Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Walt Disney World, November 1971

Today I have some nice photos taken around the Magic Kingdom's Main Street and Town Square - at night! As everyone knows, being at a Disney park at night is almost a completely different experience.

This first one shows the "New Century Clock Shop", sponsored by Elgin (see the name in the pediment above the doors). I wondered how long that shop was there, so I found a very helpful site called "Walt Dated World", which said:  This was one of the original Magic Kingdom shops when the park opened in 1971.    It was on the west side of Main Street, next to the Emporium.  There was also a New Century Clock Shop at Disneyland.  The shop sold Elgin watches and clocks but early park maps listed the sponsor as Elgin-Helbros. Elgin National Industries and Disney had signed a five year watch and clock contract in 1971 that stipulated that Elgin be the official manufacturer of timepieces sold in Walt Disney World.  Most of the Disney watches were produced by the Bradley Time Division of Elgin National Industries and bear the Bradley name on the face. The shop closed in 1986.

Next is this picture of the front of the Gulf Hospitality House, which operated in the park from 1971 to 1990 (although Gulf only sponsored it through to 1979). It seems to have served a function much like the INA Carefree Corner at Disneyland; a place where guests could ask questions about anything from nearby hotels and motels, to routes to and from Walt Disney World, or queries about attractions and the best way to maximize your fun. Apparently, early on, it was actually intended to be a real hotel.

And finally, here is the GAF Camera Center. Buy film and other camera supplies, have your film processed, or even rent a camera. For a number of years you could follow the GAF Photo Trail - similar to Disneyland's old Kodak "Picture Spots" using the small complimentary guidebooks that GAF provided. I can't find any info on how long GAF sponsored this shop, but did glean that it went through a variety of sponsors, including Polaroid and Kodak, before becoming the Confectionary.

There are more night photos of Main Street coming up!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Entering the Park, August 1967

I'm not sure how adults felt when they visited Disneyland in the old days, but as a kid, was there anything more exciting? After waiting months and months, we were finally here - the car was parked in the vast lot, we had already taken a short ride in a tram up to the ticket booths, and in mere moments, we would be walking through the tunnels beneath the train tracks, and into Town Square. It really was the BEST THING EVER.

One thing that we didn't do was stop for a family portrait in front of the floral Mickey. At the time we were in way too much of a hurry, but now I wish we had done it at least once.

Monday, February 26, 2018

King's Island, Ohio

It's been a little while since we've seen some of Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards - so today we're going to check out another batch from King's Island, Ohio! Pictures and text all courtesy of Ken:

Kings Island Part 2

Today’s post features Kings Island while also showing the connection to its predecessor Coney Island in Cincinnati Ohio.  For a little background on both parks, the two links below are previous articles I’ve written (Here, and Here!)

Pictured here are the Antique Auto Cars, the lower base of the Intamin Eiffel Tower as well as the Sky Ride and Grand Carousel.  Both the Sky Ride and Grand Carousel were relocated from Kings Island’s predecessor, Coney Island, Ohio.  The Antique Auto Cars was actually two intertwined auto rides.  The “Les Taxi” side was boarded in the “Coney Mall” section of the park and the “Ohio Overland Auto Livery” side was boarded in the “Rivertown” section.  The Antique Auto Cars were removed in 2004 to make way for the Italian Job Stunt Coaster. 

Here’s a postcard of the Sky Ride when it was located at the older park, Coney Island Ohio.  A section at Kings Island was built in tribute to the earlier park and named “Coney Mall”.  

This Log Flume was another attraction moved over from Coney Island, Ohio.  At Kings Island it was known as the “Kings Mill Log Flume” then later renamed “The Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure” and currently “Race For Your Life Charlie Brown”.  Management certainly knows how to put the IPs to use.

Here’s the original location where the Log Flume operated at Coney Island Ohio.  Note the Flying Scooter ride partially visible on the left.  It too was relocated to Kings Island along with several other rides.

Not only did Kings Island have an antique version of the auto ride, it also had a modern version known as the “Sunshine Turnpike”.  It was located in the “Happyland of Hanna-Barbera” section of the park.  It closed in 1994 to make way for Nickelodeon Splat City.  Now there is no auto ride, antique or modern at Kings Island.

Here we have the “Enchanted Voyage” dark boat ride.  It was based on the old and new cartoons of Hanna-Barbera.  Its last voyage was in 1991.  Love the TV set façade with the dials.  Especially that color dial.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post on Kings Island and its connection to Coney Island.

Information source material:

As always, a BIG thanks to Ken Martinez for all of his time and effort!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Mark Twain, June 1963

You know how it goes, homies; Sundays are very skippable days here on GDB! Proceed at your own risk. 

If I had a 1907 Saint-Gaudens double eagle gold piece (see below) for every Mark Twain photo in my collection, I would be a happy camper. It's probably not an exaggeration to say that I must have at LEAST 400 pictures of the plucky li'l steamboat. 

Here's that gold piece I was talking about. You know what? Why be greedy. A dozen of them would be fine. They can sell in the neighborhood of $3,000,000 each.

There she goes! Yes, the Mark Twain is a "she", for your information.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Magic Kingdom

Today I am happy to present more photos graciously shared by GDB reader Warren Nielsen - this time it's more photos from the Magic Kingdom, circa 1976.

We'll start with this lovely shot of the plaza in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean building. So different from Disneyland! I love the Spanish-style architecture - everything looks so neat and clean, with no extra clutter to mess things up. 

There's the Barker Bird! He has a wooden leg, an anchor tattoo on his bare chest, an eye patch, and even a hat and a bandanna. He couldn't be more piratey!

This next one (taken from the Admiral Joe Fowler) looks toward the Diamond Horseshoe - check out the swarms of people heading inside. There are two people on the upper balcony, presumably cast members? Maybe they are meeting for a smooch or two.

Have you ever had an anvil fall on your head, and afterwards you hear the sounds of a steel drum band? Well, at the Magic Kingdom you can completely remove the anvil from the equation. I'm all for it.

Here's proof that 1976 fashions were the best fashions. Nothing could possibly top them, and it's useless to even try. In this photo we can see the Country Bear Jamboree building, along with the Mile Long Bar, where everyone liked to get drunk. I assume. 

Looks like something is under construction to the right, behind that brown wall - any idea what is going on?

THANK YOU to Warren Nielsen! There are more photos to come from him.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tomorrowland Terrace and Rocket Jets

If you're having a bad Friday - or even a good one - today's photos should improve things by 93.6 percent. 

It's 1972, and things have never been groovier. None of the people in this photo know how lucky they are to be in Tomorrowland right then! Everything was new and shiny. Say, let's go watch the original "Carousel of Progress" right after we grok this band! "The Better Half" is fairly typical of the bands that played at the Tomorrowland Terrace - a young woman singer is backed by a quartet of rockin' musicians in matching outfits. Extra points for white pants.

I should have said that it was the Coca Cola Tomorrowland Terrace, because Coke sends me $500 every time I mention them. I'm not greedy, though. I'm noticing that the colorful acrylic panels are not behind the band at this point (see those here). What song could The Better Half be playing? "Monday, Monday"? "The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down"? "Rose Garden"? So many to choose from.

As a rule the second photo in most of my posts tends to be the lesser of the two in terms of quality or chocolatey goodness. But not today! Why, I could have posted this beautiful shot of the Rocket Jets and Peoplemover first, and would have received just as many cheers and plaudits as ever. Yes, this is a "POSTCARD WORTHY™" view, with vivid colors and an interesting composition - and the sky isn't too shabby either.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

More Frontierland Scans, 1964

It's time for more selections from a large batch, graciously donated by an anonymous donor, possibly named Bobson Dugnutt. These are all from 1964.

We'll start with this delightful shot of a raft full of happy explorers as they return from Tom Sawer Island back to the mainland. Several daredevils care nothing for rules as they stand outside the barrier that is supposed to keep them safe from drowning or being devoured by giant snapping turtles. Notice the front of the raft is partially swamped, indicating that maybe, juuust maybe, there are too many people aboard? No wonder the cast member is barefoot. The kid in the striped shirt looks concerned.

Next are a few unremarkable shots of the Friendly Indian Village - still a feature that I have always loved.

If you look carefully through the reeds at the base of the teepee to the left, we can just make out two babies strapped into their cradle boards (or papooses?), propped up so that they can see what's going on.

Zoiks! This one is amazing. It is a startling closeup of the two babies, looking as if they are emerging from especially dazzling chrysalises. I've never seen such a clear photo of these before. Also, in most photos I actually thought that the teepees were made from irregular pieces of canvas (or whatever), to mimic buffalo hides. But it's all done with a convincing trompe l'œil effect.

Nearby, meeses enjoy a healthy breakfast.

I've heard the term "lucky duck" before, but those ducks really are lucky! As long as you don't mind the passing of occasional river craft, this place is a lot prettier than most, and there's lots of popcorn and other treats.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Scenes From October, 1963

Most of you know that TWA was the original sponsor of the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction in Tomorrowland - their logo adorned the 80-foot rocket from 1955 to 1961. By 1962, McDonnel Douglas became the new sponsor, and new markings were added. They weren't as elegant as the TWA version, but you know what? I still like them. I'd give them a solid "B", with a smiley face. 

This October, 1963 photo shows a remarkably empty Tomorrowland - the shadows indicate that it is morning-ish, but even so, there is room to swing a whole lotta cats.

And now for something completely different: the Swiss Family Treehouse. Even now I find those red leaves to be a surprising choice - most people would reach for their green crayons if they were going to draw a picture of a big tree. Of course, nature is much more complex than a box of Crayolas. Anyway, I miss the old Swiss Family (even though they were always out when I stopped by to visit) - they had great taste in music, and had some new ideas in plumbing.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Walt Disney World, November 1971

Here are more random scans of photos taken at Walt Disney World during its first Thanksgiving season, courtesy of Mr. X.

I've shared a few other photos taken in front of Cinderella Castle before, but this is a different one. It sure is pretty! The soft colors of dusk with the bright colors accented by the lights, the Omnibus loading up with passengers for a trip back down to Main Street Station... very nice.

Here's a night shot (low light, y'all) as a pea-green Monorail leaves - or arrives?! - the Grand Canyon Concourse. Acrylic trees are almost as fun as bubble domes. Check out that carpet, with 70's interpretations of woven Navajo rugs! 

And why not take another look at Main Street Station? It appears that the #3 locomotive is pulling into the station. That would be the Roger E. Broggie, built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1925. It is a virtual twin to the #1, the "Walt Disney".

I guess most of the crowd has already entered the park, but a gentleman is setting up his tripod to take what was probably a high quality portrait of the three ladies accompanying him. Where are those photos today?? 

PS, here's a detail from the 3rd photo for Ken Martinez!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Friendly Indian Village, May 1958

Here's a familiar scene, featured on this blog so many times over the years. The Friendly Indian Village was a regular beehive of activity. The wilderness provided, but it took a lot of work. I like this photo because it seems particularly clear and vivid (not sure why that is). 

Zooming in a bit, we can observe details, like the paintings on the teepees, the buckskin clothing, and a trio carving a dugout canoe. 

Over on Tom Sawyer Island, Fort Wilderness looks suitably spiky and tough - the kind of place that would help a weary traveler feel safe while traveling across the plains.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Christmas in February

Are you missing the scent of evergreens? Do you long for the sound of Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas"? Are you craving egg nog, and other random and sundry nogs? Well, then you are in luck, because it's Christmas at Disneyland, circa 1967. 

Something kooky was going on at Sleeping Beauty Castle, though I'll be darned if I know what, exactly. Maybe Briar Rose was trying to improve her TV reception. And how do we know it is Christmastime? Because of the six measly wreaths on those banners! Where are the twinkling lights, the gleaming icicles, the fake snow? Meanwhile, it appears that the Disney family crest has been added to the shield above the archway by this point. I'm still unclear as to the specific date for that addition. 

Also, above each banner, there is a sconce containing a light, or maybe even a gas flame, something I've never really noticed before.

After walking through the arch, you'd find Goofy trying to distract guests from the scaffolding.

Is that a loudspeaker above the "To Frontierland" arch?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Theater Candy Counter, 1951

Today I have a fun vintage photo for you, scanned from an old Kodachrome slide; it's a great picture of the candy counter in an unidentified movie theater... maybe this was the girl's first job, and Dad wanted to record this moment for posterity.

The photo was undated, but of course the banner with the movie title "Bird of Paradise" allowed me to date it to 1951. The movie starred Debra Paget and Louis Jourdan; here is the IMDB description:
Andre Laurence (Jourdan) takes a trip to a Polynesian island with his college roommate Tenga (Chandler). He assumes the native life and marries his friend's sister, Kalua (Paget). The island's volcano erupts and the Kahuna, the island's shaman (Maurice Schwartz), decides that the volcano god can only be appeased by the human sacrifice of Kalua to its molten depths. Following her death, Andre says his goodbye to Tenga and returns to civilization.

Presumably the faux palm  trees (complete with birds and monkeys) had been added just for this auspicious occasion.

Just look at all that candy! How many can we identify?

I see many kinds of gum - Wrigley's Spearmint, Doublemint, and JuicyFruit; Adams Clove and Blackjack flavors; Chiclets and Dentyne. How about some Life Savers (multiple flavors), Charms candies, Tootsie Rolls, Juicelets,  or Jujyfruits? There are plenty of familiar candy bars too; Nestle's Crunch, Butterfinger, Baby Ruth, Clark Bars, Hershey's , Mr. Goodbar, and 5th Avenue.

Are you tempted by a candy apple wrapped in colorful (and sanitary) cellophane? Or peanuts, or popcorn with creamery butter? 

There are other candies that I couldn't ID, maybe you can! I'm looking for: Milk Duds; Good and Plenty; Raisinettes; Sugar Daddies, Sugar Babies, Black Cows, Slo-Pokes; Red Hots; Chuckles; Mounds, Almond Joy, Snickers, Charleston Chew, Oh Henry!; Mike and Ikes; Smarties; Necco Wafers; Turkish Tafffy; Zagnut and Abba Zabba; Sno-Caps; Jujubes; Junior Mints; and many, many more!

I hope you enjoyed this photo! Go eat some candy for breakfast.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Beautiful Tomorrowland, October 1961

Aww yeeeeaahhh....! Vintage Tomorrowland, my favorite. And today's pair of photos, circa 1961, are beauties.

Like this wonderful shot of the "America the Beautiful" building. I decree forthwith that this photo is postcard worthy. Bright, sunshiny, deep blue sky, and an especially nice look at the front of the "America The Beautiful" building in all its mid-century glory. Is the area too sterile? Add flags! It's the theme park equivalent of throw pillows.

I zoomed in a bit, hoping to glean more details from inside the AtB building, but... there's not much to see. I'm not sure what that red "Maltese Cross" thingy is, but it looks like it probably rotated. Maybe.

Also from 1961 is this familiar (but lovely) view of the Moonliner - no longer sponsored by TWA. Birds of Paradise and other bright flowers add colorful accents. If you squint, you can see piles of souvenir hats (with ostrich feathers?) in the distance!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Frontierland Scans

It's time for more scans, courtesy of a Mysterious Benefactor, and featuring Frontierland, circa 1964. The donated batch has a LOT of photos of the Columbia, so we're all gonna get nice and friendly, see? Nice and friendly.

Hey, who's that up in the rigging? It might be a crew member, or it might just be a guest in funny clothing. Wear a striped shirt and you can get away with anything on the Columbia. Did the CMs who  did the climbing get some sort of hazard pay? One slip and... ker-splat.

There's the brave pilot; without his skill, we would never make it around the Rivers of America safe and sound. The important thing to remember is: NEVER TURN LEFT.

You want to see something funny? Let's make those folks on shore scatter like bowling pins! We'll load that cannon up with lima beans. They sting, but don't maim. We're not monsters, after all.

I've seen some ferocious rapids in my life, but nothing as terrifying as the ones that we've just survived. We lost Bob, and Skinny Joe, but that's the price of exploration. I think that one lady near me might have scurvy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Magic Mountain Postcards

Today we're going to visit Magic Mountain (in Valencia, California) for a look at one of the earlier looping 'coasters... The Revolution! Courtesy of Ken Martinez and his voluminous collection of vintage postcards, of course. Here's Ken:

Magic Mountain Part 7 – The Revolution

Today’s post features postcards of Magic Mountain’s classic roller coaster the Revolution.  It was the world’s first modern 360 degree looping coaster similar to how Knott’s down the road introduced the first inverted coaster.  Unlike Knott’s Berry Farm, Six Flags Magic Mountain kept their historic ride and even recently revamped it.

This classic shot shows The Revolution with the Skytower in the backdrop.  It’s strange to see it open here without the tree growth hiding a lot of the track and Tatsu hovering above the Revolution’s loop. 

This multi-scene shows off the coaster trains nicely.  I like the vintage “Magic Mountain” name placed on the top of the front coaster car.  Later on OTSR (over the shoulder restraints) would be added to the coaster trains.

This image is nice in which the coaster train is traveling on the loop portion of the track while another coaster train passes through the loop on another part of the track.  How often did this happen?  I’m not even sure the track layout would even allow this to happen during normal operation.  This element would sort of be repeated in a different way when Knott’s opened its Jaguar coaster with the track passing through the center of the Montezooma’s Revenge loop.  It’s sort of like threading the eye of a needle.

Here’s a nighttime shot of the Revolution with its lift, various hills and loop.  Back in the 1970’s this was a pretty spectacular sight.

Whether it’s called The Great American Revolution, Revolution, Revolucion or New Revolution, it’s still a fun coaster and an historic one at that.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken Martinez! I still remember the thrill of riding The Revolution, before loops on a roller coaster were a common thing. It was awesome!