Monday, August 31, 2015

More Photos From Huck!

Today I am continuing a group of photos that were taken by GDB reader and friend Huck Caton; all of these feature Bell "Circle-Vision" cast members (mostly young women) posing at Disneyland just before the end of their year-long stint at the park (circa 1979).  

In this first one, the whole gang is posing in front of the Circle-Vision building, along with the "Fab Five". 

Here's a nice photo of Huck's girlfriend at the time, Diane. Minnie is such a flirt (we can see her bloomers!), and Mickey is obviously enjoying himself an awful lot!

And finally (for today), here's more "Bells" horsing around inside the attraction building. Notice the sign heralding "hands free phoning". If only that was possible today! I love seeing the Mary Blair mural in the background.

THANKS to Huck for sharing his personal photos - there is more to come!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Unrejected! 1957

It's Sunday, and that means that many GDB readers have found other things to do besides read dumb blogs. They're dusting their shelf of collectible thimbles from the Franklin Mint (one thimble for each of the 50 states!); or trying on old pants to see if they still fit (those velour bell-bottoms will be back in style any day now); or maybe they are curling up on the sofa with The Good Book (and by that I mean "Harry Potter").  So... it seemed like a good day to share some previously-rejected slides. They're not a complete waste of time, but there are problems.

In scanning a series of slides from 1957, it was disappointing to discover that some of them were just a little bit soft, focus-wise. I tried to sharpen this one up a bit using Photoshop's "unsharp mask" filter, and it did a pretty good job; but I very nearly tossed the scan into the trash. Look at how crowded the boat is!

This one would be more fun if it wasn't so dark dark, and if it wasn't so fuzzy. A dark green (pre-1960) Mine Train is leaving Rainbow Ridge, about to pass through the tunnel; before Nature's Wonderland, most of this ride consisted of nothing but scenes from the Rainbow Desert.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Greenbriar Mall & Miami Hotels

Sheer indolence has reduced me to posting today's offerings for "Anything Goes Saturday"!

Here's a scan of a slide from 1967 that was labeled "Mall, Atlanta". It was such an odd photo, with that glowing oval tunnel - almost like it was from THX-1138. After a little bit of research, I discovered that this was the Greenbriar Mall, which had opened two years earlier. JCPenny is at the other end, that's a long way to go for affordable pants! Hopefully there is a Hot Dog On a Stick along the way to keep me provisioned.

I couldn't help thinking of the "Time Tunnel"...

Here's a vintage postcard view, looking considerably more warm and inviting.

Next up is this view looking south on Collins Avenue, in Miami, Florida (circa 1959). To our left is the famous Eden Roc hotel, which had only been built a few years before. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo stayed there with the Mertzes! Somehow I expected there to be more pastel colors in Miami, but apparently that is in some other location. Classic car alert! 

While the lens on Google's street view camera gives a very different perspective, things still look remarkably the same almost 60 years later.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Viewliner and Station, 1957

I love the humble and lovable little Disneyland and Santa Fe Viewliner - the fastest miniature train in the world! There were two of them running on a single track; the salmon-colored train that used a station in Tomorrowland, and the icy blue train seen in this photo, which is sitting at the station in Fantasyland. 

The Junior Autopia is below us (along with a roadway that circled Holiday Hill - no Matterhorn yet). If you look carefully you can see some motor boats to the right, along with its load area to the left (notice the life preserver on the front of the building). It's always fun to be able to see the land beyond the berm... I'd wager that Disney owns that empty land that stretches all the way to those houses in the distance.

You don't see photos of the Fantasyland Viewliner station very often, so I zoomed in for a better look; it is pretty minimal as structures go, but it gets the job done. I love the color scheme. There are entrance and exit ramps for strollers and wheelchairs, which is unusual for its day. 

Is that a phone booth next to that fence? If Clark Kent happened to be there that day, it's nice to know that he had a place to change into his Superman "disguise".

Our photographer pivoted to the right a bit for a better look at the Autopia. I thought I might be able to merge the first picture with this one for a nice panorama, but it didn't work at all! Not even close.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fantasyland, August 1970

Here are two from a newly-acquired batch from August of 1970! 

I like this sunny, bright photo of the Matterhorn, with waterfalls and Skyway buckets and a dash of awesomeness. There's even a bobsled, if you look carefully. I have plenty of photos of this attraction, and yet this particular image makes me love it all over again.

Meanwhile, up in the Skyway, let's look northward toward It's a Small World. The Disneyland Railroad is just passing through - there's no stopping in Fantasyland anymore. Partly hidden behind the treetops are two structures - a yellow and red striped abomination (I really don't like it!), and the blueish one to its right. Are they both souvenir stands?

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vintage Magic Mountain Postcards

It's time for more vintage postcard fun, courtesy of Ken Martinez! Once again, he has done all of the work. Ken says:

Today's set consists of three continental and two jumbo color border postcards from the Southern California theme park "Magic Mountain". What I love about early images of the pre-Six Flags era of Magic Mountain is the parched and dry terrain that surrounds the park.

Here's a 1970's psychedelic style postcard featuring the "Galaxy" double-arm wheel, "Circus Wheel" (Chance Trabant) and fountain at the bottom of Valencia Falls.

Featured in this color border card are Bloop, Bleep and King Troll point with the Founders statue. Although an original creation and unique to Magic Mountain, the trolls and Wizard were not the first characters at the park. It was the Warner Bros characters that were utilized during Magic Mountain's inaugural year. The trolls were introduced in 1972. Bugs Bunny and company would return later in 1985, about six years after Six Flags took over Magic Mountain.

Here's an overview of part of the back area of Magic Mountain featuring the "El Bumpo" bumper boats. In the background are the "Gold Rusher" runaway mine train coaster track hugging the terrain, the Metro Monorail and the two "Eagle's Flight" sky rides that ran between the Galaxy, Shangri-La and El Dorado stations.

Featuring in another color border card are Bloop, Bleep, King Troll and the Wizard entertaining children in front of the "Das Alpenhaus" restaurant which opened in 1974.

Here's another 1970's psychedelic style postcard featuring The Grand Carousel. The two psychedelic styled cards shown in today's post are some of my favorites from this collection.

While I still enjoy Six Flags Magic Mountain today with its extreme thrills and mature vegetation, there's something special about the 1970's era of Magic Mountain with its trolls, barren landscape, and original "white-knucklers". Hope you enjoyed your postcard visit back in time to the 1970's at Magic Mountain.

Information source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Santa Clarita Valley History - Photo & Text Archive -

THANKS to Ken for 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

More Snapshots, September 1968

I love vintage snapshots! My supply of those is almost gone, just like everything else. Boo. 

If you have been paying attention, then you know that I am especially fond of old Tomorrowland views - like this one! There's the Rocket Jets, still looking fantastic 47 years after the picture was taken. I still don't get why this ride was removed, but I suspect that it is a case of somebody thinking that the Astro-Orbiter was somehow better (for a variety of reasons). It isn't.

Any view of the Peoplemover is welcome; you can see all four colors in this picture (aqua, blue, yellow, red). And way to the right we can just see part of the building that housed Adventure Thru Inner Space.

Here's a Batman-esque photo of the Snow White Grotto. I wish they would change it to the Frozen Grotto. I wish they would just change the whole park to Frozenland! Oh my gosh that would be amazing. Sure, I couldn't sit through "Frozen" a second time, but that's not the point.

I apologize for being more critical than usual today.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Photos From Huck!

Today I am sharing more photos from GDB pal Huck Caton! Huck was a Disneyland cast member back when employees (from what I've been told) were treated like human beings, and took pride in their work. 

Today's images are from 1979, and show cast members who worked at the Circlevision attraction, who were actually employed (and paid) by AT&T and not by Disney. 

Here's a bunch of Circlevision cast members (wearing their team shirts for the upcoming canoe races), horsing around on an Omnibus backstage.

Huck said: "AT&T would tell their regional managers to find the most attractive and personable women (and, to a lesser extent, men) working as operators or in offices in and around the Southern California area and pitch the idea of working at the park for a year.... AT&T would also bring in women from outside of the area (and house them) if the local supply was getting low."

One small detail is the Country Bears mini-poster on the side of the Omnibus - something I haven't noticed before.

Here are the "bells" ostensibly showing the backs of their team shirts, which say, "Tippe Canoe and Ma Bell Too! Tomorrowland '79!". 

More canoe team members pose with a Horseless Carriage behind Main Street!

And finally, here is the whole team posing at Stovall's Space Age Inn of Tomorrow, over on Katella.

We'll have more of the canoe team (with actual canoes!) in an upcoming post! THANKS as always to Huck Caton for sharing his personal photos with us here on GDB.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Two From September 1971

Here are two pictures from 1971... sort of ho-hum examples, but hey, it's Sunday!

That girl has guided Dumbo to his maximum elevation. He has elephant-heightus. Yay, a gross disease pun! When I fly Dumbo, I like to go waaaaay up, and then waaaaaay down. Repeat as often as possible. The first time I let my young niece work the controls, we never went up so much as an inch.

Ever wonder what a centerpiece with plastic fruit would look like as seen through a ship's wheel? Well wonder no more. I guess it was too hard to get plastic mangosteens, papayas, jackfruit, durian,  rambutans,  cherimoyas, or other exotic fruit. Instead we get a pineapple, bananas, a lemon, an apple (?), and an avocado. I hope the Swiss family like guacamole.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Some Vintage Los Angeles

How about some more vintage Los Angeles? Because that's what is on the menu today.

I love this wonderful photo taken along Wilshire Boulevard (from sometime in the mid-1950's) as it passes through Westlake Park (renamed MacArthur Park in 1942). The lake itself would be to our right (out of frame, of course), and for many years people could rent boats for some pleasant time on the water. Whatever that blue convertible is (Nanook? Is it a Ford of some kind? It looks like it says "Fordomatic" on the back), I call dibs - what a beauty. To the left is the sign for the Westlake Theater, opened in 1926 (it is closed now, but listed on the National Register of Historic Places).

Here's a view using Google's street view; all of the charm has been bleached out of the scene! Where's the "Bar-B-Q" restaurant? Where are the cool street lamps? Some of the buildings are still recognizable, though.

This next one is from a faded slide - we're on Broadway at the corner of 6th, looking south. The Palace Theater is showing "Kings Go Forth", a film starring Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, and Natalie Wood from 1958, which helps to date the image. To our right is the venerable Los Angeles Theater, where Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights" premiered.

Aaaaand... here is the yucko view from today! It's not that bad really, I just want to be in the 1958 photo.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Beautiful Main Street, November 1955

Continuing a series from 1955, we will be spending a few minutes on Main Street, USA.

The horse-drawn streetcars have been in Disneyland since the very beginning, and I am so glad that they are still there. Just look at this one -it's a beauty; it doesn't look like a cheap knock-off made for a kiddie park. Freedomland's version looked clunky by comparison, in spite of the fact that C.V. Wood and other Disneyland alums were involved in the creation of that park. 

The sheer novelty of such a vehicle was enough to pack them in back in '55. Notice the sign (mostly obscured) for "International Street" in the background. The Maxwell House Coffee House appears to be surrounded by construction walls; that's because it didn't open until December 1st. 

I love this wonderful photo, taken at the Hub. the castle looks beautiful, in spite of the leafless tree (it was nearly winter, after all). It won't be too long before the sun sets, and the park's lights will turn on, making things even more beautiful. Notice the twins in the distance!

I will be heading out of town for the weekend, starting today, so I won't be able to check in as often as usual; however, I will still try to respond to comments when I can!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Two Frontierland Views, March 13, 1958

Frontierland has mostly had a fairly progressive view of Native Americans throughout its history - especially in the 1950's; Walt Disney and his Imagineers made a point of portraying the indigenous people as peaceful and industrious, with a rich society and culture of their own. But we know that things were not always so peaceful as settlers began to invade Indian territories.

In this first photo, we get a pretty good view of some Indians at the top of a hill beside the Rivers of America - they are on the lookout for potential trouble as various boats passed on the water. And who can blame them?

Here's a closer look. This photo is from 1958, and I don't think that this tableau was there for much longer; perhaps the plants just grew too lush for them to be seen?

I remembered a photo in LIFE magazine that sort of reminded me of this, but (once I found it) it turns out that it is a posed photo with live people rather than fiberglass mannequins.

Meanwhile, things didn't go so well for this settler, who lies on his back with an arrow through his chest while his cabin is ablaze. Compared to earlier photos, the maturing foliage makes this feel more like part of a huge wilderness.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Last WDW photos from November, 1974

Today I'm sharing the last four images from a group of Magic Kingdom slides from the latter part of 1974.

Let's start with this moody look at Florida's "Friendly Indian Village". It's pretty similar to the Anaheim version, though the boy on the overturned canoe is accompanied by two dogs. No expense was spared! Based on other photos, I know that the tracks of the Walt Disney World Railroad passed just behind the teepees, giving guests on the trains a very closeup view of the village.

Next is this portrait of Sleepy - he looks more like "Drunky". I believe that he is in front of the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea lagoon. Notice the flower in Sleepy's hat... did somebody sneak that on to his chapeau, or was Sleepy actually a hippie?! 

I used to have a red, white and blue plaid jacket when I was a kid... it was almost as headache-inducing as the one in this photo.

Here's a lovely photo looking across the moat toward Tomorrowland's entrance. It's hard to get a sense of scale, but those two people in the lower right corner help to show just how large that moat is (was?).  You can see the water spraying down the distinctive towers (reminding me of rocket exhaust), and you can even see that waterfall spilling over the blue trapezoidal area. That's right, I said "trapezoidal". As usual, water adds a wonderful sense of movement to any scene, not to mention pleasant sounds. Imagineers - when in doubt, put in a waterfall! This might be my favorite picture from the whole batch.

I'm posting these in the order in which they were taken (based on the number stamps), so we're ending on kind of a lame note. But it's still kind of fun to see Prince John from "Robin Hood", waiting to do something dastardly - when not posing for pictures.

That's the end of this batch, but there are more Walt Disney World pictures to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

More Special Guest Photos!

Here are two more photos, courtesy of our friend Huck Caton! These are all scanned from those round-cornered, matte-finish prints that were inexplicably popular circa 1974. 

I'm starting with this one, featuring Huck himself on the deck of the Mark Twain. If his posture seems odd, it is because he is holding a cassette tape recorder up to a speaker, in order to capture the music and spiel from the attraction! He has hinted that he has quite a library of live recordings from the park. I need to bribe him to get digitized copies of everything. I'm not kidding. 

I'll let Huck describe this next one: "This particular shot of me needs a little explanation. I'm 'smoking' one of those fantastic dill pickles they used to actually pull out of a pickle barrel back then (that's the wrapper under my right elbow) whilst (!) doing my best Groucho Marx impersonation as I listen in on the party line."

"I have no excuse for the white bell bottoms other than this was fall 1974... BUT I do see some kind of bandage on my left foot which kind of makes the sandals OK. Kind of."

Next is this photo of Huck, hugging a lamp post outside of Captain Hook's Pirate Ship. Huck thought this photo was too grainy to use, but I laugh at film grain. Ha! Ha!

These photos are awesome! I am very grateful to Huck for taking the time to scan them, especially as he was right in the middle of moving (something I had to go through myself very recently). Stay tuned for more pictures from him!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Westinghouse and Elektro, 1939 New York World's Fair

In today's post, I was going to share a few photos of Westinghouse-related pins from the 1939 World's Fair. But then I had the bright idea to gussy it up! It was very time consuming. No more bright ideas!

I'll start with this unusual (and rare) brass and enamel pin for the "American Institute (of) Science and Engineering Clubs", with a nice little bas-relief showing the façade of the Westinghouse building. Some krelboyne was sloppy with the blue enamel, but I forgive him.

Here's a photo of the same façade from one of my older posts. That tower in the middle reminds me of the electrical gizmos that Kenneth Strickfadden created for the 1931 version of "Frankenstein" and the 1933 sequel, "The Bride of Frankenstein". Bzzzzzzt! 

Perhaps the most famous feature of the Westinghouse exhibit was the seven foot-tall (or eight feet, depending on the resource), 265 pound robot called "Elektro". Little brass pins like this one are very common (I'll bet there are several on eBay right now), but that doesn't mean that they aren't awesome. 

Elektro could speak (via a 78-rpm records hidden in his torso), smoke cigarettes, walk on command, detect the difference between red and green, blow up balloons, count on his fingers, and as you can see here, he could dazzle the ladies with his natural charm, grace, and movie-star good looks. He could also incinerate you with his laser eyes, but you almost never read about that.

In 1940, Elektro was given a mechanical pooch named "Sparko", who could walk, beg, bark, and wag his tail. I love this rare pinback button featuring the two pals! Elektro looks like he is whistling, and it probably sounded like a theremin.

There they are, captured in a candid moment. "Who's. A. Good. Boy. You. Are. Yes. You. Are." When you took Sparko for a walk, you only had to sweep up a small pile of nuts and bolts.

This next very nice pin (or whatever you call these things) is something of a mystery to me; I've never seen another one. When the 1939/40 World's Fair ended, Elektro and Sparko were occasionally on display elsewhere...

...including the Westinghouse exhibit at Pacific Ocean Park! The photo below shows them as they were seen there.

When P.O.P. closed in 1967, Elektro was dismantled, and his head was given to a retiring Westinghouse engineer.  But the story has a happy ending! A man named Jack Weeks acquired the head of Elektro, and eventually purchased the legs and torso after a long search (it is astonishing that they still existed!).

Elektro can't perform all of the tricks he used to do, but he and Sparko were donated to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, where they can be loved by everyone.

I hope you have enjoyed Elektro and Sparko!