Saturday, September 30, 2017


I hope you are wearing your beret and sipping some absinthe, because today we are visiting Paris (the City of Lights!) - sometime in the 1950's. And while Paris is a large and populous city, we'll only be seeing the 5th and 6th arrondissements - the Latin Quarter. Next week, the pig-Latin Quarter. 

This undated image shows a charming street scene at the intersection of Rue St. Jacques and Rue Gay-Lussac (we're facing south). Where's Audrey Hepburn?! Maybe we don't need her, that stylish blonde is pretty elegant as she peruses the produce of an outdoor market.; perhaps she bought fresh fruit and vegetables every day. Four children are mighty interested in something. Candy? I just love the old building, the European cars, and the distant fence to our left that is covered in posters.

Here's a Google Maps screen grab. Something has happened to Paris! Some nefarious person (Doctor No? Blofeld? Scaramanga? ) has scrubbed away all of the charm of the former scene with some kind of fiendish device, leaving it looking sterile and kind of sad. The produce stand has been replaced by an ATM.

Next we have a few picturesque buildings, looking suitably ancient. I was unable to identify this area, but maybe you can do it! Some of those automobiles appear to go back to the 1930's. Right on the corner is a wagonload of what looks like tangerines. Or tomatoes? Let's go to the coiffeur and get a stylish 'do, then buy some liquor some souvenirs. Oo-la-la!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tomorrowland, October 1970

In spite of the fact that today's slides are on horrible GAF film, the images manage to shine through the grayish murk and graininess! 

I love this shot of the Autopia sign - it's so different from what I am accustomed to; and although the graphic design is simple and minimal, I like it - as if they made a clean break from the 60's. You may have noticed the absence of the Richfield eagle... at some point in 1970, Richfield's 15-year sponsorship of the Autopia came to an end. 

Please take a moment to bask in the glory of those people and their clothing.

I zoomed in so that you could see beyond the people and the signage, where the Autopia roadways, the Peoplemover track, and the Monorail beamway all criss-crossed in a surprisingly complex arrangement.

The resemblance to "The Stack" - a famous interchange (opened in 1953) of two Los Angeles freeways that consists of 4 levels of roadways - is pretty remarkable.

And now, a dark and mungy photo of a Mark III Monorail - the yellow one this time, not the greenie. You probably would not believe how much Photoshop work went into this d*** image!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Rejects... UNREJECTED!

Here are some more previously-rejected (for one reason or another) slides that I have now deemed to be suitable for viewing by the general public. Both of today's examples were (you guessed it) a shade of magenta that I was unable to deal with years ago. But things have changed!

Let's start with this lovely shot of Rainbow Ridge (as seen from the Mark Twain), circa 1956. The "Rainbow Caverns Mine Train" did not open until July 2, 1956, so it was all brand-new at this point; the plants on that raw hillside to our left would soon be lush and green. I was pleased with the way the blues were restored, especially that sky.  And it's nice to see that corner of Frontierland bustling with lots of guests.

The guests do not appear to be dressed for hot summer weather, so perhaps this is later in the year - say November or thereabouts. The benches to our right are full of people relaxing and watching the mine trains as they cycle past the loading platform.

There's the Pack Mules! Notice the girl with the white Mickey Mouse Club shirt.

Here's another magenta slide, restored to the best of my abilities. Dad is blazing a fashion trail by wearing a hoodie. Meanwhile, Mom wears a more traditional souvenir hat, and Junior admires his "Zorro" hat. These folks are dining at the Plaza Pavillion; we can just see the new Carnation Plaza Gardens in the distance.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Big Muddy, October 1970

Here are two especially grungy-looking photos from that lot of GAF slides that I won't shut up about. But they're still interesting! That's because they are pretty decent views of the Rivers of America without water - something that I always find fascinating. 

I'm curious to know if this was just a regularly-scheduled draining and cleaning, or if there was something bigger going on. The Haunted Mansion had opened about a year before. The Yippies had invaded Tom Sawyer Island just two months earlier (f they had waited just a bit longer, they could have walked to the island!).  

Here's a different angle. Believe it or not I spent quite a bit of time trying to make these presentable. Over to the right is the dock for the Mark Twain and Columbia, while the landing for the Tom Sawyer Island rafts and the old fishing dock are to our left. Hey, what's the Autopia guide rail doing at the bottom of the river?!

There are a few more photos of the drained river from this batch. Stay tuned, homies.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part Two

Here is part TWO featuring Steve Stuart's scans and excellent text featuring some beautiful beaches and high-priced real estate (today, anyway). I love these postcards because they are so "California" to me. Here's Steve:


Here are two views of the Balboa Pier, which unlike the views seen in the previous post, sits upon the Pacific Ocean – the first view from 1956, followed by a more panoramic view of the area, taken in the early 1960’s.  Just look at all those happy ‘anglers’ hoping for the occasional nibble.  Hey – just as on Tom Sawyer Island-!

The large island “behind” the pier is Balboa Island, and the small island to its left is the ‘tony’ Lido Isle – one of its former residents being John Wayne.  And in the distance, we can see both the Lower & Upper Newport Bay.  Back to the pier, the location where the little building is sitting at its end, now houses a Ruby’s Diner.

Looking southwest, and with Lido Isle as a backdrop, The Balboa Bay Club sits prominently down front.  Today the ‘Club’ has grown to astronomical proportions, enlarging just about everything on its property, including their rental and long-term residences.

Here are three views from 1956/57 showing the ‘main drag’ on Balboa Island:  Marine Avenue.  

This first image from 1956 was taken, looking north at the intersection of Marine & Park Avenues.  The Market Spot [featuring Van de Kamp’s baked goods-!], originally owned by Tony and Mina Hirshi (later changed to Hershey) is now named after them [Hershey’s], and although not operated by the Hershey family, the property is still owned by them, by gum-!

Howdy – moving a little bit farther north down Marine Avenue, we see a slightly different view.  Of special note is the blue, two-toned 1956 Studebaker down front, next to that red, 1956 Chevrolet.

And finally, we move even farther north down Marine Avenue to the intersection of Balboa Avenue.  Boardman’s, on the left, now houses several shops, including Balboa Candy on the corner.  The Cottage Waffle Shop next store now appears to be Barolo By the Sea Fine Italian Cuisine.  In the distance, we can just see the bridge connecting the island to the mainland.

I hope you enjoyed this little trip back to Balboa.  It certainly brought back some great memories for me.

Many thanks to Steve for all of the scans and all of the great info. I sure wish I could go back in time and see Balboa the way it was 50 or 60 years ago!

Monday, September 25, 2017

A Selection of Snapshots

It's time for another selection of mid-1990's snapshots, courtesy of GDB regular Irene and her brother!

First up is this photo of the "retro" sign over at the Tomorrowland Autopia - at this point they had already given up on any sort of futurism, instead relying on the nostalgia of a 1950's drive-in diner (or something). "Happy Days" in the future! It's just odd. Anyway, up to the right is the former Peoplemover track, getting ready for the Rocket Rods. I believe that the current very large Autopia structure was added to the park in 2000.

This photo actually had a date ("1995") on it! We're looking at the former "Mission to Mars" building, although that ride had closed in 1992. As far as I know the structure remained unused until it became "Redd Rocket's Pizza Port" in May of 1998. Notice the sign for "Captain EO" on the pylons to the right, as well as a small sandwich board back toward the Mission to Mars entrance...

... and here's a closeup of that sandwich board! The most exciting sandwich board in the world. The addition of those tiny photos from "EO" is strange - one can barely tell what they are unless you are right on top of the sign - there's Michael Jackson, Angelica Huston, and (most importantly) the Kodak logo. Perhaps it didn't matter, as Captain Eo was nearing the end of its initial run (1986-1996). Fun fact: I never saw "Captain Eo"!

This next one is undated, but the Rocket Jets were still whirling (up high, where it belongs!), so it is from 1998 or before. The Mary Blair murals on the north side of the walkway are still there, but the Peoplemover appears to be closed by this point. You win some, you lose some.

Thank you to Irene and her brother!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frontierland, July 1966

Today's Frontierland photos are not the best things ever - but they aren't the worst, either!

Let's take a look up the Rivers of America. The Mark Twain has just passed Fowler's Harbor, with Castle Rock to the right (on Tom Sawyer Island). The top deck is super crowded! July, what are you gonna do. Even the raft to Tom's island is about as full as it can be; it must have just touched land, everyone is facing in that direction.

It almost seems hard to believe that Disneyland actually had a "dead settler" prominently displayed near the burning cabin; I can't imagine that they would have such a thing today. All the mommies and daddies would complain, I suppose. With all of the changes to the island during the Star Wars Land construction, there was a part of me that hoped that a version of this burning cabin might return. How hard would it be to cook up (bad pun) a story that isn't offensive to most people? Alas, it didn't happen.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Detroit Skyline, 1954

Both of today's photos feature views of Detroit (Michigan), as seen from across the Detroit River, circa 1954. 

The black-hulled vessel is the venerable "Eastern States" ferry, built in 1902 as part of the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company, and providing service between Detroit to Buffalo. By 1954, the ships of the Detroit and Cleveland (etc) line had fallen on hard times, and in 1957, "Eastern States" was set ablaze in order to make it easier to salvage the steel.

The white-hulled vessel behind it might be the "Western States" ferry. But maybe not!

I did my usual 30 seconds of research in an attempt to identify some of the buildings. NAP TIME!

Here's a current-day photo scrounged from the interwebs; things have changed a bit, but you can see a few familiar structures, like the Penobscot Building (looking much cleaner and whiter here).

I believe that our photographer panned slightly to his right for this next shot; I couldn't ID any of these buildings based on modern views; as far as I can tell, all of these old buildings are long-gone. Of course, I am counting on the GDB readers to let me know if I am mistaken!!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Detroit.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chemical Wagon & Omnibus, June 1958

I recently scanned a small group of slides dated "June 1958"; as with most batches, they were mostly unexceptional. But this photo of the Chemical Wagon is a real beauty! Thanks to a clear sunny day, and Kodachrome film, the color is gorgeous. The sky is the bluest blue, and that red wagon just "pops".

Off to the left is the Monsanto house, while the Moonliner's nose can just be seen through the trees.

Here's a nice closeup for you. I wonder if the men who worked on this attraction had unique hat badges, much like the cast members who worked various positions on the Disneyland Railroad ("Brakeman", "Fireman", etc) did?

As usual, I like seeing a fruiting orange tree inside the park - presumably from the original grove from which Disneyland was carved.

Oh man, the photographer didn't have a steady hand when this photo was taken; otherwise it would be another "A+" effort. Note the sign on the side of the Omnibus advertising the brand-new Grand Canyon Diorama ("Largest in the World") - still one of my favorite things at the park.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Disneyland's "Summer '67" Guidebook, Part Five

I think GDB readers have really been enjoying Ken Martinez's look at the wonderful "Summer '67" Disneyland guidebook. It is so full of unique and amazing photos of features that one doesn't usually see that it is one of the very best guidebooks! Here's Ken:

Summer ’67 Disneyland U.S.A. – Part 5 Entertainment, Shows and Exhibits.

Today is the fifth post in a six part series featuring the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Featured today are the free shows and exhibits at Disneyland as well as the live entertainment.  As usual, I’ll let the booklet pages tell the story.

As a kid, I remember there never being a shortage of entertainment at Disneyland.  Musicians, singers, dancers and marching bands seemed to be everywhere.

This is when the entertainment at Disneyland was top notch and involved human talent. What an era!

A bank on Main Street?  Who would’ve thought it.

There’s the INA Carefree Corner counter. Think I’ll pick up a few extra Disneyland Guides.

Disneyland Sponsors - Also Part of the Disneyland Story – Besides Coca-Cola, I don’t think any of these sponsors are at Disneyland anymore.

Next will be Part 6 the finale of the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken! There's one more post for this guidebook, but Ken has lots more to share.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1960 Disneyland Ticket Info

I just scanned a very nice pamphlet from Disneyland, circa 1960! As you can see, it is incredibly important. Please don't blink while reading today's post. This piece is larger than most paper items from the same era... 10" X 5.25" closed, and nearly 16" wide when unfolded. Miraculously, this example is in crisp mint condition - not a crease or fold (excepting the ones that are supposed to be there). Somehow, nobody immediately folded this in half.

I'm not sure if these were handed out as guests paid their parking fee (likely), or if they received them while buying tickets.

If you don't use Disneyland ticket books, you are a chump! WHAT A VALUE. Don't cheap out and buy that "Big 10" either - you know you want the "Jumbo 15". FOUR "E" coupons, four "D" coupons, three "C" coupons... etcetera. You'll save $1.60 if you use the Jumbo 15 books instead of buying individual tickets - which might not sound like much that's over $13 in today's money.

The rest of the brochure helpfully lists all of Disneyland's 43 exciting adventures by ticket value; among the "E" offerings were the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, the Submarine Voyage, the Monorail and Disneyland Railroad, the Jungle Cruise, the Matterhorn, and... the Pack Mules?!

Kids, please don't read this Special Message for Adults! It contains mature themes and intense situations. I kind of love the skillful soft sell (or maybe it's a hard sell?). 

One of my favorite things about this brochure is the sheer number of awesome tiny spot illustrations. 43 in all - one for each adventure. Look at the fearsome squid from the 20,000 Leagues exhibit, or the  father and son enjoying the Art of Animation exhibit! I've isolated each tiny drawing so that you can have them tattooed onto your favorite extremity. Send tasteful pictures afterwards, won't you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Two From 1973

I have a whole new appreciation for photos of Disneyland in the 1970's. After years of pretending that decade never happened, I now enjoy the terrible clothing, bad hair, and ugly cars. 

Here's our groovy family, posing in the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel's Monorail station (bubble dome!). It's an unusual angle; not a nice angle, but unusual. I'm guessing we've got three kids, mom, and grandma. Grandma is saying a bad word (guess which one!), mother is comforting younger son, and big brother sports a magnificent helmet of hair. Sis gives us a peace sign, which is mighty neighborly of her. 

Now we've got the floral portrait of Mickey Mouse; grandma and mother are wearing the same clothes, but big brother now has a red shirt. Hasn't he ever watched Star Trek?? I think grandma is saying another bad word.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part One

Today's post is a bit different from the usual theme park or world's fair subject matter; GDB pal Steve Stuart has scanned over a dozen of his postcards featuring photos from an area of Southern California that (chances are) folks from elsewhere have never heard of. And yet it's been a draw for tourists and locals for decades - a beach community on steroids, perhaps? Don't blame Steve for that terrible analogy, I own that one all by myself. 

Anyway, Steve has also provided an amazing writeup to accompany the scans - WAY more work than I would ever do. Hey, there's television shows to be watched. Because Steve scanned so many cards and wrote so much great text, I have split it into two posts, with the second installment coming in one week. Here's Steve:

Balboa – The Peninsula – whatever you call it – is that wonderful seaside town made famous in story and song-?  Okay, perhaps in TV & movies – The Baileys of Balboa and The Girl Most Likely, among others.  (Talk about obscure references-!)  Also, home to some pretty fabulous ‘estates’, the “historic” Balboa Pavilion, the Fun Zone and noted surfing spots.  Well, at least it was when these images were current.  (Come to think of it – I suppose, that really hasn’t changed.  Maybe you can go home again).  Just bring plenty – and I do mean plenty – of money.

Ahhh, what could be more fun and relaxing than a trip on the Balboa Island Ferry-?  I’ve ridden on all the ferries in the fleet: The Admiral, The Commodore, and The Captain many a time, in cars, on bicycle and on foot – from back in the days as pictured in this image (early 1960’s) prior to the addition of an enclosed wheelhouse on each ferry – well into the late 1990’s.  Although the “journey” is a mere 800 feet, it’s still one of life’s little pleasures.  The Beek family, who purchased the line back in 1915, still operates the boats.  Who says there’s no such a thing as tradition-??

Here are some images from the Balboa Fun Zone.  The first two are from 1957 and the third is from some time in the early 1960’s.  

In this first image from 1957, the Rides area is off to the left, behind the storefronts.  Either in that green building in the background, or just off to its left was where as a 10 or 11-year old, I had a custom, airbrushed tee shirt made.  I can’t recall the image which I chose, but undoubtedly it was ‘cool’ – or so my young mind thought.  (One can only speculate how cheap the rent must‘ve been back then to allow such a low-margin business to exist in what must now be ├╝ber-prime real estate).

Here’s a view from within the Rides area.  The building in the back houses the Penny Arcade, and I quite vividly remember its many pinball machines and the always-fun ‘mechanical claw’ machines, and who-knows what else it housed.  The cupola of the Balboa Pavilion can be seen just off to the right of the miniature Ferris wheel.

Here is a more flattering view of the Balboa Pavilion, with the Fun Zone off to our right.  On many occasions, we rented boats from the Boat Rental business seen here.

And here are three more views from the 1957-1959 era showing the public beach area facing Newport Bay.  Wow – talk about ‘petite’-!  “Just elbow your way right on in there, folks, and please don’t trip on that playpen…”

Man, that looks like a fun place to be, especially on a warm, sunny day. Fortunately there are a lot of those! Once again, many thanks to Steve Stuart for all of his time and effort. Stay tuned for part two!