Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Beautiful Mark Twain, 1957

There are a number of iconic Disneyland sights; Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street Station, the Monorail, and of course, the Mark Twain. 

This first shot is a neat closeup as guests disembarked after their journey on the Rivers of America. I love the gingerbread detail. The "Twain" looks so authentic, I wonder how much it differs from the steam boats from 100 years earlier (other than the fact that it is guided by a track)?

Notice the bales of cotton in the foreground, and the patriotic bunting (including tiny flags up top)!

Here's another nice photo showing a busy river; the dock is piled with goods (including corn whiskey!), a Keel Boat follows close behind the Twain, and lots of guests can be seen on Tom Sawyer Island (and on the fishing dock). I don't remember noticing the paper lanterns strung in front of the Chicken Plantation before!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fantasyland Construction, 1983

A few years ago I acquired a small group of snapshots that were taken during the massive construction for the "New Fantasyland" that opened in 1983. Since New Fantasyland debuted in May, I am guessing that these are actually from sometime in 1982, for those of you keeping score. 

Since they are prints rather than negatives or 35mm slides, the quality isn't as nice as I would like. Most of the pictures in this bunch were taken from the Skyway, which continued to operate during this major refurbishment. Presumably this was one of those times when a Skyway ride was "round trip" from Tomorrowland and back again? 

Anyway, there's a whole lotta dirt and lumber to be seen; King Arthur's Carrousel is mostly hidden behind large tarps. Behind it is a large empty structure that will eventually house the new "Peter Pan" and "Mr. Toad" attractions. I have so few photos with Space Mountain in them that it is always slightly weird to see it.

To our right we can see the construction of "Pinocchio's Daring Journey", in the former location of the Fantasyland Theater. I love this "new" dark ride, though the lines for it are always short. How would you like to climb that spindly ladder? If you fall, you will only break 5/8 of your bones.

Stay tuned for more pictures from this lot!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Greatest Hits - Stagecoach!

Today I am revisiting two "classic" GDB images, featuring the wonderful Stagecoach! There was a lot of activity over in this part of Frontierland back in the 50's, including Pack Mules, the Mine Train, and the Conestoga Wagons; but I always love to get a good look at the Rainbow Mountain Stagecoach. which only lasted through to September, 1959 (closing, along with the Conestoga Wagons, as Nature's Wonderland began construction.

 This first view (first posted in 2010) is pretty neat; I'm sure that, these days, many folks would be surprised that this was a photo of Disneyland (though the spires of the castle give it away). Heck, I've seen photos of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship on Facebook, with comments along the lines of "Was this at Disneyland?". The colors are wonderful, with a deep blue sky accenting the warmer tones of Rainbow Ridge, and of course, the cheerful red coach pulled by four ponies. The fearless driver sports a rather impressive gray beard! Note the people boarding their mules in the background.

This next one is from 1955 (and was originally posted in 2008). This driver reminds me of Harry Dean Stanton, and who is cooler than that? Nobody! Kids infest the top of the coach, while a girl (I originally thought she was a boy back in 2008!) waves to us, wearing an adorably goofy smile. I love that she is holding her souvenir pennant - I need to keep my eyes on eBay to see if one like that ever comes up for sale!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Jungle Cruise, August 1970

Hoo boy, I seem to have stumbled upon quite a lot of Jungle Cruise images recently. And while I am trying to parcel out my remaining slides in small doses to make them last, today's examples were just too "meh" to bother.

When I was a kid, this scene of the baby elephant squirting the crocodile was one of my favorites. It is pure Marc Davis.

Real rhinos are pretty cool (and hey, their ground-up horns make a great aphrodisiac! Tell your friends!), but this photo is very far from cool. It is like Ralph Malph compared to The Fonz.

This is a coma-inducing photo of the African Veldt section...

... followed by a second view. Those lions look like they are singing in three-part harmony.

And finally (for this batch) I proudly present this murky and poorly-composed image of some natives just visible through the jungle's verdant growth.

Sorry about these!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bowling Alley, Delaware 1950

Part of the fun of digging through boxes of old slides is that you never know what you're going to find. For instance, I got a kick out of a group of images that were labeled "Delaware, 1950", taken during a night at the bowling alley. I still love to go the lanes once in a while; it's a fun thing to do with my niece and nephew when they are in town.

Apparently it was "League Night", back when bowling was a very popular pastime among folks from all walks of life. I have fond memories of watching my dad bowl when he was in a Navy league; sometimes we would even do a little duckpin bowling when we lived in Virginia. 

These gentlemen sport a "Chrysler" patch on their shirts... they're going to murdalize those Studebaker twerps! The guy who is second from the left doesn't have a patch - he's probably a ringer. This game is serious business.

Look at that form! This guy is good - a regular Dick Hoover. Meanwhile, I have never mastered the art of putting any kind of controllable spin on my bowling ball - I throw it dead straight, and hard. Which means I get a lot of splits. But I've done OK!

The last time I went bowling, they turned off the regular lights, turned on the black lights, and pumped up the dance music. And then my game really turned to garbage; there's something about the black lights that ruined my aim. Who do I sue?

Something tells me that this couple is not very interested in bowling! I wonder if they eventually got married and had kids? I like the details in this photo, such as the old-fashioned hard rubber bowling balls with the "marbleized" swirls. And the snack counter in the background... there's nothing like a plate of hot bowling alley french fries! 

I hope you have enjoyed today's visit to the bowling alley.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Beautiful Castle, November 1955

I have darn few slides from 1955; in fact the batch that I have just scanned might be the last of what I own. Today's images don't show anything earth-shattering, but they are beauties anyway.

It's late afternoon on a November day... the sun probably set at around 5 o'clock.  I really love this view from in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, with people coming and going across the bridge. The warm sunlight really makes the castle glow, and judging by the coats and sweaters, the air had a nice autumn snap to it.  

I should have zoomed in even more, but oh well. That lady right in the middle of the archway is staring through my soul!  

Another angle from slightly earlier is as pretty as a postcard.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

More Vintage Viewmaster Scans!

I love Vintage Viewmasters! You should see my collection. It demonstrates quite clearly that there is something wrong with me. Hey, at least I don't collect pogs... those people are real degenerates! (This is a joke, please don't take it personally, pog collectors).

Anyway, as I mentioned in an earlier post, long ago intended to scan all of my reels (or at least the unique images), but burned out partway through the Main Street packets. But there are three cool interior shots of the old Swift Market House. 

If you so desired, you could sit around the old potbellied stove and talk about yarn (what else would you talk about?), and you could listen to the party line on some old-timey telephones. I've seen a few Market House souvenirs (candy, soap, a metal tray), but there weren't a lot of relics from this place. I think I see music rolls for player pianos (shouldn't those be in the music shop?). The shelves are full of products, but I'm not sure if they were just for display. 

Sometime in 1965, C&H Sugar ("From Hawaii....") moved in to the Market House. You all remember the ads in issues of "Vacationland" magazines, featuring a large bag of C&H sugar! I'm not entirely clear if the "Swift Market House" name continued (since they seem to have sponsored the shop through to 1968, while C&H was there until 1970), but the C&H brand was displayed prominently in this photo.

Hey, there are lots of cool rides and things to see at Disneyland, but how about 10 games of checkers? I'll buy you a pickle.

And, one last shot; I believe that this is from a reel that is newer than the previous example, but you never can tell with Viewmasters. 

The Market House is now the location for a Starbuck's, which seems to be very popular.

I hope you liked these, because there are more vintage Main Street Viewmaster images to come!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Two Unrejected Instamatics!

While going through some random folders, I found a few scans of Mr. X's Instamatics (so generously given to me) that I had deemed to be rejects for various reasons.

WELL, they have now officially been unrejected! This first one was taken on a gray, overcast day, and it was also very dusty and damaged. I attempted to clean it up bit by bit with Photoshop's cloning tool, but at some point I just gave up - it was just too dusty. But it's still worth a look, wouldn't you say?

This one could have been really great, but it was extremely dark; so dark that I had to jump through all kinds of hoops just to get it looking this good - and I know it doesn't look very good. I have always loved the beautiful pirate ship vehicles on the "Peter Pan's Flight" attraction, and we get a tantalizing (but fuzzy) look at the mural on the wall.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cast Member Photos From Huck!

Here are some unusual photos from our friend Huck Caton, who was a cast member at Disneyland back in the late 1970's. 

I'll let Huck describe what is going on in these kooky images, which are "...from a party at the Acapulco (just across from the employee parking lot entrance on Harbor) for some of the outgoing Bell people - thrown by the incoming batch (which includes Diane... dressed as a snow bunny here)".

There are two girls wearing one shirt, a cowgirl (complete with stuffed cow)... I have no idea what is happening, but it looks like fun! Say, that one gal is wearing her Disneyland costume.

"As you can see, there were skits and gag outfits; fun stuff. "And yes, it was a BIG deal to sneak out the Bell costume for the evening. This evening was my first date with Diane. The Bell People were rowdy!".

Why the tray full of Coca Cola cups? Why NOT, is a better question.

"More party goodness. Whatever is going on has snow bunny Diane in hysterics; the blonde appears to be a bee handing out 'flowers' whilst sporting a 'Disneyland '79' target on her... um, er... bee zone; and I think the sign says 'Ma Bell, Apple Pie and a Banner (Year?)'".

I am digging the bee girl! Where is she today?

Huck didn't have any specific description for this one, although it is clearly more craziness.

These are a very fun look at the esprit de corps that was not uncommon among Disney (and Bell) cast members years ago. I'm sure that I am like many GDB readers who wished that they had worked at the park; these photos just confirm that it was something special.

THANK YOU to Huck Caton for, once again, sharing some of his wonderful personal photos and recollections with all of us!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Walt Disney World at Night, November 1971

NOTE: I have had to delete the post from this date due to a comment spammer who has somehow circumvented the password requirements - I have been receiving a comment on this post roughly once a minute for weeks. Thousands of "deletes" later, I am taking action! I'm creating a new post with the same info and same photos, and will add the comments in the body of the text. Desperate times call for desperate measures!

At last I am getting back to a bunch of images scanned from some 35mm negatives given to me by "Mr. X", from photos taken during his first trip to the Magic Kingdom during the Thanksgiving season in 1971. The park was only a few weeks old! I will be starting with a series of night views first, just because. I've been saving these for a while.
Walt Disney World's Main Street Station is just plain big, and quite grand, but in this closeup it feels very similar to the one at Disneyland. I love the warm glow of all of the lights. Imagine being there less than a month after the park had opened! The couple to our left are at a window (wearing silly souvenir hats and matching jackets), did you have to buy a ticket to ride the WDW Railroad? Or could you buy ticket books there?

Here's a lovely shot of the Main Street Cinema, back when it showed a selection of silent classics and Disney short subjects on "6 Separate Screens". Note the Christmas decorations, which are rather understated by today's standards - much more like the kind you might have seen on an actual midwestern Main Street. 

My understanding is that the Main Street Cinema is now a retail space, which seems like a darn shame.

Stay tuned for more night views of the Magic Kingdom - some are super nice. After that, there are some beautiful daytime shots as well!

Here are the comments! Thanks everybody:

TokyoMagic! said...
I like the understated Christmas decorations. Sometimes less is more.

Nanook said…
It's all so brand new-! Kinda like a new house or new car. Do you suppose WDW still had that "new 'theme park' smell"-??

And... I'm with TokyoMagic!: Less is more - whether it's Xmas decorations or virtually anything else, for that matter. 

Anonymous said...
"Less is more"... I so agree. And along those lines, I'm not sad to see the Osborn light show leave DHS. I'd love to see a more understated celebration there, one perhaps in line with how the city streets of the cities depicted truly are decorated. Anyhow, love the pics of 'New WDW'. As an east-coaster, I really enjoy all the Disneyland pictures as I rarely get there, but seeing my 'home' park is also great fun. Cheers! Meredith

Pegleg Pete said...
Early WDW nighttime shots! These are great. I can't wait for the other photos in this series. Thanks, Major!

K. Martinez said…
The Main Street Station at the Magic Kingdom is a beauty inside and out. I'm so glad to hear you have another early WDW series. Always look forward to those. Thanks, Major.

Melissa said...
These are so gorgeous and atmospheric - thanks to Mr. X for sharing them and the major for scanning and posting!

Yes, tragically, the Main Street Cinema is now an "Art of Disney" shop that sells the higher-end souvenirs like limited edition prints and figurines. The marquee reads, "NOW PLAYING: THE ART OF DISNEY." As a tribute to the former attraction, there's a screen (like, big-screen TV size) playing cartoons at the back of the shop where the real screen used to be. 

I'm always torn about these "tributes" to former attractions. One the one hand, it's nice to have history acknowledged, but on the other hand, if the replacement isn't as good as the original, it kind of rubs your nose in that fact.

Major Pepperidge said...
TokyoMagic!, I assume that the decor for the holidays is considerably more elaborate at the Magic Kingdom these days…

Nanook, yes, it did have that new theme park smell… nowadays they have to hang those little cardboard pine tree air fresheners all over.

Meredith, I’ve only seen photos of the Osborn Lights, and it is pretty crazy. I’m sure it is pretty in a way, but “over the top” is an accurate description. Unfortunately, I think that most folks today want as much glitz and glitter as they can get.

Pegleg Pete, there are a few in this bunch of night shots that I think are really nice!

K. Martinez, I have other WDW slides, but I just went through them (the fit in a medium sized box) and there are a lot of duds. Arg.

Melissa, it makes me crazy when they turn something interesting into a mere store. Doesn’t the Magic Kingdom have enough places to buy high-end souvenirs? The Main Street Cinema was never about making more money, it was about adding richness to the theme of the area - something that has gone by the wayside.

Nanook said...

As much as I'll take any opportunity to reiterate the "less is more" philosophy - as I did in my previous comment - I have to admit I was duly 'wowed' by the Osborn Lights. I suspect one reason is the lights only occupied one small portion of the park, and are certainly unique - in a good way.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Golden Horseshoe, 1956

Let's start with this neat 1956 view of Frontierland, as seen from the top deck of the Mark Twain. It looks like we are just pulling away from the dock, all those people down below are just going to have to wait. I see a fire hydrant down there among them (which number is that one, Amazon Belle?). In the lower left is the roof of the Ice House, used as a cast member break room. I love these earlier shots of Frontierland, when it had grassy areas and shady benches, for a much quainter feel. 

In the dead center of the photo is the Golden Horseshoe (with two ladders going to the roof)

This next shot was very dark, and somewhat faded, and my restoration attempts resulted in this slightly odd looking view. Still, it's neat to see such an early interior! I have a vague memory of somebody asking about some paintings that were on the walls of the G.H., I sure wish I could remember exactly what they wanted to know.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Chicago Fruit Market, 1950's

I have been busy scanning Disneyland slides, but I have fallen way behind on my non-Disney, "anything goes" slides for Saturdays. So today's post is kind of different.

Somewhere in the great city of Chicago, there was (still is?) what appears to be a wholesale fruit market (probably from the early 1950's), where farmers brought their produce by the truckload to sell to various stores. These are kind of a neat "behind the scenes" piece of Americana. Some farmers used larger trucks...

... but it looks like a lot of them brought their smaller stake-bed trucks and large pickups to transport their wooden baskets full of peaches to the market. Mmmm, peaches. I wonder where those were grown, since I don't think of the Chicago area as peach country. Did they come from hundreds of miles away? 

This is my favorite photo of the bunch, with those great old trucks, and the hard working people waiting to sell their goods.

Melons! Why did it have to be melons? Some sort of muskmelon, by the look of them - a staple of a thousand brunches and buffets. This fella looks pretty sporty in his cap and necktie.

And here's one last look at a busy scene; you can almost feel the morning chill in the air. There's just something about these slice-of-life pictures that I find very appealing.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to this Chicago fruit market!

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Viewliner, July 1958

While going through this particular batch of slides from 1958 for the first time, it was a pleasure to find these photos of the Viewliner! I think you'll agree that they are especially nice.

How about this first beauty, showing the Tomorrowland Viewliner (as opposed to the blue Fantasyland version) as it crosses the bridge over the water? Pretty sweet. Maybe it's just a trick of the camera, but it appears that there are very few passengers aboard the train.

As always, I am impressed by the hills in the background, considering that Disneyland was carved out of flat orange and walnut groves.  

And howsabout this neat photo? I love the pinkish-orange color.

Let's zoom in for an even better look. I wonder why the Viewliner was built with the driver's seat on the right?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Vintage Postcards: Kennywood Amusement Park!

It's time for more vintage postcards from the collection of GDB reader and contributor Ken Martinez! Today we're going to be visiting the venerable Kennywood park in Pennsylvania. Here's Ken with more info:

Kennywood is a traditional amusement park located on a bluff overlooking the Monongahela River. It began life as a trolley park created by the Monongahela Railway Co. back in the late 1890's in order to attract riders to use the entire length of their line. A picnic grove park was established at the end of the line to do this. From that point, the park grew into what has become one of the best traditional parks in the United States.

Kennywood's swimming pool was a hit when it opened in 1925. The pool measured 350 feet by 180 feet. Note the large bathhouse along the far end of the pool and the fountain to the right. The fountain also featured special lighting effects at night after the pool closed for the evening. The pool closed permanently after the 1973 season due to maintenance problems.

One of several midways in the park, this one featured a Rock-O-Plane (manufactured by Everly Aircraft Company), a Laff-in-the-Dark ride and a 1950's "sci-fi"-looking kiosk. I love the architectural elements and designs featured at amusement parks from this era.

Visitors stroll along the curving walkway between the entrance to the "Racer" roller coaster and the Kennywood Lagoon. Other notable classic wooden coasters at the park are the "Jack Rabbit" with its double-dip drop and "Thunderbolt" which is continually rated as one of the top coasters in the world. Note the rowboat in the lagoon.

This postcard features the "Racer" in action. the Racer is one of only a handful of Möbius wooden racing coasters in the world, the other two being "Montaña Rusa" at Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, Mexico, and the "Grand National" at Blackpool Pleasure Park in Lancashire, England. a Möbius coaster as one continuous track, so when you board on the right side you will return on the left side or visa-versa, therefor only having ridden half of the actual track length.

I don't know what style this design would be called, but I love the look of this bridge. There are more rowboats pictured here.

Still as popular as ever, Kennywood has ben entertaining visitors who seek and discover this gem of a park in the Pittsburgh area for over 100 years. Hope you enjoyed. There are more Kennywood postcards to come.

Information source material:
Kennywood... Roller Coaster Capital of the World - copyright 1982 Charles J. Jr. Jacques
Kennywood (PA) - Images of America Series - copyright 2004 David P. Hahner Jr.
Roller Coaster Database

Thanks (as always) to Ken for his scans and all of his efforts to share these vintage postcards with us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fantasyland Characters, August 1961

I see giant Disney characters everywhere I go, but they are most commonly seen at Disneyland. I am old school, and always get the a kick out of seeing any of the true classic characters.

Goofy is receiving lots of attention from ardent fans - it isn't easy being such a big star. The Goof is standing in front of the Mickey Mouse Club Theater, which is air-conditioned. Sometimes that's all I really need!  

Meanwhile, Happy has ditched the other six dwarfs for a taste of sweet, sweet freedom. In spite of his trying-too-hard smile, he is weary of being bossed around by Doc and/or Grumpy! Maybe he could get his own cottage in the woods, start eating healthy, and maybe do some tai chi. In this photo, he is daring to dream that he could ride King Arthur's Carrousel if he wanted to. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Snapshots, New Orleans Square & Castle, 1968

Today I am wrapping up a group of snapshots from 1968. They weren't great, but there were a lot of them! One of my favorites of the bunch is this shot from New Orleans Square, taken outside of the Blue Bayou restaurant, with the old entrance to Club 33 making a cameo appearance. It looks like a family is having a discussion, possibly deciding where to go next; or maybe the boys want to ditch mom and dad, and they are planning a meeting place for later.

This one is not one of my favorites! I suppose it is kind of an unusual angle, but somehow that doesn't help much in this case.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Canal Boat, 1957

From 1957 we have these two fun photos taken at the dock of the Storybook Land Canal Boats; here comes a canal boat now!

You can see into "Never Never Land" beneath the rock arch, and a smidgen of the Fantasyland train station is peeking up in the distance. I love the color in this one.

Here's the same boat, back safe and sound. That kid can't wait to get back to terra firm along with his identically-shirted brother (they can't be twins, because twins are cursed and the boat would have never made it back). He is definitely not keeping his hands inside the boat at all times. The cast member with her cat's-eye glasses is beyond caring.

Out of idle curiosity, I wanted to see which boat this was - each canal boat has a unique name. Much to my surprise, "Walt Disney" is clearly painted around that porthole. Huh? I know that the names of the boats has evolved over time - other extinct names include "Gretel", "Nellie Bly", and "Bold Lochnivar". At this angle it is hard to tell if there are additional words on the side of the boat, but it sure looks like this one is named after Walt himself.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Two From August 1969

The Monorail has just left the station in Tomorrowland, and has begun a curve that swoops back over the Submarine lagoon. Beyond the foreground rockwork is the holding pens for subs (I guess these were only used when the submarines needed servicing?). Look at the throngs of people! As I've pointed out before, August 1969 was a busy month for the park, what with a certain Haunted Mansion opening. 

I like how you can just see a Peoplemover car emerging from one of the tunnels in the background. And oh yeah, Skyway buckets, like paper lanterns on a string.

Richfield Oil was the sponsor of both of Disneyland's Autopias, and their logo, this giant eagle, could be found in front of each attraction's entrance (this is a view of the one above the Fantasyland Autopia). It looks like an automobile hood ornament. Richfield's sponsorship ended the following year, and these figures were removed. I have a super fantastic shot of the Tomorrowland eagle coming up!