Sunday, May 31, 2015

Randomness from March 13, 1958

I've been sharing photos from a batch of slides dating from March of 1958 for a while now. And almost all of the remaining slides are from the Rainbow Ridge Mine Train (this was before "Nature's Wonderland", of course); so today's images are the remaining examples that aren't from the Mine Train (with one exception that I am saving).

Here we are, aboard one of the Casey Jr. Circus Trains. I am assuming that the photographer is looking behind him/her, since Casey isn't visible at all (otherwise you would see his "smoky stack"). I have always loved the look of the little village where Cinderella and her cruel stepmother and stepsisters lived. I've been on this attraction at night, but can only assume (since I don't recall) that the houses would be lit from within. Which sounds pretty! Notice the canal boat to our right. 

Next is a typical view of Tom Sawyer Island as seen from the Mark Twain riverboat landing. Tom's Treehouse stands out like a sore, uh, treehouse, above the somewhat scrawny foliage. But eventually you would barely be able to see it from the shore!


This next one is for Matthew (aka "Amazon Belle") who asked about the life preserver that he noticed in the previous photo. It did appear to be wrapped around the tree trunk, but after zooming in (a LOT), it looks like it is merely hanging from the end of that railing. I suppose they really do have to consider the fact that somebody might fall into the water!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Random Stuff

I am still dealing with a dead slide scanner, so the "Anything Goes Saturdays" continue to consist of whatever the heck I happened to have already scanned.

This one, from September 1958, shows a little girl (in ear muffs?!?) posing next to a cheerful yellow Mayflower moving van. This photo struck a nerve with me because, as the kid of a Navy man, we moved a LOT for the first 15 years of my life, and we used Mayflower a number of times. It was always weird to leave a place just as we started to feel comfortable, but hey, that's life. I later learned that my dad turned down potential moves to places like Germany and Japan because he thought that it would be too traumatic; maybe he was right, but I can't help wondering how different my life would have been if we had lived in one of those countries!

Next we head to Ontario, Canada, to visit the Seagram Tower near Niagara Falls (the photo is from September of 1963). Throughout the years, various structures had been built to attract tourists and provide a dramatic view of the Falls. In 1962, this 325-foot tower opened to the public (due to its elevation, it actually sits more than 500 feet above the waterfalls). The tower has changed ownership many times since then, and is now the "Konica Minolta Tower Centre".

This next one qualifies as a "mystery slide", though, knowing the GDB readers, it won't be a mystery for long! It is from the 1950's, and shows a lovely old church - I thought it might be the famous "Old North Church" in Boston, but it isn't. When I zoomed in on the street signs, I could see that the church is at the intersection of West (?) Liberty Street and South Main Street.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Souvenir Dungeon - Carnation Kiddie Menu

I'm guessing a lot of GDB readers are fans of vintage Disneyland souvenirs. There are different kinds of souvenirs... many were purchased in the park's various stores. Then there are actual artifacts from the attractions (not many of those!), or even the attraction posters. Then there are the paper guides, gate handouts, flyers, ticket books, and other ephemera that were given out to guests (or swiped by them, in the case of restaurant menus). Today's souvenir falls into the third category!

First, a little bit of history; you're all familiar with the wonderful Carnation Milk truck that was usually parked on West Center Street, next to the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor of course. Here's a photo of it not parked on West Center Street; as you can see, it is near the Plaza Inn (circa 1977).

Here's a picture of it right next to the Ice Cream Parlor; people loved to have their photos taken while sitting in the driver's seat.

SO... a few years ago I acquired this fun "kiddie menu"; as you can see, it is intended to be folded into a miniature version of the iconic truck. I assume that it was originally on a rectangular sheet of paper, and that this is the punched-out (but never folded) remainder. It is undated, and I have personally never seen another one.

The prices, while low, are not as low as they were on the very early menus, so I can only guess that this is from the 1960's, or even the 70's. It's strange that Disneyland isn't mentioned at all - even on the exterior graphics. The real truck had the famous gothic "Disneyland" lettering on the back (which you can see HERE).

I suppose it's possible that this menu was given to children at the restaurant that was a part of the Carnation headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard. But why make it look like a distinctive feature from Disneyland, if that's the case? Here's an old photo of the headquarters, found on the interwebs.

Just for fun, I printed a copy of the front side of the menu, using heavy paper; I cut it out with an X-acto knife (I'm lucky to be alive!), and folded it accordingly. No glue or tape was required... just three tabs inserted into their respective slots. Say, it looks pretty swell! 

Bob Gurr would be proud. I know what I'm driving tomorrow.

PS: I am heading out of town this morning, but there will be new posts for you each day. I'll try to check in whenever time permits! Have great weekend.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It's A Small World & Balloons, August 1968

At first I thought that the photo below was a portrait of a happy little family during their visit to The Happiest Place on Urf. They're looking at the camera, mom is smiling, dad is glowering, and the balloons in the background make for a colorful accent.  Looks like a breeze is about to blow them away. A grandma and grandpa are just behind our family, and a hidden kid is walking away with his own balloon. Oh yeah, and It's a Small World (I will always capitalize it, Ken Martinez!) is in the background, as if you didn't know.

OK, here's a "take two", and this time it wasn't ruined by those barbarians! Now we can see the balloon vendor, dressed in his embarrassing costume (reminiscent of Pinocchio). Wrangle those balloons, you fool! Is the man to our right wearing lederhosen, or does he just have a backpack?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Rocket Jets and More, August 1969

I'm always extra glad to be able to share vintage Tomorrowland photos, and even more glad when they are nice images of the fabulous "New Tomorrowland".

Both of these were probably taken from the Peoplemover, which took guests up high enough to get a good elevated vantage point. The Rocket Jets and People Mover load area take center stage here; man, that rocket was big! Not as big as a real Saturn V, but still pretty large. The Anaheim Convention Center is playing peek-a-boo behind it! Notice the tilted-up roofs of the Peoplemover cars... they automatically lifted when entering the station to better allow guests to exit and enter. Genius! I'm not sure how this was accomplished, but, if I know Bob Gurr (and I don't), it was done in an elegantly simple and clever manner. 

Notice the "Flight to the Moon" building in the background, to our left.

There's a great big beautiful tomorrow over at General Electric's "Carousel of Progress". That round building housed the show that had been such a hit at the 1964/65 World's Fair... I only caught it a few times before it closed in September of 1973 (it's hard to believe that it was only in the park for seven years), and I loved everything about it; the music, the sheer "Disneyness" of it, the optimistic outlook, and of course, the giant model of "Progress City" that was on the upper level.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New York World's Fair, August 1964

It's time to sift through a collection of slide scans from the New York World's Fair!

The Vatican Pavilion was one of the most-visited attractions at the Fair, bringing approximately 27 million guests through its doors... only General Motors' "Futurama" topped it. What was  the big draw??

Michelangelo's beautiful "Pieta"! This was the first (and only) time that this treasure was allowed out of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome since 1499. It was behind large sheets of bulletproof glass, and people viewed it from one of three moving sidewalks. 

I guess they couldn't get this statue.

Meanwhile, over at the New York State Pavilion, something's going on beneath the "tent of tomorrow". Notice that the floor is a giant terrazzo map of New York. The partially-silhouetted little girl to the extreme right is practically standing on Albany! It appears that there is a military band performing, I sure wish I knew what the occasion was.

And, even though it isn't the clearest photo in the world, I thought I would finish with this shot from the General Motors Pavilion, featuring the ultra-sleek GM-X Stiletto concept car. Can you believe that this beautiful thing was eventually sent to the crusher when GM decided that it didn't love it anymore?

There are more World's Fair images to come!

Monday, May 25, 2015

More Murkiness! January 1965

I am happy to announce that today I am sharing the LAST of the super-murky photos from 1965! I hope that they don't give you nightmares.

Here we are, in a busy Tomorrowland. The Douglas Rocket to the Moon is smack-dab in the center, and it is venting some liquid oxygen fuel as it wait to blast off. The Astro Jets are to our left, and a tour guide carefully appraises us to make sure we are not dangerous. Oh man, let's try to lighten this thing up a bit! 

It got grainy in places, but it's an improvement. That kid wears the feathered hat like a boss! Everyone is bundled in sweaters and coats, so this was a chilly day for the usually-moderate park.

I guess the photographer was aiming at the little shack on the riverbank, though this isn't a very good angle. The jungle launches look their best with their striped awnings (says me!)

I lightened this one up, but I think I actually like the dark, mysterious version better.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Frontierland, August 1961

Here's an odd pair from 1961's Frontierland. I wish they were more exciting, but what can you do. 

I actually sort of like this detail of the Keel Boat, "Gullywhumper". The sign has been decoupaged on by Mike Fink, who always did like an afternoon of "arts and crafts". He was out of glitter on that day. Notice the paddles, which were presumably there in case the boat's motor conked out. While I would prefer to ride up top, I would go back in time and ride down below as well, and take plenty of flash pictures to preserve what it looked like (for those of us who have no idea). I'm sure it was pretty spartan. The boat looks like it was made of genuine weathered pine planks, but I assume that it was, in fact, cast fiberglass. If so, it looks completely convincing.

Over at the Indian Dance Circle, we see a rousing performance going on. Notice the child performer... he can't be more than 9 or 10 years old. How was that legal? Maybe child labor laws hadn't kicked in yet. I'm sure there were worse things for a kid than working at Disneyland, but still... he needs an education!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Vintage San Francisco

Hey, guess what, homies? My scanner died! It is now in heaven, scanning incredibly rare slides of Disneyland for angels. I can't even guess how many thousands of images that thing cranked out for me. I really had hoped that it would survive until I was done with my blog, but I guess I'll have to go out and buy another one. Should I get the $200 scanner, which will do the job (nicely, I'm sure), or go for broke and get the $700 scanner with all of the fancy bells and whistles? (I don't know why I need a whistle on a scanner, but I'll sleep better at night knowing that it's there). 

Anyway (sorry for the digression), for now I am stuck with the slides that I have already scanned. Luckily for me I was a good boy and have several hundred ready to go (patting myself on the head). Like today's vintage views of San Francisco; I have not spent a lot of time in that city, but it has its appeal. The photo below is from 1953, looking down a typical SF hill, toward the bay, with Alcatraz a little bit to our left. 

I didn't know where this was exactly, so I used Google Maps to see if I could figure it out. 

I found a street that seemed to point in the right direction (Taylor Street), pointing just toward the eastern edge of Alcatraz. Then I dropped the little Google man near the non-pointy end of the red arrow at the Green Street intersection).

And this is what the "street view" showed. Amazing! There is the same apartment building on the right, and everyone's favorite prison in the distance. The other buildings have changed somewhat, but it was super satisfying to have found just the right spot on the first try.

Next we have this neat view from November of 1948. That's almost 67 years ago! I love photos like this. That nice lady is standing in front of the Hotel Aldrich, near the 441 Club. This is Jones Street, right in the famed "Tenderloin" district. As always, I covet those vintage cars. It looks like there is some kind of hardware store to our left; imagine how neat it would be to roam the aisles if we could.

Here's the Google Maps view of how it is now; the Aldrich Hotel is still there, as is the 441 club (although I just looked it up, and it has recently closed - apparently it was quite a dive at the end). As is usually the case, Jones Street looks like it was a lot more fun decades ago!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Two Beautiful Instamatics!

I'm getting down to the last of the wonderful vintage Kodak Instamatics that were so generously given to me by "Mr. X"... most of the remaining examples are pretty darn nice! 

Like this one, showing the Matterhorn as seen from Tomorrowland (right near the Yacht Bar). The "snow"-capped peak gleams against a blue sky; colorful Skyway buckets travel to and fro, while a tomato-red Peoplemover train passes on the track above. The guard rails have been added to the Peoplemover cars, but there doesn't seem to be anybody on board for some reason. Notice the climber on the Matterhorn, as well as the single bobsled just below him.

I love this picture!

This next one is pretty neat too, and a very unusual angle (taken from somewhere on the ramp outside of the Carousel of Progress, I suppose?). It's cool the way the Disneyland Peoplemover really moved up and down some considerable grades - it wasn't all flatness. Below us is the Autopia - at first I thought some sort of construction was going on, but now I can see cast members and riders. In the lower right is Tomorrowland Station.

Another surprise is just how green and lush some parts of Disneyland's Tomorrowland are... the future doesn't have to be sterile shiny metal and white concrete.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

GDB "Greatest Hits" - Main Street

Hooray for more "Greatest Hits"! This time we're visiting Main Street - although one image might be considered an exception.

Night shots are all-too-rare; film stocks were generally just not fast enough 50 years ago. That's why  this lovely photo (originally posted in 2007) of West Center Street and the Flower Mart is so special. And the warm glow from the bulbs along the buildings adds a soft, nostalgic ambiance. Beautiful!

OK, I know this isn't "Main Street", but my archives folder for Main Street includes the "Entrance"  and parking lot. Now the whole world knows my shame. Still, I don't think most people will complain about this adorable picture of the little tram as it drops off a fresh load of guests at the front gate. It was first posted back in 2008. Are those tract homes in the distance? I don't ever recall noticing houses in the background before.

This neat picture (circa 1957) looks north on Main Street, later in the afternoon. The park was bustling, though it's hard to tell because most people didn't walk in the street.  I love the patriotic bunting, and the bright red Chemical Wagon, and pretty much everything else, too! Notice that the gas lamp is already lit, in spite of the fact that there will still be many hours of daylight left.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Random Pair

It's time to use up some "leftuggies"! 

We'll start with this nice photo of the "Fred Gurley" above the left tunnel into Town Square (circa 1966). Although it looks like it was not a hot day, the green ventilation door on the cab of the Gurley is open (and the hatch on the roof is as well) - I'm sure it got toasty inside on most days. 

The old new stand is to our left. You can see a tiny blue mouse-ear balloon floating away - how many times a day did that happen? The view of Town Square is tantalizing, I really want to walk in! 

Zooming way WAY in, I spied the top of a postcard rack, containing a bunch of scarce "squeaker" cards!

I put together this jpeg so that you can match the cards below to the very blurry picture above.

This next picture is from 1962, and we're looking down on the Casey Jr. (that's Casey JONES Jr. to you!) RR sign. The rock work to the left is interesting, and I guess I never realized just how "wooded" the back area was. It's dark and scary; Hansel and Gretel are probably lost in there.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Knott's Berry Farm in the 80's!

I love looking at photos of Knott's Berry Farm from the 1950's and 1960's, but I really like today's images from the 1980's too! 

This first one is from June 25, 1983. The slide is labeled "Rosemary and Snoopy, KTLA picnic". KTLA is a local station (Channel 5) in Los Angeles. Rosemary looks like a fun gal! Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" characters started roaming the streets of Knott's Berry Farm in the Fall of 1982, while a whole new land ("Camp Snoopy") would open just a month after this picture was taken. Just behind Snoopy is Woodstock.

In the background is the beloved and much-missed "Knott's Bear-y Tales" attraction, designed by former Imagineer Rolly Crump and his staff. I never experienced that ride, much to my dismay.

This next photo is from July 10, 1982; I assume that the man next to the Gold Rush Camp sign is Rosemary's husband, though we don't get his name. Obviously this was another annual KTLA (and radio station KMPC) picnic. I don't know anything about the Gold Rush Camp, is this where Camp Snoopy was built?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Two From July 1967

Some of you may recall a post from a while ago, showing two photos taken from the hub. This first photo is from the same lot - our photographer turned to his / her right toward the entrance to Frontierland.

Man, it is pretty busy on this summer day; it reminds me of the way things are around a "Fantasmic!" performance today. If this was truly taken in July of '67, then perhaps the crowds were in force for the debut of the New Tomorrowland. However, it is more likely that many of those people are heading to the "Pirates of the Caribbean", which had opened only months before. Still, it looks very pretty with flowers, and plenty of trees for beauty and shade. I like the baskets of flowers hanging from the light post. The sails of the Columbia look neat, way in the distance. 

As always, I like to do some vintage people-watching! The little girl in the blue shorts is having an awesome day, while her sister (behind her) has run out of gas already.

A second image from that same bunch shows this view looking toward the Monsanto House of the Future. If you look closely, there are a LOT of people waiting to get in. Enjoy it while it lasts, folks, it will close in a matter of months. To our left is the tent-roofed souvenir stand. 

I originally assumed that this picture was taken from the Skyway, but it looks too low now that I think about it. Any ideas?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Matterhorn.... OF DEATH! - January 1965

I have used almost all of the strangely dark, soft-focus pictures from January 1965; almost all of them. There are still two more, in addition to today's weirdos. And another two that are as bright and sharp as you could possibly wish for. 

Have you ever seen the Matterhorn look more ominous and haunted as it does here? It has been corrupted by an evil curse - as if it sucked in all light and happiness, leaving only fear and misery behind. Yetis with glowing eyes emerged from dark caves at night and carried off guests who were never seen again. (I know, the yetis didn't officially move in until 1978). 

This one's not quite as bad, possibly because of the Christmas star visible on top, and the candy cane-striped pole (part of Fantasyland Station, I assume) in the foreground. But it's still pretty creepy.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

More Views from the MGM Studios

Today I am sharing yet another selection of amazing photos of the legendary MGM Studios in Culver City, California. These are scanned from some "Personal Viewmaster" reels, with photos by my friend Rol Summit (circa 1970). You are all smart people, so I'm sure you can find the other four MGM posts on GDB without my help (although the first installment provides a bit of history for those who are interested)!

Isn't this one neat? This section of the backlot looks like a 200 year-old New England port, complete with a beautiful (and convincing) sailing ship in the harbor. It kills me to think that those buildings were bulldozed not long after this photo was taken. 

 Now we seem to be in a town that might have been seen along the Mississippi back in the 1860's. Maybe. Or is it just a part of the set seen above, only from a different angle? At the right edge of the photo we can see just a part of a sternwheeler...

... Which can also be seen here.

Among the items available in the upcoming auction was this incredible chariot in the form of a stylized bull's head. Does anybody recognize what movie this was from?

Just as an aside, it is clear that the chariot's bull was based on a massive limestone sculpture from Persepolis (now Iran). It is now in Chicago's "Oriental Institute Museum".

I'm not sure exactly what we're looking at here; it appears to be a large bas-relief sculpture of Poseidon (?) astride a fierce stallion. But the "flashing" around it makes it look like it is part of a mold. Maybe it is just a section of a larger relief.

An eclectic assortment of props were on display inside a soundstage. I love that fanciful fish-shaped model submarine. There's also a miniature tank suitable for crushing by your favorite Kaiju, as well as small ships and dories, along with what I assume is production art.

I did a bit of research and found that the vessel was from a 1961 movie called, "Atlantis, The Lost Continent", from director George Pal (of "War of the Worlds" and "The Time Machine" fame). I am not 100% sure, but I think I saw the model on the back patio of Forry Ackerman's "Ackermansion". George Pal and Forry were friends, so it makes sense. Incidentally, half of the prop was missing because of evil thieves.

And finally, here's a repeat from a previous reel, though the flash worked this time, so we can actually see the large collection of Roman armor, plate mail, and other sword-and-sandal accoutrements. Why is that model airplane there? Who knows!

There are still two more reels to go! Many thanks to Rol Summit for giving me permission to share these images.