Friday, April 30, 2021

Two Nice Ones From the 1950s

Say! It's Friday. Hopefully you will agree that today's photos are nicer than the usual nonsense that you see on GDB.

Let's start with this strangely deserted view of the park's exit gates (no turnstiles, surprisingly). The clock seems to indicate that it is 2:20, but boy-oh-boy, was this an off day or what? The only people we see are a few shadowy souls to the left. Judging from that gray sky, this must have been during the winter, and there were definitely slow days in the 1950s that had an attendance of under 4,000. Since there are no posters in front of the Mickey flower portrait, we can date this photo to before June of 1956 (thanks to Lou and Sue).

You can see the blacklight used to read hand stamps, right next to that empty stool. Even the little information/souvenir booth appears to be completely empty - no guidebooks or Keppy Kaps to be had there.

From a different lot (but also from the '50s) comes this beautiful (POSTCARD WORTHY) photo of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, jolly red and white sails unfurled against a picturesque blue sky. What a contrast to the gloomy atmosphere of the first image. 

It's fun to take a closer look at the guests, including a Cub Scout troop (moderately squirmy). There are four girls (one with bright red pants), it looks like big sis is in charge of the other three. Meanwhile a patient father carries his weary baby on his shoulder. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021

More Stuff From The Box!

Huzzah for Stuff From the Box!

First up is this neat dexterity puzzle from the 1920s featuring Felix the Cat. Felix was introduce in 1919, and became enormously popular. Merchandise of all kinds would have his likeness! By the time sound films came along in the later '20s, Felix's fame faded. Most dexterity puzzles have three or four tiny BBs that you could maneuver into recessed spots, perhaps to complete a funny face. This unusual example has an aluminum mouse that players would try to shoo into the metal box (or mouse trap?) at the bottom. It's pretty easy.

Next is this 1942 Captain Midnight secret compartment ring, given out as a premium for Ovaltine - and also reissued in 1945 by Kix Cereal as the "Kix Secret Compartment Pilot's Ring". It's chunky design was bold enough so that boys unaccustomed to wearing rings would be proud to punch Adolph H. in the nose with it.

The secret compartment isn't very big - but one might have been able to carry a square of microfilm with the instructions to build a new death ray.

In 1940, the Superman Bubblegum Club (from the dark and secretive company, "Gum, Inc." - not a joke!) offered this beautiful brass badge with the Man of Steel himself as he proudly proclaimed himself an American (we all know he was an immigrant from the planet Krypton). The badge was also offered in 1941 as part of the Defense Club milk program. Superman had only been introduced two years earlier, so it's neat to have an early artifact like this.

I love this tin litho badge featuring Chico, the young Indian boy who was the mascot for the Santa Fe Railroad in the 1950s. The lower part is about the size of a silver dollar (for those of you who remember old silver dollars).

Chico appeared at Disneyland in person when Walt Disney and Fred Gurley introduced the new Grand Canyon Diorama in 1958.

I suppose it was inevitable there would be at least one World's Fair item, and this time it's a chunky little (about .75 inches high) brass pin featuring the Trylon and Perisphere, linked by a fine chain to the number "40" - 1940 being the second year of the New York World's Fair. My mom calls these double pins "sweater pins",  and that's good enough for me.

And finally, here are two tiny celluloid charms, probably made in Japan, with an energetic (and pink!) Pluto the Pup, and Elmer Elephant (from the 1936 Silly Symphony). Timid Elmer was popular enough to have his likeness appear on a number of merchandise items,  though he is mostly forgotten today.

You just know there will be more Stuff From the Box!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Special Guest Pitchur Gallery!

It has become clear that the Junior Gorillas are especially fond of personal photos from fellow readers! David W. has already shared some fun photos with us (see HERE and HERE), and today I am happy to share some Knott's Berry Farm "Pitchur Gallery" photos, featuring members of David's family.

Let's start with this great photo of David's parents - no date, but it is post "Knott's Berry Place" so it's from after 1946 or '47. David's folks look so young and happy. His Dad has "movie star hair", and his Mom looks like a live wire with her mischievous smile! 

Next is this pitchur of David's paternal grandparents, who were visiting from Colorado. I'll bet they had a great time at Knott's, imagine seeing it in those earlier days when Buena Park was still pretty rural, and Knott's was surrounded by farmland and trees. 

As we can see from the back of the previous picture, the park was still known as "Knott's Berry Place", which dates it to before 1947 (or maybe pre-1946, I find conflicting info online). This was years before Knott's even had the trains that went through Calico Square.

This last photo shows David's Mom's maternal Grandparents. So neat (I'd love to have a picture of my Great-grandparents at Knott's). They visited the park in 1949, coming from New Mexico. But I don't think they took a covered wagon!

Thanks SO much to David W. for sharing these wonderful family photos! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Mermaid Color Guide, 1969

Today I am proud to present some very rare vintage Disneyland artwork from the collection of GDB friend Mike Cozart! I keep imagining some giant warehouse (like the one at the end of "Indiana Jones") where Mike keeps all of his amazing goodies.

After Chicken of the Sea ended their sponsorship of the Pirate Ship in Fantasyland, they needed to alter some of the decorations, including the elaborate bas relief on the stern of the ship. It has a simplified "Mary Blair" vibe; one might think that more detailed paint was necessary, but I'm guessing that the sculptural details (hair, scales, etc) helped provide shadows that added lots of depth and complexity.

Very neat that the artwork was approved and signed by none other than John Hench!

I've been unable to find a truly nice shot of the mermaid after her redo - the vast majority of my images are pre-1969, and the relative few from after that date don't show the back. I do have this one picture from 1972, which I zoomed in on. At least it's something!

Here's a gorgeous photo, borrowed from Kevin Kidney's blog (with permission), the best shot of the original paint job that I have ever seen. What a thing of beauty!

Mike included details of two stamps on the back of the artwork, which is interesting.

The color guide was painted by Ken Chapman, who also was responsible for the famous Haunted Mansion attraction poster (based on drawings by Marc Davis of course)!

THANKS SO MUCH to Mike Cozart for sharing this cool artwork!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Fantasyland, October 1981

I recently heard from GDB friend Peter (you know him as DrGoat); he is under the weather - you may have noticed that we haven't had any of his friendly comments lately. I told him that, with his permission, I wanted to encourage all of the Junior Gorillas to send him their best wishes. I'm so happy that the readers of this blog have formed a sort of family, and I know that hearing from you guys would do him some good.

For today's photos, I have some lovely 1981 shots of Fantasyland, courtesy of Sue B's father, Lou Perry. Sue provided these wonderful scans - and it was her great idea to use them today - she reminded me that 1981 was the year that Peter first visited Disneyland with his wife (though of course he'd been there many times before as a kid), I'm sure it was a romantic time. It seemed like a nice way to accompany today's post! It would be cool if Peter saw himself in one of these pictures, but I know that the odds are pretty slim.

Look at this lovely photo of Captain Hook's Galley (his galley was on a galleon). Chicken of the Sea flew the coop (see what I did there?) in 1969, taking my favorite mermaid with them. But at least we still had this fantastic pirate ship, and of course the Skull Rock lagoon right next to it was more beautiful than ever, with the lush plants maturing as the years passed.

Nearby is the classic Mad Tea Party. It's not really mad, it's disappointed! Just like all my teachers.  October must have been the time to go to Disneyland, look at that clear blue sky, and warm bright sunshine. Short sleeves for everybody! The color in all of these photos is very pretty too.

Who doesn't love a ride on King Arthur's Carrousel? Such a simple idea, but I try to ride it every time I go to the park, and it's always fun. You can see that all of the horses are white at this point. Hey, some of those people don't have short sleeves! I'm writing an angry letter to "Parade" magazine, or maybe "Reader's Digest". I always end my letters with the words "I am not a crank!", like Grandpa Simpson.

And finally, here's another gorgeous photo, looking across the moat toward the Wishing Well and Snow White's Grotto (note to self: buy a grotto). I can almost hear the ringing bells, and the sound of Adriana Caselotti's voice floating around us. Don't you wish you were there?

I hope that Peter is feeling OK, he's been such a good friend to the blog, sharing his personal photos with us over the years. And he's just a nice guy! Many thanks to Lou and Sue for today's excellent pictures!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunday Snoozers

I hope you will be able to keep your eyelids open long enough to "enjoy" today's snoozers. Scotch Tape will help. Both of today's photos are date-stamped "July 1964".

Well. There it is. The floral portrait of Mickey Mouse. I notice that nobody has made a floral portrait of ME. Is that too much to ask? But I'm not angry; just disappointed. I would expect to see the framed posters that lined the wrought iron fence, but I guess they are just out of frame here. 

Against all reason, I often find myself liking photos of the Jungle Cruise that have guests silhouetted against the lush Anaheim jungle. Don't ask me to explain it; might as well ask somebody why the sun goes up and down every day. NOBODY KNOWS! Normally a photographer might be compelled to take a picture of ear-wigglin' hippos, or bathing elephants, or dancing headhunters. Not this time! I do like that we can see some of the stairs from the Swiss Family Treehouse in the distance.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Danbury Fair, 1968

Years ago I came across a group of slides from 1968 labeled "Danbury Fair". I didn't know what that was, so I did a little research. Wikipedia sez: The Danbury Fair (also known as The Great Danbury State Fair) was a yearly exhibition in Danbury, Connecticut. It was begun in 1821 as an agricultural fair, but did not have a regular schedule until 1869 when hat manufacturers Rundle and White helped form the Danbury Farmers and Manufacturers Society. From then until its closing, the fair was open for ten days every October. 1821! Wow! 

In this first photo you can see what I believe is a Minuteman Missile, though I'll leave it to those more informed than me if I am wrong. Rockets were a pretty big deal in 1968, with the moon landing only about a year away. In the foreground is an earth mover on exhibit, quite a contrast to the rocket.

Ken Martinez helped me out with identifying those classic amusements (thanks, Ken!); to the left we can see a sign for the Skyliner. Mostly hidden behind the rocket is a Chance Zipper, while the double Ferris Wheel thingy is a Chance Sky Wheel. Behind that is a Hrubetz Paratrooper, which Ken tells us is "rim-driven". Maybe he can elaborate in the comments! 

Look! A flying metal bird! It's probably bringing Elvis in for a surprise visit. Folks probably didn't see a lot of helicopters in 1968, so it was worthy of a photo. Ken helpfully tells us that the ride that is barely in the photo (to the left) is an Eyerly Rock-O-Plane. Another Ferris Wheel variation is the Chance Skydiver (you can see how the cars rotate on a central axis); and hanging from overhead cables is the Skyliner (no passengers).

Ah, the Zipper. A physically demanding ride, if memory serves. For some reason I recall hanging on to a metal bar that seemed perfectly placed to remove teeth if one lost one's grip. We can imagine what this must have looked like at night, covered in neon and other lights.

Folks are milling around, not sure where to go. Maybe they're looking for the nearest bathroom. A fiberglass bull (sporting a blue ribbon) stands atop a pedestal for some reason. 

"Up on the pole stands an old red bull, he eats and eats - but he never gets full". This is supposedly an "old riddle". but I don't get it. Is this like one of Gollum's riddles? Is the answer "fish"?? If so, it's hilarious. I did a Google search for the first line of this couplet, and it came up empty. My abacus didn't help either.

The only thing more fun than a Ferris Wheel is TWO Ferris Wheels, and that's just what you got at the Danbury Fair. Twice the opportunity to get sick or drop your wallet and keys.

Wikipedia says, When the fair's owner John Leahy died in 1974, the organization fell into disarray. The last day of the fair was October 12, 1981, with an estimated 400,000 people having attended that year. All of the rides, attractions, and holdings were auctioned off. The Danbury Fair Mall was built on the fairgrounds by the Wilmorite Corporation. It's sad that this piece of classic Americana is no longer with us.

I have another six or seven photos of the Danbury Fair to share with you someday! Thanks once again to Ken Martinez for his help. I hope you have enjoyed your visit.


GDB friend Jonathan sent me this photo of a comic book adaptation of the TV show "Whirlybirds", which I honestly don't ever remember even hearing of before today. As I said to him, whenever I see Kenneth Tobey I think of "The Thing From Another World". "Whirlybirds" ran from 1957 to 1960 (a Desilu production!), and was a solid hit. I was amazed to see that Kenneth Tobey's final film role was in 2005 - 45 years after "Whirlybirds"! What a career. Thanks, Jonathan!

Friday, April 23, 2021

Two From July 1969

Here are a couple of very nice photos from 1969. July that is. Maybe Apollo 11 was speeding toward the Moon when this picture was taken! As you can see, the Kids of the Kingdom are boogying down and probably singing "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane, or "The End" by The Doors. You know, real crowd pleasers that make you want to get up and dance. 

I assume Linda de Prisic, seen in THIS POST, is still with the group in today's example. Where are you, Linda? 

And... I never seem to tire of photos of the Swiss Family Treehouse, especially when we also get lots of groovy people in groovy 1969 fashions to go with it. Polka dot pants, purple and yellow striped shirt, floppy yellow hat... sock it to me!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Frontierland River Views, 1984

Here's a group of nice Frontierland images, from photos taken by Lou Perry, scanned and shared for us by his daughter, Sue B. 

It's easy to take the river for granted, but it really is a beautiful feature. There's the Friendly Indian Village, with the pet moose. I wish I had my issues of "The E-Ticket" magazine handy, I can't recall if the river has any kind of flow, even if it's very gradual, so that the water doesn't stagnate. 

I've always liked this little tableau, showing one of the ways that Native Americans might deal with their dead. This small Indian village was on Tom Sawyer Island, something I was unclear about until the wonderful Long-Forgotten blog did an extensive article on the subject.

The next two views are from the upper level of the Hungry Bear restaurant, one of my favorite places to eat lunch and relax. Even on crowded days I could find a table overlooking the water; what could be nicer than watching the river craft go by, and maybe exchanging a friendly wave with the occasional passenger? You can also throw French fries to a passing canoe, the guests love to catch them in their mouths.

Sure, this photo is pretty similar to the previous one, but who's complaining? Notice the Keelboat moored to the right.

I've had the pleasure of riding the Mark Twain when the Disneyland Band marched aboard and played a concert as we journeyed around the Rivers of America. I'm the guy who thinks it's funny to yell "Freebird!" whenever there is a break in the music.

What I don't remember is if they dispense with the pre-recorded spiel when the Band is aboard? If so, I guess you'll just have to ride the steamboat twice if you need some color commentary.

MANY THANKS to Lou and Sue!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Two From June 1963

Most of you will recognize this cheerful group as they took a break for a meal. I'm assuming that they are in the Carnation Plaza Gardens, under the tent, but there's not a lot to go by. Look at all of those Carnation paper cups and even a milk carton, though! Who knows, it's possible that, later that evening, a famous Big Band would be performing on the little stage. Woody Herman! Count Basie! Lionel Hampton! Maybe gramps here would even get out onto the dance floor and take his wife for a whirl.

How about a slow (but altogether pleasant) ride on the old Motorboat Cruise? These two ladies are about to pass beneath the Autopia roadway - another section of it crossed over the water in the background; and if you look closely, you can see a Submarine and the ramp that led down from the Monorail platform.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Photos From Disneyland's 40th

Here's a group of photos from the celebration for Disneyland's 40th birthday (in 1995), courtesy of the Dream Team - Irene, Bruce, and James.

Displays like the one in this first image were made for each land, and they included concept artwork and early photos to celebrate the history of a specific corner of the park. In this case, Fantasyland is the subject; it kind of reminds me of the kind of collage I might have made in school.

Here's the Frontierland collage, including items such as a Tom Sawyer Island map, a Golden Horseshoe Revue postcard, and a photo from the opening day Press Preview. The artwork in the lower right looks like it could be from the Western River Expedition - only that makes no sense, since that was slated for WDW.

The Tomorrowland display shows the mermaids from the Submarine Voyage, a 45 rpm record, "Rocket to the Moon", and photos from the Monsanto "Hall of Chemistry", the Kaiser "Hall of Aluminum Fame", and the "Dairy Bar". Etcetera!

Some sort of song and dance extravaganza was performed at the Tomorrowland Terrace stage; the "Fab Five" made an appearance, thrilling the crowd! Notice the Peoplemover, barely visible to the extreme right.

Does anybody remember this show?

Here's a neat shot of Mickey and Minnie in a very cool vintage convertible of some kind. Does anybody recognize the make and model? Or is it some kind of "kit car"? The red and yellow is appropriately cartoony.

And last, but certainly not least, lucky guests manage to get Fess Parker's autograph (he's signing paper party hats)! I assume Mr. Parker was involved in some of the ceremonies going on that day.

MANY thanks to the Dream Team! Today's post marks exactly 250 images that we have enjoyed from them, and we're not done yet!