Sunday, June 30, 2013

Train and Small World, November 1972

I am still waiting for somebody to create an immersive 3D virtual train ride aboard the Disneyland Railroad. In fact, I want that more than I want a flying car. Meanwhile, I will have to be content with this photo, taken as the train had departed the station at New Orleans Square and was heading toward It's a Small World. You can just see past the tender and into the cab of the locomotive. Don't you wish you were there?

And speaking of It's a Small World, I may as well post this un-lovely picture of the fa├žade. Everything looks so weirdly gray and oogie. But once you are inside, you will be surrounded by a rainbow of colors, and that song that I enjoy (and others seem to truly dislike)!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Just Folks

One of the things I love about looking at vintage slides is the small individual slices (like Velveeta) of people's lives, as they lived them 30, 40, 50 years ago or more.Today we'll look at a selection of average folks.

Travel by plane in the late 1950's was still a bit exciting and glamorous, unlike today. Here's a mom and her son (remember them?) sitting in their comfy seats. Mom has dressed for the occasion, and I don't mean sweats and flip-flops. The kiddo has his cool toy airplane with him, I want to take it from him. Hey, where do I plug in my iPad? 

From the same photographer comes this picture of a hard-working man named Larry (thanks to the hand-written info on the slide), behind the counter at a humble eatery, circa 1959. It could be at a diner in Victorville, California, since there was an exterior photo of a place called "Grethel's". Larry is wielding a mustard dispenser for somebody's cheeseburger. Why do I like this picture? I don't know, but I do.

This final picture is from the 1950's and shows a family dining in a semi-finished basement for some reason. Was it cooler down there on a hot day? Were they banished from the main dining room because they belched the alphabet? This reminds me of visiting my grandparents in Minnesota; my brother and I slept on lumpy folding cots in their basement. There was a wood shop for my grandpa, laundry facilities (including and old-fashioned wringer for the wet clothes), and lots of old stuff that was fun to look at. 

I couldn't help noticing the artwork on the heating oil tank in the background. Even at this small size I suspected that it was by an illustrator named Henry (Hy) Hintermeister. He was like Norman Rockwell, only less threatening! 

After a search on Google, I found the original painting on an auction site. It was signed "S. Eleanor", which is believed to be a pseudonym that Hintermeister used. The small artwork sold for a mere $600 back in 2005.

Friday, June 28, 2013


Oh boy, more instmatics!

Our first images is kind of fun, showing a very crowded Main Street during a daytime parade. The Seven Dwarfs are making the scene, daddy-o. Goofy is either next to a balloon vendor or has taken up the profession because himself. Besides the "people watching" (no babushkas as far as I can tell), it is nice to see the store fronts across the street. As usual, this image is undated, but at least we know what time it was!

I happen to know that even today, my friend "Mr. X" has a true fondness for the old Nature's Wonderland attraction; and that goes for the trains themselves. It sort of looks like that father and son (to the left) are heading over to take a closer look at the locomotive. Maybe we can see Jenny Lind (The Swedish Nightingale) at the Opera House later!

And finally, here's a closer-than-usual shot of the sculptures at the Snow White Grotto. Only four of the  Dwarfs are visible. I highly recommend going over to the "Filmic Light - Snow White Archive" blog to read a fascinating history of the sculptures seen here. You will probably learn something new!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Last Black and White WDW Photos

Today I am sharing the last of the black and white scans from the Magic Kingdom, circa 1973. All Main Street U.S.A., for some reason!

I am so used to Disneyland's modest (but awesome) Main Street that it is strange to see just how tall these buildings are. The second story level doesn't appear reduced, or at least not to the degree that Anaheim's is (for that forced perspective trickery). In fact, it looks like people could comfortably walk around up there; at Disneyland, the windows would be at a person's knees.

Hey, let's go watch a Charlie Chaplin movie!

The Emporium (to our left) and the Camera Center (sponsored by GAF?) are awash with gingerbread detail. Once again I am reminded of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and its "White City"... this Main Street is more of a fantastic dream version, where Little Nemo and his walking bed might happen by.

I almost left this one out, but included it. Because why the heck not? The lack of crowds is fairly incredible. I assume that those relatively uninteresting walls to our right are where parade vehicles could enter or exit?

And finally, here's a spectacular view of Main Street Station. No expense was spared in making this landmark as eye-popping as possible. I love the wrought iron queue area, reminding me of fancy European toy train depots. Notice the Jitney waiting at its appointed stop... my understanding is that these vehicles are long-gone.

I hope you have enjoyed these black and white views! Our next look at WDW will be in glorious color.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Fantasyland Pirate Ship

If I was going to own a ship, I'd want it to look just like the Chicken of the Sea pirate ship in Fantasyland. Only it would be seaworthy, and I could "pillage and plunder" the high seas in style. (I'd also have a trolling motor so that I could fish for bass).

Today I thought I would feature two photos of the pirate ship, each taken from the Skyway, so that we can play "compare and contrast". Let's start with this first image from 1957; at this point the ship was situated in a shallow pond that looked like a swimming pool. There was no exotic landscaping, no covered dining area, no Skull Rock, grottoes and water falls nearby. Also, the wood-planked gangway was zig-zaggy.

By 1972, the name had changed to "Captain Hook's", and the wonderful Chicken of the Sea mermaid was removed (I miss her!). The gangway is now a more direct curve toward the entrance, and as you can see, there are now palms, and sandy shores, and a shaded colorful tables.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

New York World's Fair Selection

I have a nice group of images from the New York World's Fair for you today!

The Avis Antique Car Ride was a popular attraction over in the Transportation Area; I wonder if Arrow Development built the cars? The souvenir guidebook says: Open-topped antique cars, reproduced to five-eighths scale, provide a pleasant ride through an old-fashioned country setting. Each car seats up to five, and anyone 10 years or over can drive. A single pedal - accelerator and brake combined - controls the one-cylinder engine that pushes the cars along at a top speed of four miles an hour.

Ah, the 900,000 pound, 12-story high Unisphere! I love it. The tiny pipples silhouetted at the base shows just how big this striking landmark is.

This one is a bit of a mystery; a gentleman sits on what appears to be some kind of primitive submarine. I think. Knowledgeable people have told me that this part of a General Dynamics display in the New England States building, but I can't find more about it. It's surprising that they allowed people to touch this old artifact, even if it is iron-clad.

I believe that this fountain was known as the "Lunar Fountain", and was located between the Industrial and International areas. The fountain, situated in a 120-foot diameter pool, is a 10-foot high water bubble with a series of parabolic jet sprays rising 30 feet from the top of the bubble. What else can I say, but "Dang!".

Monday, June 24, 2013

More Personal Viewmasters

Today I am sharing the last of the Disneyland views from some vintage personal Viewmaster reels. There's nothing extraordinary, but I'm still happy to be able to show them.

Hans and Fritz have reached the summit of the Matterhorn, but only after two of their party were eaten by the yeti. Still, it was worth it for the view of Anaheim.

Speaking of views of Anaheim, here is one. Nothin' much to see, really. No leaning tower, no Arc de Triumph... but there is a placid lagoon and a few submarines, and you don't see those every day.

And finally, here is one that was almost rejected, but it has a certain "je ne sais quoi". It is mostly dark and mysterious, with a few identifiable silhouettes. The furled sails of the Columbia, and a part of the Mark Twain, and a few noggins.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Disneyland Band, May 1973

There can't be too many full-time gigs for old fashioned marching bands these days. I wonder if joining the Disneyland Band is the equivalent of being accepted to the Philadelphia Orchestra? Here they are, marching through Town Square in 1973.

Not only do you have to be able to play your instrument well, you have to do it while marching. Or at least standing. Any punk can do it sitting down!

All hats should have a bottle washer on top, because you just never know.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

MGM Studio Backlot, 1970

In its heyday, MGM Studios was one of the most amazing movie backlots in Hollywood (or Culver City, to be precise). But after World War II, the studio's fortunes began to wane. There were occasional successes, such as "Ben-Hur", "How the West Was Won", "Dr. Zhivago", and the James Bond movies. But audiences were staying home to watch TV, and a series of big-budget flops helped to put the studio into financial trouble.

In 1970, new management (Kirk Kerkorian and Jim Aubrey) decided to streamline the MGM's operations. Here's how Wikipedia describes it: 

Aubrey ordered the sale of MGM's historic collection of costumes and props such as the Ruby Slippers worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz and the suit Spencer Tracy wore in Inherit the Wind; The studio's camera department was auctioned. Most of the studio's Culver City backlot and its 2,000 acre ranch in the Conejo Valley were sold to developers.... Aubrey literally threw the company's valuable archives into the trash and brought production to a standstill. Aubrey was criticized for these actions. In 1986, he recalled, "the buck had to stop somewhere, and it was with me. Nostalgia runs strong out here, so we were criticized for selling Judy Garland's red shoes. To us they had no value, and they had no intrinsic value."
The following pictures are from personal Viewmaster reels that I scanned for a friend - these are photos that he took as he toured the backlot during the auction preview. It is sad to see the legendary studio just before its demise, but can't deny the historic value of the images. 
First up is this European street, looking a bit worse for wear.

Maybe this shattered plaster and jute column was used in "Ben-Hur"!

Among a snarl of cables and a jumble of unsightly metal structures was a genuine steam locomotive.  Notice the red sign indicating that this item would be available in the upcoming auction. I wonder where it wound up?

There's that train again, to our left; in the distance we see a steeple from a small town set (or New England town?), as well as sections of other buildings that I can't quite identify.

More structures with a European look to them.

A royal courtyard in Austria? Imagine this place, polished and painted, lit for cameras, bustling with extras and crew members!

This is the same courtyard, panning a bit to our right.

I hope you have enjoyed these... I have more if you are interested!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Early 1970's Selection

Here are 3 more photos from the early 1970's!

I never get tired of seeing the little Nature's Wonderland Mine Trains. This slide was labeled "Western Town Disneyland", which is accurate-ish.

And this one was labeled "Going aboard for ride on Pirate Ship". I hope they were not too terrified by the tuna sandwiches! Maybe they thought this was the entrance to "Pirates of the Caribbean"?

Thank goodness this one was helpfully labeled "Boat ride", so anybody out there who thought that this was the pack mules can just forget about it right now.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Vintage Pinbacks

'Tis time for more vintage Disney pinback buttons.

Mickey Mouse wants you to have strong bones and teeth, so drink more milk why don'tcha. The center button is unusual because it shows Mickey with a 5 o'clock shadow... which is how he was often depicted on foreign merchandise in the early years. This tin-litho example is numbered for use in some sort of contest (or so I've been told). The button for "Mickey Mouse Globe Trotters" was given out by various bakeries, and many variations (over 30) can be found. "Bell Super Soft Bread", "Dutch Oven Bread", "Gold Cup Bread", "Holsum Bread", and so on.

In the 1930's, the Boston Sunday Advertiser wanted everyone to know about their 20-page color comic section. How I would love to see a complete section of vintage comics today! In the center is a pin that I know little about, except that it is for a book club. It is probably from the 1950's or 60's. French? Canadian? Who knows. The pinback button on the right is one of my favorites, a scarce tin-litho example with a wonderful representation of the early pie-eyed Mickey (s you can see, Mickey frequently looks a bit "off" on many pins).

Next we have another rarity, from the "RKO Kiddie Kartoon Klub". RKO was the distributor for Disney from 1936 to 1954. The pin in the center is something of a mystery, but it is safe to assume that "Aladdin - Tabor" was the name of the theater that handed these out. And finally, a pin that I found in a junk shop years ago. It probably dates from the 1950's and might be from the U.K. "Mickeypops" was probably a frozen confection of some kind.

Oh boy, I have more vintage Disney pins to share, comin' up!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Two From 1958

I scanned and restored some old magenta slides recently, only to discover that I had already posted these quite a while ago. Oh well!

Popcorn! Getcha hot popcorn here! Not 25 cents, not 20 cents, just 15 cents, why we're practically giving it away. How about you pops, you look like you could use a snack. Don't worry lady, this stuff is low calorie to help you maintain your girlish figure. Hey kid, did you know that the ancient Aztecs ate popcorn? If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. Getcha hot popcorn!

This skipper is selling popcorn too, only it's not going so well. How can anybody eat when they are about to venture into uncharted lands full of man-eating rhinos and bloodthirsty gorillas? I think I need my booster shots too, I don't want to get malaria or dengue fever. I'll just wait here on the dock until you get back. IF you get back.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Band on the Mark Twain, October 1972

The Mark Twain is almost as fun to watch as it is to ride. But when you throw in the added bonus of having the Disneyland Band performing out on the bow.... score! Years ago I was already on the top tier (where I belong!) when the band boarded and took its place below. What a treat!

Does this occur several times a day? I've forgotten if the regular narration was shut off so that the band could play uninterrupted. 

I propose that the Disneyland Band be replaced by the latest popular "boy band", that would be super awesome. This is a brilliant idea, and you can all thank me later.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Global Van Lines Truck, July 12 1968

For many years, the storage locker area was located right on Town Square. It was originally sponsored by Bekins, until Global Van Lines took over in May of 1963. It is mostly remembered for this wonderful old-fashioned van, "... a faithful restoration of a 1910 Ford truck".  I can only assume that Bob Gurr was involved in the creation of this vehicle.

Global's headquarters was located just north of Disneyland; lucky collectors even have toy versions of this van - apparently I am not lucky!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Burning Cabin & Elk, 1957

There's something very comforting about a blazing wood fire, don't you agree? It makes me want to grill some bratwursts. Or maybe toast some marshmallows. Sure, it's a pain to have to rebuild your home every time, but it is worth it. From this angle you can see the dead settler's crops just to the left of the cabin... something that quickly got lost from view because of the foliage. We can also see the tip-top of the castle, and what might be some rock formations from the Mine Train ride.

A noble elk makes for an impressive sight, if you like that sort of thing. I am more into nitro-burning funny cars.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Hilton Hawaiian Dome

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a hotel that was built on the island of Oahu in 1957. Today it is one of the largest hotels in the world, and is still the largest in the Hilton chain of hotels. 

But we're here to talk about geodesic domes! Contrary to popular belief, Buckminster Fuller did not invent the geodesic dome. But he did refine the mathematics behind the design of such structures, making them more practical and affordable. 

The Hawaiian Village was home to one of the first domes, commissioned by Henry Kaiser (of Kaiser Aluminum fame) to be used as an auditorium. The dome's parts were manufactured at the Kaiser company's plant in Oakland, California, and shipped to Hawaii. Kaiser wanted to observe the construction, but when he arrived from San Francisco, the dome was already finished! Turns out it only took 22 hours to build.

I love the miniature golf course in the foreground! Notice the blood on the guillotine in this 1964 photo.

The dome was 144 feet wide and just under 50 feet high, and was renowned for its excellent acoustics. Apparently many famous "Exotica" albums were recorded there, including most of Arthur Lyman's albums. It was also used for the premiere of Mike Todd's "Around the World in 80 Days". And Don Ho performed there! 

Sadly, the Hilton Dome was torn down in 1999.

Friday, June 14, 2013


It's instant, it's automatic, it's INSTAMATIC! Kodak Instamatic, that is.

Howsabout this beautiful shot of the Alice in Wonderland attraction? I love the color in this one, with the Mary Blair-inspired leaves and the aqua caterpillar vehicle. Look at how thin that leaf ramp is too, it's kind of surprising. I wonder if it has been beefed up over the years to meet revamped building codes.

Nothin' very extraordinary about this view of the Mark Twain; the lighting is nice. And that might be Vesey Walker leading the band on the bow of the steamboat. My favorite detail is the line of pack mules heading into the wilderness. 

If you're going to have a nuclear sub (I like to pronounce it "new-kew-lar"), you might as well give it a bitchin' name like "Seawolf". Was it named after the Jack London novel, or the sea lion, or the scary looking fish? I say "all of the above".