Sunday, July 31, 2022

Cinderella Castle, March 1962

Here's a pair of not-great looks at Storybook Land's Cinderella Castle, as seen from a passing Skyway gondola. The gray, cloudy sky feels a bit oppressive, if we'd had some nice sunshine these might have been much more fun to look at.

So, there it is, looming over the miniature village where Cinderella used to live. The colors are so odd - kind of unpleasant to be honest! It's like "The land where nobody is happy". Even the tangerine-sized pumpkin coach isn't on the roadway yet.

This next one is even more dark and gloomy, Tim Burton would love it here. 


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles

I'm always excited when I find old slides showing Los Angeles the way it used to be - when I was a kid, my grandmother would tell me stories of when she first came out to L.A. in 1929, the year she married my grandpa. She was from Illinois, and loved all that L.A. had to offer. For those of you who have no interest in photos from this area, well... there's always tomorrow.

First up is this unusual photo from February, 1969, taken looking eastward on Wilshire Boulevard. The street sign tells us that this is at the corner of Westmoreland Avenue, and we can see some distinctive landmarks such as "Maggi's" (I can only assume that store sold women's clothing), the Sheraton West, and that interesting shopping center across the street. Way in the distance we can see a group of several white buildings, including the Royal Apartments, the Bryson Apartments, and the Fifield Wilshire.

Using Google's "Street View", this is about as close as I could get to approximating the view from the previous picture. Things have changed over the last 59 years, including that curvy glass building, which I believe is an apartment complex.

Next is this view of Wilshire (circa March, 1962), over in the Westwood area; we're looking east near the Gayley Avenue intersection. I sometimes wonder why a person would take a photo like this - but I'm glad that they did! There's the Linde Medical Plaza (with the blue face toward us). Two large buildings are under construction, this was a boom time for Wilshire!

Here's a vintage postcard showing the same intersection, from a few years later.

And here's a Google street view. Glass boxes aplenty!

Friday, July 29, 2022

Disneyland 1973

I have another selection of beautiful photos from my friend and yours, Mr. X. Yes, THE Mr. X. Accept no substitutions. 

First up is this delightful shot of the Swift Market House. Not only is it a good photo of  the Market House, but we get some grade-A people action too. The blond lady with the beehive hairdo is my favorite. Each year she spent $25 on Aqua Net hairspray. The equivalent of $5,000 today! 

This next view is just a little bit "soft focus", but it's still pretty good, and it gives us a lovely (and rare) night view of Fantasyland - particularly the Mad Tea Party. It's not really mad, it's just disappointed. 

And finally, here's a wonderful shot of the Matterhorn. Is it "postcard worthy"? Survey says YES. I'd better dollars to donuts that Mr. X waited a while for a Monorail to pass by, that's the kind of guy he is. About one year ago I shared a detail of this photo, the sign for the Alpine Gardens, over to the right. The yellow sun has expanded into a "red giant", having nearly exhausted the hydrogen in its core. Makes ya  think.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Columbia, 1979

Today I have another selection of images from the Mysterious Benefactor - from Frontierland, as usual. It's more photos of the Columbia!

Thar she goes, somehow moving forward with no apparent means of propulsion. I think it is being pulled by six manatees, because it makes sense. And I am all about making sense, as you know.

One of the things I particularly love about today's photos is the way that Frontierland looks. Admittedly, it's mostly just stands of trees along the shore. What's so exciting about that? But it just looks beautiful, and suitably frontier-y. Hey, I think I can see one of the manatees! Or is it a dugong? 

When you are piloting a sailing vessel pulled by mammals, you have to apply the drum brakes just so. It takes years of practice; sometimes it helps to make a skidding sound with your mouth. Scrrrrrrrrtch! Come on, just try it. Don't mind the funny looks of those near you, they have no idea of the pressure you are under!

Gosh, the Columbia sure looks great against that lush forest that goes on and on for hundreds of miles.

And... it's gone! Maybe it was never really there. I'm not crazy!

Thank you as always to our friend, the Mysterious Benefactor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Family Portraits, June 1961 - and more!

Here's a fun batch for your Wednesday! We'll start out with this nice family portrait, taken in the afternoon. Why, there's Aunt Polly, and cousin Mitch, and little Grundoon and Pugsley. Don't forget Peepaw. (Who calls their grandfathers "Peepaw", I mean, come on!). Disneyland's population is a mere 25 million. 

Next, Grundoon and Pugsley are with their charming mother, posing with the Chief over at the Indian Village. That hot pink satin garment -is it a tunic?- is certainly eye-catching (I've seen him wearing "electric purple" too). Meanwhile, there was just something about that mom that was making my spidey senses tingle. NOT IN A WEIRD WAY!

Well, by golly! Here she is with Pugsley, in a photo originally posted in January of 2021. I bought these slides separately, so it's kind of fun to see that they really do match up.

I might add that we saw that same woman when she was just a young girl in this Christmas photo that I shared in December of 2020.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Even More Stuff From the Box

All the cool kids want to know about the Stuff From the Box! Are YOU a cool kid? Today's batch actually marks the end of a third box (they're small, you know?), but I've already photographed about 40 items from a fourth box. Rejoice!

The first item for this installment is a swell little brass Dick Tracy "Secret Service Patrol SECOND YEAR Member" badge. It was issued by Quaker Cereal in 1938/39 as a tie-in to a radio program. Just mail in two box tops! There were seven different badges in all; the first one was "Secret Service Patrol Member". Then there was the "Second Year Member" as seen here, followed by "Sergeant", "Lieutenant", "Captain", "Inspector General", and "Patrol Leader" - I don't quite understand how a kid advanced in rank, but it supposedly got increasingly more difficult (as you might expect). I actually have the whole set in some other box, you'll see them someday!

Next is this fun little item, a 1/2" brass button with Little Nemo's name and portrait. I'd never seen anything like this before! Artist Winsor McCay created the marvelous "Little Nemo in Slumberland" comic strip starting in 1905, and today it is remembered for its incredibly imaginative adventures, drawn with incredible draftsmanship by McCay. The strip continued in various forms until 1927, and McCay even made some early animated films featuring Nemo, and there was at least one stage musical.

One of the most famous Sunday strips showed Nemo and his friend Flip as Nemo's bed sprouts long rubbery legs and walks through the city. Most strips ended when Nemo fell out of bed, waking up and ending the dream. 

Next is this nice identification bracelet from Little Orphan Annie. This is the 1939 Ovaltine version. You don't want to be unidentified, do you? DO YOU? Luckily, as a famous blogger, everyone can tell me who I am when I happen to forget. But if pirates abduct you and take you to Sri Lanka, where you make your clever escape, you can prove to the locals that you are a U.S. citizen. "Tell President Roosevelt to send a plane. And some Ovaltine!".

It just makes one feel more secure knowing that the Orphan Annie Identification Bureau (or OAIB) in Chicago has a complete dossier in their vast warehouse of records.

Ward's SOFT BUN BREAD brings us this "Scoop" Ward official reporter badge. It's a radio premium, though I can find little info about the program. "News of Youth", it sounds exciting! "Mike Terwilliger rescued some kittens yesterday, and the Mayor gave him the key to the city". At least that's what I imagine that the news was like.

In 1962, the city of Seattle hosted the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the 1962 World's Fair. You know, the one with the Space Needle! One of my all-time favorite needles. This brass token, about the size of a 50 cent piece, could be used as a trade dollar at the Fair or at participating businesses during the run of the event. As you know, in 1962 you could buy a new car for a dollar, so this was quite a value. 

Sorry if this next photo frightened you! Check out this cool brass skull ring with blue "gemstones" as eyes. Sadly it does not fit on my adult finger. I'm unsure of this ring's origin, though it might be a 1939 Popsicle prize. I've seen different rings with slight variations (silver tone rather than brass, solid sides rather than the "cut outs" seen here), and wish I could find more concrete info.

And finally, here's another Radio Orphan Annie item - this time it's a "Secret Society" pin from 1934. It is some sort of silver-toned metal over brass, I love that whoever owned this originally wore it so much that the silvering was rubbed away in spots.

Stay tuned for more you-know-what!

Monday, July 25, 2022

New York World's Fair Panorama

Way back on August 23, 2006, I shared a panorama of the New York World's Fair, created by merging four separate photos that were taken atop the Better Living Center. I don't know if the photographer was using a tripod or not, but happily, the slides knit together beautifully, creating a fairly amazing panoramic view of the Fair as it looked in September of 1964.

In this first photo, we can see such things as the Tower of the Four Winds to the extreme left, along with the Eastman Kodak pavilion, the New York State pavilion in the distance, the Schaefer Center in the lower right, and the green dome from the Travel and Transportation pavilion above that.

Moving right (or northward), there's the T-shaped Port Authority building, where helicopters would land (and take off). And of course there's the Unisphere, and the Ford "crown roast" pavilion to the right of that. The red tile roof of the Republic of China pavilion can be seen, as well as the wooden A-frames of the Austria pavilion, and the Johnson's Wax pavilion - the "gold disk" with the white-columned covering to the extreme right.

The "600 aluminum prisms" of the Tower of Light pavilion are notable, with the United States pavilion just visible above it. In the stance to the right is Shea Stadium, and in the right foreground is the General Electric "Progressland" done. Notice the line for the GE pavilion snaking through that empty lot, eventually they installed shades to protect visitors from the blistering sun as they waited for hours to get in.

Above the GE pavilion we can see the tower of the Mormon pavilion, with the IBM "egg" next to that. Just to its right is the Equitable Life pavilion (right on the edge of the water). The "Pool of Industry" is where a spectacular show of fireworks and music would take place nightly. And right in front of us is the Clairol pavilion.

Here's the photo-merged panorama, with a bit of additional color correction. It's pretty spectacular! I made it nice and big for you.

Using this nice aerial view of the Fair, I thought I'd show the amount area encompassed by the previous photo. Our photographer would have been standing atop the Better Living Center, where the pink star is, and as you can see, he got a 100-degree (or so) angle. There is actually a fifth photo that would have made the view nearly 180 degrees, but the stuff in the foreground didn't quite merge, so I didn't include it.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Frontierland, 1950s

Here are more scans from a large batch of 1950s slides, of which 3/4 were Frontierland images. Being Sunday, I'm sharing a few that leave much to be desired.

For the first few years of Disneyland's existence, you could have seen a Conestoga Wagon or two rumbling along the shores of the Rivers of America. This is the cheerful blue "Westward Ho!" wagon - there was also wagon that was painted brown, that one said "Oregon or bust". If this image was just a little bit sharper it would have made me happy.

Next we have some killer vampire elk, some of the most feared animals of the West. Don't make eye contact!! Since the trees are still so scrawny, we can see the berm fairly well, and while it is basically a pile of leftover dirt, they arranged it to look like a fairly believable range of low hills. Notice the little portage carved into the shore for small boats, presumably for maintenance staff.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles 1961

Here's a pair of neat vintage photos featuring the legendary Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, circa 1961.  Designed by architect Myron Hunt, the Ambassador Hotel formally opened to the public on January 1, 1921. With its Mediterranean styling, tile floors, Italian stone fireplaces and semi-tropical courtyard, the Ambassador enchanted guests for over six decades. Later renovations by architect Paul Williams were made to the hotel in the late 1940s. It was also home to the Cocoanut Grove nightclub, Los Angeles’ premier night spot for decades; host to six Oscar ceremonies and to every United States President from Herbert Hoover to Richard Nixon. And of course it is where Robert Kennedy was assassinated in 1968.

The sign for the Cocoanut Grove is a bit hard to read, but it says, "AMBASSADOR: Cocoanut Grove: Presents The Liberace Show: Freddy Martin Orchestra", and in the middle, "Mr. Showmanship: LIBERACE". 

Here's a pretty view of the gardens in front the Ambassador, with lawns and fountains, and some bungalows, where I assume all of the movie stars liked to stay. Behind the Phoenix palm we can just see the tower from the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, which still stands along Wilshire Boulevard to this day. The Ambassador was torn down in 2006. 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Beautiful Tomorrowland, 1973

Oh boy, I have two beauties for you today, courtesy of my friend Mr. X! As I have said before, he handed me a stack of 35mm negatives from photos that he personally took 49 years ago. To keep, ya see?! And by golly, many of them turned out to be really nice. Pretty cool, huh?

Check it out. I love the color and composition in this one! For one thing, you've got that intense blue sky, the red and yellow Peoplemover trains, and the gleaming white snows of the Matterhorn. You almost need dark glasses to look at it. The way the Peoplemover is arranged on that undulating edge of the track is really neat too.

Zooming in, we can see three climbers on the Matterhorn; Hans, Otto, and a rare photo of their American cousin, Cletus. The climbers almost always ascended in pairs, so I wonder why they broke with tradition this time?

The perfect accompaniment to the first photo is this  wonderful shot of the Rocket Jets, with more Peoplemover goodness as well. Mr. X almost always went to the trouble of waiting for the jets to be in the "up" position before he took a photo, and it was well worth it.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Nice Jungle Cruise 1950s

Here's a pair of nice early Jungle Cruise photos for you, taken on a gloomy, overcast day. Perfect for flying leeches and killer monkeys. Grandma and grandpa look like they're just about to board a jungle launch, while another one returns from a week in the Amazon. 

This next one is more interesting to me; besides the crocodile guardians along that stretch of river, you can see a bridge made out of vines in the distance, betraying the presence of other people in this green Hell. Meanwhile, there's that strange raft in the foreground... looks like it holds a bunch of mysterious equipment. All I can really ID is the outboard motor and a fire extinguisher or two (and maybe a gas can), but what are those silvery things that look like... well, I don't know what they look like. I guess you could argue that this was a case of "bad show", maybe it shouldn't be visible to guests, but it also looks like it could be stuff salvaged from past expeditions that didn't go so well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Keelboat Kastmembers!

Today will be the first of several blog posts featuring photos contributed by GDB reader Ken S. ("KS" in the comments), who spent some happy years as a Disneyland cast member. Along with the photos, Ken was kind enough to include some commentary, which will make up the bulk of the text here. As you can see, both photos feature Keelboat crews. Here's Ken:

First I never worked the Keelboats, so not much I can add to the stories of those who have.  How one was selected to be trained on a particular attraction probably had a lot to do about timing and need, with a dash of political pull.  But having "permanent" status vs those who were "seasonals", it was always prudent to cross train the ride operators on a number of attractions of which I worked most on the Westside over time...  or as we called it then Adventure/Frontierland. One of those fond attractions were the Canoes, which was an all-male attraction at the time.  Back then, we never gave it a thought, that's just the way it was.

A fraternity of male college students and local area teachers who could work when school was out.  One can imagine a lot of testosterone, hi-jinks, paddle contests.  Splashing one another with that river water, (had showers in the locker room!) chasing mud hens, racing alongside the Columbia.  It could be a genuine workout if one desired.  In fact, one CM not pictured could paddle, with some help from his steering partner, a full canoe on his own around the river.  He PULLED you along.

These two particular pictures were taken one August afternoon in 1974 when the River went "101" for 2 hours.  The switch for access to and from Fowler's Harbor got stuck in the "open" position after the Columbia was moved and divers needed to come to correct the situation. So what were we to do?  Well. Instead of standing around, many of us took off with camera in hand and commandeered the Gullywhumper which was tethered on the dock outside the main canoe dock.  With two Keel boats in the fleet, only one could be tied up at its assigned location next to the rafts.  When the second boat was not in use, it would be tied up adjacent to the canoe dock.  What could be better than a few group pictures?  And here's two of them.

Yours truly is in the second shot, hatless and below the first line of the guys, looking away from the camera, and holding onto the rail.  Unlike today's management, ours was raised within the park under Disney's guidance.  They understood that a little fun was something to be tolerated...provided it was wholesome.  Did we get into trouble here?  No, not at all,  We understood that there was a line not to be crossed though that line got pushed and pulled now and then.  It shows the fun and love we had working together...we were a team of hardworking paddlers and were proud of it.  With social media, I am in contact with many of them today.  We all had successful careers...from an airline pilot, to first responders, business executives, a medical researcher at a prestigious institution, a starting quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks, and even one who made Disney a career, we had character...and we WERE characters. 

THANK YOU to Ken! It's so much fun to read his thoughts and memories, it sure sounds like a wonderful time. Be sure to stay tuned for more photos from him!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Happy Birthday, DrGoat!

Did you know that today - July 19th - is DrGoat's birthday? You can call him Peter if you like (even though I like his nickname a lot. Happy Birthday, Peter! From his own family photos we can enjoy this very cute image of Peter and his big sister Chris. Adorable!

And from Sue B. (though not a "Lou and Sue" photo) comes this fun image of a baby's birthday party. One year old, I guess? There are cans of Orange Crush soda (love that artificial orange flavor!) and a quart of Baskin Robbins ice cream. Probably vanilla, but give me rocky road. Cereal boxes on top of the fridge, just like at my mom's house... fun!

Peter has emailed some other family photos as well, and I thought that today would be the perfect time to post them on GDB (with Peter's permission of course). I love this picture taken as Peter's family made the move from New York city to Tucson. DrGoat said Found this photo of my Dad and a friend who helped load the car on the second trip. That’s my Uncle’s English Ford and our Plymouth that seemed to be indestructible. Wish I still had it.

Next! Peter says Here’s the only pic I could find that was scanned of my Uncle’s VW bus they bought in France, traveled around Europe for three months and ended up in Italy.  That’s a stranger checking it out in Marseille. They had it shipped back to the US and kept it till the wiring burned out and it was sold. I got to drive it quite a bit. No power, got up to 55 or 60 on the highway with the accelerator pedal all the way to the floor.

How's this for a fun photo? Here's the description, which Peter says... is of me and Quentin in ’72 on our way to LA and Disneyland for a week or two, driving my new Fiat 850 Spider which you could lift up the back end with two strong guys, or gals. Fun to drive but problematic at times.  A little faster than a VW but not by much. Quentin and I grew up on the same block and were good friends until he passed about 22 years ago.

As long as we are on the subject of cars, here is my short lived Mustang I had in ’75. Guy ran a red light and I plowed right in to him. End of Mustang. TokyoMagic! is going to really feel the pain for this one.

And finally, here's a Disneyland photo from April 15th or 16th, 1995. Peter and his wife had been admitted to the park early for "Magic Morning" (a perk of staying in a Disney hotel). He says: Getting on the Indiana Jones ride first was one of our goals, so we started to head over when we ran into that guide, who told us we better hurry because they are ready to open the park. We were crossing over to Adventureland at the plaza when we looked up Main Street, we could see a mob of people storming towards us from the train station. Looked like a scene from Frankenstein when the villagers, torches in hand, stormed up to Frankenstein’s castle. We started laughing, but they were moving fast, so we gathered our wits and made a dash for Adventureland and caught up with the guide who started laughing and said “follow me”.  Thus we made it to be first in line. About 2 minutes later, there were about 100 people lined up behind us. I’ll never forget that moment. It was the third day of a 5 day stay at the D-Hotel. (our longest stay at Disneyland). Never did more than 2 days before or after that. It was a very special trip. On the last day, my wife had had enough, so she stayed at the hotel and Downtown Disney and I got that last day by myself in the park. We met for lunch, she went back to the hotel and I went back to the park.

Happy Birthday, Peter, and thank you for sharing all of these wonderful photos and personal memories!