Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween Saturday

I already had today's Halloween post ready to go, when I got a nice email from reader Grant McCormick, who was kind enough to share some of his family photos (they lived in Anaheim, by the way). They're so great that I had to add them!

Grant says, The 1956 photo is a six year old me on the left. Mom in the middle. The three girls are Tommy Walker's daughters Diane, Debbie and Patty, who lived across the street from us.

Tommy Walker! Disneyland royalty, he was the son of Vesey Walker, leader of the Disneyland Band. He had his own impressive career, you can look him up on Wikipedia if you so desire.

I love this photo, Grant's smiling face is so full of joy, it is wonderful. Grant added, My mom was a make up artist (you may remember her as the "lady in red" who staffed the Crane Company Bathroom of Tomorrow at Disneyland) and every Halloween she would do real grease paint clown faces.

That would explain why they look so great.

NEXT... The 1958 one is me, my three year old sister, Debbie Walker and a neighbor friend in the Wyatt Earp (?) mask.

I did a little research and found that the mask was Bat Masterson. Again, such a fun photo of cute kids!

Now back to our regularly-scheduled random non-McCormick assortment, from "sometime in the '50s". This bunny rabbit and rosy-cheeked piglet. Are they wearing jammies? The fuzzy slippers add to the horror. These kids are going to be the most comfortable trick-or-treaters in town.

I can't tell if the kid to the left is a boy dressed as a female character (a common thing back in those days) or if it really is a girl. Not that it matters a whole lot I guess! Do you know who he/she is supposed to be? Find out in a moment! Meanwhile, the girl on the right appears to be some sort of "Bo Peep" type. Those long "curls"! Her lollipop is interesting - what the heck is it? It has a candy-corn nose and lifesavers for eyes. 

Aaaannnd... here they are, all together. If you guessed that the kid in red was Olive Oyl (hard to read the sign, I know), you win my eternal admiration. 

Next we have a Halloween party in a rather plain, barely-decorated basement. Or maybe this is a prison! As different costumed kids took a seat, somebody took photos of them. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what the costumes were supposed to represent. The pointy hat on the left says "witch", and I guess the parasol means "elegant lady who drank too much Nyquil". If I saw that thing to the right following me down the street on a dark night, I'd probably have a heart attack.

Well, we had to have at least one hobo, didn't we? He's hoping that some nice lady will leave her pies to cool on the windowsill. Next to him is an old spinster. She'll tell you all about the pony she owned when she was a little girl. And finally a strange looking "woman". Those rubber masks are surprisingly creepy!

Oh, I like the black cat. "Follow me to the land of spooks", says the sign around its neck. Next is a.. um.. er... "pass". And then there's the clown who looks fairly dirty and murderous. This kid was ahead of his time.

MANY THANKS to Grant McCormick for sharing his personal Halloween photos. They make my other pix seem kind of lame by comparison, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Have a Happy Halloween, everybody!

Friday, October 30, 2020

2 Nice Ones From the 1950s

I have a few photos that are very nice! Above average, I'd say. And what more could we want?

I really love this first view of the Mad Tea Party - it might be POSTCARD WORTHY. Grandma and Grandpa aren't interested in the wildly-spinning teacups, but you can see that Gramps is smiling while watching some loved ones (presumably the grandkids - many of the teacups contain children). 

I can imagine the music (that "Teapot Song" or whatever it's called), and hear the laughter and shrieks of delight as the cups whirled around. The colors are wonderful too, from the deep blue of the sky to the warm hues on the "Mr. Toad" façade, to Grandma's teal dress. This is one of those pictures that makes me smile.

This second image is from a different lot, but is also from the 50s. It's a wonderful, busy shot of the Mark Twain as it came in for a landing.  It is bedecked with flags and patriotic bunting, so perhaps this was around the 4th of July. It's fun to look at the crowd on board! The photo reminds me of images of old cruise ships (like the Queen Mary) arriving in port while the folks at the dock waited to greet their loved ones. Except these folks are waiting for their turn to take a trip around the Rivers of America.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Golden Horseshoe Revue, September 1983

I'm sharing more "Lou and Sue" photos - this time they're from September 1983, and they feature images from the Golden Horseshoe Revue! There were a bunch of photos in the batch that Sue generously sent to me, and they'd turned pink/red to various degrees. For some reason I had more success restoring the color on a few, and less success on most. So I did the best I could and picked seven photos for today's article.

First up is Pecos Bill himself (what are those chaps supposed to be made out of anyway, a sheepdog?). The legendary Wally Boag had retired in 1982, and Dick Hardwick replaced him until the Revue's last performance in October of 1986. From what I've read, he was excellent! You can see that he has a cheekful of dried beans, which he will spit out as "teeth".

I am guessing that the gentleman on the right is the Irish tenor, but I don't know the performer's name. Do you?

Aw, there's Betty Taylor, who performed in the Revue for 30 years. Amazing! 

There's Betty again, in a slinky gown, with her heart-shaped mirror, which she used to help find her man.

Dick Hardwick looks pretty snazzy as the Traveling Salesman. He's still going strong today, doing clean standup comedy at the Grand Old Opry and many other places.

Much to my shame, most of the photos of the pretty dancers were beyond my abilities to restore; at best I could bring them to a combination of orange and pink. Not great, Bob. But I had to share at least a few photos of them purty gals!

Looking at the world through rose-tinted glasses isn't all it's cracked up to be. But leggy dancers make it worth the effort.

As always, a big THANK YOU to Lou and Sue!

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

River Belle Terrace

I have three slides featuring the interior of the River Belle Terrace, courtesy of my friend Mr. X. Interiors like these are very unusual, even from the 1990s! Most of you know that this used to be Aunt Jemima's Pancake House/Kitchen, and then (briefly) the Magnolia Terrace. In 1971, the River Belle Terrace was born.

Boy, do I dislike the font used on that sign! Was it supposed to look folksy and hand-lettered? Why not opt for elegant and classy? Just my opinion of course.

My guess is that Mr. X took photos like this first thing in the morning before there were any customers, allowing a wonderful crowd-free view. It's interesting to compare this to some of the Mysterious Benefactor's photos of the River Belle Terrace from two decades earlier.

Here's a dining area; pretty elegant for an amusement park! I have never stepped foot inside this establishment, I'm sorry to say. Mr. X says that this has been completely altered in recent years, and not for the better. Still, we can enjoy this lovely photo.

Thank you to Mr. X for sharing his personal photos!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Last From June 1974

I'm sad to use up the last scans from a 1974 batch that yielded some nice images. Many had to undergo quite a bit of color restoration, but I actually enjoy that process - when it works, anyway.

First up is this shot of the Corner Cafe. It is in dire need of "depinkification" (as Melissa would say)! 

And here it is, looking 95% better (there's still a little weirdness, but I can live with it). It's surprising how little this has changed - it still has the same sign and the same decorative wrought-iron, and probably the same hot dogs. Zing, I got 'em! What a sick burn.

This next one also needed restoration, but I didn't bother to save a "before" version. The rectangular Skyway gondolas were not only roomier, they were insulated in order to keep cold things cold, and hot things hot. Your icy soda would still be chilled when you got to Fantasyland.

Bobsled sighting! 20 points!

I'm still on the road, but should be home by late tomorrow night!

Monday, October 26, 2020

The Haunted Mansion, May 1984

Halloween is almost here, and what could be more appropriate than some photos of the exterior of the original Haunted Mansion? These are courtesy of Lou and Sue, from the trove of images Lou took back in 1984. 

The word "stately" definitely applies to the grand plantation-style home with its neoclassical columns. The "column and pediment" part of the façade looks like s stretched-out Acropolis. Or NEcropolis? 

My grandma always loved magnolia trees (there were several on the boulevard outside her home until the city inexplicably ripped them out), I love them too. 

This is what I consider to be the quintessential view of the Mansion, as seen right after passing through the brick and iron entry (with the famous plaques). The wrought iron is so cool, I'd love to walk around that upper balcony. It looks like it might be slightly reduced in scale compared to the floor level, not sure if it is 5/8 or not. And the third level is for people who like to walk around all hunched over. 

The thought occurred to me that the interior of the Mansion doesn't seem to have many hints to its New Orleans origins, but then I wondered what those hints would even be. Mint juleps everywhere? OK, so my thought was a dumb one, I'll own up to it.

Fun detail; the drainpipe is painted the same green as the wrought iron, except for when it crosses the cornice (probably the wrong word but you know what I mean).

Thank you, Lou and Sue!

Sunday, October 25, 2020

A Pair of Random Pix

Here's a pair of random snoozers, for better or worse. 

This first one is date-stamped "December, 1967", and shows the Monsanto House of the Future. Of course the actual photo could have been taken weeks or months earlier, but the plastic house was not long for this world. I couldn't find an exact date, but the House of the Future was demolished in December of '67. It's sad to think about it being cut and smashed to pieces.

The colorful flowerbeds were part of the "New Tomorrowland" that had opened on July 18th; ordinarily I think of them as being swirls of Bright yellow and vivid purple. but they look sort of whitish and a soft violet here. I can't decide if that's because they really did look that way later in the year, or if the color of the photo has faded.

Next is this perfectly nice, but pretty uninspiring photo of the south end of Tom Sawyer Island, circa 1969. The shore is softened by hundreds of what I assume are yellow narcissus flowers, while the mill is in the process of being covered by some sort of vine - it's a great look! Say hello to the raft to the left, and to Rainbow Ridge, just visible to our right.


I'm still away from home, but will be home in just a few days!

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Earl Carroll

My friend Mr. X has gifted many images to me, and you've seen a lot of them here on GDB. Months ago he gave me a small box of slides that I think are super interesting; perhaps they are more interesting to me because I love Los Angeles history. 

Mr. X's grandmother worked for Earl Carroll, who gained fame with his Sunset Boulevard theater that featured scantily-clad showgirls. When Earl died in a plane crash in 1948, X's grandma wound up in the possession of a lot of Earl's personal effects, including a many photos. The examples I'm sharing today are unusual, they are standard 35mm slides, but a single slide has two images on it, for use with some sort of stereo viewer that I have never seen before. You could probably do the "magic eye" thing if both images were presented. Anyway, color photos from this era (probably the 1940s) are very rare!

We'll start with this shot of Earl with some of his lovelies. He's armed with a tape measure, presumably checkin the girls for "ideal" measurements. Nice work if you can get it. I'd say that lady's leg is A-OK. If you're wondering what's going on to the right, the stereo images are separated by a "soft dissolve", for lack of a better description.

These photos seem to have been taken as a publicity stunt of some kind, I wonder if there was a film crew there for a saucy newsreel item? Earl and the gals are on the grounds of the Ambassador Hotel (home of the Coconut Grove nightclub, and most infamous as the place where Robert Kennedy was assassinated). 

"Sorry, young lady, but your wrist is 1/4" too large, we're going to have to let you go".

Did I mention that the gals were scantily clad (1940s style)?

This next photo was presumably taken inside the Earl Carroll Theatre, "which featured sixty showgirls ascending 100 treads of stairs to a height of 135 feet" as part of a musical revue. Don't look at the showgirls, just check out those stairs. The woman in the middle is Beryl Wallace, Earl's companion. I believe the woman to Beryl's right (our left) is Judith Woodbury, while the blond to Beryl's left is Jean Richey.

Here's a vintage postcard showing the theatre in its heyday. The large neon head is a portrait of Beryl Wallace. "Through these portals pass the most beautiful girls in the world". I have a slide or two of this place (in my regular collection), but they're not handy right now, so you'll see those in some other post.

This is one of my favorites of the bunch, I believe that this is Judith Woodbury once again, in a Vegas-style costume. She looks great, but I think the hat could be bigger. It's so neat to see a photo like this, probably from around 1945 - over 70 years ago.

This is a scan of a page from a 1948 souvenir program from the Earl Carroll Theater; I think that the woman circled in red is Ms. Woodbury.

And here she is, a little blurry, but it's nice to see her onstage. Quite the beauty!

I have more photos of Earl Carroll from various points in his life, though (sadly) not so many with the showgirls. If you are interested I will be happy to share some of those.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Random Friday Goodies

Happy Friday, everybody! Today I'm going to share three slides that were in my old boxes of previously-scanned slides - only these had been passed over originally. Who knows why? Not me, and I was the only person there at the time. OR WAS I?

Let's start with this very nice shot (circa October 1969) of a fun little "Tickets and Information" booth from Fantasyland. "Hello, I'd like four tickets and three small informations". "Here you go, sir".  The booth is very much in the style of the original Fantasyland, with a fairly plain little structure (a box with  glass windows) adorned with stylized flat decorations bearing an assortment of colorful patterns. It is pretty charming, considering! I especially like the heraldic devices. "An eagle of gules on a shield of azure".

It seems very surprising that I would have decided to not share this slide years ago, but it was fairly faded and took more than a little Photoshoppin' to make it look this good.

This second photo is date-stamped "August, 1958", though I suspect it was taken weeks or months before that date. Two girls (sisters, presumably) pose with Sleeping Beauty Castle in the bckground. That patch of grass, flowers and shrubs behind them is not something I've ever noticed before, I wonder if it was removed when the Matterhorn construction began on June 14th. Notice the mysterious additional curb that separated the walkway from the road - for a while vehicles such as the Omnibus would loop around the finished Matterhorn.

And finally, from 1960 comes this very pretty tableau, full of sunshine and color. What do you think, was this taken from the bridge that crossed into Adventureland? Once again we can admire the landscaping of Disneyland. And some of you know how much I love a sunny photo with a deep blue sky - look at how the snows of the Matterhorn gleam!


Just a reminder that I am away from home, and that replying to comments is a little trickier than normal!

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Fantasyland, May 1984

Our friend Lou Perry went to Disneyland and he took a LOT of pictures during this 1984 trip - shared generously by Sue B!

All of today's photos are from Fantasyland, which had just undergone a major overhaul the year before. We lost the Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, but we got a lot of nice things too. The "Alice in Wonderland" ride was updated too, not opening until April 14th of 1984, when the rest of the "New Fantasyland had opened the previous May.

The Mad Tea Party was moved so that it was adjacent to the "Alice" ride, I'm glad they have each other for company.

Just like Lou, I have always loved these giant, shiny cups and saucers.

I never really thought about it before, but the passageway through Sleeping Beauty Castle appears to be a lot narrower than one might expect. Maybe 20 feet from end to end? A skilled balloon vendor is managing her wares - I'll bet it's harder than it looks.

The "Mad Hatter" used to be on Main Street, but they lost their lease and moved to better digs right right next to the castle. You can see the Hatter himself through the window.

I'm sure Lou was mighty impressed with the New Fantasyland, full of rich details. Here's the entrance to "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", with a statue of Thaddeus J. Toad above the entrance (note to self: I need more statues of ME). Notice the wonderful weathervane to the right.

Topiaries aren't just for "it's a small world" anymore; now there's a plump elephant topiary right next to Dumbo's Flying elephants. 

Speaking of flying elephants, there's a whole herd of them now. Are they called a "flock" when they are in the air (just like real elephants)? I never noticed the stork bearing bundle, see him beneath Timothy Mouse.

And... one more general view of the same area. Enjoy those 80s fashions; shorts and tube socks are coming back in style, just you wait and see.

MANY thanks to Lou and Sue!

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

More Stuff From The Box

It's time for yet another selection of junk - er, I mean, treasure - from a cigar box where I have squirreled away various flotsam. As I have mentioned before, most (but not all) of the items in this box are relics from various World's Fairs.

Oh boy, "Guest of Honor"! I wonder what important person wore this magnificent ribbon? It was "Florida Week", we can view a souvenir program online. Maybe this belonged to Dr. John J. Tigert, President of the University of Florida. I'm creating a "certificate of authenticity" on my computer at this very moment.

From "Guest of Honor" to "Junior Good Will Ambassador" - we're movin' on up to the East Side, with a deluxe brass badge that we can flash at cops and maître d's for preferential treatment everywhere. Novelty badges were a big deal in the 1930's, and rare specimens (some Mickey Mouse examples) can go for huge bucks.

Bakelite (full name: polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride) is the first widely-used synthetic plastic, famous for its many uses: old telephones, kitchenware, toys, jewelry, radios, and so much more. Its non-conductive properties made it useful as insulators for electronics like, I don't know, early iPhones or something. The bakelite exhibit at the Fair had a machine that molded colorful pins for you while you watched. You'll see some of those in the future! For now, enjoy this foil sticker.

Here's a World's Fair item, but not from New York . It's a pin from Expo 58 in Brussels - the first post WWII World's Fair, famous for the Atomium. This star (designed by Lucien De Roeck) was the official logo, and is seen on a plethora of souvenir items. Attached to the pin we have some plastic binoculars - a stanhope (an optical device that enables the viewing of microphotographs without using a microscope.) There's a tiny glass lens that you can look through and see a photograph of any old thing. Unfortunately the photo in this example is so faint that it is impossible to discern what it pictured.

This little plastic stickpin is an ad for The Equitable Life insurance company. If you don't mind, I'd like to talk to you about life insurance for an hour or two. I bought this years ago, having been told that it is from the 1939 World's Fair, but I'm not so sure now. The sculptural part of the pin is only about 1 inch tall, and my guess is that it shows a mother embracing her child, while an angel hovers protectively over them. Or maybe she's a vampire?

The Wonder Bakery had its very own pavilion at the 1939 Fair. The ultra-soft white bread was the "food of the future", and I know its the favorite bread of everyone who reads GDB. The spongey texture, the way it sticks to the roof of your mouth... what's not to like? The building resembled the famous Wonder Bread wrapper, with cheerful polkadots of red, yellow and blue - I've always loved the look of it. Here's another souvenir sticker to put in your scrapbook.

How about one more brass badge from the 1930s? You too could be a "secret operator" in Melvin Purvis' fight against crime in America. Purvis became noted for leading the manhunts that captured or killed bank robbers such as Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, and Pretty Boy Floyd. In 1936, Melvin hosted a children's radio program called "Junior G-Men", sponsored by Post Toasties. There are a series of badges of increasing rank (and rarity) that are sought after by weirdos like me today. I have a few more, somewhere or other.

J. Edgar Hoover was supposedly very jealous of Purvis' public-hero status and glowing press coverage.

Never fear, there's more stuff in the box!


Just a note to let you know that, starting today, I will be away from home for just over a week. It's possible that I may not be able to respond to comments as easily as I normally can, though I will do my best.