Thursday, March 31, 2022

A Pair of Instamatics, August 1970

My pal Mr. X found a small envelope with some photo negatives, and as he done several times before, he generously gave them to me. What a guy! Some of these images have already appeared from scans of photo prints, but it is always preferable to have the original negative. 

Here's a group of musicians walking through New Orleans Square - we've seen this one way back in 2013. That photo print looks surprisingly good, but I'm very happy to have this transparency. In 2013 I speculated that this group is the Delta Street Ramblers, though it might be The Beatles during their late Dixieland phase (George's idea).

Not too far away was the Swiss Family Treehouse, the ultimate in arboreal living. Every amenity (as long as it can be made from bamboo and coconuts) is there! Have you ever imagined waking up as the sun rises over the ocean, while a monkey makes you breakfast? IMAGINE NO MORE. Book your reservation now!

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

More Stuff From the Box

Walter Cronkite once stated that my Stuff From the Box was one of mankind's greatest achievements. You're not going to argue with Walter Cronkite, are you?

He would be suitably impressed with my Huckleberry Hound Club ring circa 1961. As you can see, it is made from golden metal extracted from a rare meteorite. Some of Hollywood's most glamorous women are often seen wearing rings just like this one. Probably.

Here is a 1934 Lone Ranger "Chief Scout" badge, issued by Silvercup  Bread. This is a fairly heavy chunk of brass, and Chief Scout was the highest rank of achievement for club members. This badge would get you backstage at events such as the Academy Awards. "Right this way, sir!".

There is plenty of new-ish Little Orphan Annie merchandise, but I am reasonably certain that this tiny metal pin with genuine enamel is from the 1930s. I have a few other vintage enamel character pins, including Popeye, Wimpy, and Krazy Kat. Why are you running, Annie? Is there a sale on Ovaltine at the Piggly Wiggly?

Smokey Bear needs you to help him prevent forest fires. To be honest he can get a little bit preachy, but it's hard to be mad at him. Yes, Smokey, I'd be proud to be a Junior Forest Ranger, especially if I can make citizen's arrests. All the mean kids at school are going to be spending the next decade in prison now that I have been deputized.

This tiny pin (just over an inch high) is from the 1930s (I couldn't find a more precise date), and was issued by Cream of Wheat cereal. What does the "H.C.B." stand for? "Health helps Chevaliers win Battles". It's kooky, but I like it. The H.C.B. club was supposed to encourage kids to eat a hot breakfast. Oatmeal is for dopes, why not have some Cream of Wheat?

Next is this beautiful "Zorro" ring. At first you might assume that it is made from white gold, with engraved and faceted onyx stone. But no! It's plastic, the finest plastic in the world. While Disney's "Zorro" TV show aired from 1957 to 1959, there were four one-hour specials that aired in 1960 and 1961. As far as I can gather, this ring dates from the 1960s.

And finally, here is a swell tin whistle given out as part of Orphan Annie's "Safety Guard", a wartime club that seems to have replaced her earlier "Secret Society". These whistles were part of a group of items (including a paper decoder - brass was needed for munitions; a "defense bulletin", and a "letter to mother", among other things) given out by Quaker "Sparkies" cereal. At this time, Annie was friends with Captain Sparks, and the safety guard promoted good health and encouraged members to collect/save metals, rags, papers, etc. to support the war effort.

Oh my gosh, there is still SO much STUFF FROM THE BOX!

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

"Walt Disney's Disneyland" Part Six

Like the title of today's blog post says, I'm going to share PART SIX of JG's scans of his copy of "Walt Disney's Disneyland". Go back to the last five Tuesdays to see the previous parts, if you haven't been keeping up. I'm not angry, just dizzy.

Marty Sklar is hyping the wonders of Tomorrowland, but in this case, a picture is worth 1,000 words. I love this colorful image of the Tomorrowland Terrace, probably taken on a peak summer evening as hundreds of kids groove to one of the rock bands performing onstage. My guess is that it is The Mustangs.

A stegosaur and an allosaur sing an upbeat duet, probably "I Got You Babe", while volcanoes erupt all around them. Very romantic!

More text, this time covering the Peoplemover, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and Flight to the Moon. All long-gone by now (tears are streaming down my face as I type this). I love the porthole view from the Submarine Voyage.

What a beautiful shot of the Columbia as it sails the Rivers of America, chased by an angry canoe (you can just tell that it's angry). Love the dramatic sky. And hey, is that bit of steel framing to the left from the construction of the Matterhorn??

Marty is still writing about Tomorrowland, but I guess they ran out of good photos of that land, so we're back to looking at Storybook Land, with Geppetto's Village in the foreground. Yes, the village belongs to Geppetto, and he rules it with a wooden fist.

I have no idea what this photo shows, it must be something that wasn't at Disneyland for very long, and everyone has forgotten about it. Maybe that's one of those flying saucers I've heard about? 

Let's read about Audio Animatronics and  the Carousel of Progress, while enjoying a beautiful (and very cropped) photo of the Mine Train as it crosses the rickety trestle bridge. I'll bet the photographer dressed like a bear so as not to confuse the guests aboard the train. 

I've said it before, but the Grand Canyon Diorama is still one of my favorite things at Disneyland; there's just something about it. I guess I've always loved a good diorama (give me a natural history museum anytime), and this one is hard to beat.

And finally, here's a gorgeous photo of the yellow Monorail zooming over the Submarine lagoon. Notice that Mickey Mouse is riding in the nose cone! Do you think that they lit the Matterhorn with additional spotlights for the purposes of this picture? This same image appeared on a postcard, and I believe it was used on the cover of an issue of "Vacationland" magazine as well. It might have also appeared in National Geographic.

Just one more part to go! THANKS to JG for these great scans.

Monday, March 28, 2022

Mine Train Snapshots, 1965

Delving into a folder of scanned photo prints, I decided to share three 1965 views from the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. The photos go no further than the load area (and Rainbow Ridge), but they're still fun.

Our photographer was seated at Casa de Fritos, where the outdoor dining area had wooden tables and chairs painted in bright colors, as well as some interesting (?) thatched "umbrellas" that were also painted in bright reds, yellows, blues, and oranges. It made for a festive look on a sunny day.

Nearby, a yellow Mine Train is just about to start a journey through Nature's Wonderland, full of geysers and tumbling rocks, and bears and bobcats and other critters. Notice the attraction poster to the left!

Presumably those ladies and their two buzz-cut boys (and a mostly-obscured, mouse-eared girl) were family. I often wonder what goes on in the mind of a three or four year-old at this time. "Something's happening, but I have no idea what!".

Boy voyage, you lucky people, what I wouldn't give to ride the Mine Train one more time!

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Main Street Station, October 1967

It's Snoozer Sunday, and you know what that means. Prepared to be bored. You have been warned.

I love Disneyland's Main Street Station, by now it is 66 years old, probably older than some antique railroad stations were in 1955. If you know what I mean. It has that comforting solidity, and manages to look good too. All train depots need a floral portrait of Mickey Mouse in front of them, and if elected President, I shall make this my #1 priority. How many items from Kalamazoo can you see in this photo?

And here's the back side of the station, as it faces Town Square on a shockingly uncrowded day. This was 1967, too; the New Tomorrowland had opened only months before. October sure must have been the off-season, as kids were back in school and adults were in their sensory deprivation tanks.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Travel Town, July 1961

Today I am happy to present a series of slide scans from Travel Town, located in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. You know, the park where Walt sat on a bench watching his daughters while they rode the merry-go-round, dreaming of a place where people of all ages could have fun. I have covered Travel Town on this blog before, but for those who don't know, Travel Town Museum is a railway museum dedicated on December 14, 1952, and located in the northwest corner of Los Angeles, California's Griffith Park. The history of railroad transportation in the western United States from 1880 to the 1930s is the primary focus of the museum's collection, with an emphasis on railroading in Southern California and the Los Angeles area.

First up is this saddle tank locomotive; Travel Town has three saddle tank locomotives in its collection, but I was unable to determine which one this is. The museum's collection has changed over the years, but I'm sure I am just missing something. Luckily I could find information about all of the other trains!

Motor car No. 401 was built by the Edwards Motor Car Co. of Sanford, NC and put into service October 1926 by the Tucson, Cornelia & Gila Bend Railroad of Ajo, AZ. The motor car operated regularly until December 31, 1947 and was finally donated to Travel Town in Los Angeles, California.

The motor car traveled over 783,000 miles while in service, running between the copper mine at Ajo and Gila Bend, a distance of 43 miles. The car was powered by a six-cylinder White gasoline engine that was installed in November 1943, replacing the original after 17 years of service.

During 1963 the motor car was traded to Mr. Lindley Bothwell for two Los Angeles trolley cars. Acquired by Short Line Enterprises in 1975, the motor car was restored and operated in Virginia City during the 1976 season as the Washoe Zephyr No. 50. The motor car was moved to Jamestown, California and stored until it was moved to the Nevada State Railroad Museum in spring of 1988. The motor car is now owned by the museum.

The No. 50 received a new 75 HP Cummins diesel engine during the spring of 1997. The diesel engine replaced a 75 HP White gasoline engine. The White engine was installed about 1943, replacing the motorcar's original Continental engine.

In 1999, the motor car received a new fluid drive transmission, and, before participating in Railfair '99 at the California State Railroad Museum, was painted to reflect its appearance on the TC&GB.

I love this oddly-shaped Electric locomotive Electra built in 1902 in Sausalito by the North Shore Railroad. It was used during the cleanup after San Francisco's 1906 earthquake and fire. It was eventually purchased by the Pacific Electric Railroad and used as a work locomotive and switcher until 1952.

Here is the old locomotive #664 from the Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway. The 2-8-0 (Consolidation) type steam locomotive was builder's number 17187 of 45 locomotives built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1899 for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The original number was #891, but it was renumbered #664 in 1900. In 1910, it was loaned to the Pecos & Northern Texas Railway for 12 months, but then returned to the AT&SF. It was used for freight trains on AT&SF's Northern, Southern, Panhandle, Plains and Gulf Divisions, and was still in active service, before it was donated to the museum in 1953. 

A pair of old trolleys or streetcars sit silently, decades after they'd outlived their usefulness. The one to the right is probably from San Francisco; in 1952 Travel Town founder Charly Atkins asked the Mayor of San Francisco for a cable car to display, but was told, with an apology, that cable cars could not be sold or given away. Three years later, a solution was found: A cable car was placed on loan as the center piece of the 1953 International Flower Show in Los Angeles. Afterwards, it was moved on permanent loan to Travel Town.

While I went to Travel Town several times as a kid, I didn't remember that there were aircraft on display. Wikipedia confirms that there were some though: The museum transferred its military aircraft collection to other museums in the late 1980s into the 1990s. The Vought F7U-3 Cutlass was traded to the National Naval Aviation Museum at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. Two aircraft, the Airborne early warning and control Lockheed P2V-3 Neptune and Grumman F9F-2 Panther, were traded to a museum near Fresno, California in 1992. A small rocket similar to the German V-1 flying bomb was transferred to Vandenberg Air Force Base. A German World War II airplane engine was returned to its owner in 1988.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Travel Town!

Friday, March 25, 2022

Fun Fifties

I have a few nice scans for you today, both from sometime in the 1950s.

This first one is so fun, a mother and her son pose in Town Square while sporting the old arrow-through-the-head props, presumably bought in Merlin's Magic Shop. Steve Martin used a similar arrow-through-the-head gag in this early days, I have to wonder if he first found that silly toy in Disneyland.

Look at how empty Town Square is! You could definitely swing a dead cat with no problem whatsoever. It's hard to see because the background is out of focus, but the sign for Liberty Street is back near that patriotic bunting.

Mom joins in on the fun, and hey, she's cute too. Her son sports a brand-new buckskin coat, just like Davy Crocket wore. Maybe the arrows were purchased in Frontierland at the same time as the coat (rather than at Merlin's). He also has his Mighty Mouse shirt on, what a lucky kid.

Next is this wonderful images of a well-dressed couple in Fantasyland. I assume that it's winter, the lady has her sweater, and the park just has that slightly bare look. The tall masts of the Pirate Ship look particularly impressive here.

Is that man really wearing a TUXEDO? Whenever I see people this dressed up, I assume that it was probably a Sunday, and that they headed over to the park right after church.  Either that, or the man just came from MI6 after having an exciting adventure in South America. His partner's name is Sassy Silkstockings. She can knock you out with one judo chop.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Adventureland, October 1967

Here are some fun Adventureland views for you today - with NO Jungle Cruise! They said it couldn't happen.

I always love a good look at a souvenir stand, and here's one full of tropical knickknacks by the bin. Flowers and bananas (always a classic combo) adorn the edge of the thatched hut for a colorful and festive look. 

Please ignore the boats from that ride! The quality of this phots is a bit soft, so it's hard to make out what is in the bins other than various seashells (abalone and conch). I need a genuine artificial lei like the ones to the left - I've seen a photo in which you can see a "Disneyland" tag on them, and yet I've never seen one for sale on eBay. They must have sold many thousands over the years.

One interesting detail is the presence of three of the little "tiki babies" that were normally found over in the Enchanted Tiki Room (circled in pink). I confess that my criminal impulses make me wish that I could go back to 1967 so that one of the babies (or all three) might accidentally fall into my stroller. "How did that get in there?". Could they have actually been for sale?

Here is a better look at some of the Tiki babies. Being hand-painted, it seems that no two were alike, even when they were cast from the same mold. Which is cool. I sure would love to have some of these in my collection! When they do show up in an auction, you can be sure that they will fetch thousands of dollars. Imagineer Marc Davis was a collector of Polynesian and Oceanic art, I wonder if he was consulted on the design of these?

Here's a previously-posted photo showing many babies as they descended from the branches of Tangaroa, the father of all Tiki gods and goddesses. "Oh mystic powers, hear my call: from my limbs let new life fall!".

And, for an anticlimax, here's a "just okay" photo of the exit for the Tiki Room (still sponsored by United Airlines at this point).

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Monorail Blue, March 1962

Cerulean. Cobalt. Ultramarine. Windsor. Periwinkle. SO MANY KINDS OF BLUE. But I only have eyes for Monorail Blue! We've certainly seen photos like today's examples many times, but can anybody truly grow weary of seeing a streamlined Monorail gliding above a tropical lagoon? It's like getting tired of beautiful sunsets. Hey, I ordered a cloudless day - I want to talk to the manager.

"Zoooooom!". Monorails don't make that sound, but wouldn't it be cool if they did? They should let the Monorail pilots make race car noises over an external PA system for the entire ride. "Nyeeeeerrrrrr! Screeeech! Bwaaaaaarrrr!". All for one $22 uncharge.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

"Walt Disney's Disneyland" Part Five

Can you believe that today's post features PART FIVE of JG's scans of Walt Disney's Disneyland? Well, BELIEVE IT!

I love this page, introducing a NEW ATTRACTION. "The Walt Disney Story". The photo shows Abe Lincoln, even though he was temporarily benched (or "moved to Florida", that's what happened to my dog sniffles according to my mom). Here's what Wikipedia says: While the exterior remained the same with the exception of new signage, the interior was redesigned so the exhibits could reflect the history of Walt Disney, The Walt Disney Company, and Disneyland. The main theater looked the same, but the audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln and other props and set pieces were either removed or remained in place covered by the projection screen that was added to show the tribute film to Walt Disney. The film, which lasted 23 minutes, stitched together archival film and audio footage that appeared to be an autobiography of Walt Disney.

The Enchanted Tiki Room. The 1964 World's Fair. SeƱor Lincoln. Sometimes ya just gotta read, folks.

Oh boy, a beautiful panorama of the Rivers of America. So much going on, including a guy in a sombrero! 

In 1973, New Orleans Square was only 7 years old. But it sure was a fantastic addition to Disneyland, with its winding streets, wrought-iron, and ferns. LOTS of ferns. You might happen upon live Dixieland music any time, though it is doubtful that you will see Br'er Bear or Br'er Fox much anymore.

Marty Sklar let's us know about the Blue Bayou restaurant, and "Pirates of the Caribbean", which was originally supposed to be presented with guinea pigs in cute little costumes. Audio Animatronics are still referred to as a modern wonder of science and art. "It's a Small World" moved into Disneyland in 1966. The concept of the ride might be a bit dated, but the message of peace and friendship is as relevant as ever.

Oh yeah, the NEW TOMORROWLAND! Readers of this blog know that I particularly love Tomorrowland, and the "new one" is what I remember most from my childhood. It just dazzled me. Speaking of dazzled, how about that view looking down from the peak of the Matterhorn?

Just look at that Tomorrowland! What's not to love? I want to ride the Peoplemover, and the Rocket Jets, and Adventure Thru Inner Space, and the Carousel of Progress, and go see Circle-Vision 360, and... there was so much amazing stuff to do.

And lastly (for today), here are a few more photos to tide you over until next Tuesday. I always love a good long exposure of the Rocket Jets.


Monday, March 21, 2022

Tomorrowland, November, 1959 (and more)

Hooray for Lou and Sue, providers of so many great vintage photos - taken by Lou Perry, and scanned and shared for us by Sue B.! 

This first one is "not like the others"... for some reason I didn't share it with other vintage Fantasyland photos. I blame society. But I'll bet you'll enjoy it just as much today. It's from 1958, when the Sleeping Beauty Castle walk-thru was pretty new (having debuted on April 29, 1957). I sure wish I knew what the original dioramas looked like, but photos of that sort of thing are rare-to-nonexistent. The walk-thru closed after the 9-11 attacks in 2001, but reopened, with new and improved scenes and effects in 2008. I love it! 

OK, now let's get on with the main event, a series of photos taken by Lou when the 1959 iteration of Tomorrowland was still NEW and shiny. It must have blown people's minds, when you think of what a typical amusement park looked like, with their steel rollercoasters and various spinning rides. Not that there's anything wrong with those (we love those rides, Andrew!). 

Who could have ever imagined living to see submarines gliding through blue-green water, while a Monorail beamway curves overhead? We just saw a streamlined rocket-shaped train pass by, what a sight. THE FUTURE IS NOW

Ya gotta have at least one Skyway view. I'm pretty sure that's in the Constitution. Or maybe I read it in a comic book, it's so hard to keep things straight. It's pretty hard to believe how uncrowded the park is, a mere five months after so many fabulous attractions debuted at Disneyland. Lou could have gone on every ride with hardly any wait at all!

 MANY THANKS to Lou and Sue!