Friday, September 30, 2016

Stagecoach, 1957

I really love today's first photo - an excellent picture of the Disneyland Stagecoach, pulled by 4 smaller-than-usual horses (they used to be regular sized but Monsanto shrunk them, in an early demonstration of their experimental technology). They wouldn't be able to pack another soul on board that coach... no wonder they were so tippy. Perhaps they should have added some ballast to the underside. 

In the background is wonderful Rainbow Ridge, and (mostly in shadow) folks waiting to ride a pack mule.

Let's zoom in a bit, shall we? Notice that this particular stagecoach is of the "mud wagon" variety, slightly more boxy in shape, with large openings on the side for better sight lines and ventilation. I think that's Ward Bond driving the coach. Notice the "Keppy Cap" to our extreme right. Why aren't you noticing it??

Meanwhile, over on Tom Sawyer Island, we get this nice shot of a never ending line of guests as they march across the suspension bridge. Was the bridge built by Tom, Huck, and Joe Potter? Their advanced degrees in structural engineering came in pretty handy, I'd say!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Walt Disney World - 1977 Resort Guide, Part 4

Ken Martinez has lots of stuff to share with us in the future, but today is the last part (of four) featuring his vintage WDW guide:

Walt Disney World - Resort Guide 1977 (part 4)

Today's final post from the "Walt Disney World - Resort Guide" features the community of Lake Buena Vista. It's actually an incorporated city located in Orange County on the Walt Disney World property.

The Treehouse and Vacation Villas were located in the community of Lake Buena Vista and provided a fuller living space including more amenities for WDW vacationers.

The Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village was also located in Lake Buena Vista. This was the first commercial/shopping/dining complex on the WDW property. Flashier establishments and entertainment complexes have followed, like Pleasure Island, Downtown Disney and now Disney Springs.

Here we have a map of the Lake Buena Vista Community. As shown here is was a pretty simple area compared to what it has become today. What's missing from this map is the Hotel Plaza which hosted four to five non-Disney owned hotels.

In the final page spread of this booklet are advertisements for three different attractions within Walt Disney World, the "Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village", later to be called "Walt Disney World Village", the newly opened "River Country" at Fort Wilderness Campground and "Treasure Island" which was located on Bay Lake between the Fort Wilderness and Contemporary Resort shores. Both River Country and Treasure Island are now a part of WDW's past.

Well readers, that completes it for this booklet. I hope you enjoyed this set of posts on Walt Disney World's early resort complex. Coming up I'll be sharing guide booklets to the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT Center. Stay tuned.

Thanks to Ken Martinez, once again, I appreciate all of his efforts very much! I sure wish I could have seen the Florida park back in its first decade - of course it has expanded, and in many ways it has improved, but like Disneyland, the early years had a certain look and feel that is long gone now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Devlin Family Photos - Universal Studios, 1970's

I have a lot of fondness for Universal Studios in the 1970's. Who remembers when Alfred Hitchcock did commercials for the park? 

The Devlin family has about a dozen pictures from Universal, I think you'll get a kick out of them!

We'll start with this photo, showing a young woman being carried off by Frankenstein's monster (though his friends -like me- call him "Frankie"). She doesn't look very worried. As a kid I always looked forward to seeing Frankie, or the Phantom at least. Meanwhile the couple in the background is breaking at least 3 laws by carrying a bag from Disneyland.

I can't tell if the girl is one of the Devlin sisters (Judy or Mary) all grown up; or it could be a girlfriend of one of the boys. If only there was someone who could tell us!

The "Glamor Trams" took visitors on a 2+ hour guided tour of Universal's historic backlot... I sure loved it! Among the sights was a particularly cozy (and oddly familiar) street known as "Colonial Street" - later "Wisteria Lane". This house (the "Dana Home") was used in a 1941 Deanna Durbin film called "Nice Girl", and Ronald Reagan lived there in "Bedtime for Bonzo" in 1951. It was later used in "Desperate Housewives" - a show I managed to miss completely.

I believe that this next house is one that was built for the 1955 movie, "The Desperate Hours", and was known at the time as the "Paramount House". It was apparently used in the third season of "Leave it to Beaver", as well as "Marcus Welby, M.D." From what I gather, this house was moved to another part of the lot, and a different home was built for the 1985-1989 series, "Still the Beaver", which was way better than that crummy old black and white original show.

Here's a familiar view from the upper backlot looking down on the lower lot, with "Park Lake" and "Little Europe". Note the riverboat in the lake. In 1973 the "Parting of the Red Sea" effect was built there, so presumably this is pre-73. Past the Lakeside Golf Course you can see Warner Studios, and just above that, the Walt Disney Studios. Beyond the Verdugo Hills is the end of the Earth.

Zooming in a bit, you can see the riverboat in the lower left. The empty concrete channel for the Los Angeles River (the most beautiful river in the world!) can be seen. Near the riverboat you can just see a small homestead that appears to be stuck in a perpetual winter...

...and here it is up close! I can't find anything about this feature - was it built strictly for the tour, or was it used in a move? "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and Then Makes Snow Cones Out of Real Snow But They Taste Kinda Funny". The snow looks very convincing.

Many thanks to the Devlin family - there will be another batch of Universal Studios photos coming up next week!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tom's Treehouse & Indian Village, April 1960

Back in 1960, Disneyland only had one treehouse, and it was on Tom Sawyer Island. While you can only see part of the trunk, let's all sit back and appreciate the verisimilitude that was achieved by the Imagineers. I'll give you a few minutes...

...there, now I'm sure you feel relaxed and at peace with the world. The blonde kid is trying like heck to look natural, but he's failing miserably. "Come on Pete, you look like a mannequin! Smile, but don't look at the camera. Why are your arms so stiff? Is your right foot nailed to the ground? Why can't you be cool like Arthur Fonzerelli?". Pete needed a lot of therapy in later years.

Or maybe he was just trying to pose next to the carved tribute to the love between Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher. I like my first theory better.

There's that Friendly Indian Village I've heard so much about. And you know what? It does look friendly. Maybe a little TOO friendly. I don't trust anybody who's that friendly. The last time I did I wound up with a garage full of Amway products.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Knott's Berry Farm, January 1967

I love old photos of Knott's Berry Farm; but today's examples were juuuuust barely worth sharing. Dark, not super clear, and each slide had a gypsy curse that causes me to turn into a wolf when the moon is full. But then I remembered that I'm doing this blog for free! Might as well post them.

All of today's images are date-stamped "January, 1967", but I'll wager that they were actually shot sometime in '66. The star of all of the photos is the little girl in the blue dress and bright red cowboy hat. She's pretty cute, even when blurry - taking photos from the back of a mule can be tricky. Unfortunately the camera's focus is on the guy with the cigarette. "If I smoke fast enough, I can have two before my wife finds me!". 

Golly, Knott's really does have a gang problem. Look at these hoodlums! See the girl with the green shirt? Each flower on her pants represents somebody that she killed in prison. I believe that the rather ugly structure they are passing is the back of the Timber Mountain Log Ride, but I know that somebody (TokyoMagic!) will correct me if I'm wrong. 

Meanwhile, if you ever go to an amusement park with a little kid, have him/her wear a red hat - you can see them from a mile away.

I'm not sure I've ever seen a photo of that lumpy wooden Indian before; our little princess needed to rest her feet, that looked like as good a place as any to sit a spell. You can tell by her expression that she is puzzled by that red thing - is it a table for Commies?


GDB reader/contributor "TokyoMagic!" has shared two photos from his personal archives that are similar to the last two in today's post. As he pointed out in his comment, the second photo actually shows the back of the Calico Mine Train building (not the Log Ride). That's TM's brother (not a young John Gotti) behind the white blob.

And next is a wooden Indian that is similar to the one in the third photo, and yet it is in fact a different carving. It certainly seems to have been done by the same artist, however. Thanks to TokyoMagic! for sharing his photos!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Rejects - Unrejected

Today's "unrejected" rejects are not very inspiring (which is why they were rejected in the first place), but they're better than nothing!

This first one is from January 5, 1957, and we're looking across the river toward Tom Sawyer Island and Fort Wilderness, with a canoe gliding over the water. The shadows are very dark, but a Keelboat can be seen at rest, with a barely-visible Fowler's Harbor behind it. I wonder if the photographer had just left the Indian Village (which closed at dusk) and snapped this shot while walking back through Frontierland?

Here's a very murky shot of a Keelboat from July, 1958. It's really zipping along! I always love it when the passengers on the lower level decided to lean (or sit) outside of the boat - presumably it was OK with the cast members. I think the folks in the lower right are on one of the rafts to the Island, but have no idea what that very thick bundle of ropes is from.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Atlantic City, New Jersey - 1940

I have a small group of very old color slides, circa 1940. And while the color on them isn't great, good old Photoshop has helped to restore them. There's nothing particularly exciting about either of the images, but it is still fun to get a glimpse of things as they were 75 years ago.

All of the other slides in this batch were taken in Atlantic City (New Jersey), so I am assuming that this one is from there as well - but there's not much to go on. Perhaps that distinctive building in the distance will be a clue for somebody.  Anyway, I get a kick out of this trio - those ladies and their hats, one woman proudly wearing her mink coat, the other wearing a stole of, what, sable? Fox? Perhaps they are waiting for a cab, though the streets look so empty, it looks like a Sunday morning.

This next one is from the famous Boardwalk, with three happy ladies squinting in the late-afternoon sun. It must be a chilly day - I'll bet that on a warm day this place was packed with visitors!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Beautiful Town Square, 1957

Happy Friday, homies! Let's go back in time - not to 1957, but to somewhere in the midwest, in the early 20th century. It was a simpler time, when a ride in a horseless carriage was an exciting event.

I love this first colorful photo of the Disneyland Band, gathered 'round the flagpole for an afternoon performance. It's the 100 year-old version of a Beatles concert, only with less shrieking and fainting from the audience (less shrieking, but still some). 

I love the vermillion jackets on the musicians, they really "pop". Vesey Walker isn't leading the band this day; nobody could wave a baton like he could. Looks like the little girl to our left is frolicking around that tree - she has no appreciation for the music of John Philip Sousa. 

We get more great color in this second photo; the Chemical Wagon is making its way up to the Plaza - it's interesting to me that the two passengers are standing. It must have been a very smooth ride. To our left is the sign for International Street, while a doorway leading backstage is open.

The man on the back of the Chemical Wagon is lost in contemplation. Last night he dreamt that a robot of Abraham Lincoln was performing in the Opera House - what a crazy idea! No more Welsh rarebit before bed.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Walt Disney World - 1977 Resort Guide, Part 3

Yo yo yo! It's time for the third installment of Ken Martinez stuff from Florida! 

Walt Disney World - Resort Guide 1977 (Part 3)

Continuing with the "Walt Disney World - Resort Guide" booklet, featured in today's post are the Golf Resort and Fort Wilderness Campground.

The Golf Resort Hotel, which opened in 1973, was the third Disney hotel built on the property. It was also the first Disney hotel that wasn't connected to the monorail system. The resort hotel which was also known later on as "The Disney Inn" is now owned by the United States Department of Defense and used for military personnel on vacation in Walt Disney World. The current name of the hotel is "Shades of Green".

The Golf Resort Hotel was built in between two PGA Championship golf courses, the Palm Course and the Magnolia Course. Featured here is a map of the hotel and the two golf courses. The Golf Resort Hotel wasn't thought of as a "Disney" hotel by the public and it was off the monorail line so it didn't enjoy the same occupancy rate and success as the Contemporary or Polynesian did. Because of that, Disney changed the theme to "Snow White" and renamed the hotel "The Disney Inn".

Instead of staying at a resort hotel, a family visiting Walt Disney World could "rough" it out at the Fort Wilderness Campground. The place is home to what is probably the most famous show of all of Walt Disney World, "The Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue". In fact I think it is probably the longest running stage show in Disney Parks history.

Featured on these pages is a map of the Fort Wilderness Campground area including the then new River Country, Treasure Island and what I love most, the Wilderness Line layout. The Wilderness Line Steam Train is now a lost piece of Walt Disney World history.

Coming up next: The community of Lake Buena Vista.

As always, my thanks to Ken Martinez for this post!


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Random Disneyland Ephemera

While it's always fun to look at extremely rare Disneyland ephemera, I have a fondness for artifacts that are perhaps a little more common (or recent). Here are a few examples.

Here's a nice lady and her three kids (including evil twin girls!) posing in front of the Official Mouseclubouse Treasury. I assume that this was one of the "Fun Photo" scenes available over in Tomorrowland?

"Come and play with us, Danny!".

This little lucite souvenir is as cute as a bug's ear. It's around 2 inches high, and features a vehicle that you would be more likely to see on Main Street than in Frontierland, but who's complaining? I've only seen one other example, from Tomorrowland (with a little Moonliner) - I wish I had that one too!

If you're like me, you love cigar smoke. The more the better! Which is why a giant novelty cigar is the perfect gift. I've never actually seen one of the cigars, but I do have this rather large label, nearly six inches long and 2.5" wide. Much too big to use as a makeshift wedding band.

And finally, how about a tag from a guided tour, circa 1958? These came in a variety of colors, and for about six seconds I thought I would try to acquire as many hues as possible. Then the oxygen returned to my brain and now I'm good with just this one (though I do have an orange one somewhere). These make swell name tags for those awkward parties where you don't know anyone!

I hope you have enjoyed today's Random Disneyland Ephemera!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

More EPCOT model photos

It's time for the final installment of vintage photos of some EPCOT models, courtesy of Mike Devlin!

We'll start with a look at the model for the France Pavilion. Oo-la-la! (Sorry, I couldn't resist). Mike has explained why these models were painted in shades of gray (to emphasize the forms and layout without being dazzled by distracting color), but it feels like Paris has been dusted with a fine layer of volcanic ash.

Mike said, "The designers used forced perspective to create additional depth for the main avenue (rue?), both in the model and the finished product. My one significant design contribution was relocating the Eiffel Tower from atop the front building where the architects had it, to atop the rearmost building, aiding in the success of the forced perspective". Way to go, Mike!

It's funny, the little plastic people add a surprising feeling of activity, with a painter (France is lousy with them), what might be a flower seller pushing a cart, and various people out for a promenade. Notice the kiosk covered in handbills and posters, as well as the fountains in the distance.

Next we'll look at the Germany Pavilion. The emphasis was on medieval architecture - a castle, half-timbered structures, Northern Renaissance shops, etc. 

I looked at Google Earth, and it appears as if the final pavilion followed this model, at least in the larger details. All of my friends who have visited EPCOT say that the Germany pavilion has some of the best food!

Mike said, "I think we might have had the most fun with this one. The designers asked for an interior model of the biergarten, and we made sure that every man, woman, and child in the building had at least one, and often two huge mugs of beer in hand, complete with sizable heads". Everyone knows how much German kids love beer!

So, that's the end of those cool photos of the amazing models - I wonder if any of the models have survived? Of course they were huge, and storing them would be expensive, so my guess is that many were destroyed. Why not put them on display in their respective pavilions?! 

Many thanks to Mike Devlin for sharing these photos with us! We're almost done with the images donated by the Devlin family, but there are still a few left. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Snapshots, 1974

Here are a few more snapshots from a batch circa 1974!

Let's start out with the most boring of them (and it is REALLY boring). Seriously, why would anyone take this picture! Maybe they were a fan of manicured shrubs.  Way more interesting than that colorful little train!

Next, we get a look at the castle courtyard in Fantasyland, with the Tinker Bell Toy Shop in the background. Check out the groovy girl with the sailor hat and the flares (complete with Cuban heels)! SO 1970's.

This last one is interesting; Dumbo's Flying Elephants is closed for refurbishment, and all of the pachyderms are resting on sawhorses. You can see that the Dumbo with the yellow hat is still lacking some painted face details - I've never seen that in a photo before.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Rejects - Unrejected

Today I'm sharing two slides that originally wound up on the "reject" pile - a mound of slides so large that it can be seen from space with the naked eye! 

Looking at this one (from August 1958) now, I'm not entirely sure why I skipped it. The color is very nice, it's an unusual angle, and it has a nice 1950's feeling. Perhaps I was bothered by the slightly blurry people, but if so it doesn't bug me now. These guests are looking off of the edge-thingy of the Mark Twain doohickey. On shore is the Indian Village, accented with some charming skulls. Notice how high the berm is!

This next one is dated "January, 1962", and once again, it's kind of pretty, and another unusual angle, probably taken just in front of City Hall. The Opera House (decorated for Christmas) catches the last rays of sunlight while the rest of Town Square has taken on some cool evening hues. 

Notice that there are FOUR (count 'em) Horse Drawn Streetcars, and two Omnibuses (not to mention a Horseless Carriage and a horse that was pulling a Surrey). The Bank of America building looks genuinely old, but we know that it was completed less than seven years before this photo was taken.

I hope you have enjoyed today's "unrejects"!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Brussels World's Fair, 1958

Belgium's "Expo 58" was the first World's Fair since the end of World War II - the last ones had been in 1939/1940 in New York and San Francisco. The Fair ran from April 17th to October 19th; one of the goals was to show the world that Europe had overcome the devastation and privations of the war and was ready to lead the way into a bright (and peaceful) future. While trying to research today's photos, I learned that compared to many other World's Fairs, there is relatively little info about Expo 58.

Let's start with this lovely shot of the huge U.S. Pavilion, surrounded by flags or each State. The pavilion actually consisted of 4 buildings, and visitors could experience such wonders as color television (which was still something of a miracle at the 1964 Fair), fashion shows, an electronic computer, and other items that demonstrated "...the American way of life". In addition, there was a "Circarama" film produced by Walt Disney, a tour of the United States. I wonder if it was essentially identical to "America the Beautiful"?

As you can see, the plaza in front of the U.S. Pavilion had a beautiful elliptical full of fountains - I can find no mention of this, but there might have been one fountain for each U.S. State. Notice the people (in heavy coats) gathered in the lower left - presumably the wind was blowing the other direction.

Next is this group of schoolgirls resting their weary feet on a sunnier day. I assume that they were instructed to wear a red and white kerchief as a way of keeping track of all of them. Say, I see two lovely ladies in the distance!

Yeah, those two. I wish I could get a better look!

Hey, thanks! You think these ladies seem relaxed, just look at the guy on his back. He just doesn't care!