Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Random Images, August 1968

Here is an assortment of images from a lot of slides circa 1968.

We'll start with this fun one, showing a colorful Frontierland. There's lots of flowers and plenty of benches to rest on. To our right is the gazebo where the Trio Gonzalez performed - you can see a guitar sitting there waiting. In the distance is Casa de Fritos with those painted palm-frond umbrellas. I love details like the dress on the little girl to our right; those bright stripes are almost psychedelic.

Next we move a bit to the east to look at Sleeping Beauty Castle; I always like this angle, it's cool to see it so closely juxtaposed with the Matterhorn.

And finally, a view of the Mark Twain as it heads straight toward us. We're standing near a Kodak picture spot… Kodak would only remain a Disneyland sponsor for a short while longer. I believe GAF took over in 1970.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Tiki Room, August 1969

I can never get enough images of Disneyland's classic "Enchanted Tiki Room". I'm so glad that it is still entertaining guests over at the entrance to Adventureland. 

Presumably this was taken by somebody waiting to get into the pre-show area. You can see Uti (next to the Tiki Room shield), standing in that stylized canoe (which makes sense, since she is the goddess of fishing). As for the rest of the scene, I can't help noticing the amazing variety of materials; thatched roofs, bamboo, vines and plants, hand-carved elements, painted decoration… and then there are the strange and exotic shapes of the buildings, so unusual when compared to right-angled Western architecture.

Inside the pre-show area, our photographer only took one measly picture, of the tiki god Rongo. Here's what he says: "Me Rongo; god of agriculture. My land so good to me, I got time for sport. Me number one kite flyer. Too bad I don't have key; then me, I find electricity!". In earlier years he also sang the praises of United Airlines flights to Hawaii. 

….On a side note, my goofy post that was intended for April 1st is just not working out. The idea that I came up with turned out to be way more difficult than I had anticipated it (I've been working on it - off and on - for months already). So for those of you who were looking forward to the day after tomorrow (there might be a few of you), I may as well break the bad news now, because I'm not going to be posting anything special that day. If I could physically crumple up my digital file and throw it in the trash, I would do it! 

Maybe I'll do a "Best of April 1st" post. 


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, January 1965

Sometimes I wish there was some kind of wonderland. Maybe a donut wonderland? No… that's not it. A twerking wonderland? Hmmm, that's not quite right either. A daytime TV wonderland? I've got it! "Nature's Wonderland"! Perfecto! 

These are from a lot of slides that tended to veer toward the weirdly dark and moody. These aren't too bad though! I think 90 percent of Nature's Wonderland photos were taken in the Rainbow Desert area, and these are no different; In this first one, our vantage point seems kind of high up… we are at eye level with those tall saguaro cacti, and even as high as many of the stone formations. Could this have been taken from the Disneyland Railroad? It's kind of odd. Anyway, the detail I like in the line of pack mules in the distance, heading toward the Natural Arch to our left.

There are those crazy geysers. It was a pleasant thing to have cool water spray drift over you on a hot summer day. I wonder if they turned these off on a day in which the powerful Santa Ana winds kicked in? Guests could have been drenched.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hot Springs, Arkansas, October 1961

I wasn't sure what to post on this "Anything Goes Saturday". I had two vintage slides of Hot Springs, Arkansas ready to go, so… why not those? 

Hot Springs is (as Wikipedia tells us) Arkansas' 12th largest city. It got its name from the natural thermal water that flows from many springs. Radiocarbon dating indicates that the water coming to the surface fell as rain 4,400 years ago! I am assuming that it has the delightful "rotten eggs" smell that so many other hot springs have. Romantic!

The photo below shows Central Avenue (now the "Central Avenue Historic District"); Hot Springs has been ravaged by war (the Civil War, of course) and fires, but this central corridor consists of buildings constructed anywhere between 1886 through around 1930. The town used to be home to many speakeasies, which means gangsters were in good supply. 

I believe that the tall building to our left is the "Medical Arts" building, built in 1929, and the tallest building in Arkansas until 1960. Unfortunately, today the building is in disrepair except for the first floor. The taller off-white building to our right is the Arlington Hotel… supposedly a favorite vacation spot for Al Capone.

I don't have much information about this next picture; after fussing around on Google Maps for a while, I couldn't find a match for the buildings (though the only one we can see clearly is the "Steak and Shake" restaurant in the middle). I suspect it is further north on Central Avenue. In this case I just love all the old signs, the cars, and even the recruitment poster.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Hot Springs, Arkansas!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Matterhorn and Tomorrowland, June 1962

Happy Friday, everybody!

Man, do I love this first photo! From June 1962 (look at that June Gloom!), we have this fantastic view of Tomorrowland as seen from the Skyway. The bucket has just left the Tomorrowland terminal, and we are on our way to Fantasyland. I love the round buckets, and the way the cables converge in the distance, just like a draughtsman's perspective layout. Down below, a sub is chugging away, and (oddly) the Matterhorn chalet is chugging away too! 

Zooming in to the lower left, we get a nice view of the Yacht Bar. I get a kick out of its simple, angular, mid-century design. There's a whole group of ladies with babushkas (lower left), and we can see the long line for the Monorail - or maybe it's for the subs. Or both.

Here's a slightly more standard view of the Matterhorn as seen from the sub queue. Now if only the sky wasn't so cloudy! I like being able to see the excited child's gesture from that one Skyway bucket. "Look over there, Dad!". What do you think he's pointing at? I think it might be the waterfalls that were the entrance (and exit) to the dark ride portion of the Submarine Voyage.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Monstro & Pirate Ship, 1956

I am kind of surprised just how many photos in my collection are from 1956. It's a LOT. I can only assume that attendance for this new park called "Disneyland" was increasing by leaps and bounds, and everyone who went brought a camera; they all wanted to show the folks back home what the place was like. Lucky for me.

Here's a nice portrait of Monstro the whale, who is looking particularly clean and shiny (he was still brand new at this point). His blue eye is glaring at us… he hates paparazzi! But he eats canal boats like Pringles. I have always loved the concept of sailing into a whale's gaping maw to enter Storybook Land... brilliant. Notice that there is a large tent in the background, where a man known as Professor Keller tamed bloodthirsty (and possibly tranquilized) lions and tigers.

And we might as well look at another photo of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, looking magnificent with its red and whilte-striped sails unfurled. Those little white wire garden fences would not pass muster these days - they didn't last at Disneyland very long either. Notice the pile of crates (cans of tuna?) stacked on the port (or larboard) side of the boat.

Ken Martinez wondered what the pattern was on the underside of the umbrella in the first photo, so I thought I would zoom it. I could have sworn I had a better image of this from an earlier post, but if so, I'll be damned if I can find it. Anyway, at first it was hard to decipher what I was seeing; but then I recognized the famous scene of Snow White kissing the top of Dopey's head.

You know, this scene!

I also could just make out Geppetto playing his concertina while Pinocchio dances. On another one I think I see what might be the white ostrich plume on Captain Hook's hat. That's about the best I could do!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Random Pair from the 50's

Here are two unusual, random views from the 1950's… starting with this very dark (but kind of neat) dusk photo of a Keelboat. The water looks like India ink, and the very last rays of sun are about to vanish. I'm a bit discombobulated… is that the western shore of Frontierland (near the eventual tunnel to the Indian Village)? If so, it seems like the Keelboat is heading the wrong direction (and I'm pretty sure the image isn't flopped). Anyway, this photo has a romantic quality that is very appealing.

And here's a not-great view taken from the queue up to the brand-new Fantasyland Skyway chalet (you can see the steel Skyway supports near the Pirate Ship). Other folks who have just arrived from Tomorrowland are heading down the steps closer to the fence, where a Storybook Land canal boat and Casey Jr. can be seen.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Balloon Vendor, September 1971

To me, those mouse-ear balloons are a huge part of my memories of Disneyland. Even when I wasn't carrying one (what were you supposed to do with them while you were on the Matterhorn?), they were  everywhere. A part of me wished that I could hold 50 of them at once (like this fellow) just to see what it felt like. If you jumped up in the air, could you tell that you returned to earth just a bit slower? 

It looks like this guy is near the Snow White Grotto and Wishing Well. Why is he holding that pink balloon under one arm? Is that his favorite? The one he won't sell no matter what?

It is hard to play "hide and seek" when you are holding a giant bouquet of balloons.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Special Guest Photos! Knott's Berry Farm

Today is "part 2" of some vintage Knott's Berry Farm snapshots, provided to GDB by Scott Heinz (aka "Alonzo P. Hawk")! See part one HERE.

There's Scott himself, seated on the old-timey fire wagon that used to be at Knott's (and maybe still is? I have no idea). He wore red just for this photo!

Up above the Gold Mine area was a little tableau known as "The Night Watch"… it was based on a painting that could be found in the Music Hall.

Here's what the painting looks like! It was painted by Charles Nahl in 1870. It looks like dad just remembered that he left the water running at home.

I can't tell if Scott is honoring the dead, or taunting the dead. Behind him is a giant mural painted on the back of the John Wayne Theater (later the "Goodtime Theater", and then the "Charles Shultz Theater");  I appreciate that they made an effort to beautify what would have otherwise been a big ugly wall.

Scott's dad is pretty amused by Goldie's Place! I'd like to know how many other theme parks have a brothel. (You can't count Las Vegas as a theme park).

The Timber Mountain Log Ride! I loved that thing when I was a kid, and still love it today. It is a real masterpiece. We also get a nice shot of one of the trains; it looks so huge compared to the scaled-down Disneyland trains.

While I have posted a photo or two of this area, I am unclear as to where it was. There are some little stationary cars (they probably wiggled back and forth like the ones you see in front of grocery stores), but where exactly was that shrunk-down neighborhood?

Scott also included some scans of his ticket books! These appear to be the equivalent of Disneyland's "Magic Key" books.

I only have one Knott's ticket book in my collection; I wish I had more!

We even get a scan of the envelope that the tickets were sent in, along with the order form. $14 for four ticket books? What am I, made of money??

Once again I'd like the say THANK YOU to Scott Heinz for sharing his personal photos and scans of vintage Knott's with us here on GDB!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Skull Rock and Snow White's Wishing Well, July 1967

It seems like it's been a while since I've shared a nice photo of Fantasyland's Skull Rock. So let's look at one now! It looks as if the Chicken of the Sea mermaid is scratching his noggin with her scepter. They're friends! His fearsome appearance is softened somewhat by the tropical plants and bright flowers. It's such a shame that his beautiful feature had to go when Fantasyland was updated in 1983. It was a magical spot, and… no princesses!

Not that I necessarily have anything against princesses (within reason). Snow White's wishing well and grotto are still two favorite places for me… especially if you visit them at night when the crowds are (theoretically) low. Hopefully this area won't be sacrificed for some newer, flashier offering.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cedar Point, Ohio

Without even trying, I have managed to acquire a number of slides from Cedar Point, Ohio. Cedar Point is a venerable amusement park that dates all the way back to 1870!! It is built on a narrow peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie, and it's supposedly the second-oldest amusement park in the nation. Which one is the oldest? Lake Compounce, silly! 

Cedar Point is known as one of the greatest roller coaster parks, but you'd never know it from today's photos; theres not a coaster in the bunch. It is owned by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which also happens to own Knott's Berry Farm. 

This first shot is from 1967, and shows two ladies resting by a  cool fountain. Overhead is the Sky Ride, which was built in 1962, and is still there… one of the few remaining in America.

We used to have one of these giant "Fun Slides" near us (not far from Disneyland) when I was a kid. I think we were given burlap bags to sit on. You know what? It still looks pretty fun. This photo is from 1969… the slide was removed in 1991. They should build another one that is 30 stories high.

This is the log flume ride known as the "Mill Race", which debuted in 1963. It was only the second ride of its kind to be built in the world (the first was at Six Flags Over Texas). The one at Knott's Berry Farm wouldn't open until 1969! The Mill Race had a drop that was only about 28 feet high, which is pretty tame by today's standards. It was removed in 1993, though Cedar Fair had another flume ride called "White Water Landing", which has also been removed; a third flume ride, Snake River Falls, still operates today.

This last one is a mystery to me, I could not figure out what ride this was! It seems to be a weird variation on a kind of "Jungle Cruise"-type attraction, although that critter in the water looks like some sort of prehistoric beastie. Does anybody have any info about this one?

I hope you have enjoyed your trip to Cedar Point, Ohio!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Mark Twain and River Shore, July 1958

It's time for another dip into a box of slides from July, 1958. 

Jeez, did everyone have to take a picture of the Mark Twain? I guess it just goes to show how impressed guests were when they saw the gleaming white, filigreed layer cake floating on the calm water of the Rivers of America.

Zooming in a bit, we can see the lucky few who snagged one of the folding chairs out on the extended bow of the riverboat. I've never managed it, but then again, I kind of like being up high. Notice the goods waiting to be loaded (but never are); bales of cotton, and various casks and crates.

Nearby, on Tom Sawyer Island, there is all kinds of activity going on. To our left, a raft is loading up for its one-minute trip (if that) back to the mainland. Above then you can just see Tom's treehouse.

Again with the zooming?! There's the raft again, and to the right is the dock where folks could catch themselves a real fish. In the distance, the masts of the new Columbia sailing ship.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Flying Saucers, 1965

You might remember a recently posted Tomorrowland photo, from a group of weirdly-eroded 35mm color negatives. Out of the 24 frames, only three were salvageable, and happily, this was one of them.

I can't get enough views of the wonderful Flying Saucers attraction that lasted a mere five years… from August 6th, 1961 to September 5th, 1966. They were notoriously problematic, and yet… they look like so much fun! Even the color choices were inspired, with the white and orange saucers skimming across that cobalt blue surface. Beautiful. 

One of the things I like about photos of this attraction is observing the way riders leaned and twisted and contorted themselves in an effort to make the saucers head in a particular direction - no easy task from what I've heard. But these small saucers had to have been much more nimble than the behemoths that were used in "Luigi's Flying Tires" - another "saucer" failure that was probably the nail in the coffin for this kind of ride.

"You boys have fun; I'm going to sit here and enjoy my cigarette".

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More "Greatest Hits" - Parking Lot!

It's time for more greatest hits! Today we will get no further than the parking lot.

This first one was originally posted way back in 2006, and shows a nice July 1958 photo of some cool old automobiles, with the Disneyland Railroad chugging in to Main Street Station. There are some ticket booths, and the Opera House is clearly visible. 

Here's another one that was posted in 2006 (in December), with a neat, moody shot looking toward the entrance (in an undated slide). It's funny, the sky looks like it is blue, with lots of white fluffy clouds, and yet it looks so dark here, for some reason. Meanwhile, the foreground cars and all of Main Street are in bright sunshine. It's a neat effect. 

This one was originally published in 2008, and shows a 1957 view with a gray sky. It seems so strange now to see cars right up to the entrance. Lemon-yellow must have been a new, daring color for autos at that time. It's fun to see the families (bundled up, California-style)… imagine how exciting it must have been for them!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chrysler Pavilion, 1964 New York World's Fair

The Chrysler Pavilion at the 1964/65 New York World's Fair would have been high on my list of "must do" attractions - and that is saying something, given the mind-boggling wonders that were there for the choosing.

In this first photo, you see the "Giant Animated Engine". Among the things guests would see when walking inside was a "…writhing, twisting, squirming dragon (he's enormous!) who drives three 8-foot pistons. They're animated too. Giant hands operate the engine valves. A monstrous 'spider' descend upon a hapless fly. Two huge paddles toss a ping-pong ball endlessly between them. These are just a few of the delightfully imaginative goings-on". 

So basically, it was just like the engine in my car. Only a little bit bigger.

Here is a stylized 10-story rocket, continuously blasting off with a plume of water spray. Which is a pretty neat idea! The U.S. Space Program was going strong in 1964, with Project Gemini and Project Apollo in their early stages. "Stages"! A rocket pun! 

Inside the pavilion's main building (the "Show-Go-Round"), a circular stage that rotated to reveal four different "phases", with four auditoriums that surrounded the stage so that the audience watches a different part of the show simultaneously. After watching a film, and then performances by Bil Baird's puppets (including "singing and dancing gaskets, dancing spark plugs, animated carburetors and living seat belts"), you would finally see an experimental car that was (according to the show) completely assembled by the puppets. I'm not sure if the man on the left is Bil Baird or not.

Sorry this one is a little blurry; from what I can glean, this automobile was an example of Chrysler's revolutionary Turbine Car (which used a rotating compressor that turned at nearly 45,000 rpm). It was the only turbine car that was tested by a few lucky consumers. You'll read more about it in a future post!

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to the Chrysler Pavilion!

Monday, March 16, 2015

More Snapshots from August 1968

As much as I love vintage 35mm slides, old snapshots have their charms as well. 

Like this one, showing awesome Tomorrowland. Ya got yer Rocket Jets, Peoplemover, Tomorrowland Stage, Matterhorn, Skyway, and even "It's a Small World". Down below, the Space Bar is not too busy, for a change. Even small details like the lozenge-shaped Goodyear logo make me smile.

I'm not sure what inspired our photographer to take this picture, which is mostly an expanse of industrial roof. Maybe they liked the juxtaposition of the castle's spires and the Disneyland Hotel in the distance. Who knows.

I always love the sight of the Disneyland Railroad, and here it is as it passes by "It's a Small World". Notice the soot stains on the archway that it is about to go through. Happy soot!

Stay tuned for more snapshots.