Friday, December 31, 2021

New Year's Eve Party, 1959

Controversial take: parties are fun. But what about vintage parties? I think they're even more funnerer. For example, take a look at this New Year's Eve party from 1959. It wouldn't be long before it would officially be the 1960s. Unfortunately, nothing of historical importance happened in the 1960s, which is why nobody ever talks about that decade.

"Let's not just have a party, let's have a costume party!". I'm not sure what that fellow on the left is supposed to be (he almost looks like a character from "Guys and Dolls"), but I like his checked suit. A LOT. His wife is a flapper from the 1920s, she loves dancing the Charleston and drinking a nice gin rickey.

My theory is that these two met when the guy played on the high school basketball team, and the gal was a cheerleader (or just a fan). It was love at first sight! He must have to duck to walk through doorways. She almost looks like another flapper, but I think she's more along the lines of a French chanteuse. Or a Bohemian? Or perhaps a Beatnik?

The man is embarrassed because nobody told him this was a costume party. "I feel so dumb in my ordinary day clothes!". His parachute pants look like they're made out of rain slicker material. Spill ketchup on them? Just hose 'em off! His wife is dressed as a saucy harem girl (with a heart of gold of course). 

Next is a distinguished caballero (love that beard and mustache), I wonder if he knows Don Diego (aka "Zorro"?). He is smitten with this cheerful but fiery flamenco dancer (who is holding invisible castanets). Olé!

And finally, from New Year's Eve circa 1961 comes this amusing photo of a man who has partied just a bit too hearty. He's feeling no pain. His wisenheimer friends have covered him with a bunch of napkins, and he still clutches his dinner fork. Somebody placed small lampshade (?) on his head, and the cork from that bottle of rum sits in his mouth (maybe to stop his snoring?). He's going to have such a headache on the first morning of 1962.

I hope everybody has a very happy New Year's Eve!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

More Stuff From The Box

Hey hey! It's time for more STUFF FROM THE BOX!

Here are three tokens (medals?) from 1955's "Motorama". What was that? The General Motors Motorama was an auto show staged by GM from 1949 to 1961. These automobile extravaganzas were designed to whet public appetite and boost automobile sales with displays of fancy prototypes, concept vehicles and other special or halo models. From photos that I have seen, they were spectacular events. 

I like the unusual "lozenge" shape. On the reverse is a stylized, streamlined vehicle, perhaps on a turntable, or is that a stylized highway? Notice the bump in the middle of the reverse, you can put these on a table and spin them. For some reason.

Children's shoe stores gave away fun toys and prizes for decades. Tin clickers were popular, as were whistles. Here's a neat tin whistle from Peters Weatherbird Shoes. Best for boys, best for girls! I feel sorry for the poor parents who had to listen to this shrill whistle in the car as they drove home.

Here's a pair of pins from Commonwealth Edison, featuring their mascot, "Little Bill" a cross between a chicken and a lightbulb. Electricity is your best energy value! The one on the left is a nice enamel example, while the one on the right appears to have been given to somebody who'd reached their four year anniversary with ComEd. Little Bill was in use from the 1950s into the 1960s.

At some point I realized that I've already shared a photo of this charm (or watch fob?) from Knott's Berry Farm, featuring Sad Eye Joe. But I like it so much that I figured it was worth sharing again. There's no date on it, but I my spidey-senses tell me that it is pretty old. I wish I had more Knott's items like this.

This next badge is fairly impressive - a premium for "Dick Steel: Boy Reporter". If I hear ONE SNICKER from any of you, I'm going to turn this blog around IMMEDIATELY! I mean it! K. Martinez, I'm watching you! Dick Steel was a radio serial sponsored by Educator Biscuit Co. in 1934. I can't find many details about the show itself, other than obvious references to newspaper reporting and police investigating.

And finally, here's an odd little item - a toy wristwatch (the band has been missing for as long as I've had this) with a cowboy on the face. Is he waving "howdy"? Or is he about to draw? The crown makes it look like it was a genuine timepiece, but it is merely a toy. I still love it, though.

There's LOTS MORE stuff from the box!

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Fort Wilderness & Keelboat, April 1959

I'm always happy to find any photos that show the inside of old Fort Wilderness on Tom Sawyer Island - a feature that was once one of the main attractions on the island (along with Castle Rock, the Suspension Bridge and Pontoon Bridge, and the mysterious caves where Injun Joe got lost forever). The Fort was a place that encouraged exploration. Go to the Regimental Hdqrs to pay your respects to Andrew Jackson. Annoy everyone by banging on the large triangle. Climb the steps so that you can look over the ramparts out into the vast, unforgiving frontier. Find the "Secret Escape Tunnel". So great!

Meanwhile, back on the mainland we were waiting for our turn to ride the Columbia (still quite new at that point) when a Keelboat passed by. There was plenty of room aboard the Bertha Mae... usually the top level was packed, but there's only one little family up there. And as far as I can tell, there's nobody inside the cabin. Let's ride it twice in a row, from both the inside and the upper level!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Autopia, January 1960

Well homies, it's high time that I used up the last four scans from a lot of slides that featured the Autopia - and ONLY the Autopia. How often does something like that happen? Only once, in my case. See the other posts HERE and HERE. I probably should have saved the best for last, but I didn't.

Check out this lucky fella, driving his fabulous Mark V vehicle, with no center rail to cramp his style. The Tomorrowland highway looks very much like one that you might see in one of your larger metropolitan areas (does your metropolitan area have a Monorail beamway?). This photo makes me happy.

The focus is juuuust a little bit soft here, but we must persevere. The girl in the blue car must be slow, cars are lined up behind her. Good thing they didn't put horns on those Autopia vehicles. I wonder if that was ever a consideration? Probably for about ten seconds until cooler heads prevailed.

This looks like one of my photos. Maybe the photographer was attempting to create a sense of tension and unease by placing anything of interest almost completely out of frame? Thus inspiring an existential crisis in the viewer? And also something something society? (I'm working on it).

Here's our girl, in her bewildered-looking blue car. Doesn't its "face" look like it just saw a streaker? 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Rescans, 1958

Every once in a while, I like to find an old, previously-scanned slide and tackle it anew - hoping for improved results because of a newer, better scanner and (theoretically) better Photoshop skills. Let's see how I did this time!

This first example was originally posted back in 2011, and looking at it now, it's pretty dreary. The colors are desaturated, with a strange greenish-grayish-yuckish haze that makes me wonder if a nearby dump full of tires was burning.

Part of the problem is that the original slide had faded to the usual pink/magenta. This is how things look when I get angry! 

Well, there's my new attempt at rescanning and color-correcting. I'm much more pleased with the way it looks, even though there are still are some problematic areas. There is a subtle pinkish cast to some areas that I could have fixed if I was willing to spend more time on it, but there are so many quality shows on Netflix!

Next I tackled a scan (first shared in 2009) featuring GDB's "first family" - the mother and her son were in the very first post on this blog. Almost all of the slides from this batch had also turned pink to a degree, and some of that rosy color still shows on this version.

I've managed to bring back some of the blue in the sky (increasing the contrast helped), and also brought  out some of the yellows on Castle Rock's stony battlements. I hope somebody slapped that rude little boy on the back so that his face stuck like that for the rest of his life. That'll learn 'im!

I hope you have enjoyed today's rescans.

Sunday, December 26, 2021


Some might classify today's photos as "randos", others might say that they are "leftuggies". Neither group is wrong!

This first photo would be pretty great if it didn't suffer from that dreaded problem... blurriness. It's August, 1959, and we're looking up a very busy Main Street, with two Streetcars and a Horseless Carriage to keep people from feeling too confident about walking in the street. Love that banner (and the masonite signs on the distant wires) for the "spectacular new attractions" that had been added in 1959. I don't need to list them, you know them as well as I do. The kid in the foreground is wearing a sweater (or coat?) in August, who knows what that's about. But I like his clamdiggers.

Considering how much activity surrounded the Submarine Lagoon, our photographer (in May of 1981) managed to capture... well, not much. The "George Washington" and "Patrick Henry" (in the shadows) are heading toward the waterfall entrance to the dark ride portion of the Submarine attraction, and a single red Autopia vehicle can just be discerned crossing over the water, but otherwise things look pretty serene.

I'm still on a secret mission, but should be home very soon!

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Vintage Christmas


There's something about Christmas that encourages us to wax nostalgic, remembering those mornings from years past, when you could hardly sleep because you were so excited to see what Santa left under the tree for you. So it only makes sense to share some vintage slide scans with you today.

I'm guessing that this photo was taken on Christmas Eve. The kids have gone to bed (hopefully leaving milk and cookies next to the fireplace for Saint Nick - and some carrots for the reindeer), and the grownups have brought out all of the wrapped presents from various closets and other hidey-holes. We see a number of dolls beneath the tree, but the one in the middle (with the golden curls) is the real star of the show.

This next one is from the same household, but the date on the slide is from a few years later. There are four young girls, happily ripping through the gift wrap to see what's inside! The girl in pink is holding a Yogi Bear "soaky", a plastic bottle that held bubble bath. The only other object that I can ID is the "rolling reader" to the right - an educational toy. Snore!

Next is an undated family portrait, everyone's gathered around the tree. It's snowy outside! A toddler is holding a spinning top, a young girl is holding another magnificent doll, and the boy to the right has one too.  Hey, I don't judge. You might remember the girl with the camera from THIS PHOTO

Here's the fireplace in a cozy home, circa 1953. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and the mantle is full of Christmas cards from friends and family. 

And lastly, here's another vintage Christmas tree. This family bought a smaller tree, but put it up on a stand so that presents could be more easily piled under and around it. Not a bad idea! Their Sylvania TV has a blonde-wood cabinet that almost looks like it's from a high school wood shop. But hey, Beaver Cleaver is still funny on it! 

I hope that each and every one of you have a wonderful day full of joy and happiness. I am personally grateful to all of you for your friendship and kindness.

I'm still away from home! But I look forward to reading all of your comments.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Christmas With DrGoat

I already had most of my December posts ready to go when DrGoat, aka Peter, emailed me some scans from his own family photos. They are SO great that I rejiggered things so that you can all enjoy these on Christmas Eve. If you weren't already in a yuletide mood, hopefully these will jump-start things.

Take a look at this one, isn't it delightful? Peter sits on his mother's lap, holding an awesome tin top, while other gifts (including a drum) remain under the tree. His sister holds a large stocking, still full of goodies from the looks of it. The look of pure happiness on Peter's face, as well as his mom and sister, is just the best thing ever.

I asked Peter if he could tell me a little bit about where his family was living, and maybe a little bit about his sister, and here's what he said: ...we were living in New York City, in an apartment building on west 34th street, Manhattan. Not too far from the entrance to the Lincoln tunnel. Below the Hell’s Kitchen area. The date is most likely 1952 or 53. My sister is 5 years older than me. Her name is Christine, the white sheep of the family. She ended up with a PHD in microbiology, taught and did medical illustrations for medical text books at USC. 

I asked Peter if he remembers making a racket with that drum (!), and he said I don’t specifically  remember that drum but dollars to donuts I did make a racket and my parents probably regretted getting it. After that Christmas I do remember and have some photos of the stuff I got when I was 4 and 5. Lots of battery operated things like Robert the Robot.

Next is a picture of Peter which he estimates is from about 1955. Just look at all that loot under the tree! And Peter has a number of wonderful tin vehicles, including an earth mover. We can see a box that says "combat jeep" on it (under the TV), and it looks like a firetruck ladder just behind Peter, to his right (our left). 

I have such great memories of Christmas mornings from when I was little, my dad always put on his favorite Christmas albums, and my mom and grandma would make big breakfasts with bacon and sausages, and I think all of the kids would fry their brains on sensory overload. It was awesome!

Peter also included this version of the same photo, automatically colorized by a free online program. I played around with that program and the results weren't great, but Peter's looks pretty good, all things considered. As the years go by, presumably such programs will be more sophisticated.

THANK YOU to Peter for sharing these delightful family photos!

I will be out of town for the next three days or so, and (as usual) I might have difficulty responding to comments. But I will check in on my iPad every day! Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Christmas at Disneyland

Hooray, Christmas is so close I can smell it! I'm so excited I could plotz. Realizing that I have not done any Disneyland/Christmas stuff this whole month, I figured that today must be the day. 

Let's begin with this photo of the Monsanto Plastic Home of the Future, from the 1958 holiday season. Normally I'm used to going outside on Christmas morning and finding a Mercedes or Audi in my driveway (with a large red bow on top). "How did you know??". But I would really love to get a house of the future, just like this one. Hint hint.

I always like a picture of the Matterhorn when it had its giant Christmas star on top. Frankly I'm surprised that they haven't brought this feature back... maybe there are structural issues? Notice Hans and Otto (or is it Fritz and Gunther?) are up there to change one of the bulbs.

And finally, from December 1977 comes this photo taken in Town Square, looking toward the big Christmas tree on a pretty day. Never mind that the clouds might bring some rain! We'll still have a great time at the park.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmastime at the The Magic Kingdom, 1990

Our friend Sue B. scanned some great photos taken by her father, Lou Perry, during a 1990 visit to the Magic Kingdom in Florida. That's recent by many standards, but still 21 years ago. It's nice to have something with a holiday touch to share.

There's the Fire Station - I've seen a lot of photos from the Magic Kingdom, but to be honest, I don't remember ever seeing a picture of this particular structure before. It's very tall and thin! I guess the firefighters could slide waaaay down a pole from that upper floor - sounds like fun. The upper floor looks tall enough for grown adults - I am assuming that it was used for some employee function.

Next is this very pretty shot looking down toward the Emporium, with Main Street Station in the distance  to our left. I love the garlands and wreaths... it feels just right. And of course the Horse Drawn Streetcar and Horseless Carriage are great additions to the image.

"The Chapeau". Ooo-la-la! I need a souvenir hat, though I doubt that the kind with the dyed ostrich feather was still being sold by 1990. And there weren't any Keppy Kaps. Maybe I'll get a nice cavalry hat, and have them stitch my name on it.

I hear so much about Florida's heat and humidity that it is a little odd to see all of the guests in sweaters, sweatshirts, and light jackets. But hey, it was December after all. The sky is a little overcast, but it doesn't look like we need to worry about rain. Yet.

I have no idea which building this is, but I'm sure some of you hotshots will know! Judging from the turned spindles, the building to our left is The Chapeau. That door is blocked off, though it looks like it could be used if need be. 

I love a decorated window, and this one looks suitably Christmasy, though it is clear that plush dolls were already dominating at that point. I don't mind dolls, but it got to the point where other more interesting merchandise had no place to go.

And finally, a topiary of Mickey Mouse was placed at the apex of a mountain of poinsettias - right where the "Partners" statue would go in June of 1995. 

THANKS AS ALWAYS to Lou and Sue!

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Knott's Berry Farm Ephemera

As the years go by (faster and faster!), my appreciation for Knott's Berry Farm continues to grow. And that's saying something, because I've always loved the place. I have a modest collection of paper ephemera from Knott's (compared to the multiple boxes of things from Disneyland), mostly because Knott's did not seem to produce an many different brochures, flyers, gate handouts, and so on.

One of my favorite items is this brochure celebrating Jungle Island, which debuted on May 2, 1964. Folks who were lucky enough to see this beloved feature remember the endearingly odd "Wood-imals", fanciful critters created from pieces of logs and branches. 

The man responsible for the Wood-imals was Forrest Morrow of Elgin, Illinois (one of our Junior Gorillas lives in Elgin!) Read more about him on the brochure, or have your servant read for you, like I do. I'm sure Mr. Morrow never dreamed that his folk art would result in he and his family moving from Illinois to California (he loaded up his truck, and he moved to Bever-ly). I also love that people were encouraged to climb on and play with the wood-imals. I tried playing with the art when I visited the Louvre, and you would not believe the dirty looks I received. Mon dieu!

Here's a fun and smudgy concept drawing of Jungle Island - I have no idea how accurate it is compared to the final product. Was there a little suspension bridge? If so I've forgotten it.

Next is a brochure from 1965. It's a bit less-common compared to some others, but you could probably find one without too much trouble. I think the "brown ink on yellow paper" aesthetic was supposed to look like an antique item, but they might have had better results if they'd used something a little more muted. I like the drawing of Calico Square with the saloon and the locomotive.

More awesome line art! "What is Knott's?". A question for the ages. Plus info about various restaurants (such as Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant) and shops. I love that it proudly proclaims that the whole place is "Owned and operated by the founders, Mr. & Mrs. Walter Knott and family". 

And in this age of automobiles and freeways (some of those freeways were only a few years old at this point) it only makes sense to provide a map so that you have an idea of how far you had to go. 

I hope you have enjoyed today's Knott's ephemera!

Monday, December 20, 2021

Sue and the Autopia! May, 1964

Today I am sharing the last three slides from a group showing our friend Sue B. at Disneyland in 1964. She was taken there for her fourth birthday by her aunt Adeline, as well as two of her mom's friends, Carol and Marlene. Lou wasn't on this particular trip, but I used the "Photo by Lou Perry Courtesy of Sue B" watermark because it's kind of standard.

This is possibly my favorite photo of the whole batch, with adorable little Sue alongside Marlene. I often wonder why the adult didn't let the kid drive, but in this case Sue's legs probably wouldn't have reached the gas pedal - and in my recollection, you needed to have a real lead foot for those pedals. Sue said, I now especially treasure the Autopia pictures of Marlene driving me.  I recently discovered these slides, two months after Marlene passed away in November 2020, after having spent the last 4-5 years driving her to doctor appointments (during which time we discussed lots of things including this 1964 Disneyland trip together).  To see her, driving ME, now makes me smile. 

They are in a Mark VI vehicle, those were brand new in 1964. The center rail was also brand new!

Next is this photo of Carol; she appears to be in a "viewing area", for lack of a better description. The actual queue is nearby, to the left. I guess she and Adeline were not interested in experiencing the highway of the future! Presumably she watched as Sue and Marlene passed by. The little boy with the leather cap grew up to be in a biker gang. But a nice biker gang.

And finally, here's a very nice photo of more Mark VI vehicles, most were probably not needed on that day, but it looks like at least one was being serviced (to the extreme left). Love the old gas pumps, full of delicious Richfield gasoline.

 THANKS to Sue B., and to Marlene, Carol, and Adeline!