Sunday, December 31, 2023

New Year's Eve

Oh my gosh, it's almost 2024! And I just know that it is going to be the BEST YEAR EVER. It's just a hunch. But before we get there, we get to celebrate the end of 2023 with parties. Big parties, small parties, they're all good. Of course I will be celebrating by sitting in a darkened room and staring at the wall, but it's what I enjoy.

Sue B. (of "Lou and Sue" fame, though this is not a Lou Perry photo) sent me this first scan, a rather unsettling image of guests staring at the camera with their freaky metallic masks. It's like a scene out of "Eyes Wide Shut" (oops, my fingers wanted to type a bad word starting with "S").  Two ladies sit on the laps of their husbands, which is kind of naughty, but everyone knows that GDB is rated "R" - RESTRICTED! Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult.

This next one is from my collection, it is labeled "New Year's Eve 1955", but the clock is past midnight, so... welcome to 1956! The women enjoy classic noisemakers, while the man brandishes a revolver - something he tends to do after his sixth martini. Luckily his wife made sure that there were no rounds in the chamber - this is not her first rodeo.

Next is a picture from New Year's Eve, 1957. The kids are only allowed to stay up this late for very special occasions; sis is in her jammies, but her little brother is ready to party all night. Soon that pointy hat will be replaced by a lampshade, and he will be singing "Danny Boy". AGAIN. He's going to be so hung over in the morning!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year's Eve!

For TokyoMagic! - - - 

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Two Mystery Photos, and One Non-Mystery Photo

I've been scanning a lot of random slides recently, and half the fun is trying to ID the locations of unlabeled examples. Sometimes it's pretty easy, but other times, I find that I am completely stumped. The first two examples have baffled me, but I am confident that the Junior Gorillas will come to the rescue!

First up is this rather striking photo - undated, but almost surely from the 1950s. We see a nice downtown area (plenty of metered parking available!) taken as the last rays of sunshine add a warm glow to the buildings - contrasted with the dark, stormy sky. The photo is not quite sharp enough to allow some of the small signs to be legible. Way in the distance is what might be a Civil War monument to Confederate soldiers. I hoped that the Empire Furniture Co. building to the left might help - but it didn't. Maybe one of you recognizes the high-rise in the distance.

Next is another undated, unlabeled slide, probably from the 1970s. We see that interesting saucer-shaped building (a convention center?), surrounded by palm trees. To the left is a banner advertising the Jerry Lewis Telethon, so I thought this might be Las Vegas, but the cars all appear to have California driver's license plates (I found no yellow Nevada plates when I searched online). It's a mere coincidence that this photo also features a sunlit foreground and a stormy sky!

This third example was a mystery for a while! Many of you will recognize the two boys, who have appeared on GDB several times (see HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). Where are they this time? At first I thought it might be Union Square, San Francisco. But luckily for me, we can see the KING'S CLUB in the background. Look at all those pigeons on the grass, yuck!

Looking that up, I found this matchbook for King's Club, 401 Broadway at 4th, in San Diego. 

This screen grab from Google Maps "street view" shows a contemporary view (looking eastward), that's Horton Plaza Park between us and the former location of King's Club.

Apparently the building where King's Club was located was torn down and replaced with what we see here, a serviceable but boring building with no ghosts whatsoever.

 I'm sure I will have more MYSTERY PHOTOS for you!

Friday, December 29, 2023

Two Beauties From January 1959

Happy Friday! I hope you have all recovered from your holiday excesses. I was going to lecture all of you about the importance of eating dry toast and one carrot for most meals, but I'll cool it. For today. 

I have two scans from the very beginning of 1959 (or very late 1958, depending on when the slides were processed), starting with this wonderful parking lot shot. We are surrounded by wonderful automobiles, which nobody can identify. What's the point of even trying? A crane looms over the park, possible involved in the construction of the Matterhorn. As for the park, we can mostly only see Main Street buildings, although the tippy-top of the TWA Moonliner is peeking up to the right.

I zoomed in so that you can see the snow-covered hills in the distance!

Meanwhile, in Town Square, Keystone Cops have formed a Saxophone Quartet. Thanks to that record "The Official Album of Disneyland/Walt Disney World", I can only hear "Minnie's Yoo-Hoo" in my brain when I see these fellows. 

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Stuff From the Box

Hey! It seemed like a good day to explore more STUFF FROM THE BOX. There's so much of it, we may never run out. 

First up is this generic toy badge, "American Aviator". Every boy (and many girls) probably dreamed of being able to fly an airplane, or at least ride IN an airplane. I can't find any information about this item, but I'd guess that it is from the 1930s. Many aviation-related pins are tiny, but this one is beefy as heck.

I have a fondness for tin-litho clickers like this one - Click With Welles Family Department Stores! Welles started in Lima, Ohio, and debuted in 1960. One article stated that the self-service store, which will employ more than 200, will have 80 departments, featuring everything from family apparel to monkeys … a wide variety of pets will be sold, including monkeys, honey bears, anteaters and skunks (de-odorized). They really did have everything! The company filed for bankruptcy in 1972.

I really don't collect political items as a rule, and yet I keep finding various pins and small medals. This brass pin has the profiles of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his Vice President (from 1933 to 1941) John Nance Garner. Garner eventually ran against FDR in 1940, losing of course. Henry A. Wallace became FDR's Vice President.

Here is a Sky King Navajo Treasure ring, a 1950 premium from Peter Pan Peanut Butter. The ring is "silvered brass" and simulated turquoise, and would look stunning on the finger of any Hollywood starlet.

Engraved on the sides are a thunderbird and a - well, a... um... I don't know what that thing is, but it's one of the best I've ever seen.

Not only do I like tin-litho clickers, I also have a fondness for these tin badges with the fold-over tabs (unused, of course!). Here we have the TraveLodge Sleepy Bear, a favorite mascot of mine. The lower round part of the badge is about the size of a U.S. quarter.

And finally, here are two rings, I believe that they are made out of fossilized ivory (what else could it be?), featuring "Twinkie the Kid", the mascot for Hostess Twinkies introduced in 1971. Even though the Kid was used in advertising for about two decades, I am reasonably sure that these rings are from the early 1970s.

Stay tuned for more STUFF FROM THE BOX!

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Two Leftuggies™

Leftuggies: sometimes they can be dry and flavorless. Or they can be... um... wet and flavorful? Well, that's not exactly what I mean, but I think you get the idea. This first scan is from July 1969 - a very nice look at the Plaza Pavillion on a warm Summer day. I wonder why that person wanted a picture taken there of all places? Maybe the food was just that good (wet and flavorful!). Those who are "in the know" (in other words, all GDB readers) are aware that the back side of this building is themed to work in Adventureland, with a thatched roof and bamboo.

This nice lady is probably familiar to regular readers, since we've seen her at  Universal Studios, and in Trenton, Ontario. Now she's at Disneyland, circa September 1966. The sun is sinking into the west, casting a rosy glow on everything, including her. The boy to our right seems to be enjoying the view!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Entrance, April 1974

It's time for two more scans from the CURSED batch of slides dated "April, 1974". "But Major, what do you mean 'cursed'? Sure you don't believe in such superstitious nonsense!". Well I DO! How else can you explain  the fact that these slides are (generally) so dark? CHECKMATE! (I originally typed "Chuckmate", but didn't want to upset Chuck).

Clearly the curse hadn't kicked in fully at this point, so this first scan looks OK. Folks are scurrying around near the entrance (or exit), we can just see some of the "granite" stonework of one of the tunnels beneath the train tracks. The flower Mickey portrait is just out of frame to our right. How many of those nice trees have survived?

I have the feeling our photographer might have gone to the park for at least a two-day visit, but it's just a guess really. Here we are, waiting in line to buy our ticket books on what appears to be a breezy day. My hair! Luckily I brought a babushka. Notice the fellow to the right staring at us spookily. Do you think he is a cast member? 

Monday, December 25, 2023

Vintage Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! Even those of you who are not observant can enjoy a nice morning with presents, right? As I write this blog post (weeks ahead of December 25th), I wonder if SoCal will have one of those unpleasant HOT Christmases. If so, I will be sure to sprinkle plenty of that fake asbestos snow all around my home so that it feels colder.

I have some vintage scans from Christmas mornings of yore, starting with this first one from our good friend Sue B! She is looking adorable and happy with her Bozo doll and other fantastic toys and goodies. She said: This one is obviously from Christmas 1964 (I was four), and I'm wearing the cowgirl outfit that my Great Uncle gave me for Christmas - that I LOVED.  In this photo is a Disneyland gift AND a Knott's Berry Farm gift.  The Disneyland one is easy to find...but can anyone find the KFB gift? 

Don't you love the couch with the plastic covers?  At one point, my folks had [transparent] deep blue plastic covers made for this couch and the matching chair.  I still have that tree (that slices your fingers and hands when you work with the branches) and ornaments. 
I have wonderful memories from this Christmas! Thank you for sharing, Sue!

This one is from 1959, and you can see the results of the morning's carnage. Presents everywhere! But at the moment the little boy only has eyes for his toy train ("Fancy Dan"??). Not only does the train have a face, but it has forearms, which is not something one sees every day. I especially admire that sweet toy convertible to the extreme left, what a beauty! And how about some Juicyfruit gum (to the right)?  

Next we see a lucky girl admiring her loot on Christmas morning, 1961. The tricycle is the obvious "big item", though there is a toy truck in the lower right - presumably for her brother? The "wipe off drawing board" must have been an early version of the white boards found in every office. Oh, and I like the girls "mad doctor" goggles! On the table I can see a LIFE magazine...

.... here it is!

And finally, from 1963 comes this scan featuring a young boy and his brand new Hawthorn 700 wagon. All steel, I'm sure. Pay no attention to the double exposure area to the left. Why are you looking, I just told you to pay no attention to it! Also, don't think about elephants. Seeing the pile of presents reminds me of when I was a kid - my grandparents would visit, and with 8 people in the house, including me and my three siblings, the sheer amount of gifts was frankly kind of obscene. Then a friend would come over and I would actually feel embarrassed, realizing how spoiled rotten I was. But I got over it in a hurry.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, happy day! I should be back very soon.

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Christmas Parade, 1963 - PART 4

Whoa, it's Christmas Eve! I hope you are all wearing your ugly sweaters and sipping hot cocoa with mini marshmallows. Today I am sharing the last of the photos from the 1963 "Christmas In Many Lands" parade. Go back and take a look at the first three installments if you haven't seen them yet, for gosh sakes. 

Full disclosure: this photo should have been shared in the first parade post, but I saved it for today because we can see a very special person in the Horseless Carriage - Fred MacMurray! Professor Brainard himself. I'm sure that car is powered by Flubbergas, but it wouldn't do much good to have the car soaring hundreds of feet above the crowd. I'm quite thrilled to have a photo of Fred MacMurray, I'll tell you what.

Back to our regularly-scheduled parade floats - I mentioned in the first parade post that December 22nd not only was date of the "Christmas In Many Lands" parade, but Jason's Disneyland Almanac also mentioned the debut of the "Parade of Toys". I wondered if they did that parade earlier in the day, but now that I'm sober, I can see that the Parade of Toys was sort of the Grand Finale of the whole shebang.

The Motorized Firetruck is driven by a toy fireman, and the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty (Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather) are along for the ride. Behind them, some mouse elves (?) sit atop a giant mouse trap, which is pulling a red wagon sporting a giant tin clown.

Next, a choo-choo pulls a float with puppet versions of the Golden Horseshoe Revue dancers. I would think that it might be tricky to keep one's footing on that moving float! But the puppet showgirls don't seem worried.

Another toy train pulls a float with a trio of choir singers. Those choir figures look very much like some little  German figures (made of lathe-turned wood) that my mom has had since her trip to Europe in 1948! 

And it wouldn't be a Disneyland Christmas parade without the platoon of toy soldiers from Babes in Toyland. I'm always happy to see them.

Those mysterious presents seen behind the guests in all the previous photos actually held hundreds and hundreds of colorful balloons, which have been released for a colorful daytime finale (as the Flag is being lowered, apparently). Disneyland used to do these balloon releases for big occasions, but at some point people realized that all those balloons had to wind up somewhere. Perhaps in the ocean, or some other place they shouldn't be.

Still, they do look amazing!

I hope that you have enjoyed these parade pix from 1963!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Christmas in the Park

I decided to start really ramping up to the "big day" with a selection of Christmas-themed Disneyland images from various years. Starting with this 1959 view of a marching band heading up Main Street. I have the feeling this photo might be related to that year's Rose Bowl football game, but it's just a hunch. The game that year had the California Golden Bears (of UC Berkeley) versus the Hawkeyes (of the University of Iowa). Iowa won, 38-12. 

Next is this 1977 view as our photographer stood in Town Square looking toward the big Christmas Tree. The sun might be shining for now, but those clouds look potentially threatening. 

And finally, here's a 1961 photo looking up from the base of the Matterhorn toward the peak, which was adorned with that giant star. I'm guessing that the photographer was more interested in the climbers - one who has reached the summit, and the other nearly there. But lucky for us, we also get a pretty nice look at the star itself!

As of this writing, it looks like I might be out of town for a few days, but as always, there will be new posts for you each morning. I'll talk to you all soon!


Friday, December 22, 2023

A Nice Pair From the 1950s

I have two beauties from the 1950s today! Starting with this pretty afternoon view of the March Twain approaching the landing, gleaming in the sunlight. The hillsides look particularly barren, but there's a reason for it.

If you look at the top of the hill, you can see some scaffolding outlines of what would eventually become Rainbow Ridge structures. Pretty neat to see! I assume that makes this picture from 1956 (Rainbow Ridge and the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train debuted on July 2nd). Just look at the crowd waiting to ride the steamboat - even though the Twain itself does not appear to be super crowded (see the next image).

We get a nice look at one of the original Keelboats, and more glorious dirt to the left.

From a different lot comes this great photo of a grandmother and her granddaughter smiling as they return from their trip through the Snow White attraction. Notice the little two-person mine car vehicle, it looks so tiny! We also get a good look at some details of the painted mural out front. 

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Christmas With Bu

I'm continuing to share stuff given to me by GDB pal Bu, from his days working for Disney - as a Tour Guide, but in other capacities as well. Among the treasures were a number of Christmas-related items - perfect for this time of year!

Let's start with this Christmas card, with a copyright date of 1989 on the back. The cover features some ornaments, including one with the likeness of Chip and Dale, in their "Rescue Rangers" costumes. "Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers" originally aired starting on March 4, 1989, and continuing through three seasons (65 episodes) to November 19th, 1990. 

As you can see, Michael Eisner and Frank Wells "signed" the card  (along with our rodent friends). By this point Eisner had been the CEO of the Walt Disney Company for five years. Bu said cards like this were sent at Holiday time generally with some ticket books and a note from the boss: be it Card Walker, Ron Miller, Michael Eisner, etc.   If I remember correctly these came from the Disney Execs and not the Disneyland Execs (Dick Nunis, etc.)    We were sent a few ticket books a year, in addition to having our Main Gate Pass, or Silver Pass, or just a Company ID to get in the gate (Summers only).

Next is the cover of what was certainly a non-Disney Christmas card - no date, unfortunately. 

Inside is this awesome photo, featuring Bu surrounded by a bevy of beautiful babes. Bu wrote: This party was offsite…somewhere.  I forget where, but it had a decent wine list, and I ordered a bottle of Chateau Petrus ‘75. Instead of drinking it, I should have saved it…it’s worth about $4K now.  A rep for General Motors recommended it, and said it was like “drinking velvet”: which it was.  Haven’t had it since.   I am in “Queen Mary” supervisor clothing…so I must have come straight from work.  This was probably my first year over there…so perhaps ’89 (?)   I remember that jacket: it was a ridiculously expensive camel hair jacket, with a blue subtle tartan.  I wore that jacket in the “Salute to the 3 Stooges” show I did a decade or so later, and got covered in “whipped cream” (shaving cream) and the jacket was no worse for the wear.  I still wear camel hair jackets to this day for their resilience.…sooo very luscious to the touch.   At this point, I was probably still “on loan” to the QM (hadn’t signed the papers yet…), which is why I was invited to this GR party.

All the ladies are the Guest Relations Leads at the time.   Back row, L to R: Jackie, Natalie, Erin, Suzn, Linda, on my lap: Robin, on the ground: Alexis.  Most of these leads were Cicely hires, and from the late ’70’s.  Linda as I have mentioned before was the "Ringo Hostess", Suzn was (and is) a force to be reckoned with, Erin: Hostess to many many many stars: and big Tom Jones fan.  He came to the park and she brought him back to the phone room (behind City Hall)….which sounds kind of crazy…but MANY celebrities were brought back there due to private restrooms, and of course, many pretty girls to flirt with.

There was also this card, with a related photo: The Santa Elf costumes are actually “Glock Girl” costumes (the pretty ladies that played the glockenspiels behind Santa in the Christmas Parade.)  As with all parties of the day, we had a “photo set up”, and I am sure everything was provided by Disneyland.   Although these parties were not sanctioned by the Company, they were officially unofficial parties…so we had the support of costuming, photo, Cast Activities, etc.  Guest Relations did a lot of things for the park that had nothing to do with guest relations, so other departments were happy to supply various things for various events that we produced ourselves.

The first photo is the official Polaroid photo location shot, and the second: a personal shot that was sent to me later.   The stationery is character fan mail stationery, which we also were involved in.  You can see the glasses of Petrus there….I did share :)

MANY THANKS to our friend Bu!

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Two Leftuggies

You saw the title of today's post: it's LEFTUGGIE TIME!

We'll start with this view from August, 1959. Our photographer seems to have been on the river - perhaps on a Keelboat? The vantage point is pretty low to the water... I guess we'll never know for sure. I rejected this picture due to the odd light leak blotches in the sky, but decided that, while noticeable, they were not a fatal flaw. 

Let's zoom in for a better look at the Huck Finn raft that is heading from Tom Sawyer Island back to the mainland, where a crowd awaits their turn for the trip back. Of course we also get a pretty nice look at the old Plantation House, owned by chickens. 

Next, a slide dated "August 1958", taken (I presume) from the Fantasyland Skyway Chalet looking eastward (or south-eastward, to be more accurate) along the cable, which seems to be particularly packed with gondolas. It's sort of a neat perspective, I'm not really sure why I skipped this one years ago.