Tuesday, July 31, 2018

In Tomorrowland, March 1978

We're back in Tomorrowland, this time circa 1978. By this time, the Mark VII Autopia vehicles had  been in use for a decade; but they sure were cool! And they were in use far longer than any other version, lasting all the way to 2000. The Mark VIIs definitely have that sleek "Corvette" look that I associate with the 70's (even though they are from 1968). This young lady will soon discover that driving a real car is generally not as fun as the Autopia was!

And how about another look at one of the Mary Blair murals? In a recent animation auction, a number of paintings by Ms. Blair sold for around $20,000, while one went for $60,000. And yet this wonderful work by one of Disney's most influential and beloved artists remains hidden - and damaged. I would love it if they removed the competent (but rather dull) murals that currently cover these tiles, and then restored the gaping holes so that we could all enjoy these works of art again. The Hatbox Ghost returned, why not the Mary Blair Murals?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Stagecoach & Mules, 1950's

One of the things I love about old photos of Frontierland is when we see details that are long-gone -  especially when it is the wonderful Stagecoaches. In the 1950's many small western-themed amusement parks offered the chance to ride in a stagecoach. Western Union! Butterfield Overland! Or something more generic. How many people had watched 1000 hours of TV westerns, and dreamed of the chance to experience the bumpy, dusty joys of a stagecoach? The man to the left is leaning on a shovel, I guess he was going to dig a hole or something.

In this first photo we see one of the "mud wagons", which are more square and boxy, with larger openings on the side.

Here's what the other kind of stagecoach looks like (this image was scrounged from the 'net. If it is yours, I will be happy to give you credit!). Compare and contrast the two coaches. Write a three page (single spaced) report, and be sure to use footnotes and include your references. Don't forget to incorporate the word of the day ("discotheque")!

Next is this not-great shot of the nearby pack mules. Pack Mules are ALWAYS nearby! This photographer seemed to be generally unaware of heads eclipsing large portions of his photos - a rare condition known as "head blindness". Please give generously so that we can wipe out head blindness forever! Send cash directly to me.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Columbia, Sort Of - August 1967

"Fun Dad" took a lot of wonderful pictures, but today's shots of the Columbia are not his finest work. Why didn't he move to a location in which the view was not obstructed by those square umbrellas? We will never know. 

In spite of the umbrellas, these are still kind of pretty, though!

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Magic Mountain Funicular, January 1979

I have a small batch of slides from Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. Being dated "January, 1979", these are probably from just before Six Flags acquired the park (though apparently the name was not changed to "Six Flags Magic Mountain" until 1980.  

One of the original rides dating back to 1971 is the Funicular - a cable railway that took passengers up (and down) from the ground level up to "Samurai Summit". This appears to be a lovely morning view (no crowds!) of the upper station.

It's surprising to me that they didn't give the ride a cuter name than plain old "Funicular". How about "Fuji Funicular"? Brilliant! I've got a million of 'em. The Funicular was one way to get to one of my favorite old Magic Mountain attractions, the "Magic Pagoda". Wikipedia describes it thusly: A walk-thru attraction located on Samurai Summit. It featured a talking Buddha, a mirror maze, a strobe light room (with a dragon flying overhead), a walk through a miniature version of Chinatown and various other small scale items of interest with a Chinese Theme. It was trippy and low-tech and wonderful (it was removed in 1984).

From 1988 to 2016, the Funicular was repainted blue and white, and it was renamed the "Orient Express". One passenger was murdered on every trip up the hillside - the rest were suspects.

Notice that Captain Quint took some time off from hunting great white sharks to work on the Funicular. He was delighted to discover that the chances of being bitten went down to only 12%.

Happily, the Funicular is still with us today! Honda sponsors it, and it is called the "Honda Express" - according the park PR, Magic Mountain is, "...the only theme park in the nation to boast one of these unusual transportation systems". 

I love this final photo overlooking Valencia - as you can imagine, development has changed this scene considerably. I tried to find a comparable contemporary photo, but, much to my surprise, could not locate a single one. Almost everyone took pictures as the funicular was going up.

I'll have more Magic Mountain photos, coming up.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Tomorrowland, April 1969

I'm always happy to spend a few moments in "New Tomorrowland" (post 1967). So let's start by checking out this photo of one of the cooler structures that included the Space Bar on the bottom level, the Peoplemover station & loading platform, and on top of it all, the soaring Rocket Jets attraction. Soak it all in!

Here's a slight zoom to allow a better look at the lower level. You can barely see one or two of the lozenge-shaped Goodyear displays. Love the '67 fashions! And you can see the roofs of the Peoplemover cars automatically lifting as they entered the station - so ingenious and cool!

This next one is an odd angle, but we get a bit of the yellow Monorail, the Skyway, "Flight to the Moon", the Submarines, and the Rocket Jets again - this time with the rockets in flight. 

In the distance sharp eyes can discern the very peak of the Anaheim Convention Center (just to the right of the Rocket Jets), as well as the top of Main Street Station.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Jungle Cruise Pix, May 1966

It was fun discovering (or rediscovering) some Jungle Cruise details that I believe I have seen before, but I'm not sure where, and if so, these details don't show up in photos often.

We'll start with this not-great photo taken from the queue as one launch returns to civilization (and those crowded L.A. freeways). After 11 years of growth, the jungle looks appropriately dense and mysterious. Herds of animals could live in there, and we'd never see them. 

This next photo is the one that features the interesting details - those strange trees (Yucca trees? Probably not) across the river have been decorated with polychromed carvings of fearsome tiki gods. I think one of them just blinked!

I am very curious as to when these carvings were added, since I am reasonably sure that they weren't there from the beginning. The Jungle Cruise underwent a fairly major rehab in 1964 (adding the African Veldt and the Trapped Safari), that might be a good guess. As for when they were removed, I can only speculate. Notice the small free-standing tiki to the right. First of all, he should be in my collection. Secondly, he looks like...

... a baby version of this big fella! 

Here's an image of a faded version of one of those very t-shirts (it was worn and washed a lot!), from Facebook. As I said in the comments, many Disneyland fans refused to believe that such a thing would have been produced by Disney and were doing a lot of hand-waving to explain how it existed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

WDW Vacationland

It's time for another post featuring an item from the collection of Ken Martinez! This time it is selected pages from an issue of "Walt Disney World Vacationland" magazine, circa 1973. Here's Ken:

Walt Disney World Vacationland Magazine Spring 1973 – The Magic Kingdom 

In Walt Disney World Vacationland magazines post is the first of two posts for the Spring 1973 issue.  The cover is a little worn, but it does provide an unusual view of the recreational water activities in the Vacation Kingdom.  In this image we are above Bay Lake looking eastward towards the Contemporary Resort Hotel and Seven Seas lagoon beyond.

Thought I’d share the introduction page.  You can see the shape of the 43 square mile property at the bottom of the page.  The Magic Kingdom/Vacation Kingdom was at the northern most part of the property.

Zooming in we can see the ticket prices.  What a deal!  Disney is into having those “Blast to the Past” events these days.  I think it would be sweet if Disney would include “Blast to the Past” pricing for those events too?

The Magic Kingdom was under two years old at the time of this publication.  Love the Fantasyland West view with the Skyway and original “it’s a small world” entrance.

Love the image of Cinderella Castle with the Hub Waterway in the foreground.

Here we have a rare photo of the Admiral Joe Fowler cruising past the Haunted Mansion in Liberty Square.  The Main Street Emporium sure looks more ornate that it’s counterpart in Disneyland.

And here we have the page of extinct attractions with the exception of Country Bear Jamboree which is still hanging on albeit in edited/shortened form.  Luckily, during my visits to Walt Disney World in the 70’s and 80’s, I was able to experience 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Skyway, the Plaza Swan Boats and the Mickey Mouse Revue.  The memories are pretty faded though.

One of the things that surprised me on my first trip to Walt Disney World back in the 1970’s was that Monsanto was the sponsor of the Circle Vision 360 presentation and Goodyear was the sponsor of the Grand Prix Raceway.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s article.  There’s one more article from the Spring 1973 issue of Vacationland Magazine.  Stay tuned.

MANY THANKS to Ken Martinez! I'll have another post from him coming up soon.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Mickey Mouse 50th Birthday Parade, March 1978

Here are a few so-so photos of a parade that celebrated Mickey Mouse's 50th birthday! As all of you surely know, Mickey officially debuted in the 1928 short subject, "Steamboat Willie" (even though two other films starring Mickey were made first - "Plane Crazy" and "The Gallopin' Gaucho"). I particularly love the mouse in those earliest films, when he could be rambunctious, adventurous, and a little naughty. 

As we can see, J. Worthington Foulfellow and his friend Gideon have reformed their wicked ways and are more than happy to carry the banner celebrating their friend's birthday, while the White Rabbit and Br'er Fox follow close behind, thrilling kids by shaking hands.

There he is! This photo reminds me of when I went to the Disneyland Hotel for it's 50th anniversary - there was a fun event that included a display of rare historical artifacts (courtesy of Don Ballard) and a cake in the shape of the Sierra Tower. At some point, Mickey Mouse made a surprise appearance; the happy expressions on the faces of the people (including the hotel staff) was pretty remarkable. They were so thrilled to see him! Mickey just has that star quality, no doubt about it.

It's nice to see Pinocchio, a character from a film (my favorite!) from 1940, alongside Miss Bianca and Orville, from "The Rescuers" - Disney's latest animated feature (released in 1977, less than a year before these photos were snapped).  Orville is walking like an Egyptian long before the Bangles had the idea.

Monday, July 23, 2018

In Memory of Patrick Devlin

I have some sad news for GDB readers; the other day I received a message from Mike Devlin: I'm sorry to report that my brother Patrick succumbed to cancer this last Wednesday.  I'll miss his comments to your daily postings.

I will miss his comments too; I exchanged a few emails with Patrick over the years as well, and you could tell that he was a good person with a fun sense of humor. As many of you will recall, I was the happy recipient of a small box of vintage slides featuring the Devlin family at Disneyland; I'll repost some of my favorites today as a tribute to Patrick.

Let's start with this nice portrait (from September, 1961) with Pat, Mary, Pluto, and Judy. Merlin's Magic Shop is behind them, full of magician's paraphernalia, practical jokes, and  best of all, rubber monster masks.

Here's an impressive photo of Pat in front of the graceful Moonliner! He tucked in his shirt, or maybe his mother did it for him.

The remaining photos are from April 23, 1960; first up is this shot from the Tahitian Lanai, overlooking the Jungle Cruise loading dock. A handy shield protects the kids (Pat, Mary, and Mike) from poison darts. Mike is really taking it all in, which is why he wound up working for Imagineering himself.

Next we have Mary and Pat, who have boldly left the main trail to brave the wilds 4 feet away!

Pat liked being near the water (in the same location as the previous photo?), it seems. Here he is right by the Adventureland entrance; somehow piranhas now infest these waters, even though it has just come from piranha-free Fantasyland moments before.

Here's a beautiful shot taken in the shade of trees that had matured in the five years the park had been open. I prefer the planter full of flowers (behind the Devlin boys) without the "Partners" statue, and I think Walt himself would probably agree.

Growing boys need plenty of fuel to keep them going during a long day at Disneyland. Popcorn and ice cream bars have all of the sugar and nutrients they could ask for! Here we have brothers Pat, Joe, and Tom.

Pat's still munching on popcorn (who knows, maybe it's another full box), while sister Mary cozies up to Mary Jo (the patient mother) as they relax on a handy bench next to the Red Wagon Inn.

And finally, my favorite of the bunch, with Pat gazing intently at the brand-new Sub lagoon; there's the "Ethan Allen" cruising by, and the three-car red Monorail zooming along in the background. Perhaps Pat has already been on the Subs, and is recalling all of the wonders that he has seen (Atlantis! Sunken treasure! Underwater volcanos! Sea serpents!)? Or is he still awaiting his first experience journeying through liquid space?

Rest in Peace, Patrick Devlin. Thank you for your friendship.

(You can see many more wonderful photos from the Devlin family over at Daveland - click on THIS LINK)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Not Repeats, I Swear - June 1963

Today's photos will probably evoke a powerful, disorienting sensation of déjà vu. But don't worry! You're not going koo-koo-bananas - it's just that these scans look exactly like scores of others. I believe that this first example was taken at one of the "Kodak Picture Spot" locations? 

There were no Picture Spots in the middle of the Rivers of America, however! It's not that the pictures are bad, they're just kind of there, like a low hum.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Random Amusements

It's time to take some old scans off the shelf - dust them off, shine them up, and let them have their moment in the sun. All of these are old snapshots.

First up is this novelty photo from the Long Beach Pike (or so it seems based on a little online research). This couple has been placed in jail for crimes so heinous that I won't repeat them here! They seemed so nice - but that's how it always goes, isn't it?

Next up is this cute photo of a father and his young son as they enjoyed a ride on an antique auto. All old automobiles had two steering wheels in case one of the passengers passed out from overexcitement. That building in the background looks vaguely familiar, yet I can't place it. Perhaps one of you knows the location?

And lastly, here's a snapshot that was mixed in with some Disneyland scenes. We're in the parking lot of the old Busch Gardens that used to be in Van Nuys. There were beautiful gardens, colorful parrots, a log flume ride, and free beer (!), to name just a few of the attractions. This particular photo shows the monorail that took guests on a tour through the huge brewery (audio narration was recorded by Ed McMahon - no kidding!). Sadly, the park was removed in 1979, though the factory continues to scent the air with the aroma of brewing beer.

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Gonzalez Trio, 1957

I am always happy to find photos of the wonderful Gonzalez Trio as they performed in Frontierland. There's something very joyful about the sound of mariachi music. Notice the little bandstand! Not to mention the "Zocalo" marketplace in the background - if you need a rubber tomahawk or a pair of maracas, you will be in luck.

These photos are from 1957, the year that Disney's "Zorro" television series began airing. It was a big success! I wonder if that show's portrayal of "old California" provided the inspiration to add a little more Mexican influence to Frontierland?

Ah, Carmelita... my "retro crush"! Sometimes she played the guitar, too, which made her even more awesome.

Notice the glossy version of the classic paper hat in the foreground - I don't ever recall seeing one of those before. Maybe it's plastic? Or adamantium? There's also a scarce yellow Keppy Kap to the right. 

Does anybody know how many years the Gonzalez Trio remained at Disneyland? It seems as if they were there until sometime in the latter part of the 1960's, though I could find no real info.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Polynesian Resort, Walt Disney World, November 1971

Here are more fantastic photos from the earliest days of Walt Disney World, as captured by my friend Mr. X. Today we'll be hanging around the Polynesian Resort, so I don't care how early it is, please drink a Mai Tai or zombie while viewing this post. 

I guess I will need to rely on the smart (and good-looking) GDB readers who actually know something about the Polynesian, because I know bupkis. 

What I do know is that there are flaming tiki torches, and a lovely waterslide that plunges into a pool that is below our line of sight. I'm sure that pool was a welcome respite from the busy park, even in November.

Mr. X took some neat (and unusual) photos of various shops and... other stuff. Like this. What is it? Perhaps this is where guests could catch the Monorail to the Magic Kingdom? A "Century 21" agent (in his classic gold sport coat) is looking forward to checking out the Haunted Mansion!

Here's one more, at no additional cost to you. Does anybody know where this pretty little waterfall was located?