Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jungle Cruise, 1959

Over the years, the plants at the world-famous Jungle Cruise have grown so lush and tall that the illusion of venturing into a dense rain forest is pretty convincing. In this first photo from 1959, the jungle has not quite reached that point! 

The skipper told people to take one last look at civilization, and that boy is following instructions. What if he misses school? Who will feed his turtle? In only he had a real switchblade on him, instead of a switchblade comb. Nice knowing you, kid.

I submit this photo for "The Most Boring Photo In The World".

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Montgomery AL & Central City CO

In today's "Anything Goes Saturday" entry we will visit two cities in the U.S. of A., and see them as they once were, and as they are today.

This fellow is standing in the middle of the street in Montgomery, Alabama (sometime in the 1950's). He's not in much danger of  being squashed by a car! Montgomery has a rich history, but as a kid I knew it for its association with the civil rights movement 1950's & 1960's. In fact, I did a bit of research trying to figure out what street this was, and Googled "Montgomery Alabama church". Success! That church to the left is the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, and Martin Luther King Jr. himself was the pastor of that church from 1954 to 1960! It is very possible that this picture was taken during that span. 

Here's a Google Maps street view of the same area today. Wikipedia says that Montgomery has been undergoing a revitalization/restoration of its downtown area, and that is evidenced by the construction crane seen here.

New we'll head west to Central City, Colorado; we're looking down Main Street. Central City was a prosperous mining town founded in 1859 during the "Pike's Peak Gold Rush". As you can see in this August 1961 picture, the buildings in the downtown area have a lot of vintage charm, with their varieties of colors and architectural details.

After the gold veins ran out, Central City's fortunes fell. Casino gambling has been introduced, but competition from nearby Blackhawk has been fierce. In order to build even bigger casinos to hopefully attract more gamblers, height restrictions on new buildings have been eliminated. I do understand that people need to earn a living and raise their families, but I hope this doesn't lead to this charming town being overwhelmed by gigantic ugly casinos.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Tomorrowland, July 1996

Here are two great pics of the entrance to Tomorrowland circa July 1996! July means Summer crowds; the further into the land you look, the crazier it gets! Star Tours appears to be packing them in, and I'll bet that Space Mountain had a long line too. The wonderful old Rocket Jets were still there, but the Peoplemover track sat empty and unused (since the ride had closed the previous year). In about two years, strange rock formations would appear right in the middle of that walkway, and the Astro Orbiter would replace the Rocket Jets.

From this angle you can just see the Circlevision theater to the left (mostly blocked by Peoplemover tracks); I'm not sure what film would have been showing there in 1996 - though I believe it was Wonders of China. I thought that the Mary Blair tile murals were removed when Star Tours was added, but it looks like the mural on the left was still there in '96.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm, September 1978

By the late 1970's, my Navy family had moved away from SoCal to Pennsylvania, and back again. And while I continued to visit Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm fell off my radar for many years. I regret it now, but such is life.

Anyway, here are some photos from 1978. Starting with the wonderful Stage Coach, which still runs (incredibly) to this day. 

This yellow-bellied thievin' coyote has just robbed the Stage, but the joke's on him: that bag is full of Skittles. Taste the rainbow. 

These old-timers may look like they are suffering from intestinal distress, but trust me, they are having fun, and lots of it. It will be even more funerer when the train is robbed and the man has to give up his wallet.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Personal Viewmasters - Nature's Wonderland

How about some more images from some vintage personal Viewmaster reels? OK!

We're all about the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland this time. Imagine you are sitting in one of those bright yellow open-air mine cars, passing by the cooling mist of that waterfall, enjoying the smell of pine trees, and listening to the famous ride spiel.

Here's a neat view through a tunnel and out to the trestle bridge that spanned the river through Bear Country. If only it was "Bare Country", this ride would still be around.

These elk aren't battling, they just can't get their antlers untangled It's like one of those Chinese dexterity puzzles. And you know how men are, they refuse to ask for help. Somebody get a hacksaw.

This area was called The Living Desert because those rock-like formations were actually made of living pulsating flesh. I admit that it was kind of weird. And yet it managed to remain family-friendly.

Stay tuned for more personal Viewmasters!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Walt Disney World, December 1971

Here are the last four Walt Disney World pictures from my December 1971 batch. 

Awwww yeeeeaaaahhh! The amazing steampunk Nautilus submarines at The Magic Kingdom's "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" attraction were hella cool. While I love the history of Disneyland's subs, I would not have complained if we had inherited the Florida subs after the 1994 closure. No such luck.

Fantasyland was neat in its way, though the fa├žade of "It's a Small World" is disappointing. I'm sure it was a money issue, but that tented entrance almost gets lost among the surrounding architectural detail.

Another photo of IASW, from the other side. One advantage is that the Florida guests could wait in a shady queue, away from Florida's often-intense sunshine. Meanwhile.... Skyway!

And finally, a picture of Main Street Station, possibly taken from the Monorail Station (?). One of the railroad trains can be seen... compared to Disneyland's trains, that thing looks huge. It just goes on and on!

I'll have more vintage WDW for you in the future!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dapper Couple at Disneyland, 1956

Today's photos are repeats, originally posted years ago. I rescanned them and re-jiggered them (since they were very magenta and grainy), and I loved the starring couple so much that I figured they were worth another look. Plus, maybe it's "new to you"! Here's the first one, with a dapper couple about to board the classic yellow passenger cars of the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad.

A jaunty fedora really makes all the difference, doesn't it? Somehow I don't think it would work as well on me, though. That guy's wife seems to think he's pretty swell!

And, just because it goes with the previous picture, here is a Jungle Cruise boat returning from its harrowing trip. The cast member in the foreground (ex-Secret Service?) is surreptitiously giving us the evil eye.

(Just a note... I will be out of town this week, so I might not be able to respond to comments until the evening on most days. But I will definitely read and respond to them!)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Damaged Slides, October 1972

I recently found a small lot of slides that were developed by Sears. Sears had great Christmas toy catalogs, but man, their slides stink! They all have varying degrees of damage. Fading, color-shifting, and odd pink/orange "blooms". Still, I figured they were still worth sharing, as long as you can overlook the flaws (I eliminated a lot in Photoshop, but wasn't willing to spend hours repainting certain areas). So here we go!

It is odd to see the Disneyland Band without good old Vesey Walker leading them. But he was sadly gone by 1972; here's a different leader taking the Band through Frontierland, presumably on their way to the Mark Twain.

High above Fantasyland we look down upon the classic Alice in Wonderland attraction. Shrunk down to the size of a hookah-smoking caterpillar, guests start and finish the ride in the outdoor garden full of Mary Blair-inspired plants.

And another view above Fantasyland, with the Carrousel, Teacups, and the Fantasyland Theater (to the right) which is showing "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day". I loved it when the Wonderful World of Disney showed Winnie the Pooh cartoons on TV!

Today's slides were among the most damaged, but we will se more of this lot in the future.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Around L.A.

I am fascinated by the history of Los Angeles, with its post-war boom, Hollywood glamor, and sunshine-driven tourism. 

Here's an interesting angle looking at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. You can see stars on the sidewalk - the "walk of fame", with the names of hundreds of show-biz notables. Toff's coffee shop can just be seen as well... it is long gone. Love those old cars! I've never heard of the movie, "By Love Possessed", but helpfully tells us that it was about a neurotic woman who "... engages in an affair with the law partner of her impotent husband". Even with the lovely Lana Turner it looks like a stinker!

One of my favorite places ever is the wonderful Griffith Observatory. It is an art deco treasure located in the heart of Los Angeles. More than a few movies were shot there - such as 1958's "The War of the Colossal Beast" or 1964's "The Spy With My Face". This picture (undated but probably from the mid-50's) shows the "Astronomer's Monument", featuring stylized sculptures of Hipparchus, Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and William Herschel. 

Zooming in for more fabulous automobiles...

And finally, from an old slide that has turned magenta, comes this view from downtown L.A. I am embarrassed to admit that I don't know which street this is - Alameda? Los Angeles Street? Main? - since I don't recognize any of the buildings. Probably most of them have been torn down over the years. The giant TWA ad is kind of awesome!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Personal Viewmasters of Disneyland

Some friends of mine asked me to help them scan some of their personal Viewmaster reels, dating back to the mid-1950's. It turned out to be well over 100 reels! It took me over a year (because of my late-night ninja duties), but when I was done they said that I was welcome to share any of the photos on my blog. 

From 1960 comes this nice late-afternoon view of the Monorail as it shooshes over the lagoon. That's right, it shooshes. 

Wow, she is having tons of fun on King Arthur's Carrousel! I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I like the old horses that were many different colors, rather than today's parade of all-white steeds.

Now a view of the Carrousel from above; the shadows have gone very dark, but it looks like it was pretty busy that day.

Stay tuned for more personal Viewmaster photos!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tomorrowland, September 1959

As we all know, Monorails grow a new car every few years. Here's a picture when "Monorail Blue" was only 3 cars long. Why, it's just a puppy!

Nearby was George Washington's own personal submarine. When he wasn't chopping down cherry trees or throwing silver dollars across the Potomac, he loved to take his diesel-powered sub out for a cruise through what he called "liquid space". Sometimes he would put his wig on backwards and poke his head out of the conning tower just for yucks. That George!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Frontierland River, August 1963

This first photo reminds me of the famous story told by Dick Nunis; as he and Walt Disney looked out over the Rivers of America, Mr. Nunis was concerned that things might have gotten a bit too congested out on the water, with the Mark Twain, the rafts, the canoes, and the Keel Boats. Then Walt said, "Look at that! Now that's a busy river!". At which point he decided that they needed yet another big boat... the Columbia. Here's that busy river with the beautiful Columbia, as well as a full raft and a canoe. I love the painterly reflections in the water.

And there's the "big boat" all by herself; Walt must have been proud of this impressive addition to his park.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Family Snapshot & Souvenir Photo

Today we're going to start with this wonderful family snapshot, courtesy of Greg C., who kindly emailed the scan to me. Pictured is his grandfather Bill, who is holding Greg's mother Debbie. Greg said that this was taken on the first day that Disneyland was open to the public (July 18, 1955) in front of the Silver Banjo BBQ restaurant. I can't help thinking about the many times I went the park with my grandparents - and I don't have a single photo as a keepsake. Greg C. is pretty lucky to have this memento! 

And just to round out today's post, I am throwing in this souvenir "Fun Photo" from the Art Corner. A brother and sister pose at the wheel of a faux Mark Twain; as is typical of these old Polaroids, the photo shows all manner of streaks and discoloration, which kind of adds to the charm as far as I'm concerned. And of course I love the paper frame/envelope that was provided!

Many thanks once again to Greg C., for sharing his precious family photo!

Monday, March 18, 2013

View From the Twain, 1957

The top deck of the Mark Twain provides a nice elevated vantage point; it seems that most people with cameras could not resist snapping as many photos as possible from up there. Many left the ride suffering from severe and painful Shutter Finger.

Here's one view, while still at the loading area; there's Rainbow Ridge to our left, and Casa de Fritos to our right. The castle is in the distance, while the Matterhorn-less Skyway can be seen in the distance. That ovoid grassy area is a nice oasis of green - long gone of course.

Looking a bit to the right of the first picture we can see the Golden Horseshoe building. It looks like it might be a chilly day, judging by the sweaters and overcoats... that ice cream vendor probably had slow sales. Notice the other two grassy parks (one to the left, one to the right)!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cinderella's Castle 1957

Long before Cinderella's castle was in Orlando, she had a castle in Anaheim, as part of Storybook Land. Forced perspective made it look larger than it really was (or is, since it is still there). I like this first view (taken from Casey Jr.) showing the patchwork quilt flowers, the arched bridge, and Mr. Toad's Tudor-style home.

I'm sure there is not a single real stone in that wall, but it looks genuine!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Fun at the Kitchen Table

Hello, chums! Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" celebrates the humble kitchen table. Sort of. 

Nothing says "Happy Birthday, Son" like putting your eye out with a genuine Daisy BB gun! Some fun. Eye patches make men look dangerous, and everyone knows that women find men with missing pieces irresistible. I love the old-fashioned kitchen... I'm almost positive my mom had a formica table very much like that one when I was a kid. (Photos is from January 1960).

This next picture is from a completely different home, and is from October 1958. Thanks to the label in the slide, I know that the kid eating watermelon is named "Freddy". The open window and nearby fan show that it was a hot evening... grab some Pall Malls and have a smoke on the front porch (if the 'skeeters aren't too bad) after a big meal. A little elf (or devil?) sits on the windowsill to keep burglars away. If Freddy has done his homework, he can watch "Dragnet" or "Cheyenne" before bedtime.

Friday, March 15, 2013

On Board the Skyway!

The Skyway has been gone for almost 20 years, but I still miss it! That humble attraction was one that I would ride every time (unlike some other much-missed classics). 

Today's first photo (from 1966) is from inside one of the buckets as it approached the charming Fantasyland chalet. From this angle, it really does look like there is a considerable forest surrounding that alpine locale. If the gentleman looked down (instead of gazing dreamily into the distance) he would have seen Storybook Land and the Casey Jr. Circus Trains.

This next picture is from 1965, and this time we are in a bucket that is headed toward the Tomorrowland Skyway station. For some reason it is this less station that really sticks in my memory, in spite of the fact that it was pretty utilitarian in design compared to its Fantasyland cousin. Some of you may remember that tow-headed little girl from a Knott's photo I posted weeks ago!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Take a Ride at Knott's Berry Farm

In this first photo from Knott's Berry Farm (from sometime in the 1950's), we can see a conestoga wagon on the grass, with two guys possibly hitching up some white horses. Just to the left you can see a bit of what was an old water wagon. The flowering trees in the background (Leptospermum? Crepe Myrtle?) add a lovely touch of beauty to the scene. I wonder how long the conestoga wagons continued to run?

Fortunately you can still take a ride on the Berry Farm's stagecoach. Yet another thing to put on my "to do" list... the last time I was at Knott's, the line for the stagecoach was pretty long, and moved very slowly.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


It's time for another batch of "leftuggies"!

This first image is from a 35mm slide that was damaged. Still, I seem to never grow weary of views of the Moonliner or the Flight Circle, even when truncated. We get a pretty good look at the backstage area near Tomorrowland, including (just to the right of the rocket) the old Dominguez home that was used as the administration building for a number of years.

Next we have a scan of a souvenir slide. Not Pana-Vue or Tru-Tone or any of the other familiar brands. I like the soft colors!

How many pictures have we seen featuring the "Friendly Indian Village"? Too many, perhaps. One detail that I find interesting is the area barely visible through the trees (and past the train tracks)... it appears to have been a green grassy area at some point. Not sure I've ever noticed this before!

I hope you've enjoyed today's leftuggies!