Friday, November 30, 2018

Beautiful Tomorrowland, July 1959

I am always especially happy to bring you nice Tomorrowland photos! My favorites, for those of you keeping track. These were somewhat faded, but a little work with Photoshop helped to bring them back to respectability. 

This first one is a beauty, with the park looking wonderful on a sunny July day. The fingerboard sign in the foreground is a nice touch. Let's go to Crane's "Bathroom of Tomorrow" and take plenty of pictures! (Meanwhile, don't take pictures in other bathrooms. It's creepy).

It's hard to ignore that United Nations logo, suspended from lines bedecked with colorful flags - not nautical flags like we usually see in Tomorrowland, but actual flags of many nations. I've never found a satisfying answer as to why the UN logo was there; if the photo is truly from July of '59 (and that seems pretty likely), then the Matterhorn, Subs, and Monorail had all debuted just weeks earlier - was the logo on display for that event? Nikita Khrushchev had planned to visit the park, but that wouldn't be until September. "United Nations Day" was in 1959, but not until late October. It's a mystery!

Say, there's the Monorail, the Mark I version with only 3 cars. It's cute and stubby, like a corgi. Folks in the Skyway gondolas are craning their necks trying to take in all the fantastic new scenery, and who can blame them? The red-coated Disneyland Band has gathered near the entrance to the Submarine Voyage. What a day to be there!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Front Tier Land

Oh yeah, it's time for more vintage scans of Frontierland from our Mysterious Benefactor! 

This first one is an example that I had originally rejected because it was so extremely dark and grainy. But the subject matter - the hull of the Columbia under construction - is so cool that I decided to go back and spend some time using Photoshop to try to make it presentable. That's right, this is how it looks after considerable effort on my part! 

I've never seen a shot quite like this; the skeletal sailing ship is resting on the tracks of the Disneyland Railroad (there's the water tower to the right), with metal plating that would be below the waterline. Note the round cutouts where the propellers will sit! I have another photo in my personal collection that shows the Columbia under construction in Fowler's Harbor, so I'm not sure why it is on the tracks at this point. Presumably it was eventually craned back onto the river.

This was another one that was super dark and grainy (from October, 1958), looking down on a portion of a dirt pathway. The slide is labeled "Pack Mule Trail", and I suppose that makes sense - a Stagecoach or Conestoga Wagon probably wouldn't be making those hairpin turns. It wasn't clear to me where this was exactly, and where our photographer would be standing, since this is a giraffe's-eye view.

Zooming in on a 1960 aerial photo, you can see the same hairpin turns, circled in red. The photographer must have been standing atop the berm!

This third photo (from 1970) is probably the nicest, quality-wise. Quite a few guests are gathered around... something! It's a difficult to know what's going on; there seems to be some pink-shirted musicians (?) near the center of the picture. They're not the Gonzalez Trio, though.

Also in the center is a young woman facing our direction, and a small group of people are looking intently at whatever she is holding, but I think she might just be a guest with her family. Alternate theories are welcome.

I've never seen the queue for the Nature's Wonderland Mine Train with all of those colorful umbrellas before.

The next two feature the inner courtyard of Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island (these are both dated "1971"). This first one was very faded and mostly baby-blue - I think it looks better here! At one time I believe the Canteen actually served snacks and beverages, though I'm not sure how long that lasted.

A second shot turned out much nicer. Since Tom Sawyer Island closed at dusk, it looks like all of the guests have been rousted out (security guards bang on trash can lids with billy clubs to herd them toward the rafts). The Fort was closed years ago to protect people from getting splinters.

Thanks to the M.B.!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Walt Disney World, November 1971

I have a few beauties (and one "snoozy") from Walt Disney World (circa 1971) for you today!

First up is this very pretty shot from Main Street U.S.A. as the night was falling (has fallen?). A packed Omnibus passes the Penny Arcade as the sidewalks teem with people. I love the way the scene is lit by the glow from the buildings. Note the hints of Christmas decor in the background.

That young girl was very nearly squashed by the Omnibus, but she managed to leap to safety at the very last moment. Love all of those 1971 fashions, including Mr. White Necktie on the top level of the Omnibus.

From much earlier in the day, we have this lovely shot approaching Main Street Station under a flawless blue Florida sky. It must have been pretty impressive in person! I generally hear about the heat and humidity of the Magic Kingdom, so it's interesting to see guests bundled up in coats, jackets, and sweaters.

And lastly for today, this shot from inside the Grand Canyon Concourse with one of the Monorails, fast asleep after a long day. It's not the most spectacular view ever, but I'm saving a good one for the future!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Indian Village, December 1971

Today I have two nice photos from the Indian Village - in Frontierland, naturally. 

I am mighty impressed by this wonderful and elaborate cedar plank ceremonial house, in the style of the Native Americans of the Northwest Coast. The artistry is truly amazing. The carvings! The color! And unlike many of the other structures in the Indian Village, you could step into this ceremonial house. 

There were a number of totem poles on display, including some that were actually carved in the Indian Village by native artists. According to Wikipedia, The carvings may symbolize or commemorate ancestors, cultural beliefs that recount familiar legends, clan lineages, or notable events. The poles may also serve as functional architectural features, welcome signs for village visitors, mortuary vessels for the remains of deceased ancestors, or… they may embody a historical narrative of significance to the people carving and installing the pole.

Only months after these pictures were taken, the Indian Village was removed for the addition of Bear Country. I hope that the ceremonial house and totem poles were saved!


Thanks to TokyoMagic's suggestion, I am adding a very nice photo that appeared in a 1963 issue of "National Geographic" magazine. NG shared a large, much nicer version of the photo relatively recently. Look for some familiar totem faces.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Peoplemover (?) Views, April 1969

Nothing too exciting today, homies... just a few so-so photos that I believe were taken from a speeding Peoplemover (please correct me if I'm wrong). 

Here we are, looking down on the charming Matterhorn chalet and queue. Look at that short line! I want to be there! Monorail tracks loop around the mountain, but it occurs to me that the photographer might have still been on a Monorail train - did the Peoplemover go that far into Fantasyland?

Sorry, folks, but you'll have to wait at least 7 minutes to get on the ride. Nobody said life was fair. I like the little spots of bright color from the Skyway vehicles (and even that Skyway tower), and some of the guest's clothing.

Here's a rather grungy view of the "It's a Small World" building, which is where the old boundary of the park used to be. With IASW, the large show building extended beyond the berm, much like the Haunted Mansion does. Today, the land to the west of the Small World building is occupied by Toontown, and, coming soon! "Galaxy's Edge" beyond that.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Matterhorn, October 1963

It's another one of those days; the two photos I am sharing are so crummy that I actually feel kind of bad about it. I love the Matterhorn, but these are ugly pictures of it. Look at that sky! It's green, it's pink, it's yellowish, it's gray - like a large contusion. And the Matterhorn looks like it has been carved from a 1000 year-old cheese. Also, zero points because no bobsleds are visible.

Mr. Kodak Picture Spot seems to think that this is a good angle on the mountain. I like that waterfall, of course. But otherwise? MEH!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Random 1964 World's Fair Pix

I wasn't sure what to share on today's "Anything Goes" Saturday - until I noticed that I had a bunch of scans from the 1964 New York World's Fair that had been in a folder for years. None of them were that great, which is why I hadn't published them before; but maybe if I used a bunch in a single post, it would add up to something worthwhile. So here we go!

First up is this shot of the Swiss Sky Ride. In one of the highest rides at the Fair, cabins holding four passengers each are suspended on cables 113 feet in the air. The cables run between the Korean and Swiss pavilion; a one-way trip covers 1,875 feet, takes four minutes and provides panoramic views not only of the fairgrounds but of Manhattan Island.

Next we're looking southeast along the "Fountains of the Fairs", which had pavilions such as Johnson's Wax, Austria and Japan to our left, and DuPont, 7-Up, and Spain to our right. Just visible against the distant spray is the bronze sculpture by artist Donald De Lue entitled "Rocket Thrower".

Surprisingly, this next photo is also looking along the "Fountain of the Fairs", only the photographer was standing a bit further back. Lighting makes so much of a difference! That's the "Court of the Universe" in the foreground; the "Pool of Industry"/"Fountain of the Planets" would be behind us.

Did somebody mention the "Pool of Industry" and "Fountain of the Planets"? Here they are! The fountains were in the pool, if there is any confusion. At night, fireworks and colorful lighting were synchronized to music - there were five different programs.

The building to our left is the Equitable Life Assurance (not insurance) pavilion. To the right of that is the Hall of Education, where you had to do math and stuff. And we can see just a tiny bit of the red "umbrella" roof of the Travelers Insurance pavilion.

Next is the Solar Fountain. This is not the best photo of it, but here's the official description: The central dome, 30 feet in diameter, has colored-light ports illuminated from the interior, and supports a column of water, 30 feet high, with 30 nozzles on a 4 foot diameter circle. Above the central column, a star burst 6 feet in diameter circles around the dome, wobbling jets of water simulate the sun's flaming gasses. The whole composition typifies the beauty and agitation at the center of our solar system.

And lastly (for today), here's the United States pavilion. The United States is located somewhere in the Northern Hemisphere. Possibly near Spain, I'm not sure. What say you, good souvenir guidebook? Within a glittering facade of multi-colored glass, this huge building, 330 feet long, offers a vivid and varied view of America's "Challenge to Greatness" - a theme endorsed by the late John F. Kennedy. Included are two films - one of them a dramatization of the nation's immigrant origins, the other a color spectacular that whisks the visitor through America's past to a future landing on the moon. There is also a modern, computer-run research library. Engraved in the pavilion's foyer, lines from a poem by Archibald MacLeish provide a keynote to the exhibit: "America is never accomplished."

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

Friday, November 23, 2018

Five From Frontierland

Happy Friday! Today I'll be sharing five photos from the Mysterious Benefactor (who is probably a wizard). For all those people who are out of town, not looking at my blog... well, I just feel sorry for them.

The cache of vintage Frontierland scans includes quite a few restaurant and shop interiors, which is pretty cool - so this one is the first of many. A hard-working server in colonial garb (?) serves up some pancakes in the River Belle Terrace, circa 1969. Those don't look like Mickey pancakes to me (and yet, we will see some of those in future posts)! Check out the genuine china plates and actual glass cups (for coffee?). We can see from the name tag that this is Cyndy. There is a familiar "Disneyland" patch on her sweater, too.

The next two photos show the lit sign for Casa de Fritos against a sea of black. It's something different, at any rate!

This one might be from a more artful angle, but I like the lantern and additional lights visible in the first example.

From 1970 we see this watchful sheriff - almost certainly a friendly security guard, dressed to fit in with the surroundings. I would have dressed as a tree stump or an armadillo, but that's just me. I wondered if his presence might have been a result of the Yippie invasion from 1970, but the slide is marked "June", while the Yippies didn't do their mischief until August 6th. Things are about to get interesting, officer!

A pretty young lady hands over a "D" ticket for a ride on the Mark Twain or Columbia in those pre-Fantasmic! days. Like the Jungle Cruise, I always liked to ride the river craft in the day and again in the evening for a surprisingly different experience. I'd love to do that again someday!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving Thursday! I don't have any vintage holiday-specific photos for you, so... what to share? Many people are out of town or busy, should I just post something lame? Nope, I don't like that idea. Instead I found three Instamatics from our pal Mr. X - they are all somewhat unusual views.

Like this first one, featuring the Creole Cafe. How many people took pictures of the Creole Cafe?! (Answer: almost none). You can see a female CM in her uniform, something like a French maid (complete with little cap). Unlike other parts of Disneyland, Walt was apparently OK with some artificial grime, since you can see "stains" around the windows and drips along the front, as if years of soot and rain had taken effect. There are three flags flying from the building; the Stars and Stripes; Iron Man's flag; and (I think) the flag for Moosylvania (where Bullwinkle is from).

Young X tried to get a photo of the Disneyland Fire Dept. at dusk, but those photons had a hard time squeezing through the camera's aperture. And when they did, they were exhausted. The results were a bit murky, but I appreciate the effort! A girl appears to be climbing on the old Chemical Wagon while it is parked in the fire station - back in those days it was probably perfectly OK. Don't they know that this wagon will someday be in my collection, and that I expect it to be in great condition?

Here's a third unusual photo - much like the first one, I ask... who takes a picture of the "One Of a Kind Shop"? Mr. X does, that's who. The story goes that Lillian Disney was involved in this shop (at least in the early days), since she was an avid antiques collector. It's not the most exciting photo ever, but I am glad that X used his camera for good, and not evil!

I'd like to wish my U.S. readers a very Happy Thanksgiving - it's easy to forget the good things in our lives sometimes. I am thankful for all of you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Up a Lazy River, November 1958

What should I post on the day before Thanksgiving? I have no idea! With nothing super-spectacular in my "scanned" folder, I thought I would share some lovely, sunny photos from Frontierland. They're familiar as heck, but so pretty that I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Let's begin with this dreamy, hazy look at the Rivers of America in 1958. As is often the case, the Columbia is dry docked in Fowler's Harbor; animatronic barnacles and vinyl weeds were being scraped off. In the foreground, two raftsmen (my fingers originally typed "fartsmen" all on their own) touch hands like they are in a Michaelangelo fresco. The mast from a third raft is in the lower left foreground - there was a landing for the rafts right next to the Plantation House, at the junction of the Rivers of America and the Rivers of the World.

Just when I think my brain can't handle another photo of the Mark Twain, I get this beauty. Vesey Walker and the Disneyland Band are waiting for just the right moment to break into song. The old bandstand that jutted out into the river can be seen to our right. Looking carefully into the distance, we can even see Skyway buckets and the tower that was on Holiday Hill.

Well, friends, I will be going out of town for the next few days. But I’ll try to check in when possible. There will be new posts for you every day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Hot Pink Pants Suit, April 1969

Never underestimate the power of the HOT PINK PANTS SUIT! It somehow gives off more energy than it receives - a physical impossibility - and yet, it is true. Scientists at MIT and CERN are working to understand the mechanics. Someday entire cities might be powered by this new, clean energy source.

In this first photo, we see Fun Mom and family heading out of Tomorrowland, the wrought iron fence  to our right surrounds the Matterhorn, and the rocks to our left surround the Sub lagoon. Why would anyone leave 1969 Tomorrowland? Above them a red Peoplemover train moves toward a tunnel, where the walls have colorful shapes applied to them. Is the restaurant in the background the Space Bar? 

The hot pink pants suit glows with more vibrance than ever before - the good vibes of "It's a Small World" have amplified the light waves. In effect, Fun Mom is wearing a laser! I'd explain how that works, but it is very technical. Don't worry, her kids are safe as long as they don't attack her with a phaser - that would reverse the polarity of the something something, and KABOOM!

Monday, November 19, 2018

'Tis a Small World

When my friend "Mr. X" was young, he was a big fan of "It's a Small World"(he still is, as a matter of fact), and he took plenty of photos inside the ride back when it was fairly new. I've posted a bunch of his IASW pix in the past, but here are a few that slipped through the cracks.

It's jolly olde England, and a band made up of Grenadier Guardsmen plays their arrangement of the Sherman brother's classic tune. Note to self: buy bearskin hat at Target.

Oo-la-la, it's Gay Paree! These showgirls are flashing too much ankle for my tastes. Think of the children. In my day women covered their ankles with a two-inch layer of goose grease.

Any worthwhile European tour will visit Italy. This scene seems to mostly consist of a stylized Venice, along with a leaning tower. If the gondolas in Venice really were purple and sparkly, there would be no wars.

The next two scenes are from the Grand Finale, in which all the little children (and geese) of the world come together to sing a song of joy. 

The traditional costumes from earlier scenes are now in shades of white, which I believe Mary Blair considered to be the most joyful of colors. 

For all of the jokes leveled at IASW over the years, I have always loved it!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Random Frontierland

This lazy Sunday gives me the opportunity to use up some fairly "blah" Frontierland photos that I just couldn't bring myself to use on any other day (because Sundays mean low viewership, see?). 

Here's an unremarkable look at Fort Wilderness (from 1964), probably from the deck of the Mark Twain. It's almost obscured by the lush landscaping. The tippy-top of the Matterhorn shows up, all the way from Tomorrowland!

This one is from a lot dated "June 1959", and shows a CM at the dock where the Mark Twain just left for its 10-minute (ish?) trip around the river. Unless the Columbia was running too, he can take it easy for a while.

A different 1959 lot had this photo of the Friendly Indian Village. It's small, but it's cozy, and all of the men and women are busy preparing hides, grinding corn, drying meat, or performing other daily tasks necessary for survival on the Great Plains.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Algeria and Canada

I decided to share some photos from beyond the borders of the U.S. today. Who knows, maybe it will be fun!

This first scan is from a small batch of slides that are from around the WWII era. I believe this particular image is from the post-war years. The building featured here is the "La Grande Poste D'Alger" ("The Great Post of Algiers"). Built in 1910, it is located in the heart of Algiers (on the the northern coast of Algeria). 

I am fascinated by that giant map of France hanging over the arched entrance (Algeria was a French colony until 1962).

Does anybody have some idea of what this map might depict? I'm wondering if it has anything to do with Germany’s occupation in WWII - although, as I said before, I believe that the photo is really post-war, so I suppose that doesn't make much sense. If you have a clue, please chime in!

The building must have been brand-new when this postcard was printed.

Here's a beautiful contemporary photo from Wikipedia.

Next comes this undated (but probably 1960's) photo of a store in Canada - Windsor, Ontario to be exact. Note the Union Jack as well as the pre-maple leaf Canadian flags. The store is "C.H. Smith and Company", although it looks like they were attempting to be more hip and groovy, going by the name "Smith's", with a charming font.

From the interwebs: The C. H. Smith Company Limited Store for dry goods was located on the east side of Ouellette Avenue between Sandwich Street (now Riverside Drive) and Pitt Street; the main entrance was on Ouellette Avenue, with a side entrance in Pitt Street East; founded in 1914, the Smith store moved from the original Pitt Street location to Ouellette Avenue in 1919; for many years the Smith store was the largest department store in Windsor; the building was demolished in the 1970s after the Smith store moved to the Devonshire Mall.

Here's a very old photo featuring Smith's - 1930's?

I hope you have enjoyed your trip abroad. Please do not bring any plants or fruit back into the U.S.!