Monday, September 30, 2019

Swiss Family Mystery!

It's time for more photos from GDB pals Irene, Bruce, and James, aka "The Dream Team"!

As is often the case, none of these snapshots were dated, so a lot of guesswork is necessary. In this first image, we see a sign next to the Swiss Family Treehouse: On this site, July 17 1805, the Swiss Family Robinson, composed of myself, my good wife, and three sons, Fritz, Ernst, and little Francis... were the sole survivors by the grace of God, of the ill-fated ship RECOVERY.

From the wreckage we built our home in this tree for protection on this uncharted shore. (signed) Franz R.

A second photo shows the same sign (or is it merely a similar sign?), with the same text, only this time it is mostly light text on a darker background, while the former sign was mostly dark text on a lighter  background. The ill-fated ship is still the Recovery, though.

The third photo shows another sign (or is it the same one?), only the name of the ill-fated ship is now the "TITUS", which is interesting. When did it change? Why did it change? WHO DID IT CHANGE? It occurred to me that this might be from the treehouse at Florida's Magic Kingdom.

Back in 2015 I took this photo at Van Eaton Galleries during the preview of their "Story of Disneyland" auction. As you can see, this artwork has the name "Titus" as well, and the gallery's description says that the artwork was done for Disneyland - maybe that is erroneous?

Thanks to Irene, Bruce, and James for this dark and bloody mystery!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Little Alpine Village, January 1962

Hoo-boy, these are some junky pix today (WHY did I not name this blog "Junky Pix"??). Both were taken from a speeding Casey Jones Junior Circus Train, the part where we are being chased by goblins. You remember! It feels like we are in a low-flying plane, buzzing a quiet little Alpine Village, blasting our heavy metal music, and littering. Three of the very best things in life, I'm sure you'll all agree.

I've always especially liked the little bridge from Geppetto's Village out to the island (lower left), as well as the guard gate so that barbarians couldn't enter the town and catch the good people unaware.

I am also a big fan of blurry photos! This one was taken from the backside of the mountains (notice the snowy peak in the lower left), giving us an usual reverse angle compared to the first photo.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Old Florida

I just happened to have a few scans from 1950's Florida, so it seemed like a good time to share some.

This first one is undated and unlabled; I'm not sure if the photographer was enamored with that beautiful car, or with the whole scene in general. This narrow street evokes a lot of ramshackle charm, kind of like parts of New Orleans. I thought that this could be St. Augustine, or possibly the Florida Keys, but the sign for "Clara's El Patio" turned out to be a valuable clue - hooray for St. Augustine!

Here's a vintage postcard from Clara's El Patio restaurant. I couldn't find out much about it online, unfortunately. In school I learned that St. Augustine was the oldest city in the U.S., but now it has some qualifications (as per Wikipedia): Founded in 1565 by Spanish explorers, it is the oldest continuously inhabited European-established settlement within the borders of the continental United States. It is the second oldest city in United States territory after San Juan, Puerto Rico (founded in 1521).

And here's a screen grab of Aviles Street from Google Maps - where did all that charm go??

This one was labled, "Trailer park near Miami", and that's about all I can tell you about it. But gosh, if I ever had to stay in a trailer park, this looks like the one to visit! 

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Florida!

Friday, September 27, 2019

A Rescan, A New Scan, And More

It's time to visit GDB's "first family" again. You might be sick of them by now, since they seem to keep popping up every year or so!

Here's that very first image from way back in May of 2006. My first scanner was kind of awful, though I didn't realize it at the time. In fact, you can't even tell how crummy it was in these low-res jpegs, really.

So... I attempted to rescan that slide, a large-format transparency that had turned quite red. I'm still not 100% happy with the color, but the contrast is better, and the image is a lot sharper. There's that famous t-shirt, yikes.

Here's a second slide that I had never scanned before, junior is waving enthusiastically. Notice mom's "I Like Disneyland" flasher button. And oh yeah, I failed to mention one of my favorite Adventureland tikis.

Going through what I laughingly refer to as my "archives", I decided to share another old scan from the same series (I originally shared this in 2009) - there were no further attempts to improve this one. It's kind of greenish!

About two years ago, somebody on Facebook shared this photo of a t-shirt that they'd saved since the 1950's, and I'm glad I kept a copy (if this is your photo, let me know!). It is very faded, but it is definitely that shirt. Some fans were in denial that such a thing could have ever been produced for the park... there was a lot of angry, sweaty, hand-waving about how it must have been home made (was that even a thing in 1958?). News flash for those people: the 1950's was a very different time.

During that heated discussion, a woman posted two photos from her childhood, and you can see that she was wearing a copy of that same t-shirt. I'm sorry I didn't save the person's name, and will be happy to add credit (or remove the photos, of course).

Here's a second photo from the same Facebook post.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

More Frontierland '77

The Mysterious Benefactor has bestowed another four photos (circa 1977) upon us, because we have all been good. Yes, the M.B. is a little like Santa Claus.

I love this first shot of the sign for Casa de Fritos, a combination of rustic wood, leather, wrought iron, and steel (with a little plastic so that it looked nice when lit up at night). It has a "patina" artfully applied, 10 points to Hufflepuff.

Tectonic forces thrust Castle Rock upward, but it they were feeling tired, so they only did it a little bit. And can you blame them? The important thing is that they tried. The rushes that line the riverbank give Tom Sawyer Island a more natural appearance, and they partially hide the trails (and people) from the shore.

I can't tell if this raft is a-comin' or a-goin'. At first I thought, "Aha, you can see the wake from the motor to the left, and that means it is heading back to the mainland. Major Pepperidge, you devilish, good looking (but humble) genius!". But then I remembered that the when the rafts arrive on the island, the pilots skillfully turns them around so that they arrive engine-first. If you know what I mean. Mystery not solved.

I love this very pretty photo looking through the entry gates of Fort Wilderness, with lots of warm sunshine and lush greenery. We miss you, Fort Wilderness.

A big THANK YOU to the Mysterious Benefactor for these beautiful scans!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Empty Rivers of America from Lou and Sue

Here are three snapshots from 1984, courtesy of Lou and Sue! All three feature the Rivers of America when it was drained - always fascinating to look at as far as I'm concerned.

For one thing, you can see just how shallow the river is... it appears that there would be no more than about 4 feet of water, maybe 5 or 6 in the deepest parts. We get a good look at the track that guided the Mark Twain in this first image.

After looking at the first photo, I thought that the river had been lined with cement at this point, but that muddy tire track says otherwise. Fantasmic wouldn't come along for another 8 years, but I'm not sure what that structure is in the upper left. Just a landing for the rafts?

There's Cascade Peak, which would continue to grace the riverbank until 1998. I tried to see if any major Frontierland projects were under way in 1984, but as far as I can tell, there really wasn't much that would warrant a complete draining of the river. So this must have just been routine maintenance.

Thank you, Lou and Sue!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Since TokyoMagic! mentioned the Rollin' River Revue, I thought I would do a late addition - Mike Cozart has graciously shared some photos from the Rollin' River Revue, circa 1981 (he mentioned it in the comments of THIS POST). I'd never heard of that Revue before - or, more likely, I had and forgot about it. 

Why, there are some of the sparkliest cowboys and cowgals you ever saw! Are they doing the "Electric Slide"? At first I thought they were aboard a Tom Sawyer Island raft that was slowly passing by, but...

...the raft seems to be in the same position in this next picture. So I guess it was being used as a floating, non-moving stage somehow. Anyway, here are three enthusiastic banjo players, all dressed in sherbet ice cream colors. I'm assuming that they were miming along to a pre-recorded track.

And finally, here's a general shot of the stage that was added to the end of the island, way before the "Fantasmic!" monstrosity was built. There's about a dozen singers (give or take). Right after this photo was taken, they all dove into the water and performed a water ballet a lá Busby Berkely.

MANY THANKS to Mike Cozart for sharing these rare photos!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Small World, June 1970

Here's a nice trio of photos featuring "It's a Small World". IN COLOR! 

In spite of the many MANY photos that I have seen featuring the outside portion of IASW, I still enjoy the stylized façade, the whimsical clock (doing it's thing in the photo), the endless stream of boats loading and unloading, and of course the famous topiaries.

This is a familiar angle on the massive exterior, white and gold and looking like a giant pop-up sculpture. I'd love to know the thinking behind that huge plaza in front of the attraction when real estate is so limited in Anaheim.

What do you think, was this picture taken from the Disneyland Railroad? It's a nice counterpoint to the other two photos, looking back toward the Matterhorn. Look at the large crowds in the distance!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Black and White, 1962

I'm using up the last  three black and white snapshots from 1962 - these were better than average, so I'm sorry that there will be no more. 

From the Skyway, we get this view looking down on the Monorail station and Submarine Voyage load area, with the Autopia and Tomorrowland Station in the distance.  

This is kind of a cool look at the tunnels that passed through the Matterhorn - not only can you see some of the interior Skyway supports, but there's a lift hill to the left, and that rustic wooden fence so that CMs wouldn't accidentally plummet to the ground.

This one is a heart breaker, because it would have been so cool if not for that mysterious stain marring a large portion of it. Such a bummer!

I attempted to fix the problem in Photoshop, with limited success. Even with the flaws, I like the image of a single bobsled careening through an icy cave, with the riders silhouetted against the bright sunlight.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Under the Sea, July 1976

It's Snoozy Sunday, and that means that it's time to unload some lame photos. Both of today's 1976 scans were taken through a Submarine porthole.

The sunlight that filters down through those tropical waters is reduced to a lovely turquoise blue-green. If you look at various photos, the lagoon's water sometimes appears to be crystal clear, and other times (like today's) it is a bit turbid. Somebody forgot to change the pool filter. In any case, it's still a pretty view, with corals aplenty, and one my favorite ridiculous scenes of an octopus attacking a shark.

Or maybe it's not so ridiculous?! This octopus is about to chow down on what I believe is a dogfish (dogfish are a family of sharks).

Gentle sea turtles are kind of magical, the way they travel thousands of miles to the beaches from which they were hatched so that they can lay their leathery eggs in the sand and start the cycle all over. This is a rare shot of two turtles discussing their next meet-up (who speaks Turtle-ese?). In my memory at least one of them bobbed up and down a little bit, as if to say, "Uh-huh, yep, gotcha...".

Saturday, September 21, 2019

More From Universal Studios, September 1974

I'm using up the last few scans from a 1974 collection of photos from Universal Studios, next to (but not in) Hollywood.

Sorry about the backlighting. Even through the murk you can see a number of people sitting on an oversized bench, located in the Prop Plaza. Unusually large benches are fun! Not as fun as a very large lollipop, but then again, what is?

Well, here's a conundrum. Or maybe a fine kettle of fish? Check out this display with the lifeless corpse of a great white shark. He's big I tell ya, BIG! But these slides are date-stamped "9-74", and the movie "Jaws" did not come out until June, 1975. In fact, according to Wikipedia, filming for Jaws did not end until October of 1974. Did they really have a giant shark tableau a year before the movie (which could have flopped, how could they know?) was released?

Punishment and torture are always good for a laugh, and that's why the stocks were so popular at Universal. Look at that kid, you just know he's done something bad.

Ladies, we gave you two warnings, and still you continued to ignore the local laws against gum chewing. Maybe six months in the local jail will help teach you a lesson.

It's the Old West; a single tumbleweed probably rolled past right after this photo was taken (and somebody in the distance was playing a harmonica). Think of the hundreds of TV shows and scores of films that were shot on this dusty street.

Whew! That was a close one. The Glamour Tram appears to have stalled on the railroad tracks, and it was very nearly smashed to smithereens by a runaway locomotive.

There's a familiar sight... the perpetually burning house. General Sherman and his boys must have come through here, destroying everything. 

This is actually a merge of two separate images! It's the end of the day, and the photographer thought it might be nice to capture the view from Universal's hilltop. The Hollywood freeway is to our left, and Lankershim Boulevard heads toward the misty (smoggy) mountains beyond the San Fernando Valley. 

Never fear, I have more Universal Studios slides for you!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Along the River, 1950's

I get a kick out of today's views of a very early Frontierland - I hope you do too!

Here's a great shot of a raft that ferried guests to and from Tom Sawyer Island. Two little boys gaze down into the water, maybe they are hoping to see a hideous alligator snapping turtle. They can bite a 2 X 4 in half! The bit of the island that is visible here looks very barren, it probably hadn't been open to the public for very long. 

One thing that always blows my mind is the western shore, with nothing there but a path to the Indian Village. No Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, or Hungry Bear restaurant. A lot of people seem to be making their way over to check it out.

I really love this family portrait - the beautiful sunny day, the Mark Twain, the small trees and shrubs around Frontierland, and the general "50s-ness" of it all.

Here's a little closeup, just because.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Black and White From Lou and Sue

I have some real beauties (in glorious black and white) for you today, courtesy of Lou and Sue! These are from June, 1956, which Sue says was the first time her parents went to Disneyland. JEALOUS.

I love this great shot of Main Street Station with the turnstiles and various signs ("Strollers and Wheel Chairs ENTER HERE"). I've never done the research to see when the framed posters were placed near Mickey's floral portrait, but there they are, less than a year after Disneyland opened. Notice the passenger cars stopped at the station!

It's hard to be certain, but I think the clock says that it is 2:04-ish.

Here's a second great view, and we haven't even set foot inside the park yet. There's the old ticket booths, notice the sign for special admission prices for juniors, service men, and "members of clergy". Adults, $1 - children, 50 cents. The little booth to the left says "Admission Only", for those guests who wanted to come in, walk around, listen to the Disneyland Band, but might not want to ride any attractions. I've never seen that before!

I thought that this woman might be someone familiar to Sue, but as far as she knows, the lady is just a random guest. The phone booth to the right appears to be occupied. "Judy? You'll never guess where I'm calling from!".

Who are those boys? Sue says, Stu and Steve came along, too.  They're a couple of my dad's nephews -- 12 year old twins.  My dad got Stu interested in photography at an early age.  Maybe we'll see some of his pictures in a future post.  He grew up to be a Bob's Big Boy restaurant manager in the Anaheim area.  Steve, on the other hand, did not have a hobby, that I know of.  But I do know that he liked to let the air out of my dad's tires.  Often.

This picture of the Horse Drawn Streetcar and a bustling Town Square is SO GREAT. Melissa will appreciate that the mother and daughter in the center o the photo appear to be wearing matching skirts. The girl is wearing a souvenir Keppy Kap - good choice! Looking at the people in the distance (to the right), they are so well-dressed, I can't help wondering if this was a Sunday.

A BIG thank you to Lou and Sue!