Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The NEW New Tomorrowland - Construction, 1997

Here are more snapshots, courtesy of GDB reader Irene, and her brother! Today's images feature the massive (and ill-conceived?) construction for Disneyland's Tomorrowland redo, which debuted in 1998. This is probably TokyoMagic's favorite thing at Disneyland ever

If ya got construction, your gonna have construction walls. And by golly, these are the best construction walls money could buy. I don't want to get bogged down by negativity - who needs that? But I remember being awfully excited by the prospect of a refreshed, and "reimagined" Tomorrowland. My favorite land!

One sign along that big blue wall announced the coming of "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!"; strange to think that it has been extinct for over 7 years at this point. I enjoyed the original HISTK movie, and looked forward to a ride that would shrink us to the size of an aphid.

If there had been room, I wonder if a real ride with giant props and sets would have ultimately been more successful? Don't get me wrong, I liked HISTA, but it didn't bear many repeat visits. It closed in 2010 for the return engagement of "Captain EO".

This next one gives some idea of just how much work was being done. Whole buildings were re-skinned, and all of that paving was torn up. In the upper left is the "Innoventions" building, formerly the Carousel Theater. The old "Mission to Mars" building was on its way to becoming "Redd Rocket's Pizza Port". 

Was Irene's brother standing on the upper level of the Starcade? I'm not sure if you could go outside up there. Or was this from that upper level of the Space Mountain queue?

Work has progressed in this next picture. Redd Rocket's Pizza Port look like it's nearly ready to start serving the best pizza in the galaxy. The pylon outside the entrance to Space Mountain has received new paint and a logo that I don't remember. Just to the right of that pylon is the giant stone marble that was "floated" on a cushion of water. Kids loved playing with it, and adults loved sitting in wet Star Tours seats later!

There are more Tomorrowland '98 construction photos to come. Thank you to Irene and her brother!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Matterhorn Adjacent, September 1973

Here are more glorious photos from 1973. 

You know what else is glorious? That lady's bouffant hairdo! It defies physics in ways that science has yet to explain. Perhaps the shape of her skull caused a gravitational anomaly. Maybe it was centrifugal forces. Or flubber. She never used hairspray, so we can rule that out. Some mysteries are destined to remain unsolved. 

This is a pretty shot of the good old Matterhorn. The flower beds that flanked the entrance to Tomorrowland make a lovely foreground, with swirls of violet and gold. And of course the Matterhorn itself. It's odd to think that it was only 14 years old in 1973 - we are rapidly approaching the 60th anniversary of that iconic attraction!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

So-So Sunday

None of today's scans are ready for prime time; not that they're terrible. They just lack "oomph". That's why you're seeing them on a "So-so Sunday".

Some of you may recognize the little fellow with the suspenders; we've seen him before a few times. Maybe mom cuts his hair, it's pretty awesome. Sometimes I come home from my barber looking just like that. We all know that cannons work best when somebody is sitting on them, and this kid was well-versed in the art of battle, Civil War style. 

He looks a lot like his old man!

How about this for "so-so"? It's blurry and gray. But it's hard to take a photo of a flying elephant, so I can forgive them.

This view of Town Square would be nicer if it wasn't slightly blurry. The "smart sharpen" Photoshop filter can only do so much (though it did help!). Some fellow to the left is setting up a tripod, I think he's preparing to shoot some film. A CM is crossing the street, exchanging a word with the guy on the Horse Drawn Streetcar. And way in the distance, I can see three posters mounted together: "Nature's Wonderland", "Art of Animation", and the "Submarine Voyage".

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Greenfield Village, 1954

Today we are returning to wonderful Greenfield Village (circa 1954) - Henry Ford's wonderful collection of historical buildings and artifacts, as well as a recreation of a town from days gone by - all located in Dearborn, Michigan. I've always wanted to go there, but... well, you know how it goes. 

If you so desire, check out two previous posts about the Village HERE and HERE.

Henry Ford was an admirer and friend of Thomas Edison, and several buildings that were important parts of Edison's history made their way to Greenfield Village. This particular structure is Edison's 1878 Menlo Park machine shop - or rather, a faithful 1929 recreation of it, since the original had been torn down. 

I am pretty sure this is where Edison invented Shake-A-Pudding.

Next we have the sturdy little Smith's Creek depot, built around 1858/59. While I am very glad that it has been preserved here, it is not the most beautiful railroad depot ever. So why is it here? The (probably apocryphal) story goes that a young Tom Edison, working as a "news butcher" on the Grand Trunk Railroad (who else do we know who worked as a news butcher?) was tossed off of a train at this very station after setting a baggage compartment on fire. He was fooling around with phosphorous, as one does. 

Because Henry Ford was such a fan of Edison's, he negotiated for its purchase, and transported it brick by brick.

If Henry Ford was going to have a museum, it was going to have some cars. And this one is a 1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special". This convertible was a favorite of Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, and he apparently brought it with him to places such as Yalta, Teheran, and Casablanca. 

It originally had a siren, running lights, a 2-way radio, and extra wide running boards for Secret Service agents to stand on. Armor plating was added at some point, along with bullet-proof tires, and storage compartments for machine guns and the like. Just like my Honda!  

The car was retired in 1950.

Check out this huge 1891 Edison electric generator and steam engine! It is 12 feet long, 20 feet high, and generated 625 horsepower.

I can only assume that this is the same generator, since moved indoors (I'm glad to see), to protect it from the elements. It received a nice coat of paint and would make a wonderful conversation piece for any home. Order yours today!

I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Greenfield Village.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Slide Scans, 9-1-1

I recently found a bunch of Disneyland slides from the early 1960's. Most of them were perfectly fine, but about 1/3 of them (the Ektachromes) had turned very pinkish. Initially I thought I should discard the slides, but some of them appeared to be nice images - if I could restore them.

Here's what I'm talking about - this is the scan with no adjustments at all. (The images are from July, 1961, by the way).

After some futzing around in Photoshop, I wound up with this. Not too bad! Many of the images from this lot appear to have been taken around sunset, so that they probably had a warm, rosy glow - just not as rosy as the first example. It made things tricky, because I wanted to remove the red, but not all of the red.

Anyway, I think this is a beautiful shot of the old Tomorrowland, with the "Rocket to the Moon" (sans the "TWA"), the Skyway, the Space Bar, the Astro Jets, and the Yacht Bar just sneaking in at the lower left

I've noticed that slides that have turned magenta tend to look pretty grainy when enlarged, but it's a small price to pay. I wanted to point out one detail... the Yachtsmen are performing on that odd little stage near the Sub Lagoon.

Happily, our photographer went over to take a better picture of them. Here's the unadjusted version...

... and the color-corrected version! These guys really look like they just walked off of an aircraft carrier in Long Beach and decided to bring their instruments to Disneyland for a little jam session. Two sailors in the foreground feel right at home.

Incidentally, I recently received a special comment on an old blog post... here it is:

Hi. This is Kevin Shipman of The Yachtsmen. I am doing fine as are Carl and Mickey. We have lost Jay, Bill and Scotty. I miss them every day. We were all great friends. If you want to hear and see a bit more of our history you might check this out:

Very neat to hear from an actual Yachtsmen! Thank you Kevin, I hope you see today's post.

I saved the red versions of all of the scans from this bunch; do you guys like seeing them in comparison with the corrected versions? Or have you already had enough of those? Let me know!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the RIver at Dusk, August 1969

Today's scans are from a pair of Instamatic slides (from... you guessed it... Mr. X himself). The sun was on its way down, which left both photos fairly dark, but in a way that just makes them more interesting. 

Let's begin with this view of the Columbia! The ship itself is practically lost in the shadows (though you can see that it is loaded with passengers); what we mostly  notice is how the sails are reflecting the last golden rays of sunshine (as is Castle Rock in the distance). More often than not, the Columbia doesn't sport any sails at all, so it looks pretty great here. And that blue-violet sky is very pretty too.

I tried to decipher those nautical flags, but all I can make out is the word "Ovaltine".

Next we have this very shadowy image of the Bertha Mae Keelboat as is scoots past us. How I envy those people on the top level! Tom Sawyer Island looks so dark and mysterious. One thing that is very noticeable is that lady's day-glo pink top. It was 1969, after all!

I zoomed in just a bit to try to get a better look at the Keelboat's controls; not exactly authentic to the 1880's! I wonder if these were basically the same as those found on the Jungle Cruise launches?

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Grand Concourse at Night, November 1971

Today I have more scans from a series of 35mm negatives, all from photos taken by my friend Mr. X during his first trip to Walt Disney World.

As I mentioned in a previous post, X took a lot of photos of the Contemporary Hotel, not that I blame him. I'm going to try to parcel them out so that you don't get overloaded! Today's examples were all taken in the hotel's "Grand Concourse" - the giant atrium inside the "A-frame" structure - where the Monorails would come and go.

These were hard to scan! My Epson didn't quite know what to do with those dark, warmly-lit spaces, so I had to do a lot of adjustments. They were also pretty grainy - a common problem in low-light situations. In spite of those challenges, I think that the scans came out pretty good. I particularly love this one, with the dining area below bustling with guests, and "Monorail Red" on the platform.

Here's another nice angle, with those nutty acrylic trees. Another Monorail is present - possibly "Monorail Gold". I am very jealous of all of those people who got to see WDW in its earliest incarnation.

There's "Monorail Blue". Collect 'em all! 

You'll see more of the Grand Concourse in future posts.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Disneyland in Black and White

Do not adjust your eyebones. Today's photos are in shades of gray! They are scanned from two strips of undated negatives - there's not much to go on as far as determining the date, so I am going to generalize and guess "mid-1960's". 

I have often wanted to sit in giant crockery, so the "Mad Tea Party" attraction was kind of a dream come true. And you know what? It was everything I thought it would be. 

This first picture shows a CM striding among the teacups, making sure that all is well. He looks confident, as if he's done this a thousand times (and he probably has). He also looks like he is barely out of high school.

 Notice the patch on his shirt, along with what appears to be one of the brass employee ID badges that were only given out in the early years - which makes me wonder if these photos aren't actually from the 1950's.

I can almost feel the centrifugal forces pulling on me! Two girls are enjoying their ride, with one of them doing all the work. I sympathize, since that's usually my job. Hopefully her friend won't reward her by barfing.

Monday, November 13, 2017

More Snapshots, April 26, 1965

I have a few batches of old snapshots that I still haven't shared; a lot of them are sort of the "same old thing", nothing extraordinary. But I might as well start scanning them! 

One of the prints was helpfully dated "April 26, 1965" on the back - I always like knowing when they were taken. The little girl in most of these images is named "Lisa-Anne" (another note on the back). Here she is at the Flower Market. She's got her mouse ears, so it's already a good day!

There's Lisa-Anne again, in front of the castle that she apparently just purchased!

Don't lose those ears, kid, they cost a buck-fitty.

Here's an unusual (but poorly-photographed) angle looking from the Hills Bros. Coffee Garden toward Town Square, which has been besieged by rampaging wild animals.

Let's say farewell to Lisa-Anne as she rides her chestnut palomino around and around. She's having the time of her life!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

A Tale of Two Shipies

Little did Charles Dickens know that, 158 years after he wrote "A Tale of Two Cities", some dumb blogger would make a really dumb pun from the title of his classic novel! Maybe he would have become a dentist instead. 

After 1958, Disneyland had two big sailing ships (although only one of them actually moved); this November, 1959 photo shows the new Columbia in the early evening (or even late afternoon, since it gets dark so early at that time of year). Some lights are on over at Tom Sawyer Island... my guess is that they had already rousted all of the island's visitors (it closed at dusk). I admit that, as a kid (and even as an adult) I wanted to be able to explore and play on TSI in the dark!

The other ship was, of course, the static-but-beautiful Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship. This photo is rather dark, but it is always nice to see this ship with all of its sails unfurled. I've seen so many pictures taken from roughly this same angle that it takes a little more effort to appreciate the layers and layers of detail tucked into this one small corner of the park.

In the distance is an orchard of some kind. Walnuts? Oranges? Avocados? sometimes it's hard to believe that Anaheim was once a farming community.