Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Two From Fantasyland

Today I have two "leftuggies" for you, both featuring Fantasyland!

Let's start with this one from October, 1970; from this angle, the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship is a jumble of masts, spars, rigging, and sails. As usual, I prefer it when the striped sails are unfurled. The Skyway buckets move to and from the Matterhorn, and a glimpse of the fa├žade of "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" can be seen in the lower right. I really like this busy, colorful photo!

This next one looks like it is from the same lot as the previous image, but it is actually from July, 1967. Looking over the side of the Pirate Ship, guests were met with this impressive scene of whirling teacups, the spinning Carrousel, the castle, and (in this case) considerable crowds. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Wonderful Mark Twain, December 1957

It is always a treat to find a rare image of a seldom-photgraphed feature from Disneyland. Today's image isn't one of those!! 

Almost as good (to me) is a photo like this first one, of the Mark Twain. The Kodachrome colors are so vivid and saturated (that sky is as blue as can be!), the sunshine is bright, and the focus is perfect. Those lucky passengers are in for a treat as they navigate the Rivers of America.

Off to our left is a Keel Boat, moored near Fowler's Harbor. To our right, Castle Rock, and even Fort Wilderness. There is nothing particularly fancy about this photo, but I love it so much.

Here's a second shot, looking East. I am kind of amazed at how many photos I have with the Disneyland Band performing on the Mark Twain, but it stands to reason that folks would be even more likely to take a picture if something special was going on. 

The Dixieland bandstand can be seen to our right, with the Golden Horseshoe; to the left, Rainbow Ridge!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Living Desert, August 1969

Hoo boy, it's time for some more snooze-tastic images from August of 1969. It's not a total loss, because they are from the old "Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland" attraction, but we've seen similar photos many (MANY) times before.

This is a typical (but OK) shot of the buttes and mesas, sculpted by eons of wind and water and aliens. There is NO way that "natural" arch happened without the intervention of little gray people! And the fact that we can see a geyser through the opening is no mere coincidence - it is a message from the stars.

These colorful mud pots are arranged in such a way as to indicate a landing area for flying saucers. There have been probings a-plenty here, let me tell you. Prove me wrong, internets... prove me wrong!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Frank H. Afton Co., Inglewood 1958

Let's head back to 1958, shall we? Destination: Inglewood, California (a city in southwestern Los Angeles). For some reason, somebody took a series of photos at Frank H. Afton's dealership - a place well-known to fans of lovable Studebaker, Packard, and Mercedes automobiles. I love these humble slices of life from nearly 60 years ago!

The gentleman with the hat (a mechanic?) is enjoying a break, with an ice-cold Coke and possibly a candy bar in his other hand. A perfect meal! The two guys to the left are jealous of his hat. 

It's another day (wardrobe change!) and we see our mechanic and one of the laughing dudes chatting about monster movies. Is the black automobile just behind them one of the Studebaker "Hawk" vehicles? Those are real beauties! I want one.

"This baby's a real creampuff. All the boys at the plant are going to be jealous when you drive up in this green machine! And the ladies... they're gonna swoon". Shut up and take my money! 

This has been like some sort of epic poem; our heroes have returned for one last hurrah, while the magnificent landscape of Inglewood is spread out behind them!

I hope you have enjoyed your trip to Frank H. Afton Co.!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Instamatics - Beautiful Tomorrowland

Hooray, it's time for more wonderful vintage Instamatic photos - both from Tomorrowland. 

Taken (presumably) from the Skyway, we begin our gradual ascent above the Autopia load area; I love the "Richfield" lettering that would only be visible to somebody up in the air! And we get a nice shot of the Richfield eagle, too. You've got your Peoplemover trains, and the Monorail, along with the Matterhorn (you can even see the chalet), and "It's a Small World". I love this photo - nice job, Mr. X!

Here's another beauty, taken from a very unusual angle, with the Carousel of Progress to our left, some Seussian palm trees, and, dead ahead, the Rocket Jets and Peoplemover, gleaming in the afternoon sunlight. I know that Mr. X was patient and liked to take photos of the Rocket Jets when the rockets were UP - a wise choice. I am assuming that the bundle on the bench belonged to him. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Skull Rock & the Pirate Ship, August 1969

Of all the rocks in the world that are shaped like human anatomy, Disneyland's "Skull Rock" is right up there at the top of the list! Ol' Skully seems like a fearsome thing, but we know that he is secretly in love with the Chicken of the Sea Mermaid. She had bewitched his heart with her magic scepter. 

There's where the CoS mermaid lives, though she is hidden behind sails and umbrellas. I applaud the photographer's attempt to squeeze two attractions into one photo, even if the results aren't so great. 

I wonder where the "First Aid" station was in Fantasyland? It appears to be pointing in the direction of the Fantasyland Theater. Stop by and pick up a complimentary tongue depressor.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The E.P. Ripley, 1955

Today I am sharing a scan from a vintage black and white negative, featuring the E.P. Ripley - locomotive #2 on the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad. I am actually not 100% positive that this is from 1955 (as I said in the title), but am pretty sure that it is very early. Another negative from the same batch reinforces my guess, though you'll have to wait for that one.

A trusty security guard makes sure nobody sneaks in that tempting gap in the berm. Why, if I just threw a nickel over to our left, the guard would be sure to chase after it (after all, you could buy a modest home for a nickel in 1955), and we would have our opportunity to run past, ninja-style.

Notice the bunting on the combine - was this left over from opening day? 

Zooming in a bit, I was curious to know where this picture might have been taken; was there anyplace in the park where a guest could actually see the real world? Beyond the train tracks, a house (or something) is visible.

After an online search, I found this nice aerial view (undated, but early - notice the Phantom Boats). It seems to make sense that our photographer was standing approximately where that pink dot is, looking in the direction of the arrow. So... it was taken by somebody who had backstage access. Pretty cool! The arrow points right at the little house that is part of a small orchard.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Flying Saucers

Your eyebones do not deceive you, friends... there is only one photo today. BUT... it is one photo of the fabulous Flying Saucers, so I don't feel too bad! 

There's not a lot to say about it, other than the usual wishes that I'd had a chance to experience the attraction; it's such a cool idea, scooting around on a cushion of air, in your own little UFO! When I win the lottery, I am going to build an exact duplicate of this ride in my east living room (not the west living room, that would be ridiculous).

While the riders in the foreground are leaning and torquing their bodies around as if their lives depended on it, you can see two girls boarding their "trapped" saucers on the other side of that boom. Looks like there's quite a long queue in the background - I've heard that the ride capacity was pretty low. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

GDB Greatest Hits

It's time to revisit some classic images from days of yore! 

I have always particularly loved this unusual shot of the Monsanto House of the Future, from 1963. It was originally posted in 2006, though the scan is from 2004 (before I ever blogged!). I made some adjustments that improve the way it looks compared to way back when. One of the wings of the house is above us; below are waterfalls and lovely water gardens. In a way it reminds me of the river that runs beneath (and through) Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater", though not as spectacular - but then again, what is?

This fun photo of the Autopia is from 1963 (and was originally posted in 2008), with the Mark IV vehicles tootling around the track (no guide rails!). The driver in the yellow car is having a swell time! 

Zooming in, we see the busy Space Bar in the background, along with an excited little boy, and a man in a top hat (?).

And finally, I never get tired of the wonderful old Rocket Jets, gleaming in the sunshine. The photo is from 1967, and was originally posted in 2007). Doesn't it look great? Sometimes it seems that certain things can't be improved on. 

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Nature's Wonderland, August 1961

It's Father's Day! I miss my dad constantly, so if your father is still around, be sure to let him know how awesome you think he is.

These rock formations (found in Nature's Wonderland's "Living Desert") were probably state-of-the-art back in 1960 (the year before this photo was taken), but they look pretty funky by today's standards. Still, they got the job done, and with all of the plants and animals to see, guests might not have even noticed. Though I know that, as a kid, the "tumbling rocks" were a pretty creaky effect. Notice the Disneyland RR in the background.

This is a pretty terrible photo of the scratching, lazy bears. You can hardly see them! Maybe they had perfected some sort of stealth technology or cloaking devices. Even heat-seeking missiles couldn't find them. The only interesting detail is that it appears as though the pond (where you would see the fishing bears) is empty. I've never seen that before.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Times Square, New York City

I am still slogging my way through some old scans for "Anything Goes Saturdays", since I am being indecisive and haven't bought a new scanner to replace my old one, which is geshplonken. So... why not visit New York City's Times Square? It might be touristy as hell, but if you've never been, you need to see it at least once in your life (preferably at night, now that it is relatively safe). 

Speaking of nighttime, check out this neat night photo from 1955, looking mostly toward the old Bond (not James Bond) clothing store; it opened in 1940, and was known as the "cathedral of clothing". I think we can classify the architecture as "subtle and refined". There used to be two giant nude figures on top of the building, but it appears as though they have been replaced with gargantuan Pepsi bottles (one for Sanda, one for Gaira) by 1955. You can see one movie marquee advertising "The Desperate Hours", starring Humphrey Bogart and Frederic March. 

This next photo isn't that great, but I threw it in because it is from 1947. That's nearly 70 years ago!

Here's one from September of 1968, is kind of neat; there's the Bond store to our right again. The movie theater is showing "Rosemary's Baby". I like the giant pop art billboard for the Julie Andrews movie "Star!" (a notorious big-budget flop). The gray sky and haze gives this photo an interesting atmosphere. You can't tell on this jpeg, but the theater just below the Julie Andrews sign is showing "The Thomas Crown Affair".

This one is so dark that I almost skipped it, but what the hell; it doesn't cost any more to include it. To our right, the Victoria Theater is showing Dino DeLaurentis' "The Bible" (directed by John Huston). The Forum is showing "How the West Was Won"... it was the era of BIG movie epics.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Times Square!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Two Beauties From December, 1962

Today's photos are nicer than the usual stuff you'll find here on GDB!

Let's start with this wonderful, evocative image of a Nature's Wonderland Mine Train as it rounded the bend past Cascade Peak and the beautiful and impressive waterfalls. Just imagine the roar of the water, and the cool spray! 

I really love this angle, too, with some of the Rivers of America and the Friendly Indian Village visible. At first I thought that this was an overcast day, but now I believe that the sun has set and night is approaching. Which makes me wish (for the millionth time) that I had experienced the Mine Train at night! 

Meanwhile, over in Fantasyland... here's a fun shot of one of the Midget Autopia automobiles. Two kids, two steering wheels! This smallest of the Autopias, located near Storybook Land, was strictly for little kids. It opened in 1957, and lasted nine years, closing in 1966 for the construction of "It's a Small World".  Unless this part of the ride's track was in a sunken area, our photographer was 9 feet tall, and named "Mongo" ("That's Mister Mongo to you, Bub!").

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Some Vintage Knott's - 1950's

Oh man, it is a bummer to look at my box of Knott's slides and see how few I have left to share. Because I love Knott's Berry Farm! 

This first one, showing the old Wagon Camp, has a lot of 1950s charm, thanks to the few visitors milling around. "Tomato red" was popular! I had a red felt cowboy hat just like that kid, and wore it until it fell apart. Note the high-quality plywood sound system!

Here's the famous volcano... "The only active volcano in Southern California - Moved in from the Mojave Desert, Complete, and has been erupting faithfully ever since". This feature was added by Walter Knott way back in 1939 as a clever way to hide an ugly cement irrigation pipe. Occasionally, the volcano would vent steam, and colored light would be emitted from inside the cone.

In spite of the blur, I love this nice shot of one of the Stage Coaches toodling along the gravel path, carrying full load of passengers. In the background is a neat little red caboose. Buena Park still looks very rural. You can still ride a stage coach at Knott's, though the encroaching city makes the scenery a little less appealing.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Red Wagon Inn Kid's Menu, 1957

Delving into the Souvenir Dungeon once again, I decided to share another "kiddie menu". Last time it was a Carnation menu, this time the menu is from the Red Wagon Inn. I am pretty sure this one dates from 1957. Back in those days, the Red Wagon Inn might have been one of the nicer restaurants in the park, located right on the Plaza's eastern edge. 

As you can see, the artwork shows a team of white horses pulling the titular red wagon (maybe it's more of a buggy?). This is almost a mini poster! It's interesting that they bothered to go to the trouble and expense of making the menu that odd die-cut shape. But I appreciate it, 61 years later!

I always get a kick out of the things that kids would (apparently) eat back in those days. A halibut steak? Roast turkey? A chopped sirloin patty? How about a nice glass of buttermilk to go with it? They all sound pretty good to me (well, not the buttermilk). $1.25 is about $10 when adjusted for inflation, so I would imagine that parents were scandalized by the high prices. 

Plastic surgery was all the rage; Snow White has had her nose removed (as was the fashion in 1957), while Monstro had his lips done.

Just for yucks, I am including this nearly-identical later version, only the name of the eatery was changed to the "Red Wagon Restaurant". I am not exactly sure when the change was made, but I believe it was around 1959. 

In this case, the menu has a clear date at the bottom, "11/60". The hot dog became a Frankfurter (with a reduced price!), and the sirloin steak became a hamburger, but otherwise things weren't that different.

These menus are not terribly hard to find, in spite of their antiquity. I wonder if stacks of unused versions wound up in some enterprising cast member's backpack?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Vintage Walt Disney World, 1975 & 1972

It's been a while since I've posted any vintage Walt Disney World images; I was going to share some beauties from November 1972, but then I found some others that I have, all ready to go. So I'll use those up first.

This one is from March, 1975, and is a lovely (if oddly-hued) shot looking up Main Street USA. It appears to be high noon, but it almost looks like the park just opened. Everyone's heading toward the castle, where there seems to be quite a large gathering. Perhaps some ceremony was performed there at 12:00 on a regular basis? A beheading or something, probably. It must be chilly by Florida standards, as there are plenty of sweaters and light jackets to be seen.

It looks like our photographer made a right-turn toward Tomorrowland, as we can see by this neat view. To our right is one of the distinctive pylons with water cascading down from the top, which I always thought looked very cool. Unlike Disneyland, I have no idea what attractions were in the mirror-image buildings. In the distance, the lovely Star Jets, with jets a-soaring!

This next one is from April, 1972. Liberty Square, built to resemble colonial America, or at least a movie version of it. It's another chilly day! Babushkas optional. Those dandy gentlemen (and at least one kid) bear one of the earliest US flags (it was replaced by a more-familiar stars and stripes in 1777). I'm going to call them a Color Guard; maybe this was some form of flag retreat? I would appreciate any info that you guys might have!

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Mark Twain, 1956

Science has proven that photos of the Mark Twain are literally a dime a dozen (we all remember Dr. Heinrich Von Shnook's famous study). 

BUT... that doesn't mean that they can't be fun to look at. Like this first one, from 1956, showing the steamboat after it had just arrived at the landing; Everyone is getting ready to disembark (notice the cast member who is about to open the railing, and the band standing up. Bonus - the feathers on their hats cleaned the ceiling). One guy on the middle level is taking a few last photos from up there. The shore of Frontierland is a whole lotta bare dirt, except for a few scrawny shrubs.

Now we're up on the top level - that's where I almost always go! This affords us a nice look at some of the gingerbread details. We can also see the silhouettes of two cast members up in the Pilot House; I know you can ask to ride up there, but I've never done it. Someday?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Random Pix From August, 1961

Today's photos are a bit murky, but they are unusual enough that they might still be of interest!

We'll start with this shot taken from a Nature's Wonderland Mine Train. After passing through the first tunnel that led to Beaver Valley, guests might have been startled to see the gopher from "Caddyshack" dancing overhead (along with his family).

From the spiel: "Them little marmots over the tunnel must be a-whistling to all you pretty gals! I can't say I blame 'em!". Listen, marmots, it is not OK to objectify women (but feel free to make fun of my mother in-law all you want). I had to lighten this one way up, but it looks fine. I guess.

Meanwhile, over in Adventureland... I always considered the Jungle Cruise and Nature's Wonderland to be cousins of a sort; excursions through a mysterious wilderness, with waterfalls, plants, and animals. This scene from the Jungle Cruise shows lions enjoying some delicious "Zebra al fresco". Mmmm-mmmm! Stripey. 

The animals sort of get lost in all of that foliage, which might be why this scene was later "improved" by taking place in the hollow of a rocky outcropping.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Canal Street, New Orleans, October 1960

Say, did you know that New Orleans was a real place? There's no pirate ride, though I am pretty sure that there are some haunted houses (possibly even a mansion or two). You would think that more people would know about it!

I will be sharing a series of photos (in no particular order) from New Orleans, circa 1960. Rather than showing the usual Bourbon Street area, these pictures were all taken along a stretch of Canal Street, which is a major thoroughfare that is the boundary between the old part of the city (the French Quarter) and the newer Central Business District.

This first view is at the intersection of Canal and North Rampart Street, looking north on Rampart. 

In this next view, we've moved just a bit westward (but are looking east); I love that the historic Saenger Theater is showing Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" ("The Picture You Must See From the Beginning"). The Saenger is still there, though its appearance is quite changed. Next door is a Woolworth's department store (as far as I can tell, this building is empty today), and right in the middle of the street runs one of the wonderful trolleys, which are, happily, still operating!

I couldn't quite place exactly where this was, though I had some guesses. Still, I just love old city views. I am ashamed to confess that today's blog is a "quickie post", so I didn't spend as much time as I might like to research it.

Whoo-eee! It's a traffic jam on Canal. But we don't mind, because the cars are so cool. And hey, more  trollies! This one is near the corner of Dauphine Street, and the somewhat-ornate building with the French banners is still there today, though it has been modernized just a little.

We we are at the corner of Elk Place (as you can see), looking west toward the Texaco building. And hey - don't be a litter bug. Sound advice for us all.

I can't promise, but I will try to do a more thorough post next Saturday!!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1969

Man oh man, vintage photos of Tomorrowland - like this first one - get me all worked up! It was the best. It's not that it's bad now; Space Mountain is awesome, and the new Star Tours is fun. The "Nemo" subs are better than no subs at all (talking about damning with faint praise). 

But the "New Tomorrowland" that opened in 1967 reached some sort of joyous perfection. It looked beautiful, it was kinetic and exciting, and felt like a glimpse into a promising future. Seeing the Peoplemover track loaded with vehicles makes me realize how much of a difference it makes NOT having that attraction today. 

Photos from this angle seem to be scarce; this one gives us a great view of the "gantry" (elevator) that took guests up to the Rocket Jets platform. It was probably not the most practical way of doing things, but it was SO great!

Meanwhile, over at the entrance to Tomorrowland, here's a nice photo of one half of the gleaming silver metal "gateway". Mysterious hieroglyphs are incised into the metal, including one snowflake (can you find it?), a tribute to Monsanto's "Adventure Thru Inner Space" (or so I'm told). The fountain appeals to me because it is weird (the bowls look like intergalactic whales!), which makes me a hypocrite, because if something like this had been added today, I would probably gripe about it! Or maybe not, who can be mad at a fountain?