Saturday, March 31, 2018

Century 21 Expo, Seattle 1962

Let's return to Seattle, circa 1962, to visit the Century 21 Expo! It might rain, so wear something coated in plastic or walrus grease.

First up is this oblique shot of the "International Mall", with its cool diamond profile, zig-zag roof. The shop nearest to us ("Philippine Handicraft Industries") has an amazing carved wood fa├žade of a giant tiki - do you dare to walk through its open mouth?! I would dare, because I happen to need a giant spoon and fork, and you can't find those at Woolworth's or Zody's. Imagine what other wonders were to be discovered in there! 

To the right, I can see what appears to be "Chang's Hong Kong Tailors", "Mohan's (?) Tea House & Restaurant", and then a store apparently selling goods from Berlin.

I'm not 100% positive, but I believe this photo was taken near a feature called the "Home of Living Light", looking southwest. There's the International Fountain shooting up into the air, as well as the Commerce and Industry building to our left, and the happy li'l Skyride overhead. 

Here's a look at the "Aquadrome", where water skiers performed death-defying stunts - probably literally death-defying, that narrow channel of water must increase the chances of injury or worse. From up here we can see some of the nearby hillsides of Seattle, including a fairly impressive elevated highway, probably built by ancient Romans.

I can only assume that the colorful "FIESTA" sign was where the Spanish Village Fiesta was. Which means that the Stadium with the Aquadrome would be behind us, the "Food Circus" is out of frame to our left, and once again, the International Fountain makes an appearance.

Oh yes, there are more photos from the Century 21 Expo!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Phun Photos Phrom 1961

I'm using up the last two scans from a small lot of 1961 slides - they are nice ones!

I especially like this unusual view of a marketplace in Frontierland - the Zocalo. There were all sorts of treasures to be had. Genuine turquoise jewelry; woven goods, including hats of all shapes and sizes (I would imagine that these were quite popular); bolo ties. Maracas! Only 89 cents. I can't quite tell what the colorful, feathered things are in that red pot (somebody should have put down a Rocket to the Moon poster to catch the overspray on the ground!)

My mom loves turquoise jewelry, and she said that nowadays a good piece of the blue stone can be very expensive, because most U.S. supplies have been mined out. She's seen "turquoise" that is poor quality (but dyed or stabilized with resin), or sometimes it isn't turquoise at all, but plastic or glass. Who knew!

From December 17, 1961, thru September 30, 1963, sets and props from the 1961 movie (starring Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands) were displayed in the Opera House on Main Street. I would love to step into this photo and check the exhibit out for myself! Notice the plush Dalmatian in the window nearby - "101 Dalmatians" was released in January of 1961 to enormous success.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Town Square, 1950's

I have spent some considerable time digging through old, previously-scanned boxes of slides, hoping that I might have missed some good images. And I did skip some nice ones! In some cases I only chose one image if two of them were similar.

For example, this undated (but probably from 1955) photo of Town Square was passed over, even though I think it is pretty nice. I suspect that the sun is hidden by SoCal's dreaded "June Gloom", rendering the scene in muted colors and indistinct shadows. 

A Horse Drawn Carriage is stopped in front of Main Street Station, taking on a load of passengers for a journey up to the Plaza. I love the green and yellow Wurlitzer building, as well as the banner welcoming Van Nuys (the Paris of the West!) to Disneyland. 

This next images is one that has appeared on GDB before, although this is a fresh, improved scan. That pesky Carriage has moved out of the way, and we can see the Disneyland Band, gathered 'round the flagpole (Vesey Walker is hiding behind the pole). Note the red trash can that says TRASH - these didn't last very long, as subtler, more appealing waste paper cans were used.

Here's the old scan of the previous image - not bad, just a bit darker and murkier.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Tomorrowland Construction

Everybody loves Disneyland construction photos! Or do they? What if they are photos of construction for Tomorrowland '98? Admittedly it is TokyoMagic's favorite, but most people agree that, unlike the 1983 Fantasyland, this version of Tomorrowland left much to be desired.

I should mention that these photos come to us courtesy of Irene and her brother Bruce; judging from the progress, I would guess that they are from around 1997, as this iteration of Tomorrowland debuted in May of 1998.

There it is, lots and lots of dirt. The old "Mission to Mars" building is slowly being transformed into "Red Rocket's Pizza Port". We lost a classic (but aging) attraction, and gained a large (but not especially good) restaurant. Think of the children, Disney, think of the children.

Bruce was standing on the upper level of the Space Mountain queue, notable for its use of groovy orange tiles. Presumably they wouldn't allow such an open view of work being done these days.

After 10 years of disuse, the old "America Sings" building was being transformed into "Innoventions" (which didn't open until June 3rd, 1998). There were displays of near-future tech, sponsored by various companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard. It was pretty dull! I still remember the first time I went in there, and a friendly CM struck up a conversation, while I tried to figure out how to exit as fast as possible without being rude.

The mural on the lower portion of Innoventions is still underway; the trucks and earth movers are roughly in the area where "Cosmic Waves" would eventually be - an interactive fountain consisting of a 6-ton granite ball and splashing jets You could spin the "giant marble" get soaked by the nearby fountains, and then go sit in "Star Tours" and leave a soggy seat for the next guest. Some fun!

Over the intervening years, some of these changes have been undone, while others still haunt us to this day.

Thanks to Irene and Bruce!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

More Frontierland Scans

Today I have another very nice selection of scans graciously donated to GDB by a mysterious benefactor.

First up is this very neat shot (from 1965) taken from the tracks of the Nature's Wonderland Mine Train, with a tunnel framing a view of the Columbia as it happened by. Since this was probably shot by a professional photographer, it is possible that he/she was allowed to walk the tracks, which is something the rest of us could only dream about.

I can't tell if the side of the Columbia is only partially painted, or if it is a trick of light (i.e. reflections?). It seems unthinkable that Walt would have let a half-primered boat sail his river.

Also from 1965 is this interesting shot of Rainbow Ridge, with the Mark Twain's paddlewheel churning away in the foreground. 

It's a new year (this one is dated January, 1966), and the shores near the Friendly Indian Village look pretty swell. The rock formations and cacti to the right of the meese seem like a recent addition, possibly related to the construction for "It's a Small World", which would open nearby in four months.

From April, 1966 we have this swell shot taken in front of the Golden Horseshoe Revue. I wonder where those people bought that cool vintage clothing? The cat's-eye shades on the woman to our left must have cost a fortune. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Disneyland Hotel Brochure, 1961

Hooray for Disneyland emphemera - paper ephemera, that is. My favorite. This brochure is from the Disneyland Hotel, circa 1961. I love the bold arrow graphics, they remind me of movie credits by Saul Bass. The salmon and black color scheme is unusual - interestingly, this brochure was also printed in blue and black.

The hotel Monorail station hadn't been completed, so we have a sketch instead of a photo. Also new (!), a 40-acre golf center. Wow, 40 acres of precious Anaheim real estate right next to the park, for golf. Those were the days.

Here's one side - I love that back panel to the left, with all of the family friendly activities available nearby. Room rates were anywhere from $16 to $51 a night. That translates to around $133 to $424 a night when adjusted for inflation. My understanding is that a night in today's Disney hotels can easily exceed $500, and for anything premium, way way above that price.

Those mid-century graphics are pretty awesome. I wish I could have seen the hotel as it was in this era.

I actually have two variations on this brochure - if you'll notice, the one on the right has a pink asterix next to the words "linked by"...

... along with a note that the "monorail" and golf center were scheduled for completion in June of 1961. I love variations!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Storybook Land, April 1969

It's Sunday - time to unload some of the scans that are barely worth opening your eyes for. These are all from the Storybook Land Canal Boats.

Geppetto's village was always one of my favorite scenes - I wanted to shrink down to Jiminy Cricket size and stroll along the cobblestone lane through those German Expressionist buildings. The snow has been especially heavy this year, those miniature mountains are impassable until the Spring melt. 

To our left are windmills, chateaus, cottages, and of course the fantastic pink castle perched high on that rocky promontory.

After hearing about the pumpkin coach that was added at some point, I always look for it. And there it is! It looks like somebody left a tangerine on the path.

This is an excellent view of the back of a kid's head. And it's a not-so-great view of Toad Hall, and Ratty's house along the shore. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Fabulous New York World's Fair

I have a nice selection of random images from the 1964 New York World's Fair for you today! 

Let's start with this postcard-worthy shot of the Formica pavilion, featuring the "Formica World's Fair House", which, the souvenir guidebook tells us is "...situated on the only hill at the Fair". This lovely mid-century home was "the first house to use Formica-laminated plastic on exterior walls. Its seven-room interior includes an indoor barbecue pit and natural illumination from skylights. Formica products are used throughout - on furniture, cabinets and interior walls, with contemporary styling". 

I wish everything was made of Formica!

The giant steel Unisphere would be behind us in this view of fountain-lined pools (flanked by the Hoover and Eisenhower Promenades). Gondolas from the Sky Ride are way, way up above us! In the dead center is a statue called "Rocket Thrower", by sculptor Donald De Lue (appropriately place in a court called "The Astronauts"). It's still there today! In the distance is the Bell System pavilion.

Check out this beautiful photo of the Ford pavilion, featuring the "Magic Skyway" ride, created by Walt Disney and his Imagineers. Guests boarded the latest Ford automobiles for a journey that included views of the "dawn of life on earth" (dinosaurs and cave men), and then a glimpse into the Space Age. As many of you know, the ride system was essentially the same one that would be used for Disneyland's "Peoplemover" a few years later. 

And finally, this lady looks a little frazzled; perhaps this photo was taken near the end of a long day of fair-going. Having fun is hard work.

Behind the woman is the spiky Astral Fountain; the cylindrical "cage" rotated (at 2 feet per second), while 40 jets shot water 70 feet into the air. Also inside the cylinder were 50 radioactive monkeys (one for each State). Don't worry, they wore diapers.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the New York World's Fair!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Skyway & More, July 1972

Here are some neat photos of a bustling Tomorrowland, circa 1972. 

First up is this cool shot as we zoomed away from the Tomorrowland Skyway terminal - we are moving backwards toward the Matterhorn and Fantasyland. I love so many details, such as the Peoplemover vehicles overhead, the cobalt blue steel in the Skyway terminal, and the Autopia. I assume that the little souvenir booth was designed by Rolly Crump? Looks like it needed a makeshift shade to keep the sun off of the poor employees.

Hey, there's one of those weird pale yellow gondolas! Doesn't someone have a list of the official Skyway gondola colors (maybe Mike Cozart, knower of all things)? I love the flashes of bright colors on the clothing, including the woman's dress with the bright green stripes in the lower left. 

Next, we are on the upper level of the Carousel of Progress building, looking toward the Tomorrowland Terrace (who is performing?!). Look at all the people! It was July, after all - peak season in those days. Folks are lining up to ride things like the Rocket Jets, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and that mover of people. Others are lining up to eat the most delicious hamburgers in the world.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Frontierland Scans

You know them, you love them, it's more donated scans from the Phantom of the Scanner. He lives beneath the Paris opera house, which is pretty cool, you have to admit.

First up is this lovely shot from 1962; we're standing in Frontierland - barely - looking out toward the Plaza and the snow-capped Matterhorn.

The next three are random-ish views along the river, from February 1965. If the photographer was trying to capture examples of Frontierland's typical flora, he gets a "B". If he was trying to capture Fort Wilderness, he gets a "D minus" with a frowny-face, and a note to speak to me after class.

Hello, Chief Wavy! It's nice to see you. Sorry about the steam, I know it wreaks havoc on your feathered war bonnet. Say, who are your friends up on the hill? All of you should drop by the fort later. we're having Swanson's "Hungry Man" TV dinners. You can have the Salisbury Steak (with apple cobbler), and I'll have the battered fish filet.

Meese. Why did it have to be meese? I've spent a lot of time on lakes in Minnesota, and never saw a single moose up there. I did see one in Canada, but he spoke French, so it was awkward. 

Stay tuned for more Frontierland scans!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Photos of Walt

It's always fun to find some unfamiliar photos of Walt Disney. Today I have two scans of black and white 8 X 10's from Mr. X! 

First up is this photo of Walt and his wife Lillian, dining at the famous Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood, from 1939. Look at the clutter of stacked dishes! They look like Chinese dishes that my mom has - and maybe those are some chopsticks sticking out of the side of one nested pair? 

Zooming in just a bit, we can see that Lilly is decked out in a velvet dress with a fur-lined hat, and an exotic necklace of some kind (my mom is into ethnic jewelry, she guessed that it might be from India). 

What do you think, is Walt eating chili, his favorite?

Next is this scan that was sent to Mr. X after he wrote to the studio, wondering if there were any photos of Walt with Laurel and Hardy (particular favorites of X). They just sent this to him, for free (this was many years ago, of course)! Amazing. It appears to be a bit earlier than the previous image, though not by much. Could they be at the Academy Awards? Everybody appears to be very friendly!

This neat artwork was sold by Heritage Auctions not long ago; clearly it was created and sent to Oliver Hardy as a token of Walt's admiration! Perhaps the photo of the three of them was taken when "The Three Little Pigs" won the 1934 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Poking around the Internet, I found this next photo - producer/director Hal Roach has joined the boys.  Among the many amazing things Hal Roach produced were the "Our Gang" comedies, "Of Mice and Men", and of course, Laurel and Hardy films.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Casey Jr. & Storybook Land, April 1969

Casey Jr. ("Casey Jones Jr." on his tax forms) is the most cheerful, most colorful, hardest-working, think-I-can-iest little train that ever was. Prove me wrong, internets! Prove me wrong.

He's also awesome because he is right out of "Dumbo", one of my favorite Disney animated features. I love how Casey's eyes are truncated cones, which gives the illusion that he is always looking right at you. So ingenious!

Maybe it's just nostalgia clouding my brain, but it is hard for me to imagine a Disneyland without Casey Jr. or the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Just typing that out makes me worry that I have now jinxed it. (Note: I composed this post before Mike Cozart left his alarming comment a few days ago...)

Speaking of the Canal Boats, there's one now! Does anybody know if the guides actually run the boats, or do they run autonomously? This particular CM has forgotten her spiel, so she is winging it: "Over there is where Peter Pan and Snow White fell in love after being lost in the candy forest and killing Godzilla". Works for me.

Monday, March 19, 2018

A Few From Nature's Wonderland, October 1961

The Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland has been gone for just over 40 years now (having closed in January of 1977), and it seems as if its reputation as one of the great Disney attractions has continued to grow - perhaps because it is the type of ride that will likely never be done again - vast in scope (both in sheer size, and in the variety of different scenes), somewhat slow-paced (a good thing, in this case), imaginative, and sometimes beautiful. I have three scenes from that ride for you today.

Not long after our little train left Rainbow Ridge, we traveled through Beaver Valley, and then made a turn that brought us alongside the Rivers of America. Just ahead of us is a natural arch (part of Cascade Peak); when we pass through it, we will be behind a roaring waterfall. That's something that you don't see every day!

After scooting around Cascade Peak, we emerge into Bear Country, passing over a rickety trestle bridge. Beneath us we see lots of bear activity. Some are scratchin', some are fishing, some are investigating a beehive, while one or two are taking a siesta. 

Did you know that a group of bears is called a sleuth or a sloth?

Here's a pretty view of the Rainbow Desert, with the mysterious geological formations practically glowing under the last rays of the setting sun. Everything in shadow has touches of blue-violet. Note the geyser spouting as we look through that stone arch.

Man, do I miss that ride!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Jungle Cruise, May 1958

I love the old Jungle Cruise, but man oh man, photos of it can get a bit repetitive. All those darn hippos.

But not today! Instead, I present unto thee an less-photographed tableau. Nature, red in tooth and claw, and all that jazz. There's pride of lions, pretty stoked that they found this already-dead zebra, saving them the trouble of running, and killing, and all of that hullaballoo. Overhead, a pair of vultures lick their lips (?) waiting for the leftuggies.

Taking a closer look, we see the male lion, taking all the credit, while two females roll their eyes. The two cubs don't care, they just want to listen to their rock and roll music and watch TV.

Did somebody say hippos?? Here is a whole flock of them. They'll eat breadcrumbs out of your hand - just try it.