Thursday, May 12, 2016


Well, I made it, homies! Gorillas Don't Blog (oy, that name) is 10 YEARS OLD today. You can call it the "Decennial", but I prefer the made-up Disney term, "Tencennial".  I haven't missed a day for the last 2,368 days, which ought to count for something.

It has occasionally been a grind, but mostly it's been fun, thanks in large part to the GDB regulars who have offered so much support over the last decade.  Those of you who take the time to comment get special thanks, since that is what often keeps me going.

I have some nice photos for you! Let's start with this neat shot taken near the Flight Circle (with the Hobbyland souvenir booths visible to the right). There's the Tomorrowland Spaceman along with two jump-suited flight attendants. It's strange to see the Spaceman in something other than his usual silver lamé. Presumably the attendants worked inside the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction.

It seems pretty clear that the Spaceman's costume was based on the space suits used in the 1950 sci-fi classic by George Pal, "Destination Moon". 

Here's a beautiful shot of the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad's #3 locomotive, the 1894 "Fred Gurley". When this photo was taken in July of 1958, the Fred Gurley had only been operating in the park for about 4 months. It's so new and shiny, even if it was 64 years old by then. The picture was taken while the train rested at Tomorrowland Station. Howdy, fellas!

Next is this wonderful photo taken from the Skyway, probably circa 1958. Look at the color! There's just something extra lovable about those round buckets. The Viewliner makes a special appearance, as does the Space Bar, the Autopia, and Tomorrowland Station again (sporting a hard-to-read sign announcing the new Grand Canyon Diorama). This slide was in an unusual mount that cropped it to an almost wide-screen format; part of me is tempted to remove it from the mount to see if there is more image. But... I'm not going to do it.

And now for something completely different! Say, does that poor corpse in that open grave look familiar? Kind of like an Eskimo? Why, it is none other than GDB reader/contributor Steve Stuart, aka "Nanook"! There he is, looking pretty spry for a dead guy. Until Steve sent me some of his slides to scan, I had never seen this Tom Sawyer Island feature before. Have you?

I am happy to report that we will be seeing more of Nanook's photos from Disneyland (and beyond!) coming up in the not-too-distant future.

Since they were a matched set, here is Steve's childhood pal, Gary. He died with his hat on. Steve mentioned that in spite of what that tombstone says, the photos were actually taken in April of 1962.

And lastly, here's an awesome picture of a kid posing with the fabulous Viewliner.  We've seen that boy before, and as usual he looks like he is about to undergo a root canal. Cheer up, buddy, you're in 1957 Disneyland!

Thanks again to all the GDB readers who have checked in faithfully during the past 10 years!


K. Martinez said...

Hooray! It's the GDB Tencennial! You made it! Wow! what beauties. I'm definitely going to look more in detail and comment later.

Congratulations to you on a successful ten years, Major! There is something truly special about Gorillas Don't Blog thanks to you.

TokyoMagic! said...

It's Major Pepperidge's Tencennial, but WE get the presents! Thank you Major, for all that you do! And congratulations on your milestone anniversary. That is quite an accomplishment!

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. Nanook, thank you for sharing your personal photos with us. I'm looking forward to more! And you receive extra points for taking some of that straw from the bottom of the grave and sprinkling it over you!

D Ticket said...

This is the best! Ten years! Thank you for the delightful surprise at end of every day.

Nanook said...


Hmmm... Where to begin. Well, how's about here: I know many of the GDB faithful have mentioned how great it would be to see themselves captured in someone else’s snapshots at Disneyland; but so far - no dice. Luckily, I have joined the Devlin & Martinez clans in the next best thing: Shamelessly providing The Major with images of ‘moi’.

I must admit at being a bit alarmed to see how happy I appeared to be before being ‘buried alive’. But more seriously, when I re-discovered these images back in February, I started looking in earnest up and down the internet for other images sporting these open grave sites on Tom Sawyer Island and only came up with more current versions of the graveyard, now depicted more “humanely”. Are these images really that rare-??

@ TM!-
You know me... always gotta add just a touch of "authenticity"-!

WOW - for your Tencennial you've managed to post some real beauties-! Each one a gem in its own right, right down to a grand view of utility poles seen from the Skyway. (And, BTW, just what is "Dad" looking at on the underside of the "roof" of that Skyway bucket-?) Is he afraid the bucket is about to give-way and plunge towards earth-? One can only wager a guess .

And as difficult as it is to pick a favorite, my vote has to be with the final image featuring the Viewliner engine - and utility poles-! What a beauty; spoiled. only slightly, by our young friend, who does indeed look as if he is about to face a root canal-! Just what's up with these sour pusses who traipse through the Magic Kingdom looking like gloomy Gus's-?? Perhaps he's upset his (apparently) brand new pair of Levis haven't quite shrunken-up enough to eliminate those ample cuffs, or lose their still, deep Indigo blue shade to look truly 'cool'. Oh well.

Once again - THANK YOU Major, for continuing the daily tradition of GDB for 10 long years, and creating a tight-knit community of informative, funny and good-natured followers. Undoubtedly the tone you've set with your own commentary has paved the way for this (oft times) unique blog. I look forward to whatever you choose to bring to us each day. Thanks so much.

Graffer said...

Congrats on 10. Here's to 10 more.

Unknown said...

Gigantic thanks, Major. I'm a relative newcomer but have a nice thing going: I have years of posts to view. In addition to a daily treat of wild pics I get to page through years of pics in a Netflix-like binge watch of witty prose and wonderful posts (Hey! Alliteration!) Thanks so much.

Thanks, Nanook for the cools shots. I'd say that I remember that feature out on Tom's Island, but I know from this blog that false memories are always around the corner. No matter, nicely done and big thanks. And for fun there's a cameo by the Richfield Eagle in the fourth image.

Matt said...

Congrats on 10 years! I don't think I've ever commented before, but I read daily. Thanks for the wonderful site. Here's to 10 more!

Pegleg Pete said...

Congratulations on reaching the Tencennial, Major! My days just wouldn't be the same without my daily dose of vintage Disneyland goodness - you really should get some sort of public service award! Thanks too, Nannook. I'm looking forward to your recently-discovered photographs.

Pegleg Pete said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that that Tomorrowland shot from the Skyway is a real stunner!

Gnometrek said...

Happy anniversary! Thank you for 10 great years. My moring .... first Gorillas don't blog ... than coffee. You and your "regulars" are the best.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Major, congrats on the Major feat of putting up with the mundane tasks of color correction and lint/speck removal for the high pay of nothing. Haveing done it for a living (actual pay) in the 1980's I know how frustrating it can be when the slides/photos are in sorry shape.

You manage to brighten our days and for that we are eternally gratefull. Thanks to you and everyone who has contributed media from their own collections to be displayed here for all of us to enjoy.

I hope we can all keep digging a little deeper, find that missing batch of photographic gems that we can share with you (and all GDB viewers) to keep you going for a lot longer. Thanks again.

Scott Lane said...

Congratulations on Ten Happy Years!
I know you never expected to make it this long and we couldn't be more happy that you were wrong. Thank you so much for all your tireless (except for those photos of cars that actually have tires) efforts to entertain us and make us forget the idiocy and confusion of today's world, even if just for a few minutes. One can truthfully say you're an unqualified success! (because, after all, where would one go to get qualified for this kind of job?) Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Nanook! Out of the North and into the grave! Cool pics! (taken just 4 months before I was born)
I can't recall seeing those graves, either, but our first trip to DL wasn't until '74. Maybe they were gone.

That space suit looks so much like Destination: Moon's that I'd be willing to go out on a limb and say it probably IS one that was made for D:M and purchased or rented by Disney for use in the park. Either that or it was sewed from the same patterns.

Irene said...

Congratulations on this milestone! Going to this blog is a daily activity for me and I love all the interesting things you find and post for us to enjoy. Many bring back such fond memories of my childhood. And it was great to meet you a couple of months back :)

DKoren said...

Happy Anniversary! Thank you so much for all the years of posting! Your page is still the must-see of every morning for me. I love seeing the Disneyland my parents grew up with and still talk about, and some of the later pics from the 70's evoke my own memories.

Dig that space suit!

Chuck said...

There probably isn't any more to that Skyway slide hidden under the mount. "Half-frame" cameras that only exposed half as much film per exposure when compared to a regular 35mm camera were fairly common at mid-century. They allowed the photographer to take twice as many photos on the same roll of film, although there was a corresponding sacrifice in image size and quality when enlarged.

I'm surprised the concept didn't have more of a following, particularly now that we know that the public was willing to sacrifice quality for convenience based on the popularity of the 16mm 110 Pocket Instamatic cameras in the '70s. It's also funny to think that during WWII, 35mm was considered a "miniature" format and eschewed by combat photographers in favor of 620 and 120 roll film cameras (think Kodak Medalist I) or even 4x5 Speed Graphics.

It's also interesting to note how image shape drives composition and the way a photographer thinks, especially if the print will be a different shape than the negative or slide.

But enough technobabble - today is a day of celebration! Thanks so much, Major, for sticking with this blog - and this community - for so many years. Your pictures and commentary really do brighten our days - some darker than others - and provide a creative and informational outlet for the rest of us. Your collection contributes more to the preservation and dissemination of theme park and mid-century ephemera than I think most of us realize. That you continue to do this willingly, cheerfully, and free of charge (to us at least, not to you) on a daily basis through some rough days of your own says a lot about your character. I'm proud to virtually know you. Keep up the great work!

Now...where are the candles dancing on the giant cake?

K. Martinez said...

I can't decide on which is my favorite of these photos today. The K7 Spaceman and flight attendants photos is awesome. Love the coloring of the spacesuit. Such a nice close up of the Fred Gurley showing its detail and the Skyway shot is a visual feast. Love the Tomorrowland Viewliner detail lettering on the loco too. And then there's Nanook and Friend in their early graves. What a pair of pics that is. I love 'em all!

Again, Major. You have truly created something special here with Gorilla's Don't Blog. I can't thank you enough.

Nanook, You've made a most awesome debut today. What a great pair of photos of you and your friend at Disneyland. Your photos illustrate the simple fun that Disneyland once was. I'm really looking forward to more of your family photo trips to Disneyland.

DrGoat said...

Happy 10th. Always looking forward to checking things
out every morning. That pic of the Viewliner is my favorite
too. And yes, Nanook, thanks for all the neat photos.
Glad you guys are around 'cause We went to Disneyland
many times in the 50s-60s, but my parents were not big
picture takers, so the pics on your site are welcome memory
joggers. Can't say I remember the graves on Tom
Sawyer's Island at all. Scoped out that island pretty good
when I was a youngster and have no memory of them.

dennis said...

Major- Thanks for all you do. Happy Tencennial!
Dennis- Levittown NY

Tom said...

Happy Tencennial! Wow, has it been ten years already? How the time flies. I'm with the others: Here's to ten more! You keep posting 'em, we'll keep coming and checking them out.

You really saved some great gems for your 10th today - clear, crisp and vibrant with motion and life. Except for the ones of the kids in the graves (Wow, one of our own?!) - not as much in the life department.

Thank you for ten years of dedication to your craft!

Major Pepperidge said...

Thanks for all the nice comments, everybody!

Anonymous said...

Golly, I'm late to the party.

Happy Anniversary, Major. Many thanks for your efforts. Like the other commenters, I enjoy the conversations as much as the pictures.

These photos really are wonderful. I vote for the spaceman, of course.

Since I use Google docs at work, I am always signed in under another account so now post anonymously and my spaceman avi doesn't show up anymore.

Best regards to all.


zach said...

Happy Anniversary, Major, from a sometime commentator but longtime reader! The photos are wonderful reminders of our own times at DL and the commentary is great. Thank you, sir.


Unknown said...

Congrats on 10 amazing years! There are very few websites that I make a point to visit everyday, and yours is one of them.

The scans you've shared have been incredible, and are frequently of things you don't see anywhere else! Plus, the write-up and the comments are always fun to read.

Here's to another 10 years!

Steve DeGaetano said...

I almost missed this!

Happy Tencennial, Major! Here's to a job well done.

Absolutely LOVE the shot of the Gurley! The fireman has a nice, clean fire, which allows him the luxury of stepping away from the controls; however, the engineer has committed a minor sin by not putting the engine in neutral while stopped (denoted by the angled steel lever beneath the running boards and between the drivers. We can also just make out the brass "air ringer" on the bell that freed up the fireman from the "laborious" task of hand-ringing the bell! Tugging on the rope can get so tiresome!

Michaeland said...

Isn't 10 years officially forever in Internet time? The photos are treasures I enjoy daily...the deadpan commentary keeps me coming back to crack up regularly. "Catchin' little pieces of time, makin' your and makin' em mine". Many thanks!

Anonymous said...

What a milestone. Congrats!! May the new images of the 'old' Disneyland of our youth continue to brighten this blog and lighten our spirits. It's greatly appreciated. KS

Matt G. said...

Congratulations on 10 years!! I'm eagerly awaiting the next 10!

walterworld said...

Good Show!

Thanks so much. Along with The 'E' Ticket, I'd say your Blog is the most important archive and treasure of Disneyland history out there.

Thank you for the DAILY updates. It takes some amazing dedication to post that frequently. 10 years? Wow...has it really been that long?

Anyhow, thanks!

Major Pepperidge said...

Once again, I would like to thank everyone for their great comments! I appreciate it very much.

MRaymond said...

I'm a little late but congratulations on the first ten years. The gravesite photo started me digging and I found one taken in 76 or 77 during a high school trip. Though I don't post very often I do check in every day. Congrats again.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

DANG! Is there any cake left?!
That last line about the faithful readers really convicted me Major. Seeing as I missed the celebration by an entire day. I’m SO glad I found this blog, and I am SO thankful that you pour your heart into making it so much fun to read. I’ve said it way too many times in the past, but I have no intentions of stopping anytime soon, it’s your off the charts awesome sense of humor that keeps me coming back.

ALWAYS a great joy!

Thanks also for celebrating ten years with our friend Nanook. There’s no other reader who deserves the honor more. Thank you too Nanook for all your contributions.

WANT! WANT! WANT! just want that spacesuit! But if I can’t have it I’ll gladly take the Fred Gurley as a consolation prize.

Can’t thank you enough for all your hard work. Happy tenth, Major!

Matthew said...

Holy smokes! Does that mean I have been wasting company time for almost 10 years now visiting your blog?! Don't let HR know... wait... I am HR!

All the best David and keep up the great work... and fine humor!

Finally, don't forget, "Enjoy life! Eat out more often." Wisdom I once discovered on a pack of sugar, and shared regularly on the Jungle Cruise.

Always your pal,
Amazon Belle

Mark H. Besotted said...

I'd like to add my own belated comment. Congrats, Major, on another milestone, and thanks so much for all your hard work.

Kyle said...

Hey Major! I, too, am late to party, having just caught up with your blog posts of the past few days. A hearty congratulations on your ten year anniversary of blogging! Generally speaking, I check your blog on a daily basis & always get something awesome to read & learn about. I've always appreciated your sense of humor that you include in each post. I do apologize for not being one to regularly comment on your daily posts but please do not take it personally. As it is, I'm at least 3 years behind in a "note-to-self", so this should give you an idea. Anyhow, thank you so much for all that you share with us & all your labor of love that goes into your blog. Trust me, it is very much adored & appreciated!! Here's to another great decade!