Saturday, February 28, 2015

Century 21 Expo, September 1962

Well, ladies and gents, ol' Major Pepperidge has been neglecting his scanning duties for far too long. Which means that I am somewhat unprepared on this "Anything Goes Saturday". Again.

SO… just because they are sitting on my computer, ready to go, here are the last few images of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair (aka the "Century 21 Expo"), from a batch of stereo slides. They sound fantastic

No visit to the Expo would be complete without a photo of the magnificent Space Needle. I'm sure there must be somebody out there who doesn't like this "Jetsonian" edifice, and if so, I hope I never meet them, because they are clinically insane.

Oh, the humanity! It seems so funny to see those nearby hillsides covered in homes overlooking the Fairgrounds. Imagine the view at night, though. I love those "light poles" (or whatever they are) with the colored pieces of plexiglass, which combine to make other colors depending on the angle at which they were viewed.

There's the Alweg monorail… a real monorail, actually being used for transportation (just like the one in North Haverbrook)! It isn't as sexy as the one at Disneyland, but dammit, it's still there after all these years.

I think that blue-roofed structure is the Monorail station. An "ElecriCab" has just passed us (to our left); I guess we'll just have to use our feet like regular hu-mans and other schnooks. The kids in red coats are Boy Scouts, and they are just itchin' to do some good deeds.

Those graceful white structures have the look of a Martian cathedral (and I should know), or a futuristic city. The '62 Seattle Fair had a cozy, intimate feel to it compared to the gigantic New York Fair two years later; I wish I could have seen it for myself.

I'm not sure, but I think that might be it for my Seattle World's Fair photos (though there may be a few more in another box). I hope you've enjoyed your visit!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Golden Horseshoe Exteriors, July 1958

Loitering outside of saloons is generally frowned upon, but at Disneyland, it's a worthwhile pursuit. The people watching is top-notch.

At some point I will stop being amazed at how long the Golden Horseshoe continued to display flimsy cloth banners. A more permanent sign wouldn't be added for many years. Judging by the tri-colored bunting,  Grover Cleveland must have been campaigning here recently. It's the only logical explanation. How many other presidents shared a name with a muppet?

Zooming in a little bit, we see one well-dressed dude - maybe he worked with the pack mules? -   carrying his tartan thermos (full of rye whiskey, I'll wager) to someplace shady. A number of people are heading inside, with a GH employee following. Was he a bartender? Piano player? 

Any photo worth taking is worth taking twice. That's one-a-my rules. Can somebody please let me know if that crane thingy on the roof served any practical purpose? The guy to the extreme left really doesn't want to miss the show at the GH!

Just because I'm weird, I like to zoom in and look at the people from nearly 57 years ago! That one kid proudly wears his Keppy Kap, and his ticket book is in his back pocket. To our left, it looks like grandma and grandpa treated their granddaughter to a day at Disneyland. I'll bet gramps was game to ride the Matterhorn!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Donruss Bubblegum Cards, 1965

It's time for PART NINE of a series of 1965 Donruss bubblegum cards - the scarce "blue back" set that has larger photos on their fronts (read more about it here). This is the penultimate post… in other words, there will only be one more, and we'll be all done!

Card #53: Disneyland Mark Twain carries Frontierland visitors along Rivers of America.

Somebody glued cotton balls to the top of those smokestacks! The Haunted Mansion makes a special guest appearance too.

Card #54: Disneyland Indian Village features ceremonial dancing by the Rivers of America.

The photographer stood on stilts for this one.

Card #55: The Columbia is a full-size authentic replica of the first American ship to sail around the world.

It was also the first America ship to have a sno-cone machine.

Card #56: Disneyland's mighty Matterhorn mountain towers above the submarine lagoon in Tomorrowland.

There's the old Yacht Bar!

Card #57: Comical reindeer streets guests during the Disneyland annual character parade.

I love these crazy reindeer, designed by Bill Justice; my understanding is that they have recently been replaced with less-awesome reindeer.

Card #58: Mickey Mouse leads the Disneyland Band in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Sorry, Vesey Walker, you have been replaced by a rodent!

Card #59: Squid "attacks" shark in Disneyland's submarine lagoon as viewed by passengers aboard authentic air-conditioned submarines.

This has always been one of my favorite lagoon tableaus because it is so preposterous.

Seven more cards to go!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2 Views From the Hub, July 1967

All the best things in life have hubs. Let's see, you got wheels; they certainly have hubs (hence hubcaps). And… um… er… uh… I'm sure there are other things with hubs too, and that they are all awesome. 

Like the Hub at Disneyland! All of the other "lands" radiate outward from the central hub, like spokes on a wheel. Except for Toontown. And New Orleans Square. And Critter Country. But you get the idea.

Today's photos were taken by a photographer who stood pretty much smack-dab in the middle of the hub, where the "Partners" statue can be found today; I really like this neat shot looking down Main Street USA, toward the train station. It's almost a postcard-worthy shot, especially with the happy li'l family right in the middle. The street looks pretty busy, which makes sense in July. 

Pivoting to our left (while continuing to dribble the basketball…), we see the beautiful New Tomorrowland! Folks can't help being drawn toward the entrance, with the bright colorful flowers, the curved, elevated Peoplemover track (the turquoise Peoplemover trains are my favorites), and shiny metal walls, and the Rocket Jets. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Above the Lagoon


I have removed the original version of this post, and am republishing it.  Why? Because I have received over 6000 spam comments in the past week or so. From this one post! I am hoping that this strategy will remedy the problem. (Blogger is very good about filtering the comments from the blog, but they still go to my email - what a pain).

The original comments would otherwise be lost, so I am adding them to the body of the main text (at the end).

Unlike Gilligan, I haven't had much lagoon experience, and it really looks bad on my resume. In fact, the only lagoon that I have visited is the Submarine lagoon in Tomorrowland. Seriously, shouldn't that be enough? Look at it:

That is one awesome lagoon. It's got a Monorail going over it! That ought to count for something in this crazy mixed up world. Other lagoons can be swampy and inhabited by poisonous snakes and deadly shrieking turtles. Not this one (though it is occasionally a home to mermaids); now that I think about it, this is the best lagoon ever!

I like this next shot because you can see how the Autopia track divides the water into the "clear water" system to our right (the color of a beautiful tourmaline); and the "dark water" system to our left (the color of pea soup), which extends all the way through Adventureland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland. It looks more natural, and is also handy for hiding underwater mechanisms. PS, blue Monorail!

Here are the comments: Thanks to the GDB readers who took the time!

Chuck said...
Considering everything else they were able to put together with bamboo and seashells, I'm surprised the crew and passengers of the SS Minnow didn't build a monorail for their lagoon. 

Chuck, don't forget coconuts! You can build almost anything with bamboo and coconuts. I personally would love the idea of a bamboo Monorail.

K. Martinez said...
Practically unrecognizable today!

Anonymous said...
Wouldn'tve minded putting something together with Mary Ann...

Heya Major,

I notice that the rock wall adjacent to t he "A" side queue is bare of vegetation; it would eventually become covered in some leafy plant growth. I just had to point that out to cement my reputation of "telling time by ivy growth" obsession...

Monday, February 23, 2015

Tomorrowland, August 1969

Let's start today off with a wonderful shot of one of the whimsical Mary Blair tile murals that used to grace Tomorrowland's main corridor. This one is the south mural; the two murals illustrated the theme of "The Spirit of Creative Energies Among Children". Look at that kid being creative on that bicycle; Or is he being a showoff? And the girl dangling from the balloon, should that really be encouraged? I think she should have used the theme, "The Spirit of Children Watching Television and Eating Snacks". This mural was covered over in 1986 when "Star Tours" was added. I wonder if we'll ever see it again?

Over at the entrance to the New Tomorrowland, one could find this unusual fountain, with water cascading from strange, amorphous shapes. Alien spaceships? I have always loved the silvery sculptural metal walls that grace both sides of the entrance, with their many angles and textures reflecting the sunlight.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Foxy Ladies, September 1978

I can't explain why, but I get a kick out of this first photo today. We're in the pre-show area of the Enchanted Tiki Room, and four women patiently wait until they can go into the main show building. It's like an all-female Mount Rushmore! Their pastel pants suits (well, OK, the one on the left is wearing a dress) make them look like layers of a parfait. Ah, the 80's! I'll bet they were all into "A Flock of Seagulls" and "Wham!". 

Those flowers pale next to her beauty!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Westwood Village, Los Angeles - 1950s

Today I thought I would compare some vintage views of Westwood Village, located near Wilshire Boulevard and the 405 freeway. It opened in 1929, and at the time, the buildings were designed with plenty of charm - at least compared to most developments. There are lots of nice shops, restaurants, and movie theaters in the area, and it is frequented by students from nearby UCLA. All three of today's vintage photos are from a group taken sometime in the mid-1950's. They had turned slightly magenta, but I corrected the color as much as possible.

Here we are on Westwood Boulevard, looking north from the corner of Lindbrook Drive. I love that old Ralph's grocery store building to our right, as well as all of the fabulous vintage vehicles passing by. The domed Bank of America (also known as the "Janss Dome") in the distance is now a sushi restaurant!

Here's a Google Maps screen grab; as you can see the Ralph's building is still there, though it now contains several businesses, including a pizza restaurant and Peet's Coffee. Maybe it's the glowering sky, but this place doesn't look very charming anymore.

Heading a few blocks north on Westwood Blvd, we come to the corner of Weyburn Avenue (facing eastward). The stately building is the Security First National Bank of Los Angeles, looking almost like a structure from a movie lot. To the extreme right you can see part of Bullock's Westwood.

The bank has been replaced by a inelegant structure that houses The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf shop. Finally, a place to get coffee and/or tea! At least the Bullock's building is still there.

Moving about 1/2 a block north and looking westward, we see more shops. The buildings have an early-California look to them, though some very 1950's fa├žades have been applied to the lower levels. To our left is Holmby Hall - the first retail building in Westwood Village.

Curse you, trees! Your leafy beauty totally messed up my blog post! But Holmby Hall is still there, just visible through the blooming jacarandas. The clock tower was damaged in a fire in 2003, but it still looks OK from the outside. You'll just have to take my word for it!

I hope you enjoyed these vintage views of Westwood Village. I have more, if anybody is interested.

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Plaza and The Castle, July 1958

Many of the slides from this lot (dating from July 1958) are pretty nice, but that doesn't mean that they are all winners!

Like this first one. It's not a bad photo, really... but it's not very good either. I guess if you are a fan of umbrellas, than you are having a good day. I'm trying to get inside the mind of the photographer to figure out what it was about this scene that inspired him/her to press the shutter button.

On the other hand, in spite of the kajillion photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle in my collection, I can still occasionally be impressed; and this one is a beauty, with the castle reflected in the water. 


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Cool Tomorrowland! July 1967

Here are a few nice Tomorrowland images for you (with a special cameo from Fantasyland)!

I am trying to figure out where this first one was taken from; a Skyway bucket that has just left the Tomorrowland terminal? The upper level of the Carousel of Progress building? This oddball angle seems to be directed mostly at the "It's a Small World" building in the distance. But I am more about the Autopia, Peoplemover, and Monorail. Even a submarine has managed to photo bomb this picture. I'm always amused by the old-fashioned Santa Fe logo in relation to the Monorail.

OK, this can only have been taken from a Skyway bucket, right? You can see the Carousel of Progress ramp to our left. Kooky, Suessian palm trees lean in; but the best part of the photo is the Peoplemover load area, with the wonderful Rocket Jets positioned dramatically on the level above, and the crowded Space Bar is on the ground level.

Just for yucks, let's zoom in on the mob scene below; it's pretty crowded, but I'd give anything to be there!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, January 1965

This lot, from January '65, still has a few too-dark images, but they're still worth a look. 

This familiar scene, showing "Bear Country" in Nature's Wonderland, looks surprisingly rich and complete, especially when you consider the compressed space that the Imagineers had to work with. You can almost believe that the forest continues for miles, or that the river is icy cold from melted snow. 

This one is the victim of poor timing; the photographer waited just a bit too long to take his photo. But you can still just see the battling elk. Why can't they just get along?

The desert is looking especially verdant here; it is winter after all. Maybe we'll see colorful flowers springing up soon? Pronghorn antelope gather near the pond. A geyser erupts on the other side of the crazy rock formations; but my favorite detail is the Disneyland Railroad in the distance!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Two From Fifty Six!

Photos from Disneyland's first year or two just feel different from later years. Maybe it's the clothes. Maybe it's the unfinished, slightly rough-around-the-edges quality that is evident in many places. Whatever that elusive quality is, it tends to give even ordinary scenes a certain vintage charm.

Like this one! We've certainly looked at plenty of photos of Main Street over the years, and this example is nice enough. But I love the bustle of activity, the crowds heading toward the castle; the people waiting in line for that weirdly-placed little drinking fountain (to our left), or the men wearing their hats (fedoras are awesome). In spite of its appearance, that line strung across Main Street was not used to hang out Walt's laundry to dry; it would occasionally be used to display banners welcoming Boy Scouts, or the Kiwanis Club, or Benny Goodman and his band.

It's a shame that this one isn't clearer, I never tire of photos of the Autopia (Ha ha! "never tire"! Oh man!). I love those old-style Autopia vehicles - and for some reason I never noticed the little red tail lights before (assuming they actually lit up and weren't just for show). I also like the presence of those two trucks in the distance… you could argue that they are "bad show", but they feel perfectly OK to me, parked along the freeway of the future.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Ernest S. Marsh, March 1966

Oh yeah, I love those Disneyland locomotives! Today we're getting two nice shots of the Ernest S. Marsh as it sits at New Orleans Station.

The "Marsh" is the youngest of the antique locomotives - you probably already know that the studio built the first two (the "C.K. Holliday" and the "E.P. Ripley"), while the other three are genuine old narrow-gauge engines, purchased and refurbished. The Ernest S. Marsh was built in 1925, and went into service at Disneyland in 1959. As you can see, it is pulling the original yellow passenger cars.

It's funny to think that this train, as antique as it appeared, was only 34 years old in 1959. That's like seeing a 1980 automobile on the road today! I think you'll agree that this train is way better looking than most cars from 1980.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mickey & Castle, September 1978

Today's photos aren't the most exciting things ever; but I'll take a bright, sunshiny Disneyland any old day.

There's the old-style Mickey Mouse flower portrait (why are there no flower portraits of ME?). I find the black tongue disturbing - he should see a doctor. Let's just pretend he has been eating licorice. By 1978, Santa Fe no longer sponsored the Disneyland trains, and I miss their iconic logo.

BONUS: That super fun drainage grate!

And… you knew it was coming… a picture of the castle, which is distinctly NOT pink!

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! 

Today I decided to do another "Then and Now" comparison, using a vintage photo of a location, and then finding the same view (or as close as I can get to it) on Google Maps' "Street View".

This first one is from the 1950's, and shows a shot looking South on Main Street (towards 7th Avenue) in the little town of Stillwater, Oklahoma. Stillwater is pretty much in the central/northern part of the state. It is home to Oklahoma State University, and is also smack-dab in the middle of "Tornado Alley", for added fun. Chester Gould, creator of "Dick Tracy", was from Stillwater!

I love this look up the prosperous little Main Street, with plenty of cars, indicating shoppers, and diners at the Grand Cafe. Check out those cool old-fashioned highway signs. Across the street you can see the Aggie Theater.

Here's the current view on Google Maps. I wonder if, someday, this view will seem as charming to folks as the first picture is to me? The old Aggie Theater closed years ago, and is apparently occupied by a law firm.

Next we'll head east to York, Pennsylvania, at the corner of Market Street and George Street (sometime in the 1950's). The stately First National Bank is on our left (I'd keep my money there), while the G.C. Murphy Co. (a "Five and Dime" store much like Woolworth's) is next door. It's Christmas time! 

Here's how the same corner looks today. The First National Bank has left the building, but I couldn't quite discern what had taken its place. I miss the 1930's-look of the G.C. Murphy Co. - which has been replaced with a black glass Susquehanna Bank. The funny little booth structure on the corner is still there, though (with changes), I wonder what that thing is for?

I hope you have enjoyed today's "Then and Now" photos!


Update: GDB reader Chuck has done more research than I ever had the energy to do, and tried to leave it in the "Comments"… but Blogger seems to be rejecting it for some reason. So I thought I would "copy/paste" here. Nice work, Chuck!

Interesting shots today which took me down a fascinating rabbit hole of research...

The Northeast corner of the intersection of Market & George Streets in York, PA, is actually fairly significant in early American history. According to the blog "Only in York County" (, this area is known as "Continental Square" and "was the site of York’s first courthouse and the capital of the U.S., Sept., 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778.” The Continental Congress relocated to York from the Pennsylvania Statehouse 100 miles away due to the British occupation of Philadelphia.

Beneath Continental Square are a currently closed underground complex consisting of public restrooms, a beauty salon, a barber shop, and a shoe shine station ( According to one source, the complex, built in the 1920's, was constructed because Prohibition had closed the bars which, in turn, led to a dearth of public restroom facilities downtown (

Here's a description of G.C. Murphy's from a former employee, 1956-57: "The part next to Commonwealth Bank was the toy dept. Downstairs in the main building were dishes, pots and pans, kitchenwares and clothing. When you went in the front from Market St., there was the candy counter and to the left the lunch bar." (

G.C. Murphy's no longer exists as a company, portions having been merged into several other department store chains, but its charitable arm, the G.C. Murphy Co. Foundation survives today ( I also found an oblique link to my family: the "Murphy's Mart" - a K-Mart-like department store - in my parents' hometown was owned by the same company.

Finally, that booth on the corner, locally known as the "Teapot Dome," was built as a shelter for trolley conductors. Since the trolley stopped running in 1939, it's been used as an information booth, a police substation (note the blue & white carparked next to it in the 1950's photo), and as a kiosk for mailing letters to Santa (I'm assuming that's Santa Claus and not Santa Anna). Removed in 2004 because of its dilapidated condition, it was restored and replaced in its historic location in 2009 (, 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Frontierland Station & the E.P. Ripley, 1956

Much like Darth Vader, today's vintage slides (circa 1956) were definitely on the dark side. But that's OK, because they are still awesome! (Just like Darth).

I love this first one, with a neat detail of Frontierland's old, original train station. I can't tell if those people are actually doing some sort of transaction at that window (presenting their "E" tickets), or if they are just looking through. My guess is the latter. Unlike Main Street Station, Frontierland Station was relatively tiny; even those last folks in line will probably hop on board the next train. 

The widths of the individual letters on that "Frontierland" sign seem a bit wonky, but that gives it a lot of charm. And speaking of charm, there is one of the beautiful yellow passenger cars to our right! It's just waiting at the platform for us.

I thought that the E.P. Ripley (not the "Fred Gurley" as I originally - stupidly - said… thanks Chuck!) generally was supposed to stop at the Main Street Station, while the C.K. Holliday (the "freight train") would stop at Frontierland. Maybe this was after they abandoned that practice, although you can still see the parallel tracks here. That raw lumber hasn't had much time to darken, giving this area the appearance of a newly-built prairie town. And that locomotive! Lovely.