Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Fantasyland 1958 From Lou and Sue

I am sharing a pair of photos from "Lou and Sue"... the father-daughter team of Lou Perry and Sue B. Sue sent these scans of some prints from 1958, which is good and early. I wish I could have seen the park back then! But ol' Major Pepperidge wasn't around just yet.

There's the Fantasyland Skyway terminal, built to resemble an ornate Swiss chalet. I love all of the scrollwork and painted decorations! It's a shame that the area where the gondolas came and went is so dark, I would have liked to get a better idea of what it looked like (since I sure don't remember).

Here's a familiar Skyway view... nobody with a camera could resist snapping at least one frame of the colorful Mad Tea Party! It appears to have been out of service that day, which is too bad. I always enjoy observing the people in their teacups, laughing and leaning this way and that. 

THANK YOU to Lou and Sue!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Motor Boats

I have some vintage snapshots for you today, and while I like the subject matter - the long-gone Motor Boats - the quality of the photos leaves a lot to be desired. Still... I'll take them.

Let's start with this shot of the loading docks. I think? Or maybe this is where they stored unused boats. Kind of hard to tell in all that grain and murk. We get a special guest appearance by the Matterhorn and Skyway. It's like having Tony Orlando and Dawn in your variety show!

Next we are approaching the barrier that separated the clear water of the Sub Lagoon from the "dark water" of the Motor Boat Cruise. It's kind of neat to see the "Seawolf" from this low angle. I assume it is heading toward the caverns where it could dive to crushing depths and where strange sea creatures could be found.

You know it's going to be a good day when you see the Peoplemover gliding along its elevated track. Tomorrowland really was a "world on the move"!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Bad Pix, June 1974

You should probably just move along and not waste your time on GDB today. These pictures are REALLY BAD. But it's Sunday, and that's how it often goes.

I always enjoy a nice graveyard, and Tom Sawyer Island had at least two of them. One was behind Fort Wilderness, but the Native American's had their own burial ceremony in the form of these mortal remains placed atop an elevated platform. A circle of bison skulls adds a noble but spooky touch. 

And here's a dark and murky picture of the Matterhorn, without so much as a single bobsled to bring joy and laughter to us. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Walt Disney World Selection

I have a bunch of slides from the Walt Disney World that I have yet to scan; like Disneyland slides, many of the WDW show the same old stuff. But the blog is a hungry monster that requires content every day, so why not feature some of the latest scans today?

First up is this view of the Grand Prix Raceway, circa 1976. As someone who has never been to Florida, I always assumed that the WDW version of the Autopia must be huge, with miles of winding track for drivers of all ages. And yet... Mr. X tells me that it was always smaller than the one at Disneyland, and in fact has been reduced in size more than once. With all of that acreage?? I don't get it. I haven't seen a recent photo of what is now the "Tomorrowland Speedway", but it seems as if they did not take the care to landscape the attraction the way they did at Disneyland.

Here's an oddball shot from Bay Lake, looking toward the steamboat landing, with the Monorail Station beyond that. I love the idea of arriving at the Magic Kingdom (or anywhere!) via Monorail or boat, but I guess that buses are the main mode of transport these days. I know there's the new Skyliner, but am unclear as to how much use it is for guests.

Next is this 1973 photo looking down on the main corridor through Fantasyland from the Skyway. It's so empty! The only attraction that I can ID for sure is the Carousel, and I think that maybe "it's a small world" is in the lower right.

I like this unusual view of the much-missed "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" load area. Those Harper Goff "Nautili" are the coolest! His iron-plated, riveted design is practically the definition of "steampunk", though the subs predate that word by decades. I love the green "eyes" (did they glow at night?) that fooled mariners into thinking that Captain Nemo's submarine was a hideous sea monster.

I have lots more Walt Disney World for you!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Friendship Train and the Monorail, November 1977

It's time to rock out with the FRIENDSHIP TRAIN! FT seems to have been a bit different from the usual "four guys and a gal" lineup (like you might see HERE or HERE); this time you get three fabulous babes in robin's-egg blue jumpsuits. Maybe they're singing Abba's "Dancing Queen"? Or "Give a Little Bit" by Supertramp? Sorry, guy playing bass guitar, nobody's looking at you.

Also from November of '77 is this unusual angle looking at a Mark III Monorail. Bubble dome! I can't quite tell if this is Monorail Green or Monorail Blue. Don't you wish you could hop on board and take a ride?

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Knott's Berry Place Pitchur Gallery

I'm a big fan of souvenir photos from Knott's Berry Farm's "Pitchur Gallery" - this was a room with a lot of different painted backdrops depicting various humorous situations. Just add your own heads! Dancing, sitting in a conestoga wagon, taming a bucking bronco... the possibilities were endless. I used to wonder if they ever updated the scenes, but recently found two weird examples from the 70's, so the answer is "yes". It's always fun to find a pitchur of a tableau that I've never seen before.

First up is this scene from yesteryear; a nervous suitor is in the middle of proposing to his demure lady friend. She looks like she's got a bit of mischief in her! Note that he is wearing his U.S. Navy cap. I wonder if he was just back from serving in WWII? Or maybe he was on furlough?

Some of my favorite Knott's items are from the pre-1946 years, when the farm was called "Knott's Berry Place". 

Here's the same couple, completely turning things on their head, like some sort of crazy French farce! She's got her head on the man's body, and he put his head on the woman's. I approve of their silly shenanigans.

Stay tuned for more fun photos from Knott's' Pitchur Gallery!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Three Unrejected Slides

Today I have a trio of "unrejected" scans for you - images that were previously deemed to be unworthy of your time, but (upon further consideration) I now think might be worth a look. You be the judge!

OK I admit that this first one is not the most exciting way to start off; we have a couple resting their feet on one of those cast-iron benches that used to be all over Fantasyland. The woman seems to be holding up pretty well, and she can muster up a sweet smile for the camera. Her husband looks like he might be out of gas.

In the background the Motor Boats can be seen, while I am reasonably sure that the Fantasyland Autopia is partially visible in the upper right. 

This next one (from July, 1963) is a little bit more interesting; the only drawback is that it is a bit dark, but we can still see Main Street USA with 2 Horse Drawn Streetcars, a Surrey, a Horseless Carriage, and the Motorized Firetruck. Pretty neat! Barely visible overhead is a banner announcing the debut of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

And finally, we're ending on a whimper with this shot from a Storybook Land canal boat as it passes the Dwarf's cottage from "Snow White". If you listen closely you can hear the "Silly Song"!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

5000th Post

Believe it or not, today marks the 5000th post for GDB. Five thousand! That feels like a significant number worth celebrating. Some of you may recall that my original goal was to somehow reach 1000 posts (that happened on April 8, 2009) at which point I would retire to my private island. But things don't always go according to plan.

I continued to acquire slides, and the contributions of some GDB readers (thanks to all of those folks) helped so much. And now it's been over 13 years - the last 10 without missing a single day.

Let's start with one that I have been saving for a while - the true FINAL photo from Fun Dad, circa August, 1967! And ain't she a beauty? Looks like folks who parked on the western edge of the parking lot are trudging toward the ticket booths & turnstiles, while Monorail Blue passes overhead (Monorail Gold can be seen in the distance).

Colorful floral prints were in style in '67! Just right of center you can see the white cone roof of the"Melodyland" theater. A nice selection of attraction posters are framed on the columns supporting the Monorail beamway, including one for Tom Sawyer Island, The Autopia, Nature's Wonderland, Pirates of the Caribbean (only a few months old), and Peter Pan's Flight.

Speaking of turnstiles, here they are, circa 1961. Where is everybody? There's something so cheerful and welcoming about the oval letters spelling out D-I-S-N-E-Y-L-A-N-D, along with those waving colorful pennants. 

This next shot is just very pretty - a view of Main Street USA from 1964; September 24th if you must know. And because I have "Jason's Disneyland Almanac" handy, I want to give you some fun facts. The 24th was a Thursday, and the park was open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The high temp of the day was 87 degrees (September in SoCal, folks), and the attendance was (wait for it)... 5,711. Not even 6000 people! 

The photo was taken at twilight, when all the sexy vampires emerge from their graves! No doubt the street looks much darker in the photo than it did to the eye (many signs are not yet lit), but that's OK. I still love the warm glow of the Eastman Kodak shop's sign. The banner at the end of the street tells us that DIXIELAND at DISNEYLAND would happen the next evening.

How about this postcard-worthy shot of the Space Bar (from July of 1958)? What a wonderful piece of mid-century design. And once again, the lack of crowds is astonishing.

Let's get up in the air, aboard the good old Skyway (circa 1957)! Our gondola is heading toward the Tomorrowland Terminal. For some reason the colors of the gondolas used at this point appeal to me - lemon yellow, metallic green and blue, vivid orange, silver, gold, and so on. There's the earlier iteration of the Space Bar, and below us in the track (and part of the station) for the Viewliner. That field in the distance just beyond the borders of the park looks like its being graded for development. 

From 1956 comes this Skyway view looking down on what I've been told was "Tomorrowland Lake", where the Phantom Boats (aka "Tomorrowland Boats") plied the waters - when they weren't conking out. This photo is fascinating!

Zooming in to see the boats a bit better, I also notice a Market Basket market in the upper left. 

Well, that does it for today, homies. I would like to thank all of you for your friendship and support over the years; I am grateful for the nice community that has developed. The lack of trolls and weirdos is kind of a miracle in this day and age. At this point I have about two more full boxes of slides to go - around 1,200 images. That should keep me going for another year or two. I've been considering photographing and sharing photos of some of my assorted dumb collections (the non-Disney stuff), maybe I'll do a few test posts and see how those go. I've got a lot of junk! But some of it might be fun for you to look at.

Tomorrow... post 5001!

Monday, March 23, 2020

New Orleans Square & Swiss Treehouse

We'll start today's photos with this shot of New Orleans Square; as you can see, a high-tech, maximum security rope is blocking our entry. NOS debuted on July 24, 1966; so even though these slides are date-stamped "September1966", it's safe to say that the actual date is from before July 24th. There is a person, just visible to the extreme right, maybe he's a Disney employee.

Even from this angle, it's easy to appreciate the beautiful job the Imagineers did in creating their version of The Crescent City, with its meandering streets and ornate wrought iron. Who could walk past without wanting to explore further? "Pirates of the Caribbean" wouldn't open until March of '67, so it's interesting that for its first eight months, there were no real attractions except for the quaint shops and restaurants.

I can never have too many photos of the old Swiss Family Treehouse with its original red foliage. Maybe the leaves are red because the attraction was a "people eater". You're welcome. 

Zooming in a bit, we can see the massive "air roots" that helped to support the stairs and rooms, as well as the ingenious plumbing system that any self-respecting kid could stand and watch all day.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Snoozers From September 1966

I love Monstro the Whale, even if he hates everybody. He can't help it! Sailing a canal boat into his gaping, toothy mouth is one of those classic Disneyland experiences that has been around for almost 65 years. It's cool that you can see versions of M the W in early artwork, including one in which boats emerge from his mouth and shoot down his extended tongue.

See? I have to admit that a little thrill at the end of your journey through quaint storybook villages might be kind of fun.

Is Monstro present at any of the other Disney parks around the world?

NEXT! The most boring photo of the "It's a Small World" boats ever seen.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

New York World's Fair, March 1964 Construction

It's time for another selection of photos from the construction of the 1964 New York World's Fair! It's fun to see photos of this Fair while it was being built - more fun than the photos that I have showing everything being torn down when it ended!

First up is this photo of the Coca Cola pavilion. The visitor to this exhibit samples five of the most spectacular places in the world, from an Alpine peak to a tropical forest - complete with sights, sounds, climate and aromas. The scenes are created in an elliptical building two-stories high enclosing a large court. In the center of the court is The Coca-Cola Tower, a three-sided 120-foot spire containing the world's largest electronic carillon, with 610 bells.

Here's a photo that I posted long ago, to give you an idea of what the pavilion looked like when it was complete.

The next two pictures show the Louisiana Pavilion. The guidebook said: New Orleans' famed Bourbon Street is reconstructed in this big pavilion. Jazz is the theme, and many well-known musicians perform in the picturesque buildings that line the 200-yard thoroughfare. Music and Creole food are combined in a variety of restaurants. There is dancing at a teen-age center and jazz for marching is played for miniature Mardi Gras parades. Louisiana products, including pralines, are on sale in gift shops. The market area contains specialty shops, while a large exhibition hall is devoted to historical and industrial displays. Nearby are a troupe of performing animals and a hobby center. Along the street, artists do quick portraits of visitors in charcoal and pastels.

There were parts of the pavilion that attempted to replicate the ornate architecture of New Orleans, but most of the buildings used these large industrial pre-fab sheds with some minimal. In 1965 they changed this area from "Louisiana" to "Bourbon Street".

Next is this nearly-completed dome for the World's Fair Pavilion; what was that? The souvenir guidebook says: This is the Fair's major indoor assembly hall. The light latticework structure is a geodesic dome composed of 1,250 interconnected pieces of aluminum tubing; weatherproof vinyl lines the inside; no internal supports obstruct the view. Some 2,100 seats radiate from a stage designed to accommodate some of the Olympic trials, television productions and conventions. Here, also, during the course of the Fair, will be held such divergent activities as jazz concerts and the junior A.A.U. weightlifting championships.

In 1965 the building became the Churchill Center, a tribute to Winston Churchill, who died in January of that year.

Next is this picture of the Minnesota building, which at this point looks like something Frank Gehry might have cooked up on an off day. This unusual pavilion is made of seven giant panels joined together to form one many-sided structure. There is a restaurant on the ground floor. The main exhibit area - which focuses attention on the state's industries - is on a second level, reached by ramps. Ramps? Why didn't you say so??

Oh yeah, I have lots more photos from the 1964 New York World's Fair!

Friday, March 20, 2020

More Nice Fantasyland, 1956

Howsabout some nice vintage Fantasyland pix? Nothing that will blow your socks off, but they're still exceptional.

I love the color ins this first shot of the Mad Tea Party, with that blue, blue sky. All of the families are exiting their teacups, probably a little woozy from the extreme G-forces. Notice the stylish mom right in front of us!

One of the things that I noticed is the colors on things like the fa├žade of the Mr. Toad attraction, or of the "Fan 2" eatery with the stripes on the tent alternating between a very muted yellow-ochre and gray. One might expect something more "in your face", like red and white. "Toad" has a variety of mossy greens, not "straight out of the tube" colors. even the red and yellow swirls on the spinning turntable are muted to a degree.

(Notice a bit of the tent where you would find Professor Keller and his Jungle Killers, to our left).

Next we have another view with the Teacups, and the Mickey Mouse Club Theater (which would not become the "Fantasyland Theater" until 1964). The little girl to the right got a balloon with one deflated ear - take it back and exchange it for another one! 

You can see posters for the Mickey Mouse Club "3D Jamboree" which consisted of several 3D short subjects bookended with color footage of Jimmy Dodd and the Mouseketeers. You can also see the mom from photo #1, with her red hat!

EXTRA! EXTRA! Here is a closeup of that earring... not sure it is very helpful, as the resolution just turns to Legos.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hercules Parade

Today's photos come courtesy of the Dream Team (aka Irene, Bruce, and James), and feature the "Hercules Victory Parade" which ran from June, 1997 to... sometime in 1998. Hercules replaced the "Lion King Celebration", which had been phenomenally popular.

I liked "Hercules" as a movie, but the bloom was off the rose for Disney animated features. After the success of "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast", "Aladdin", and "The Lion King", the company seemed to lose a little steam with the pretty-but-misguided "Pocahontas" film. Then they did "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", and then "Hercules"; both of those movies are artistically amazing, and have many amazing qualities, and yet... I just didn't love them.

Hercules and Megara vogue for the crowd! This movie had some of the wackiness and humor reminiscent of "Aladdin"; I definitely got the impression that the writers and directors were trying to break out of the forumla established by 60 years of animated features, and in some respects they were successful. 

There's Zeus himself, amid the swirling clouds of Mt. Olympus - I liked the "curl/swirl" motif that was found in much of the design (trees, clouds, even Herc's ears), and the background paintings were incredible. I guess that Zeus is supposed to resemble a tile mosaic? I'm not sure why he looks unfinished, with the exposed metal supports.

Pegasus! Come on, the idea of a magnificent winged horse is just cool. This parade version looks like one of Kevin Kidney's paper sculptures.

Many thanks to Irene, Bruce, and James!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Casey Jones Jr., 1956

I'm so glad that Casey Jr. is still chugging along in Disneyland! I occasionally hear rumors that Storybook Land is in danger of being removed (which wouldn't surprise me at all, these days), but I feel that this simple, charming attraction is sort of the living heart of Fantasyland. Rip it out and replace it with some crass movie IP, and the effect would be significant.

In this first scan, Casey is about to pass in front of the newly-opened Skyway and the beautiful chalet (unobscured by trees). It all looks a little bare at this point, but we know that the plants will grow, and the trees will mature. 

One of my favorite details on Casey is his cone-shaped eyes, which always give the illusion that he is looking right at you no matter where you are. Genius!

And how about this colorful, postcard-worthy photo as Casey Jr. successfully conquers that steep hillside? I love the patchwork-quilt landscape, a combination of plants, flowers, colored rocks (or glass pebbles?), and those funny "X" shaped "stitches".

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Clock of the World and Moonliner

I remember the early days of my serious Disneyland fandom; seeing a photo of the Clock of the World was mind-blowing. I knew Disneyland! What the heck was that thing? Turns out I didn't know that much. It's all been downhill from there. 

BUT... I still get a big kick out of seeing that wonderful clock; it shows up in some fairly early concept artwork, essentially looking exactly the same as its final form. I wish we knew more about its design - who thought of the general look, and so on. Did Walt request some sort of clock that told the time at any location on Earth? Or was it someone else's idea?

And as long as we're in Tomorrowland, I figured you wouldn't mind a nice look at the TWA Moonliner!