Friday, August 31, 2018

Skyway Terminal, Tomorrowland - 1956

I always love nice photos of the Skyway terminal in Tomorrowland - it couldn't be more different from the charming chalet in Fantasyland. This thing is dripping with mid-century coolness. It's all angles and beams and steel stairs. The Skyway buckets are probably powered by a nuclear generator 2000 feet below the surface! I love the vertical "SKYWAY" sign, and the colorful sculptural shapes, not to mention those bright wind-catchers (or whirligigs) that look like they are papercraft projects.

To the left is the HFIELD thingamabob. Yessir, I sure enjoy anything sponsored by HFIELD.

Totally unrelated, but from the same batch, is this shot of the E.P. Ripley (not the I.P. Daily) at rest while the train loads at Main Street Station, mostly behind us. One of the train's crew (Engineer? Oil man? Locomotive whisperer?) is taking the opportunity to escape the hot cab and get a little fresh air.

Perhaps you would like to compare this recently-posted photo, very similar to the one above! It's from 1962, so you can see the growth of the trees, as well as the growth of a new building at the Disneyland Hotel. The locomotive is different too, it's the Fred Gurley.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Motor Boat Cruise

I have some scans of some vintage photo prints, hand-dated "May 1977", and featuring the Motor Boat Cruise. This incredibly exciting attraction was 20 years old at the time these photos were taken, and yet it was still considered to be too intense for the faint-of-heart. 

These prints have turned all sorts of interesting colors - yellowish in one area, greenish in another, blue-tinted somewhere else - like a bruise! I tried to even things out a bit, but they still look odd. Nevertheless, this is a great view of the MoBo loading dock. At some point after the ride's closure, I believe that this area was called "Fantasia Gardens". It also became a designated smoking area for a while,  and now it is a dining area.

Mom is in tears because she can't steer. It's OK lady, the wheel doesn't do anything anyway! I see that this boat was named "Shaggy Dog", I wish I had a complete list of all of the boat names. Was there a "Monkey's Uncle" (whoa whoa)? Or a "Zorro"?

In spite of the terror that most riders experienced, you can see that the waterway was beautifully landscaped. Much of the areas where the boats used to putt have been filled in. 

The pale yellow (or white?) boat is the "Tinker Bell"!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

More Rescans

I tried rescanning some old slides again - images that have been seen on GDB before, often 10 years ago or more. The results were not spectacular, but there is still some improvement to be seen.

We'll start with this photo (originally posted back in 2007) of two grown men aboard one of the original "Snow White" vehicles. I think I see a family resemblance between the fellows, but who knows, maybe they were buddies in the Army. 

Here's the rescan; the colors are cleaner and the image is less grainy. I think this one was definitely worth redoing, especially considering that this is such an unusual perspective.

Next we have this 1958 photo of where the "Partners" statue isn't (originally posted in 2011). I always think of that white wire fencing as something from only the first year or so, yet there it is, protecting those flowers from marauders. It's not a bad photo, just a bit on the dark side.

Say, that's more like it! I almost didn't notice the Surrey in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. The shadows are pointing to the west, and all of the guests appear to be heading beneath the castle's portcullis, so this is presumably not long after rope drop (did they even do rope drop back then?). 

I'm sure I'll try my hand at more rescans soon...

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Fun Mom, April 1969

Fun Mom has become one of the most beloved characters on this blog - she's GDB's version of The Fonz!

There she is, in her hot pink outfit aboard the Disneyland RR - still sponsored by Santa Fe in 1969, and that's always a plus in my opinion. The family is waiting at New Orleans Square Station, so they are only about 1/4 of the way through their "grand circle tour". I believe that the set of cars seen here go by the name of "Holiday Green". 

Meanwhile, over in near the Plaza, Fun Mom is accompanied by a friend (or sister?) and a bunch of kids. Imagine herding six children, including one who is barely a toddler. Yeesh! The Plaza Inn is out of frame to our left, and the Coke Corner is in the distance behind Fun Mom.

The Fonz's leather jacket is in the Smithsonian, why isn't Fun Mom's pink pants suit?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Random Photos, November 1965

I found a few random Disneyland slides in a box of other photos (weddings, graduations, pictures of the Grand Canyon... the usual stuff). None of them are super great, but I figured they were worth a post if I put them all together. 

Here's a gray and grungy photo (not GAF film!) of M. Mouse as he greets guests in front of his own floral portrait. (Note to self: have floral portrait of me installed on the south garden). Four kids stand nearby, though I am not clear if they want to shake hands with Mickey, or if they are freaked out by him.

This next one shows the family seeking shade - I think (but am not sure) that they are sort of between the Davy Crockett Arcade and the Pendleton store. It looks like everyone got a souvenir hat; I like the boys' selection of Tyrolean hats - they are stylish enough to wear at the country club on a week night.

Next is a shot taken from the Jungle Cruise - I've always liked the scene of this bathing elephant. Who wouldn't enjoy a refreshing shower under a genuine waterfall? 

This next one is a mystery - it was labeled "Disneyland", but it sure doesn't look like anyplace in Disneyland to me. At first I thought it might be over at Fowler's Harbor, but nope. Notice that everyone is wearing different clothing compared to photo #2. Could this be Knott's Berry Farm? That fishing net is throwing me. Maybe it could be "Last Frontier Village" in Las Vegas? Universal Studios? Corriganville? If anybody knows, please chime in!

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Hippos, November 1965

Arguably, the most famous inhabitants of the Jungle Cruise are the hippos. They terrorize passing boats with gaping jaws, massive tusks, and wiggling ears. Their appearance is always punctuated with the loud bang of a gun firing real ammo (!). Those Disney folks won't settle for less.

Here's a picture of one of the hippos. They call this one "Old Nosey" because he is very curious about other people's business (I guess). Bullets just bounce off of his thick hide - they actually tickle. He will eat pieces of churros, or popcorn, or even a corn dog, so be sure to throw all of your food into the water the next time you see him. Old Nosey will thank you for it.

This next hippo is known as "Skinny", thanks to his diet of Slim-Fast milkshakes. They help keep his cravings in check until his next healthy meal. He usually stays away from the other hippos because he knows that they are so jealous of his figure.

I learned all about hippos from The Discovery Channel.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

Today's group of slides was a bit of a mystery to me... they are undated and unlabeled (I am guessing that they are from the mid to late 1980's). But there were enough clues to figure out that they are of  Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Virginia). The park opened in May of 1975 as "Busch Gardens: The Old Country"; it had a European theme, as you probably gathered. Among the different "hamlets" were "Branbury Cross" (England), "Heatherdowns" (Scotland), "Killarney" (Ireland), "San Marco" and "Festa Italia" (Italy), "Rhinefeld" and "Oktoberfest" (Germany), "Aquitaine" (France), and "New France" (French Canada). 

This particular area is known as "Da Vinci Gardens". In the center is a large armillary sphere, and there are a number of statues, presumably of notable Italians such a Chef Boyardee and Roberto Benini. In the distance is the "Little Balloons" attraction, a simple spinning ride.

Blimey! It's Branbury Cross, a bit of Olde England, with attractions such as the 400-seat Globe Theatre (now the home of "4-D" shows), and one leg of the park's sky ride. The clock tower is known as St. Stephens Clock Tower, often referred to as "Big Ben" by guests. 

In the New France area you'll find "Le Scoot Log Flume", featuring a 50-foot plunge through a saw mill. Will you avoid the razor-sharp teeth of the giant rip saw? Probably not.

I'm suddenly in the mood for a soft pretzel and a beer. Luckily, we're in the "Oktoberfest" hamlet. Besides eating and dancing, you could ride bumper cars, a classic yo-yo swing ride, "Das Katapult", a basic carnival scrambler, and "The Curse of DarKastle", an indoor, technologically-advance dark ride/haunted house in which an ancient German king terrorizes guests through 3D and 4D effects in a motion-simulator style. Sounds pretty cool!

How's this for a spectacular scene? One of the park's 3 locomotives crosses the "Rhine River Trestle". The "Rhine" is not an actual river - it is a man-made lake, in fact. I couldn't find any info as to how high the trestle is, but it appears to be around 30 or 35 feet above the water. If you are interested in the trains at the park, here is some info (too much info?):

There are 3 locomotives, all built by the Caledonian Railway Company. They all have a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement, and roll along 3 foot narrow-gauge track. The ride is about 2.5 miles, and guests are welcome to ride for as long as they wish.

Two of the engines were built for the park. Number 661 (the Balmoral Castle) features British styling, painted in a blue livery. Engine number 238, Der Hochbeinige, has European styling and red livery. Engine #17, the Alpengeist Express (later shortened to the Alpen Express) was originally built for the Lakeside Amusement Park in Salem, Virigina, and was acquired by Busch Gardens in 1997. It has a green livery and maintains an American appearance.

In the distance you can see a second trestle, the “Loch Ness Trestle”, named because of its proximity to the Loch Ness Monster rollercoaster.

The boat is part of the "Rhine River Cruise".

Speaking of the "Loch Ness Monster" rollercoaster, we are getting closer and closer to it. It is a looping Arrow Dynamics coaster with interlocking loops - the only of coaster in the world with this feature, nowadays. At the time of its 1978 debut, this was advertised as the "World's tallest and fastest rollercoaster".

There's the Sky Ride! And that yellow, twisting track is the dreaded "Loch Ness Monster" coaster that I mentioned earlier. Here's a description of a journey on that rollercoaster: The ride begins by departing the station and ascending a 130-foot (40 m) lift hill with a small, tight turn (with views of Griffon's lift hill and first drop) before descending 114-foot (35 m) toward the park's Rhine River. A large upward hill crosses over the park's 'Land of the Dragons', bringing the ride to the first of two interlocking loops, after which the ride accelerates through a descending, spiraling tunnel. 

The train descends 2.75 spiraling revolutions in a tunnel, subsequently ascending its second lift hill, making a wide turn and dropping into the second loop – ascending one final time before stopping. For years, there were special effects in the tunnel section of the ride, including lights, mist, and a mural of the Loch Ness Monster. These effects have not operated for years, and the mural has since been removed from the tunnel wall. In 2018 Busch Gardens restored the effects except for the mist.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Busch Gardens Williamsburg!

Friday, August 24, 2018

More Instamatics From Mr. X !

Mr. X has done it again! He found another batch of Instamatic negatives dating from the 60's - photos that he took himself as a teenager - and he gave them to me! Can you believe it? There are about 37 new images - I've already shared hundreds of photos from X over the years. Unfortunately I don't have dates on any of them, but I would guess that they are generally from around 1967 or 1968.

Let's begin with this lovely shot from New Orleans Square - it's an unusual angle, I can't think of another photo in my collection that shows the French Market from this perspective. The building itself is very nice, with beautiful colors and tasteful signage. Two tour guides are heading in for a bite to eat!

And of course we have the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship with my favorite mermaid (sorry, Ariel!) pointing her scepter skyward (toward the tuna gods?). I always like it when the ship's sails are unfurled. I also like being able to see the dining area in the back - in this case the pirates have used some spare sailcloth to provide shade. 

I almost didn't post this one, but as my family crest says, "What the heck!" (or "Quid heck" if we're using the Latin). We've just been launched from the Skyway chalet in Fantasyland, and Mr. X tried to capture a picture of Casey Jr. passing below, but life moves too fast. If only a one-way trip on the Skyway had taken an hour, that would have been perfect, and there is nothing wrong with that idea at all.

Stay tuned for more photos from Mr. X!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Nice Frontierland

Here are three more super-nice scans of Frontierland slides, shared with us by a Mysterious Donor. 

From Tom Sawyer Island (dated "August 1967") we get this first scan, showing a security guard (?) - I'm not sure what those ladies are doing exactly, but I'm all for it! To the right is Merry-Go-Round Rock - I know it doesn't look like much, but trust me, it's pretty weird for a rock. To the left we can see part of the pontoon bridge, and above it three people are crossing the suspension bridge. 

Next is this beautiful view of the Columbia on a bright, sunny day. There are more long sleeves than usual, perhaps because it is from October of '67 (never mind that it can often be 90 degrees in October). Wouldn't you like to be there?

And finally, here's a wonderful shot of the Casa de Fritos (from November, 1968). What's not to love? The people, the dramatic shadows, the brilliant pink bougainvillea, the people... it's particularly fantastic. No red pom pons here, so that sailor is from the U.S. of A! 

Imagine how lovely this area looked at night. And you could take a trip on the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland after your meal.

Many thanks to our Mysterious Donor.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Mad Tea Party, May 1958

Pictures of Fantasyland's Mad Tea Party are not rare, but I love 'em anyway. Especially when the teacups are full of genuine vintage 50's people.

When I first zoomed in, I thought that everyone was waiting for the ride to start - everything is in focus. But if you look at the postures of some riders, it is clear that they are cranking away at the center wheel to make their cup spin as fast as possible. Don Draper stands at the fence wishing somebody would ride with him. Where is Peggy?

Lot's of mom's and grandmothers are enjoying the spectacle - and enjoying not spinning. "I'll wait here, honey, you have fun!". 

And just because... here's a look at Geppetto's Village, including his workshop, which has tiny toys on display in the window. I've always liked that little guardhouse and the gate - "Halt! Who goes there?".

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Different Lands, June 1963

I'm using up the last two scans from a batch circa "June 1963". They don't really go together, except perhaps as a study in contrasts. But they are both nice pictures!

The rocket traffic has gotten so terrible lately. I remember when this was a nice quiet neighborhood with just a few hovercraft, but now look at it! Darn teenagers. 

This is a pretty nice picture of the Douglas Moonliner, with the Astro Jets whizzing around in the foreground - what else is there to say! 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the park, guests would find themselves in the Living Desert. The dang thing's alive! Can't you feel it? It's like there are millions of tiny, beady black eyes staring at me. The eyes of The Old Ones! Also wild pigs.

I've said it before, but the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland really had that feeling of a tabletop model railroad, blown up to 5/8 scale (or something). I'm not sure I've ever read that this was one of Walt's favorite attractions, but how could it not be??

Speaking of tabletop model railroads, check out Sam Towler's incredible model of the MTTNW - now on view at Walt's Barn in Griffith Park (only one day a month, so look online to make sure it is open if you want to go)! It's worth the trip just to see it.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Flower Market, July 1971

I've got two nice photos of the Flower Market (conveniently located on West Center Street). If you wanted to show off your prowess as a color photographer, this would be a good place to practice. There's every color of the rainbow - even indigo, the least-popular color in the world according to data that I just made up. 

The Disneyland florists have responded to constant requests for bigger flowers. Giant irradiated daisies and black-eyed Susans are the perfect accent to every floppy hat or extra-wide lapel. 

I also need some faux fruit for that bowl in the entryway that I always forget about. I'll take three each - lemons, oranges, apples (what, no 'nanners?). I also need all of those giant pink flowers - each one is the size of a human head, so a bouquet will make a really big impression.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

It's a Small World, April 1969

Today's photos aren't too bad, though the gray sky seems to drain much of the fun and color from these scenes.

Still, ya gotta love a shot of the #3 locomotive, the "Fred Gurley" (they should rename it the "Fred Grandy") as it passes by (and even through) parts of the massive fa├žade of "It's a Small World". When I build my mansion it is going to have plenty of spinny, whirly bits, just like IASW. 

Yeesh, the lack of sun makes those white panels look like they could use a squirt of 409, even though the ride was only about 3 years old at this point. Even the gold-plated pieces (yes, real gold!) look brassy and cheap. Don't worry, Small World, the sun is never gone for very long in Anaheim - you'll be back to your glory in no time.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Ponderosa Ranch, Lake Tahoe, April 1977

Today I have a number of slides from Ponderosa Ranch; a tourist attraction that was located near Lake Tahoe (on the Nevada side), approximately where the fictional Ponderosa from the long-running show "Bonanza" was supposed to be.

Bonanza debuted in 1959 and ran until 1973 - 14 seasons. It was hugely popular! I certainly watched it a bunch when it was syndicated. Over the years, thousands of people who were already in the Lake Tahoe area searched in vain for the Ponderosa Ranch. So wily entrepreneurs cooked up the idea of creating a place for tourists to visit, and they also made a deal with NBC to film the show there. It debuted in 1967.

Here's a group of greenhorns next to a conestoga wagon. Sure, they're smiling now, but wait until they've had to work the ranch for 12 straight hours! They'll be sorry.

In reality, interior scenes were filmed at Burbank Studios, while the Virginia City scenes were mostly filmed at the backlot at Paramount Studios (1959 - 1970), and later at Warner Studios for the remaining run of the show (because it was cheaper). Various exteriors could be filmed at many locations near Los Angeles. Of Bonanza's 431 episodes, only 15 were actually filmed at Ponderosa Ranch.

Here's a nice shot of the park's main street. Look, Ben Cartwright has a country store! I guess being a lumber and cattle baron just didn't satisfy him the way he expected. His heart is in retail. "Y'all come back now, hear?".

Some people thrive in jail; it looks like these two are right at home. I've heard that they have some hooch hidden in the toilet, but I'll just have a root beer.

Looks like they had themselves a "Haunted Shack"/"Mystery Spot" type of attraction. Which automatically earns them my admiration and affection. You could also experience an armed holdup, tour the Cartwright home, enjoy a "Hoss burger", pan for gold, watch wild-west shows, and tour their recreation of Virginia City (located on a few miles from the real Virginia City).

I only went to Lake Tahoe once, and saw signs for the Ponderosa Ranch - I really wanted to go! But it had closed mere months before, in 2004. The land was purchased by a billionaire. (Editor's note: I was not the billionaire).

And, just because they were part of the bunch, here are two photos of Virginia City (the real one). All of the brick buildings look suitably ancient. I would definitely be interested in the 1858 Boarding House exhibit ("Upstairs!"). 

Kitty's Longbranch? Somebody was glomming on to the popularity of another iconic TV western, "Gunsmoke" (which ran for 20 seasons). Miss Kitty worked at the Long Branch Saloon, although that was based on a real saloon in Dodge City. 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Ponderosa Ranch and Virginia City!


Extra! Extra! Just for fun, I thought I would include this scan from a notorious "Bonanza" Viewmaster set. Notice that all four Cartwrights are subtly flipping the bird to millions of children! Lorne Green can hardly contain his glee. I'm told that this image was replaced in later editions.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The 70's!

Today we're gonna take a little trip back to the 70's. It's gonna be real nice, see? Real nice. We're gonna be pals, see?

Let's start with this photo of a very busy Tomorrowland, from April 1978, when Space Mountain was less than a year old (it opened on May 27th, 1977). Now that it's been there for over 40 years, it is hard to imagine the park without it. 

There's lots going on here, with "America Sings" (now in its fourth year) to our left, and "Mission to Mars" just peeking out in the distance. The Rocket Jets and Peoplemover seem to be packing them in, and you can even see people going up the Speedramp to the 2nd level for the Space Mountain queue.

Have you used up all of your E-tickets already? No problem! Just buy another ticket book at that cute little ticket & information stand. 

To our right is the delightful Tomorrowland Terrace; so many legendary bands performed there. Sunshine Balloon! The Entertainment Committee! The New Establishment! The Better Half! Sound Castle Ltd.! To name but a few.

A few years earlier (in 1973, to be exact), someone took this nice shot of Main Street at 5:30. There's nary a hippie to be seen, much to my disappointment. A balloon is stuck in a tree, which you all know is good luck, so make a wish. The clock may read "5:30", but the little girl being carried by her dad is done for the day. All of her synapses have been overloaded.