Thursday, February 28, 2019

Indian Dance Circle, November 1958

Just when I think I've seen enough photos of the old Indian Dance Circle to last me a lifetime, I happen upon the photo below. What a beautiful, colorful image! Bright and sunshiny. Part of its beauty is the fact that we can also see the Rivers of America, including Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island. Scary wooden masks glare at us from that pole. Waaaaay in the distance Chief Wavy waits for the next passing boat. Even his posse can be spotted up on the hillside.

I can't say enough good things about this photo.

And... now for the more standard view, we've seen lots of these!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Mine Train and Redshirt! July 1960

It's hard to believe that the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland has been gone for over 40 years. Sure, time is a construct, but that's still a long time! I wish my memories of the attraction were clearer, but I was a mere pollywog when I rode it. 

After your fabulous journey through Nature's Wonderland (including "Beaver Valley", "Bear Country", "The Living Desert", geysers, tumbling rocks, saguaros, sunbleached dinosaur bones, and so much more), your mine train was entered a dark tunnel into Rainbow Caverns. This photo was taken just before everyone was plunged into darkness. I love that the CM is pointing at the crouching mountain lion just above the tunnel, and that we get a bonus Mine Train passing nearby.

I wish this one was not so blurry; there's one of the Mine Train's famous Redshirts, loping along without a care in the world. He knows he's got one of the best jobs in the park!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Universal Studios, September 1974

I just scanned a batch of slides from Universal Studios Hollywood (back when it was the only Universal Studios), circa 1974. There are some nice ones in the bunch, but there are some so-so examples as well. I figured I might as well use up some of those less-wonderful shots all at once. Lucky you.

We'll start with this view that appears to have been taken from outside the studio through a delightful chain link fence. It keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold. Is this where guests boarded the Glamor Trams? It sort of looks that way. I'd like to point out that thick layer of top-quality smog that practically obscures the nearby mountains. 

Well well well, here we are in that very same plaza seen in photo #1. That large building (is it a real soundstage?) has some fun signs advertising one movie ("Earthquake") and many TV shows that were filmed at the studio. It's hard to read some of them, but there is "The Six Million Dollar Man";  "Emergency": "Adam 12"; the "NBC Tuesday Mystery Movie", which included George Peppard as "Banacek", and Helen Hays and Mildred Natwick as "The Snoop Sisters"; Henry Fonda and Terence Hill in "My Name is Nobody"; and "Get Christie Love!" starring Teresa Graves and Harry Guardino.

Some cool old cars are stacked on a truck for some period film or TV show. "American Graffiti" was a hit for Universal in 1973, I wonder if that is why the cars were on display?

This house was on "Colonial Street" (now called "Wisteria Lane"), and I believe that it is generally known as the "Hardy Boys" house. Here's some info from theStudioTour website: Originally known as Ron’s Barn, this house has moved around the backlot a number of times.

This barn-like house set was built for All That Heaven Allows, in 1955, featuring Rock Hudson playing Ron Kirby. The set was built on the backlot next to the original Falls Lake. Following that production, the set was modified to move it to Colonial Street.

Featured in ‘The Hardy Boys’ (1977 – 79) and ‘The New Lassie’ (1989) TV series ‘The ‘Burbs’ (1988) as the Rumsfield’s home and in ‘Deep Impact’ (2003), this house was Featured in ‘Desperate Housewives’ as 4353 Wisteria Lane, Susan Mayer’s home [Teri Hatcher].

Over on New York Street, we see Whitey's Bar. If there's one thing I have learned in life, it's to not trust Whitey!

Brand-new in 1974 was the Collapsing Bridge, a decrepit old structure that our Glamor Tram attempted to cross, only to have the creaking roadway suddenly drop a foot or so before the tram scoots away from danger. It was good for a few screams! As of 2012 the bridge sits mostly unused - I believe that the trams are now routed through the newer "King Kong 360 3-D", which pales in comparison to the old "King Kong Encounter" in my opinion.

Stay tuned for more Universal Studios pix!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Disneyland's 40th

Here are more photos from several large albums given to me by our friend Irene; the albums belonged to her brother Bruce, and many (if not all) of the pictures were taken by Bruce's friend James. There will be a test at the end of today's post.

It was Disneyland's 40th anniversary in 1995 (on July 17th, of course), and the park was very crowded, as one might expect. Why, another GDB pal, Chuck, was there with his wife! See some of his photos HERE and HERE.

This is the first of two posts; I'm sure many people stopped to take pictures of the special 40th anniversary decor - the logo happened to be very reminiscent of the one for the new Indiana Jones Adventure that had opened on March 3, 1995 to huge acclaim.

Yet more decorations above the tunnels, including spinning pictures of some of the most popular animated characters. I don't think Roger Rabbit would make the cut today, as great as he is.

I wonder if there were signs warning people that they could potentially wind up on television, just like on opening day (1955)? I hate to be unkind, but man, that multicolored gradient makes for a very unattractive background on an otherwise perfectly serviceable sign.

The calm before the storm! In fact, I can't help wondering if this picture was taken the day before, since there are so few people milling about. There's a cart full of mystery equipment , and the roped-off area where a golden, castle-shaped time capsule would be entombed.

Darn that tree! It's obscuring my view of all that smoke. And I love smoke! I guess that somebody was launching those "daytime fireworks" that I've heard about. Maybe it was Goofy, seen in the lower right with his hard hat on. That orange crane is there to lower the time capsule into its hidey-hole, where it will slumber for the next 40 years. I am assuming that it will be OK for me to dig it up myself in 2035.

Hey, that ain't Tinker Bell! Maybe one of the Yippies from 25 years earlier has returned to wreak more mischief? Or it's Michael Eisner himself, zip-lining from the top of the Matterhorn into a giant pile of warm churros. That guy knew how to make an entrance.

Just as we were gaining momentum, I must slam on the brakes; stay tuned for part two!

Sunday, February 24, 2019

The Jungle Cruise, September 1966

The old Jungle Cruise boats looked a lot like big toys, with their gleaming white hulls and candy-striped vinyl awnings. Just pour in some baking soda, and watch it go! Of course they were aged and weathered when the Indiana Jones Adventure opened; somehow they are more realistic, but I don't love them like I used to. Now they're just boats.

This massive stone head, part of the ruins of an ancient Cambodian temple, has always been one of my favorite sights along the Rivers of the World. Time means nothing to this serene countenance, and even the vines of a strangler fig don't bother it.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Mouse Club

Today's "Anything Goes Saturday" post is a tribute to two friends of mine - Ed and Elaine Levin. Eddie passed away 10 years ago, and Elaine recently passed at the age of 92. I met them in the late 1980's at their wonderful Sherman Oaks shop, "Nickelodeon". The store was incredible! Eddie and Elaine collected and sold so much cool stuff! Vintage comic character merchandise (the best of the best); advertising items; phonographs and radios; posters; spinning tops and yo-yos (Eddie was a master at the yo-yo!); Beatles merch; and so much more. It was like heaven. Here's Ed and Elaine in front of the store.

Here's a portrait of them inside the shop. Man, this takes me back. After the store closed, I remained friends with the Levins, and went to their home many times. It was full of amazing artifacts too, and Elaine kept everything as neat as can be, it never looked cluttered. Their back bedroom had Ed's world-class collection of vintage Mickey Mouse toys, which was something to behold.

To make a long story short, Ed and Elaine started something called The Mouse Club back in 1976 - one of the first Disney fan clubs. And after a few rather informal meetings at their home, the Levins organized a Mouse Club convention at the Jolly Roger Inn for three days in 1983. Thanks to their passion and hard work, Eddie and Elaine got many Disney legends to show up, signing autographs and giving slide show presentations.

A few years back, Elaine allowed me to scan photos from her album of snapshots, and her daughter Lori gave me the "OK" to share some of those with you today.

I'm not sure where this first photo was taken; perhaps somewhere in the Jolly Roger Inn? As you can see, Frank Thomas and his good pal Ollie Johnston are there. Frank's wife Jeanette is in the red skirt, while the lady in green is Ollie's wife Marie.

The rest of these are definitely from the Mouse Club convention! Here's Bill Justice, sketching goofy for a grateful fan. Ed and Elaine were good friends with Bill, and he did many drawings for them over the years.

There's Bob Clampett and Ward Kimball! Clampett was a legendary director of some of the wildest Warner Bros. cartoons, as well as the creator of "Beany and Cecil". And Ward Kimball... well, you know who he was! Like Bill Justice, Ward was very friendly with the Levins, and produced some wonderful artworks for them.

Here's Eddie, posing with Frank Thomas and Ward Kimball. Is everything OK, Ward?!

Clarence "Ducky" Nash (the voice of Donald Duck, of course) was there with his wife, he signed tons of autographs, and brought along a Donald Duck puppet so that he could entertain folks.

This is Herbie Ryman, creator of so much incredible conceptual art for Disneyland and other Disney parks. He famously spent a weekend at the studio with Walt, drawing a beautiful large map that was used to help Walt and Roy explain just exactly what this "Disneyland" thing was going to be.

Here's Ken Anderson, who Walt called his "Jack of all trades". He was a brilliant artist and art director who started at the studio in 1934, and was instrumental in the development many early rides at Disneyland.

And finally, here's a nice group portrait with Bob Clampett, Ward Kimball, Elaine, Ed, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and Clarence Nash. Elaine did not like this photo because she wasn't smiling, but... look at those legends!

I hope you have enjoyed today's photos! I'll post more if you are interested. Many thanks to the Levin family for allowing me to share these fantastic images.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Two Cool Views, August 1963

I have a pair of unusual images for you today... it's always nice to find something different.

Like this one! I am a bit baffled as to where our photographer was standing; looking at the relationship of the Matterhorn to Main Street Station, I think he was southeast of the park, possibly in the parking lot of one of the many hotels along Harbor Boulevard. Or perhaps they were in the far reaches of Disneyland's lot. What do you think?

Zooming in a bit, we can see the tops of landmarks such as City Hall, the Emporium, the Opera House, and even a bit of Sleeping Beauty Castle. I expect Nanook to identify every car in the parking lot, and I don't want any excuses!

Also from August of '63 is this photo, presumably taken aboard the Disneyland Railroad; there's Frontierland Station to our right - elevation 144 feet - supplementary oxygen is recommended. I love how much the park looks like... well, a park (not an amusement park), with plenty of grass and trees and sunshine and benches for resting.

To the right we can peek above some walls to see some of the earliest work being done for New Orleans Square. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Aboard a Keelboat - March 1977

Today I am posting a series of slide scans from the Mysterious Benefactor; the photographer was aboard a Keel Boat in 1977 (these photos were taken for possible publicity use), so the perspective is pretty unusual. I can only think of a single slide in my collection taken on a Keel Boat.

What do you call the guy who mans the controls? The rudder man? The pilot? The cap'n or skipper? I'm going to call him "Fred" until further notice. Fred is good at his job, and he likes it. 

Our fellow passengers are in all six photos - a nice lady with a camera who doesn't seem to ever take any pictures, and a young lady who may or may not be related. You decide. Camera Lady sports a rather plain badge that lets everyone know that she is a guest.

Whoa, this one got really dark. We can just barely see some rocks from Tom Sawyer Island, and the ghostly white shirt of a gentleman.

It's so strange to see the Hungry Bear restaurant in the distance, since it absent in so many hundreds of my own slides. I like eating there for its proximity to the river and the great views - or at least I used to. Any idea what that tags worn by the lady and the girl were for? Was it a sort of passport?

I've only heard a single live recording of a Keel Boat spiel, and the cap'n was pretty jokey on that occasion. I assume that this attraction was probably serious in the early days, and the jokes were added later, much like the Jungle Cruise.

I believe that Fred is pointing (with one finger!) toward the Friendly Indian Village at this point; other theories are welcome.

Oh man, we've rounded the bend, and now the sun is in our eyes. From this angle we can see the distant meese along the shore; he's in the water because meese breathe through gills. I learned that on Animal Planet. 

We miss you, Keel Boats!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Plaza and Frontierland, 1961

Here are a couple of fun photos of a mother and her two boys enjoying Disneyland in 1961!

The day was overcast, and the slides had turned slightly bluish, so the park looks rather cold and gloomy. That won't get our trio down. Here's mom and her boys posing in front of the wonderful Omnibus. Who ever heard of a bus with an upstairs? It also had a basement, but you don't see that in photos. To the extreme left, two girls (wearing souvenir hats) climb the steps to the upper level - I hope there's room for them.

Note to the mom: Elton John called, and he wants his glasses back! She looks great though, I admire her daring sense of style. Note that the Moonliner is covered with scaffolding, just like in this 1958 photo; perhaps the TWA livery is being removed (it became the Douglas Moonliner in 1962)? I based the 1961 date on a previously-posted photo in which we can see a man holding a '61 guidebook, but I know that they sold guidebooks from previous years until they were out of them. So perhaps these photos are from 1962.

I don't recognize the bag that the younger boy is holding - it might be from the Market House on Main Street. I wish I could see it better!

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

WDW Postcard Folder, Part 3

Hey hey! It's time for the third installment of Warren Nielsen's scans of a vintage Walt Disney World postcard folder. See part one HERE, and part two HERE.

It's amazing to think that the Haunted Mansion was only five years old at this point (the Florida version, I mean). Were guests as familiar with every detail of this ride back then the way they are today? It is well known that many sculpts show up as different characters throughout the ride. The guy playing the lyre is also a "Julius Caesar" type at the table where a ghostly birthday party is being celebrated. The trumpeter also appears as the lady blowing out the candles in the same scene. 


What are the odds that people could see the back side of water in two Disney parks? And yet, it is a fact.

Liberty Square looks so impressive here - like a Hollywood backlot colonial Philadelphia. Thanks to the Fife and Drum Corps, fifes became more popular than electric guitars in the 1970's. Would I lie?

Walt Disney World was much more than just an amusement park, and golf courses were a major enticement for people seeking a complete vacation destination.

I love this cinematic shot of Main Street during an afternoon parade. Hundreds of people line the streets in the most orderly manner - almost as if there were bleachers, though I know there weren't.

I love Disneyland's train station, but the one is Florida definitely kicked things up a notch. It almost looks like an old time casino, or the home of an important dignitary. Love the train too (is it the "Walter E. Disney"?).

You know, golf is nice and all, but what about foosball? I don't think I'll get an argument when I say that foosball is the greatest sport in the world. The fact that the IOC still hasn't included foosball for the Summer Olympics is a travesty.

There's one more installment of vintage Walt Disney World postcards from Warren Nielsen!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Old Mill and Rafts, May 1966

In spite of my many photos of the Old Mill on Tom Sawyer Island, I am always happy to see it. Viewing it from this angle, there seems to be more stone than I remembered; I thought it was primarily weathered wood (except for that chimney, of course). Considering how often this feature was photographed, people must have found it more interesting than it gets credit for. And it is very pretty, with those vines growing all over it, flowers (narcissus?) growing by the water, and the little mill pond, full of laughing millipedes. 

Having to take a raft to Tom Sawyer Island is mighty impractical, but it sure is fun. I hardly ever board a raft in my daily life - no more than twice a week. Look at how lush and verdant Frontierland is! Also, notice the Keel Boat peeking around the bend in the distance.