Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween!

I was feeling bad because I didn't really have any suitably spooky scans to share with you on this, the SPOOKIEST DAY OF THE YEAR. But I dug through some boxes, and actually found quite a few old pictures of kids in Halloween costumes. So I'm going to share a few of those, along with some extra goodies.

From some unknown school, circa 1975, comes these three photos of children lined up in their ghastly costumes. These kids are "ages 4 to 8". You have a few clowns, a NASA astronaut, a nurse, a princess, a cat (?), and a few others I can't quite identify.

Here's "ages 8 to (a glyph I can't decipher)". G.I. Joe is in full karate mode, while the death-headed figure to his right is "an atom". My favorite so far! There's Casper the Friendly Ghost, a cat and her gypsy friend, Raggedy Ann (checkin her candy haul), and an alien of some sort.

And one last photo of these kids - some are familiar. Yes, my "best costume" award go to the "Atom"! Sorry, tiny burglar and kooky hippie girl. The two "ladies" near the center are almost certainly boys dressed as girls - a surprisingly common costume back in those days. G.I. Joe doesn't judge, he protects all citizens. A vampire and a hobo/hillbilly hide behind a tiny ghost, too

And now for something completely different... a photo of the wax figure of Frankenstein's monster, from Buena Park's "Movieland Wax Museum". The monsters were always my favorites when visiting Movieland!

And, from a 1985 snapshot (also from Movieland) comes this incredibly terrifying representation of Gavin MacLeod's classic "Phantom of the Opera". He reminds me of Mr. Burns. The flamboyant gesture can only mean, "Come on in, we're having pizza rolls!".

Sorry this post was so scary. I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Rejects - - Unrejected!

It's time to rescue some former rejects - slides that didn't make the cut years ago, for an assortment of reasons - in this case they had turned magenta (the most common reason of all). But I was able to bring them back to some version of "normal". 

I guess it's a little anticlimactic to start out with a photo of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but at least it's a pretty view. The castle looks very gray here, but I'm sure any subtle colors were lost during my restoration (notice the slight pink on places like the tallest turret). Some of you may recognize the mother from GDB's "first family", posing on the bridge! Holiday Hill is in the distance, as is the Skyway tower.

This slightly-askew photo features the Disneyland Band, during a late-afternoon concert around Town Square's flagpole. Or maybe it was time for the flag retreat? It feels like our train stopped in Willoughby.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

A Selection from the 1964 New York World's Fair

It seems like a good day to visit the 1964 World's Fair in New York, don't you think? Here are four scans for you.

First up is this view looking south along the Grand Central Parkway (probably taken from the "United Nations North" pedestrian overpass), with the wonderful US Royal Tires Ferris Wheel; behind that, the green dome of the moon, from the Travel and Transportation pavilion, and behind that, the gigantic angled canopy from General Motors' "Futurama".

Here's some kind of aerial tower ride, known as the "Aerial Tower Ride". Each of the "four elegantly upholstered gondolas, each with a capacity of 15, majestically rise on cables to the top of a 120-foot tower. The smooth, slow ride provides a magnificent view of the Fair and lasts three to five minutes".

I was hoping that it spun around at hundreds of miles per hour, but you can't have everything. Notice the sign for "Bel-Gem Waffles", served with combinations of powdered sugar, whipped cream, and fresh strawberries.

This too-dark photo shows the exterior of the Ford pavilion's "crown roast" rotunda, with late-model automobiles traveling through the hamster tubes as part of the "Magic Skyway" ride (from Walt Disney). Passing in front of the Ford Pavilion is a Greyhound Glide-a-ride tram. That's for me! My feet are sore.

And lastly, here's a view of the giant Port Authority building, with its helipad on the roof, and "Top of the Fair" restaurant (there was also a private dining club and a cocktail lounge). You could also watch a 13-minute film (on a giant circular screen) about "transportation projects that enable millions of people to move through the New York area daily". This building still stands, and is visible as you drive by on your way from JFK Airport to the city.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Three More From the Peoplemover, November 1975

Welcome aboard the Disneyland Peoplemover! We are continuing our journey through Tomorrowland (and past Fantasyland) as I share scans from a lot of over 30 slides.

For those who never got to ride the Disneyland Peoplemover, it might be easy to assume that perpetually-moving trains glided above (and through) assorted buildings and over roadways, so it's neat to see a photo like this. It's like a trip through the countryside - but, instead of riding in dad's jalopy, we're on a futuristic transportation system! 

Up ahead, a mysterious structure gleams in the sunlight. No human hands could have built such a thing, which means that it was ancient aliens! What else could explain it? They used gold gleaned from the astroid belt. That's also where they mined all of the glitter. We may never know what the aliens were trying to tell us.

Somehow that brightly-colored building (a souvenir stand?) sticks out like a sore thumb, which is quite a feat in a place called "Fantasyland". Rolly Crump loved some saturated hues, I wonder if this was one of his projects? It almost looks like a large bounce house, to be honest.

Stay tuned for more views from the Peoplemover!

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Monstro Snax, July 1976

I still think that Walt Disney missed out on a lot of drama and kinetic movement when he decided to build Monstro Der Whale as a static feature. I told him that Monstro's huge jaws should shut in the blink of an eye with several tons of force (like a crocodile), but he wouldn't listen! And that's why Disneyland never caught on.

Here are three troublemakers. They think they're so cool! Why, I would wipe those smug smiles off their faces - if I wasn't so intimidated by them. I mean, there are three of them and only one of me! You understand.

When compared to the former image, you can see that Monstro's eyelid is slowly closing over the bright blue eye. I told Walt Disney that it should open and close quickly, and make loud clacking noises. But he wouldn't listen! Speaking of eyes, I'm still keeping my eye on those meddling kids.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Indio Date Festival

I have three fun photos from Indio (in Riverside County), and the National Date Festival! They are undated, but likely from the 1950's. 

Date palms were introduced to Indio way back in the early 1900's, and in 1921 the first Date Festival was organized (though it wasn't an annual event yet). From what I've gleaned online, an "Arabian" theme was used from the earliest days, but it really gained prominence in 1948 when artist Louise Dardenelle and set designer Harry Oliver came up with the idea of an Arabian Nights pageant - "Prince Khudadad and the Shadow of Destiny". Now that's a title!

They were smart enough to hold the fair in February, and not in the summer, when temperatures in Indio could easily exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.  The Date Festival offers many of the familiar sights, sounds, and smells of any county fair, but you also get to enjoy a ride on a camel, or maybe have a sweet creamy date shake. Yum!

Wow, look at that camel! He's funny looking, but as I have learned from countless Disney cartoons, it's what's inside that counts, and he is full of guts. I approve. 

My mom grew up in SoCal, and I asked her if she and her parents ever went to the Date Festival, and much to my surprise, she said "no". It seems like something that would have been right up their alley. Maybe it was too far away.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to The Riverside County Fair and Date Festival in Indio, California!

Friday, October 25, 2019

In Tomorrowland, 1956

There's just something about the early days of Tomorrowland that appeal to me so much. On the surface it doesn't make much sense; the buildings were not especially futuristic (all of those rectangular pre-fab sheds), and the rides were generally not that mind-blowing (Autopia, Astro Jets, Tomorrowland Boats). And yet... if I could only go back to one "land" for an hour or two, it would be Tomorrowland.

I love this colorful, busy photo from 1956; I'm sure you remember the stylish lady with the red dress. Behind her is the Clock of the World, and a mostly-obscured Rocket to the Moon. To our right, the Hall of Chemistry, to the left, CIRCARAMA.  Of course I always enjoy seeing some attraction posters "in the wild".

Harry Dean Stanton is carrying a paper item that I was hoping I could ID, but there's no details to help. The lady is wearing a souvenir hat, and has a souvenir pennant in her hand...

One that looks just like this!

And finally, four kids walk past the fountains and State flags that were in front of the Hall of Chemistry building. Love that giant atom graphic!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

A Visit to Disneyland, 1963 (Part 2)

Today we continue our look at "A Visit to Disneyland", a delightful 1963 book for children. What a great way to get kids to beg their parents to make the trek to Anaheim!

At this point the book covers Adventureland, and featuring the Jungle Cruise and the Swiss Family Treehouse. "Gorillas look ready to squeeze you"! It's true, squeezin' is what they do best. I'm sure every child dreamed of having their own giant treehouse, preferably grownup-free.

Let's move on to Fantasyland, shall we? The Mark Twain might look pretty crazy to a child who'd never seen a Mississippi steamboat before. I like the mention of "fine plush settees", the only real reason anyone goes to Disneyland. Tom Sawyer Island's fort and cave, and a log craft to ferry you there are more appealing to me.

How do you paddle a war canoe? I hold the paddle in my teeth and wave my arms around spastically, which works surprisingly well, even if it is unorthodox. The popular Indian Dance Circle must have fascinated a generation of children raised on countless TV westerns.

It's interesting to note that one of the photos in the book is also among the scans from the Mysterious Benefactor!

After you've navigated the Rivers of America aboard the Mark Twain, the Columbia, and the Canoes, you might as well do it again on Keelboat. The Pack Mules appears to have been popular with women and children, but not with grown men, for some reason.

Alice and the Mad Hatter were frequently seen around the park in those days; the White Rabbit (not the "March Hare"!) was a bit more shy. And back in the days when Disneyland was the only Disney park, that storybook castle must have seemed like something out of a dream.

Stay tuned for the third and final installment!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Tram and Friends, 1992

I know we just saw some "Lou and Sue" photos (of Sue on Halloween) a few days ago, but (due to a scheduling blip on my part) Lou and Sue are back with three nice photos with the tram, the Monorail beamway, and the Disneyland parking lot. Something tells me you guys are going to like these!

By 1992, the old side-facing trams were gone, replaced with the forward-facing versions; but they were still painted in friendly blue and yellow, and that's all that matters, isn't it?

This must have been a Hotel tram rather than a parking lot tram. Or not! Lou got this quick shot of the beamway overhead, with a Monorail coming  toward us (I think) as it heads back to Tomorrowland. Do not back up!

Here's a section of the western part of the parking lot - I believe that might be "Flower" (the skunk from "Bambi") on the sign to the right. Photos of the parking lot are fun, but man, the cars sure don't look so great by the early 90's! 

Many thanks to Lou and Sue.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Revisiting Some Instamatics

Our mutual friend Mr. X recently discovered some negatives in a drawer, and it just so happens that they are from photos that I've shared on GDB in the past (2013, in case you were wondering) - except that I only had the photo prints to scan back then. I thought it might be interesting to compare them.

Here we are, "below decks" in the venerable Columbia sailing ship. There are carpenter's tools aplenty - you never knew when you might have to fix a hole in the hull or repair a broken spar. I wonder if these were genuine antique tools? There are also grapnels and ropes because sailors liked to play "Batman". I don't blame them.

There's usually an element of guesswork involved in scanning negatives, and that is certainly the case here. Frankly I'm surprised that the old photo prints look as good as they do. We can see a bit more sharp detail in this second scan, and it doesn't have that overall orange color cast, but the old Photomat did a pretty decent job.

This is the buffeteria, where sailors could go to the salad bar, or get all-you-can-eat shrimp and chicken nuggets, have macaroni and cheese, or even go to the soft-serve ice cream machine. I always wanted one of those! They could wash it all down with a basil-raspberry tea, or a Coke 15 (they hadn't invented Coke Zero yet).

Once again, the difference between the photos is not as dramatic as I expected. But you do still get a little more fine detail, and it's a little bit less blown-out. Was it worth the effort? Only you can decide.

Some of the Instamatic negatives are images that are new to all of us, so that will be fun. I'm super grateful to Mr. X for providing so many wonderful photos that I can share with you guys!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sue B. Halloween, 1962!

I have a late addition to GDB, courtesy of Sue B., with two photos from her father, Lou Perry. These are family snapshots from 1962, featuring Sue herself when she was an adorable 2 year-old. I'm not sure how much most 2 year-olds understand about Halloween, but the idea of wearing costumes and getting bags full of free candy is all they need to know!

There's Sue, wearing her classic "Collegeville" cat mask. There was a whole costume that went with the mask (including a black hood that would have covered Sue's red hair), but it was meant for somebody twice as tall as she was.

Here's a color-corrected version. The "Trick or Treat" bag is awesome. Those pumpkins must have been the size of grapefruits; these days I like to carve a BIG pumpkin, though those can get expensive. 

Just for fun, I looked for a photo of the Collegeville costume box. I found several variations, presumably the one on the left is the older of the two.

So there's our Sue, looking pretty sassy! I'll bet her folks were having as much fun as she was, getting ready for the big night. It was probably a little early for the truly fun things, like throwing eggs at cars or TPing houses.

Another color-corrected masterpiece! Did Sue get her red hair from Lou? Or from her mom? Check out that nice mid-century cabinet behind her.

Many thanks to Sue. B for sharing Lou's Halloween photos with us!

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Snoozers From 1970

Today's pictures are DULLSVILLE, daddy-o. Strictly for squares. Proceed at your own risk.

For instance, here's an unremarkable photo of the Matterhorn, and a buncha trees, a few Skyway gondolas, and lots of smog.

This one isn't so hot either, with bad color, uninteresting composition, and not even much smog. Please lodge your complaints at City Hall!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Old Fresno Courthouse

Years ago I found this neat slide of the old courthouse in Fresno, California. It's undated, but I think it's from the early to mid-1960's. This neo-classical structure was completed in 1875, the building was declared to be "the grandest and noblest edifice that has ever been planned and contemplated in [the San Joaquin] valley," and "when completed, is expected to stand the storms of winter and the heat of summer, for the period of 1,000 years or more.”

Here's a fascinating vintage postcard view; look at all of that gingerbread Victorian architecture! It looks like a seaside resort or amusement park. 

This next postcard is probably from a few years before the first image. 

By the late 1950's, the local government wanted to tear the old courthouse down. It was said to be incapable of withstanding a strong earthquake, and renovation or retrofitting was deemed to be too expensive; and of course, old buildings by the score were destroyed in the 1960's in favor of something modern. Here's an incredible April 1966 photograph by Carl Crawford, showing the dome in mid-collapse. 

The 30-foot tall, 10,000 pound cupola was saved, and can be seen at the Fresno County Fairgrounds today.

Construction for the new 8-story courthouse was completed in 1966. I suppose it has a certain mid-century appeal, but the loss of the old courthouse was a contentious subject for Fresnonians (?!) for many years.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Walt Disney World, November 1971

It's time for two more wonderful photos from Walt Disney World, when the park was only two months old. A mere baby! These are courtesy of our friend Mr. X, who took these himself.

We'll begin with this particularly awesome exterior of the Grand Prix Raceway (sponsored by Goodyear). I personally don't ever recall seeing this attraction from this perspective; and although it still feels a bit spartan (the trees are still saplings), I love the "retro 70's" look.

Zooming in to the left, you can see the "grandstands" - I'm a little unclear as to whether guests could just sit there and watch if they didn't care to go for a drive, or if it was all part of the queue.

Let's pause for a little bit of vintage people-watching!

Next is one that is not as spectacular, but still interesting to me! It's a photo of the bed (a child's bed?) from one of the Contemporary Hotel rooms. It doesn't look very fancy, but the 70's orange and pink is kind of awesome. There are probably plenty of photos from the early WDW hotels, but I've never seen one like this before.