Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Miscellaneous Souvenirs

Here's a real oddball selection of Disneyland souvenirs from not-so-long ago. I've had these pictures in a folder for years, and finally decided it was time to use them.

Star Tours opened to great acclaim in early 1987, though there had been soft openings in late 1986. One of my favorite pieces of ephemera is this barf bag! Some people have told me that these bags were handed to guests only on the attraction's opening day (January 9, 1987), others have said that they were given out for a few days, or even a few weeks. Does anybody out there know the real story?

This next object has to be among the newest in my collection, and possibly the only item from Disney's California Adventure. A friend of mine went when the park first opened in February 2001; lots of DCA merchandise featured the image of "Grizzly Peak", and this postcard is related to that attraction, showing the friendly face of a grizzly 'bar. The front of the card is covered in thick, fuzzy fur! The other facial details appear to be embroidered. I'm very grateful that my friend bought this for me, because I have never seen one for sale since, even on ebay.

I love the graphics on this paper cup! They are a perfect match for my 1967 popcorn box. Now this is ephemera! Somehow it didn't wind up crushed underfoot or in one of those jolly trash receptacles scattered around the park. I believe that this design was used for several years; doesn't the castle look more like Cinderella Castle from Florida? And yet, as I have already pointed out, the design dates back to at least '67.

Here's another paper cup, the same exact size as the previous example. This one dates back to 1980, from Disneyland's 25th anniversary.

I hope you have enjoyed today's assortment of stuff!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Frontierland, October 4 1957

I have a very small lot of slides (5 or 6) that only feature Frontierland. The rest of Disneyland just wasn't photo-worthy, I guess.

These are dated "October 4 1957", and as I've mentioned before, I always like knowing the exact date when photos were taken. It just adds that little extra "something", like a dash of Sriracha sauce. Here are some fun facts, gleaned from Jason's Disneyland Almanac: October 4 was a Friday (and a "Date Nite"); the park was open from 10 a.m. to midnight; the high temperature was a pleasant 75˚, but bring a jacket, because the low was 53˚. And (here's the part the kills me).... attendance was 6,378! Wow. What a dream visit that would be! There is absolutely nobody to be found on Tom Sawyer Island.

Even the always-popular Castle Rock only has 4 or 5 guests at the top. Normally one has to maneuver past the unmoving bodies of other climbers who have collapsed due to hypoxia and hypothermia and venomous yeti bites. Don't worry, friendly Sherpas will take care of them!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Matterhorn, August 1963

I think it's a trick of the camera lens, but the Matterhorn looks even more massive in this first photo than it actually is. You know how "the camera adds 20 pounds" on TV? It's the same thing here. The kid in the blue Skyway bucket is leaning out to get a good look at the amazing Submarine Lagoon below. Go ahead and spit, kid, at least you won't hit anybody here!

In the courtyard just behind Sleeping Beauty Castle, we can see a bit of Merlin's Magic Shop - home of a fine selection of monster masks. My brother and I would go inside every visit just to look at the row of "too expensive" masks that we coveted so much. Notice that Hans (or Otto or Fritz or Gunter or Oskar or Karl) has summited the distant peak of the Matterhorn, and he is yodeling his heart out. "Littleoldlady-whoooooo...."

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Freedomland U.S.A.

Today I am sharing the last of a so-so bunch of slides featuring Freedomland; and describing them as "so-so" is being charitable! I just couldn't bring myself to not post them, in spite of their iffy quality.

Let's start with the best of the group, a view taken from the Tucson Mining Company sky ride. The Conestoga wagons were part of the "Chuck Wagon Snack Stand", which was within the Fort Cavalry stockade. It feels cold and wintry, though I believe that the place closed in October, to open the following spring.

Arg, why did these next two have to be blurry? The famous Chicago Fire attraction gave kids the chance to be real firemen for a few minutes, aiming the firehose at that burning building. Don't worry, it's just the local art museum, it's not like it has cool video games or anything.

C'mon, blurry kids, put your backs into it! That fire won't put itself out! The city tried to save money by hiring 8 year-olds as firemen (firepersons) , but now I'm thinking it wasn't such a great idea after all.

Over in the New Orleans-Mardi Gras section of Freedomland, there was a Civil War attraction. Most wars are fun, but none were as much fun as the Civil War. Everybody knows that! Some soldiers spent weeks camping out and relaxing in trenches and behind these attractive stone walls. I'll bet they did some whittlin'. There's nothing better than whittlin'.

Arg, more blurriness. We're still in the Civil War, this time near a log fortress. Logs are a renewable resource, which I'm sure was much on the minds of the soldiers. You've got to think of the children.

Sorry these were so lame, homies. I have a few remaining Freedomland photos to share in the future, and I promise that they are better.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Astroworld Locomotive

If I told you that there was an amusement park called "Astroworld", what do you picture in your head? If you said, "An old-timey train", then you are some kind of genius!

Today's slides are undated - maybe from the early 1980's, although the paint scheme matches early photos (such as this Viewmaster scan that I posted years ago)... later pictures seem to show different paint jobs. There were two locomotives built for Astroworld, both 5/8 scale replicas of the famous Civil War loco called "The General" (familiar to Buster Keaton fans).

The 610 Freeway surrounds the city of Houston, and the attraction was given the (humorous?) name "The 610 Limited". Engine #1 was called "Cannonball", and engine #2 was called "Spitfire". I'm not sure which one this is, with the green boiler jacket. 

It's hard to tell, but the locomotive in this last picture looks to have a blue boiler jacket. Both trains are still around; Engine #1 belongs to the Pacific Coast Railroad in Santa Margarita (which is also the home to the original Disneyland "Retlaw One" passenger cars), while the #2 is undergoing slow restoration in Georgetown, California. 

If anyone can glean any additional information from these images, I would love to hear what they have to say!

Friday, July 26, 2013

A Selection of Instamatics

It's always a good time to look at some vintage Instamatic pictures!

I like this unusual angle, from beneath the Monorail track (along with the yellow Mark II Monorail) as it passes next to the Matterhorn. Notice the careful use of plantings to evoke an alpine mood in distinctly non-alpine Anaheim. 

A peaceful-looking Town Square....

Next we have an unusual view taken from the Mark Twain; I can only assume that the young Mr. X was aiming at the Keel Boat, but he got lucky...

.... because you can see that there is still some final construction going on over in the brand-new New Orleans Square. There is a ladder or two, as well as what looks like stacks of wall board. It should all be finished really soon though!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Frontierland, May 1972

When I think of "the frontier", I think of vast empty plains and big blue skies, or maybe endless forests, or even forbidding mountain ranges. But most of Disneyland's Frontierland feels well on its to being "citified".

Like in this first picture! Even though we mostly see the big river, it is the equivalent of looking at a road, where vessels bringing goods and people happen along every 10 minutes or so. Darn traffic! Another thing that evokes the old frontier is an ice cream vendor is circus stripes and banana pants.

Once I have eaten a few raccoon-skin caps and some ice cream bars (classic old West grub), it's time to watch the Golden Horseshoe Revue. Dang, them gals are purty! Instead of applauding I fire my six-gun into the air, Yosemite Sam style.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

More Vintage Personal Viewmasters

I thought I was done with the personal Viewmaster images of Disneyland that were taken by an acquaintance, but discovered a few others in a file that I had forgotten about. All three show Town Square as seen from Main Street Station, circa 1956.

You can tell by the long shadows that it is late afternoon, but that shouldn't make any difference at Disneyland. A little girl is wishing that the horse pulling the streetcar was her own special pet. The old Bekins wagon can be seen in the background.

The next two are very similar. Hey, I only just noticed the Christmas wreaths on the Emporium; if this is in December, then it might only be 4 o'clock and not later as I originally thought. The sun sets so early in the winter! I think the date "August 1956" was actually written on the reel, but it can't be correct.

You can see a sign strung across Main Street... even when I zoom in on the high-res scan I can barely read it. But I think it says, "Disneyland Welcomes Friars Club Members". If only there was a record of the groups that were honored with signs back in those days!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Storytown USA, New York

Today's slides were all in a group that was labeled "Fantasy Island" (see my first Fantasy Island post if you dare), and this was originally going to be a "part 2" post. But upon further research, I believe that today's photos are from Storytown U.S.A., in Queensbury, New York.

I don't know how popular the Swan Boats were, but the photographer sure loved them. They were motorized, not swan-powered, and mighty cute.

That poor woman, her feet get all pruny from wading into the water every day. From the look of it, an employee needed to guide the returning boats to the loading dock. I'll bet they don't do it that way any more.

The guests got to see various Mother Goose tableaus throughout Storytown, although I have no clue what which MG story included a little houseboat.

Oh boy, a Sky Ride! I love the "Arabian Nights" station, and the chair-lift style gondolas that let your feet swing free. 

No visit to a storybook world would be complete without a ride in a real pumpkin coach. The driver obviously used to be a mouse until the fairy godmother turned him into a human. A beautiful princess in a pink floofy dress helps out, because that's how princesses roll.

Storytown U.S.A. changed its name to The Great Escape in 1983, and is now owned by Six Flags. Not surprisingly, The Great Escape has more thrill rides, as well as a water park.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Main Street at Dusk, November 1972

What is your favorite time to be at Disneyland? Some people prefer the early morning, when it is still cool and quiet and uncrowded. Maybe you like it at night, when the park is transformed by the zillions of lights of all kinds and colors. But my vote might just go for dusk! 

This first photo is a great example of why dusk is so awesome. The sun has just set, and the sky is going through a variety of colorful gradations. If it's summer, the temperature becomes much more comfortable. And then the twinkling lights come on, and I think there is even a different music selection on Main Street for evenings. There's just something about it that words can't describe. You really have to be there!

It's hard to see, but the flag-lowering ceremony is under way; I assume that the Main Street Vehicles are retired at about this time as well. The balloon vendors are still going strong though! I was thinking that sales for balloons must go way down at night, but there are probably a lot of them sold as last-minute souvenirs for kids on their way home.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Flying Elephants, 1957

Wheee, we're havin' fun on Dumbo's Flying Elephants! Ordinarily I would frown upon a pink hat, but that color really suits Dumbo's clone. 'Round and 'round they go, under a bright sun, and blue sky.

Wait, what was about the bright sun and blue sky? I jinxed them, and should have never said anything. Just like I should never say, "Wow, the freeway is really moving great, we're making excellent time!". Jinxes it without fail.

Saturday, July 20, 2013


It's no secret that I love old cars, in spite of my complete ignorance of the myriad of makes and models. I did more than the usual amount of research on these (don't expect me  to make a habit of this), but if I have made any mistakes, please chime in!

Check out this great picture of a woman showing off her fabulous 1957 Pontiac Star Chief while parked on the white sands of Miami Beach (the photo is dated 1962). '57 was the last year that the Star Chief was produced, and it was considered the company's prestige model. What a beauty!

I love this photo, even though I have essentially no information about it. I suspect that it was taken in the mid-1940's - and I believe that the automobile in question is a Willys Wagon. Those debuted in 1946, and were the first all steel station wagons, though as you can see, they were painted to simulate the popular "woodie" look.

In spite of the blurriness of this one, I decided to include it anyway. It is undated, but was labeled, "The Olds", and I'll bet several of you out there in Gorillaland know more about it. I sure wish I knew what city this is! Let's go get lunch at the Courtesy Sandwich Shop; I'll have tofu on gluten-free bread with soy mayo.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 13, 1960

I want to live in this first photo, featuring a fantabulous view of Tomorrowland! The slides have the specific date of "August 13, 1960" on them... back in February I posted a few other pictures from this lot, and wanted to include the information about that day once more (data provided by Jason's Disneyland Almanac):

August 13 was a Saturday; the park was open from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. The high temperature was a comfy 83˚ Fahrenheit, with a low of 61˚. Attendance was 35,622. It was a "Date Nite", so special 2-admission ticket books were sold to allow couples in after 5 o'clock.

This might be one of my favorite pictures ever, the blue sky, brilliant color, composition, clarity, and the primo view of classic Tomorrowland all combine to make me happy.

From the same lot comes this unusual angle of the Monorail station. It was a bit dark, but still nice. Anything different is nice! The red Monorail and pair of Skyway buckets are welcome details.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Big Thunder Mountai Railroad, August 1982

How did 1982 get to be 31 years ago? It's like some kind of crazy conspiracy. Anyway, I have a small group of slides from the 1980's and today we're going to enjoy three exteriors from the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 

At this point the attraction was only 3 years old. I really like it, even though it kills me that it replaced "Nature's Wonderland". Strictly from a business viewpoint it was probably the right thing to do, but still.... 

Our photographer used a rainbow filter occasionally; it's like a storm has passed and now everything's going to be OK. Steam from geothermal vents drifts from that stack, because those miners were all about non-polluting energy sources. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Nowadays you can ride 4 different versions of the BTMRR (Anaheim, Orlando, Tokyo, Paris), but in 1982 there was only one. The fantastic landscape of natural pinnacles and towers are based on the wind and water-carved "hoodoos" found in Bryce Canyon, Utah.

Those miners dug for gold, but purely by happenstance they discovered large deposits of nacho cheese powder, which changed the face of our nation. The heavy powder ran down these wooden sluices, and got caught in the wooden slats, where it was collected, refined, and made into the most delicious chips in the world.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Columbia

Here is a trio of Instamatic photos featuring the Columbia, a faithful replica of the world's first supersonic sailing ship. Or something.

The Columbia is so bitchin' that it doesn't even need sails to move; instead it uses a secret propulsion system that is still classified to this day. Some say it involves "pixie dust", a colloquial name for tachyons. Once activated, the ship becomes invisible to radar, sonar, and even smellar.

While under way, guests can wander and explore as they desire. See that guy going down the steps? He's hoping there's a bathroom on board. There isn't. Just some old pinball machines and a jar of giant pickles. The cast member up on the mast climbed there as a dare, and now he's too scared to come down. They finally had to send animatronic Abe up to pry him down.

She's no Chicken of the Sea mermaid, but that figurehead is pretty swell anyhow (still, why couldn't she be a mermaid?). This figurehead represents "Columbia", which was commonly used as at poetic name for the Americas (North, Central, South, and the other one) back in the day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

New York World's Fair

Today I have three oddball pictures, all taken from the observation deck of the New York State pavilion (226 feet high). This will be especially interesting to you puny humans with your lack of wings.

There's the distinctive white "igloo" of the Alaska pavilion; next to it at the top of the photo is the Westinghouse pavilion, where you could see the time capsule that is supposed to be unearthed in the year 6939. See you then! And that pointy corner in the lower right is part of the Missouri pavilion. Never let it be said that I have forgotten Missouri! 

This one is fun because some friendly Fair workers have written a special note at the base of the New York State pavilion, only visible to those on the observation deck. I have no idea what those rectangular things are next to it, they almost look like aluminum window screen frames.

Just to the north you would find the Wisconsin pavilion. The stylized teepee represents the Badger State's Indian heritage. There was a sportsman's show featuring fly-casting and archery demos, and a 17-ton cheese! I'll bet there were little pieces of it missing. I love Wisconsin, having spent much quality time in the town of Oconomowoc, where my great aunt's farm used to be.

FYI, as of this morning I will be out of town for the next few days. There will be new posts in my absence, but it may take me a while to respond to comments.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Monorail Snapshots

Uh oh, I just found a receipt for some snapshots that I forgot to pick up at the Photomat! Luckily, they still had them in their tiny store even though it had been nearly 50 years. (I tipped the employee a  buffalo nickel for excellent service).

Ooo-eee, how can you not love this view of the Monorail (from sometime in the mid-60's) as it sits at the Disneyland Hotel station? Or maybe it has just gotten under way. Love the tram too. It's all about the love today.

Here's a more recent view (and by that I mean circa early 1970's) - note that the Monorail is now the "Mark III" version, with the distinctive side windows. The Mark IIIs were in use from 1969 all the through 1987.