Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Two Trains, October 1977

Let's all wish our friend Dean Finder a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I hope he wins when he plays "pin the tail on the donkey" with his friends. Check out this vintage scan from our friend Sue B.! (This kid is kind of sad because Dean won PTTOTD).

Oh yeeeeaaaaahh! The Monorail, it's the only way to travel. Well, I wish, anyway. Every day I drive my car like a chump. But in another universe, we could be moving from place to place in the comfort of a smooth, quiet, streamlined Monorail. In this case it's the yellow Mark III train (bubble dome!), perhaps the apotheosis in Monorail design. (Please use "apotheosis" in casual conversation five times today - preferably not in one sentence).

I can't decide, would I rather be looking through the bubble dome? Or through the front canopy? Notice the two guests staring right at us, they probably have "Scanner" powers. Love the hat on the girl.

Meanwhile, over at Main Street Station, the ol' #2, the E.P. Ripley rests momentarily. Too bad this one went so dark, but it's still a pretty nice view of one of the original and beautiful 5/8-scale locomotives built at the studio. It looked old, but was only 27 at this point! Love the glimpse at the exit and parking lot too.

Monday, February 27, 2023

"Spirit of America" Parade, Part 4 - March, 1988

Today I am sharing the last of a big batch of photos featuring the "Spirit of America" parade at the Magic Kingdom (see PART ONE, PART TWO, and PART THREE). These are from Lou and Sue of course!

Let's start with this magnificent calliope, elaborately-carved, and pulled by six strong horses. The music it plays is so tooty! What's not to love? I wonder if this is one of the circus wagons that Walt acquired back in the 1950s for the Mickey Mouse Club Circus?

Even though there are eight more photos in today's post, there is only one more float. Lou must have really been knocked out by this one, and it does appear to be the "grand finale" for the parade. Since the theme of the parade is "patriotic America", it seems a little odd to see that series of blue Gothic (?) spires - I think I've seen those in other parade photos, but it's possible that those other parades were from a later date. I guess those spires echo Cinderella Castle.

To the left we can see some of the helpful mice who helped Cinderelly make her dress for the royal ball, while Robin Hood's green cap can be seen just to the right of the float.

Speaking of Cinderelly, there she is, along with her Fairy Godmother, Dopey, and even some Gummi Bears from the "Disney Afternoon" television program.

Aha, there's the back of Snow White too. All the characters are holding American flags. Gummi Bears, you were an odd addition to the Disney family, but I'm glad to see you here (for posterity's sake). 

Pretty Alice waves from the back of the float. We see the oversized top hat of the Mad Hatter (I think?) in the lower right. Is that another Gummi next to him? 

Dumbo really gets the most prominent seat, way up high. I guess he can fly up there, and he called "dibs". Plus he already owned a stars-and-stripes hat, it would be a waste not to use it. Hey, there's the White Rabbit!

At the bottom of the frame, ladies carry a rope (with banners) demarcating the very end of this elaborate parade. to the left we can see Prince John, and another character I can't quite ID to the left of him. I think Mary Poppins might be just to the left of Alice, too. There might be other characters on that float that we just couldn't see from our angle.

As the parade ends, the masses crowd the streets, slightly woozy from excitement. I get it. Notice the banner for the "sneak preview" of the Disney-MGM Studio park on the Hospitality House (to our right)! That opened in May of 1989.

MANY THANKS as always to Lou and Sue!

Sunday, February 26, 2023


You saw the title of today's post, so there should be no surprises. These aren't going to be great. But they should tide you over until tomorrow.

From sometime in the 1950s - since we can sort of see that sign with the map to the extreme right, I believe that this must be from '56 of so. We have Dad, Mom, Scooter, and the mother in-law, Brunhilde. They're posting in front of a little garden near Sleeping Beauty Castle, full of lovely flowers and shrubbery. The shrubbery was one of the listed attractions. "Sail a pirate ship to Neverland! Visit the 7 Dwarf's mine! Explore a tropical jungle! Ride a genuine steamboat! Enjoy shrubbery!" (the shrubbery was an "A" ticket). This picture is blurry, which makes it unworthy of prime time.

This one is from a lot that may or may not be from 1955; it's a Jungle Cruise ride, with Aunt Mimi and Uncle Fred exploring that tropical jungle that I mentioned earlier. Mimi looks apprehensive, but Fred is as cool as a cucumber. One of the "headhunters" is crouched behind that fallen tree; of course all of the natives have been removed rather recently, I'll miss them, but I get it. Notice that at this point the jungle is so wimpy that we can see through the trees to what I believe is the back of some Main Street structures.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Ketchikan, Alaska

I have a late addition to today's post! Yesterday there was some discussion about guys with long hair back in the 1970s, and how our grandfathers and other people felt about it at the time. GDB friend Grant McCormick sent along a photo of him and his future wife (isn't she pretty?) circa 1976. Grant looks like a lot of guys I went to school with, though his mustache is better. I joked with him that he looked like a Doobie Brother, which I meant as a compliment, since I loved the Doobie Brothers. 

So hey! If any of you out there are feeling adventurous, and are willing to share photos of yourself from the past, I'm sure it would be fun for everyone to see them! 

On to our regular post... today I have some scans of some vintage photo prints, shared with us by Brad Abbot. He's probably not a familiar name to most Junior Gorillas, but he is lurking. ALWAYS lurking! 

The snapshots were taken in Ketchikan, Alaska. As you can see from the map, it is pretty far south, as Alaskan cities go. In fact it... is the state's southeastern most major settlement.

I love this first scan, with an archway announcing that Ketchikan is an "All American City". With a population at the 2020 census of 8,192, up from 8,050 in 2010, it is the sixth-most populous city in the state, and thirteenth-most populous community. While these photos are undated, I am guessing that they are from around 1962-ish. Maybe a bit later. Does that white car help with the date?

I'm guessing that this photo was taken from a cruise ship... I visited Ketchikan on a cruise ship many years ago (my grandma wanted to go to Alaska), it's one of the four major stops (including Juneau, Skagway and Anchorage, at least on my cruise).

Incorporated on August 25, 1900, Ketchikan is the earliest extant incorporated city in Alaska, because consolidation or unification elsewhere in Alaska resulted in the dissolution of those communities' city governments. Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, so named in 1793 by Captain George Vancouver.

From Wikipedia: Ketchikan is named after Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town, emptying into the Tongass Narrows a short distance southeast of its downtown. "Ketchikan" comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, the meaning of which is unclear. It may mean "the river belonging to Kitschk"; other accounts claim it means "Thundering Wings of an Eagle". In modern Tlingit, this name is Kichx̱áan.

Thank you, Brad Abbot! Brad is working on a book about Disneyland lessees, and I am very much looking forward to reading it when it comes out.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Two Beauties From 1973

Well homies, we are almost to the last of the wonderful 1973-ish photos taken by Mr. X. There are a few more 1973 images that I will describe as "leftuggies" that I will share at a later date, but I wanted to save some of my favorites for last.

Like this one - a view of the Keystone Cop saxophone quartet, playing next to Town Square's flagpole. At the base of the flagpole are colorful flowers. Geraniums? I am surely wrong, but that's OK, you guys will let me know. It looks like it was a beautiful day to be at the park.

I always think of the song "Minnie's Yoo Hoo" when I see this quartet, thanks to "The Official Album of Disneyland/Walt Disney World", which I listened to a LOT back in the day.

And now, my favorite of the whole bunch, this amazing and wonderful (and also awesome) photo taken from the Plaza, looking toward the entrance to Tomorrowland. The COLOR! And oh boy, it was a busy day, but that lets us enjoy looking at the people nearly 50 years after the picture was taken. Mr. X told me that he stood on a bench to get this view above the crowd.

As is often the case, X also waited for the Peoplemover trains and the Rocket Jets to be in prime position before he snapped the shutter. It was worth the wait, I'd say.

Many thanks to Mr. X. We will see more photos from him!

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Skull Rock and Snow White Grotto, November 1974

I'm going through a big batch of slide scans, circa November, 1974. Some of them are really nice! Others, like today's examples, are perfectly nice, but they will not increase anybody's heart rate.

Yikes, a big drooling skull! I didn't expect to see that in the otherwise-beautiful tropical lagoon. But... you never know with Disneyland. In this warm sunlight, he almost looks friendly, like he's glad to see us. And honestly, when I'm glad to see someone, I drool a lot too. If Skully was still around today, I'd paint him pink, and give him a gold tooth. And Jabba's Pirate Ship would serve slug burgers. Hire me, Disney!

Elsewhere in Fantasyland, there's another grotto. You can't have too many! This grotto is lacking in skulls. Instead, it has the lovely Snow White (and the little fawn, "Chomper") rendered in marble; she's standing at the top of a merry waterfall, while all seven dwarfs loiter down below. Some say that at night, during a full moon, the dwarf statues move. I believe it!

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Aboard the Monorail

I have two vintage photo prints for you today, circa 1965. Nothing amazing, but they are unusual, and sometimes that's enough. Both were taken by somebody while aboard the Disneyland Monorail, back when they had windows that were open to the fresh (?), cool (??) SoCal air. Imagine feeling that breeze as it rushed through your mullet! I know, mullets weren't a thing in 1965, but a guy can dream.

Here we are, zipping (in "Old Blue") above a surprising amount of greenery. So much that it's hard to get a sense of where we are in the ride. Taking a look at a 1965 map, I think that we've already gone all the way to the Disneyland Hotel and come back, snaking above the Motorboat Cruise and Autopia track, and just skirting the eastern edge of the park. This curve will eventually take us around the Matterhorn, and then the track will lead back to the Tomorrowland station.

Here's an interesting study in contrasts, with the genuine steam-powered C.K. Holliday about to pass us. I believe that this photo was taken just moments after the first one, and the Matterhorn would just be out of frame to our left. There's the Fantasyland Skyway Chalet in the distance! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

A Selection From January, 1964

Since today's photos are "nice but not very exciting", I am sharing three images today. All for the same low, low price. The slides are date-stamped "January 1964", but they sure don't look very wintery. 

Only three hu-mans are visible in this shot looking toward the Matterhorn from the northwest end of Main Street (and four inches from the Plaza, officially). Whenever these photos were taken, THAT was the time to be there! Look at that clear blue sky, the bright sun. 

It appears to be a bit later in the day, and the yellow Mark II Monorail has tiny heads in each window (well, the heads are regular-size, they just look small because they are far away. I'd explain it but it is very technical). So now there are up to 75 guests in the park. Sometimes we might have to wait in lines for as long as two minutes.

Is it crazy that I still love photos like this, in spite of seeing so many similar examples? Part of me still gets that thrill that I got when I was eight years old, when the sight of the Submarines and the Matterhorn, the Monorail and the Skyway, made me so happy. Bobsled sighting! You will have good luck for the rest of the day.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Paper Ephemera

It's time for more PAPER! Aren't you excited?

First up is another bag from the Hallmark Greeting Cards store. See more of them HERE. Hallmark was on Main Street from July of 1960 (replacing Gibson Greeting Cards) all the way through to January of 1985. This bag might have held some scarce Disneyland/Hallmark postcards, or some humorous greeting cards.

Next we have a fairly rare item, a small fold-out brochure from the "Jams and Jellies" shop on Main Street. Sunny View Farms Incorporated Jams and Jellies was a Main Street lessee from opening day until October 12, 1957.

Here's a photo showing the "Jellies and Jams" sign, though Sunny View Farms had ended their lease by then, But I guess the sign was too good to get rid of. The space was used for "Imported Candies", and in 1960 it became the Sunkist Citrus House.

Unfolding the item once shows us this simple illustration; those jams and jellies are available at surprisingly low cost!

Unfolding once more, and flipping it over (I also cropped off the part that we've already seen) shows this nice drawing of Main Street, and more salesmanship regarding the Wild Mountain Jams and Jellies. 

On the other side of that page, we see some of the handy packaged selections of jellies, jams, and syrups. The perfect gift! "Seedless boysenberry preserves"... boysenberries rescued from obscurity by Walter Knott??

And finally, the entire back panel of the unfolded brochure shows even more gift packs. I want the assortment of candied and dried fruits that were displayed on an attractive California redwood serving tray.

I hope you have enjoyed today's PAPER EPHEMERA.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Scenes on the River

Here's a pair of "snoozers" for you, though as snoozers go, they aren't so bad, since they feature very early scenes from the Rivers of America.

This first photo was taken (I believe) as the Disneyland Railroad passed a whole lotta undeveloped frontier. It looks fantastic! And a friendly Indian on horseback waves to us - a live actor on a real pony. I assume that this was before Chief Wavy was there to do the honors.

Another great shot is this view looking toward Fowler's Harbor. Clearly Tom Sawyer Island is not yet open to guests, there's not even an old mill. There's not much to see, other than a large stack of cotton bales, and one of the original Keelboats. This pre-dated the need for rafts to the Island, and the Indian War Canoes did not debut until July 4, 1956, so things look pretty sleepy. Still... I love it!

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Frontier City, USA

I recently scanned a bunch of amusement park slides; many of them were unlabeled, so I had to do some Googlin'. 

First up is this 1965 photo of the 89er Ghost Mine, dug into the rocky (but snow-capped) cliffs. An anemic waterfall trickles down the face, and we can see animal bones, antlers, and at least one sheep (?). I can find surprisingly little about this ride, other than the not-very-helpful blurbs on the back of postcards. The Dark Ride Database isn't much more helpful: 

While some sources state that 89er Ghost Mine opened in 1964, it already appeared on a photograph of August 1959. As Frontier City opened (in Oklahoma City)  the year before, 89er Ghost Mine opened in either 1958 or 1959.

After the closure of the ride, the building of 89er Ghost Mine was left abandoned for a couple years, before Quick Draw (2008-present) was built as a replacement. The façade of 89er Ghost Mine stayed nearly the same.

Here's a vintage postcard with a more comprehensive look at the 89er Ghost Mine.

And the blurb on the back:

Next is this scan of a log fort; "Fort Apache", according to the sign over the entryway. "Doctor comoro's Famous Medicine Show" reminds me of Doctor Mal De Mer at Knott's. I had no idea where this fort was located, but...

...eBay revealed this postcard. Other than the angle, it's very similar to the scan.

....and whadday know, it turns out that this is also from Frontier City!

Friday, February 17, 2023

Two Fun Pix

I have two randos for you today, starting with this swell view (from January, 1973) of the red Mark III Monorail as it sat at the station. Sometimes it really makes me think of some big-eyed deep sea creature.

Hey, look! It's George Harrison and John Lennon! ;-) Even though the Beatles had broken up by then, that didn't mean that the lads didn't enjoy an occasional trip to Disneyland. 

Next is this nice shot from October, 1969, taken from the dock that led to the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship - or maybe by now it was just "Captain Hook's Galley", as Chicken of the Sea ended their sponsorship in '69.  Then the park just used any old tuna that they found on the street or behind the local Sears. Anyway, this is a nice look at the little beach where pirates have left some treasure chests (they should have buried them, I suppose, but digging is hard work). 

Thursday, February 16, 2023

Three From Lou and Sue, September 1977

Sue B., ever-generous, sent me a large batch of scans of Disneyland from September, 1977. There's some good stuff in there, which is no surprise; it's going to be fun sharing these with you over the coming months.

We'll begin with this view of the Submarine Lagoon as seen from the Peoplemover. I can't quite tell which sub is heading toward us, but zooming in it looks like it might be the "Blurb Flenderson", and just behind that, the "Edward Norton". Main Street Station peeks in from the distance, 

Next is another Peoplemover view, this time a rare view as the vehicle passed through the Character Shop. About the only merchandise I can positively identify is a selection of Pooh dolls, and a stack of souvenir wall maps (just above the word "courtesy"). Neat!

It's nice to see those odd fountains still splashing water (they were eventually turned into planters), I didn't know they lasted as fountains as late as '77. I always think of them as a flock of space whales.

 THANK YOU, Lou and Sue! There's more to come from 1977!