Thursday, February 28, 2013


It's time for another serving of warmed-over "leftuggies"! 

On a cloudy day, Skull Rock looked even more dark and menacing than usual. Even the waterfalls look as if they had ink poured into them.

I always assumed that the Casey Junior trains were all identical, but as you can see here, the "dragon car" in the foreground is blue with pink decorations, while the one in the distance is pink with blue decorations. Alert the media!

Trader Sam has gone through some changes over the years; as a kid I couldn't help wishing I could buy one of those shrunken heads ("Two of his for one of yours"). Now Sam has opened a successful bar over at the Disneyland Hotel.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vintage Pinback Buttons!

I know most of you think of ol' Major Pepperidge as a collector of vintage Disneyland images. But my sickness goes much deeper than that! Today I thought I'd share some photos from my collection of old Disney pinback buttons. Most of these are from the 1930's, and even though they are somewhat similar to each other, I love 'em all. 

Before the 1950's "Mickey Mouse Club", there were the original Mickey Mouse Clubs. Theater owners enticed kids to watch Disney cartoons on Saturdays by forming clubs that included officers and oaths. Kind of like freemasonry for children! Below are three variations on a theme. The orange example is the first one I ever bought!

Oh man, I love that first button, with Mickey fearlessly skiing down a double black diamond slope. This great tin litho example was given away with Mickey Mouse gloves and mittens, as you can see by the back paper (I always try to get pinbacks with the back paper intact).

In the early '30's, Emerson sold some wonderful Mickey radios that are über expensive nowadays.  In the middle... another mouse club example. And on the right, a button celebrating Mickey's 7th birthday, which would presumably date it to to 1935.

I'm not sure if the pinback on the left was given out at stores, or if they were included with a loaf of bread - or if kids had to send away for them. In any case, there are many variations with different bakeries represented ("Freihofer Special Loaf", "Buy Wesley's Bread", etc). The back paper has Kay Kamen's name - he was responsible for merchandising early Disney products. The button on the right was probably given out by dentists; I love that Mickey is knocking out the Big Bad Wolf with a toothbrush!

I have lots of old Disney pinbacks... let me know if you enjoyed looking at these (or not!); if the consensus is "thumbs up", I'll share more in an upcoming post.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Frontierland, August 1996

Let's go back in time, a mere 17 years or so, to August 1996. 

I like this nice photo of the entrance to Frontierland, looking very green and lush. Teepees are near the gates - something that I haven't seen except for in some very early photos of the same area.

Well, I lied when I said that these were all from Frontierland, since the French Market is clearly a part of New Orleans Square. Oh well! Life will somehow go on. Let's go get some gumbo, or maybe a Monte Cristo sandwich!

The good old Golden Horseshoe. Was there any kind of a show going on inside in 1996? The classic Revue had ended in 1986; I think that Billy Hill and the Hillbillies might have moved in by this time. Come to think of it, they've had a long run!

Here's a second view, with a little pergola covered in bright pink bougainvillea flowers; they seem to be shading a small cactus garden rather than benches for weary guests. Maybe bougainvilleas were too prickly to let people get close to them.

Monday, February 25, 2013


The fantastic TWA Moonliner is still one of the coolest things ever! It is a cousin to many 1940's/1950's sci-fi rockets, but with a style all its own. And in a Tomorrowland that had been built with dwindling funds and time, it managed to single-handedly create a sense of excitement and optimism for the future.

And, to go with the first photo, here are some rare moon swans.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Two From June 1968

Th Disneyland Hotel was captured - barely - on film in this night shot from 1968; not much to say about this one, although I am fascinated by the faint "in camera" reflection of the neon sign.

There's the snow-capped Matterhorn, as seen from the entryway into Tomorrowland. Whenever I see a vintage souvenir stand (like that one to the right), I  can't help imagining what wonders it held!

Waaaay at the top we can see Hans and Otto (only a few molecules of Otto), who scaled the mini mountain daily. Everyone knows there was a basketball half court inside the Matterhorn, but did you know there was a foosball machine at the very top?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Just Folks

On today's "Anything Goes Saturday", we are going to visit with some folks. Good old, ordinary folks!

This first photo is from March 1955 features two ladies who have just returned from a trip to Mexico. The ladies are in Phoenix, so maybe they made the 2-hour drive to Nogales, a popular border destination. Suddenly I realize that the thing that has been missing in my life is a sombrero! Apparently they bought some grapefruit while they were in Mexico (grapefruit, bleah!).  And the lady on the left is proudly displaying her ornately embroidered skirt, covered in vibrant Mayan-ish motifs.

There is something so American about old drive-in restaurants. Park your car, order your food, never unbuckle your seatbelt (though not many people wore seat belts back in August 1959). Three months later, find petrified french fries on the floor. The whole process was fascinating to me as a kid; every time I visited my grandparents in southern Minnesota, we would eat at least once at the local A&W, and food never tasted so good! 

I don't know where this particular photo was taken, but I love the fact that somebody wanted a picture of their helpful car hop. Notice the sign for 7-Up floats! My mom used to make those... sherbet and 7-Up; I wish I had one right now.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Knott's Berry Farm Snapshots

Here are three fun, vintage black and white snapshots from Knott's Berry Farm! 

Two nice ladies pose next to the fantabulous steam locomotive that must have been only recently installed at the park (though the train itself was a genuine antique). The woman on the left holds a paper bag. It might hold souvenirs, or maybe they brown-bagged their lunches.

Hey, that doesn't look like Chief Red Feather! I admit that I thought it was him at first. I'll bet the lady is holding a cup of ice-cold boysenberry juice, mmmmm-mmmm!

And finally, no visit to Knott's would be complete without a photo with Handsome Brady and Whisky Bill. That lady looks as giggly as a schoolgirl.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Fantasyland From the Tuna Boat, 1957

A pearly gray layer of clouds keeps the sunshine off of Fantasyland, but it still looks cheerful. Crowds were light on this (winter?) day. While I generally think of Disneyland as a moneymaking machine, it is possible that it lost money on slow days like these. 

I wanted to zoom in on the Mickey Mouse Club Theater, where we can see the 3-D Jamboree poster on display. Next door you can get a cup of ice-cold Welch's grape juice. Beyond that... no line for Snow White's Scary Adventures! 

Why take just one photo from the back of the Pirate Ship when you can take two?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vertigo and the 1939 World's Fair

Today I wanted to share this great vintage press photo from the 1939 New York World's Fair. One of the Fair's most iconic attractions was the Amusement Zone's "Parachute Jump". At 262 feet high, some called it the "Eiffel Tower of Brooklyn". You'd go uuuuup, and then drop down. Unless something went wrong, like it did for this unfortunate couple. Their parachute got stuck 100 feet in the air. This photo is pretty remarkable, with the crowds of lookyloos below; that net was presumably installed by the fire department (or whoever) after they were trapped.

They look pretty calm and collected. Here's where my brain goes: thank goodness they didn't need to use the bathroom. (Sorry).

Here's the text affixed to the back of the photo. It took five hours to get them down, holy moly!

This makes me think of WindSeeker at Knott's Berry Farm, which had a similar mishap (two mishaps, actually) last September. Here's a view of it as taken from the Sky Cabin... that thing is tall! Apparently the ride stopped, leaving riders stranded for four hours. Cedar Fair closed all of its WindSeeker rides around the country, and the one at Knott's only just reopened on February 1st. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two From October 1972

Oh man, more stuff from Snoozeville today. I'm starting to feel guilty. Or maybe I'm just craving some pancakes.

We're back at "It's a Small World" yet again (sorry). A large group of young men in black jackets and ties has just disembarked from the Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed Around The World. Could they be visitors from a foreign land? Welcome, visitors! Try a churro. The mechanical clock is erupting.

The Rivers of America are particularly glassy and smooth today, reflecting the Mark Twain like an antique mirror. The empty canoes remind me of gondolas in Venice for some reason.

Monday, February 18, 2013

On The Skyway, August 1963

Here's a slide that makes me happy... bright and clear and sunshiny, above Fantasyland in our Skyway bucket. I freakin' love love love those 60's metallic colors that were used on the buckets back in the day. Reminds me of the aluminum tumblers that were in my grandma's cupboard. 

Looking back from whence we came (oh man, finally an excuse to use the word "whence"!), we can see part of the Alice ride below, with the striped tent and umbrella filled dining area, the Pirate Ship, and little Cinderella Castle (part of Storybook Land), and a glimpse beyond the berm.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dance Circle, 1959

You can't talk about the old frontier without acknowledging that there were people in North America before European settler's came along. Well, you can, but that would be dumb. The Indian Village gave Disneyland visitors a chance to experience just a little bit of Indian culture. To my eyes, it all looked remarkably respectful, though I know that there are those who feel differently.

I love the anachronistic, snow-capped Matterhorn in the background! The dancer is about to soar into the sky and do loop-de-loops.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

San Francisco, March 14, 1943

Let's set the Wayback Machine to March 14th, 1943! San Francisco, California, to be exact.

Here's a terrific color photo looking up Market Street (near the corner of Mason, for those of you programming your Wayback Machines). I just love this vintage scene of city hustle and bustle. Streetcars and Cable Cars share the street with plenty of beautiful old automobiles. The yellow cab is just the perfect accent! The Esquire Theater is showing a Joe E. Brown flick along with a Three Stooges comedy. Down at the end of the street you can see the famous tower of the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero. 

Here's a Google Maps street view grab of what the area looks like today. Different for sure, but there are still some familiar buildings from the first photo.

Our photographer pivoted to his (or her) left and caught the "Pepsi Cola Center for Servicemen", with plenty of sailors milling around out front. I've seen pictures of this in black and white, so it is fun to see it in color, with those striking red columns. It has a "World's Fair" style to it! Colorful flags of many nations festoon the building's upper floors. 

This photo is from Google's street view(it has a credit to Michele Aiello), this was about as close as I could get to matching the photo above. Again, not so terribly different, much to my surprise.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Arriving, August 13, 1960

I really love this first photo, full of color and energy and capturing some of the excitement that was felt when first arriving at Disneyland. These folks have already purchased their ticket books and are heading toward the turnstiles; looks like they picked a perfect day to go! Here are some fun facts, courtesy of Jason's Disneyland Almanac: August 13 was a Saturday; the park was open from 9 AM until 1 AM; this was a "Date Nite" day (special two-admission ticket books were sold that admitted couples in the evening); attendance was 35,622; temperatures... a high of 83º, a low of 61º.

Just East of the entrance you would have seen this lovely expanse of flowers; you were still basically in the parking lot, but Walt's desire to make Disneyland a special place is already evident.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Queen's Park, Long Beach California

Today's post is a tribute to a SoCal amusement park that I have heard almost nothing about, which is pretty unusual; we love our amusement parks! 

So, here is one postcard for Queen's Park in Long Beach. Since the early 1900's, the Long Beach Municipal Pier was home to a waterfront boardwalk and park known as "The Pike". As the years passed and competition for people's amusement dollars increased, The Pike was given a facelift and renamed "Nu-Pike" in 1954. One of Bud Hurlbut's famous miniature trains was added! In 1971, the named was changed to Queen's Park to coincide with the arrival of the RMS Queen Mary.

Considering that I lived in nearby Huntington Beach and my Navy dad worked in Long Beach, I am astounded that my family never went to Queen's Park. It looks like it would have been a lot of fun!

I was even more amazed to learn that Queen's Park lasted until 1980. Apparently it was featured in old episodes of Emergency!, S.W.A.T, and The Six Million Dollar Man... it would be fun to see those scenes!

At a recent paper show, I found this strip of tickets (on Globe paper, hooray!) from QP's first year. This would have kept you busy for a while! Presumably a guest handed this to the ticket taker who was armed with a special paper punch.

Goodbye, Queen's Park!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scenes From Nature's Wonderland, August 1960

Why bother visiting real nature, it is full of bugs. You know I'm right! I'd rather go to Disneyland's "Nature's Wonderland", which was gluten free and bug free. 

I've got to hand it to those Imagineers... that bear in the water looks pretty realistic. He's hoping to grab a silvery trout from the water. Then he will grill it with some lemon & parsley butter and serve it with garlic mashed potatoes and a crisp Chenin Blanc.

Those pronghorn antelope are looking a little dopey. That convenient "watering hole" is actually full of naturally occurring moonshine, formed miles underground. Bobcat's love pickled antelope!

This geyser was called "Old Unfaithful", named after Sir Albert Oldunfaithful. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

More From Calico, April 1966

Here are the last five images from a small lot of slides featuring Calico!

Those reddish mountains are so barren and bleak, and yet they are sort of beautiful too. And at one time they were full of silver! In spite of the brilliant sunshiny day, Calico is not exactly teeming with visitors.

I hope you like rocks. And crooked little wooden buildings! Because that's what you'll find here. If you don't mind the drive, it's actually a fun place to check out.

Bottle houses are awesome. This one looks cute on the outside, but once you are inside, the sunlight is filtered through various bottles of green, amber, brown, and clear, for a surprisingly beautiful effect... almost as if you are under water. 

There's the most important building in Calico. No, not the schoolhouse, the privy. I guess when you go to a little schoolhouse you can only get a little schoolin'. 

And finally, one last overview of the little ghost town, with the Calico and Odessa Railroad just leaving the depot. I wanted to add this strange bit of news from Wikipedia: In 2012 Calico became the first ghost town in America to be re-opened for residential purposes. 100m from the ghost town site, six luxury villas were built with a trading value of $4.5 million. WEIRD!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Calico!