Sunday, January 31, 2016

Über Blah, May 1966

Oof, today's photos are about as dull as dishwater. Not that exciting dishwater like you see in Las Vegas... the regular stuff.  I just scanned about 50 slides (from various lots), and unfortunately many of them are pretty dull. Something for you readers to look forward to! 

Howsabout this one? A poorly-composed shot of Skull Rock, on a gray (or purple?) day, out of focus, and just plain yucky. 

Even bright flowers don't look so good on this gloomy day.

And lastly, a so-so look at the Snow White Grotto, one of my favorite little spots in the park - but it looks like it needs a good scrubbing. I wish they'd return Dopey's fishing pole, but I am guessing that somebody complained about the idea of the beloved Dwarf killing another creature.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

1939 Golden Gate International Exposition

The 1939 New York World's Fair is well-remembered by many fans of such things; however, there was another Fair in 1939 (and into 1940) - the Golden Gate International Exposition (or "GGIE"), held on San Francisco's Treasure Island. The theme of this Expo was "Pageant of the Pacific", and featured an 80 foot tall statue of "Pacifica", goddess of the Pacific. Here she is on the cover of the souvenir guidebook (scan found on the interwebs):

Here's a neat photo (possibly a still from color movie footage), from Wikipedia, with a nice shot of the statue.

I was excited to find some rare color slides taken at the GGIE, and wanted to share some of them here.

In this first photo, we can see what I believe is one of the Towers of the East; unfortunately I can't find much info about this particular structure, as impressive as it is. 

In this one we see the base of the "Tower of the Sun", a 400-foot (30 story) pointed tower that became the theme building for this Fair, appearing on many souvenirs. It contained a carillon with 44 bells that could be played with a keyboard. At the base was a set of sculptures representing the signs of the zodiac.

Showman Billy Rose became something of a "go to" guy when it came to large-scale spectaculars... particularly his "Aquacades" in New York and San Francisco. There was dancing! Singing! Diving! Synchronized swimming! What more could you want?

This scene clearly tries to capture a sort of very stylized (a lá MGM musicals) kind of Parisian grandeur.  Plus, pretty girls in bathing suits. Man, it can be cold in San Fran, even in the summer... I don't envy those ladies.

This next photo shows the 105-foot Triumphal Arch (the opening was 90 feet tall); in the distance is the Court of Flowers and beyond that, the Court of Reflections. I love this picture!

This next one shows the "Portals of the Pacific", a magnificent Art Deco edifice, also known as the "Elephant Tower". 

To give you a better look at what is going on, here's a photo of the original plaster maquette that shows the stylized trio of elephants (with step pyramids on their backs) at the upper level of this building.

Coincidentally, GDB reader "JG" sent me some photos of two artifacts that his parents saved from their honeymoon trip to the GGIE! Here's a beautiful gold-foil sticker... "Meet me at Treasure Island". Don't mind if I do! "California Welcomes You".

JG's folks even saved their parking voucher. 50 cents was the roughly the equivalent of $9.00 in today's moolah, so that was not cheap.

I hope that you have enjoyed your visit to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Two Beautiful Instamatics!

As we get near the end of the fabulous lot of Kodak Instamatic photos given to me by "Mr. X", you'll be seeing some extra-nice images... there have been some good ones in the past, but I saved some of the best for last (unintentional rhyme). 

Like this wonderful shot taken from a Motorboat, which makes it unusual right away. I love seen the names on the boats, "Leprechaun" and "Faline". OK, smarties (no cheating)... who can name all of the boats from the Motor Boat Cruise?!  I also love the low angle view of the Peoplemover and Monorail, with what I believe is part of the Fantasyland Autopia queue structure to the right. And of course you've got that Matterhorn too.

Here's another beauty, showing the yellow Monorail as it approaches the station at the Disneyland Hotel. I cropped off about 1/3 of the photo because it was just empty sky. I don't have much to say about this one, but it's awesome!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

GDB Greatest Hits - The Tiki Room

It's time to revisit some GDB classics, featuring the Enchanted Tiki Room.

This first one was originally published in 2010, and dates from April, 1966. It's a great shot of the Barker Bird (with red plumage) as he entices passersby to stop in and see the show. Next to him is Uti, the goddess of fishing (which is why she is on an outrigger canoe). 

Next is this image from 1964 (first posted in 2007) looking toward the Plaza from inside Adventureland's entrance. Again we can see the red Barker Bird. Notice that the archway near us is getting swallowed alive by pretty (but spiny) bougainvillea. The elephant tusks still look like ivory, rather than carved wood.

And finally, here's one from 1965 (posted back in 2006) - the era when ladies liked to tease their hair into impressive bouffants. A small crowd is waiting to be let in to see the pre-show... it's fun to imagine seeing the Enchanted Tiki Room back when it was a brand new attraction - like nothing anyone had seen before! That being said, it's still pretty great all these years later.

PS... the Barker Bird is blue!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

More Vintage Postcards - Kings Dominion

Welcome to the NINETEENTH installment of GDB featuring Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards! Let's get right to it with Ken:

Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia

Kings Island's sister park "Kings Dominion" opened in Doswell, Virginia in 1975. The Brady Bunch of Partridge Family didn't visit here, but George Segal, Richard Widmark and Timothy Bottoms did in the 1977 motion picture "Rollercoaster". It was one of the main set pieces along with Magic Mountain in California and Ocean View Amusement Park in Virginia. Like its sister park, it utilized Hanna-Barbera characters to interact with park guests. Themed sections in the park included International Street, Old Virginia, Candy Apple Grove, Happyland of Hanna-Barbera, and Safari Village.

International Street serves as the main thoroughfare at the entrance to Kings Dominion. I love the beautiful central fountain and gardens.

The Galaxi coaster was a portable model made by S.D.C.  It was probably considered temporary until budget allowed for better coasters later on. Towering over the park in the backdrop is the Eiffel Tower, similar to the Kings Island edifice in Ohio.

Here's another one of those cards with the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character placed in the photo. It looks like one of the Banana Splits gang, but I'm not sure who. Featured are the Turnpike auto ride and the kid-sized wood coaster Scooby-Doo in the background. (Major Pepperidge here... this looks like "Bingo" to me!).

The Mason Dixon Music Hall was a theater showcasing live show productions like "Give My Regards to Broadway" which played several times daily. I remember these types of shows at Marriot's Great America in the 1970's.

Rebel Yell, another John Allen out-and-back classic woody was one of the three roller coasters featured in the film "Rollercoaster" along with the Revolution at Magic Mountain and the Rocket at Ocean View Park. I love the classic PTC trains featured here.

I love these color border cards. Interesting in this card is that the park name "Kings Dominion" is displayed on the top of the lift hill and on the front of the coaster trains, but absent in the previous cards.

King Kobra, which opened in 1977, was one of the first Intamin (weight drop) Shuttle Loops to open along with the White Lightnin' shuttle loop in Carowinds theme park. Later versions opened up using the fly wheel method like Montezooma's Revenge at Knott's Berry Farm.

Kings Dominion is still going strong today and has passed through many owners during its colorful history. It's now part of the Cedar Fair chain which also owns Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, Knott's Berry Farm, and California's Great America in California and Worlds of Fun in Kansas City. I hope you enjoyed your 1970's vintage visit to Kings Dominion.

Information source material:
The Great American Amusement Park - copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Finland U.S.A. - copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Knott's Berry Farm

I sure wish I had lots more slides from Knott's Berry Farm - my meager collection has nearly been completely scanned. Phooey. BUT... I'm not done yet!

I'll start today's post with this beautiful shot of the Stagecoach (from a slide dated "November 1960", but surely taken months before). For some reason that bridge/overpass that the stage has just crossed is wet, even though the sky looks clear and blue. So... UFOs! I'm not entirely sure where this was taken, does anybody recognize the nondescript structures nearby? 

While this photo is not super-exciting, I love the look of the park from the days when eucalyptus trees were everywhere - I can almost smell them!

Meanwhile, as part of what I believe was referred to as "Knott's Lake", you would have seen this "island" (actually connected to the land by narrow walkways) with the "Indian Trading Post", which consisted of a few teepees and a totem pole. The two don't really go together, but hey, they look great! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

More Improved Rescans!

It's time for more rescans, each with an added drop of golden Retsyn! ("What the hell are you talking about, Major Pepperidge"?).

Both of the old scans were originally posted way back in 2008, and both were taken aboard the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train (Nature's Wonderland was still a few years away). As you can see, the sky has a strange hue (I blame UFOs) and the rest looks like it needs a good scrubbing.

The rescan & restoration looks much sharper, less dark, and has better overall colors. I love this unusual view, and I love the old trains with their dark green paint scheme.

I should mention that these were hand-dated "7-12-58", which allows me to do one of my favorite things - look up that date in Jason's Disneyland Almanac for some specific details! July 12th was a saturday, and the park was open from 9:00 AM to 1:00 AM; this was one of the famous "Date Nites"; the high temperature was 81 degrees, and attendance was a solid 32,679 - pretty busy for those days.

Next is this shot taken as the train entered the Rainbow Desert, full of so many familiar sights, like the anthropomorphic cacti, and the colorful paint pots. Like the previous old scan, this one is very dark and murky.

Ah, this is more like it! In the distance we see the C.K. Holliday, no longer pulling the old freight cars (notice the striped awnings). 

SO... I had a busy weekend... I composed a ton of blog posts, and now have 30, finished and ready to publish! If I am abducted by a UFO tomorrow, you will still have new posts every day until February 24th. I'm not saying they are great, but dammit, there are a bunch of them.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pals at Disneyland, September 1971

There was a brief period of time in which I went to Disneyland with "the guys", instead of with family, or with girls. There was always a part of me that was surprised that the guys wanted to go, since I was convinced that cool people didn't hang out there, and some of them seemed pretty cool. I was OK with my fandom, but you know how it is. And yet we always had a great time!

Today's snapshots remind me of those days, although I admit that these two fellas in the pictures might be brothers. Who knows. Anyway, this first one shows one of them standing next to an Omnibus; we get a pretty good look at three of the small posters that adorned the side of that vehicle... I wish I had some of them! I'm not entirely sure if they were silkscreened on one long piece of material (metal, I believe), or separately.

Next we have another dude enjoying the view from the upper level of the Carousel of Progress building. It must be lunchtime, everyone is eating! It's a shame that we can't get a nice elevated perspective of Tomorrowland anymore.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Laguna Pottery Shack, 1950's

Laguna Beach is a beautiful community in California's Orange County; besides the lovely bluffs, coves and the beach, it is known today as having a thriving artist community. It includes the famous "Pageant of the Masters", as well as the not-quite-as-famous "Sawdust Festival". 

Today's photos feature the Pottery Shack, once located along South Coast Highway. As you can see, the Pottery Shack had a slightly funky vibe, resembling the front yard of a crazy neighbor who loves loves loves whirligigs, garden gnomes, plastic flamingos, bowling balls on sticks (yes, that's a thing), gazing balls, sundials, and so on. How about those awesome old cars? I am drawn to that little red number.

Here's a Google Maps "street view" screen cap showing the corner as it looks today. Notice the statue of the old man on the corner, a landmark of what is now known as "The Old Pottery Place". The cars? Not so great.

I love this closeup, with two ladies taking it all in. How can a person possibly choose?! I can't help wondering if the shop carried some of the beautiful Disney character figures made by the Brayton Laguna. Some of them now go for many hundreds of dollars today! 

Friday, January 22, 2016

More Disneyland Hotel Aerial Pix, July 9, 1979

Here are some more aerial photos, from a series taken mostly above the Disneyland Hotel, from the summer of 1979. See the first installment HERE

As I mentioned in the earlier post, the color on these was a bit out of whack, so I have made some attempt to make them look as normal as possible, with limited success. 

Anyway, we get a lot of Anaheim's suburban sprawl (and smog), plenty of the old parking lot, and of course the Hotel and even a decent glimpse at the park.

Zooming in on the park, all of the larger landmarks are apparent, like Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. The Mark Twain and the Columbia can be spotted, as well as the sub lagoon. The Jungle Cruise river is hidden (appropriately) by a lush forest. 

I wanted to zoom in on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which wouldn't open for around 2 months - I was hoping for evidence of construction, but this indistinct image doesn't show anything that I can discern.

Now for a second shot; this time we've circled around to the west side of the park, looking south for an even better look at the parking lot (for those who like such things!). At the top of the image we can see the "flying saucer" convention center. The Monorail track shows the yellow Monorail parked at the Hotel; the red Monorail can be seen zipping along the track if you look closely.

As for the Hotel, don't worry, we will be getting a much better look at it as the weeks go by. Our pilot continued to circle it, getting progressively closer and closer. It gets a bit repetitive to be honest, but that's the way it goes!   

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Special Guest Photos - The Devlin Family - Part 02

Here are more fun family photos, graciously donated to me from the Devlin family! 

Let's start with this one, taken from the Pavilion Lanai in Adventureland. You could enjoy a great view  of the Jungle Cruise loading dock while you ate your lunch - sounds pretty entertaining. This picture features siblings Patrick, Mary, and Mike. Mike would eventually become an Imagineer! More on that in future posts. I love the "native" shield and even the wicker-backed chairs.

This is the only other Adventureland photo in this batch; I like the soft-focus foreground (Patrick again), and the fearsome hippo in the background.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Six Flags Mid-America - Ken Martinez Post

Oh yeah! It's another post featuring Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards. This is PART 18! 

Here's Ken:

Six Flags Over Mid-America

Six Flags Over Mid-America, later known as Six Flags St. Louis, opened on June 5, 1971. It must've been a busy year for theme park openings, because Walt Disney World and Magic Mountain opened that same year as well. The Missouri theme park was the third and final park Six Flags actually built for themselves. After that they began acquiring them parks to build up their chain of U.S. theme parks instead of building new parks.

Here's the entrance to Six Flags Over Mid-America. The Six Flags that fly over this park are the United States, Missouri, Illinois, Great Britain, Spain, and France.

Miss Kitty's featured a saloon show with down home entertainment. I think it still does. The building is typical of the detail found in the theme parks designed by Randall Duell and Associates. Note the Sky-Way above the Saloon building.

The park had two auto rides, both created and built by Arrow Development. One featured antique autos called "Moon Antique Cars" (Moon Auto Company) and the other one was called "Super Sports Cars" cars seen here featuring modern cars.

The River King Mine Train coaster has an interesting history. It started out as two tracks (seen here) and was a basic Arrow mine train coster. Later in 1984 new "stand-up" trains were added to one of the tracks and proved unsuccessful. Eventually the track returned to the original "sit-down" mine trains. The other track was eventually sold to Dollywood in 1989 which left one single track for the St. Louis park. It's still hanging in there and running today.

Featured here are the twin drops of the "Hoo Hoo" log flume also built by Arrow Development. It was named after the Midwest Lumberman exhibit at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis.

Injun Joe's Cave was a dark boat ride in the same vein as the Spelunker's Cave ride in Six Flags Over Texas and the Tales of the Okefenokee/Monster Plantation ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. I'm guessing that's Becky and Tom on the raft.

The Screamin' Eagle was the signature roller coaster for several years at the park and held the record for tallest coaster for a very short period of time. The classic out-and-back wooden roller coaster was designed by John Allen, who was responsible for several wooden coaster classics from the 1970's.

Here's a rare postcard of the short-lived Jet Scream, an Anton Schwarzkopf Looping Star steel coaster. It opened in 1981 and was moved to AstroWorld in 1988. It was indirectly replaced by the Ninja looping coaster.

Well, that's it for the park formerly known as Six Flags Over Mid-America. I hope you enjoyed your visit. Coming down the pipeline: Six Flags' second park, Six Flags Over Georgia.

Information source material:
The Great American Amusement Park, copyright 1976 by Gary Kyriazi
Finland U.S.A., copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database:

THANK YOU very much, Ken! I appreciate all of your time and effort to share these great cards and all of the nice info.