally don't collect decorative charms, the kind you might hang on a bracelet or necklace. But I like this one! Shaped like the state of California, it has a generic design enameled (real glass enamel, not plastic!) on one side. I've seen this same charm with only the one design, the other side being blank. But this one has a second design, for the Japanese Village and Deer Park. Souvenirs for this little park are uncommon.

Knott's Berry Farm had a number of flesh and blood characters that inhabited the Ghost Town, but Sad Eye Joe in the local jail was something of a mascot for the park in the earlier years. When you peeked into his cell, Joe would speak directly to you... as a kid I was sure there was somebody hiding in the room that we couldn't see (turns out it was done with mirrors and microphones). Anyway, I love this little souvenir charm because of Joe's frowning visage.

And finally, here's one more Knott's souvenir featuring "Whittles", a friendly prospector who first appeared in Knott's print material around 1960. Eventually he showed up on a few souvenirs, and was even a "walk-around" character for a while. I think this bank is pretty great!