Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Beautiful Frontierland Entrance, July 1960

I have a pair of beautiful views from July 1960, both showing the entrance to Frontierland. "But Major, that sounds boring as heck! And you smell funny!". First of all, the picture's AREN'T boring, and secondly: RUDE! 

This first one is very pretty, with the reflections in the water (and extension of the castle moat) and the trees and shrubs that help to soften the appearance of the stockade & gated entrance. I was tempted to crop off the shoulder/arm of the person to the right, but decided to leave it be. I wonder if those imposing gates were ever closed for any reason? 

Photo #2 is even prettier, with that clear blue sky and deep view into the land of the frontier. Notice the sign overhead advertising the opening of Nature's Wonderland, a triumph of artistry and technology. I also noticed the little ticket booth that we saw in THIS post; it isn't often seen in that location.

Monday, April 29, 2024

More Adventureland, Magic Kingdom - September 1972

It's time for another installment of beautiful Magic Kingdom photos from Lou Perry, scanned and shared with us by Sue B! These are from September, 1972, so they are pretty early in WDW's timeline.

Lou sure picked the right time to visit that park, it's so unbelievably uncrowded! You could do everything you liked three times. Maybe four. We're looking toward the Sunshine Tree Terrace, which I believe became the home of the Florida Orange Bird, though perhaps not at this early date? To the right is a stage where guests could watch J.P and the Silver Stars. I see some scary skulls used as decor, and my hair has turned completely white.

Tiki Birds! Tropical Serenade! It's The Enchanted Tiki Room, Florida style. Amazingly, the entire show took place on the top-most level of that tower. Why would I lie about such a thing? The line for the attraction is too long, let's come back later.

Here's another look at what I assume is part of the Sunshine Tree Terrace. But where's the sunshine? I demand my money back, in fact I also demand a free orange popsicle! Was the food at the Sunshine Tree Terrace Polynesian-themed (to a degree, anyway)? Or was it hamburgers, hotdogs, and the like?

Lou just loved that Sunshine Terrace! A cast member is striding toward us, he just killed a rabid rhinoceros with his bare hands, and he didn't even break a sweat. A Tour Guide (in Magic Kingdom blue plaid instead of Disneyland red plaid) escorts her ducklings to... I'm gonna say the Jungle Cruise. A good attraction for groups, according to 4 out of 5 dentists. 

 THANK YOU, Lou and Sue!

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Da Hippos

Snoozles™. You can't live with 'em, you can't live without 'em. Today's examples are hippo-centric (please use the phrase "hippo-centric" four times today in casual conversation, maybe at the grocery store). This first one is from 1956, and we see Haydn and Hannah relaxin in the cool water of, I don't know, the Susquehanna River? They both look a bit off their game, maybe they got some bad news. They're concerned about Elvis Presley's effect on teenagers.

Now it's the 1960s, and Hal, Helen, and Harrison refuse to open their mouths for passing boats. "Nobody cares about our opinions on the Space Program; they just want to stare at our teeth". It's just disrespectful! As a compromise, they still wiggled their ears, however. 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Las Vegas Scenes

I have a folder with some old scans of slides featuring Las Vegas - I figured I might as well use them today. The first two are dated "October 1958", and we are looking along Fremont Street, which was where the action was back in those days. 

Why get out of your car to take photos? That's what they want you to do! And you're smarter than that. Stay in air-conditioned comfort, and listen to "Volare" on your radio. In this first shot, we can see J.C. Penny's to the right, it closed in 1985. There's a shoe store, a tavern, and an art-deco Woolworth's on the right side of the street, until you finally get to the Fremont Hotel. It really looks like any other downtown street of that era, until you get to the Casinos further down! 

We've driven a bit further, and now Trader Bill's is on the right corner. Beyond that, Christensen Boy's and Menswear, the El Portal Theatre, The Fremont Hotel, and The Mint. On the left side, Thrifty Drugs, Hickory Wood Bar-B-Q, and other various shops. Then we can see the Golden Nugget, and beyond that, Vegas Vic beckons.

This next one was mixed in with a random lot of slides, and I had no idea where it was. I thought, "Maybe San Francisco?", but I was way off. Luckily, Bob Baskin's Restaurant was a big clue, and of course, it is in Las Vegas. I could find very little about Bob Baskin's, though it appears that a huge parking garage now stands in this location.

This bar of soap (?!) was for sale on eBay, pretty much the only artifact I could find. No menus, no postcards, no nothin'! 

Friday, April 26, 2024

Tomorrowland, September 1971

I really love today's first image, an unusual view (almost "souvenir guidebook worthy") taken from the upper level of the Carousel of Progress, which was still going strong at Disneyland in 1971. A father snapped a photo of his family as they looked over a busy Tomorrowland - some might even say "peak Tomorrowland". We can see the Peoplemover, the Skyway, It's a Small World, and the Matterhorn (of course), along with a very busy Tomorrowland Terrace down below. The fence looks surprisingly low, I'm sure that it would not be built that way today.

Next is a more standard (but still nice) look at the Rocket Jets, with rockets a-flying. Most people pulled back on the stick to reach maximum altitude, while a few more timid souls prefer to soar without needing supplementary oxygen. We've said it before, but this was a feature that was almost as fun to look at as it was to ride.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

More Mark Twain

Let's continue TWAINAPALOOZA, brought to you by the Mysterious Benefactor, and Kellogg's cereals. Kellogg's best to you! 

This first one is my favorite, possibly from August, 1974 (I could be wrong though). Not only is it a great overview of Frontierland (AND BEYOND), the photo was taken from the roof of the Haunted Mansion. Take a look at this post from 2018, and scroll down to the third image for a different photo from the same location. They should allow guests to go up there. For a $200 uncharge, of course. Yes, a Dolly Madison Zinger would be included.

Here's an unusual photo taken at night by a camera that used 25 flash cubes. Impressive.

Here's a pretty standard photo, but the frontier looks pretty with all of those mature trees. What is that oval thing to the right of the pilot house?

As a steamboat expert, I always enjoy sharing my knowledge. These black thingamabobs were there for guests to throw pennies at. If they got one in, they were pronounced "King of Disneyland" and got a free (and warm) liverwurst sandwich.

Well, say, that looks like Vesey Walker himself, leading the Disneyland Band! He retired in 1970, my guess is that this photo must have been from around  that time. Vesey is sitting, but that's just to be safe. If the steamboat slammed on its brakes, he'd go flying! Nobody wants that.

And finally, a pretty shot with guests basking in the sun, waiting to shed their skin, after which they will be ravenous. When they look at you, you will transform into a giant turkey leg! Walk briskly in the other direction.

THANK YOU, Mysterious Benefactor!

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Tomorrowland, April 1974

Tomorrowland? What a wacky concept! Tomorrow will be here in a matter of hours, I'm in no hurry. But, what's done is done, especially since Walt rejected my idea, "Hotland", where it's always really, really hot. The ground would be heated through a series of buried pipes, and jets of steam would blast up at guests at unexpected moments. You could take a ride through a steel foundry, or experience the Fondue ride. Ice cream and soda sales would be through the roof! But Walt just coughed and stared at me.

You can see that this nice shot of Tomorrowland is marred by a partial double-exposure to the right, but what can you do? I can cry and say bad words (which I did), but it won't change anything. Let's just focus on the positive, like the classic Peoplemover, Adventure Thru Inner Space, the Mary Blair mural, and the Rocket Jets.

This next one isn't as exciting, but there are still some good details...

... even years after Walt's passing, Tomorrowland (and part of Fantasyland) was a "world on the move"!

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

The Last Scans from Keith Schad

Today I am sharing the final four scans from Keith Schad; you can go back and look at the many blog posts with photos from 1958 (taken by his wife's Great Grandfather) and another batch from late 1971 (taken by Keith's father in-law). All four of these are from the 1971 batch.

We'll start with this nice photo of two yellow Mark VII Autopia cars, next to gas pumps that do not advertise Richfield at all. One car has a big dent in the side, in solidarity with the Castle. I like seeing the criss-crossing tracks to the left.

Next is this shot looking up at the pilot house of the Mark Twain; the pilot himself is almost lost in the darkness, but it appears that he is looking right back at us. He probably flashed the 1880s version of a peace sign, whatever that might be.

The big energy crisis of the 1970s was still a few years away, so the Burning Settler's Cabin displayed an impressive blaze. The poor settler doesn't look so good, but I'm hoping his injury is just a flesh wound.

And finally, here's a look at a side wing of the Plaza Inn, with the flowers (in alternating stripes of yellow and purple) in the foreground. Very artsy! You don't see the Plaza Inn from this angle very often.

 MANY THANKS to Keith Schad for sharing all of his wonderful family photos! He told me he might have some other non-Disneyland images worth looking at, so stay tuned.

Monday, April 22, 2024

A Trio From June 1962

Having just scanned a bunch of slides dated "June, 1962" (yesterday's Snoozles were from the same batch), I'm happy to report that there are some very nice pictures. Not all are great though (as is to be expected), and today's examples are a bit "meh". Not bad exactly, but... you'll see.

Like this first very "blah" look at the far shore of Frontierland as seen from Tom Sawyer Island. Much of the color is so muted that it is basically an unattractive greenish-gray. Along the shore to the right is a fence - I'm not exactly sure why it is there, though the riverside bandstand had been removed, and major construction was underway in much of Frontierland, so it was related to that in some way.

Next is this view of Castle Rock (on Tom Sawyer Island), with only a few people evident, instead of the endless conga line from to the top and back down. I'm looking at the variations in colors, none of them accidental. "We'll put a little ochre over here, and some rusty red over here, and maybe a little puce over here". "Puce?? Larry, I think you need a vacation". Cascade Peak looks impressive in the background.

Ah, now we're getting somewhere - I never tire of seeing the Rainbow Desert, with those crazy rock formations and kooky cacti. Watch out for tumbling boulders! And bobcats, that place was full of bobcats. 

I promise that there are better pictures from this lot, coming up!

Sunday, April 21, 2024

SNOOZLES, June 1962

Today's SNOOZLES are perhaps not quite as appalling as most; they mostly suffer from the crime of being a little boring. No judge would give them more than two weeks in jail and a year's probation.  Both are from June, 1962, in case you didn't see that in the title of the post.

You'd think that in June, they would need all of the vessels out on the Rivers of America, but the Columbia rests in Fowler's Harbor. So perhaps these are from a month or two earlier? We'll never know. Tom Sawer Island is being swallowed alive by vines, thank goodness they never planted kudzu there.  

Looking over at the Keelboat, we can see hints of some of the construction that dominated this corner of Frontierland in '62 - the Plantation House had been removed, and there was a lot of bare dirt and boxed trees - something the photographer clearly tried to avoid (mostly). Didn't he/she know that it would be the most interesting thing 62 years later??

Next, a perfectly serviceable photo of the Mark Twain, with Cascade Peak evident behind it.

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Frontier Town, New York

About six months ago I acquired some random slides, and one of them is this wonderful photo (probably from the mid-1950s) of two kids posing in front of a cute (but odd-looking) little locomotive, the Frontier Town Express. The slide mount had "New York" written on it, and it turns out that this was the Frontier Town amusement park in "the Adirondacks, Route 9 between Lake George and Lake Placid". You know, near Ticonderoga! It opened on July 4th, 1952. 

The train looks like it has a real steam whistle, but can it be an actual steam locomotive? Somehow that seems unlikely, but you never know.

Doing a little Googlin', I found MANY vintage postcards from Frontier Town, it looks like it was a lot of fun! The first three postcard images show the same little train, though I can find no data about it (other than the fact that it was a narrow-gauge railroad).

Here's the back of that card, with typical limited information. It's a postcard, I guess I can't expect too much. 

Interesting, this holdup was not part of the pre-programmed experience, though the visitors don't know it. They think it's a hoot! 

It sure is a pretty sight to see the train running through the lush forest.

Other postcards give a better sense of the overall layout, with a blockhouse to the left, and what might be shops (?) or "houses".

Based on this card, it appears that Frontier Town offered many of the things that a typical western park (of which there were many around the US) offered, including gunfights in the streets.

Or how about a nice stagecoach ride? We're carrying the payroll today, but I'm sure that will cause no problem.

Here's another nice view, so lovely with those rolling hills covered in trees.

Uh-oh, that guy must have said a bad word. The pillory is too good for him!

I found this photo of a small cardboard sign, perhaps 14" X 7" (ish), and realized that I have one in my collection somewhere (the signs don't seem to be particularly rare). But it's easier to just share this jpeg scrounged from the 'net. 

Frontier Town closed sometime in 1998, and its closure was devastating to the local economy. If you do a Google search, there are plenty of articles online about the derelict buildings rotting away in the woods. There is now a "Frontier Town Campground" in the area, but there is talk of trying to bring the amusement park back. I hope they do it!

Friday, April 19, 2024

Beauties From 1956

I love looking at views of Disneyland from the early days, when the park still felt kind of small and "just-finished" (as if you would still smell fresh paint) and the trees are still saplings. Today's scans are from 1956 - perhaps February? Just a guess of course.

So there it is, Main Street USA, with the setting sun casting long shadows across the street. These photos do have a few kids, though you really have to look for them. It's fascinating how much Disneyland seemed to cater to adults at that time. Meanwhile, Main Street looks beautiful, and we get the added bonus of a Surrey and the Chemical Fire Wagon.

Those familiar lessee names give me the warm fuzzies - Yale, Swift, Gibson, Eastman Kodak... they all make me think of Disneyland! Note the sign outside the Main Street Cinema, with Mabel Normand in "A Dash Through the Clouds".

Next we head to Frontierland, and the dock for the Mark Twain. A few guests appear to be boarding, but there will be plenty of room for everyone. Hey, there's a kid! They DO exist!

Along the shore, it looks like construction is underway, with some boxed trees here and there. I'm assuming that the little mining town of Rainbow Ridge will spring up pretty soon, along with the Rainbow Caverns Mine Train, which will debut on July 2nd, 1956.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Arline, 1956

Today's photos don't stray very far from the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, but that's OK! The first two are really more about the people than the place, anyway.

Meet Arline! There's a name you don't hear anymore, even though it's kind of pretty. I'm  guessing that Arline and her sweetheart were married, but had no kids yet. Might as well enjoy Disneyland before having to deal with strollers and diapers, right? Arline's blue dress goes well with her blond hair. I enjoy her little "hurricane as seen from space" spit curl too. Her bag is full of peanut butter and jelly sammiches.

And here is Arline's sweetheart (or husband). Sometimes folks look uncomfortable in pictures, and this guy certainly does. Is he worried about cosmic rays or Russian microwaves? Two words: TINFOIL UNDERPANTS. One interesting note is that there was no little boy in red when the picture was taken, but somehow he's there in the photo! 

A nice followup features our gal Arlene, she just loved posing on bridges! The swans are swimming toward us hoping for some popcorn. In the upper right, we can see a sign for Prof. George Keller's FELINE FANTASTICS! The professor had been part of the Mickey Mouse Circus, but when that failed, he got a solo gig with his heavily tranquilized big cats. A mere whip and chair was all he needed to bend them to his will! 

Just for fun, here's a scan of a scarce postcard featuring the professor with two of his lions. His show ran from February 19th, 1956 through September 5th of that same year.