Wednesday, March 31, 2021

"The Happiest Show On Earth", circa 1961

It's souvenir time! Only one item today, but there's a lot to look at. You wouldn't think so at first, if somebody handed you this little (2 inches by 4 inches) folded flyer. The Happiest Show On Earth (Just For Fun). It resembles a ticket with a tear-off stub. BUT IT'S NOT!

Surprisingly, the thing unfolds 8 times, leaving you with an item that is 16 inches long. A little unwieldy, to be honest! It would be nice if it had some spot color on it, but I guess money was tight. Or something. There is no date on this flyer, but Señor Internet says that it is from 1961, and that seems about right. It's post-Matterhorn, but pre-New Tomorrowland, at any rate.

Let's take a closer look at the top half of side A. Or is it side B? "$1,000,000 worth..." of professional entertainers are showcased daily! That seems like an exaggeration, but "go big or go home", I say. Where else will you see Keystone Kops ("golden saxophones in close harmony"), or an Organ Recital ("popular-old favorites-classical"), or the Shoe Shine Boys, or a pianoman extraordinaire? It's nice to see Christopher Fair, the Court Jester, mentioned. And the Swiss Yodeler!

Continuing down side A or B or whatever it is, you can enjoy all of your favorite Disney characters. I would have liked to meet Captain Hook's crocodile nemesis. Watch the Sheriff and Villain shoot it out in front of the Golden Horseshoe! "Los Monte Carlos" at El Zocalo? Never heard of them! Where's my Gonzalez Trio? See beautiful can-can dancers at the Golden Horseshoe, the Delfin Thursday Trio at the Pavilion Lanai in Adventureland, and the Space Couple in Tomorrowland.

The artist obviously used this publicity photo as reference for his line drawing. But he can't fool me!

On side B (whatever), we are reminded to watch the Big Nighttime Show. "Fantasy In the Sky"! Plus nighttime dancing around the park, including The Elliott Brothers on Main Street, The Young Men From New Orleans in Frontierland (this was before New Orleans Square of course), and even square dancing in the Golden Horseshoe!

Disneyland is the perfect place to take your date. I want to go see The Astronauts at the Space Bar! Who do YOU want to see?

I hope you have enjoyed this vintage Disneyland flyer.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Inside the River Belle Terrace, July 1978

Here are more vintage slide scans from the Mysterious Benefactor! Like so many of the slides, these are dated "1978" (July, that is); and all of today's examples are behind the scenes views from the River Belle Terrace. 

I love the first four pictures because they show a cast member making... Mickey pancakes! The stuff of legend. Some say that eating one of those pancakes adds a week to your lifespan, and I believe it. The maraschino cherry nose, blueberry eyes, and pineapple mouth are being arranged with the kind of concentration and intensity usually used during open heart surgery.

Aha! Powdered sugar on the ears! It all makes sense now. Is it considered bad form to have pancakes and a nice Danish?

Time for some last-minute fine tuning. So much care for something that will probably be eaten in two minutes! The guy looking over the glass is delighted. 

And there it is, the finished product. Notice the cellophane-wrapped toothpicks used for whiskers, even Mickey only had a "Fu Manchu" mustache during the early '70s. I'd like a little more of that whipped cream on the pancakes, but that's just me.

You can't have pancakes without pancake batter, and this fellow is stirring up a large batch for the crowds that appear every day. What a great workout for his forearms. And as I always say, forearmed is forewarned. A single golden drop of Retsyn™ is added to each bucket of batter, for reasons only known to a few.

This fellow likes to sing Italian opera while stirring. Pavarotti liked to sing while eating pancakes.

MANY THANKS to the Mysterious Benefactor!

Monday, March 29, 2021

More From Disneyland Paris

Last November, I thought I'd shared the last of a group of photos of Disneyland Paris, graciously shared with us by GDB pal Huck Caton. He was in Europe in 2016, working on the film "Dunkirk", in case you forgot. All of these are related to "Alice's Curious Labyrinth".

Huck says, There’s a food stand right outside the entrance called, wait for it, March Hare (!) so I started with that as it’s kind of all part of the Alice thing. I wonder what unique French things are served here? Can an adult get a glass of wine? How about a nice croque monsieur? 

Huck continues, I thought the pastel tables and chairs were sort of fun...

This would be a good place to have Easter brunch. well as the (rotting) little door for the “Queen’s Guard.”

Gosh, that door IS looking pretty sorry. Why didn't they make it out of fiberglass? Or solid platinum? Or coat it with marine varnish? Such a shame.

Then you get, lucky you!, two different angles on the entrance and a little bonus signage. 

Ah, stroller parking. The universal conundrum. Any idea what that structure is to the left??

I hear that some people never come out of the labyrinth, and might still be lost inside, to this very day!

This frame grab from "Alice In Wonderland" is very striking! They recreated the heart-shaped entrance for the Paris attraction (see above).

The big Cheshire Cat deal can be seen from outside the maze so I gave you one of those. I also took a couple from inside the maze. His eyes rotate so don’t let him hypnotize you! 

I am all for MORE Cheshire Cat in any Disney park, so this gets a thumbs up from me. 

This appears to be just to the right of the heart-shaped entrance, and the very nervous White Rabbit is checking his pocket watch. He's always late! I wonder if this figure used the same basic sculpt that is seen inside the Anaheim "Alice" attraction? That castle at the top of the frame is interesting, clearly guests could climb up and look over the ramparts for a nice elevated view of the surroundings.

And finally... keep an eye on your out-of-control kids, why don'tcha! I am interpreting the numbers at the bottom of the sign as meaning that the attraction was open from 10:00 A.M. to 9:30 P.M. It seems like it would be fun to do this maze at night!

As always, MANY THANKS to Huck Caton for sharing these photos with us!

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Under the Sea

It's Snoozer Sunday! Way better than Super Bowl Sunday, although they do have all those neat commercials.

As the title of today's post says, we're spending a few minutes under the sea today. The beautiful Submarine Voyage's lagoon provided a glimpse into the shallower parts of the ocean where the sun still shines, though the water filters out everything but the blue spectrum. Luckily I like blue.

There's always fighting going on in nature, and these two dumb crabs have forgotten what they are even angry about. It might have to do with peanut butter (creamy vs. chunky). Or else there's a dame involved!

Some people say that this next photo is the best one to ever appear on GDB. Others say that I should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Still others want to send me money and gems and rare comic books. Who am I to argue?

EXTRA! EXTRA!! GDB friend TokyoMagic! kindly shared two of his own personal photos of the crab scene from two versions of the Submarine attraction. 

This first one is from April of 1997, "...about a year and a half before the Subs closed", TM reminds us. Nice color!  It does appear that the crabs had been replaced or repositioned at any rate.

This next one is from October of 2013, when the Nemo attraction had been open for six year. Now the crabs are enjoying the "manna from heaven" that was supposed to be issuing from that vent. Whatever it is, I don't want to know! But hey, as long as they are happy.

MANY THANKS to TokyoMagic! for sharing his photos with us!

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Last Photos from MGM Studio, 1970

While going through a folder in my DropBox, I realized that I still had seven more scans from some vintage Viewmaster reels (not commercial reels, but personal reels), featuring photos of the MGM backlot as taken by Rol and Jo Summit, not long before the backlot was razed in 1970. For more context, please see my very first post of MGM backlot photos HERE. Believe it or not, it's been almost exactly two years since my last MGM post.

This first view appears to be a western village surrounded by a protective wall. Maybe it's supposed to be in Mexico? You've got the little chapel, and what might be the town jail to the left of it. I don't have my copy of "MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot" handy, which is a shame because I'd like to learn more about this area. If one of you has a copy of that book, or can add anything, please chime in!

I can only imagine that these dusty streets appeared in scores of movies, and probably hundreds of television episodes. The hills of Culver City are in the background.

Here's another angle on the buildings visible in photo #1, including that chapel. Good folks could take refuge from marauding bandits inside. 

The sun is literally and symbolically setting on this old-time street; there's something a little spooky about a deserted backlot. Better get the Scooby gang in here! The architecture looks to be a little more modern (but not much) than a typical "Western street", but there's still dirt roads, and no motorcars.

This log cabin looks very much like the one I was born in. As you know, I went on to practice law in Illinois, and then... well, I think you know the rest. 

This impressive building is visible in photo #4; there is a sign on it that says "County Court House", but I'm sure it stood in for various city halls and other important municipal buildings. Notice the various buggies and coaches parked on the street, waiting for somebody to bid on them and take them home.

Some of you are aware that "The Twilight Zone" used the MGM backlot; here's the area seen in the previous photo, from the famous 1960 episode, "A Stop at Willoughby" (season one, episode 30). We mention that one regularly here on GDB!

And finally, one last look down an old street, Spanish moss hanging from the branches overhead. It all looks so genuine! I guess that's why MGMs backlot was so highly regarded. And to think that it would all be gone not long after these pictures were taken; so much history.

Many thanks to Rol and Jo Summit for allowing me to share these amazing photos!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Beautiful Tomorrowland, 1956

Oh yeah, it's time for some vintage Tomorrowland! My favorite.

You have to love old Kodachrome slides... just look at that vivid color! The photo looks like it could have been taken yesterday. There's all of the usual, familiar sights - CirCARama, the Clock of the World, the Moonliner, a distant balloon vendor, and even the white wire fencing to keep people (and werewolves) off the grass.

This next photo is definitely postcard-worthy. To me, at any rate... maybe you guys are tired of the Moonliner. You're ready for bigger, more intense thrills! It still kills me to think that this beautiful rocket was crushed and turned into scrap in 1966. It would have looked great in my private miniature golf course (on my Montana estate). I let people play on the course, but they have to sign a contract promising to let me win.

That once guy is taking a close-up photo - to send back to RUSSIA! That's right, he's one-a them. "Nikita will give me glorious medal when I return to motherland!". Think again, Ivan... that lady "reading the sign" has been following you all day, and she has a blowgun with knockout juice hidden in her purse. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Two Beauties From December 1958

I think that both of today's scans are quite nice! Hopefully you will too.

This first one, taken from the Skyway (of course), has the camera pointed back toward Tomorrowland, with all of the usual familiar sights that you know as well as I do. The backstage area to the right gives us a pretty good look at the Administration Building, where the costuming and payroll departments were. And I know I point it out every time, but... look at all that farmland beyond the borders of the park! Amazing.

The Matterhorn was in the earliest phase of construction, which probably means that the photos were taken months before December. Still, it's interesting to see an area of dirt, bulldozed fairly level. There's a Skyway tower visible in the lower left - I think this is where there used to be a tower on top of Snow Hill... was this one new? 

Next is this nice image of the Fred Gurley a-waitin' at Tomorrowland Station. This one almost looks like it is just another view of the second photo from my tencennial. You know a person (me) is a real weirdo when the berm is almost as interesting as the beautiful little locomotive. Is that the moon, low on the horizon? It looks so small. Maybe it's just lens flare?

The lady on the bench is saying to her friend, "And then I punched him right in the nose!". 

The fellas who fly the train are looking back to make sure everyone is seated safely and that nobody has placed a penny on the track. Sure, you might end up with a squashed penny, but you might derail the train too. Then who will be laughing??

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

On Main Street, November 1970

Here are the first two scans from a batch of 1970 slides. They are nice, but there's something about the color... as if we are looking at them through smoked glass. I tried to mitigate the issue in Photoshop, but they still look kind of weird.

A group of adults went to Disneyland unencumbered by kids. Not a bad way to go! They must have been mighty pleased with Town Square, and paused to pose for this triple portrait. I still think of the yellow and green building in the background as the Wurlitzer store, even though they returned to their musical planet in 1968.

Further up the street, one of the men from our group steps off the curb, risking life and limb from an assortment of passing vehicles. The Coke Corner is to our left, maybe he'd just enjoyed a refreshing beverage. Several guests carry their large striped shopping bags. A bag that size can carry a lot of fun stuff.

Years ago I acquired one of those bags on eBay!

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

In Adventureland, 1960s

Say, who wants to go to Adventureland? I hope you all raised your hands. These are undated, but I think it's safe to say that they are probably from around 1966 or 1967. What do you think?

The first scan is of this happy couple, waiting to board their trusty naphtha-fueled jungle launch. I'm not sure if they'll make it on the Magdalena Maiden, but the wait shouldn't be too much longer. They've had their shots, and the lady has some quinine tablets in case of malaria, so they're as ready as they'll ever be. 

Next, we're in the pre-show area for The Enchanted Tiki Room. The lady from photo #1 found a seat, but who knows where her husband is... probably looking for a Dole Whip, even though they don't exist yet. The trash cans in this area are particularly striking, I wonder if any of them ever wound up on the collector's market?

Monday, March 22, 2021

The Royal Street Bachelors, August 1966

Here are two underexposed photos, both taken in the "Court of Angels" in New Orleans Square - a spot that is now off-limits to most guests. It was a peaceful oasis in the middle of the park (sometimes you just need a moment of tranquility!), but the fact that it was generally uncrowded meant that it had no value to the powers that be.

Hey, there's the Royal Street Bachelors! They really should settle down, but they live for their music (just like I live to dance). I could tell you about the Bachelors, or you could just click on this link to Daveland's website, he already did all the heavy lifting. 

I can't tell for sure, but the lanterns on the wall appear to have genuine gas flames, and not the gluten-free flames that were used later.

As the Bachelors continue to serenade us, let's take a look at one of those odd figures that were at the base of the steps in the early days. Is it made from odds and ends? It reminds me of artsy-craftsy things that I used to see in certain stores when I was a kid. Maybe examples just like it could be found in the real New Orleans. And dark, moonless nights, you might be walking back to your hotel, only to glance behind you and see one of these things. It almost seems to be watching you! Wasn't it at the corner two blocks back? I swear I can hear it laughing!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Sunday Snoozers

Here's a pair of real sleep-inducers. It wasn't even worth putting in your eyeballs this morning! (You DO have bionic eyes, don't you?).

Well, it's July, 1966, and here's a not-great photo of the front of "It's a Small World", sort of. The photographer chose an interesting composition, by which I mean "bad". It's as if he really wanted to capture the beauty and majesty of the base of that massive light post, but couldn't figure out how to do it without getting that too-busy façade in the picture. Sometimes it's better to just give up, am I right?

I have to be honest, I'm not really sure where our photographer was standing when he took this blurry photo of Tomorrowland. This was before the Peoplemover and Rocket Jets platform; any ideas? The curved ramp makes me think of the one outside the Carousel of Progress, but that's way over there. It this one had been taken on a sunny day, and was in focus, I might love it a little more.