Thursday, January 31, 2019

Frontierland in the 70's

It's time for some 70's Frontierland goodness, from our friend the Mysterious Benefactor.

Here's something you don't see photos of very often (if ever)... The Wheelhouse (circa 1971), located in the building that held the original Casa de Fritos. I know very little about this eatery - was it strictly window service? The signs certainly make me hungry. How about a "frosted thick milk shake"? Sundaes and ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs... come on, what else do you need in life? They also sold wheels, which only makes sense.

Next is this photo of the Pontoon Bridge on Tom Sawyer Island. This slide was very dark, and I could only pull up so much detail in Photoshop, so those shadows are inky black. I wonder if pontoon bridges were actually used very much in the old days? I wish all city sidewalks were actually pontoon  bridges.

This last one is my favorite, just because I get a kick out of the people. The guy with the yellow tank top is my hero. I'll bet he has a black belt in karate, speaks fluent Klingon, and can recite Pi to 25 digits.

There are lots more photos from the Mysterious Benefactor!


Our pal Mike Cozart emailed the following two photos to me, and said it was OK for me to share them with you. 

Here's a nice shot of the signage for The Wheelhouse. Why isn't this in my collection? 

I must confess that I am not sure I was aware of The Delta Banjo Sandwich Shop until Mike  mentioned it in his comment. He pointed out the words "Johnny St. Cyr Prop.", and said It turns out he was a real person and a well known banjo player who was in several jazz bands lead by Louis Armstrong . He was born in New Orleans and died in Los Angeles in 1966. I am not aware of a Disney connection to him.

THANKS for sharing these, Mike!


TokyoMagic! has generously shared his personal photo of the area where the Wheelhouse (etcetera) was located. It looks surprisingly similar to the way it did 40 years ago! Notice the ship's wheel on the railing. Thank you, TM.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Castle, May 1958

I don't want to brag, but today marks the first time that anybody on the internet has ever posted a photo of Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. What a coup! I don't really know why nobody else has shared a photo of this landmark, but by golly, I leapt on the opportunity to scoop everyone. Some might call me a hero, but I prefer to be known as a boy genius.

This photo is from May of 1958, and the cloud cover looks suspiciously like the early arrival of "June Gloom". Sure, this first-ever internet photo of Sleeping Beauty Castle is historic and amazing, and I should probably receive a valuable award, but the fun part of the image is the people. Just look at 'em go! They're like Sea Monkeys.

Let's zoom in, shall we? I admire the crazy straw hats on the two ladies near to the right - it is people like them that help keep the crows out of Disneyland. I enjoy observing the clothing that people wore 60 years ago, especially the guy with the blue jacket and untucked shirt. Très chic!

I wonder what's going on in the lower left? Three men are huddled around... something. Unfortunately they are obscuring whatever that yellow and red object is. The man in the striped shirt appears to be toting a Kodak Brownie. Zooming in further didn't help, so I guess we'll never solve this important mystery.

I only had one more photo from this May 1958 batch, and it shows the delightful Burning Settler's Cabin. If it wasn't for the dead guy draped over that bench, I wouldn't mind toasting some marshmallows and playing some folks songs on my banjo.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Motor Boat Cruise, May 1959

I'm always very happy to find some photos of the old Motor Boat Cruise, in spite of the ride's lack of thrills. In fact, thrills weren't the point (even if you did briefly pass through rocks and "rapids") - you could sit back, relax, take in some pretty scenery, and even practice your yodeling like I did. 

Looks like the boats do not yet have names of Disney characters ("Shaggy Dog", "Tinker Bell") painted on them. It seems like such an obvious idea now! They could have "Iron Man", "Venellope von Schweetz", and TokyoMagic's favorite, "Boba Fett" - suddenly the Motor Boats would be the coolest ride again.

In these early days, the landscaping hadn't had a chance to fill in much, leaving weedy dirt embankments in places, but people probably just turned their heads toward something more interesting. In the distance we can just see the yellow garage from the Midget Autopia, and of course the striped sails of the Pirate Ship, and the blurry Skyway gondolas can also be seen. 

Monday, January 28, 2019

It's a Small World, Sponsored by Bank of America

The façade of "It's a Small World" looks like an incredibly elaborate craft project, made of foam core, gold foil doilies, a few different shades of gray papers, and so on. Maybe that's part of its appeal? Cutting all those shapes would take some skill and patience - or you could just use a 3-D printer and really go nuts. I'd love to make a version that is 4 or 5 feet wide!

A trio of sailors is curious about "The Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed 'Round the World". Will thar be grog? Aye, mateys! Notice the trees atop the IASW building, famously put on the scale model temporarily by Rolly Crump - Walt liked it and they became a part of the decor for many years. 

If nothing else, this is a different angle than we typically see. I'll take what I can get. I'm fascinated by the abstract topiaries - they resemble chess pieces, or totem poles. 

If you look above the striped awnings on the control stations, you can see the train tunnel to the extreme left.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Indian Village, October 1963

It's a sleepy Sunday, and I don't want to get you guys pumped full of adrenaline by posting something exciting. I CARE. Instead, I'm going to share a few perfectly-fine-but-nothing-special images of the Friendly Indian Village, circa 1963.

Imagine traveling along a river 200 years ago, with no signs of life other than a few woodland critters, when suddenly there's a small village up ahead! People - way out here? Not only surviving, but thriving. Don't be too agog, or we'll hit one of those rocks.

Those folks have got it all figured out. Everyone has his or her role to play, except for the kid on the canoe, who just wants to dance. I was like you, kid, I was like you.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Old Photos!

For those of you who have been visiting GDB for a long time, you may recognize the pretty blond lady in the photo below; she was in the very first picture ever posted here! But... along with all of the slides of Disneyland, Santa's Village, and Knott's Berry Farm, there was an envelope of large black and white negatives from the 1940's - some of which were very fun. So I'm going to share a few of those today.

There she is, as a brunette, and all dressed up in a cute outfit. Her husband (maybe they were still just sweethearts at this point) sure was crazy about her - he took a bunch of photos. Some are in the Boston area, so let's just assume that this is somewhere in Massachusetts. 

More than a few of the photos have our friend showing off her gams; I think she was thumbing for a ride, like Claudette Colbert in "It Happened One Night". To the right is the hood ornament of a Packard.

There's her lucky fellow, reading one of her letters - presumably one that she sent to him while he was in Germany during the war. Notice the lipstick imprint! I have some photos of this guy amid bombed buildings and on ships, maybe I'll share those here someday.

And here's my favorite of the bunch... our gal has put on her sweetheart's cap and jacket, and by gum, she looks adorable! No wonder he proposed.

I hope you have enjoyed today's vintage photos!

Friday, January 25, 2019

Fantasyland, August 1967

Here are two more beautiful, colorful photos from Fantasyland, 1967. They're from Fun Dad, so you know that they are special. 

I don't know if Fun Dad was on a roll, or if it was a combination of a sunny summer day along with whatever version of Kodachrome was being sold at that time, but these look especially vibrant and clear. There's not much I can add to this image that you don't already know; we've got the Skyway going back and forth through the Matterhorn, with the "Fan 2" food service tent to our left.

Talk about eye candy; those rich hues really pop - which makes sense; August of '67 was smack-dab in the middle of the Summer of Love. Hippies were flocking to San Francisco, but based on the short hair and neat and tidy clothing, the counter culture hadn't really hit the mainstream yet.

The Fun Dad Collection is down to just over a dozen photos!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Mine Train, October 1963

For some reason, many of the images in this batch from 1963 have a sooty, gray appearance. Not sure why that would be - even if it was overcast the color shouldn't be so yucko. But we must persevere onward! 

Certain colors seem to cut through the gray as if they possess some radioactivity. The pink on Pat Casey's Last Chance Saloon, or even the yellow of the Mine Train cars. Gramps looks at the camera in disbelief. "Why I've never seen such a pink, even when I was in France in 1916!". Thank you for your service, Gramps.

Even after all this time, I still get a kick out of the familiar old buildings; the Rainbow Ridge Clarion, the General Store, and the El Dorado Hotel. 

The colored mud pots of the Rainbow Desert could use a vitamin B shot; they're lookin' mighty poozly. It almost looks like a colorized black and white photo, don't you think?

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

City Hall and More

Mr. X has done it again, with this beautiful, souvenir guidebook-worthy photo of City Hall. You can't fight it! But I like to go in there and complain - they have to listen to whatever I say, no matter how crazy. It's great. Then when I leave I ask for a pinback button that says, "Today's My Birthday" even when it isn't my birthday. I'm kind of the "Fonz" of Disneyland fans. 

Next is this view of the Submarine Lagoon as seen from the Monorail Station (or perhaps the moving sidewalk that led up to the station). When you see photos of the lagoon without water, it is amazing how colorful the corals and rocks are - but water absorbs most of that color, leaving us with an aquamarine blue-green. Folks are disembarking from their sub, and if you look closely, you can see the electric cattle prod in the hand of the CM. "Move it! I don't got all day!".

It's a Small World looms above those plants like a lost city might suddenly appear through a tropical jungle. There seems to be a maroon cloth (?) covering of some kind, not sure what that's there for.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Peoplemover Views, April 1969

Photos taken from the Peoplemover aren't quite as common as photos taken from the Skyway, but I have two interesting examples for you today. Both were taken by Fun Dad.

First up is this interesting view of Monorail tracks, with the Disneyland Railroad passing below, and the famous Roundhouse to our left. An unusual photo, without a doubt! Another interesting thing is the fact that the American Flag is at half staff, and I wondered why. After a bit of Googling, I found out that Dwight D. Eisenhower (President #34) died on March 28th, 1969. I think it is pretty likely that the flag was lowered in his honor.

Here's a crop-in for a slightly better look at the Roundhouse.

Meanwhile, in Tomorrowland proper... we get this nice look at the tri-level mini-hub where one would find the Space Bar, the Peoplemover load area, and the Rocket Jets. What an ambitious and impressive feature!

Down below we can barely see one of the lozenge-shaped dioramas from Goodyear (to the extreme left).

Monday, January 21, 2019

The Rainbow Desert, July 1960

I'm not sure if the Rainbow Desert in Nature's Wonderland truly resembles anyplace on Planet Urf, but somehow the Imagineers managed to create a convincing Southwest desert in this former Anaheim orange grove. A simulacrum, if you will! 

Notice the bobcat perched atop the butte to our left - presumably this is one of the rocks that teetered and wobbled as the mine train passed. I've always wondered if each saguaro was individually sculpted, or if the Imagineers made a few basic shapes that could be mixed and matched in a modular fashion. Obviously some of them were totally unique.  

Look out! The geysers are a-geyserin'! Just think of the strange geological forces that caused these natural fountains to form and erupt. The scientific term is "squirtellation", coined by Sir Albert Geyser, who discovered the process when he accidentally put his sleeping cot on top of one. It erupted during the night, and he spent 12 minutes in the air before he was gently lowered back to the ground (clean as a whistle, I might add). TRUE STORY.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Two From May 1966

Sunday's the day I try to use up any boring slides (or more boring than usual, I should say); today's examples are from the batch featuring Polly Holliday's sister Molly. We don't see her at all in these, sadly. But I am happy to report that the remaining 10 (or so) scans are really nice! Just you wait and see.

It's Cinderella's Castle in Storybook Land. Favorite thing to do: look for the pumpkin coach on the winding viaduct up the rocky slope. I see it, I see it! It was voted "cutest punkin" in "Pumpkin Fancier" magazine three years in a row. Note the crane, being used to build the "It's a Small World" attraction.

You might think this is a photo of the Mark Twain. You might think that it is passing a rocky promontory called "Cascade Peak". You also might think that the boat is on the Rivers of America. Man, you sure think a lot of things! It must hurt, but I wouldn't know, since I try to think of as little as possible.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Wisconsin Dells Almost

My roots are in the midwest (Chicago, to be exact), and I have family in Minnesota and Wisconsin to this day; while my dad was alive we spent part of every summer heading back to that area for fishing, or to see my grandparents when they were still around. I loved it! 

That being said, today's photos involve a Wisconsin natural wonder/tourist attraction called the Wisconsin Dells. How do I describe the Dells? By letting Wikipedia do it! The Dells of the Wisconsin River, also called the Wisconsin Dells (from French dalles, or narrows), is a 5-mile gorge on the Wisconsin River in south-central Wisconsin, USA. It is noted for its scenic beauty, in particular for its unique Cambrian sandstone rock formations and tributary canyons.

Below is a 1958 photo featuring lots of cool old cars parked at the curb while tourists line up to buy tickets for a boat trip on the Wisconsin River. Note the Native American (facing away from us) in full headdress, ready for a photo op!

This next photo is from 1954, and shows another scene approaching the boats that would take guests on a cruise through this beautiful natural area. Sounds very pleasant! My Great Aunt invited lots of extended family (including me) to visit the Dells for several days, back when she turned 80. But I couldn't go, due to work. I've regretted it ever since.

Notice the AAA sign shaped like a canoe, and the row of extra Indian headdresses, and a genuine canvas teepee. More from Wikipedia: The cultural history of the area stretches back several thousand years, from early Paleo-Indian people to the more recent Native American peoples, such as Ho-Chunk, Sac, and Menominee, who left behind effigy and burial mounds, camps and village sites, garden beds, and rock art. 

Here's a photo, scrounged from the internet. Maybe I need to go see The Dells next summer!

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Polynesian - November 1971

Somebody once asked me, "Why do you collect slides of Walt Disney World if you've never been there?". I don't know, because I like them? The early years especially fascinate me, and I can never see that WDW in person. 

Today's scans are all from Mr. X's November 1971 trip to the brand-new park; and while we tend to see plenty of photos of Main Street, and Cinderella Castle, and the Contemporary Hotel, it seems that interior shots of the Polynesian Hotel are not super common. Meanwhile, I am somewhat hampered by my lack of knowledge of the park and its resorts. Maybe you guys can chime in if you notice something of interest!

How many people took photos of "Village Drugs & Sundries"? Not many I'll bet. There appears to be various vases and glassware, probably some ceramics, and who knows what. I think I see a Mickey Mouse plate along the back wall. Why yes, I will eat my brussels sprouts if they're on a Mickey Mouse plate! This place is now called "Trader Jack's", selling "Exotic Imports and Native Exports".

It looks like this atrium was very pretty, with palms and other tropical plants, and diffused natural light. I sense that there was a Monorail nearby. But maybe my Monorail sniffer is confused. 

Here's "Trader Jack's Grog Hut", not to be confused with the store seen in the first photo. Does Trader    Jack know Trader Sam? The Grog Hut sold liquor and gourmet snacks, not surprisingly. It became "Samoa Snacks" 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Disneyland Ephemera

Hooray for Disneyland ephemera! Normal people threw this stuff in the trash, but lucky for us, some folks squirreled it away so that people like me can pay too much money for it.

First up is this large-ish paper bag from Blue Bird Shoes For Children store, which was located next to the Eastman Kodak shop on Main Street from opening day in 1955 to September 13, 1957. I am assuming that the bag is from a store outside of the park, but I can find little information on the history of Blue Bird Shoes (other than that they were a part of the Shoe Corporation of America).

Here's a small single-fold brochure heralding the second annual "Cavalcade of BIG BANDS at Disneyland"! I have at least one other Disneyland paper item mentioning this event, so it must have been kind of a big deal. I've never seen another example of this particular item, however.

If you happened to enjoy big bands, the lineup was impressive. Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa, Les Brown, Charlie Barnet, and park regulars the Elliott Brothers.

Darnit! Some guy wrote on the back! Collector value: ruined.

If you print out a copy of this next item, you will be transported back to 1965 so that you too can attend the 8th anniversary party of the Magic Kingdom Club. You can thank me later.

I hope you have enjoyed today's pieces of paper ephemera.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Frontierland, September 1966

Here are a few iffy photos of Frontierland (circa September, 1966) - not great, but not bad either. Maybe they're "just right"? Only you can be the judge.

We're aboard the Columbia, looking toward a brand-new land called "New Orleans Square". I guess it will be a place to get drunk and wear plastic beads? Since this was September of '66, there were no humongous lines in front of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" building (the one with the cupola and flag). That ride debuted in March of 1967, and was promptly forgotten by everybody.

This is what you get when you try to grab a quick snapshot from a moving train; it's a sort of Rorschach test. I see one of those dinosaurs that spits poisonous green goo... I see a giant flower... I see a rare bird of paradise.

Here's an unusual angle looking toward a surprisingly undeveloped-looking corner of Frontierland, with the cupola of the not-yet-open Haunted Mansion to our right, and the French Market and Frontierland Station to the left. A canoe glides along the sparkling River - a very pretty scene.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Disneyland In Black and White

It seems as if the vast majority of photos taken at Disneyland over the past 60+ years are in glorious color. But black and white film (and developing) was more affordable for some, and it does have a certain charm - like going through a box of family snapshots. Whoever took today's pictures must have had a nice camera (unlike my own Instamatic), and they took some interesting shots.

Passing through the Matterhorn was always a highlight, even before there were ice caverns and abominable snowmen. And upon emerging out the other side (Fantasyland, in this case), the colors seemed a little brighter. Not that you can tell here. OH SNAP!

I'm sure I must have noticed that the storybook atop Alice's mushroom had the words "A very merry unbirthday to you" on it before, but if so, I've forgotten it. 

Somehow we went from the Skyway to Main Street USA. The Disneyland Band must be partying in Cincinnati (think Van Halen in a hotel room), so a local high school or college band has been recruited. I wonder how they were chosen? Did they only come for a single day and a single performance? Did the Disneyland Band get a bowl of just green M&Ms?