Saturday, December 31, 2022

New Year's Eve 1956

Well, it's the end of another year... 2022, you could have been better, but I guess you could have been a lot worse too. I originally had a normal Saturday post all ready to go, but our friend Sue B. generously sent me these scans from a New Year's Eve party, circa 1956. So these should put you in the mood for your big parties later this evening! (Meanwhile, I will be watching cartoons).

Yes, that guy is having about as much fun as I have had at NYE parties! "I am so full that I don't want to eat anymore, so I might as well blow on this party tooter". His friends don't know that he used to dream of being a famous musician.

Two friends. Pals from the office? Or have they known each other since first grade? They are performing Debussey's "Clair de lune", and man, it is stunning. At first I thought, "Aw! That guy on the right is holding a kitty!". But I think it's just a cat-shaped pillow. Check out those knickknacks!

Notice the position of this fellow's arm, he can surreptitiously check his watch every three minutes until the clock finally strikes midnight and he can go to bed.

My eye finds itself going to that cool radio behind the guy in the middle; he is using all of his mental powers (aided by that special hat designed by MIT) to pop that balloon. I wonder how many of those large tumblers of bourbon and water he has had so far?

Hooray! He popped the balloon, using only his mind, and now he wears it like a necktie in celebration. "That balloon thought it was so smart, but I showed IT!". Of course it's time to break out a bottle of champagne. Love the anemic New Year's decorations.

These ladies look like they're actually having fun. The one on the left is wearing a maternity outfit, while enjoying a refreshing cigarette (proven by doctors to be healthful). The boisterous woman on the right just caught Jerry taking her picture. "Jerry, you son of a b****!". Yes, that's how she talked, and everyone loved her for it. They are surrounded by genuine mid-century furniture. I like the framed map on the wall, it reminds me of fancy endpapers from an illustrated book. Can anybody tell what the location shown on the map is? 

I don't know why it amuses me to see these ladies sitting on the floor. I'll bet these two used to have parties with all of their friends years ago, they'd enjoy a nice RC Cola and some Wise Owl potato chips while gossiping about schoolmates and giggling about boys. I wish I could identify the album on the chair, but... no joy.

This is the same fella as seen in photo #1, and frankly I can't get enough of him. 

"Do you mind if I take a flash photo of you, six feet from your face?". Too late! Now she'll have little white dots floating in her vision for the next few minutes. I still can't ID that album. This woman is singing the 1955 hit, "Mr. Sandman". Bring me a dream!

MANY THANKS to Sue B. for providing these fun vintage scans of a New Year's Eve from yesteryear. I'll see you in 2023!

Friday, December 30, 2022

Mules and Stagecoach

Here are two more scans of slides that may or may not be from 1955. They are early, at any rate.

This first one is kind of an amazing shot of the old Pack Mules, from the days before there was a Rainbow Ridge - the Rainbow Mountain Pack Mules and Rainbow Caverns Mine Train debuted on October 10, 1956, so I realize that there's a good chance that these are from that year.

Anyway, it's almost startling to see the guests aboard the mules, with NO hotels, saloons, or hardware stores nearby... just dirt paths and brush-covered hills.

Some riders take one last look back, in case they encounter quicksand or bobcats, or even just really grouchy house cats. We can just see the back of what is either a Stagecoach or a Yellowstone Coach to the left of the man with the pink shirt.

Did somebody say "Stagecoach"? I don't know, I hear things all the time. Mostly the sound of an electric pencil sharpener, grinding and grinding. But I digress. There goes a Stagecoach, with horses that are about the size of large dogs. They're so cute, I just want to eat them. Chomp. Love the little Indian village in the distance.

On a gray day, there are no takers for riding on top, I heard tell of folks being swept off by prairie winds, never to be seen again!

Thursday, December 29, 2022

Nice Frontierland, 1950s

Here are some pretty nice, classic Frontierland views for you! Oh, to have seen that wonderful land as it was back then.

First up is this view of the Old Mill, with the landing for the rafts to (and from) Tom Sawyer Island. I'm a bit confused as to where our photographer was standing, since he seems to be on the water, but not on a raft, not on a canoe... maybe on a Keelboat? There's the little side cascade, which we all agree was there in case guests suddenly wanted a shower.

I like this fun view of Castle Rock, resembling an African termite mound. Quick Henry, get the Flit! Just to the left of Castle Rock is Teeter-totter Rock, and then Merry-Go-Round Rock. Note to self: give all rocks names. Just look at all the people crowding on to that raft! There must be a swarm of bees or somethin'. Fort Wilderness is chockablock with guests too.

This next one is from a different lot, and it shows, with its odd blue-green color cast. Still, its a nice view of the Rivers of America, with two rafts in the foreground, the Mark Twain (as always), and the bandstand to the right. Looking at the distant shore (also to the right), there are a LOT of people!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Indian Village & Trading Post, October 1967

I have many MANY photos of Frontierland, but once in a while I'll find some photos that are just a little bit out of the ordinary. Anything different is welcome!

First up is this nice shot of a teepee from the Indian Village. It looks fairly authentic to my untrained eyebones, you can see how it was made from many stitched-together buffalo skins (I wonder what they actually used? Canvas?). The painted decorations look like the result of some research as well. Disneyland encouraged sleepy guests to climb inside, roll down the "door", and take a nap if they needed it.  Meanwhile, in the background...

... is the Indian Trading Post! Complete with animatronic sod on the roof. Just think of the fabulous souvenirs on display inside; of course there were the usual rubber tomahawks and soft-tipped arrows (adorned with brightly-dyed feathers), but there might have been fancier things like beaded moccasins or hand-carved miniature totem poles. I need one of everything!

For those of you who might be wondering where the Trading Post was, here's a look at a 1968 souvenir map. It is labeled "Indian Store" for some reason, and it's just inside the tunnel(s) that lead to the Village. Notice the circle with the blue "X" on the Haunted Mansion, indicating that it was "future attraction".

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Fantasyland, 1956

I love me some classic Fantasyland, back in the days of painted plywood flats and canvas. Maybe some sheet metal thrown in for spice. Mmmm, metallic! 

This is a pretty nice view of the Mad Tea Party. Why is it so mad? Don't be like that. An ordinary hu-man might not be able to appreciate a picture like this, but we know that it's all about the colors and patterns. And that guy with both arms raised in the air, as if somebody has just scored a field goal. Walt originally wanted to pair the Teacups with a ride called the "Crumpet Cruncher", but money was short, and Americans aren't really sure what crumpets are, anyway. Let's go ride Mr. Toad after this!

You knew there was going to be a photo of the Dumbo ride, didn't you? Maybe that sketchy medical trial that you participated in when you were in college gave you precognition. And pyrokinesis! Some say that those same experiments resulted in flying elephants, but that's just a conspiracy theory. 

Monday, December 26, 2022

The Plaza, 1956?

I have a pair of Plaza views from (probably) early 1956 (I'm basing this guesstimate on some other photos in the batch which make me believe that these are quite early - you'll see why in future posts). 

First off comes this pretty view looking from a pathway that was fairly south and west, though I don't think that the entrance to Adventureland would be behind us. Maybe the Plaza Pavilion was? You can see a little family (Mom, Dad, two kids) walking past, heading toward the Castle. The little girl is so excited, maybe it's the Surrey with the horse that has caught her attention.

Next, it's a bit later in the day, but we're standing almost (but not quite) where the family was in the first picture, looking toward you-know-what. It looks like it was a beautiful day.

I'm still out of town, but as of this writing, I think I should be home tomorrow (though it might be late in the evening). Have a happy Monday!

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of the Junior Gorillas out there! And if you don't happen to celebrate this particular holiday, I would still like to wish you wonderful day. We can all have a good time!

I have a plethora of Christmas-related scans for you, starting with a batch from the always-generous Sue B. These were not taken by her dad (Lou), full disclosure. We'll start with this one, a man is carving up that Christmas bird. At first we thought this was a Thanksgiving image, but the decor gives it away. The young woman is very glamorous, she looks like she could be a TV star.

The next four are from a series of photos (again, from Sue B.). Santa arrived at an unknown location - maybe a church? Maybe a home. Maybe a spaceship, I dunno. This first one is my favorite because the little girl in pink is absolutely mesmerized by the jolly old elf. "I can't believe he's really here!". 

This is my second favorite, because that young woman is cute!

Santa must have said something hilarious, and hopefully G-rated.

Oh my gosh, Santa brought that woman a Hot Wheels car - in the rare pink color. Those things are valuable now! How did he know that she wanted the "Beanik Bandit"?

Now onto some of my random vintage scans. I have a number of slides featuring the man and woman to the left (like this one, for instance), and some of them have a wonderful SoCal vibe. Like this shot of two couples posing in bright December sunshine, with the visage of Santa watching over them.

I wish I knew where this one was taken, but it is undated and unlabeled. Maybe the columned building is the city hall of wherever that lady and her kid lived, and if so, the city put on an impressive display, with giant tapers (not tapirs), a manger scene, and Santa in his sleigh.

This one should make you smile - a very happy boy poses in his wonderful cowboy rig. Chaps, red shirt, leather vest, red felt hat, a holster, and two six-shooters (maybe boots too, we can't see them though). This is the best Christmas ever!

And finally, it's always fun to see photos as kids open their presents. A trio of tots sits beneath a tinseled tree (wisely set up on a low table to allow for more room for presents). At first I thought that was an Etch-a-Sketch in the tree, until I realized that it's just a card. D'oh. There's a new doll hiding, I'm surprised that the young girl didn't see it right away.

I hope Santa was good to you today, and I look forward to hearing about your cool football helmets and ponies when I get back home in a few days!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Christmas Scenes at Disneyland

Hi kids, just a note to let you know that I am heading out of town as of this morning, and I'll probably be gone for the next three days or so. As usual, I won't have much access to a computer (not counting my iPad, where typing is a frustration), so you probably won't be hearing from me. But I'll still check in! I look forward to talking to all of you soon.

Say, it's almost Christmas! You probably didn't know. In the spirit of the holiday, it seems like a good time to share some vintage Disneyland photos - TINSELIZED! 

Let's begin with this fun photo of a parade along Main Street USA. The slide is dated "January 1959", so this is from late in the '58 Christmas season. This was on eBay, along with another slide from the same parade, indicating that the band had come all the way from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin - which is where my great aunt had her farm; I spent many wonderful summers there. Sadly, I was outbid on the other slide, much to my astonishment. Incidentally, the University of Wisconsin's Badgers competed (and lost to the Washington Huskies - 44 to 8. Ouch) in the Rose Bowl football game on New Year's Day.

Next is a scan from a slide showing a beautiful (and uncrowded!) Plaza, with the magical talking Omnibus ("Hey bub! Don't stick your gum under my seat!"), and the mighty Matterhorn with the huge Christmas star on top. Notice the pink construction walls near the entrance to Tomorrowland.

And from the 1950s we have this view of the Castle, bedecked (but not TOO bedecked) with holiday garlands. The lady in the lower right looks a bit puzzled, but she's having a great time!

And finally, here's a beauty from Mr. X, taken back in 1998. Starting the previous year, "it's a small world" was decorated for the holidays, and it's easy to be dazzled by the hundreds of twinkling lights. I love this twilight view.

I hope you have enjoyed today's Christmas Eve pix!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Town Square, December 1950s

Well, it took a while, but I'm finally getting into the holiday spirit. "What holiday, Major P?". Christmas, you nut! Both of today's scans are from "sometime in the 1950s", possibly 1956 or '57.

The park has just opened, and guests are making their way from the parking lot, through the turnstiles, beneath the train tracks, and into Town Square, which is still wet from its nightly scrubbing. There's a chill in the air, but nothing too bad. A light sweater will do! Our group walked through the west tunnel, and turned right; maybe they are going to head up the steps for a ride on the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad.

Zooming in, we can see one of the early painted plywood decorations on the Opera House, an old fashioned (Dickensian?) coach, loaded with a tree and wrapped presents (I think I see a Playstation). There's a group of people listening intently to somebody (over to our left), I'd hoped that a tour guide would be there, but I don't see the familiar Tartan plaid. Notice the Streetcar just beyond them.

Just a few steps farther in, and our photographer looked to his left. Town Square looks great, though the Christmas tree is pretty modest compared to later examples. I love the garlands hanging above Main Street.

There's another painted plywood decoration about the Emporium doorway. And I just noticed that there's a man in the first photo wearing a green cap, and there are two more men wearing similar green caps here. I wonder what that was about?

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Thursday Beauties

Here's a pair of very nice photos - unrelated except for the fact that they are both from the planet Urf. 

This first one is date-stamped "July 1968", and shows a nice couple posing with the Carousel of Progress looming behind them - the ride had debuted only a year earlier (on July 2, 1967). As much as I loved the CoP, the feature that I miss the most is the view of the huge Progress City model on the upper level. I've always hoped that it would come back to Anaheim someday (the chopped up model, in need of restoration, is now on display at the Magic Kingdom, visible from the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover), but I know that it is extremely unlikely to happen.

Next, let's head back to September, 1958. Folks are lining up to board a parking lot tram. Why are they all leaving the park so early? There's plenty of daylight left. Just look at that smog, yikes. That is some thick, chunky smog. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Disneyland Sign and More, May 1966

Here's a fun pair from May o' 1966. Most of you remember that the satellite "Explorer 32" was launched this month. Or maybe you were there when Walt Disney dedicated "it's a small world". I think he dedicated  it to "all the hot babes", but my source was not reliable. Both of today's pix barely get you inside the park. But they are still fun!

After a long drive to Orange County, dad finally turned right (after heading south on Harbor Boulevard), and OH BOY, there's the magnificent Disneyland sign! It stood there from 1958 until 1989, when it was torn down by drunken chimpanzees. I have never made a formal ranking, but that sign has to be pretty high up on my "Top Ten Signs" list. (Classic Holiday Inn signs are on that list too). 

We've parked our car, and taken the convenient tram from the parking lot right to the ticket booths. After considering our options, we've decided to buy the 15-attraction ticket books (the best value!), and we're going to take a guided tour because father is into women with riding crops. Long story. The turnstiles are right there, we are mere seconds away from the start of an amazing visit!

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Cute Frontierland, March 1962

Let's continue a series of photos featuring a charming woman who posed for a LOT of pictures for her adoring hubby. She's still in Frontierland, but not for long. 

It must be freezing at Disneyland, you can really see her exhalation! She's standing next to a sign for "El Zocalo", a cluster of booths that carried all kinds of priceless treasures, including coonskin caps, rubber tomahawks, hats, leather goods, baskets, and basically everything a person needs to lead a contented life.

Only a true Disneyland nerd would love this one. Guilty. Our gal is sitting over at the Casa de Fritos, where there isn't another diner in sight. I like the artistic composition, and the way she is silhouetted in the foreground. Lonesome, as if she was in an Edward Hopper painting. 

Monday, December 19, 2022

Plaza Gardens, 1996

It's time for some more photos from Mr. X; these are "recent", and by that I mean that they were taken 26 years ago. Everything is relative! Mr. X loved seeing big bands at the Carnation Plaza Gardens in his youth and during the time that he worked nearby as a popcorn vendor, so this area is full of warm nostalgia for him.

Here's the festive entrance, it looks nice during the day, but when the sun went down and the lights came on, it turned into a magical place. Old amusement parks all over the country had bandstands and pavilions with music and dancing, and the Plaza Gardens does a good job of evoking that "yesteryear" vibe.

You can't go wrong with red and white-striped umbrellas and that striped cloth tent (not the main tent seen in the previous photo). It looks like a quiet and relaxing place to stop, rest, and enjoy your lunch. It's interesting to consider that the hillside and trees beyond that wall belong to Frontierland; Big Thunder Mountain was surprisingly close. 

All is peaceful at this moment, but who knows, maybe a swing band would be performing there later that evening, and all of the couples who love to dance would be out on the floor having a great time! Notice the sign to the left with a mention of the Disneyland Band, they performed there during the day, often. Also, notice the attraction posters along that wall. 


Sunday, December 18, 2022

Sunday Snoozers

Here's a pair of Snoozers™ for your Sunday! Not the worst pictures ever, but a bit wide of the mark. Both of these are from 1956, which is the year after 1955, and the year before 1957. It's both!

I guess the photographer was charmed by Cinderella Castle in the distance. Or maybe by Casey Jr., chugging into the frame. OR they liked the stern gallery of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship and Falafel Hut. The captain is the only person who gets a view (not counting the guy up in the crow's nest).

This one's kind of pretty, but is rather soft, focus-wise. Which is too bad, because the warm light of the setting sun makes for a dreamy scene. The Old Mill was new at this point, as was the Skyway in the distance, but the Matterhorn was still just a stony acorn waiting to sprout.