Friday, February 28, 2014

Frontierland Instamatics

It's time for more vintage Instamatics!

Let's start with this unusual (and lovely) view of the Mark Twain as it takes on passengers at the dock. I can't recall seeing any other photos from this perspective. Where was our photographer (good old "Mr. X") standing?

This next photo should help; but first, let's just enjoy the beautiful Columbia on a perfect day; blue sky and fluffy white clouds… folks aboard the raft in the foreground are wearing sweaters, so it can't be summer. Notice the blue and green walls along the shore, which must have something to do with the construction of New Orleans Square (I suppose).

I zoomed in toward the left side of the photo, and even though it is not very sharp, we can still see that there are many people on the balcony of the Golden Horseshoe building. It even looks like some folks are sitting with their legs dangling over the edge!

Wrapping things up, how about one more shot of the Mark Twain, framed by the leaves of magnolia trees. I love the color on this one!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Tom Morrow Land, December 1970

Dedicated GDB readers know that Major Pepperidge loves pictures of Tomorrowland. It's my very favorite! Here's a good one taken from the upper level of the "Carousel of Progress" building, affording us a nice bird's-eye view (a lazy bird) looking toward the mighty Matterhorn; the Skway must be down for repairs, and I'm not even sure if the Peoplemover is operating, since there is one empty train on the tracks. 

I had to zoom in and get a better look at the green Monorail - that's right, "Old Greenie", for the second time in one week!

The Subs and the Monorail don't look especially busy - although, in this view, it looks like there is somebody in the blue Peoplemover train, just visible behind the palm tree to our right.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Original Indian Village, 1956

Back in the early days, the Indian Village was located right on the edge of Adventureland - note the broad-leafed tropical plants just over the mini-berm (banana plants, maybe?). I'ts hard to tell, but the dance circle looks like it was smaller. One of the Indian performers is taking a well-deserved break.

How did anybody ever survive without a mobile device to keep them occupied in those quiet moments? No "Candy Crush" or "Angry Birds" or "Temple Run"… it must have been awful. I remember being stuck with nothing but my own thoughts, and I didn't like it one bit.

This followup is kind of blurry, but I thought I'd include it anyway. Why I am so fascinated with the close proximity of the Jungle Cruise? Because I'm weird, that's why.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ye Olde Snapshots

Today's snapshots probably date from the very early 1970's.

It's always nice to see the Main Street vehicles out and about; here's a yellow Horseless Carriage. Many details remind me of the Mr. Toad vehicles, which makes sense I suppose, since Bob Gurr was responsible for both. Notice the little "10¢" sign near the headlight… that's an "A" ticket, please.

I have relatively few photos of the green Monorail, so it's always nice to see "Old Greenie", especially when you get the Peoplemover added at no additional cost! Part of me wonders why they didn't use a brighter, zippier green, but then I have to remind myself that "avocado" was popular in the 1960's and 1970's. Our Buick station wagon was probably almost exactly this same hue.

Monday, February 24, 2014

More Instamatics!

Let's all send some positive brainwaves to our anonymous pal, "Mr. X", who so generously gave me his stash of vintage Instamatic negatives! 

Oh boy, do I love this picture. "New Tomorrowland" really does look shiny and well, NEW. I'm not even sure that the Skyway and Peoplemover are operational yet. There are so many nice details - the tiny portion of the Autopia sign; "The Mod Hatter" souvenir hat stand (with Rolly Crump decorations on top?); the "Skyway to Fantasyland" sign; and of course, the Carousel of Progress building on the right.

The people in this (winter?) photo have a very mid-1960's look to them, so I am going to guess that this is from about 1965. It was breezy, look at that flag atop the Golden Horseshoe building! I wonder how they chose the "1871" date for that structure? 

Here's a nice one taken from the Skyway, looking north west-ish toward Casey Jr. and Storybook Land. Through the eucalyptus trees you can see a bit of the construction for "It's a Small World" - see better pictures of that here.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Walt Disney World, November 1980

I'm still scrambling to get some posts ready as quickly as possible; today I thought I'd start a small lot of scans from Walt Disney World, from November 1980. The park was only nine years old, for those of you who needed to know. All of these views are taken while looking across the Seven Seas Lagoon, presumably by somebody who had just arrived for their dream vacation.

This might have been taken from the dock where guests would catch a ferry to the park. Putting on my "theme park analyst" hat, one can imagine that this is a great way to not only build anticipation ("There it is, way over there!"), but crossing the water is one of those transition that can be likened to a cross-dissolve in movies. You've left the modern world behind, and are heading into a place of adventure, beauty, and mystery. And churros. (Did they even have churros at the parks in 1980?).

Yabba dabba doo, it sure looks grand! It reminds me of the photos I've seen of Chicago's 1893 "White City". The castle looks enormous, as does the train station. one of the larger ferries is on its way, along with some smaller watercraft.

Space Mountain gleams in the Florida sunlight; by 1980, there was a second incarnation in Anaheim, though the Orlando version looks much bigger. I've never been on it, but I understand that it has two separate tracks within the cone, much like the Matterhorn does.

If I ever do make it to the Magic Kingdom, I will want to stay in the Contemporary Resort hotel - to me, it is as much a part of WDW as anything. I love its A-frame design, with the Monorail running right through it. It ain't cheap, though!

I'll continue this series in the near future….

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Chinatown, San Francisco - 1950's

Ol' Major Pepperidge has been letting things slide on this blog (perhaps a touch of burnout is to blame)… I realized last night that I didn't have a post ready for Saturday. Yikes. So today's "Anything Goes Saturday" edition is kind of a last minute rush job. Hopefully still worth a look, though!

The images are from a group of stereo slides from the 1950's, featuring San Francisco's Chinatown.  Established in 1848, this area has the largest Chinese population outside of Asia. Wikipedia sez: "Chinatown is an enclave that continues to retain its own customs, languages, places of worship, social clubs, and identity". I love this first picture of a busy street, with the wonderful signs, lanterns, and fabulous vehicles.

Ding ding! A lovable li'l cable car makes its way up (or maybe down) one of the hilly streets of Sam Fran's Disco. Did you know that Chinatown receives more visitors each year than the Golden Gate Bridge? Also, it has the most dense population of any place west of Manhattan, 7 times that of the rest of San Francisco. I love factoids.

"Say honey, howsabout we go out tonight and see a movie?"

"Sure, what's playing?"

"Chinese pictures. What else."

"As long as there's car chases and 'splosions, I'll be happy."

Now that's a sign! Neon up the wazoo (as Shakespeare would say). After seeing the Chinese pictures, I will go and buy some goods, and maybe even some sundries if they have them. Is that a bitchin' station wagon, or maybe even a bitchin' hearse? Either way, I love it. 

Sorry for this half-assed post, everybody!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Donruss Bubble Gum Cards, Part Two

It's time for a second batch of Donruss bubblegum cards. For some history (and to see part one), click HERE. Here's a fun game: have one shot of chocolate milk whenever the caption ends with the words "at Disneyland".

Card #09: Disneyland guests board double-deck bus for trip down Main Street to Town Square.

Card #10: Spaceman greets Tomorrowland visitors at Disneyland.

Card #11: Storybookland Miniatures are viewed from the gaily colored Casey Jr. Circus Train at Disneyland.

Card #12: Alice in Wonderland and her friends, White Rabbit and Mad Hatter, greet guests at Disneyland.

Card #13: Disneyland Submarine passes through waterfall as guests explore "Liquid Space".

Card #14: "Old Unfaithful" Geyser erupts as the Western Mine Train makes its way through Nature's Wonderland at Disneyland.

Card #15: "Fantasy in the Sky" fireworks explode nightly over Sleeping Beauty's Castle during Summertime at Disneyland.

Stay tuned for part three!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Special Guest Photos - Long Beach Pike, 1980

Today's "Special Guest Photos" are pretty awesome - once again, Ken Martinez has generously shared some more photos from his personal collection. This time, we get to look at the old Long Beach Pike, circa 1980. It had just closed, but nearly everything was still in place (more or less), providing strange "Omega Man" views of this once-vibrant seaside amusement park (see some vintage photos of it HERE).

Cheese it, the cops! I'll bet it's Pete Malloy and Jim Reed from "Adam-12". Ken thinks that the dilapidated structure to our right is probably the "Laff-In-The-Dark" ride. Even with all of the stuff removed, I would have loved to walk through that old dark ride.

Ken must have been standing somewhere near that tunnel in the first picture, since you can see the "Laff-In-The-Dark" fa├žade to our left. There are still a few lights on here and there, as well as some vehicles and what are probably mutants.

I love this one; the bullet-shaped vehicle in the upper left is from the "Roll-O-Plane" ride, while the double Ferris Wheel was known as the "Skywheel". 

I'm not sure what the structure to the right was part of; Ken thought that it might be from a merry-go-round.

It looks like a few businesses were still clinging to life, but the handwriting was definitely on the wall by this point. The peaked structure to our right is the Looff Hippodrome and Carousel building. 

This may or may not be the front of the "Laff-In-The-Dark" ride, or perhaps the Fun House, which was nearby.

There's the Roll-O-Plane again, as well as another carnival-style ride in the foreground.

And… one last look down the boulevard, with the Fun House to our right. Maybe those wavy distortion mirrors were still inside!

MANY thanks to Ken Martinez for sharing these cool photos!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Two From 1970

I love this picture of a couple relaxing near Storybook Land. That man does not put up with any foolishness, you can tell! He's got a tattoo on his forearm… I'm betting that he served in Korea. The lady appears to be holding his sunglasses, as well as a ticket book that looks like it is completely empty. Not even an "A" ticket left!

This is kind of a neat view of New Orleans Square (at the corner of Orleans Street and Royal Street). The design encourages exploration, even though what we really want to do is go ride "Pirates" again. Some of you may recognize the lady who is about to disappear around the corner!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Matterhorn, October 1962

Whoa, I've never seen a photo of the Matterhorn before! These must be rare and valuable. 

There it is, with the snow gleaming in the sunlight. The charming Snow White grotto and wishing well are visible in the lower left. 

I really like this dramatic angle with the old Skyway buckets ("Halloooo up there!"). As usual I am a fan of the waterfalls. We have been photobombed by a single yellow bobsled; I believe that the tree with the red flowers is an African Tulip Tree.  

Monday, February 17, 2014

Knott's Ghost Town

Although you wouldn't know it based on the last few months, it isn't always sunny in SoCal (sorry, rest of the country, I don't mean to rub it in!). Today's photos are from a gray, overcast day in the 1950's at Knott's Berry Farm. 

As many of you know, the famous Ghost Town was built to keep people entertained while they waited their turn to get into the wildly popular chicken restaurant (waits could be several hours). Plus, I think Walter Knott just wanted it! I wonder at what point more people started coming just to see the picturesque town rather than to eat?

You couldn't get a glass of redeye in the Silver Dollar Saloon, but you could get a glass of ice-cold boysenberry juice. In my memory the juice was sweet and intensely berry flavored (back in the 70's), but the last time I tried it, it seemed a bit tame.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Special Guest Photos - More Universal Studios, 1971

Here is part two of reader Chuck Hansen's family photos from a trip to Universal Studios in 1971. See part one HERE! As in the previous post, Chuck wrote his own great commentary so that I can spend more time playing mah-jong on my iPad.

Her's what Chuck said about this first picture: "While it wasn't as built up as it is today, there was still quite a bit to do in the Upper Lot in 1971, then known as the Visitor Entertainment Center. (The photo) shows the miniature submarine being perpetually chased by the miniature destroyer with what has to be the worst gun crew in the entire Lilliputian navy. The Dock Where It's Alway Raining is visible to the right".

This photo "…shows the reverse view from the Dock, with the tower from the 1965 Charlton Heston film 'The Warlord' in the background".

This one is a bit blurry, but it shows "… what was known as 'The Paramount House'. Built in 1955 for the Paramount film, 'The Desperate Hours' starring Humphrey Bogart and Frederic March, it later became familiar to a generation as the second Mayfield home of the Cleaver family in 'Leave it to Beaver'. By 1971 it had been significantly remodeled into home office of 'Marcus Welby, MD'. The Paramount House made the move to the new Colonial Street in 1981, but was moved to another part of the lot in 1988 or 89 to make way for the purpose-built Klopeck home  for the 1989 Tom Hanks film 'The 'Burbs'. While it's still standing, it's not in very good condition, as evidenced by these photos. The Cleaver home seen on the current Universal Tour was built for the 1986 'Leave it to Beaver' movie"

"Various shows have always been a staple in this area since the late 60. (The next two photos) are of the 'Screen Test' show that pulled audience members up on stage and put them into the action of a relatively current film while showing how films are made".  

"In this case the film showcased was 1970s 'Airport'".

The next three images were "…'Ma & Pa Kettle Farm/Ark Park' animal petting zoo and display areas". This first one "…shows a trainer (perhaps Ray Berwick, who trained the birds for Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds') presenting animals in a much smaller and more intimate venue than the larger Animal Actor's Stage".

Another one from the petting zoo. The turkey surprised me… who wants to pet a turkey?!

Awww, look at that little goat. Even 2 1/2 year-old Chuck towers over it!

A big thank you once again to Chuck for generously sharing his photos, and for all of the research that he did so that I could spend more time watching my telenovelas!