Monday, February 27, 2017

Unexpected Gifts!

Many months ago (almost a year, actually) I was the recipient of a rather remarkable gift, thanks to the generosity of longtime GDB reader Irene (hi, Irene!). Irene's brother has been a huge Disneyland fan for years, and during his many trips to the park he took a lot of photos. I mean A LOT! When he moved, there wasn't room for all of his stuff, so Irene asked me if I would be interested in snapshots, mostly from the 1990's. Absolutely! 

So we arranged a meeting place and time - we were like two spies having a covert rendevous. It would probably not surprise you to learn that she is as friendly and nice as can be (as are all of the blog readers that I have met). As for the photos, I expected a shoebox, or perhaps a single binder. But there were FIVE large, heavy binders with many MANY hundreds of photo prints. It was amazing.

Since then I have scanned some 400 photos which will appear on this blog; Irene's brother had an eye for details, so there are pictures of neat signs, construction, short-lived live shows, parking lots, vehicles, and all sorts of unusual stuff. Frankly I was surprised at just how much has changed in the past two decades, and am very happy and grateful to be able to share those photos here.

Today I decided to pick a selection of rather random images, to give you an idea of what's in store for future posts. Like this very neat photo from inside the cab of the C.K. Holliday, looking at the backhead of the boiler, with all of its controls. Disneyland Railroad enthusiast and national treasure  Steve DeGaetano was kind enough to provide some great info, which I am going to share with you guys:

Yes, that is the C.K. Holliday, looking like the engine is waiting at Main Street Station--I can see the bridge railing out the window on the right.  The diagonal silver bar pointing to 2 o'clock is the throttle ("gas pedal")  and the vertical silver bar on the right is the "Johnson Bar" which controls forward/backward movement. The little gauge to the right of the big one is the brake pressure gauge (The needle showing at 10 o'clock is the pressure in the main tanks, the other needle pointing down shows the brakes have been taken off). 

The bright red circular valve to the left is the "steam" to the water glass, which is sort of like a glass tube on a coffee urn that shows the water level in the boiler. The glass itself is hidden behind the brass casing holding the light bulb. The curved pipe going to the glass is coated in gauze soaked in white plaster--an insulation to protect the crewmen from getting burned (the temperature of that pipe is about 350 degrees F). The fireman is adjusting the fuel rate with his left hand on the brass lever. Looks like he's increasing the size of the fire by admitting more fuel (which is what you want to do before leaving a station). 

The two other curved pipes you can see go to the water injectors, which inject water into the boiler even though its under pressure. The speedometer (called the "tach" by CMs) is visible just on the edge of the upper right of the image, measures speed in feet per second. If you could zoom in, you might be able to make out the "SF & D RR" markings on the face--testament to the detail Walt sought to include in DL.

Meanwhile, for those of you interested in the Disneyland Railroad, I strongly recommend Steve's book, "Welcome Aboard The Disneyland Railroad" (with a new improved edition - better info, better photos, better everything!).

This next one is something of a mystery to me; it was clearly taken from outside the park looking in. Plus, the photograph was taken from perhaps 40 or 50 feet up. There is a guard gate in the lower left. It appears that Storybook Land's "Cinderella Castle" is closer to us than the spires from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, which (I think) would place us at the northeast edge of the park looking southwest - so, nowhere near the "Mickey and Friends" structure. Maybe. Those palm trees might be in Tomorrowland. I can't make sense of it.

I am sure you readers will solve this mystery. It's cool that I have no other photos from this very unusual perspective!

This is a familiar view, but I love the fact that the Skyway was still in operation when Irene's brother snapped the photo. Almost all of the photos in this collection are undated, but at least we can tell that this is from before November of 1994, when the Skyway was removed. Bonus points for visible bobsleds!

The fourth and final picture for today features this view from the old pre-DCA parking lot looking toward the ticket booths, with Main Street Station and the horn that matters peeking up. Imagine being able to park just a short walk from the front gate!

MANY THANKS to Irene and her brother!

(Ol' Major Pepperidge might need to lighten up on the use of exclamation points, but they seemed apt for this particular post).


K. Martinez said...

The mystery photo likes like the northwestern corner of the park with the back of Splash Mountain (Chickapin Hill)and the show building for CBJ. The peak of Big Thunder seems to be peaking just left of Splash Mountain. But, that's just a guess.

That's awesome that Irene and her brother have given you you all these photos. I'm really looking forward to them in future posts.

Thanks Irene and brother! And thank you, Major for keeping the show running.

Nanook said...


I remember you mentioning to me your "clandestine" meeting with Irene, I guess almost one year ago. And now the results of that fortuitous moment are being realized.

The shot of the C.K. Holliday boiler, etc., is a beauty. (Thank you, Steve for your all-knowing commentary). I suppose the second image was shot from some non-Disney hotel parking lot near or on Harbor Blvd.-?

Thank you, Irene, for sharing what sounds like a treasure-trove of images that I will be looking forward to seeing.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yeah, my vote for that second pic is the back of Splash Mt. I was going to say that these must have been taken from the DL Hotel, but when you look at a satellite photo, Big Thunder would not end up being to the right of Splash Mt. when drawing a line from the DL hotel over to Splash Mt., so I think Ken is right about this being taken from somewhere northwest of the park. There were and still are some pine trees like that along Ball Rd., so perhaps this was taken from one of the hotels back there. Maybe the Conestoga Inn?

These pics are all so wonderful.....I can't wait to see more from this collection! Thank you to Irene and her brother for these and to Steve for the added info...and to you, Major, for posting them. I say, everything is better with an exclamation point at the end!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ooops, I meant to say that Big Thunder would not end up being to the LEFT of Splash Mt. if it was taken from the DL Hotel!

K. Martinez said...

TM!, yes, I was thinking of a hotel view from the northwest corner looking southeast towards the park. The show building made me think of CBJ so I figured with that and the position of Big Thunder's peak, it was taken from outside the northwest corner of the park.

Major, that hill is too high for Cinderella's Castle in Storybook Land.

And I forgot to add, thank you, Steve, for the extra detailed information.

Pegleg Pete said...

I'm really looking forward to this series of photos. Thanks Irene!

Unknown said...

This is incredibly awesome. Looking forward to many, many posts! Thanks to all involved.

DrGoat said...

Kudos Major. You went that extra mile for these and it is appreciated. Thanks to Irene too.

Joe said...

I think your mystery photo is taken from the Disneyland Hotel towards the park. The parking lot below and the signage look like the old Disneyland Hotel.

Anonymous said...

Big thanks to Major and Irene, the "Irene Team" for wonderful pictures, and to the "Commentary Team" for solving the mysteries.

I'm with Joe on the mystery photo of the day. The signage looks very much like the DH to me.


Irene said...

Well hi there! It was interesting that the Major was living near where I was going to visit my brother (he was (and still is) in a skilled nursing facility unfortunately due to serious health issues, hence the reason for finding a nice home for all those albums). We were both parked near each other but had to find each other via cell phone!!! I am always impressed how he manages to make the most mundane of photos look and sound interesting. To me when I was going through these albums I saw very little of interest and was tempted to just dump them (I know, gasp, but I was under some stress at the time). So it is great to see them getting this kind of love. I am thankful there was someone I could pass them on to that could share them with others who would appreciate them. I wish I could help with dating and locations of some of them but I have no idea and unfortunately my brother would probably not remember. So I am looking forward to seeing more of the photos show up here. What a treat :)

Eric F. said...

Love the pics!
My guess on the second pic is that the photographer was on the monorail either just about to enter the hotel station or just left the hotel station. The hill has to be Splash Mountain with Big Thunder off to its left in the distance. I kinda am leaning towards it about to enter the station as there is another parking lot of sorts on the other side of the trees. You can see what looks like another car parked little over halfway up on the left of the pic. Its hard to tell.
Eric F.

TokyoMagic! said...

Irene, I'm so sorry to hear about your brother. Thank you for rescuing his photos for all of us to enjoy for years (hopefully, Major?) to come.

I think I figured out that second pic. I agree with Joe and JG that the signage and even the security booth look like the DL Hotel. I really don't think it could have been taken from one of the hotel towers because of the alignment of the two park attractions that are visible, but if it was taken from the most northern edge of the roof of the parking structure for the DL Hotel's Convention Center, then everything would line up and Big Thunder would end up on the left of Splash Mt. I think the building we are seeing in the distance is the show building for Splash Mt. The driveway and security booth in the lower left corner of the photo would be the exit out onto Cerritos Ave., which back in the day, was closer to the hotel. They moved it north and renamed it Magic Way during the "resort" construction in the late nineties.

Unknown said...

I think K. Martinez hits it in one! I can sleep tonight. I was all over Google Maps, as I'm prone to do, but the ID on Splash Mountain has me sold. Thanks to all involved for fresh Disneyland mysteries to be solved. Wheee.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I guess I was way off! I would have never guessed that this was near Splash Mountain.

Nanook, it wasn’t that “clandestine”, it just felt that way. Like a drug deal! Yes, it was great to have Steve DeGaetano’s input on that RR photo.

TokyoMagic!, clearly my problem is the thing that I thought was Cinderella Castle from Storybook Land was actually a spire from Big Thunder! DOH.

TokyoMagic!, I’m sure glad I don’t make any mistakes, this must be very embarrassing for you.

K. Martinez, yep, that darn spire/peak thingy. It’s a conspiracy!

Pegleg Pete, there are lots!

Unknown, yes, even skipping all the castle and Mark Twain photos, there are still many to share.

DrGoat, thanks!

Joe, hm, I would have never guessed the Disneyland Hotel!!

JG, gosh, now I’m more confused than before.

Irene, thanks to you! I didn’t want to reveal too much personal stuff about your brother’s situation (hey, I don’t want to reveal stuff about myself!). But of course it is OK if you are comfortable with it. I’m glad that you did not throw the photos in the trash!

Eric F., on the Monorail! Hoo boy. I need to get out a nice aerial photo and try to figure stuff out.

TokyoMagic!, wowee, I really REALLY would have NEVER guessed that the photo was taken from the Disneyland Hotel. I’m going to bow to your expertise - plus you clearly put a lot more thought into it than I did! Thanks.

Patrick Devlin, I started out with a flawed hypothesis, and it screwed me all up from there. Boo.

Steve DeGaetano said...

Thanks everyone!

It's amazing what you can discover just by looking at the details in photos. For instance, in the locomotive photo, the engine crew are both wearing their heavier blue jackets. Since that engine cab can get up to 140 degrees in the summer, we can surmise that this photo was probably taken in a much cooler time of year.

Thanks for posting these Major! Looking forward to seeing the rest.

Nanook said...

@ Steve DeGaetano-

I noticed the same thing and assumed the weather must've been fairly cool.

Dean Finder said...

Looking in the parking lot, I see a blue Chevy Astro / GMC Safari minivan on the left, a Chevy conversion van, a white Mercury Grand Marquis sedan, a Ford Country Squire wagon (with woodgrain trim, natch) and an unidentified gray sedan (I'd need to see it a little better - this is the era when cars really start looking the same).

Major Pepperidge said...

Steve DeGaetano, 140 degrees, yikes. Replace those things with modern, convenient diesel engines!

Nanook, maybe they were dressed for a costume party, did you ever think of that? Huh??

Dean Finder, yes, the cars in the parking lot were definitely less fun to look at by the 1990’s.

Chuck said...

Irene, I'm late to the party, but am looking foraws to the next 100 installments or so. :-)

Thanks so much for sharing your brother's photos with us!

David said...

I often wonder, when I see these old locations of the parking lot before the massive decks they built, what happened to these trees? Where they cut up and hauled away, or were they recycled somewhere else in the park?