Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Totally Minnie Parade, April 1987

Howsabout some vintage Disneyland parade pictures (assuming that 1987 counts as "vintage")? I know there are parade fans out there! 

This is the "Totally Minnie" parade, a salute to Minnie Mouse, with a wacky "music video production" theme as well. Mickey's personality had been sanitized to the point of blandness (how I loved the early, mischievous Mickey!), and poor Minnie fared even worse; she was just "Mickey's gal", ever smiling and waving. So, it was nice that the powers that be decided to turn the spotlight a bit more in her direction. 

Here's Mickey… he's sort of lost in the murk, but it looks like he is dressed like a big shot Hollywood producer. 

Pluto used to be an actor, but his career path has taken him behind the scenes. Now he is an iron-fisted producer of exploitation films. He has a mansion and a yacht. 

One of the Tweedles does something tweedly while following a float...

And there she is, Minnie herself! Did you know that her ears were pierced? It was done with a bb gun. All of her fans recognize that dress from that Duran Duran video - you know, the one where she rolled around on the grass? It was pretty daring for its day. But she has no regrets. You go, mouse!

At some point, six of the seven dwarfs had botox injections (Grumpy opted out, naturally). Sure, they look younger, but their faces have a strange, mask-like look too. Show business, what are ya gonna do.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Main Street Station & Opera House, 1956

I have a pair of pix from way way back; 1956, to be exact. 

Let's start with this early-morning portrait of Main Street Station. I wish I had a more exact date, but the landscaping still looks like it hasn't had time to fill in at all. Is that an orange tree to the left? It's hard to tell. I miss the colorful framed posters that would line the fence soon.

Here's a bright, lovely shot in Town Square looking toward the Horse Drawn Streetcar and the Opera House. Back in these days, the Opera House was not open to the public; instead, it was where much carpentry was fabricated (and according to at least one person, where some of the earliest attraction posters were printed).

I thought I'd zoom in just a bit to try to see what was on display in the windows that were in front of the Bank of America, but they're not distinct. Still, it's fun to see the additional details!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

"It's a Small World" Instamatics

I always seem to have a lot of photos from "It's a Small World", be they exteriors or (less common) interiors. It's time to unload some of them!

While this is an undated picture, I would imagine that IASW was still a pretty new addition to Disneyland. The gleaming white "city of the world" really shines against the deep blue sky.

I'll try to list the interiors in more-or-less the correct order (there will be a second post with more images!). We'll start in Paris, with a chorus line of scandalous can-can girls, showing an outrageous amount of bare leg. Ooh-lala!

In the Netherlands, little Dutch children sit in a field of giant tulips and clonk their wooden shoes together. They do this in movie theaters too, which is pretty annoying. 

In Egypt, sultry Cleopatra winks fetchingly at us from her chaise lounge. I always loved this tableau, though it looks a bit empty here (I guess that's the advantage of moving past at 3 miles an hour…) 

I'll have four more pictures from this group coming up soon!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The New York World's Fair

It's been a while since we visited the 1964 New York World's Fair, so let's go there now! 

One of the highlights of the Fair was General Electric's "Progressland", featuring Walt Disney's "Carousel of Progress". The building was amazing too, with a dome suspended from a series of spiraling bent pipes. At night, a series of colored lights created the illusion that the dome was spinning. To the right we can see the Tower of Light, and then the white arches that were part of the Johnson Wax "Golden Rondelle". 

Here's a closeup of the G.E. building, just because it's so pretty.

Long shadows and lack of crowds make me guess that this picture was taken somewhat early on a gloriously clear morning. There's the Johnson Wax pavilion again (to our left), while the "Tower of Light" is on the left. See how colorful it looked like at night here.

Here's a familiar view looking from the New York State pavilion's observation tower toward the Transportation Zone. I always love seeing the green-cheese dome from the Transportation and Travel pavilion; the "T"-shaped Port Authority building, with a helicopter landing on its roof; the US Rubber Ferris Wheel, and the Chrysler pavilion too.

And, just because, here's nearly the same angle as seen at night (though the sky still has plenty of afterglow). 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Mark Twain & Frontierland, October 1962

Boy-oh-boy, I'm not sure what was going on in this 1962 photo, but if you look in the background (in the lower right, for instance), the park was very busy! With the bunting on the Mark Twain, I think it would be safe to say that these pictures were actually taken sometime around July. 

Zooming in a bit, we can see the construction walls used for the earliest days of New Orleans Square  activity; the "Chicken Plantation" was gone, but just beyond that little magnolia tree we can see the windows for the short-lived mini version, where guests could still get their dee-licious fried chicken. PS… posters!

Here's a nice shot of the Twain as it gets underway, on a beautiful sunny day.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Miscellaneous Knott's Berry Farm

Today I have a random assortment of vintage photos from Knott's Berry Farm - "leftuggies" might be a more accurate term for them!

This first slide is dated "March 3, 1958", and it looks like things were pretty chilly that day. Whiskey Bill and Handsome Brady don't seem to mind, but those two street characters are huddled for warmth nearby. No other souls are to be seen!

One might not expect to see seals in a ghost town, but that's what makes Knott's so awesome! Look at those barking fools, they'll do anything for a little piece of fish. I wonder where these guys spent the night. Was there a backstage area where they could sleep in warmth and safety?

No collection of Knott's photos would be complete without at least one shot of the sluice where guests could pan for real gold. The denim-shirted prospector is showing one boy the "color" remaining is his pan, soon to be poured into a little glass vial to take home. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

It's finally here… Christmas day! This will be a slightly smaller-than-usual Christmas, since some of my family will be in other parts of the country. We'll make up for it by getting together sometime in January. 

Anyway, I decided to share a series of photos from one young boy's Christmas, circa 1958. Hopefully you can all enjoy a bit of holiday nostalgia through these 55 year-old pix, even if you are much younger.

Looks like this boy (what do you think, 5 years old?) has grabbed his Christmas stocking and run upstairs so that mom can see what Santa brought him. Walnuts? Well, they're traditional I guess, and better than a lump of coal. A kaleidoscope, that's more like it... those things are still cool! And a toy plastic boat - he is already imagining many creative ways to sink it while playing in the bathtub.

That is a pretty nice tree, but I can't help being distracted by all of the boxes under it! Just look at all that stuff. And Santa has been nice enough to set up a circular railroad track right in front where nobody can miss it. 

 Looks like mom is fixing an untimely and derailing. Everybody knows that the way to a boy's heart is through tiny trucks, boats, automobiles, and yes, trains! Everybody is wearing those red rubber flip-flops.

Take it all in, kid! I still remember running down the stairs straight to the tree, completely missing the brand-new Schwinn bicycle in the front hallway (metallic blue, with a banana seat and tassels on the handlebars). Notice the little nativity scene right next to the railroad tracks.

A new wagon! If you are lucky enough to live near a hill, those things are great; they really pick up speed. You can tell from the look on the boy's face, he thinks it is swell.

This one might be my favorite! The kid is so amazed by whatever his mom is holding… it is a  mechanical bank? A birdhouse? A music box? All of the above? I can't help noticing the chair that the boy is sitting on… my mom has one almost just like it (brought back from Mexico in the 1950's) sitting in the den.

And for a bit of extra Christmas cheer, GDB reader Melissa has been inspired by the legend of "Linda" (you might recall her), and she has created some fun alternate universe pictures featuring Linda (both happy and sad) with old Saint Nick. Or maybe... Linda was REALLY THERE every time (cue "Twilight Zone" theme)!! Take a look, it'll make you smile.

I would like to wish all GDB readers a Very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Two From '57

Grandma (I presume) poses with her two adorable granddaughters in front of Merlin's Magic Shop in this 1957 photo. I love the weathered green color of the "plaster" - it is beautiful its way, and feels super old. Next to grandma is one of the little letter boxes where guests could drop postcards to family and friends, and King Arthur's Carrousel is to our left. The yellow paper parasol reminds me of one that my sister had when she was very young.

This view, as seen from the Skyway, is very familiar; but I never get tired of it! Beyond the magnificent TWA Moonliner we can see how well the berm helped to insulate the park from outside distractions. The Astro Jets look so cheerful and toylike.

Monday, December 23, 2013

More Santa's Village, November 1959

We might as well take a look at these final four photos from Santa's Village! We're almost down to the "now or never" stage.

This first one is pretty cute; the little girl seems very pleased to be posing with Santa. Giant Mushroom Alert!

Geese are mean. And smelly. And probably Commies, too. But I will allow this photo in honor of the Christmas spirit.

Well, there it is… the North Pole itself! Somehow I thought it might be bigger, and maybe striped like a candy cane. Instead, it is perpetually cold, no matter how warm the surrounding climate is. A thick layer of frost has accumulated, which is why it looks weird!

And finally, the Candy Kitchen, which looks very "Hansel and Gretel" in this photo… the park's forest surroundings really added a lot to the charm and atmosphere. 

That does it for the Santa's Village pix for this year! I'm not sure I will be blogging in another 12 months (not enough photos), but we'll see...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa's Village, November 1959

Let's return to Santa's Village, in the beautiful San Bernardino mountains, near Lake Arrowhead.

Here's a familiar view taken from the parking lot. The giant candy cane tasted terrible, or so I've heard!  I like the painted plywood "snow" on the eaves. Vintage cars in the parking lot make this picture pretty great… how about that one with the red roof?

Two reindeer stand in the shade for a photo-op - or maybe they are waiting for their six pals to show up so that they can pull that cool sleigh.

A cute little girl poses in front of a giant clockwork fa├žade (years before "It's a Small World" did it!). Elves push and pull, cogs and gears turn… it reminds me of a scene from the 1927 film "Metropolis".

I thought it might be cold, based on the girl's attire, but mom looks pretty comfy in her rolled up sleeves. Ducks are attracted to giant mushrooms - always have been, always will be.

According to the clock, it is about 5 Januaries after November. Or something. I wonder if there was anything in this little house, or if kids just had fun going in and running back out. You know how kids are!

I'll have another post of Santa's Village pix soon!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Weeki Wachee, Florida

Weeki Wachee Springs (in Weeki Wachee, Florida) has been the home to famous underwater "mermaid" shows since 1947. Unlike some other classic Florida attractions (Cypress Gardens, for instance), you can still enjoy a visit to Weeki Wachee.

I love this vintage shot of a sign, with a very 1940's-looking bathing beauty featured on top.

The mermaids stay underwater for long periods of time thanks to air provided through hoses. Or gills, in some cases.

Looks like this fetching swimmer is about to enjoy a lovely underwater picnic. Soggy bread comes with the territory. A bottle of orange soda sits nearby… I guess you can get thirsty, even surrounded by thousands of gallons of crystal-clear water.

Another mermaid reaches out to a nearby fishy friend… I love the amused expression on her face.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Weeki Wachee Springs!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas in the 1960's!

Thanks to GDB reader Ken Martinez, we have a bunch of wonderful photos from his family archives, all full of vintage Christmas goodness!

We'll start with this awesome photo of a very young Kenny (circa 1965) posing with Santa; Ken thinks this was taken at the San Francisco Macy's store. I admit it, Santa used to scare me!

The next two are from the new Martinez home in Dublin, California (about 8 miles East of San Francisco)… Ken says that this was the first Christmas in that house, and that the decor is a bit sparse. Still, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and a quintet of angels sit on the mantel.

Oh man, look at all that loot under the tree! My parents never used tinsel, and I've always liked the way it looked. Maybe it was just one less thing to deal with!

Now we're jumping forward a year to 1966. Pictured from left to right: Ken's dad, Kenny, his great uncle, and his grandfather. I love the golden hanging lamp, it's like a magical hovering space bird!

Sparky the dog keeps a vigilant lookout while Ken checks out a new can of tinker toys. 

That's Ken's mother (in red), along with his three sisters in front of the Christmas tree. My family used to let the kids open one present on Christmas Eve (because we just couldn't stand to wait!)… I see that one of Ken's sisters is holding a brand-new doll, maybe they had the same tradition? (There's that awesome lamp again!) 

It's time for the big Christmas meal, right out of Normal Rockwell! 14 people around a big table (I'm counting the photographer too), wow. Pictures like this are always bittersweet… we remember the fun and warmth of family gatherings, but miss those that have departed over the years. 

And lastly, a photo from 1968 or '69… as Ken says, "… the snow trip was with a friend and probably one of the most miserable days of my life. Later that day, my friend and I fell through a frozen pond and had to be stripped naked, wrapped up in blankets and brought home. I hated snow and freezing weather ever since". Yikes, it makes me cold just thinking about it!

A big THANKS once again to Ken Martinez for sharing his personal family photos with GDB!