Sunday, January 31, 2021

Flawed But Nice

I'm using up a pair of slides that suffer from various issues; but they're still worth a look! This first one is the last of a batch from the 1950s; some of you may remember the mother in her red and white print dress. She and some other folks are looking in the windows of Merlin's Magic Shop, but the shadows went so dark that we can't really tell what was so interesting. 

I like some details such as the carved wooden beams, of the greenish stucco, with areas of brown tint to make the building look authentically ancient. But the best detail is the little girl to the left, who is apparently starring in her own hip-hop video. She wants it to rain Benjamins!

This next one is from February, 1963, and it's a little blurry, unfortunately. But views taken from the back of one of the Pack Mules are uncommon, so I decided to share it anyway. Mom throws a jaunty salute to let us know that everything is A-OK. How fun would it be to go up that pathway, above the town of Rainbow Ridge (to our right), and through the trees? I'll bet the air smelled like pine on warm days - but this was February, and it must have been a little chilly, since the riders are wearing sweaters.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Vintage People

It's time for more Vintage People! Their collector value might not be much, because they aren't MIB ("mint in box"), but I like them anyway.

First up is this photo dated "February 1963" - so it might actually be from Christmas morning, 1962. We've got two young buckaroos (twins?) in identical, magnificent cowboy outfits that would make Roy Rogers proud. They each have wonderful toy firetrucks with the Texaco logo on the side. The days when toys like that were made of steel and could really take a beating! Behind them is an older boy who is looking for ships at sea - or something. I love the house with its yellow stucco and wide mid-century chimney.

From April, 1959 comes this photo (location unknown) of two men and a young boy (and their black dog) on a beautiful, snowy day. I shoveled snow off of our driveway and sidewalk many times when I was a kid, and it was hard work! Especially if there was a slick layer of ice under the snow, perfect for causing unexpected falls. All three fellows look happily resigned to their task, but the boy must be thinking about snowball fights and sledding.

And finally, we have this undated photo of three kids playing Monopoly. I was going to say "enjoying Monopoly", but then remembered that Monopoly is not an enjoyable game. There's a red toy piano for musical interludes ("...Like the fella once said, ain't that a kick in the head!"), and little sis holds a gun in case things get ugly. The furniture looks like it is covered in something that resembles the artificial turf that you might find at a miniature golf course, I'll bet it was scratchy and uncomfortable and that's why nobody is sitting on them! 

And finally, Sue B (of "Lou and Sue" fame) sent me a photo that her friend found of her grandson (now an adult) as he enjoyed bath time with his extensive collection of dinosaur toys. I think I count 24 of them. I see at least one Tyrannosaur, and a few Apatosaurs/Brontosaurus, one Stegosaurus, a Hadrosaur, a Triceratops, and probably one or two Velociraptors. I can't quite tell what the others are.

I hope you have enjoyed today's Vintage People!

Friday, January 29, 2021

Two Nice Randos!

It's "rando" time, two random (but nice) photo scans for your Friday enjoyment.

First up is this slide, date-stamped "April 1959"; our photographer is looking through the chain-link fence that surrounded the old Flight Circle in Tomorrowland. Standing on that large compass rose must have felt like being in the center of the universe! A lucky boy has been picked from the crowd to try out a Cox "Prop-Rod". I wish our friend Cox Pilot was still with us to provide some info - looking at Daveland's always-wonderful site, I would guess that the CM helping the boy might be Bart Klapinski.

There is nothing else of interest in this photo. NOTHING!

Next is this very nice shot from April 1960, taken as our Skyway gondola zips away from the Tomorrowland terminal and toward the Matterhorn and Fantasyland behind us. The line isn't too bad, I'll bet those folks will be on board in five to ten minutes, tops. 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

More Stuff From The Box

I hope you are ready for another selection of "Stuff From The Box"! Box #2, that is, I finished box #1 weeks ago.

First up is this bakelite pencil sharpener; there are many different varieties of these sharpeners, produced in the 1930s and '40s, including examples with classic Mickey, long-billed Donald, Jose Carioca, Bambi, Snow White, Timothy Mouse, and so on. I like this particular sharpener, featuring... "Baby Hep"??

Baby Hep was a fairly minor character from the 1946 package film, "Make Mine Music", in the "All The Cats Join In" segment, with music by Benny Goodman and his orchestra. There she is, following big sis around, hoping to go to the hep dance (she never makes it out the door). Considering that she is onscreen for no more than two minutes, it's surprising that she was featured on merchandise.

Next is this handy-dandy bottle opener, which belonged to my grandparents. I'm not aware of them ever drinking Dr. Pepper, but this would be a convenient item to have in your pocket at a picnic or tailgate party. I would guess that it's from the 1940s, though it might be from the '50s.

I love old Felix the Cat items, not that I have many of them. This toy, made of turned wood (with leather ears) is really nice; it's in great shape, and is likely from the 1920s. He's about 4 inches tall.

Here's a fun little souvenir brass sheriff's badge from Knott's Berry Farm. The Ghost Town was peaceful - mostly. Once in a while a rascally varmint would come through, trying to rob the bank, shoot up the saloon, and generally cause mayhem.

I bought this tiny pin (smaller than a dime) at a collector's show years ago - I just liked it because it was real enamel and had an airplane on it. What in the world was "NRLCA"? Why it's the National Rural Letter Carriers' Association. Ladies Auxiliary! Wikipedia says it is an American labor union that represents the Rural letter carriers of the United States Postal Service. The purpose of this Association shall be to "improve the methods used by rural letter carriers, to benefit their conditions of labor with the United States Postal Service (USPS), and to promote a fraternal spirit among its members."

This little brass pin dates back to April of 1919, about six months after the end of WWI. It was the fifth "Liberty Bond" issue, and raised $4.7 billion dollars in gold notes, earning 4.75% interest; they matured after four years.

I hope you have enjoyed today's Stuff From the Box!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Autopia, 1950s

I always get a kick out of early Autopia photos. Why? I haven't really thought about it too much, but I do love those old Mark I, II, and III cars (Who can tell them apart? They look the same), and the large expanses of landscaped (aka "weedy") fields and hills in Old Tomorrowland. 

A nice lady (you can tell she's nice!) is coming in for a landing, and she is being directed by a helpful cast member who has only been run over six times this year, so things are going great. I assume that the street lights were custom-made for Disneyland, they have a simple modern design that fits in with the Land of the Future. A bit of Tomorrowland Lake can be seen to our left, my guess is that the Phantom Boats that used to ply those waters were gone by the time this photo was taken.

A second photo was taken by somebody waiting in line. Just look at the traffic! It's like rush hour on the 405 freeway. The Richfield sign with the space station is always a welcome sight; as is the world's strangest tree, to the right.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Storybook Land, October 5 1984

We're continuing our look at photos taken by Lou Perry, of "Lou and Sue" fame! This is from his 1984 trip to the park, where he used many rolls of film to document every aspect of  the park (over the period of at least two days). Today's examples feature the Storybook Land area.

I'm guessing that Lou was using a telephoto lens from a Skyway bucket to get this shot of a Casey Jr. train as it loaded up with a fresh supply of guests. Funky fresh! The people crammed into those tiny cars now know what it feels like to be animal crackers in the box.

The patchwork blanket landscape of Storybook Land is made up of tiny fruit orchards (with BB-sized oranges!), baby-broccoli, micro-mushrooms, and compact cabbage. This is where baby corn comes from, but it's not alliterative. 

How do we know we're not in Tabloid Town? Because of that big floral sign, silly! 

At the bottom of the sign, two giant red sharks swim in opposite directions because they're mad at each other. Red sharks are even scarier than white sharks. I like being able to peek over the snowy Alps into the attraction - I think that's the Practical Pig's home of bricks on the hilltop?  

I've always loved the little train depot and ticket booth at the beginning of the Casey Jr. ride; in 1954, Disney produced a cartoon called "Pigs Is Pigs", and the style is very similar.

See? Eyvind Earle was involved, and it has his hard-edged, graphic look to it.

Would you rather take a train to see Storybook Land? Or a boat? Well you can do both! Unlike in Russia, am I right? Those folks are pointing with one finger, but I'll try to forgive them.

And finally, no trip to Storybook Land would be complete without a look at Monstro's teeth. 

THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!


At TokyoMagic's suggestion, I tried to merge photo 1 and photo 5. It worked! But there was nothing to be done about the black rectangles in the corners. If I had more time I might get better results, but I'm going to be out for most of the day.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Two From Frontierland, May 1975

Here's a somewhat blown-out photo taken along the Rivers of America, with the Tom Sawyer Island's old grist mill, gristing gristily. The Mark Twain goes chugga-chugga around the bend. Meanwhile, two young folks are not having fun. Not at all. The boy looks like he's open to changing his mind, but that girl wishes she was with her friends in Huntington Beach, listening to Elton's John's "Philadelphia Freedom" while working on her tan. Why must she suffer so?

Hey, you can't be sad while aboard the Nature's Wonderland RR, can you? And yet, I'll bet if we could see the girl's face, it would look just like it does in photo #1. Geysers are one of nature's wonders, formed by the snores of thousands of prairie dogs, but she doesn't care. She's going to miss "The Bionic Woman" and "Laverne and Shirley", and when all the kids at school talk about those shows, she'll feel left out.

 I just thought I'd mention that Don Ballard, knower of all things Disneyland Hotel related, has put up his first new post on his BLOG in four years! Hopefully it is the first of many.

EXTRA! EXTRA! GDB friend David Whitford used his Photoshop skills to add grins to the two glum youths. I love the results, sort of creepy and hilarious together. Thanks, David!

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Sleeping Beauty Castle, July 1969

Ordinarily, photos posted here on Sundays can exhibit various problems, including over-or-under exposure, blurriness, or excessive nudity. But today's examples are perfectly nice! Clear, well-composed, pretty good color... what's not to like? It's just that they show Sleeping Beauty Castle, and after hundreds and hundreds of other photos, it is hard to get very enthused about these.

Yep, there it is, in all its subtle-colored glory, and it looks great! Soft, muted pinks, a variety of stone grays, slate blues, and a few tasteful gold highlights. You can see that the Disney family crest is above the archway. A red Mickey balloon is caught in the tree, I hope some kid didn't burst into tears. Or a grown man, either. A mom and her kids pose for a classic family photo, as so many thousands of people have done before them.

Might as well turn the camera and take a "landscape mode" image as well. Ivy might swallow the whole castle someday, making it look like a giant topiary. A girl to the right has an ostrich-feathered hat, so even at her age she exhibits class and dignity.

Zooming in, it's always fun to see the occasional bright spots of color on the 1969 clothing. A kid sits on his dad's shoulders while wearing his Donald Duck cap with a squeaky bill - I have one just like it from my own childhood. It still squeaks! Two girls wear similar pink dresses, though they are not twins.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Duluth, MN and Dearborn, MI - 1950s

I've had these scans featuring photos from Duluth, Minnesota for a long time, and was never quite sure what to do with them. But those days are over! 

The first three photos are undated, but are certainly from the 1950s, and they feature views of the Aerial Lift Bridge, which spans the Duluth Ship Canal. Spanning a gap in a sand spit, the original bridge was converted to a vertical lift bridge in 1929-30. You can see that the roadway span is in the "down" position here.

The next two photos are from a different batch, and you can see that the span is now raised (up to a height of 135 feet) to allow the passage of a barge (or freighter?) heading out into Lake Superior. I love all those brick buildings! The bridge is raised some 5,000 times a year (or 13 to 14 times a day).

Now the barge is safely out into the giant lake, and the roadway has returned to allow cars and trucks passage along South Lake Avenue. Aerial lift bridges are very unusual, but there are six similar structures along the Ontario Welland Canal, and the example in today's photos is still going strong!

This next photo is related, but not actually from Duluth or Detroit - it pictures an ore dock along the Wisconsin shore at Lake Superior. Wikipedia says: Most known ore docks were constructed near iron mines on the upper Great Lakes and served the lower Great Lakes. Ore docks still in existence are typically about 60 feet wide, 80 feet high, and vary from 900 feet to 2,400 feet in length. They are commonly constructed from wood, steel, reinforced concrete, or combinations of these materials.

Many docks have been torn down or abandoned, but a few remain in operation. The Lake Superior & Ishpeming dock, one of the docks at Marquette, Michigan, recently loaded its 400 millionth ton of ore after 90 years of service.

The last three of today's photos are from the wonderful Ford Rotunda. What is this fascinating structure? Back to Wikipedia! The Ford Rotunda was a tourist attraction originally located on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois, and later was relocated to Dearborn, Michigan. At one point, it was the fifth most popular tourist destination in the United States in the mid-twentieth century. This futuristic structure received more visits in the 1950s than did the Statue of Liberty. The Rotunda was built for the 1933 World’s Fair—“A Century of Progress International Exposition”—in Chicago. After the World’s Fair, the Rotunda was dismantled and rebuilt in Dearborn, serving as the visitor center for what was then the equivalent of Ford Motor Company’s world headquarters. 

Ford built another rotunda for the 1964-65 New York World's Fair, with obvious echoes of its predecessor.


"Honey, I'll drop you and the kids at the entrance, and then I'll go park the car". Its ultra-modern design, elaborate shows, and spectacular Christmas displays contributed to the Rotunda’s extreme popularity amongst tourists during its existence. The Rotunda was destroyed on Friday, November 9, 1962, due to a fire.

A rare interior shot (sorry it's a little blurry) from the Rotunda shows this crazy-but-cool car on display. What the heck is it?

Why, it's the 1954 "Ford FX-Atmos"! The Ford FX-Atmos was a concept car built by the Ford Motor Company for the 1954 Chicago Auto Show. According to one source, it was considered as a candidate for a nuclear power plant.

It was styled after jet aircraft, with headlight/ front fender pods mounting radio antennas and bearing a strong resemblance to ramjet air intakes; it also had rocket exhaust styled taillights, and prominent tail fins. The cabin set the driver on the centerline and provided two rear seats, all under a clear dome. The driver's controls and instruments were also futuristic, with dual handgrips instead of a steering wheel and a screen on the dash-intended to display radar sourced highway information.

I'd love to know if the Atmos still survives in a museum, somewhere.

Whew! I'll tell ya, it feels good to finally use these scans. I hope you enjoyed them!

Friday, January 22, 2021

Two Beauties from 1959

Here's a swell shot of the Mighty Matterhorn, as seen in 1959, the very year that the mountain hatched from its egg (which was pink with blue spots). 

The security officer has a gun with a single bullet, but don't worry... it's one of the early Nerf bullets, developed by Laszlo Zandor Nerf himself. He's just itchin' to Nerf somebody! The Art Corner is to our left, as is the Flight Circle, while the Astro Jets are to our right. There's also the roof of the Yacht Bar, set at a jaunty angle.

Zooming in, we can see the base of a crane, and wooden scaffolding, and the low construction wall (wide open, in case you wanted to go inside), which seems to be a sign that the Matterhorn was not quite finished yet. Soon though! The final step - thousands of pine tree-shaped air fresheners will be installed (out of sight) for that genuine Alpine experience.

Meanwhile, over in Fantasyland, nefarious deeds are afoot! None of them show up in this photo, but you know it's true. Even Dumbo looks guilty about something. Let's ride the Carrousel, and then (just to be safe) buy an extra ticket book at the little booth, and then we can take a little break to watch some classic animated shorts in the Mickey Mouse Club Theater. Then you can choose what to do next!

Thursday, January 21, 2021

More Frontierland Shops, 1978

It's time for more Frontierland shop interiors, courtesy of the Mysterious Benefactor himself. Some of these are a continuation from before.

Leather goods seem to be the focus of this area, and the customer (one of Captain Nemo's crew, judging by his shirt) is watching the genuine frontier cash register (made from genuine pine) with laser-like intensity. He doesn't want to be overcharged, and who can blame him? I'd like one of those fedoras hanging on the wall, but you know they are pricey.

Darlene knows everything about hand-hammered copper goods. I need one of those pitchers to water my collection of carnivorous plants. Did Darlene get special treatment because she had a Mouseketeer name?

Minerals! Fossils! Crystals! Semi-precious gemstones! The nice lady behind the counter is holding a geode, with lovely banded stripes of agate. I told her she should say it's a fossilized dinosaur egg, but she would never resort to such trickery. 

You can tell from her smile that the customer has decided to buy it. Her good heart and honesty have won the day. THIS TIME! It looks like there are framed samples of yellow sulphur specimens and blue turquoise, and there are crystal-filled geodes on the shelf, and translucent slices of agate dangling overhead.

Don't you worry, there's lots more from the Mysterious Benefactor!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Tomorrowland, May 1984m

It's time for another selection of photos from Lou Perry, from the dynamic duo of Lou and Sue! This time all the images are from Tomorrowland - May 1984. over 36 years ago, believe it or not. These had turned slightly reddish, and my efforts at restoring the color were not entirely successful - if I had to give my work a grade, it would be a B-. But... it was the best I could do!

First up is this view looking beneath the PeopleMover track out toward the Plaza. Rolly Crump's swirling yellow and purple flower beds were still dazzling nearly 20 years after they debuted. Notice the entrance to Frontierland across the way, with its own colorful flowers.

Here's one of the Mary Blair tile murals (the south mural) that graced the main corridor in Tomorrowland many years. I'm sure some guests would have been surprised to learn that this particular mural would be unceremoniously damaged, and then covered up just two years after these pictures were taken. The north mural managed to hang on until 1997.

Next we have a nice view of the old Rocket Jets platform - is there such a thing as a bad view of this feature? We've also got the PeopleMover trains moving along the track. At first I thought the ride might be down for maintenance (or whatever)...

...but this second photo shows that they were indeed moving. Lou obviously wanted to capture the Rocket Jets in their "flight" position. I tried adding some cyan to the sky with the "color adjust" tool, and I admit that it didn't work so well.

No photographer worth his (or her) salt can resist the rather incredible view of a genuine submarine gliding quietly through the blue lagoon (or it would be blue if I knew what I was doing). 

Lou took another shot of the Sub Lagoon, and I tried emphasizing the blues, but as usual the results were only partially successful. 

And hey, why not take a third photo, for good luck? 

The next two might technically be from Fantasyland, but who's keeping score anyway? Besides Chuck, I mean? By now the Matterhorn bobsleds were twinsies, with very '80s colors of orange and raspberry. Did the doubling up result in a slower coaster experience? Or maybe even a faster one?

Aye caramba, I am embarrassed by my inconsistent color restoration. Sometimes ya got it, sometimes ya don't. Another set of tandem bobsleds go streaking past, it won't be long before the final splashdown through an Alpine stream.

MANY THANKS to Lou and Sue!