Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Aboard the Mark Twain, 1962

You might remember today's trio from some previous photos. Mom has her famous dark glasses in hand, so you might not recognize her! This time, she and her boys must have raced to the top deck of the Mark Twain so that Dad could take a nice picture. Slowpokes are still making their way up. I think Mom should take that life preserver and wear it around her neck so that she can sneak it home, and then sell it for $10,000 decades later. The pilot is just visible, glaring down at us while he chews his tobakky.

Moments later, Dad took a second photo, and our speedy family is no longer alone. Why must they share Disneyland with other people?? I remember standing right about where they are, and being just about deafened when the bell started to ring. That thing is *LOUD*. I only cried a little though. 

Monday, April 29, 2019

"Magic Skyway" brochure, 1964 New York World's Fair

One of my favorite brochures from the 1964 New York World's Fair is this example from Ford Motor Company's "Magic Skyway". It's not terribly rare (after all, the Ford pavilion was one of the more popular destinations), but it has wonderful graphics.

First lets take a look at the cover; the art is pretty abstract, especially with no context, but one might get the impression of roads curving through the air, past a Jetsonian, futuristic building.

The thing unfolds to a somewhat unwieldy length, but that is part of its charm. Don't worry, I'll zoom in on each panel individually.

There's the fabulous Ford Rotunda, looking like the bones of some alien creature (or like a crown roast). Mom, Dad, and their balloon-headed child are in for some fun.

Part of the queue took guests past the International Gardens, which (as you can read for yourself) featuring 11 miniature tableaus "Designed with Disney detail". Check out that Magic Mirror too.

You can check out cars of the past and future, including some of Henry Ford's early racers. I like the mention of the Auto Parts Harmonic Orchestra, which was designed by my personal friend, Rolly Crump.

Flipping the brochure (or is it a flyer?) over, things get even more interesting.

Now we're on the actual Magic Skyway ride, sitting in your late-model Ford convertible and listening to narration read by Walt Disney himself. See some life-sized dinosaurs!

Like the "Rite of Spring" sequence in "Fantasia", the dinos are wiped out by drought, volcanoes, and high-fructose corn syrup. And while it was sad to see them go, their absence allowed for the development of tiny sea monkeys into grunting cavemen. Alien forces compel them to carve wheels out of stone.

Leaping forward in time by hundreds of millions of years via a Time Tunnel, you wind up in "fabulous Space City", which is where I want to live. You can find artist's concepts of Space City online, but I've never seen an actual photo of what it looked like. 

I hope you've enjoyed this wonderful brochure!

Sunday, April 28, 2019


It's Sunday, and that means it's time to use up some boring photos. Trust me, today's examples definitely fall into that category.

This one is arguably the best of the bunch, and it's not that good. There's the old mill, practically swallowed up by nature, while the dock for the rafts to and from the mainland is to our right. It's mostly a picture of trees.

MORE TREES! I really can't tell why the photographer took this picture. Perhaps there was a critter in the shadows? If so I couldn't discern it even after fiddling in Photoshop.

And finally, here's an off-kilter picture looking from the Mark Twain toward the Matterhorn, with the queue building at the bottom of the frame. Casa de Fritos can be seen, as well as that cute little bandstand where the Gonzalez Trio performed.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Random SoCal

I have some rather random (and odd) vintage slide scans from around Los Angeles.

Let's start with this one from the 1950's, featuring a nondescript storefront. Maybe the photographer worked there? I really wanted to figure out where this was, and the "Kwik Kafé" shop next door seemed to be my only real clue. I found plenty of Google references to Kwik Kafé, but it took me a while to find an address for L.A.

But I did it! Here's a screen grab from Google's street view, showing the very same shop - little changed over the past 60+ years, though it is now a bookstore. Hey, I like bookstores! It's at 1639 South La Cienega Boulevard. The Kwik Kafé has been replaced by a business I can't quite place. The proprietor is a Ph.D, but the establishment is called "Two-Snake Studios". Yoga? Tattoo parlor? Physical therapy?

Next is this view from Mulholland Drive, which (for a stretch) follows the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains. You can look north into the San Fernando Valley, or south into Hollywood/Los Angeles. At night the lights are pretty spectacular (see "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial"). Here we're looking down from some unknown vantage point along Mulholland, with mid-century houses below us (how many of those survive to today?). Down below we can see the Hollywood 101 Freeway, as it passes through Hollywood. Sharp eyes might spy the famous cylindrical Capitol Building ("The House that Nat Built").

I couldn't find a modern view from that exact same perspective, but Google Maps had this shot, taken from a roadside turnout. Downtown has a lot more  tall buildings these days.

Another turnout is closer to the 101 Freeway, and gives us a look down into the Hollywood Bowl amphitheater. Love that smog!

And here's another oddball scan; I had no idea where this is, but a freeway sign identifies a "Sassafras Street" exit, which places this along the 405 in San Diego. That's the San Diego Airport to our left. The American gas station is something I haven't seen for years. 

I couldn't figure out how the previous photograph had been taken from that elevated viewpoint; could have been from a low-flying plane? Here's a Google Earth screen grab showing roughly the same area, though Sassafras Street is glitchy and looks like it's melting.

I hope you have enjoyed today's random photos!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Boy oh boy, do I love today's first photo! The COLORS, man, the colors! These pictures were taken by our friend Mr. X, and his photographer's eye was drawn to Snow White surrounded by her seven friends. A few kids, some shy, some a little less shy, are approaching these big stars for a picture, and maybe a little financial advice. Rolly Crump's swirling floral design and the mighty Matterhorn make for the perfect backdrop. Notice that there are three climbers on the Matterhorn! Hans, Otto, and Diesel.

It must have been colder than it looks, all of the boys are wearing some form of outer wear. Snow White is a trooper though, a little chill in the air doesn't bother her. It's crazy to think that there aren't a bunch of moms and dads pushing and shoving for their chance to get their kids an autograph.

It's a different time of day, and Snow White and the Dwarfs are on their lunch break, but my goodness, this is still such a beautiful sight!

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Two Beauties, November 1958

Here's a nice pair from 1958 Fantasyland! We'll start with this view of the Woodchuck of the Sea Pirate Ship; sure, we've seen it lots of times, but you have to admit that this is an especially pretty photo. I was going to say that the photographer had his/her back to the Matterhorn when taking this picture, except that there was no Matterhorn (in Disneyland) in '58, of course. 

I love those oval benches in classic 50's colors, the striped umbrellas, the glassy-smooth water in the "lagoon", and even the glimpse (through the smog) to the horizon.

From the same lot we have this shot of the castle courtyard. In ye olden days, people built their shops and paintball arcades right up against things like castles and bridges so that they could leach off of the royal wi-fi. I'm sure that's why Tinker Bell's toy shop is designed that way. Looking in the window of the toy shop, I can see a few Mickey dolls, and one Donald, but the rest is a blur. I sure would love to walk in and see what amazing items were for sale.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Classic Tomorrowland, July 1960

You probably know that I loves me some vintage Tomorrowland. I also love writing like a country bumpkin. 

Today's photos are from July 1960, which is only a year (I did that math in seconds!) after the Monorail and Matterhorn made their celebrated debuts. Some were disappointed that a few proposed rides didn't make the cut, like the "Nude on the Moon" attraction. Others were grateful. 

So there's the Monorail, with its Cadillac tail lights; yes, this is the tail-end, though it can be hard to tell sometimes. Just like an earthworm. It's a pity that the focus isn't sharper, but then again, sharp things can hurt you, and I don't want any of you getting injured on my watch. I care.

I believe that this view was taken from the Disneyland Railroad as the train was just approaching Tomorrowland Station. You know, the train station that looks like a modest, Googie-style car port. I love it. Traffic was light on the Autopia roadway, there's just a single purple car on the guide-less track. Skyway buckets, the blue Monorail, and of course the Matterhorn (with bonus bobsled!) can be seen as well.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Four From 1998-ish

Let's travel back through the mists of time to 1998 (give or take a year or two). The clothing is so strange! Not a scrap of silver lamé to be found. And the way they speak is almost incomprehensible - a series of grunts and hoots. I am imagining Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" playing in the background while viewing these photos. All of these images were captured by the brave explorer known as "Mr. X".

After weeks of study, I have discovered that this was the Christmas season, as evidenced by the garlands, poinsettias, and red ribbons. Temperatures must have dropped down into the frigid 60-degree range, judging by the long sleeves and jackets. The motorized Fire Truck is loading up in front of the castle.

Next we will move to the mysterious jungle, where the lush jungle allows only a small amount of sunlight to filter down. What could be hiding in the shadows?

What a beautiful photo of the Bertha Mae Keelboat! This one is certainly not from 1998, since the keelboats closed forever in May of 1997 (after the Gullywhumper capsized). The skipper (pilot?) is relieved that the boat was not attacked by that herd of mallards.

Here's a nice photo of the sign out in front of the venerable River Belle Terrace. That font needs to be sent to the cornfield, because it is horrible. But the woodwork is nice - reminiscent of a fine Colonial-era highboy. The lantern is muy bueno, too. I envy the people sitting in the shade on that beautiful day.

Stay tuned for more photos 20 year-old photos from Mr. X!

Monday, April 22, 2019

Random Stuff

Like the title of today's post says, I have some random stuff for you! A little bit of this, and some of that.

Last year I posted scans of all of my versions of folders from Knott's Berry Farm's Haunted Shack, but then I saw one on eBay that I didn't have. After a cursory look, it appears to be just like the first example (with the wailing face in the window), but now it has Shaky Sadie (I guess) on the cover like all other versions, and it says "Souvenir Folder" at the top.

I've mentioned that I used to be a fairly ardent collector of vintage Viewmaster packets - all sorts, but of course I loved the Disneyland packs especially. At some point I happened upon the packet pictured below, which has a printing error - it is missing the list of highlights along the right edge! In fact, there were three of these packets in a bunch, and I bought them all. This was a long time ago, and I think I might have only seen one similar packet on eBay since then, so they must be pretty scarce. Someday I will sell them for a billion dollars and retire on a private island.

For your edification, here's what the standard non-error packet looks like.

This next item is from Freedomland in New York. That park had many similarities to Disneyland (it was also unique in many ways too - what I wouldn't give to see it circa 1960!). The Anaheim park handed out nice certificates to visitors to the TWA Rocket to the Moon; visitors to "Satellite City" received this card of a rocket on the verge of launching. This was during the "Project Mercury" years - Alan Shepard wouldn't make his suborbital flight until 1961.

Here's the back side of the card, with all sorts of official-sounding rhetoric. "The bearer of this photo... has been authorized to keep this photograph in his possession". Gee, thanks, Graham B. Brown. It also says that the bearer of this card will be issued a "photocard with new information each time he (sorry, girls) visits the Freedomland Astronaut Training Center". Which makes me wonder if this is one of many different cards?

This slightly-dusty card is from the 1964 New York World's Fair, specifically from the Eastman Kodak pavilion. "Join us at the Kodak Picture Tower"; don't mind if I do! It's right next door to Pepsi/UNICEF's "it's a small world" too. 

I would love to know what the "special welcome" involved. Would you get a kiss on the lips from whoever you presented this card to? Would a mariachi band emerge from behind a potted palm tree and serenade you? Would a girl in a bikini give you a giant novelty check for $1000? We'll never know.

I hope you have enjoyed today's Random Stuff.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Too Dark Park

It's always a bit of a bummer when a batch of slides turns out to be way too dark. "Camera operator error"; what else can it be? 

It's too bad, because I'm always happy to see a good photo of Main Street USA, especially when the Disneyland Band is marching past. Sadly, this is not a good photo - if it wasn't for that blue late afternoon sky, I'd think it was after sunset. These slides are undated, but must be pretty early, since the guys in the band are wearing the short-lived dark blue uniforms.

Darn aperture, or film ISO, or... whatever! There's folks on some Pack Mules with Rainbow Ridge and a Conestoga Wagon in the background. It's kind of awful, but that's what you get here at GDB on a lazy Sunday.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Gators Are Fun

Question: what's more fun than an alligator? Answer: HUNDREDS OF ALLIGATORS! The way they wag their tails when they see you coming, and their little eyes crinkle up... why, I just want to hug them and give them Gator Snax™ (which happen to be shaped like little human hands for some reason). Today's three scans are all from one (or possibly several) gator-themed tourist attractions in Florida, circa 1968. From what I can deduce, Florida had quite a few of these little roadside parks.

Many of us learned long ago that one way to make your home stand out among the others is to festoon it with large reptilian skulls. This lady loves it, and is taking notes for when she returns to Michigan. "Won't Janet turn green with envy!". It'll be so sweet. The armored shell of a snapping turtle adds a touch of elegance.

We all love alligators, but admittedly they can't do too many tricks. They can hiss loudly. Some of them can walk up a ramp and slide down the other side; and they will eat a chicken carcass suspended from a string (that trick is my favorite). And that's about it. Looking at this man's expression, I feel like he might actually throw that young alligator in this direction. "So help me, if you snap your gum ONE MORE TIME...".

If you do a Google search for good names for baby alligators, you get some interesting suggestions: Chomp the Magic Gator; Glub Glub; Cranky; Psycho; Lego my Lego; Green Scum; and so many more.

There's a whole gaggle of 'em. Bring a package of hot dogs to throw in when nobody is looking. I can't help thinking about the Alligator Farm in Buena Park - as a kid I liked it, but then again, I was happy to be doing anything out of the ordinary.

I had the bright idea of merging the Buena Park Alligator Farm with the Japanese Deer Park. They both closed shortly thereafter.

I hope you have enjoyed today's post.

Friday, April 19, 2019

2 Lagoons

How many lagoons is too many? I don't know the answer, but what I DO know is that two isn't enough. 

Here's the Submarine Voyage's lagoon (circa 1961); is a lagoon still a lagoon if it doesn't have water? More questions to keep you awake at night. I'm always fascinated by views of this area without the blue-green water. Imagineers place hundreds of brightly-colored corals (real? plastic?), seaweeds, anemones, seashells, and other stuff to simulate a thriving reef. Notice how even the track has some stuff applied to it as a sort of camouflage. 

 A tank of compressed air can be seen at the bottom edge of the picture, I am guessing that it was used to power a spray gun - it would be much quieter than a compressor.

Zooming in, you can just see a worker in front of a cavern entrance - this really gives you an idea of just how big this area is.

And howsabout this beautiful shot of the Pirate Ship lagoon, featuring old Skully? The picture is from 1979, and those palms and other tropical plants are have grown to be impressive and lush. 

There's a mermaid lagoon seen in the Peter Pan ride; can you think of any others?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Grand Canyon Concourse, WDW - November 1971

I am getting down to the last 8 unposted scans (not counting today's) of photos that Mr. X took back when Walt Disney World was brand new. And these are the last featuring the Grand Canyon Concourse.

This first example is one of my favorites; the camera struggled with the low light, but you can still get a feel for how it might have been to dine there at night. I love those lights that could be some sort of alien plants! And to sit there while the quiet Monorails came through the atrium must have been the coolest. Is there still a restaurant in the same area today? Love those weird acrylic trees too.

There appears to be a counter-service option below. I guess the Monorail is unloading (or loading) some passengers, who (I believe) had to descend stairs to access things like elevators. To our right is part of the massive tile Mural designed by Mary Blair, a feature that does so much to warm up what might come across as a rather cold and imposing space.

I wondered if the famous five-legged goat might be visible here, but apparently it is on one of the side panels. Boo. The mural has a wonderful mid-century style with a theme saluting the Native Americans of the Southwest. 

Thanks to Mr. X, as always!