Monday, November 30, 2020

Greyhound Snapshots 1956

Here's something a little different - a small comb-bound photo album with "Greyhound dated snapshots". Snapshots of what? Disneyland, of course! 1956, to be specific.

I don't know if the photos were placed in any kind of order, but they seem to go from later (darker) to earlier. Some of the pictures were very washed-out; some of them required a little Photoshop help, not that it did a whole lot, but at least this first one feels like evening. We can see the globes and popcorn lights on Main Street Station, and a barely-visible ticket/souvenir/information booth in the foreground.

Town Square looks nearly deserted - I wonder if the park was going to close soon? The lit signs of the Emporium, Wonderland Music, and the Wurlitzer shop glow feebly in this image, as if fighting through a fog.

There's the familiar entrance to Adventureland, made of woven leaves and bamboo poles lashed together, as if the professor from Gilligan's Island made it.

Now we're looking across the open waterway as the Disneyland Band goes marching by, performing for almost nobody. It looks like a scene from a Fellini movie. I'm sure the ice cream vendor appreciated them. Do you think that the scaffolding just beyond the band is for the Carnation Plaza Gardens? It opened on August 18th, 1956, so perhaps that gives us a clue - presumably these photos would have been taken several months earlier.

This one is my favorite, I don't think I've ever seen an accordion player in Frontierland before. He's enjoying a smooth, relaxing cigarette, which kind of suprises me. I've seen Stagecoach drivers with cigarettes as well, I suppose that the general smoking ban for cast members was a bit relaxed in Frontierland. I see a sign reading "Petite Salon" over the musician's shoulder.

Here's a distant look at the Mark Twain - it's strange to see so much grass in this area that is now completely devoid of any lawn. Grass doesn't put money in the coffers! I'll bet the fellow with the white shirt leaning against the bandstand is a cast member.

Sometimes you just want to ride a mule, ya know? It's nothing to be ashamed of. But it's so hard to find a good mule. Disneyland used to have them, though, and they were the Happiest Mules on Earth. 

I like that sign, which (as far as I can tell) says: Ride the PACK MULES through the fascinating and historical MOTHER LODE country of the OLD WEST

And finally, one last shot of the buildings of Frontierland, with the Golden Horseshoe to the left. A banner hangs from the balcony railing, "Welcome SUPER MARKET (illegible) Delegates". Hmmmm. There is a partially-obscured sign that might be for The Oaks Tavern. I think we'll be able to find a place to sit.

I hope you have enjoyed these Greyhound Dated Snapshots!

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Jungle Critters, June 1963

It's time for another sleepy Sunday blog post, and that means that I get to use up some less-than-amazing photos while most of you are off doing something else. 

Both of today's pictures are from June of 1963, and were taken from the Jungle Cruise. Most details from this ride are so familiar to us today - I wonder if there's anything that did not show up in photos, typically? 

Both of today's pix are more mundane. Here's "Old Smiley", a crocodile with a lively sense of humor. He's laughing out loud (in deep resonant tones much like James Earl Jones). I wonder if some of those trees with the "exposed roots" are actually trees placed upside-down, as has been mentioned in some books?

Elephants love to bathe, so it's lucky that they got a sacred bathing pool for Christmas and not that air fryer that the kids wanted (they love pizza rolls and French fries). It must have been some task to sculpt those huge animals - presumably they reused the same mold for all of the youngsters, and probably some of the other pachyderms as well. 

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Madurodam, The Netherlands - August 1961

Without really meaning to, I have managed to acquire a mini-collection of vintage slides from a European (The Hague, Netherlands) amusement park called Madurodam. What is Madurodam? Wikipedia says: It is home to a range of 1:25 scale model replicas of famous Dutch landmarks, historical cities and large developments. The park was opened in 1952 and has since been visited by tens of millions of visitors. It was also one of the inspirations for Storybook Land in Disneyland.

It's kind of fun to look at photos, with guests towering over beautifully-detailed models of buildings, ships, and airports, as if they've all been exposed to gamma radiation. Many of them seem to be looking at some sort of brochure or booklet. On the low rise in the background is a small mid-century style building, it resembles lifeguard stands at beaches; I wonder if security guards were there, making sure that nobody runs amok?

Those boats are impressive! I assume that they were all made specifically for Madurodam, and not bought at "Luuk's Model and Puppet Emporium". You've got your luxury cruise ships, tankers, barges, and probably a dinghy or two (I just wanted to say "dinghy"). Maybe a scow or two? In the foreground, metal tanks contain precious chocolate milk reserves vital to the Dutch economy. It looks like the park might be surrounded by a berm. Hmmmm!

Here's a model of The Binnenhof, which is a complex of buildings in the city centre of The Hague, Netherlands, next to the Hofvijver. It houses the meeting place of both houses of the States General of the Netherlands, as well as the Ministry of General Affairs and the office of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Built primarily in the 13th century, the Gothic castle originally functioned as residence of the counts of Holland and became the political centre of the Dutch Republic in 1584.

You can see a golden coach, accompanied by guards both on foot and on horseback, as well as a military band. Notice the tiny cobblestones, and even the red carpet leading up the steps into the Ridderzaal.

More from Wikipedia: Every object in Madurodam has been built at a scale of 1:25. When the management decides that a specific miniature is to be made for Madurodam, the builders first research all aspects of the actual building. They research the shape, color and all other properties of that object, by analysing many pictures. After this they start making the models. A computer measures everything and sends all information to a machine that makes the physical model. The model goes to the painting room, where it gets the final look. In this painting room restorations also take place. Because most of the miniatures are outdoors, they need regular paint retouches. Of course back in 1961 it's safe to say that everything was designed and built entirely by hand, with no computers.

Those model ducks are especially impressive.

Madurodam was renovated in 2011/2012 for the park's 60th Anniversary. The park is now divided into three themes: water, as a friend and an enemy; historical cities; and The Netherlands as an inspiration for the world. Each theme offers different activities - from light shows to mixing music. It sounds like a wonderful place for an outing with the family!

 I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Madurodam.

Friday, November 27, 2020

Friday Nov 27

I am still away from home, and will try to respond to comments if possible - but it is trickier. Thanks to my crummy Bluetooth keyboard!

I have two extra-nice photos for you on this Friday! I hope you like them.

First up is this delightful portrait (circa April 1962) of the Tomorrowland Spaceman and the Tomorrowland Space...girl? Not sure what they officially called her. She is very tall, and probably didn't like towering over boys, but you know what? She's OK by me! I like her atomic headgear and silvery cape. The Spaceman seems nice enough, but let's face it, he won't be battling any Metalunans. He probably sells moon parcels (on the dark side, where nobody wants to live). They both pose with a cheerful tour guide who waves at the camera, a contrast in height and color from the spacefolk. 

Next is this March 1973 photo of the Tomorrowland Terrace. I have a number of photos of "The Entertainment Committee" and "The New Establishment", but this might be my only photo featuring "Cement, Gravel, and Rock Co." I hope they have a female singer as per the usual guidelines for Tomorrowland rock bands. To our left is the Rolly Crump-designed ticket booth, and above that, one of those odd white (or very pale yellow?) Skyway gondolas.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Family Dinner

Yes, I am out of town today, but thank you for checking in!

Happy Thanksgiving! It's probably going to be a weird one, what with Covid19 and all that goes with it. I was unsure of what to share today; a holiday like this brings up fond memories of Thanksgiving dinners with my family. I think of my grandma and grandpa (we almost always did Thanksgiving at their home) who I loved very much, and their beautiful ranch-style house in Encino, and the FOOD. So I decided to try to find some vintage images in my collection that might evoke similar memories for you.

This first one is from a small batch of slides that our friend Sue B. generously sent to me. They were kind of a random selection, but there was this one photo of a father pretending to carve a small turkey for Thanksgiving, circa 1971. The kid (boy? girl?) can't wait to get mashed potatoes everywhere.

This photo makes me think of the formica dining room table that we had when I was really little - it was probably just big enough for my mom, dad, and two kids (my older brother and me). Once my sister was born, they had to get a bigger table.

This next one does not depict a Thanksgiving dinner, but I just liked the vintage glimpse into a 1950s dining room. Love those striped tumblers. There's ketchup on the table, so maybe meatloaf was on the menu. The applied mural on the far wall is interesting! Very "Washington Irving".

And this one reminds me of gatherings in the midwest, where several branches of my family (cousins, second cousins, great aunts and uncles, etc) would congregate for big meals. My great aunt's farmhouse in Wisconsin had a kitchen sort of like this one. The ladies are all helping out, probably laughing and enjoying each other's company while the rest of the family was semi-comatose from too much food.

I would like to wish all of the GDB readers a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Views from 1956

I will be out of town (against my better judgement) for the next few days. Most of you know the drill - I will try to respond to comments when I can, but will probably only be able to once or twice a day.

Here are two scans from a lot of slides from 1956; I always like early views like these.

This first one is interesting, you can see that one of the Disneyland Railroad employees (what would his job title be?) is using a common garden hose to replenish the water in the E.P. Ripley's tender. I wonder why the water tower in Frontierland wasn't being used? It seems like it would be a faster way to go. The yellow passenger car is the "combine" - I actually don't know if it was used to carry passengers! These days you can find the fully-restored combine at Griffith Park. 

Next is a swell view of Main Street - bustling with activity, and full of beautiful, tasteful colors. Mossy greens, brick reds, soft yellows, creams... it all works wonderfully and feels appropriately antique. The patriotic bunting is always so festive.

There must be a name for those vertical lighted signs that were outside the Eastman Kodak, Gibson, and Swift buildings - they look so great. Is any of the "woodwork" actually wood? Or is it all plaster or cement or fiberglass? If so, the illusion is completely effective. What a day it would have been to stroll along Main Street!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Scenes From the Magic Kingdom, June 1979

I finally scanned some more Walt Disney World slides - there's quite a lot of them sitting in various boxes, waiting for somebody to love them. Today's their day!

I never get tired of photos of the entrance to Tomorrowland, with its distinctive towers and fountains. Space Mountain looms over everything!

Look at all the pigeons (seagulls?) on top of that building! Poop city.

I love the tropical lagoon theme for the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction, and the way it evokes Captain Nemo's "Vulcania" hideout in the middle of an extinct (?) volcano. This is how I want my swimming pool to look at my fourth mansion.

Artist Harper Goff hit a home run when he designed the iron-clad Nautilus submarine, looking suitably Victorian - though perhaps giving an early glimpse of things to come with the Industrial Revolution. The toothed prow and tail fin could rip the hull of any wooden sailing ship that dared to tangle with Captain Nemo.

Below the surface, many varieties of fishes live and frolic (fishy frolics!). These Sea Bass (or Groupers) enjoy all the attention from the people in the submarines. At one point, an underwater microphone reveal the Lovecraftian sounds that fish make. 

Stay tuned for more from Walt Disney World!

Monday, November 23, 2020

Tomorrowland Photos, 1990s

I have some fun Tomorrowland photos for you today, courtesy of the Dream Team. You know them - Irene, Bruce, and James. And probably Michael Jordan. 

This first photo is very neat, taken aboard the Rocket Jets during a supersonic orbit. I have a lot of Disneyland photos in my own collection, but don't think I have any that were taken from a moving Rocket Jet. 

The tops of the Tomorrowland buildings aren't exactly pretty, but somehow it never mattered when you were up there with wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth. Notice the multi-colored It's a Small World in the distance to our right, and a yellow Submarine (pre-"Nemo") just visible in the lagoon.

The Matterhorn has tarps and scaffolding, so perhaps we can date this photo to 1994. The Skyway had closed that year - the holes in the mountain were filled in, and the glittering ice grotto was added, along with a tribute to Frank Wells, who had died in a helicopter crash that year.

Here's another very unusual view, presumably taken from the Rocket Jets platform. We're looking down on the Peoplemover track, with six evenly-spaced Peoplemover trains on the track but devoid of riders. Perhaps this was taken around the closure of that ride (August 21, 1995). Notice that the south (left) side of the corridor has a Star Tours mural, while the north side still had the Mary Blair mural. It would survive until 1997.

Here's a nice look at the entryway to Tomorrowland from the Plaza - undated, but there is no sign of the Peoplemover (other than the empty track of course) by this time. 

MANY THANKS to the Dream Team!

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Snoozers

It is time, Junior Gorillas, to "enjoy" some so-so scans from my pile of "not quite rejects"! For some of you it is probably your favorite day of the week.

You may remember this group of friends from some nice Adventureland photos, circa 1964. In this photo they've found a little tree that they admire. Maybe it spoke to them! But for some reason the picture turned out very dark (this is how it looks after I lightened it considerably). I'm trying to figure out where they are standing - obviously it's the seating area for a restaurant. Maybe it's outside the Plaza Pavilion?

Next is this 1958 photo looking past the Teacups toward the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. It's a nice sunny photo (looks like a winter day), but it's not really a good look at the Teacups OR the Pirate Ship. Still, it could be worse!

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Random U.S.A. Pix!

I always enjoy vintage photos from around the USA. Sometimes half the fun is trying to figure out the location, if the photo is unlabeled.

Like this one! I had no idea where this river and bridge and bustling city was, but after some detective work, I figured out that it is the Monongahela River, with Pittsburgh in the background, and the Smithfield Street Bridge crossing the river. 

The hard part was finding a relatively contemporary view from the same vantage point (since I had no idea where the photographer was standing in the vintage photo). But I finally did find this one. You can still see a lot of the older buildings, though they are dwarfed by some new, modern towers!

This one was a "fail" on my part, I couldn't find anything to help solve the mystery of where this "Curiosity Shop" was located. Why are there rocks (?) on the roof of this log structure? There are Indian teepees next to that beautiful red automobile. Is this an old fort? Help!

This smoggy photo is from 1949 - it's a view of Chicago! Look at all those brick buildings, all those water towers. It's kind of a neat scene, though I couldn't figure out exactly where in the city this is. There is a water tower in the lower left that says "Besly", and there is North Besly Court in Chicago, but the area as seen on Google Maps is completely different from this scene. I would expect many MANY changes over the past 70 years, of course.

This last one was a mystery, and I didn't hold out much hope of solving it, but the "Grubstake Cafe" to our right helped. It's historic Pioneer Town (population: 420), in California! It's way out in Yucca Valley, in the high desert of San Bernardino. Wikipedia says: Actor Dick Curtis started up the town in 1946 as an 1880s themed live-in Old West living, breathing motion-picture set. The town was designed to provide a place for production companies to enjoy while also using their businesses and homes in movies. Hundreds of Westerns and early television shows were filmed in Pioneertown, including The Cisco Kid and Edgar Buchanan's Judge Roy Bean.

Although it has been damaged by recent fires, you can still visit Pioneertown today.

Here's a vintage photo of the Grubstake Cafe, which I found on THIS website, which has tons of photos of Pioneertown. Check it out!

I hope you have enjoyed today's Random Pix.

Friday, November 20, 2020

Two Beauties From May, 1961

I have two really nice photos for you today! Let's start with this fun look at Tomorrowland, right outside the "Rocket To The Moon" attraction. Four out of five dentists agree that photos of Disneyland are better when the sun is shining and the sky is blue. It's scientific! The rocket looks great, and it's always nice to see the Richfield Eagle. You hardly ever see Richfield Eagles in the the wild anymore, but they thrived at Disneyland (small children are their primary food). There are other details, but I know you can see them as well as I can.

OK, well maybe this one isn't quite as special as the first photo, but I still appreciate this Skyway view (heading toward Fantasyland). I have a number of photos with orange gondolas right next to us, which can only mean one thing: conspiracy. I just haven't figured out what it is yet. We've got the "Alice" ride below us, and we can see Dumbo, and Skull Rock, and Storybook Land, and both "Fan 1" (the yellow and white striped tent in the distance) and "Fan 2" (the blue and white striped tent closer to us). What did I miss?

Thursday, November 19, 2020

More Stuff From The Box

It's time to delve back into that fabled cigar box full of priceless treasures and rare artifacts (some with magical properties, I hear tell). 

First up is this little badge from the Chicago Fair of 1950. Not a World's Fair... it was "...conceived and planned as an exposition to depict and dramatize achievements of agriculture, commerce, industry and science, which, under out pioneer heritage, promise new, ever higher standards in American living". The twisted building pictured on the badge was known as the "Spiramid". We'll learn more about this forgotten fair in future blog posts.

Next is a Sky King "Spy-Detecto Writer", from 1949. It is a chunky metal thing, aluminum and brass, given out as a premium by Derby Foods Inc. As you can see, the top side of the premium has a decoding wheel, plus a small magnifying glass. The bottom (brass) side has a magnificent bas-relief portrait of Sky King with his initials.

This end has a red wheel with raised letter and numbers, enabling you to write a message in several days rather than several minutes.

One edge shows Sky King's plane, "Flying Arrow", along with his fiery steed, "Yellow Fury". The other side has a handy ruler that might save your life!

This pin was given to me during my all-too-brief time working at the Walt Disney Studios. I just happened to be there during the celebration for Walt's 100th birthday. They set up a miniature train (much like Walt's own Carolwood Pacific RR) that people could ride, gave out wooden train whistles, bowls of chili, various pins, cake, and they had a photo-op with Goofy (if I can ever find that I will share a scan of it here). They also had one of Walt's automobiles on display.

I may have shared a photo of this little enameled charm before, but who remembers? One side is a fairly standard California souvenir, but the other side advertises the old Japanese Village and Deer Park, in Buena Park - not too far from Knott's and Disneyland. I went there a number of times as a child and have fond memories. There aren't a ton of souvenirs from this place.

Next is this nice brass button from one of the many uniforms worn by employees at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair ("A Century of Progress"). They really looked great against a Navy-blue blazer.

I wrestled about whether I should share this badge or not, because of the obvious negative connotations of the name "Sambo's", which used to be a popular chain of restaurants (over 1000 locations). I never want to insult or upset anyone! The name come from the combination of the names of the founders, Sam Battistone and Newell Bohnett. There's only one Sambo's restaurant left (in Santa Barbara), but the name is slated to change this year, unsurprisingly. I used to go to one in Encino, California, and remember discovering how much I liked to dip Frech fries into A-1 Steak Sauce.

Back to the 1933 Chicago Fair, we have this small (.75") plastic (possibly Bakelite) pin. I've never seen another one like it.

And finally, here is my great grandfather's employee badge from Stephens-Adamson (his name was David Piersen). Unfortunately I don't have a lot of information about how long he worked at SA, or when he retired. Of course my grandmother would have been the best person to ask about him, but she's been gone for decades too. Still, I'm glad to have this artifact from his career.

Well, that's the last from that cigar box! But don't you worry, I've photographed more stuff from a second cigar box - over 100 items. And when that's done, I have about ten zillion more tchotchkes to photograph and share! I hope you're not busy.