Tuesday, May 31, 2016

P.O.P. Ephemera

It's time once again to delve into my boxes full of stuff. In this installment I'm concentrating on Pacific Ocean Park (that's "P.O.P." to its friends), the Santa Monica amusement park that was only around from 1958 to 1967.

First up is this neat park pass; it's sort of gold-colored, maybe it was a "gold pass", who knows. Anyway, with that aqua and gold seahorse graphic it looks classy as heck! With my monocle and long cigarette holder I'm going to be treated with some respect

Sometimes I like to pretend that I worked at P.O.P... I wear a straw hat (don't ask) and make up a title like "Cotton Candy Technician" or "Electro Polisher", and then I send myself a blank paycheck. 

Help me.

With the possible exception of postcards, there are not many easy-to-find items from P.O.P... this brochure is definitely scarce. It's from 1960, which is why that seahorse is wearing harlequin boots.

Inside is this fabulous map of the place. Wow! Somehow my family never made it there, though I would have been very young even when it closed, but I sure wish I had been able to enjoy the wonders of such attractions as the "Deepest Deep", the U.S. Rubber "Banana Train" ride, the "Safari Ride", the "Flight to Mars", and "Neptune's Kingdom", to name but a few.

It is astonishing to go to Santa Monica's beach only to find that there is not a trace of P.O.P. left. It's all gone... there's not even a plaque to commemorate it. 

If these items have piqued your interest, I'd recommend reading Chris Merritt and Dominic Priore's great book, "Pacific Ocean Park: The Rise and Fall of Los Angeles' Space Age Nautical Pleasure Pier"!

I have more P.O.P. stuff to come.

Monday, May 30, 2016

it's a small world, July 1972

Here's a lovely, crisp photo of the façade for "it's a small world" (no caps, K. Martinez!), with the distinctive sign for the sponsor, Bank of America. While the sign tickles my nostalgia neurons, it is kind of "in your face". Check out the strollers - these days there is a veritable parking lot of SUV-sized baby buggies!

There are those koo-koo-kooky topiaries that I loved so much when I was a kid. Clearly Edward Scissorhands worked for Disney's landscaping crew.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Critters! The Jungle Cruise, 1959

Hoo boy, today's photos are real snores. Sorry! I love the classic Jungle Cruise, but most photos tend to be just the same, even when taken decades apart. You know how it goes.

I've always considered the hippos to be among the most believable animals on the Jungle Cruise; this is based on my extensive experiences with real hippopotomi.

I suppose this crocodile is pretty realistic too; if this was a real river and I saw that fiberglass reptile, I would probably not want to go for a swim.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Scenes from Texas

Somehow I have acquired a small batch of old slides from the Lone Star State - Texas! Today's examples were scanned long ago, so they are not exactly the best of the bunch, but they are still full of vintage fun.

I believe that this first one was taken in San Antonio; it's undated, but certainly from the 1950's. Does anybody recognized the building? It looks ancient, with those wooden "gutters" that look as if they were actually made from hollow logs. Love the dusty old car to our right, and the fact that the little girl is wearing a red felt cowboy hat.

Here is a nice photo taken along San Antonio's famous River Walk. Who wouldn't want to dine right next to the tranquil water? That bridge is very neat. If anybody recognizes that building in the background, I'd love to know what it is.

You can't talk about Texas without talking about oil. this next photo is dated 1954, although there is no additional information. But we've got ourselves an oil derrick (maybe five stories tall?), ready to drill for some of that black gold. I hope they hit a gusher!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Young and In Love, August 1966

I can't help smiling when I look at today's first image; my guess is that the photographer was a man, and he must have been fairly dazzled by the platinum blonde with her daring bare midriff as she strolls through Frontierland with her boyfriend. Pretty racy for 1966! Apparently they've already been through Adventureland. The fellow's t-shirt seems to be a knock-off of the Playboy bunny logo. 

Meanwhile, over by the Autopia... actually, I'm not sure, is this the Fantasyland Autopia queue? My spidey senses say that it is. I've never noticed the fencing with that bright red outline before, it's pretty spiffy. And I thought that we might have another daring outfit on the lady with the purple top (was she actually the subject of this picture?); it appears as if she is wearing short shorts beneath her gossamer skirt (or genie pants?). The 60's!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Scenes From Frontierland, 1950's

Today I have a few more slides that were rescued from oblivion - years ago they were skipped because I could not restore them from their magenta state. But things have changed! Thanks to the new scanner, I was able to make these look pretty good.

This first one is hand-dated "1956", and shows the burning settler's cabin. I hope it's insured! Just look at those flames. 

Let's zoom in for a better look at the carnage. The settler had harvested his first crop of corn, but it was all for nought. There he is, doing pilates in the front yard.

Hey, what is that thing in the water in the lower left?

I noticed a mysterious shape to the right of the cabin, and as far as I can tell, it might be the rear-end of a cow (?). If so, that's a detail that I've never seen before. If you have another guess, please chime in!

This next one was not dated, but is probably from about the same time as the previous slide; there's Chief Wavy, glaring at us, and yet welcoming us. It's always mixed signals with him. You can see a white rock up and to the right of his head... I believe that that is where the Disneyland Railroad tracks ran. It even looks like we can see a foot or so of track to the extreme right.

Uh oh, these guys are giving me the heebie-jeebies. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Columbia, September 1963

Admiral Joe Fowler wisely recommended the addition of a place where the large Frontierland vessels could be dry-docked for maintenance. Of course nowadays we would just shrink the boats using Frugosi rays, but that technique wasn't perfected until the 1990's.

The aptly named "Fowler's Harbor" could have been an unsightly thing, but the Imagineers turned it into a picturesque little assortment of buildings; a place where a sailor might get some food (A lobster dinner!) and grog, or rent a little room while ashore.

I've always like the use of "Wedgewood blue" as a colorful accent on the Columbia!

The river was often a busy place, but as you can see, both Keel Boats and the Columbia were out of commission, leaving only the Mark Twain, the rafts to Tom Sawyer Island, and perhaps the canoes.

What do you think that thing is on the raft? We can see loudspeakers, so this might have been used for some sort of "Dixieland at Disneyland" performance.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Vintage Las Vegas Souvenir

Hey everyone... I forgot to mention that I will be out of town for about 10 days (starting yesterday). I will check in on the comments when I can, but it's possible that I won't be able to respond as much as I normally do. And now... on with today's post:

Here's something completely different! Last year, my mom was going to get rid of some stuff, and among the items was an enameled bracelet featuring scenes from Las Vegas. I thought that it was WAY too cool to let go, and she said, "If you want it, take it!". I don't have much call to wear it, but it's pretty neat! 

My mom says that she bought it in Vegas while she and my dad were on their honeymoon in 1958.

Here's the first link, with The Riviera - it operated from April 1955 to May 2015; the hotel is slated for demolition.

Next is the Sahara Hotel and Casino. which operated from 1952 to 2011. It was one of the last remaining "Rat Pack" hotels, and it anchored the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip.

Next we have El Rancho Vegas, which had opened in 1941. It was destroyed by fire in 1960, so that helps to establish the date of the bracelet.

This link features Fremont Street, which used to be the most famous street in Vegas. Before the Las Vegas Strip eclipsed it, Fremont Street was featured in countless movies and TV shows.

The Desert Inn operated from April, 1950 to August, 2000. It was the fifth resort to open on the Strip.

One of the most famous casinos on the Strip was The Sands, which operated from 1952 to 1996, and was the home of many of the members of the Rat Pack.

The last link features the Flamingo, which is now the oldest casino on the Las Vegas Strip, opening in 1946. This is where my mom and dad stayed during their honeymoon!

While scanning photos for my parent's 50th wedding anniversary, I found this photo of my mom in front of the Flamingo...

... and this photo of my dad!

I hope you have enjoyed this vintage Las Vegas charm bracelet.

Monday, May 23, 2016

A Pair from September 1963

In the balmy evenings of late summer, the sun still shines brightly at nearly 6:00 PM (as the clock atop Main Street Station tells us). The fireworks won't be for another three hours!  But that's OK, it gives us plenty of time to ride more attractions. I'm in the mood to take the Grand Circle Tour aboard the Disneyland & Santa Fe Railroad!

Doesn't the Flower Mart look pretty? Bundles and buckets and baskets and bouquets of colorful fake flowers make for an inviting scene, although the only person we see is a cast member down at the end. I guess it wasn't that inviting.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

On Board A Streetcar, September 1972

Here are some more "ho-hum" photos taken from aboard one of the Horse Drawn Streetcars. You'd think that they would be interesting, but instead they are just kind of bad.

The castle is nearly eclipsed by the rear-end of a horse and by the shoulder of our trusty driver. These eclipses only happened once every 300 years, so this is a rare photo.

This might be one of the worst photos of the castle that I have in my collection. Which makes it kind of lovable if you ask me.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

L.A. City Hall, 1950's

Today I have two vintage slides (undated, but perhaps from the late 1950's, or even the early 1960's).

Los Angeles' City Hall is a real landmark... built in 1928, City Hall was the tallest building in downtown L.A. (by law) until 1964, at 453 feet high. I showed this slide to my pal Rich W., and he chimed in with this helpful info:

"This is a wonderful photo! It's looking SE on 1st Street - - that's 1st and Hill in the lower center. Yes, that dirty building to the left (the one with the peaked roof) was the old Hall of Records. It's long gone - along with the law building and the handsome big building in the right-center (I think it was the State  building). At left where the black statue with raised hands is would be the Courts buildings that were finished in the late 1950's."  

He continued: "In trying to date this photo I think the medium blue car (parked just in front of the orange car) along 1st St. is the newest model - and I don't know what it is. Without that blue car I would say that this is about 1958 - but something tells me the car could be 1959 or '60. The photographer was standing up by Olive St. where demolition was taking place".

Thanks Rich!

Here's another shot from the same batch; clearly the photographer climbed up that hill a bit further. Love the Pheonix palm  tree! I tried to get some screen grabs to show what the area looks like today, but there are so many tall buildings that it was impossible.

Of course many of you know that City Hall was destroyed by a Martian heat ray in 1953. Fortunately it was quickly rebuilt!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Two Beauties from 1959

Today I have two extra nice photos from 1959! We'll start with this cool closeup of the Monsanto House of the Future. The composition is pretty nice, with the zig-zag walkway in the foreground, along with the little waterfalls and lovely landscaping. 

As I have said before, this house was small, but I'd bet that many people would be thrilled to own such a home!

The plastic house was occasionally redecorated to keep the interior as fashionable as possible, and I am assuming that this photo was taken during one of those remodels. Note the ladders (at least two), along with those boxes at the top of the stairs. 

Sleeping Beauty Castle made for an interesting juxtaposition with the futuristic house; this is kind of a neat angle, with the moat flowing past us, and all of the beautiful bushes and trees. I noticed that the lights along the moat are pointed down toward the water, which probably resulted in lovely reflections on the smooth white walls of the Monsanto house at night!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Devlin Family Photos - Part 13

Once again I am proud to present more scans from the Devlin family! As I mentioned before, these are date-stamped "January, 1965", but my guess is that they were actually taken a year or two before.

Say, let's take a nice family portrait; the Submarine Lagoon will make for a striking backdrop. The slide was hand-labeled thusly: "Grandad, Ama, Mama, M.J.". Grandad looks ready for Dapper Day, I would definitely copy his ensemble. The checked shirt, the bow tie, the hat... perfect! Ama has one of those cool pink shopping bags; I always wonder what might be inside those. Maybe some Jumbo postcards.

Meanwhile, back at the Flower Mart, Mama refuses to let the gloom get her down! It must have gotten pretty overcast at some point - either that or evening was approaching (the lights are on in the background).

Earlier in the day she was near the castle, with Snow White's Wishing Well in the distance, and the Matterhorn's snowy peak gleaming in the sun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Monstro, 1957

Monstro was the most fearsome whale in the ocean, but what if his parents had named him "Marty", or "Jim"? He might have been the most loveable whale in the ocean. Think about that when you are considering naming your baby "Monstro".

Anyway, at the end of Pinocchio, Biggy M crashed into a wall of rocks while trying to catch Geppetto and Pinoke; now he is trapped in those rocks forever. But, as the household dinosaurs in The Flintstones always say, "It's a living". This first photo is a swell (if familiar) view of that boat-munching cetacean and his environs.

Monstro might benefit from regular flossing, and perhaps some orthodontia. Headgear is out of the question, he has a reputation to uphold. Small children are Monstro's favorite; they are just the right combination of crunchy and chewy.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Fantasyland Snapshots, March 1974

My previous post of snapshots from 1974 were from the area around "It's a Small World", and so are today's. The photographer obviously was mighty taken with this place.

First is this look at the load area; it's nothing special, really. But I do love that mechanical clock! The façade's dimensional graphic shapes cast equally graphic shadows making for some interesting patterns.

I wonder how long this "mini Wonderland" area was there? It's very cute seeing the tiny kids there, like an Easter egg hunt. Alice is adorable as always, and the Walrus (that rascal) poses for a nice portrait.

I believe that this photo is from the same general area, though it's hard to say. You can see the Monorail track in the upper left. And what is that square red post in the foreground? In any case, this looks like the end of a parade, with a giant teapot, and the Queen and King of Hearts.