Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Devlin Family Photos - Part 09

Oh boy, it's time for another popular installment of Devlin family photos! These are the last from September 1961.

I love this fantastic picture of the Moonliner, with young Patrick posing near us. Notice that the rocket no longer sports the TWA lettering, as that company had ceased their sponsorship of the attraction (Douglas wouldn't begin their sponsorship until 1962). I love the group of pretty girls to the right, and the vivid colors. So great! 

This next one is not quite so spectacular, but it's still a nice "you are there" shot taken aboard the Jungle Cruise. I can't tell, is that the bull elephant, or his terrifying mother in-law? In just six years, the jungle was already surprisingly lush.

Never fear, there are more photos (from 1962) to come!

PS, I may as well break it to you now... there will be no special April 1st post tomorrow. Chalk it up to lack of time and inspiration!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Riverside Park

It's time for PART 26 in the ongoing series of vintage amusement park postcards from the collection of Ken Martinez! Wow, that's a lot of stuff... with more to come. Today is a shorter post than usual, but I think you'll agree that it is particularly interesting. Here's Ken:

Mine Trains and Monorails -
Riverside Park, Agawam, Massachusetts

Riverside Park was a traditional park that started out as a picnic grove called Riverside Grove before becoming Riverside Park in the early 1900's. The park was eventually purchased by Premier Parks (Six Flags) in 1996.

Here's the El Dorado Mine Train at the park with the Thunderbolt coaster in the backdrop. I love this postcard because it so strongly resembles the Mine Train Ride at Disneyland with the Rainbow Ridge load area. Even the mining cars are the same color as the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train. Apparently a fire destroyed the attraction sometime in 1971 and put the coaster in the background out of commission for a while.

Another ride familiar to Disneyland fans is the Monorail. I think I'll call this one Monorail Pink. In addition there was a Jungle river ride similar to Disneyland's called "Jungle Cruise" complete with mechanical animals and candy striped canopy launches. To top it off there was also a steam riverboat. Who needs Nara Dreamland when we had Riverside Park right here in the good ol' U.S.A.

Riverside Park now operates as "Six Flags New England", a modern theme park which means it has survived. At least the park and its classic Thunderbolt (oldest operating coaster at a Six Flags theme park) are still in operation. Let's hope it doesn't meet the same fate as Geauga Lake which later became Six Flags Ohio and then was sold to Cedar Fair before closing. Hope you enjoyed today's post.

Information Source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

Thanks Ken! I love seeing these Disneyland clones. As Ken pointed out to me in an email, Disney certainly took inspiration from other parks (and World's Fairs) too. Maybe we'll see some of those in future posts.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Snapshots, March 1974 - Small World Area

I just finished scanning a larger-than-usual batch of vintage snapshots, dating from March 1974. They are definitely a mixed bag, but overall are nicer than most humble photo prints.

In this first example, we can see that a miniature "Wonderland" was set up at the west end of "It's a Small World"; a little hill, flowers, an oversized teapot, a mushroom that escaped from Santa's Village (mushrooms always escape!), as well as Alice and some of her unusual friends. 

There's the Walrus, the White Rabbit, and what must be the Mad Hatter, sans hat in this view.

The net two pictures show the famous façade for "Small World"; it still looks essentially like a giant foam core model - which is part of its charm. The grass and shrubs are immaculately maintained; look at those big trees behind the building! Until now, I thought that the old boats all had turquoise seats, but obviously some were yellow too. Were there other colors? Perhaps tomato red?

Here's a second view, with more topiaries.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Awesome Instamatic - Tomorrowland

There's just one photo today, but it's a goodie! We're in Tomorrowland, presumably just before July of 1967. Overhead, the Peoplemover track curves gracefully, and we can even see a number of trains sitting - but not moving yet. It looks like the attraction could open any day now! The image is helped by the bright sun and blue sky - a perfect day. In the background, the Rocket Jets and Adventure Thru Inner Space beckon... I actually bumped my head on the computer screen! I want to be there.

Say, who's that guy, and what is he doing? I'm guessing that he is making some sort of adjustment to one of the many motorized wheels embedded in the track that would constantly turn, providing traction and moving the unpowered Peoplemover trains on their way. Ingenious!

Down below, guests explore the New Tomorrowland; even the most casual of them appears nicely dressed by today's standards.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

A Pair from 1957

I'm using this lazy Sunday as an excuse to post a few "meh" slides - but they are from 1957, so they're not a complete waste of time. 

In ye olden days, guests could visit Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island. Andrew Jackson's regimental headquarters was there, and Davy Crockett (or at least a facsimile) could be seen, along with his pal Georgie Russell. You could climb the stairs to look out over the crude log walls, sneak out the "secret" escape, and generally explore and relax. It's all gone now, replaced with a structure that appears to be made of wood, but does not really fit in with the environment. Maybe we'll get a revamped fort after all of this Star Wars Land stuff is done?! Hope springs eternal. 

This family is looking pretty weary; Mom is at least attempting a smile. The youngest has found a cigarette butt that still had a few puffs left. 

Over in the Rivers of the World, a crocodile suns himself in the green water. His tail points at the ruins of a temple that contained a golden idol and gleaming jewels. I'm sure he'll let you pass if you ask nicely.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Hershey, Pennsylvania is not too far from my former home of Camp Hill (near Harrisburg); the close proximity was a very good thing for a kid who missed Disneyland so much. At least we could go to "Hersheypark" to satisfy our amusement park cravings.

This first photo (from 1967) shows a bronze statue of a magnificent stag - this feels so old fashioned to me, somehow. Milton S. Hershey not only founded the company that bears his name, but had a town built for the many workers from his nearby factory. There were beautiful gardens to enjoy, and in 1908, a Merry-Go-Round became the first ride in what would become one of the great amusement parks of the area.

The following 3 photos are all from July, 1960. This first one is taken from a road that passed over the train tracks - trains that must have shipped zillions of cocoa beans, untold tons of sugar, and many thousands of gallons of milk over the years. It's hard to see here, but the world "Hershey" is painted on the sides of those twin stacks in the distance.

The photographer pivoted to his right and took this shot of downtown Hershey, a very pretty town that almost has the feel of a college campus. 

This last photo shows "The Comet", a wooden coaster built in 1947 by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters. Happily, this classic roller coaster is still around today!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 25, 2016

More Devlin Family Photos - Part 08

Here are two terrific photos from the Devlin family! These are a continuation of the batch from September, 1961.

First up is this picture of a top-hatted Mickey Mouse out in front of the park, happily greeting some of his young fans. I like this particular Mickey costume, though I know some people do not. Patrick is standing right next to the mouse, and I believe that Tom is in the checked shirt. The girl in the mouse ears is an interloper! I love the glimpse of the posters along the fence, and the parking lot with the Monorail track.

Next we're right outside of Merlin's Magic Shop, and three Devlin kids have found Pluto, who is humble and lovable. By now you all probably recognize them, but we've got Patrick, Mary, and Judy. Each kid has a sticker (or tag) on their shirts, I wish we could see them better!

Starting today I will be out of town until Sunday evening! As always there will be new posts for you even though I am away, and I will try to respond to comments when I can.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Vintage Magic Mountain Postcards, Part Two

It's time for more postcards from the vast collection of Ken Martinez! Today we return to Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Here's Ken:

Magic Mountain - The Early Six Flags Era

While Magic Mountain enjoyed some success in its first eight years of operation, it was eventually sold to Six Flags in 1979 and renamed Six Flags Magic Mountain in 1980. It was this transitional period from 1980 to 1988, the early Six Flags era, that today's postcards represent. Later periods in the history of Magic Mountain were the Tim Warner era and Premier Parks era.

Here's the Arrow Mine Train coaster "Gold Rusher". The park's landscaping has matured with more brush and foliage growth. In the backdrop is a 1st generation Intamin Freefall which was unimaginatively called "Freefall". The Freefall stood from 1982 to 2008, the last few years standing inoperable.

Visual evidence that Six Flags moved into the park are the six flags around the water fountain below Valencia Falls. The foliage is maturing but you can still see the Revolution layout pretty well. Last time I went it was pretty much well hidden. The ever present Sky Tower is in the back drop.

Here's a shot of Colossus bathed in dramatic lighting at night. I believe the double camelback hills in view were removed and flattened during the 1991 re-profiling of the coaster. As many times as I've been to Magic Mountain, I've never seen it at night.

Shockwave was one of the first roller coaster installed at Magic Mountain after Six Flags took over. The early Intamin stand-up coaster only lasted a few years from 1986 to 1988. In 1989 it became part of Six Flags rotating ride program which began in the late 1980's. After operating at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the coaster was moved to Six Flags Great Adventure for the 1990-1992 season, then to Six Flags AstroWorld as "Batman: The Escape" where it operated for many years from 1993 to 2005 (AstroWorld's closing). It's final resting place is at Darien Lake where it sits in storage.

Here's a nice close up of the Shockwave's short Intamin coaster train. Does anyone remember riding this coaster? I think B&M (Bollinger and Mabillard) really perfected the stand up coaster, as my favorite roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the "Riddler's Revenge".

Hope you've enjoyed your visit to Six Flags Magic Mountain. I have many more vintage and modern postcards of Magic Mountain that I will share in the future.

Information Source material:
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

Thanks for this fun look at some early coasters from Magic Mountain's Six Flags era, Ken!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Two From 1956

I'm using up the last two images from a pretty good bunch from 1956. First up is this shot of the CIRCARAMA building. It appears to be closed for some reason (weasel infestation, I'll wager), but it's still a nice photo, with the State flags, the giant atom sign (proof that we are in the FUTURE), and the fountains flanking the pebbled wall of the building.

Next we see a Jungle Cruise launch as it returns to civilization and the most dangerous part of the journey... those Southern California freeways! Har-de-har har. The man-made jungle still looks kind of scrawny here; some of those palm trees need a dose of Miracle Gro. But in time it's going to flourish and thrive until it feels like a very creditable rain forest.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Walt Disney World - November, 1971

After seeing a fun bunch of night photos of the Magic Kingdom from only a month after the park opened, I am segueing into the daytime photos. There are some nice ones!

We'll start at Main Street Station, as seen from Town Square. It looks magnificent! Talk about ornate. And yet you can see the family resemblance to the station at Disneyland. I love that wrought-iron and glass covering that truly appears to be from another era. 

Notice the little family to the right (by the trash can), all bundled up against the November chill!

This Main Street Jitney is pretty cool... I like the fact that these are unique to the Magic Kingdom... Disneyland never had them. As usual, Bob Gurr did a great job making these look suitably antique. Check out that fancy "bus stop"... it looks like the Jitney driver is asking whether those folks want a ride. 

I assume that Sleeping Beauty Castle would be to our left, since we seem to be on the East side the the Plaza.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Frontierland, 1956

Yo yo yo! Today I have a few repeats/rescans. They are only a little better than the original scans, so I didn't bother doing a "before and after" comparison. Still, they are great vintage shots (originally posted in 2007) that are worth another look. 

So... here's a nice shot of the muddy river (circa 1956), with a bustling Frontierland in the distance. I love the headdresses on the Indian guides in charge of the canoe.. the passengers are not helping at all. The Bertha Mae looks great, and we can also see a raft over on Tom Sawyer Island.

We can even see Skyway buckets, the Castle, and the Moonliner.

Next is this interesting shot of a rather barren hillside with some spindly trees and plenty of brown plants (maybe it was an extra hot summer?). But the coolest detail is that huge grizzly!

Until I saw this photo, I was unaware of this particular bear. I've never seen another photo of him! Perhaps the foliage eventually swallowed him and he was removed. I wonder if he growled?

Here is a version of the previous photo in "Bigfoot-Vision!", for Monkey Cage Kurt.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

So-So Pix, September 1972

It's always fun to present extra-nice photos of Disneyland, but the sad truth is that those are the exception rather than the rule. Sometimes, every single slide in a group (of perhaps 15 or 20) is a dud. It's a bit disheartening. Thank goodness for Sundays here on GDB, when I don't feel as guilty sharing some of those less-than-wonderful pictures. 

This first one is an unusual angle, but that doesn't make it good.  We're looking down the pathway & steps that lead up to the Skyway chalet in Fantasyland. It's pretty enough, I guess, what with the plants and flowers. The background is blown out, but we can still see the Pirate Ship and the tiny station for the Casey Jr. Circus Train.

And speaking of Casey Jr... there he is now! Maybe our photographer liked the idea of framing the image with the fence at the bottom and the elbow to our right. You can just see a smidgen of "It's a Small World over there, too. That hedge behind Casey must have been there to screen out.... something? Just a guess, I'm not sure what unsightly mess would have been visible if the hedge was not there.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Vintage People

I pretty much stopped buying boxes of random slides a few years ago... they just became too expensive. But when I did buy them, I particularly hoped to find extra nice photos of landmarks all over the U.S.A., or bustling city scenes showing the way they were 50 years ago. 

However, I learned that pictures of people living their humble lives could be pretty great too! Like this one, showing a woman grabbing a couple of brewskis from the fridge. I'm not sure why, but it's fun to see what else is in the old ice box. Lots of eggs! A can of whipped cream, olives, mayo, "brown and serve" rolls, maybe a box of candy, and a red can that is some Donald Duck product - probably not orange juice.

Promenade! Do si do! This next one is undated, but certainly from the 1950's. Right in the middle are Ann and Joe, dancing up a storm. I'll bet they went out every saturday, like my grandparents did into their 80's. Let's just give Ann and Joe the trophy right now!

Friday, March 18, 2016

Two From August 1969

Here are two fun views from August, 1969! We'll begin with this great shot of the Motor Boat Cruise in Fantasyland. This attraction was kind of a snooze, to be honest, but I miss it in a way. It was relaxing, if nothing else! You could literally take a nap (or die!) during your cruise, because the boat would putt along by itself, no steering or gas pedal required.  Pretend a ghost is driving, like I do on the freeways every day.

I'm trying to figure out how the photographer got this elevated view. Not from the Skyway, surely? It was too far away, I'm thinking. Perhaps from the Monorail? Or a low-flying autogyro?

Next is this great view from the Peoplemover track. It looks a bit weird because I had to lighten it up a bunch, but it's still very neat. Yes, Virginia, that overhead track that now sits abandoned,really was there for a reason. This summer day was rather busy. Look at all the mini skirts on the ladies! Besides the wonderful Peoplemover, we can see a bit of the Mary Blair mural, the entrance to Adventure Thru Inner Space, and even America the Beautiful.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

More Vintage Postcards - Canadian Parks

Today I am proud to present the twenty first installment (!) of Ken Martinez's vintage amusement park postcards. Here's Ken:

Canadian Coasters

Today I have three postcards from two different parks in Canada.

Crystal Beach Amusement Park was located in Crystal Beach, Ontario, on the northeast shore of Lake Erie and served the Buffalo, New York area from 1888 to 1989. The roller coaster featured here along the shore was known as the "Comet". It was moved to New York's Great Escape (formerly Storytown USA) after the Canadian park closed. The "Comet" was a hybrid coaster in that even though the track was classified as wood, the structure was built of steel. I think the yellow coaster further back was called "Giant Coaster", though I'm not 100% sure. Maybe a GDB reader could chime in to confirm.

The following cards feature the Midway of the Canadian National Exposition located in Toronto, Ontario. I like them because they show both daytime and nighttime shots from the exact same viewpoint with the time of day showing on the observation platform. The main coaster in view is the wooden "Flyer" which existed from 1953 to 1992. The Midway flat rides were provided by Conklin Shows and are removed after the exhibition is over for the year even though the permanent coaster and observation platform remained year round. Both are gone now, but the Exhibition continues to this day.

The Midway in Daytime - Note the Wild Mouse and Round Up in action.

The Midway at Nighttime - Wonder what the Bonnie & Clyde exhibit was about?

Hope you enjoyed the quick trip to a couple of Canada's parks.

Information Source material:
Finland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

THANK YOU Ken! Somewhere I have a distant shot of the Canadian National Exposition, I wish I could have located it to include with this post.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

More Devlin Family Photos - Part 07

Today I am presenting more photos from the Devlin family... this is the second installment from September, 1961.

MAN, do I love those caterpillar vehicles from the Alice in Wonderland attraction! There is nothing like them. I feel like they tried to do something similarly whimsical with "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh", but... come on. 

Anyway, this is a neat angle looking up at a pink and very snooty caterpillar as he winds his way down the outer ramp (one of my favorite parts of the ride). From left to right are some genuine Devlins: Judy, Mike, and Mary. Just a bit of the mushroom ticket booth sneaks in from the right.

They survived! Now we can just see mother Mary Jo in the vehicle as well as the aforementioned kids. Nobody is smiling (well, Mary might be), maybe they didn't enjoy the attraction? It probably blew their minds, and now they want to listen to Jefferson Airplane albums (even though they won't exist for several years) and wear paisley.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Even More Disneyland Hotel Aerials, September 1979

It's time for more aerial views, circa 1979, and primarly featuring the Disneyland Hotel and its environs. In fact, I thought we were completely done with Disneyland itself, but we can still see about 1/3 of the park in this first view. There are still several large vacant lots near the park; I assume that the one just to the west of Disneyland belonged to Disney? And what is that big, geometric housing complex? It almost looks like part of a computer's circuit board. Meanwhile, there's the hotel, with its big turquoise pool, part of the Marina. The yellow Monorail can be seen stopped at the hotel's station.

That Hotel complex is suprisingly large... look at all of those structures! Of course the whole thing has undergone many changes in the intervening years.

I tried to grab a view similar to the previous angle using Google Earth so that you could compare and contrast. Just like in grade school! Please use footnotes and include your references.

This is a pretty impressive shot, but it the photographer continued to get even closer! You'll have to wait until the next post to see, however. 

Monday, March 14, 2016

Random Snapshots

Like the title of this post says... today I have two "random snapshots" for you. I'll start with the last photo from a batch dated "October 1971"; even with the buffer of viewing a "just OK" image glowing on a computer screen, I still get a sense of the excitement that I used to feel walking into Tomorrowland. Little visual clues still make me smile, like the logos for Bell Telephone, General Electric, and Monsanto (harder to see). And there's the classic Peoplemover, Rocket Jets, and those silver "portals" that feel so futuristic. 

This next one is an orphan, featuring a fun picture of two ladies meeting the Tomorrowland Spaceman and Spacegirl. The date "1958" is written on the back. It's a fun photo, but I was not crazy about the fact that the color had devolved into a weird pinkish-brown. Yarg!

Through the magic of Photoshop, I was able to restore the color to a degree.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Rejects - Returned From the Dead

Here is a pair of images that used to be in the "reject" pile - a large heap of moldy slides in the corner of my conservatory (next to the harpsichord and beneath the Cézanne). Since I spent all last night drinking absinthe, I had little time to put a post together and quickly pulled two slides off of the pile. 

First up is this shot of Ken-L-Land, the charming pet hotel sponsored by delicious Ken-L-Ration dog food! Perched on the edge of the park, conveniently located near the entrance, this hotel kept many dogs and kitties (and possibly a lizard or two) out of hot cars in the vast parking lot. The view of the Monorail track was just a bonus. 

Please don't exceed 15 miles per hour, Mario Andretti.

What does the world look like from the back of a caterpillar?  Well, now you know, thanks to this photo taken from one of the "Alice in Wonderland" ride vehicles.  So it's a little blurry, who cares. Ya got your snack bar ("Fan 2"?), the Skyway and the chalet, the Pirate Ship (NOT flying the Jolly Roger!), Skull Rock, and the Storybook Land lighthouse.