Thursday, September 09, 2021

Da Subs, 1960s

Here's a nice trio of images for your Thursday - all Tomorrowland.

First up is this very pretty shot looking across the Sub lagoon with the Skate coming toward us (it used actual skates!) on an overcast day. Skyway gondolas move silently back and forth overhead, the Peoplemover rumbles by, and guests enjoy taking the speedramp up to the Monorail station. And let's not forget the Carousel of Progress and the Rocket Jets!

This woman is taking in the view as the Seawolf passes; I can't remember if the subs make a noise (diesel engine noise?), it's been a while. They should be fitted with those "aaa-OOO-gah" horns, though. Or the kind that play the first few notes of "La Cucaracha", like food trucks.

I only just realized that, while this slide is certainly from the 1960s, it is from an earlier date than the first two - the Gondola is one of the old, round "bucket" types. And look at how different the Monorail station is! I hope you can find it in your hearts to forgive me.


Nanook said...

Thanks for confirming what I had suspected all along - actual 'skates' were used to provide smooth forward-motion on the Skate sub-! (So, does that mean the Seawolf used 'digitigrades'-?)

Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, shouldn’t the Seawolf do the ‘wolf whistle’??

Very nice pictures today, thank you, Major!

Nanook said...

It merely howls-!

Anonymous said...

Sub photos are always a welcome sight- thanks Major. So much going on in the 1st picture. The last one gives a nice view of the loading area & sub storage.
I miss the military gray subs... ;)


TokyoMagic! said...

Is that a bird (with it's wings spread) inside the turquoise Skyway gondola, just above the G.E. sign?

I bet the pilot of the Seawolf was being goosed, just about the same time that second photo was being taken.

Chuck said...

The second one is a bit odd - the woman is in sharp foreground focus while the background is blurry. While that’s not unusual for portrait photography, the convention is to have the portrait subject as the center of attention, not off to one side and looking into the frame, drawing your eye to the great, gray blob in the center of the image.

I’m going to guess this slide is the victim of slow film, a slow lens, and a cloudy day, which forced the photographer to make a decision as to whether he wanted to use a narrow aperture and slow exposure, leaving moving objects slightly blurred, or use a wide aperture and short shutter speed, freezing action and leaving the image with a narrow depth of field. It appears he chose the latter, which then forced a second choice as to what part of the image to keep in focus. What a conundrum!

I’m so glad we don’t have to worry about that kind of thing anymore. Why, with a modern camera like my Kodak Pocket Instamatic, taking great pictures is a snap! No more fiddling with light meters, f-stops, shutter speeds, and focus rings - just point and shoot to take high-quality, archival images that will last a lifetime and more. The 110 film cartridge allows me to change film quickly and easily in full sunlight, and it’s small enough that I can carry several rolls at once for literally dozens of pictures before having to restock. The whole thing fits easily in a pocket, so I don’t have to juggle a camera, a road map, and a calculator while talking on a pay phone to make reservations at the next motel. Thanks to the good folks at Kodak, the future is now!

Despite the odd focus, I like it. It visually captures the feeling of looking wistfully into an image of a long-gone world, eyes brimmed with tears at what once was but is no more. As a wise man once told us, “nostalgia is the feeling you get when you’re happy that you’re sad.”

TM!, I think that may be a juvenile pteranodon. Definitely a pterosaur of some kind.


The first image has to be 1969 or after. There’s a Monorail CM on the Speedramp in the new costumes added in 1968. The PeopleMover cars also sport their first version safety bars also added in 1968. We can’t see a monorail or monorail station - but the Speedramp is in Disneyland Tech White ( and not the previous blue) showing are the new 1969 Monorail station is present . The GE Carousel of Progress is still there so that places the image between 1969 - 1973. Judging from the guests garb I conclude the image is 1969-1970.


The second image appears to be a sister to the first judging by the weather and similar lighting. 1969-1970 ...... with a nudge closer to 1969.
The third image obviously is between 1959-1965. If I could see the opposite side of the Monorail station I could tell if it’s after 1962. I speculate the image is 1963-1964.

Melissa said...

I love the color in the first image. All that soft blue sky and water, accented with pops of yellow and red from the Peoplemover, Skyway, and guests clothes. Very nice!

Chuck, you’ve sold me on that 110 Instamatic camera!

Stu29573 said...

Any picture of the subs is A-ok in my book! (and I do have a book. It's full of cartoons and questionable limericks) I've shared before that when I was nine, I was fully convinced the subs really went up and down! Those tricky imagineers! Bubbles! Who woulda thunk it?

Chuck, I'm not going for the 110, I'm holding out for the DISC! Yay! 15 shots on negatives that are even SMALLER than 110! Smaller is always better in technology! In the detail you can almost make out people's faces! The wonder of it!

Great pics today!

JG said...

I’m ready for the DeLorean ride now, Doc. Just think, around the corner in photo 1, we could ride ATIS too.

The subs were possibly the largest single piece of Imagineering chutzpah EVER. Not only build submarines, build a whole ocean for them too. A step beyond the Jungle Cruise or the Rivers of America.

Major, the Skate used roller skates but when it came to the North Pole, it changed to ice skates.

I notice the little rusty vents on the Seawolf, I remember water pumped out of vents, not sure if was these or not. Were these real functions or just for show like the Moonliner venting gas?

Photo 2 is great, for all the reasons Chuck cites.

Also, Chuck, “I see what you did there”. Thank you. Never thought of being wise, I’m more like the Moonliner these days.

I had a 110 for a while, you may see some pics from it someday.

@Mike since the Howard Johnson isn’t visible, or any other development, I lean to a date prior to 1962 for photo 3, but it doesn’t matter really, it’s still wonderful.


MRaymond said...

As I recall, the old subs did make an engine noise as they passed but I don't remember the exhaust.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, those were the old skates with metal wheels (remember those?), but things really improved when they switched to roller blades!

Lou and Sue, I can’t help thinking of a Tex Avery cartoon when I think of a “wolf whistle”! That’s a good thing, by the way.

Nanook, it drools, too!

DW, I remember when I heard that they were going to change the subs to the “research sub” yellow paint scheme, and at the time I thought it was an interesting idea. But I have to admit that I miss the old military gray look, when the subs were supposed to be nuclear powered.

TokyoMagic!, I have to admit, I thought, “What is TokyoMagic talking about?”. But there really is a bird there. Maybe it was delivering a message? Sub pilots had to check a box that they enjoyed being goosed if they wanted to pass the final test.

Chuck, my guess is that the photographer had a camera that did some fuctions automatically, and that in this case it auto-focused on the woman when the Submarine was meant to be the main subject - or the photographer even hoped that both would be in sharp focus. Just a theory of course! I used to take plenty of photos only to find that the final result was not what I expected. Yes, I took terrible pictures. You make a good point about the handy Kodak Instamatic. Why, things could hardly get any better. Sport! Stop barking at the audience! Heh heh, sorry folks. “Happy that I’m sad”, eh? Then I must be happy ALL the time! (Joking, I’m generally in a pretty positive frame of mind in spite of the many awful things I see in the news every day). I want a pet pterosaur!

Mike Cozart, thanks for narrowing down the date on the first one (or two, actually), I didn’t even notice the Monorail CM on the Speedramp! Love it. “Tech White”, I wonder what makes that different from other non-tech whites? I am happy to go with your estimated dates!

Mike Cozart, yes, the second photo is from the same lot as the first. What would the clue on the other side of the Monorail Station be that would help you determine if it is after 1962 (which I would bet that it is)?

Melissa, yes, I really think that the first photo is very pretty - partly because I loved that version of Tomorrowland, but also due to the general image quality.

Stu29573, I’m not so sure how I feel about people who read books. Why read when you can watch daytime TV? That’s my philosophy, anyway. Hey, Jack LaLane is on! I’ve mentioned how much I loved that bubble effect on the Subs, even when I figured out that it was there just to fool us. Especially when they lit the bubbles with a red light and said it was the glow of an underwater volcano!! Ha ha, those disc cameras… I once had two discs, and MAN, the image quality really was crummy. What was Kodak thinking?

JG, those darn DeLoreans, something was always going wrong with them, mechanically. At least be sure to bring some extra plutonium with you. I agree with you about the Subs, when you look at the sheer scale of the ride, and the way it was integrated into Tomorrowland (with parts of the Autopia actually running on top of the “dark ride” portion), it was brilliant. I never thought about how the Skate operated in polar conditions, but you must be right! I assume the water venting out of the Subs was akin to the water that cools outboard motors. I do remember that diesel exhaust smell, which at the time I always associated with the airport, and visiting my grandparents! Good thought re: Howard Johnsons.

MRaymond, ha ha, see my comment to JG! I definitely remember the diesel smell, like I said, I weirdly associated it with happy things like trips to see Grandma and Grandpa.

Anonymous said...

Major, I liked the smell of diesel exhaust too. It seems weird now to say that, but it was true.

We had a diesel tractor on the farm, but the odor seemed associated with construction and road equipment.

I think the subs were diesel powered, and again, more chutzpah, running tubes full of people through a closed garage with the motor running... the ventilation of the show building must be off the charts.


Nanook said...

@ TM!-
Sorry to disappoint, but that "bird" is merely a hat with a tall feather sitting atop a small head- ain't it-?

Bu said...

The subs always rock...especially when they are painted grey as they should be always. I'm not sure what is so horrible about a grey sub? I said "nuclear" to a guest once and I thought she was going to strike me...don't worry "freak out lady" they are diesel. To even think that someone would think that a nuclear powered ride was there in the middle of Anaheim...well....boggles the mind. That water was always so clear, and I can smell the bromide/bromine/chlorine...whatever they used, mixed with diesel, mixed with Coke Terrace burgers, mixed with Autopia exhaust...Tomorrowland should have been called "Aromaland"...I liked the smell of those Goodyear tires and the loading area of PeopleMover which also smelled of rubber. Add that to "Aromaland". That side of Coke Terrace could use some "Yacht Bar" flavor...that side was not as glamourous as the seating area or the pop-up stage. I just got a whiff of Coke syrup. Add that to the list of smells....

K. Martinez said...

I read that the Ethan Allen sub was fitted with some special furniture aboard.

The first pic of Tomorrowland is perfection! Thanks, Major.

Nanook said...

@ Ken-
Yeah - I think there was a lowboy hidden towards the stern-!

Melissa said...

I love the idea of Aromaland!

Yesterday a post came across my tumblr feed from someone who had surreptitiously smuggled out a small corked bottle of Pirates Water so they could sniff it from time to time. They kept updating the post as it evaporated away.

JC Shannon said...

Ah, the original gray subs. The sub lagoon is always a crowd pleaser. The blue water, the coral, I love it. Something tells me if Lou had taken these, they would be less washed out. I would love to see more of Lou's sub lagoon photos. Sue, can you dig into Lou's photos and find us some of his wonderful sub snaps? I betcha they are real winners. Thanks to Major for these feel good 60s shots. As I recall they had an aooga horn on the recorded spiel as the Capt said Dive Dive Dive.

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, it’s funny how smells like that become so powerfully associated with things from our childhoods. Whenever I smell hot blacktop, and a mixture of eucalyptus leaves and maybe orange blossoms, I think of my grandma and grandpa’s backyard (running through the sprinklers). I’m sure you’re right, the show building almost certainly had very robust ventilation.

Nanook, aw, I liked the bird theory more! :-)

Bu, I get that “nuclear” is scary. Hey, I visited the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant for a school field trip - before it went “live”. We’d moved from Pennsylvania by the time of the “incident”. Ha ha, Disneyland was (and is) full of aromas, I’m sure the folks who still go there often have their own favorite areas with particular smells.

K. Martinez, yes, I remember sitting in elegant little wooden chairs while looking out the portholes!

Nanook, I thought it was a sideboard, but my memories are faint.

Melissa, careful… “Aromaland” is not always a pleasant place to be! Jeez, did the water from “Pirates” really have much of a smell besides chlorine? I’m not sure what gives that ride it’s particular aroma, but it has to be more than just swimming pool water.

Jonathan, sometimes a photographer has to work with what Mother Nature provides! If it’s overcast and gloomy, I don’t know what a person can do. But as you said, if anybody could do it, it would be Lou. From what Sue tells me, she still has many hundreds of Disneyland photos in Lou’s archives.

Anonymous said...

It's funny about odors, scents, aromas, etc. Some have a powerful effect on my memory, which is a well-known human trait, while there are others that people rave about that I can't recall or maybe even detect.

From comments about Pirate Water, Disney should partner with Yankee Candle and sell scented candles with the POC theme, and I can't even imagine what the smell is, because I can't remember it.

I do remember the vivid feeling of the submarines, wedged into the little seat with the little air vent, the klaxon, and the bubbles, especially, like Major, the red-lit ones over the volcano. One of the best of the old-school rides, and I think, possibly the ultimate dark ride, even more so than POC or HM. Those are, after all, just a logical progression from Mr. Toad or Snow White, but the submarines are an order of magnitude more complex.


"Lou and Sue" said...

Jonathan, I'll gladly look for more sub lagoon photos/slides. While going through my dad's things, I'm finding trays of Disneyland slides in the same boxes with trays of WDW slides and trays of other trips - so I'm hoping to get things more organized in the coming months - so I can more easily locate whatever we want to see.

I'm having fun sharing the photos & slides with everyone here - so if anyone else has a special request, please mention it here or feel free to email me: ... and, if we know your birthday, maybe I can locate something fun for Major to post on your special day. No guarantees, but I'd love to try.

On a side note: I have a 'spiel' about the [WDW] POTC smells, but gotta run now. Maybe I'll add my comment later, if I have time.

Stu29573 said...

Wait! You're going to just leave us hanging like that???
Awwwww, crud.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Yep, Stu, my fridge quit, am going refrigerator shopping, at this very moment. Then I need to clean out an entire freezer of defrosted bloody meat. Ugh. :-/

Chuck said...

Sue, I almost feel your pain. I was in the garage standing next to the freezer when the compressor just stopped, and no amount of pushing the reset button on the GFCI outlet made it start again. In fact, nothing worked on the outlet at all, even after I unplugged the freezer. Fortunately, we have a healthy supply of heavy-duty extension cords (part of our power-out emergency plan) and the freezer fired right up after I plugged it into an outlet in the kitchen. Not sure what would make the outlet die like that, but the reset button was a hard push and was a bit “sticky” popping back out. Task for after dinner is to replace the outlet in the garage.

Chuck said...

JG, Moonliner. :-) Oh, excuse me. We should probably go into the next room.

Stu, Kodak became obsessed with the idea that consumers wanted smaller cameras that required no photographic knowledge and convinced themselves that the consumer wouldn’t mind that the pictures they took were smaller, grainier, and blurrier (they also talked themselves into believing that film would always be the recording medium of choice, and look where they are today). After my grandmother got her Pocket Instamatic, a large number of the pictures she took cut off the tops of people’s heads because of where the shutter button was positioned and the fact that she pushed the button too hard out of habit with older cameras.

Major, if this was taken in 1969-70, we are about 8 or 9 years too early for an auto-focus 35mm camera. The first commercially-available auto-focus camera, the Konica C35 AF, wasn’t released until 1978. And you’re right - smaller, grainer, blurrier pictures were just what we always wanted from that great, big, beautiful tomorrow!

Major Pepperidge said...

JG, I remember hearing about somebody who made candles with “Disneyland scents”, and I believe that “Pirate Water” was among them. It might have been on Etsy; I don’t think the aromas were very accurate though. I wonder if a company like Yankee Candle could actually replicate the funky “Pirates” smell? Sort of the equivalent of the crazy flavors that Jelly Belly developed. Maybe my love of simple, theatrical effects is due to my age, and younger folks wouldn’t appreciate anything that wasn’t technologically advanced. It’s a theory!

Lou and Sue, it sounds like you have a real challenge organizing those slides. Lou never dreamed that people would be clamoring to see his personal photos decades after he took them!

Stu29573, I KNOW!

Lou and Sue, the last time I shopped for a fridge, the salesperson at Sears said that they were all “crap” and that they wouldn’t last more than a few years. I hope she was wrong! I appreciated her honesty.

Chuck, I told Sue that my parents went out of town (actually, I think they were on a trip to China), and I went over to their house for some reason or other. I walked in and the SMELL, holy moly. Their fridge had died while they were gone, and everything in the freezer (which was lots of meat) was spoiling and dripping and… yuck. So I rolled up my sleeves, got lots of garbage bags, and started throwing everything out. It took forever and was hard work! Luckily a nearby shopping center had dumpsters that I could access, but I thought that these heavy bags full of dripping meat looked like I had chopped up a body and was disposing of it. Luckily the cops never caught me!

Chuck, I think you’re right, Kodak really thought that customers wanted convenience over quality. Those disk cameras were real pieces of… er… crud. The images weren’t much better than what you would see in those little toy transparency viewers (“24 views of Las Vegas!”). And I think we have seen plenty of photos on GDB that are poorly composed, probably due to the fact that the viewfinder’s view was not what the lens would “see”. I guess I should have realized that auto-focus wasn’t around in 1969-70. I still think that the shallow depth of field in photo #2 was not intentional, but it’s just a guess.

Chuck said...

I think you are probably right about the second photo, Major. The photographer obviously wanted the woman in focus, but I don’t think he counted on that narrow depth of field.

Bad things always seem to happen to parents’ houses when they are away. Mine were out of the country (I actually think that was their trip to China, too) and my sister went over to their house to check on it after the power went. To her horror, she found the partially-finished basement flooded with a couple of feet of water. She then cautiously waded through the mess to turn off the breaker box (can anybody explain to me why they always seem to put them on the far sides of basements in locations with high water tables?) and then called the plumber. They had a water-powered backup sump pump that failed to kick on when the power quit. The plumber, who was a friend, felt terrible, replaced it for free and I think may have voluntarily contributed some money to the cleanup effort.

"Lou and Sue" said...

Major, my fridge is a Sears Kenmore and it ONLY lasted 6 years! No wonder they went out of business! Am still cleaning it out now...

"Lou and Sue" said...

And try finding a new one that you like that’s IN STOCK....there’s a two-month wait, maybe more. My parents’ first fridge lasted years...after 45 years they got rid of it because they were tired of looking at it. It was still running fine and had the original inside lightbulb—which still worked. My mom regretted getting rid of it, later. It’s probably still running fine somewhere!

JG said...

Chuck, I’m glad you got that joke.


Melissa said...

I absolutely loved the cake pictures on my birthday. It was a real treat!

"Lou and Sue" said...

Melissa, I'm glad you loved your birthday pictures!!

Am done cleaning out the mess in my freezer and washing my kitchen, regarding the WDW POTC 'scents':

The last time I was in WDW (2 years ago), I rode POTC three times in a row, while everyone else was watching the fireworks. Because I had heard so many people (including Jr. Gorillas) mentioning the scents on rides, especially POTC, I paid extra-close attention. (By the way, some of those homemade Etsy candles and soaps - supposedly made to copy POTC scents - don't come close enough; I've smelled a number of them.) There were several subtle smells that I noticed on the ride - but one that I could easily describe was a sweet rum scent (for a very short part of the ride); and, for a large portion of the ride - there was a nice, refreshing scent that I can't really describe.
Lo and behold, a few days after I got home, I was using a body wash and it smelled EXACTLY like that 'refreshing scent." If any other Disney geeks out there are interested - it's on and it's called "Signature Care Cool Moisturizing Body Wash - Fresh Scent."

Stu29573 said...

Very late addition!
Our fridge was a Kenmore, but it was from a couple of decades ago. I bought it new in 1989 and it finally died last year! Our new GE seems to be doing ok, but I hear none of them last more than a few years now. From what I've heard Samsung is the worst.

Dean Finder said...

There are a few candle companies that make Disney ride scents. I can't vouch for any of them, though.
I did get a bottle of "Dark Ride" cologne for Christmas a few years ago, though. It's sort of like the WDW Pirates. Others say it's more like Disneyland's POTC.