Sunday, August 31, 2014

More So-So Photos from August 1969

We're still slogging through the worst of the slide lot from August 1969. They're not a total loss though!

This one is sort of odd - our photographer was standing on the remains of the old Monsanto House of the Future - pretty much just the foundation and fountains, along with the reflecting pond that surrounded part of it. So in that respect this is a little bit interesting.

I understand why that trough is carrying water to the waterwheel (to keep away vampires). But why is that side-trough allowing water to spill out of the side? Just for looks? Would it have controlled the amount of water so that the turn-rate of the wheel was consistent?

It really looks as if the Jungle Cruise boat is about to be swallowed by the jungle in this image. Tiny nozzles sprayed A-1 Steak Sauce on the passengers, which didn't bode well.

Large crowds in the distance in August of 1969 can only mean that they were all there for the opening of the Haunted Mansion. Just imagine! The old fishing dock is now the old smoking dock.

I am still away from home, but I'll be checking in at least once a day!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Storyland - Glen, New Hampshire - August 1959

Welcome to Storyland, in lovely Glen, New Hampshire (surrounded by the White Mountain National Forest)! Storyland opened in 1954; this charming little park started out with a single ride - an old fire truck! But owners Bob and Ruth Morrell collected dolls based on German storybook characters, and these dolls inspired Bob and Ruth to add tableaus populated by characters from various fairytales, fables, and "Mother Goose" stories.

There's Humpty Dumpty. Did you know that the famous rhyme never actually describes Mr. Dumpty as an egg? But that's how he's always portrayed.

Say, that old woman doesn't live in a shoe, she lives in a shoe-shaped house. That's only 45% crazy! Notice Mr. Stork delivering another bundle of joy. "…She had so many children, she didn't know what to do". Somebody needs to give her a good talking to.

I like the way this fairytale castle has a wonky "Toon Town" vibe to it. I wonder who that beautiful, blue-gowned princess is supposed to be? I say it's Cinderella. 

It's hard to tell, but that looks like some sort of pumpkin coach in front of the red and white-striped awning. Yes, that's what it is alright. Vehicles made of gourds are my favorites.

There's the crooked man with his crooked house (and presumably, the crooked cat and crooked mouse)! Storyland looks like it was full of charm and whimsey.

And, Storyland is still around today, though greatly changed from the days of today's photos. Now it has over 20 rides on some 35 acres. Some of the rides include the "Antique Cars", the "Turtle Twirl", the "Polar Coaster", "Alice's Tea Cups" (say what?), Swan Boats, a Carousel, and lots more.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Storyland!

Note: I am out of town for a few days; but don't let that stop you from leaving a comment!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Tomorrowland, 1960

Happy Friday, everyone! Prepare to have your mind blown: even though it is Friday where you and I live, it is always TOMORROW in this little piece of Anaheim. DUH DUH DUUHNNN! (It was the music that really sold it).

This first photo is not an especially rare view, but (to me) it is still awesome. I have made no secret of the fact that T-land is my favorite, and while I grew up with the 1967-ish version, my fascination with the pre-67 version seems to be just about endless. So… this photo from the Hub looking toward the entrance makes me feel as if I could almost walk forward, cross the street (avoid getting hit by the Omnibus), and walk past the Avenue of Flags into the land o' Tomorrow. I would want to visit every little exhibit, souvenir stand, restaurant, and yes, even the bathrooms. And I would have my good camera with 20 boxes of Kodachrome film! Who wants to come along?

Fun details in this pic include the boys and mother (or grandmother?) posing, the lone member of the Disneyland Band passing by, and the orange trees full of fruit.

Did you know that the guys who installed the Moonliner were all descendants of the people who built the campanile in Pisa? It's true because here it is on the Internet. Seeing is believing!

Note: I will be out of town for the holiday weekend, but will try to check in regularly to respond to comments. Keep checking in, there will be new posts every day!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Murky Exit & Main Street, 1956

Here are two dark photos from November 1958, taken at the wrong angle (or wrong time of day). Avoid letting the sun backlight your scene, homies! 

The exit to Disneyland. Such a sad sight! What the hell, the sun is still up, why are we leaving so early?? Well, I have the feeling that our photographer was just arriving, and happened to take this picture as he/she walked toward the entrance. The multicolored pennants are a nice touch, as are the attraction posters (as always). If you look just to the left of the guy sitting on the stool, you can see the black light that could see the mysterious glowing hand-stamp in case you were going to return that day. When I was a kid I would always get my hand stamped even if I wasn't coming back later. 

What if you were really careful and didn't wash your hand? Would the glowing ink last until the following day?

Whew, this one is hard to see. But the Disneyland Band is around the flagpole, presumably for the flag-lowering ceremony. Lots of folks are looking on, and one fellow even seems to be saluting (though he may just be shading his eyes). What a nice tradition, one that makes Main Street feel more authentically "small towny".

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

New York World's Fair Panoramas, 1965

I recently found some strange-looking slides from the New York World's Fair, probably taken from around the Fair's end (it closed in October of 1965).

They all have a kind of slightly-foggy appearance… it reminds me of the way things look after I've been swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool for some time. But it doesn't necessarily ruin the images. Another thing is that they were taken from the top of the Port Authority building. I have many hundreds of slides from the '64-'65 Fair, but I believe that these are the only examples taken from this vantage point!

Here's the first view, looking down on the Chrysler pavilion's giant "one million horsepower" engine. Notice the US Rubber tire-shaped Ferris Wheel, seen edge-on. And of course the entire rest of the Fair is laid out in the distance, including the wonderful Unisphere.

Panning just a bit to the right, there's the large Transportation and Travel pavilion, including the iconic moon dome. The New York State pavilion with its two observation towers is just beyond. 

SO… just for funsies I decided to see if Photoshop could stitch these two images together, and by gum, it did a pretty good job! I could have cropped off the odd edges, but I like the way they look. Otherwise, you'd never know that this was actually two separate photos that had been magically joined. Photoshop's "photo merge" gets all the credit, I hardly had to do anything.

The next slide looks mostly down upon the distinctive angular building that housed the Chrysler puppet show performed by Bil Baird. In 1964 this building was primarily white, but it got a startling new paint job for the Fair's second season.

Now panning to our left, we see the "world's biggest car", at 80 feet long and 50 feet wide. In the background, the skeletal rotunda of the Ford pavilion is to our left, while the boxy U.S. pavilion is to our right. Shea Stadium is just above the Ford building.

And once again, I used Photoshop to merge the two photos into a single image. Pretty slick, no? Technology is our friend (except when it isn't).

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the top of the Port Authority building at the New York World's Fair!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Indian Village, 1958

I would love to know what exactly is going on in these photos of the Friendly Indian Village ("FIV") from March, 1958. It looks like all of the teepees are either being completely rebuilt, or at least reskinned and/or repainted. They sure looks strange in gleaming white rather than their more familiar buffalo hide colors. 

At first I wondered if, perhaps, the FIV didn't even exist until 1958, but here's a link to a 1956 photo that appears to be the exact same location. So there.

Moving right along the river, you might be distracted by the meese frolicking in the shallows, or by the Natural Arch (for the pack mules to walk across). But I can't help staring at the giant tin-foil ball in front of that teepee. That must have been the result of years of saving every Juicyfruit and Double-mint wrapper. What an achievement!

Our photographer must have taken another trip on the "Twain" (The Columbia wouldn't be there until June), and he took one more photo - it's not a good photo, but I might as well include it here.

Extra! Extra! A comment from our pal Tom got me to thinking. Could you see the Natural Arch bridge and Cinderella Castle from way up by the Indian Village? So I found a nice aerial jpeg on Google Images and made a little diagram. By gum, it works! The red line is the "line of sight" (more or less) in the second photo.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Random Snapshots

I have a few lonely, orphan snapshots. Let's put them together so that they can form a family! Just like in a Disney movie.

I never get tired of seeing the Submarine lagoon when it's been drained for refurbishment (although it was a little bit disappointing when I was at the park and wanted to ride the subs). There they are, all 8 new-kew-lar powered submarines! How often do you get to see them all at once? They are having their audio-animatronic barnacles scraped off.

This one is undated (as is often the case), but the Santa Fe sign on Main Street Station has been replaced by a more generic "Disneyland Railroad" sign, so we know that this is post-1974. But that doesn't help much! It could be from the 1980's or 90's.

The well inside Fort Wilderness seems to be pretty darn interesting to these folks. Is there a goblin down there? Did somebody fall inside? We will never know. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Some Crazy Castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle. It's named after her, but it doesn't belong to her! Some kind of licensing thing - I don't pretend to understand it. She probably gets an annual fee, like the one I get from "Major Pepperidge Sock Emporium".

ANYWAY, I figured I'd share two photos from slightly different years. Like this first one from August of 1960. It's August, and there's no ice cream vendor in the location just to the right? Sacre bleu! Maybe this is from that short-lived period when all you could get at the park was lentils. "Would you like the large cup of boiled lentils, or the extra large?". Dammit, Walt wanted you to be healthy. But the public will have their ice cream. Ingrates. 

Two years later, these two boys appear thrilled to pose for another photo. "Hurry up ma, gee whiz". They wear horizontal stripes so that they can lay down in the tall grass and blend in with the scenery when lions are hunting. Then there's that other kid walking westward with a purpose - he finished one of those big cups of lentils a few hours ago, if you know what I'm saying.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Freedomland, June 1960

In Soviet Russia, they had amusement parks such a "Gulag World" and "Proletariat Park". But in America, we had FREEDOMLAND! Here are some photos from June, 1960 - the very month the park opened.

This first view was taken from one of the Tucson Mining Company ore cars (aka the sky ride) as is passed over the section of the park known as "The Great Plains". The "Chuck Wagon Snack Stand" has a circle of not-yet-covered covered wagons to provide seating for some folks who prefer to not eat at a picnic table. In the distance, the Borden Dairy Company sponsored "Elsie's Boudoir", which is just weird. Apparently Elsie was quite the attraction though, and guests flocked to see her in her luxurious living quarters. Her husband Elmer (of glue fame) went out for cigarettes one evening and never came back, leaving her to raise young Larabee and Lobelia by herself. 

Now we can see a stage coach (is that another one to the extreme left?), part of the "Pony Express" ride that took guests to "The Old Southwest" area. Also to the left is a large tethered balloon, presumably there to add visual interest. Or to bring down strafing Messerschmitts. You'll see nearly-identical balloons in some of the very earliest photos of Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Notice the stockade with the target...

…. it is a shooting gallery known as the Cavalry Rifles. I can almost see the moving targets in my mind. Herds of buffalo; Indians (I have no evidence, but it wouldn't surprise me); desperadoes; prairie dogs; werewolves; the usual stuff. The sign on the corner seems to be unfinished.

There are a few more Freedomland images to come!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tomorrowland, August 1970

Here are a few groovy photos from Tomorrowland, circa 1970. My favorite!

Check out this neat, moody (and rare) view of the Mighty Microscope, from the wonderful "Adventure Thru Inner Space". Boy, did I love this ride. It was just about perfect, although I can't help wondering what they could have done with some slightly higher-tech effects. From what I've read, the Star Speeder in "Star Tours" sits right where the Microscope was.

I decided to go in and lighten the picture up, even though it looks weird now. But at least you can see a few more details!

Meanwhile, outdoors…! There's the Carousel of Progress, and the Tomorrowland Stage (where the Entertainment Committee is rockin' out!), and even the Tomorrowland Terrace.

Happy tears!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Monorail & Lagoon, August 1962

I have the feeling that Monorails never caught on because you can't put a penny on the track (so that a passing train could smoosh it). The public never forgave monorails, and history was altered forever.

I'm sort of fascinated by some of the artificial sea life that was in the lagoon. The fish on strings weren't so great, but look at those anemones! Amenomes! Anenmonnys! Just look at them.

I got nothin'.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Random Snapshots

Once in a while it's fun to buy random snapshots at paper collectibles shows. You never know what you might find!

This first one was obviously clipped from an old photo album, and shows a scene from Jungleland in Thousand Oaks (you've seen it on this blog several times). To be honest I'm not completely sure this is an amateur photo - it has a retouched look to it that makes me think that it was purchased. Oh well, I like it either way.

Here's Chief Red Feather over at Knott's Berry Farm, circa 1958. Did he work for tips? I could swear that I've read that the man portraying the Chief drove a sports car (a Porsche, I think) home every night. Good for him!

This one appears to have been taken at a roadside trading post; maybe in Arizona? Who knows. Perhaps you could buy a nice woven blanket with a colorful geometric design. Or howsabout a beautiful glazed pot? Or beaded moccasins, those are always good. I like the faux-Indian sitting aboard the wagon, and the cute little girl squinting in the sun.

The same girl is now at a small amusement park - again, "location unknown". She's going 'round and 'round in a horse-drawn two-wheeled buggy. Some fun! 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Li'l Piggies, July 1967

You might have to wait in line 3 hours to meet Anna and Elsa, but you can meet two of the Three Little Pigs RIGHT NOW! 

This pig is not just known as the "Practical Pig", he even LOOKS practical. Eyes straight ahead, determined to get where he's going (the bathroom, pro'lly). God help any kid who tried to stop him… pigs can be dangerous when riled! And this one carries a hammer (or so I've heard). However, he is always happy to answer your any questions relating to "do it yourself" home projects. "Should I use redwood for my Craftsman-style pergola, or pressure-treated lumber?". "Carriage bolts or drywall screws?". He'll steer you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, his brother, Fifer Pig, is happy to be posing for pictures. Mom looks controlling. "You kids stop screwing around and stand still! Your father is trying to take a picture to send to your Grandmother!". It's weird to see all of that green planted area in the distance… what's there now? 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Main Street, March 13 1958

I like this first view of the east side of Main Street U.S.A. because the place is so deserted! Judging from the clock, it is just past 1:30 in the afternoon, but people seem to be as scarce as hen's teeth. Keep in mind that attendance on this March day never exceeded 4,000, which is ridiculous. Once again I'd like to point out the wonderful variety of fa├žades. Anaheim's Main Street feels prosperous and clean, but not completely out of the realm of possibility. When visiting relatives in Minnesota and Wisconsin, I would often pass through small towns with their own little Main Streets - many which had seen better days, but still - I couldn't help thinking of Disneyland's version.

Up by the hub, the Horse Drawn Streetcar begins its trek back down toward Main Street Station. The driver looks so lonely and mournful! Notice the Monsanto House of the Future just visible through the trees.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bad Photos, November 1958

What's an ordinary boy blogger to do when faced with a bunch of boring slides? Well, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, am I right?? That analogy might not really work here, since I'm not making anything sweeter or more palatable, I'm just posting boring pictures.

ANYWAY, see what I mean? I guess the photographer was aiming at the little mill seen from the Storybook Land canal, but it's way in the distance, and blurry to boot. Yawn.

There's so much to look at while aboard the canal boats, so how does one manage to get a picture of "nothing in particular"?

Finally, over at the Rivers of America, we get the Columbia. It's really not a bad picture, but still kind of boring. You know it's true!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Universal Studios, March 1961

Today I have some neat pictures from Universal Studios, circa March 1961 - the earliest photos that I have from the public tours.

According to, "In the mid 1950’s, Universal began letting bus companies drive on to the property (the same bus companies that offered guided tours of the homes of Hollywood stars) as a way to increase revenues. The studio charged the bus companies a small fee and also benefited from the extra lunches they could sell to the tourists in the Studio Commissary." 

Another article says: "Universal reopened its lot to visitors in 1961, outsourcing the tours to the Gray Line bus company. But, following a feasibility study by Buzz Price — the same man who helped determine the locations for Disneyland and Walt Disney World — Universal decided to start its own tram tour of its facilities, and Universal Studios Hollywood opened on July 15, 1964".

So today's photos date (as far as I can tell) from when the studio reopened its gates to visitors! I love this first view, taken through the windshield of a bus, looking down a Western street (with another bus not far ahead). The place is abuzz with activity!

Dodge City Bank? I'm not putting my money there, it gets robbed twice a week. Look at those nice railings one the second level, perfect for stunt men to fall through or over!

If you think this one is dark now, just know that I have lightened it considerably. The fellow with the cowboy hat has to be an actor, don't you think? What little I can see of him doesn't ring a bell, though. 

Continuing on our way, we look out the window to see a few recognizable faces.

There's Wayne Rogers in the white hoodie - he became famous a few years later playing Trapper John on the M*A*S*H television series. The man he is talking to looks vaguely familiar, but maybe he just has "one of those faces". Almost eclipsed by the foreground gentleman's forehead is one of cinema's coolest badasses, Charles Bronson! Both Bronson and Rogers appeared in MANY television shows in the 1960's, though I couldn't find anything that they were in together when I searched IMDB.

Here's yet another photo (slightly blurry) of a TV show in production, I love the extras in their costumes hanging around until it was time to wander into the frame. Notice the smoking arc lights, used even in broad daylight.

And finally, we get one last look as some of the backlot, though it is clearly not in use for this particular shoot.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Universal Studios!