Saturday, November 30, 2019

Long Beach, California

I have a fun pair of scans of slides taken in Long Beach, California, sometime in the 1950's - winter, by the look of things.

If I had to guess, I'd say that this is a typical post-war housing tract, with lots of nice little houses. They all have tidy front lawns!  I love the vintage cars, and even the detail of the bicycle nearby. The little boy is wearing cowboy boots, which makes him cool. The slide had a hand-written note saying that his name was Paul Nirstrath; I did a Google search for him, but had no luck. 

You might notice all of those oil derricks looming in the distance! This is the Signal Hill neighborhood, where oil was discovered in the early 1920's. Soon it was so covered in derricks that its nickname was "Porcupine Hill".

Here's another wonderful photo looking over the rooftops. In 1928, over 68 million barrels of oil were produced! Approximately 950 million barrels have been produced over the years, and small companies are still there.

Here's a vintage postcard...

And another one. "Porcupine Hill" indeed!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Long Beach and Signal Hill.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Two Fun Snapshots!

As much as I love the humble vintage photo print, I prefer slides. BUT... sometimes you luck out and get some really nice snapshots, like today's pair.

It's September, 1962, and Pops has decided to take a photo of his pretty daughter and cute/dorky son, next to the Disneyland Hotel's putting green. Why go to the park when you can practice putting all day? The "garden apartments" are in the distance - removed in 1999 - for a parking lot. It's hard to believe that the Hotel had (at various times) an actual nine-hole, par 3 course, the putting green, a driving range, and even a miniature golf course.

This next example is from November, 1965 - 54 years ago this month! - with folks posed at the base of the Douglas moon rocket. Are the two ladies in the foreground supposed to be part of the picture? Or did they just refuse to move along? Even at 1/3 scale, that rocket was an impressively large prop. The updated Space Bar with its pleasing mid-century design can be seen in the distance.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The Magic Kingdom, November 1971

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! 

I couldn't think of any images that I have that are themed to Turkey Day, but I did the next best thing; I'm posting slides that my friend Mr. X took during the Magic Kingdom's first Thanksgiving holiday in November, 1971. 

I love this beautiful shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland! I believe that, just like at Disneyland, the Florida version of Tomorrowland was not entirely finished when the park opened. I'm not sure how many attractions were up and running; possibly just the Grand Prix Raceway, and the Skyway to Fantasyland. Anyway, I've always loved those two tall fountains that flanked the entrance; at this point water was cascading down impressively. 

Did water also run down the smooth blue angled walls? I think so, but am not 100% certain.

For those of you with long memories, you might think that you've seen this photo before; but this exact image hasn't been shared yet, and it's a very lovely shot of Cinderella Castle at dusk. The warm lights on the upper towers contrast pleasantly with the cool blue sky, while various lights have come on all around the park. 

Even though this is the last of Mr. X's Disney World slides, I have more great stuff from him, to share with you.

I hope all of my U.S. readers (which is most of you) have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

1964 Photos From "1937Fan"!

Not long ago I was contacted by a GDB reader who goes by the name "1937Fan"; she generously sent me some old slides that belonged to her Aunt. For free! How nice is that? 1937Fan said that she kept some Disneyland slides for herself (I don't blame her!) but had them scanned, and offered to let me share them with all of you. Of course I am happy to take her up on her offer.

All of today's images are from November 27, 1964 (a Friday - the day after Thanksgiving) - It felt  only right that I shared the first selection exactly 55 years after her Aunt's visit. Pretty neat! "Jason's Disneyland Almanac" tells us that the park was open from 9:00 AM to midnight, that it was a "Date Nite", the high temperature was 66 degrees, and that the attendance was 30,247. The day before, attendance was less than 9,000 guests!

In this first image, 1937Fan's Aunt stands (with a baby carriage) in the colorful Flower Market. Large, showy blossoms must have been in vogue, all of them appear to the the size of a child's head. All that color makes it seem like it was warm, but it was November (and as I mentioned,  the day after Thanksgiving), so most folks are wearing sweaters. 

This one is really great, with the Goodyear Blimp floating above the Matterhorn. Imagine the view from up there! I wonder if the blimp regularly took lucky passengers over Disneyland, or if this was for a special event? There would be lots of construction going on over in the future New Orleans Square area, and at some point during '64 the Autopia was remodeled. I would have wanted to take as many photos as possible.

Next is this great shot of the Mighty Matterhorn, with the round Skyway gondolas - they would be replaced with the rectangular models in a matter of months. If you look carefully you can see a rope dangling down the face of the mountain (near the center), probably used by Hans and Otto during their daily climbs. I'm a little bit surprised that the Christmas star isn't on top of the Matterhorn, but they might have actually waited until December to install it, I suppose.

MANY thanks to 1937Fan for sharing these fun photos! There are more to come.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Two From Main Street, May 1961

Here's a pair of pretty nice photos from Main Street USA, circa 1961. The clock appears to read about 3:37, and the shadows from the west are getting longer. We're so used to the train station after 60+ years that it's easy to take it for granted, but I have always loved the way it looks.

The variety of architectural details on the buildings of Main Street is so impressive; from carved wooden ornamentation to stone, brick, and plaster embellishments, differing window styles, awnings and arches... no two buildings are alike. 

Notice the female CM, making sure that the window display of the Timex store is orderly!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Meetin' Mickey, May 1978

Going to Disneyland as a child is pretty great, but imagine getting the chance to meet Mickey Mouse too! This group of kids were headed toward the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden for their morning pick-me-up when Mickey made his surprise appearance. Some tots are so thrilled just to be able to touch an ear or grab his coat tail. Just like when I met Hasselhoff!

I've seen Mickey at the park almost every time I've gone - he loves to meet his fans. I've probably mentioned this before, but I was at the Disneyland Hotel for its 50th Anniversary event, and Mickey walked in the room. The guests (all adults) were so happy, it was sort of sweet to see the genuine delight on their faces.

The boy in the lower right is wearing a bucket hat with Shamu on it, in clear violation of at least 4 international laws.

I'll bet that little girl is having a hard time meeting Mickey's gaze. You can't blame her - that unblinking stare is a little unsettling. But Mickey is doing his best to put her at ease.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Frontierland Snoozers, September 1966

Today's photos are the visual counterpart to a beautiful lullaby. Feeling... drowsy... eyelids so heavy... *SNORE*.

The old burning settler's cabin - I sure do miss seeing this striking tableau along the river. Don't get me started! The original problematic storyline was changed a number of times, but I've always assumed that the "sharp pencil boys" got rid of it because they didn't want to pay for all of that natural gas.

I once read that the flames were eliminated because the gas pipes were in bad shape. They couldn't afford to replace gas pipes?? I mean, they're literally just pipes. That whole story was obviously bogus. I told you not to get me started!

And next I present the finest photo of Fort Wilderness EVER SEEN. You're welcome.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

The USS Hornet and Related

A long time ago, I acquired some slides that included a number of interesting photos that were taken aboard the USS Hornet (CV/CVA/CVS-12), a venerable Essex-class aircraft carrier that began life in World War II, participating in many battles in the Pacific - and then ended its active service recovering the command modules for Apollo 11 and Apollo 12.

Here's a photo of the USS Hornet, location unknown (but all part of the same lot of photos) - this might be Pearl Harbor.

What the hey? I can only assume that this is a dummy command module used for practice recoveries. Kind of neat!

These slides were date stamped "December, 1969", and while I'd kind of hoped that they might be from Apollo 11's splashdown, it seemed more likely to be from Apollo 12's - that mission ended on November 24th (tomorrow will be the 50th anniversary of that event). 

My lack of technical knowledge leaves me to make assumptions - this must be some kind of radar tracking device? Or maybe it's a kinda crazy ray gun.

Here's the Sikorsky SH3 Sea King helicopter; according to Wikipedia it is "one of the most famous, or at least most iconic, helicopters in history". Notice the four command module devices on the side! There is a detailed article about this aircraft on Wikipedia, read about it HERE if you so desire. It was disappointing to learn that this helicopter crashed into the ocean in 1975, and still rests at the bottom of the sea, 1500 meters down. 

I'm not sure if this camera was used for international broadcasts of the return of the Apollo command modules, but I think that's a pretty safe guess. That baby is anchored to the deck and isn't going anywhere!

After splashdown and recovery, astronauts walked 30 feet to a Mobile Quarantine Facility (MQF) where they spent 21 days in case they'd picked up any contagions on the moon. When the Hornet reached port, the MQF was flown to Houston, where the astronauts finished out the final days of quarantine - and of course they were given a clean bill of health (the quarantine practice was stopped after Apollo 12).

Here's a very cool photo of a genuine command module aboard the USS Hornet! And it's the detail that helped me ID it as the Yankee Clipper from Apollo 12. They are about to cover it in Saran Wrap to lock in freshness.

I found this picture online, showing astronauts Pete Conrad, Alan Bean, and Dick Gordon as they exited the Yankee Clipper.

A side-by-side comparison shows the same wear patterns in the metallic foil covering.

I thought these slides were a pretty cool find! I hope that you enjoyed them.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Two From the 50's

I have two beauties from the 50's for you today, to get your weekend off to a great start.

Say, what's that crazy thingamabob over there? It's some kind of clock. Maybe it's... THE CLOCK OF THE WORLD! The only timepiece to be voted "Sassiest Clock" by "Clock Fancier" magazine two years in a row. You have to admit, it's pretty amazing. 

Behind it is one of the four Disneyland exhibits that Monsanto sponsored over the years, the "Hall of Chemistry". Guests could learn how chemistry made their everyday lives better in ways that they had never even considered. Take a look at this vintage brochure from that exhibit - if you dare! One of the things I love about photos like this is that only a knowledgeable park fan would know that this is Disneyland - not a scrap from this scene survives.

Next is this nice photo of the impressively-sculpted stern of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. The beautiful mermaid sits on her scallop-shelled throne (scepter at the ready), as waves break around her, and happy tuna fish sing her praises. I've heard rumors that some of this sculpture still survives, does anybody out there know for sure? At some point this sculpture was painted in colorful hues, though I can't seem to find a good photo of that among my own scans.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Frontierland '78

Great googly-moogly, it's time for more Frontierland scans (circa 1978), courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor. 

What kid wouldn't love to his (or her) own treehouse, especially one as great as the one built by Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Joe Potter, and the rest of the gang? Of course I want to build a treehouse that resembles a mid-century masterpiece, complete with a cantilevered swimming pool. Please visit my Kickstarter so that I can live in unheard-of luxury.

Apparently some kid named "Tom Becky" just had to deface this beautiful tree. Well, Thomas Becky, this is going on your permanent record.

I wonder if Tom Sawyer Island saw a falloff in popularity in the 80's or 90's? Maybe that would partly explain the addition of pirates to attract otherwise-disinterested guests. That raft sure is packed.

I love this next photo - partly because it's just a lovely view of the Mark Twain, the River, and other landmarks in the distance. I also love it because the picture was taken from the top of the Haunted Mansion! The MB had another photo taken from there, I shared it about a year ago.

No collection of Frontierland photos would be complete without at least one closeup of the Mark Twain. It's the law!

Thank you, Mysterious Benefactor.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

More Views From a Peoplemover, November 1975

It's time for another pair of photos taken from a trip on the Peoplemover, circa 1975! Put on your VR goggles and haptic gloves for a real "you are there" experience.

Here's an unusual angle looking across the farthest edge of the Motor Boat Cruise waterway - I'm not sure I have any other pictures from this angle. Notice the barrier between the Motor Boats in the "dark water", and the Submarine Voyage with its "clear water". If even a drop of dark water accidentally touched the clear water, it would result in an explosion equal to 1,000,000 tons of TNT. We get a nice look at a few empty Autopia vehicles - would you rather have the green one, the blue one, or the yellow one? I assume the color denotes various stages of ripeness. The red one (not seen here) is the ripest and spiciest!

Now it appears that our Peoplemover train was on the length of track visible in the previous photo (just above the red boat, more or less). I wonder if the Submarine attraction was not operating? You can see lots of subs snoozing in the safety of their berths, with the Monorail station's zig-zag roof above. I wonder what the guy in that boat is up to? Perhaps he is cleaning the lagoon; he has a bag full of false teeth, sunglasses, a toupée, a cursed tiki idol, and a Fabergé Easter egg. Also something shaped like a trapezoid.

Yep, there's more photos from this group, just stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Disneyland Hotel Instamatics

Good ol' Mr. X continues to deliver, above and beyond the call of duty, with more great images scanned from his personal Kodak Instamatic negatives. I'll keep sharing them as long as he keeps finding more!

First up is this nice shot of the Sierra Tower at the Disneyland Hotel - you can see that it has undergone its major expansion in 1966 (an additional 150 rooms) to the right of the elevator. Mr. X loved the Disneyland Hotel in these days.

Next we have this great shot taken from the top floor (the "Looking Glass Elevator" only had doors on the ground floor and top floor); Looking past the old 2-story structures, we can see the back of the red, yellow, and blue "Disneyland Hotel" sign. Beyond that, the parking lot, and the back of the "Pirates" show building. The Haunted Mansions cupola can be seen to the left, and though it is hard to see here, work was being done (tunnels beneath the railroad tracks, etc). And of course there's the Matterhorn, Sleeping Beauty Castle (looking so tiny), the Swiss Family Treehouse, and even the Moonliner. And HoJo's!

These negatives were pretty beat up - the image took quite some time to make it look nice. I thought I'd make this animated gif to give you an idea of what I was up against! The time goes by pretty quickly if you have some good music or an entertaining podcast to listen to. I hope you'll agree that the results were worth it.

Stay tuned for more Instamatics from Mr. X - many thanks to him for the gift of these wonderful photos.

Monday, November 18, 2019

"Partners" Statue dedication, November 1993

26 years ago (has it really been that long?), there was a special event at Disneyland - the dedication of the famous "Partners" statue. You know the one... with Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse, right in the middle of the Plaza. Irene, Bruce and James shared these photos from that day.

It was November 18th (a Thursday) to be exact. Were any of you Junior Gorillas there? This is kind of a neat photo, it appears that the front gate is being unlocked (at 8:15 AM), while CMs in purple and blue (bleah!) loiter near the floral portrait. Unless there is a barrier that we can't see, I'm amazed that there isn't a large crowd waiting to rush the gate.

November 18th was Mickey's 65th birthday; and the "Worldwide Kids Party" was a four day event in which the mouse (and the park) played host to 20,000 needy children from three continents. I think it's interesting that the article I found made no mention of the Partners statue, perhaps that was an unannounced surprise?

Darn paparazzi! 

Here we go, the ceremonies have officially begun, and right in front of the castle. The Disneyland Band is all dressed up in tuxedos, which is very appropriate considering the fancy occasion.

The "Fab Five" (Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto) made an appearance. On the dais is Jack Lindquist, who was wrapping up his three-year stint as the President of the Disneyland Resort. To his right (our left) is none other than Roy E. Disney. Purple sweatshirts, guys? Really?

Roy E. Disney was Roy O. Disney's son, and Walt's nephew of course. I was a little surprised that I couldn't find footage of his remarks on YouTube, but I admit that I could have spent more time looking! I'm guessing that he did his entire speech in the form of a rap, with Jack Lindquist beat-boxing nearby. "Weeeeeell, my names Roy E. and I'm here to say, I like to rap in a G-rated way". Then he spun around on his head (there's a piece of cardboard on the ground that you can't quite see), I've heard it was amazing.

Practically hidden are Pinocchio, Pooh, Tigger, and Chip.

It's kind of cool to see the Partners statue down at ground level. I'm sure you all know that the statue was sculpted by Disney legend Blaine Gibson; copies of it are now in five Disney theme parks.

This was around half of the photos from this batch - I'll share the rest in another post.

Thank you, Irene, Bruce, and James!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

African Veldt, June 1970

Are you prepared for the intense blandness of today's photos of the "African Veldt" scenes from Disneyland's "Jungle Cruise"?? Can your mind withstand the sheer tedium? Pregnant women and people with heart conditions can look at today's post with no problems whatsoever.

Whoomp, there it is! Hooray for a reference to a hit song from 1993. The African Veldt, reminiscent of that famous scene in "The Lion King", with all of the animals gathered to celebrate the birth of Simba. Only in this version the lions are dining on a crunchy zebra. It's the trapezoid of life.

Perhaps all of these animals will be afflicted by "survivor's guilt", but I'm guessing they are mostly glad that the lions weren't eating them. Makes you think.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Great Western Bank, 1956

Today's featured scan required a little detective work, and it was very gratifying when it paid off! The photo is dated (by hand) "9-14-56"; folks from SoCal might remember the Los Angeles Forum (aka the "Fabulous Forum"), which was known as the "Great Western Forum" from 1988 to 2003 - and this is a "Great Western Savings" building. In doing some research, I eventually found a website ( that had some good information - the website has since vanished; but I did copy part of the page.

The website said that this was "Crenshaw Savings and Loan", and that it was designed by architect W.A. Sarmiento of the Bank Building and Equipment Corporation of America. "Its design, an inverted trapezoid over a transparent cube, closely resembles the design for The Firestone Bank in Akron, Ohio." Strange that I can find no mention of it as a Great Western, and yet... here's the photo as evidence.

I found a single good photo of that Firestone Bank in Akron... you can see the family resemblance.

The Crenshaw Savings (or whatever it was called) building still exists as a Chase Bank at 4401 Crenshaw Boulevard. Here's a Google screen grab; it looks much the same, though we can see that an upper story was added at some point. Strangely, the aforementioned website said that this structure was built in 1958 (Wikipedia also cites 1958 as the date)...

But the slide mount is hand-dated "1956" - TWICE (once on each side of the slide). This discrepancy might cause an international incident!