Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The Plaza, May 1962

Here are two photos from 1962, taken in the general vicinity of the Plaza. 

We'll start with this pretty shot looking toward Sleeping Beauty Castle. The landscaping is really lovely, plenty of green, with points of bright, colorful flowers; after only seven years Walt's park had gone from "rough around the edges" to a truly beautiful place. ( I think I see a fire hydrant peeking up from behind those evergreen bushes).

Two fellows (father and son?) stand near a Kodak "Picture Spot", because that's where to be if they want to look like professionals! 

Over at the Carnation Plaza Gardens, guests enjoy an old-fashioned band concert beneath the striped tent. Is that Vesey Walker conducting? I don't recognize him without his hat! 

One of the things I like about this photo is the way you can see further back than usual, all the way to the attraction posters on the far wall. I also like the way the Carnation paper cups are such a vivid red!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Birthday at Travel Town!

GDB pal Steve Stuart sent along a few black and white snapshots that were very appealing to me. Not only did the photos feature photos of a great kid's birthday party circa June 1956, but they were taken at "Travel Town" in Griffith Park, Los Angeles! Travel Town is a transportation museum with lots of huge (non-operational) locomotives on display. I went there on a whim about a year ago, and was charmed by it all over again.

 Here's a really fun one, showing a whole gaggle of kids, including Steve, pointing at his cheek. He said, " appears I'm either showing off a new tooth, or gesticulating with my right index finger, while undoubtedly extolling the gathering with all of my five-year-old wisdom". 

Griffith Park is a beautiful place to visit, popular with joggers and cyclists, and is also home to the Los Angeles Zoo. It's also where Walt used to take his daughters, and where (so the story goes) he was inspired to build his own amusement park.

Just look at how huge that engine is in the background - that staircase must be at least six feet high.

There's the cake - frosted with an awesome train image! "Looking through my other birthday party pictures, where birthday cakes from Ralph’s were prominently featured (and back then – ALL Real Ingredients), I was thinking this cake also came from Ralph’s.  But based on the ‘generic’ look of the cake “Happy Birthday”, it more-resembles a cake provided by Travel Town as part of the party".

Seems like a pretty solid theory. Now I want a piece of cake.

I'm almost positive that I walked through this particular train car during my recent visit, though there were no tables - it was empty. I mostly remember how spongy the wood floor felt - most of the trains and rolling stock at Travel Town need a lot of TLC after many decades out in the elements. Steve says, "....beyond identifying my mom on the far left of the interior shot in the “dining” car, about to deliver a slice of birthday cake to an invited guest - whose identity is a mystery - I can’t ID anyone else in the photos.  (So much for keeping friends for a lifetime beginning at age 5-!).

Amazingly, Steve still has his ticket stub.

Continuing with the Travel Town theme, I thought I would add this scan of a slide from July, 1959, with a trio of gangstas posing next to two amazing old locomotives. If the color looks weird, it's because I did my best to restore it from its magenta state.

I wanted to find contemporary photos of the same locomotives, and had success at "Sharp and Fellows #7 was built in 1902 by ALCO. It used to be a 2-6-0 when it was owned by its former owner, Minnesota Land & Construction Co. Sharp and Fellows bought the engine in 1909, and added the extra wheels (making it a 2-6-2). This engine helped create the Santa Fe line from Kansas to California before Sharp and Fellows donated the locomotive to Travel Town in 1954".

Also seen in the 1959 scan is the ATSF #664. "....donated in 1953, this 1899 Baldwin2-8-0 Consolidation started out as #891, an ATSF class 664. It had the small 57" drivers and was an oil burner that developed a boiler pressure of 180 psi and generated a tractive force of 33,145 lb. This lucky locomotive survived at Travel Town while most of the other class members were scrapped before WW II. Unknown photographer. The day in July, 1953 is approximate".

Thanks to Steve Stuart for sharing his fun birthday photos!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Columbia, February 1961

Happy Memorial Day!

I love this first shot of the Columbia on the Rivers of America - it has just set sail - with no sails! Maybe all of those colorful nautical flags provided enough propulsion. Notice that the Mark Twain is berthed at Fowler's Harbor. This being 1961, Frontierland still had that wonderful frontier feeling, with minimal construction along the northwest shore. 

The photo was taken from the bridge that went over the water as it transitioned from Frontierland to Adventureland's "Rivers of the World" (see a photo of that bridge at this old post). One raft is heading to Tom Sawyer Island, while another rests beneath us - it's February, after all. The Plantation House is to our left! 

This might not be as cool as a rare photo of the Viewliner, or the Tomorrowland Boats, but it is a beauty to me.

From the same batch is this other lovely photo with the Columbia as it is just about to pass Cascade Peak and Big Thunder Falls. Look at all the people on the ship!  

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Snoozer Sunday

Are you tired of looking at good pictures of Disneyland? Have you had it up to *here* with interesting images of rarely-photographed subjects? Do you argue with your spouse about "Which picture is better"? Well, I'm here to help! I have two really lame photos for you to solve all of your problems, and to bring World Peace to everybody.

Well whaddaya know, it's the FIV. That's "Friendly Indian Village" to you. As a kid I always thought that living in a teepee looked pretty fun, especially if it was in Frontierland. Sure, you have to scrape a few buffalo hides, but you also get to eat all the jerky you want. I wonder if they have vegan jerky? 

This one was almost a reject, but ultimately I kind of liked the rosy sky and the barely-visible Toad Hall. From this angle, the Dumbo attraction seems like it is in the wrong place. Notice that "Fan 2" (?) is closed up.

I am reminded of Rene Magritte's "Empire of Light" paintings...

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Random Roadside, Etc.

This one is kind of all over the place. Literally! I'm using up some old scans, but I think that you will enjoy the offerings.

Let's start with this view of a motel; the slide is undated and unlabeled, so the location is a mystery. I'm guessing that this is from the very early 1960's... Nanook should have a good time IDing the cars!

This next one, dated 1960, was also a mystery, but I loved the little abandoned gas station next to that hill. For some reason the scenery looked a little bit familiar....

....I'm not 100% certain, but I think that this scene (thanks, Google Street View) from Jackson Hole, Wyoming might show the same hillside, though of course the gas station is long gone. What do you think?

And speaking of Jackson Hole, I've had several scans of old slides from that location on this blog, and this next photo is yet another one. Again, love the old gas station. I tried to find this street on Google Maps, and I know I was close, but I couldn't find any scene that matched this enough to be sure if I was in the exact spot. Of course it has changed a lot.

And finally, here's an oddball photo of a camper trailer, owned by an Anglophile. "Lorelie", I'm sure that means something to somebody who wasn't raised by raccoons like me. Does the painted musical phrase have something to do with "Lorelei"? 

It doesn't look like they are anywhere very glamorous - that appears to be a man-made pond or reservoir in the background. But... it has a certain charm to it, anyway.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Pack Mules, February 1961

Looking at today's Frontierland, it almost seems hard to believe that there used to be a time when guests could ride a gentle, trustworthy mule through a spectacular wilderness. But it really happened, by gum! I have the pictures to prove it.

In the early days there was just the "Rainbow Desert", but by 1961, the fabulous "Nature's Wonderland" had hatched. And you could view the many amazing sights from a Mine Train, or from the back of a mule. Each had its own particular charms.

I guess there was no height limit, because this buckaroo is less than pint-sized. I'll bet this was a new sensation, riding this living, breathing, swaying critter. His brow is furrowed, but I'm sure it's more a result of intense concentration than worry.

I wonder how long a trip via mule took? It was probably a pretty leisurely pace, giving guests time to really soak it all in. Of course the Mine Train went through Rainbow Caverns at the end, while the mules did not.

That lucky cuss, he's about to see bears, battling elk, geysers, a saguaro forest, wild pigs, rattlesnakes, antelope, beavers, and crazy rock formations. I'll trade places with you anytime, Tex!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New York World's Fair, August 1964

Welcome back to the World's Fair! I need to scan more of my Fair slides - there is still a good amount to share with you.

Monorails are just cool; the original Disneyland Monorail is the coolest, but I love the AMF Monorail that was at the Fair, too. Of course one major difference is that it was suspended from the track, unlike the Disney versions or the one in Seattle. In this photo, a Monorail (with no passengers?) has just left the interesting, angular station; our photographer was standing on the pedestrian bridge that crossed above the Long Island Expressway. The buff-colored tent was part of the Continental Circus exhibit - the circus did not survive past the 1964 season; in 1965 the area became Continental Park. To our extreme left, I think I see a Tilt-a-Whirl! It is the Amusement Zone, after all.

This next photo was taken from the Monorail itself, looking down on the Amusement Zone. You can see the spinning "Jaycopter" ride to the right, and the Flume Ride just to the left of center. Just past the Jaycopter you can see the Belgium Pavilion, and on the left edge the huge canopy of the Futurama exhibit is visible. 

Zooming in, I'm not entirely sure what that group of small covered structures is - possibly just an assortment of snack and souvenir stands. Right in the center of the photo you can see a Mold-a-Rama machine, where guests could watch as a plastic dinosaur toy was cast while they watched! I loved those machines. They had some in fine working order at the Los Angeles Zoo until fairly recently (I always got a gorilla, naturally), but they were gone the last time I went. Why??

Here's a photo of three Mold-a-Rama machines from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Another reason to go (as if I needed more)!

This next one is more "Fair-related" than from the actual World's Fair - there were two locations from which Fair visitors could take an "Aquafoil" - a hydrofoil boat, able to hold 72 passengers - back and forth from Manhattan and the Bronx to Queens (where the Fair was located).

This poor woman probably does not realize that her massive brain is exposed to the elements! She needs no boats to cross the water... her psychokinetic abilities enable her to fly.

Here's a page from the June 7th, 1964 edition of the Chicago Tribune, with the story of the amazing Aquafoil!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Two from 1999

Here are two more 1999 photos from our friend Mr. X! We'll start with this nice shot of the Matterhorn, looking suitably impressive. It's surrounded by palm trees, just like the one in Switzerland! The thing that makes this photo slightly unusual is the glimpse of a Rocket Rod running along what used to be the Peoplemover track. 

From all accounts, ridership for the Peoplemover was way down by the mid-1990's. Seems hard to believe, but anything is possible. It is unfortunate that the Rocket Rods turned out to be something of a debacle; perhaps it was rushed into being? In spite of its ignominious end, I can't bring myself to hate it - I just wish we had our Peoplemover!

One of my favorite spots in Disneyland is the Snow White Grotto, with the Wishing Well nearby. The splashing water, gleaming white (fiberglass) statues, the squeaky voice of Snow White singing "I'm Wishing"... love it. I always bring approximately $6000 in change to toss into the well.

Mr. X said he would prefer it if there weren't so many people in this photo, but I like the way it is. It is very much like the kind of photo you might see in a souvenir guidebook.

Thank you to Mr. X for these great photos from 18 years ago.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Life Savers Building, Port Charles NY

Here's something kind of different! Steve Stuart ("Nanook") put together this little photo essay (with words of course) featuring the factory that made Life Savers candies for so many years. Even today I like Life Savers a lot - I remember messily crunching Wint-O-Green Life Savers in the dark bathroom so that I could see the mysterious sparks that would result ("triboluminescence") in the mirror. I was also particularly fond of the wild cherry and tangerine flavors, and my grandma often had a roll of "Butter Rum" candies in her purse. Here's Steve:


Sometime [I’m guessing] around 1984, and undoubtedly through a Disney connection of some sort, I ended-up meeting someone who had recently been in Port Chester, New York, and took several pictures of the original Life Savers factory, and happily sent me copies of those images of the building’s exterior.

As you are about to see, a part of the rather lovely original architecture of the building (1920) has been decidedly upstaged by five appendages in the form of giant Life Savers rolls.  On the side of the building running parallel to North Main Street, three Life Savers rolls are featured – which appear to be Pep-O-Mint, Orange and [perhaps] Wint-O-Green. 

And on the Horton Avenue side, Wild Cherry & the Five Flavor rolls are strutting their stuff. 

As you can see from this postcard view from around 1939, if compared to the current day view, during 1948-1949 the factory was enlarged along Horton Ave.

And here’s my “translation” of the message written on the reverse-side of the post card:  Print your name for me.  Dear friend.  I reed (sic) card.  Very glad to exchange (?) with you.  Do you like pen pals.  Perhaps we could be good friends.  I will have to send to N.Y. City to get a card with state capitol on it.  I like views and water views.  Sincerely.  Those of us who collect post cards are quite familiar with odd-ball messages, or more commonly – ‘the best laid plans’: messages started, never finished, and never mailed.  As you can see, in this case, the card was successfully mailed to Prospect, Ohio.

As an aside to the factory building itself, here’s a little bit of Life Savers trivia…
The Life Savers factory moved to Holland, MI., around 1984, when they abandoned their original home in Port Chester and in 2002 moved to Montreal, Qu├ębec, Canada.  (And at some point in their history, there was also a factory in San Jose, CA.)  I hadn't realized their checkered ownership past, including Beech-Nut (E.R. Squibb); Nabisco; Kraft; and now Wrigley's - which essentially means M&M Mars - as they own Wrigley's.  These days, Life Savers continues to offer their ‘traditional’ flavors in hard candy, but has also added Life Savers Gummies.  Here are some blast-from-the-past flavors:  "Wint-O-Green, Cl-O-Ve, Lic-O-Rice, Cinn-O-Mon, Vi-O-Let, Choc-O-Late, and Malt-O-Milk – not to mention Cola & Musk-!  In 1935, the classic "Five-Flavor" rolls were introduced, offering a selection of five different flavors (pineapple, lime, orange, cherry, and lemon) in each roll.  This flavor lineup was unchanged for nearly 70 years, until 2003, when three of the flavors were replaced in the United States, making the rolls pineapple, cherry, raspberry, watermelon, and blackberry.  However, orange was subsequently reintroduced and blackberry was dropped. (The original five-flavor lineup is still sold in Canada). In the late 1930s and early 1940s, four new mint flavors were introduced: Molas-O-Mint, Spear-O-Mint, Choc-O-Mint and Stik-O-Pep".  Who-O-Knew-??

Following Life Savers move to Michigan, a developer purchased the building and converted it into a 198-unit condominium, re-christened “1 Landmark Square”, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

And now for something completely different…. apparently on that same trip, our photographer was passing through Hellam Township, Pennsylvania, (very close to York, PA) and happened on Shoe House Road (and why not-?) and this unique roadside attraction.  According to our friends at Wikipedia, The Haines Shoe House was built in 1948 as a form of advertisement by Mahlon Haines, a shoe salesman – often referred to as “The Shoe Wizard”.  The house is 25 feet tall and contains five stories (I guess you have to ‘lower your head and watch your step’ while traipsing-through the house, or not-?), and at one time was rented out to couples.  Presently it’s open for public tours.  Haines had the building built by handing a work boot to an architect saying, “Build me a house like this”.  Geez – the exact same way Walt had Disneyland built-! 

THANK YOU to Steve Stuart for this fascinating side trip down Candy (and shoe) Lane!

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Snapshots from 1963

Here are three more snapshots from 1963, featuring a red-haired kid who reminds me so much of a childhood friend of mine (are you out there, Ronnie Smith?).

First up is this heroic portrait of our boy, as he stands near the Wenmac "Thimble Drome" Flight Circle. "Mad Max: Beyond Thimble Drome". I can practically hear the whine of tiny combustion engines! Maybe our old friend Cox Pilot was demonstrating the itty-bitty boats, cars and airplanes that day.

Is the kid wearing a classic "ugly Christmas sweater"? I had one very much like it.

We're still near the Flight Circle, with a nice view of the Skyway and nearly-empty entrance to the Tomorrowland Autopia (perhaps it was down for maintenance?). Note the purple merchandise bag, I have a small one with that design, but need a large one just like that! Who knows what wonders it held - maybe an animation cel from the Art Corner from "Sleeping Beauty", "Alice in Wonderland", or "Lady and the Tramp".

Yes, if I was that boy, I'd be smiling too; the original Submarine Voyage was a pretty great ride, especially when you were his age. In just a few years, the "New Tomorrowland" would debut - I wonder if this kid ever saw it like that? For all we know he was from Delaware or Maine, or some other far-flung locale.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

SBC, 1963

Hoo boy, today's photos are so "meh" that it was probably not even worth the time it took you to get to this page. BUT... I scanned 'em, so I'm going to post 'em. You know how it goes for GDB Sundays. Come back tomorrow, I promise it will be better!

SO... two photos of Sleeping Beauty Castle - surely one of the most (if not THE most) photographed object at Disneyland. These particular photos went very dark, and in lightening them up, they got weird looking. See how the foreground trees have dark "haloes" around them? It all feels very evil.

This one is less evil, but equally boring.