Friday, March 08, 2024

Anaheim Motels, September 1961

Today I am presenting the third installment featuring Lou Perry's 1961 photos of various Anaheim motels (scanned and shared with us by his daughter, Sue B.). This final installment has my favorite images!

First up is this shot of the venerable Jolly Roger Inn (on Katella at Harbor), which I believe was razed in 2013. I always love a giant globe!

Here's a vintage postcard. It sure seems like back in the day I knew a lot of people who stayed at the Jolly Roger during their visits to Disneyland.

Next is this photo of a dirt lot. Oh yeah, and the Charter House too! The Charter House is at 1700 So. Harbor Blvd. I believe it is still there, but is now called "The Anaheim". 

Vintage brochure view!

Vintage postcard view!

Next is the Fantasy Motel, located at 1734 Harbor Blvd. (now the location of Castle Inn & Suites). It has another great sign! Free shuttle service to and from Disneyland; heated swimming and wading pools; free TV; Hi-Fi. ICE CUBES!!

You can thank me for this vintage postcard view later.

Wowee, this is some great night view. THE COLORS!

And finally, my favorite photo of the batch, this amazing look along Harbor Boulevard, with a bunch of classic motels, and at least one restaurant. Closest to us is the Domino Restaurant and Coffee Shop, and the Magic Star Motel is just beyond that, and then a place called the "Showboat" (no info on that one!). If you look carefully you can see the crossed candy canes of the Candy Cane Inn, and then the Meri Go Round liquor store

Here's a nice postcard showing the Magic Star Motel and Domino Restaurant.

Here's the Candy Cane Inn.

And here's what the sign in front of the Candy Cane Inn looked like!

This was a super-fun batch of photos, I wish I'd had more personal knowledge of all of the motels on Harbor or Katella. MANY THANKS to Lou Perry and Sue B.!


Nanook said...

The Fantasy Motel is really a stunner. All those intense colors have me hypnotized-! What a great series of images the subject of which certainly might've caused Walt a great deal of consternation, but in retrospect, sure look awfully swell-!

Thanks to Lou and Sue.

JB said...

I notice many of the palm trees in this set of photos are looking pretty ratty. Some only have a frond or two, some don't have any. We don't have many palm trees up here in Oregon, so I am not wise in the ways of palms. Do they naturally drop their fronds in winter? Perhaps some strong Santa Ana winds stripped the trees clean?

If it was nighttime and I were looking for a motel to crash in after a long day, I would definitely be attracted to the colorful Fantasy Motel like a moth to a flame. Like Nanook said, that night view of the motel looks irresistible!

Many thanks to Lou P., Sue B., and Major P.

Bu said...

These are awesome. Thanks Lou and Sue. I have much to say, and not much time to say it! Dirt! Lots of dirt. Amazing how still in the early 60's, there was still so much agriculture nearby: and lack of pavement. Lots of sandy soil. The Fantasy Motel has a great view of dirt, orange trees, and a parking lot from the pool, which is delightfully not fenced in. That would change. I actually wished it still looked like this. The Fantasy Motel, is a nice depiction of the architecture of the time. Possibly "value engineered" but they did think about the vibe: with it's colors and lights: and were cognizant of what vibe may be given off at night. Bravo. Fantasy Motel might mean something else today, but I am enjoying the VW "Guest Mobile"...wondering if it smelled of patchouli and other substances on the inside (?) later in it's career? Probably not, but when I see these VW busses, my mind travels back to the swinging 60's and my grandfather lamenting about "Long Hair Hippies in VANS!" I'm not sure if it was the hippies, or the vans he was vexed about: or the long hair. Probably a combo platter of all. . I will also wear my mink stole to the Charter House, which still there as the "Anaheim" Hotel, and is still mostly intact, with a retro vibe, and the "largest swimming pool in OC". It's the Olympic size pool you see here in the press photo. If you would like a taste of the old Disneyland Hotel garden rooms: the Anaheim Hotel is your place: as they still are there. Possibly sans Orange trees, but if you dig a bit, you can find photos of the sprinkling of Orange trees on the property. I'd also like to go dancing at the Rib Room, after getting coiffed at the Barber Shop and Beauty Salon. I know Walt was miffed about all this tawdry, but it is an amazing view of post war optimism in newly developed farmland, which of course was all started by a mouse. We all should ponder life without Disneyland in Anaheim. The sprawl would have taken the land anyway: but what might it have been? Certainly not this collection of neon, whimsy and color. hmmmm....something to think about. TGIF. Thanks to Lou for capturing these moments. "Book worthy".

TokyoMagic! said...

These are wonderful! I have memories of driving by the Jolly Roger, even though I never stayed there. It was remodeled some years later, and of course, ruined. Now even the ruined version of it is gone.

The Versatiles were playing at the Charter House, but were they in the Rib Room, or the Mayan Lounge? Maybe they played in both, because they were versatile.

I got a peek at the lounge, back in 1984, but I don't know what they were calling it at that point. We had just seen "Disney On Ice" at the Anaheim Convention Center, and as we were leaving, we had car trouble and "hobbled" into the parking lot of the Charter House (at that time, the Anaheim Plaza, I believe). I remember going in to use the phone to call AAA, which was located right outside the door of the lounge. The phone was located there, not AAA. I had trouble hearing the person who answered, because a live singer was belting out Chaka Khan's "I Feel For You." Maybe it was the lead singer of The Versatiles? Or maybe it was actually Chaka Khan? Maybe no matter how successful she became, she always had time to play gigs for the little guys.

Thank you for sharing these, Lou, Sue, and Major. I'm sad to see this series come to an end!

K. Martinez said...

So many memories of the Disneyland area, both growing up and as an adult. I've stayed in many of the motels and hotels in the Anaheim/Disneyland district. North, east, west or south of Disneyland Park I stayed in a lot of those places.

I remember Candy Cane Motel, Jolly Roger and those Googie-style futuristic Stoval Inns.

Last time I went to the Disneyland Resort the "Alpine Inn" was still standing complete with its timber, snow and icicles. If only more of them were kept or saved like that.

Wonderful set of pics. Thank you, Lou & Sue and Major too.

P.S. I'm hungry. That CHUCK WAGON BUFFET - ALL U CAN EAT 188 sounds wonderful and delicious!

JG said...

I’m with Ken, lots of familiar name and signs here, and some new ones. We took some pictures of the Alpine Inn on our last visit, it was well-kept and going strong.

For years we stayed at the Magic Lamp opposite the Katella Gate, where the big new Westin is now.

At some point, Dad changed to the Jolly Roger (I think he might have paid off a farm mortgage) and we stayed there often, many good memories of the pool and the themed coffee shop. Sad to see it go. The new Marriotts are nice, but…

That Fantasy Motel is all new to me, and wow, wow, wow, what a place. Such cool photos! Major, I’ll thank you for that postcard now, not later! Bu, “value engineered”! Haven’t thought of that term for a couple of months. They did a lot there with very little.

And the Magic Star got their sign on discount from the supplier to the Holiday Inns.

I’d love to have CHUCK WAGON BUFFET - ALL U CAN EAT 188 with all the Junior Gorillas.

Lou and Sue, Major, thank you for the tour of Anaheim motels!


Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the colorful Fantasy Motel photo is from a postcard, I guess I should have made that clear. It’s bread and water for me all weekend.

JB, I think those palms must be newly-planted, they have that look. They haven’t had time to fill out yet. Yes, they do lose fronds in high winds, but usually not to that degree. I agree that the Fantasy Motel at night would be hard to resist.

Bu, I agree, even when Disneyland was a certified hit, there was plenty of empty land around for future motels and such. Maybe the owners of the lots weren’t ready to sell, and were waiting to maximize profits. “If I just wait five more years…!” All the color on the Fantasy Motel makes it look much more interesting and attractive than the usual night lighting, I truly wonder if people would drive by and think, “There! That’s the place!”. I love the Guest Mobile, and wish more hotels and motels had such a thing so that I would not have to walk a few blocks. YES, I’m lazy. Plus, one day recently my pedometer app said that I walked nearly 15 miles on my long Disneyland day, at least one of those miles must have been to and from the hotel. It was interesting to see the former Charter House up close and personal just weeks ago, it looks like a nice place to stay, and practically across the street from Disneyland (not quite, though). I’ll have to look into the room rates. Whenever I hear about the city administrators complaining about Disney in Anaheim, I have to wonder what kind of city it would be without them?

TokyoMagic!, I’d never seen the giant globe in front of the Jolly Roger until I saw Lou’s photo, and then found that postcard. There was (and probably still is) a giant globe in the main entrance of the L.A. Times building in downtown LA, and it has a big globe right in the middle of the room, it’s one of my favorite things. That and the WPA murals that were restored a while back. Wow, just think, you were so close to Chaka Khan! She was beautiful, you should have gone into the room and asked her out. Invite her to Disneyland! Chaka wouldn’t be able to say no.

K. Martinez, you are lucky that you got to stay in so many of these now-classic motels; we lived too close to justify staying in a motel. Instead, we just got to drive 75 minutes! It seems like forever when I was a little kid. Ha ha, it’s only 9:45 AM, but I could go for a Chuck Wagon Buffet too!

JG, I was surprised that I could find no real info about the Showboat Motel; I’m sure info is out there, but it eluded me. Was the Magic Lamp nice? Or did your family stay there out of habit? The Jolly Roger used to hold Disneyland-related events, such as Disneyana shows, and they’d host events with Disney luminaries such as Clarence “Ducky” Nash, and so on. It must have been fun!

Anonymous said...

Lou & Sue, and Major, thanks for these great photos. This is the good stuff!

I went down a rabbit hole with Steamboat Restaurant and found this awesome scanned Vacationland magazine from Winter 1961-62 (did I mention awesome?)!

A small ad for Showboat is on page 17. "Home of the Mint Julep"

Vacationland link

also see this photo of the partial exterior, with dancers and a vest wearing employee..

LTL said...

oops, that was me above with the link to Vacationland. -- LTL

K. Martinez said...

Major, I'd assume staying at the various motels/hotels around Disneyland is an experience that is mostly unique to out of town visitors. I'm also familiar with the streets of Anaheim and Buena Park because I used to drive back and forth and around the area. Orange County was truly my vacationland of sorts for decades.

Anonymous said...

What a great snippet of life as it was back then. It's hard to imagine it today unless you lived it. The few times I've driven past the Park in the past decade or so, I have flashes of the particular that of the Jolly Roger which had a great corner location. If I am not mistaken, I recall the globe also being at the corner of Harbor and Katella. It was considered a swank place and like you, Major and Ken, living in the area, we never had to stay at any of the motels.

I think one would pay a pretty penny for one (or both!) of those VW vans today if they were in pristine condition. I even like the color.

Thanks Lou and Sue! KS


I’ve never stayed at the Jolly Roger … but in the 1990’s friends and I used to eat there a lot! The coffee shop was totally 1960’s Pirate /nautical themed …. The booths had dividers with little glass panels - each had an etched image of a different Sailingship or galleon . The complex featured a dressy sit down dinning room … with table cloths … and a massive fireplace … there was also a high-end nautical decor and there were very detailed sailing ship models throughout … but the MEGA COOL part of the complex was the bar-lounge !!! It had a dark moody lit interior and was made to look like it was fabricated from old ship parts …. Then there was the grotto : volcanic rock work creating intimate booths and a few actual waterfalls!! This pirate grotto lounge was a time capsule from the 1960’s!! All of this was destroyed … much of Anaheim ( and Orange County ) was torn down and its old roadside theming replaced with Italian - “Tuscany “ theming - an overused term and style very popular in the late 1990’s ….. the style of cheap architecture was more Mexican than a actual “Tuscan” …. But at the time everyone was clamoring for “Tuscan style” because of some movies at the time. The faux “Tuscan” style in new anaheim began to give way to a newer version of MID CENTURY MODERN … i love …. But now a few decades of it and new Anaheim is now going in “modern farmhouse vernacular” …. Next ?? Victorian revival 50’s drive thru !!!??? Lol.

Thanks Lou & sue and major for presenting .

Melissa said...

It really was the age of eye-catching signs. The Bates family could have cleaned up if they'd had a sign like the Fantasy's.

My Mom calls Jolly Ranchers "Jolly Rogers." It annoyed me as a kid, but not I think it's cute.

When I finish my time machine, mint juleps at the Showboat are on me.

DBenson said...

Very faint memory of staying at the Jolly Roger in the 70s or early 80s. I'd come down via Amtrak when the Anaheim station was barely a whistle stop with a single little building that closed up at night. I'd picked the Jolly Roger because it had a shuttle -- a kid in a station wagon. The park was walking distance.

There were more than a few mock Holiday Inn signs with varying degrees of familiarity. Wonder if Holiday Inn took any legal action, or had trademarked the sign design. The AAA travel guides included warnings about people imitating their yellow AAA APPROVED signs. If you kept your eyes open, you'd see very close approximations from the AMA (American Motel Association) and the ATA (not sure what).

A genius move by WDW was not just to build their own hotels, but to theme them and surround them with lakes and landscapes. Even if the offsite Hiltons and such had arguably superior rooms and facilities, they were exactly what you'd find near the airport back home. Meanwhile, Universal's Cabana Bay looks like an epic version of those little Anaheim bedders, a retro fantasy for young folk and enhanced nostalgia for older folk. In both cases, you're constantly aware you're at the vacation destination.

JG said...

LTL, THANK YOU for the Vacationland link!

I’m going to enjoy going through that! I see a lot of familiar ads from later editions I have, but there’s plenty of new things too.

For example, Mrs Wright’s Cafe in Gila Bend AZ. Never know when you might need a restaurant recommendation for Gila Bend!


Anonymous said...

Major, I see you asked about the Magic Lamp motel. Yes it was very nice, in the kind of 2-star basic motel way that is just fine when all you need is a nice place to sleep and clean up. No restaurant on site, no bar, no laundry service etc. but a nice basic swimming pool.

Basic rooms with the TV on a wall bracket up high, Magic Fingers on the bed, the sink counter was at the end of the room with an exposed shelf and pole, not an enclosed closet.

The bath had all the fixtures in a tiny little room, shower had the 1x1 mosaic tile that was the rage at the time, the "hammered" texture wire glass shower enclosure (no tub) and a little ball catch on the door, about the size of a BB that makes a distinctive "snap". Paper tape across the toilet seat lid "Sanitized for Your Protection" and a cottage cheese textured ceiling.

I got to buy a balloon on one trip and got it into the room and let it go, it hit that textured ceiling and popped. The inner mickey balloon lasted till morning and was hanging about 3 feet off the floor.

They had a van shuttle to the gate, but I think we just drove our car across and parked in the lot, since I have a lot of parking lot memories too, but it's all kind of scrambled over the years.

My high school scholarship club went to the Park every year and stayed at the Magic Lamp, so for those four years I got two trips per year, when my family stayed at the Jolly Roger. It was too expensive for the shoestring high school trip and I was considered quite posh for getting to stay there.

We stayed at the Jolly Roger once with our kids sometime in the 90's and it had gone downhill, sad to see. I wanted to stay there based on the good reputation I remembered, but it was not the same.

Anyway thanks for asking, those were good years.


walterworld said...

Wonderful Major!

We stayed at the Jolly Roger in 2003 or so, while it was on it's last sea legs...there was still a few galleons on the wall, but not many. The bar was closed but you could still peek in.

As for the Chart House, that was our residence during our 2004-2012 visits, when it was the 'Anaheim Plaza'... Great times! I featured the Chart House on my ancient, ghost blog...sigh

walterworld said...

The Magic Star and an adjacent Travelodge were combined to become Travelodge Westgate in the 80-90's. The Domino had become a shady IHOP(?) by then... Nice pool, but it got bulldozed for DCA...