Saturday, May 12, 2018


Holy Toledo! Today marks this blog's 12th Anniversary. Yes, way back in 2006 I decided that it might be fun to share my collection of vintage Disneyland slides (inspired by Matterhorn1959 and his awesome "Stuff From the Park" blog, which had started six months earlier). It seemed silly to have all of these photos that nobody else could enjoy. Every now and then it has been fun to take side trips to places like Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, the 1964 New York World's Fair, and any other spot that inspired me.

Would anybody ever find my blog? Would anybody care? Well, a few people have! Now, 12 years and many thousands of photos later, here we are. Yup.

Let's start things off with this swell (undated, but certainly from 1956) photo overlooking the Phantom Boats (or "Tomorrowland Boats"). I love the color on this one. Imagine my surprise when I saw this very photo in a YouTube video; presumably a jpeg was taken off of eBay (where I bought the slide)... pretty sneaky!

Zooming in, we see a lady who decided she needed to get right to the edge of the water for unobstructed views of passing boats. I salute her moxie.

A bit further in the distance is the Junior Autopia. Cars that were identical to the ones in Tomorrowland (except they had a wooden block on the gas pedal to help small children reach it) putt through a landscape of magical dirt. I assume that plants and shrubs were added before the attraction closed in 1958, but I can find no photos of it looking green and pretty. Notice the orange trees!

This tent was the short-lived home for Professor Keller and his Fantastic Felines! This attraction was only there from February through September, 1956.

From here on out, we are sticking to Tomorrowland, because it's my favorite. Check out this beautiful, postcard-worthy 1958 photo of the TWA Moonliner. I guess the Flight Circle is in between shows, but you can still sit in your mid-century molded fiberglass chair and hang on to the chain link like a 5 year-old.

Sticking with the "1958" theme, here's a fun image of the Tomorrowland Spaceman and Space Girl, with an entourage of admirers. I love those space costumes! I wonder when that scary red "veins" were added to the Spaceman's helmet? It's a sure sign that he is suffering from Space Madness. This particular space couple appears together in quite a few vintage photos.

A few years later, this photo was taken (anywhere from 1962 to 1966) with an updated space couple. The Douglas Moonliner is nearby, and the Flying Saucers are in the distance, where the bright lights are. Mr. Spaceman looks like he is pretty sweet on the Space Gal!

And finally, here's a pretty afternoon photo featuring three lovely ladies who seem to be admiring those scruffy little flower beds with the white wire fencing that you only see in the first year or two. For me, this photo is just about perfect. Beautiful color, nice clarity and composition, good vintage "people watching"... A+.

Behind the stylish ladies we can see Walt Disney's custom Autopia car on display. Beyond that (to the right) is the Hat Bar. Just look at all those hats! I love the signs directing guests to such wonders as the "America Diary Association Dairy Bar", "Public Telephone" ("Mom, Dad, can we go see the public telephone? Pleeeeease??"), "The World Beneath Us", and "20,000 League Show". Squinting at the signs in the distance (to our left), I can discern "Yacht Club", "Crane Company", and "Dutch Boy Paints".

Many grateful thanks to the GDB readers who contribute with fun and informative comments, and to those who have taken the time to share their own family photos, or who have gone the extra mile and written entire posts while I lounge in my infinity pool overlooking Hollywood! I am appreciative of the nice community (small though it may be) that has formed here - if it wasn't for that, I probably would have stopped long ago. 

For the moment I still have hundreds of slides that I have not scanned, along with more gifts from Mr. X and other generous people, so the future looks good!


Nanook said...


I want to join that gal at the water's edge so we can both watch the Phantom Boats while they scurry-around the "lake". And what a great shot, too. Ahhh, and the Moonliner - ready and willing for flying into the heavens. And those lovely gals in the last image can't be standing there any later than September, 1958, as the Dairy Bar would be gone. (Better grab a glass of nice, wholesome milk before it's too late.

For some reason I seemed to think the GBD anniversary fell in June. Where does the time go-? Once again, it bears repeating how indebted I am for your continued efforts at bringing a little bit of Disneyland heaven [and beyond] to us each and every day. I know your 'laid-back, self-deprecating approach' to your commentary, has brought out the best in all of us and has provided a forum that's attracted a very knowledgable group very willing to share what they know - and in many cases, some rather specialized information only the true Disneyland fan can appreciate and love. Thank you for that; and thanks to all who have helped contribute to this blog, thus making it a special place to be.

Happy 12th Anniversary, Major-!

Irene said...

Wow! 12 years - perfect by the dozen :) Congratulations. I have enjoyed this blog now for some time, but not the whole dozen. I remember the first post of yours I read had something to do with the 1964 New York World's Fair which I found pretty darn exciting. Been coming back every day since. Thanks for all the work you do - scanning, color correcting, researching and writing such witty dialog to go with all the cool photos. I hope those that usually skip the weekend come by and wish you a Happy Anniversary!!!

TokyoMagic! said...

A very happy anniversary to you, Major! And a great big thank you, too!

Now, an important question. Why weren't the early "Space Girls" given helmets to wear? By 1967, the New Tomorrowland's "Space Guy" and "Space Girl" were both wearing helmets.

Chuck said...

Holy smokes! Where does the time go? I can remember when GDB was just a few years old, a digital toddler, and now it's almost a teenager. Will it turn all sullen and moody, withdrawing into its room to listen to Linkin Park and play its XBox 16 hours a day, only emerging to eat and poop? Get ready for a bumpy ride, Major...

Congratulations on twelve years of blogging awesomeness. I stumbled on GDB one Saturday morning in late 2009 and have been hooked ever since. There are lots of Disney sites with pretty pictures, but none have the combination of historic imagery and clever (and, when not being wonderfully silly, dead-accurate) writing that yours does.

As somebody has said here at least once before (JG, maybe?), "come for the pictures, stay for the commentary," and the witty banter mixed with thoughtful commentary from the lineup of usual suspects makes a visit to GDB's virtual coffeeshop (I imagine us sitting by the pot-bellied stove in the pre-remodel Market House) a daily requirement. I've made no-kidding friends here, and that makes GDB all the more special.

The whole combination has helped get me through some pretty dark days, and I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that way. Thank you, Major, for continuing to do what you do. In a word, sir, you rock. Wait - that's two words. You aren't going to charge me extra, are you?

TM!, the Space Guy's helmet and life support system were there to protect him against Space Girl's breathtaking beauty.

Scott Lane said...

Happy anniversary!! What would we do without you? Even though I don't comment much any more since my work schedule has changed (I find it much harder to be pithy at 6:30 in the morning) this is still the first site I check in to every day - even before Facebook! Thanks so much for all your hard work.

Pegleg Pete said...

Congrats on the milestone, Major. I must say, you've really saved some great photos for today's post – that Phantom Boats image is especially nice. Your blog (and the ever-informative chorus of commenters) has been an essential part of my day now for as long as I can remember. Thanks for all your hard work and I'm glad (and relieved) to hear that there's lots more to come. Another 12 years perhaps?

K. Martinez said...


I'd say you have more than a mere blog here. Gorilla's Don't Blog is something truly special.

I visit a lot of blogs and sites daily, both Disney and non-Disney and I truly can't think of another blog or site that even comes close to yours when it comes to the anticipation and joy of each morning. And not to take away from you, but your readers who leave comments make it a pretty special place too.

Now on with the show! All the photos you've shared today are pretty spectacular! I don't think I've ever seen the Phantom Boats in the Tomorrowland Lagoon and the Junior Autopia like this. So much to look at. So much blowup goodness. Telephone pole goodness too!

The Moonliner shot is pretty spectacular and I think my favorite today, however the photo of Spaceman and Spacegirl posing with the two little boys is hard to beat. Love the glow of the lights from the Flying Saucers in the distance.

All in all, a very worthy post for today's special day. Congrats to you on 12 years of Gorillas Don't Blog. Thanks, Major.

MRaymond said...

Congratulation on 12 years. Wow! I don't remember how long ago I started visiting but it took me a month to go through all the old posts. Here's to many more years, photos and commentaries.

Gnometrek said...

Happy Anniversary and thank you Major! You and the GDB contributors enlighten and entertain more than "a few people" each and everyday. Quietly grateful from Arkansas.

Patrick Devlin said...

Congrats Major. Now I have Fred Flintstone singing "Happy Anniversary as only he can. I wonder when I caught on to the fun being had here and made it part of my morning ritual. Hey, that's what an archive's for, right?

You don't want to bother with seeing the "Public Telephone" 'cause it's just a cast member who'll let you borrow her cell phone for a few minutes for ten cents.

That seventh (!Boy, what a batch!) shot sure reminds me how close the Flight Circle was to the Flight to the Moon. And today's early shots remind me how ubiquitous the eucalyptus trees are around here. It's just so hard to believe that they're not native to the area.

Thanks for all the years of work and camaraderie Major!

Steve DeGaetano said...

An awesome achievement, Major! I remember your 10th anniversary, or maybe it was before, when you thought you were coming to the end of your supply of images. I cringed, and was worried. Glad to know that you're planning on sticking around for a while!

dennis said...

Thanks Major! Keep up the work!
Dennis - Levittown Long Island

Anonymous said...

Wow Major...12 years a quite an accomplishment. I enjoy your posts every day, taking me back to the days visiting as a young kid and former CM. Congratulations!! KS

Melissa said...

Happy Dodecaversary, Maj! One more year until GDB's Blog Mitzvah!

I can't add too much more to the sentiments above, but I want to say that this blog is one of the few consistent sources of pleasure in my life. I used to have a whole blog roll of Disney-related sites I'd check each day, but over the years it's whittled down to just GDB and one or two others. Chuck's coffeehouse analogy is spot-on.

Budblade said...

Thanks for all your work. Visiting your blog has become one of the things I look forward to every day!

Melissa said...

So much light and color in this set. And two, count 'em, two sets of matching siblings! Well, the Redshirt Sisters have slightly different plaids, but it counts! The Spacecouple must be a twin magnet.

All that wild, undeveloped land just blows my mind!

Melissa said...

The lady on the right in that group of three looks like Princess Margaret.

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-
A 'Blog Mitzvah' - that even tops 'Tencennial'. I can't wait.

Melissa said...

"Professor Keller and his Fantastic Felines! This attraction was only there from February through September, 1956."

The Felines probably kept wandering over to the Chicken of the Sea tuna boat.


Happy Anniversary Major!! The time goes by faster and faster! But there is no turning back - not for us , not for our Carousel. The challenge always lies ahead .. -oh never mind.
The striped Circus tents at Disneyland - Professor Keller’s, the Mickey Mouse Club Circus or even HolidayLAND always seemed
Contradictory to Walt’s new idea of Disneyland . Maybe that’s why it didn’t last long. It represented that seaside amusement park/Circus/carnival atmosphere that Disneyland was created for in the first place. I always had that same feeling about DCA’s PARADISE PIER ..... or Pixar play Pier this time or is it Paradise Pier Pirates Lair???
Like that striped Circus tent in 1950’s Disneyland , Paradise Pier is another thing that Didn’ belong at or near Disneyland .

For some reason I feel differently had a DUMBO CIRCUS “land” been built in the 70’s or 80’s however. I think I would have liked that .

JC Shannon said...

Major, congatulations on your 12th. People who appreciate Disneyland and love the memories are indebted to you for your hard work and dedication to keeping Walt's dream alive. I only recently found your blog, but you have made my day more than once. The scans you provide bring so much joy to so many people, and your witty captions are an inspiration to us all. You get it. You love Disney and it shows every day. Thank you Major for all your dedication and tenacity over these many years.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, thank you for all of your great comments over the years! You are definitely a part of what makes GDB fun for me.

Irene, I am still blown away that you entrusted Bruce’s photos to me, I hope I am doing them justice.

TokyoMagic!, it seems as if the space couple’s costumes changed (to varying degrees) fairly frequently. I am surprised they were still there in 1967 - somehow I thought that by then, they were a thing of the past.

Chuck, I am already sullen and moody, and it’s not going to get any better. Thanks for the congrats and awesome commentary. Meanwhile, the Spaceman’s costume was refrigerated to keep him from heating up too much!

Scott Lane, I am disappointed that you put your job ahead of this blog, but I guess I can find it in my heart to forgive you.

Pegleg Pete, aiiiieeeee!! I was wondering when somebody would ask for another 12 years!

K. Martinez, GDB definitely wouldn’t be the same without you, for both the comments, and for the graciously-donated posts from your personal collection. Thanks!

MRaymond, you might have been the first person to “binge” GDB.

Gnometrek, wow, cool, Arkansas! Thank you.

Patrick Devlin, if I have managed to make a cartoon song run through your head, then my work here is done. I miss the eucalyptus trees!

Steve DeGaetano, I have been lucky enough to aquire several large lots of slides that will help me to continue for a while.

dennis, thanks

KS, I’m glad you check in regularly!

Melissa, thank you for the nice words and for all of your many fun and creative comments.

Budblade, a new name! Welcome.

Melissa II, I wondered if you would like the matching siblings! I think everybody wanted to be near the luminous Space Couple.

Melissa III, I’m sure Maragret went to Disneyland totally incognito! The other two “women” are actually her male bodyguards.

Nanook, do I need to learn Hebrew?

Melissa IV, I hope the Professor never ate there, or he would be their next lunch.

Mike Cozart, yes, I think this was one of Walt’s rare missteps. He clearly loved a good old fashioned circus, and wanted to put on the best circus he could cook up. But… that’s not what people wanted from Disneyland. It is kind of odd how Disney never liked those seaside amusement parks, only to have his successors decide that a large portion of their “second gate” would be a tribute to those parks. Thanks for all of your great comments over the years.

Jonathan, I appreciate your kind words, and am glad that you found GDB!

Anonymous said...

Well done, Medium Reah!

Dean Finder said...

I don't remember how I found GDB, but I'm glad I did. This is a great place, for the views of a Disneyland that I never got to see, and for the community that appears in the comments every day.

Thanks and congratulations!

Nancy said...

Happy anniversary!!!!

I remember back when you said you didn't have much left to post, and you thought it might not be long until you would be done. Well, I'm very happy things turned out this way.

These views are so beautiful, some of the best ever, especially appreciated since there aren't all that many pictures of the Phantom Boats to begin with.

So many thanks for all the great views and commentary over these 12 years. Looking forward to the future is always fun! :D

JG said...

Cheers Major. I'm late to the party, like always, since I didn't discover GDB till 2008.

Let me add my two cents to the foregoing commenters and say that I truly enjoy coffee with my friends around the pot-bellied stove. (Great analogy, Chuck). I do come for the photos and stay for the comments. Indeed, I often feel that I would be happy to quit my job and just look at your pictures of Disneyland all day, it is so very therapeutic. Finding a way to get paid to do that is still elusive.

Here's to you continuing GDB for as many years as you find it fun to do so. We all do appreciate it so much. I know CoxPilot would have enjoyed today's post.


The Magic Ears Dudebro said...

Congrats on your 12th year, and here's to 12 more! ;)