Monday, March 31, 2014

Souvenir Time - Disneyland Hotel Menu

It's been a while since I've shared any Disneyland souvenirs here on GDB (not counting those Donruss bubblegum cards, that is). Much to my amazement, I have not seen today's item on any other blog or website.

So, what is it? It's a wonderful (and apparently rare) children's menu from the Disneyland Hotel! It is undated, though I suspect that it is pretty early… 1950's anyway. If anybody has any additional info, I would love to hear it. I like the fact that it uses the Disneyland Railroad as its theme, with a nice photo of the C.K. Holliday. 

Here's how the menu looked in its entirety (front and back); it unfolds to about 33 inches in length, which is unwieldy for an adult, much less for a small child. It's amazing that any of these survived, considering that the train is perforated so that it can be punched out. I had to scan this thing in six or seven sections and join them as seamlessly as I could in Photoshop; unfortunately, I popped some of the perforations in the process, which is kind of a bummer. Oh well.

What, no chicken strips, no mac and cheese? Not even a hot dog?? I appreciate the fancy offerings (by children's menu standards). A lamb chop, grilled filet of sole, very nice.

If you are toting an infant around, no problem! They had you covered. I would order "Junior Beef" just for the pleasure of saying it.

There's a nice little picture of the old Hotel, and by golly, you could even mail this menu to your pals back home to make them jealous.

And finally the back of the third panel, with a minuscule diagram of SoCal freeways. It reminds me of the kind of simple maps that appeared on very early printed materials, which is why I think that this menu is so old.

I've only seen a few of these for sale over the years, including one with Walt Disney's autograph. I wish I had that one, but I'm still pretty happy with my plain, unsigned version!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Two From March 1958

Here are a couple of not-too-exciting photos from March of 1958, starting with the ol' Mark Twain at the dock. Patriotic bunting means that these were probably taken the previous July, or at least that's what I'm assuming. The tall "smoke stacks" (though they didn't emit smoke) have those decorative crowns that are a fun detail. The shoreline looks bare without Cascade Peak to the left.

This one is a bit too dark, but I like that it was taken at the Tahitian Lanai, which overlooked the load area of the Jungle Cruise. Imagine sitting there eating your lunch and watching boat after boat fill up with passengers and depart, while others return from the jungle and unload. Too bad there's no restaurant that allows that today.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Kings Island, Ohio - August 1973

Hey, let's go to Kings Island in Mason, Ohio (near Cincinnati)! 

Kings Island had opened about a year before these photos were taken (on April 19, 1972); it is on 364 acres, and is the second most popular seasonal amusement park in the U.S. (the park is only open from mid-April through Labor Day, with a few additional weeks of Halloween-themed events in October). It is now owned by Cedar Fair, and specializes primarily in bigger and badder thrill rides.

This nice lady poses next to flowers that helpfully tell us the exact date of her visit. Which means they had to change it every day.

One of the most famous landmarks at Kings Island is the 1/3-scale reproduction of the Eiffel Tower. I've been to the real one, and I have to admit that it didn't seem 3 times taller than this baby! Notice the aerial tramway (I can't find the name of their "Skyway"), as well as the Royal Fountain, which can shoot up to 10,000 gallons of water each minute. I wonder what the view is like from up there?

Oh, I see. There's that weird inflatable theater, that looks like a loaf of bread. There seems to be a bus, some trailers, and some kind of commotion going on down below. Let's check it out.

HEY! It's Mrs. Brady! Florence Henderson herself. That's right kids, "The Brady Bunch" filmed a 1973 episode at Kings Island (Paramount Studio produced that show and was a large shareholder in the company that owned Kings Island at the time). An episode of "The Partridge Family" also filmed there.  You know what? Somebody needs to give Florence a sammich.

There's Christopher Knight, aka Peter Brady, greeting his giddy fans. He doesn't seem very concerned about the throng of people around him… I guess he was an old pro by then. In 2013, three of the original Bradys returned to Kings Island to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their very special episode. Read about it HERE!

Thanks to YouTube, you can watch the final exciting minutes of that show. Trust me, you probably don't want to see more than that… I loved TBB when I was a kid, but man, this slapsticky chase is pretty hard to sit through. Still, it gives you a pretty good look at Kings Island, which I suppose was the point.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Tomorrowland & Frontierland, March 1958

Today I have two beauties from 1958, in glorious Kodachrome.

Say, howsabout this sweet view looking back toward the Tomorrowland Skyway station. The Space Bar is super busy, let's not go there for lunch. The Astro Jets and Autopia are there, along with a bit of the track for the Viewliner. Undeveloped land is right next to the park, I wonder if Walt ever tried to purchase it?

Just for fun I thought I'd zoom in a bit at the Autopia load area. I like the row of moms and dads waiting for their kids to take a turn at driving a "real car". Just beyond the berm, a tiny gas station looks closed, in spite of the strings of triangular flags.

Meanwhile, over in Frontierland, the river looks wonderful. Note the raft in the foreground and another one in the distance. And there's a canoe, and intrepid guests are exploring Tom Sawyer Island. Fowler's Harbor is to our left.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

New Orleans Square, revisited

Well, fellow gorillas, today I have started something that I have kind of been avoiding for a long time: REPEATS. Sure, once in a while I would repost an image, but now I have gone through most of my old scans and picked out a bunch of my favorites. Some of them go back 4, 5, or even 7 years, so perhaps you have never seen them before if you only discovered GDB fairly recently. Or, if you don't remember them, they might as well be new anyway!

Anyway, here are two from New Orleans Square, starting with this beauty from 1967, when the place was still quite new. Look at how empty it is! It must be early in the morning; the shoe-shine stand is to our left, and the Blue Bayou is just beyond. I think the shop at the end of the street (with the lady in the doorway) is "Le Gourmet", which sold… "Unusual cooking and serving accessories… along with a selection of exotic foods and spices".

This next one is from 1966, so NOS was even brand-newer! Not only is this a beautiful photo in the way it showcases the buildings and the wrought iron, but the "people watching" is great. Hip, fashionable young folks look ready for "Dapper Day". 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Dumbo Instamatics

There is something so happy about the Dumbo flying elephant attraction at Disneyland, how can you not love it? It has been expanded (going from 10 elephants to 16) and beautified over the years, but the basic ride is still simple and joyful. 

I wanna ride the Dumbo with the green hat! Darn, some little lady got there first. I'll get even with her… I won't invite her to my birthday party. She'll be sorry. 

Whenever these were taken (sometime in the mid-1960's), you can see that Dumbo's ears were not hinged anymore. He had perfected the art of riding the thermal updrafts, the same way that a condor does. And like a condor, Dumbo also enjoys eating carrion. It's the circle of life. Notice the Skyway bucket, just launched from the nearby chalet.

I'm not sure if this photo is from the same day as the other two, but it belongs here anyway. There's Timothy (one of my favorite Disney characters) atop the disco ball. Don't let Dumbo slack off, Timothy! From this elevated vantage point we can see how Fantasyland was separated from Frontierland by a yellow wall. Maybe if the Berlin wall had been painted a cheerful yellow, people wouldn't have complained so much? It is hard to see, but there are a couple of posters on the wall just to the left of the tent (did it serve food? Or sell souvenirs?) and the one we can fully see is for "Pirates of the Caribbean", so we can safely date this one to 1967 or later.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Special Guest Photos!

Today I have more photos from generous GDB reader Chuck! He is sharing some of his personal pictures from the day of Disneyland's 40th anniversary (July 17, 1995). Once again he has provided some great commentary to help set the scene.

"(This first image) was shot looking at the Matterhorn from the east side of the Hub. As you can see, someone has stapled a commemorative cape on the side of the mountain. I wonder if someone saved this or it ended up in a landfill? (I'm referring to the banner; I'm pretty sure the Matterhorn is still there).

One of the neat things that morning was Randy Travis leading a short sing-along from the top of the Matterhorn. We unfortunately got a later start that day than we had anticipated, and while we could hear it, we were coming through the gate when it started and weren't able to see him (or take a photo)".

This next photo features (quoting Chuck again), "…my lovely wife (and no, she's not looking over my shoulder as I type this) a week shy of her 24th birthday". "Note that in the spirit of the day she has throw caution to the wind, removed her broad-brimmed straw sun hat and donned a Disneyland birthday hat. And yes, she did get a little burned. The backpack by her feet has logged more hours in Disneyland than most people.

Not a ton of interesting people-watching in the background, but it is interesting to note the difference in clothing styles from earlier decades. Nobody's dressed up at all, and I can't seem to find a babushka anyway (sorry, Melissa)".

"Oh wait - somebody did come to the park all dressed up after all - me! July 17th, 1995 was a double celebration for us - not only did Disneyland turn 40, but it was also the day my promotion to first lieutenant took effect. I couldn't think of a better place to celebrate, so I 'pinned on' the new rank in front of the flagpole in Town Square. It was sort of a guerrilla affair; we'd inquired beforehand about doing my promotion ceremony in the Park and the low-level person my wife spoke to in Guest Relations immediately responded with "oh, no - we don't do ceremonies of any kind in the Park."

"Since this was the same office that had told her the previous November that they no longer did the Christmas Candlelight Procession 0 about two weeks before we found ourselves on Main Street watching the Candlelight Procession - we should have probably asked to speak to a supervisor for verification, but we didn't. Instead, we entered the Park, stood in front of the flagpole, I recited the Oath of Office quickly without making any sort of explanatory announcement, we changed out my shoulder boards, and headed on down Main Street before anyone arrested us and confiscated our annual passes. As a result, there are no pictures of the 'ceremony'". 

"We did, however, take a shot of me wearing my new rank in front of the castle. What I love about this picture (aside from my state-of-the-art numeric pager) is the security host walking by in the background, which may help explain why other guests were continually asking me questions about where to report lost members of their party (City Hall) or the nearest restroom (around the corner to the right). I finally went to City Hall to make sure I was giving them the right answers (they assured me I was but thanked me for checking)".

Did you know that a time capsule was buried in front of the castle? I didn't! Chuck sez, "These last two pictures are of the 'Time Capsule' buried that day in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle. (Get it? 'Castle' sounds sort of like 'capsule', and this capsule is shaped like a castle, and it's buried in front of the castte, and… oh, never mind)".

"A section of the pavement was lifted out of the ground and moved to the side, allowing guests to (sort of) see the time capsule in its hole in the ground. It was really hard to get a picture of it as the extant image attests".

"A marker was affixed to that section of patent that reads 'Placed beneath this marker on July 17th 1995: The Disneyland 40th Anniversary Time Castle. A 'Time Capsule', containing Disneyland memories, messages, and milestones, list beneath this spot. The Disneyland Time Castle is dedicated to the children of the 21st Century, who may unlock its contents on the 80th Anniversary of Disneyland: July 17th, 2035'. I sure hope there's a bag of Mickey Mouse-shaped corn chips in there - those things were delicious and I haven't seen one in years!"

Chuck said that he has some additional souvenirs from that day, including a postcard that they sent to themselves from a temporary post office in the parking lot - so that it would have the Disneyland postmark on it. They waited for over an hour!

MANY THANKS to Chuck for sharing these great photos from Disneyland's 40th birthday; it's hard to believe that the 60th will be next year!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Donruss Bubblegum Cards, Part Three

It's time for part three of my continuing series featuring the wonderful 1965 bubblegum cards from the Donruss company. If you wish to see part one, click HERE; for part two, kindly click HERE.

Card #16: Disneyland mountain climbers, Fritz and Otto, ascent the 90 feet height of Matterhorn Mountain.

A similar photo was used on the cover of this 1963 Vacationland magazine.

Card #17: Gaily decorated tree brings Christmas to Disneyland Town Square during Yuletide Season.

Card #18: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs welcome guests to Fantasyland in Disneyland.

Seeing this photo on the 1961 Summer issue of Vacationland made me realize that the Donruss card was printed in reverse. 

Card #19: Corps of Toy Soldiers marches down Main Street during Disneyland's Christmas Season's parades.

Card #20: Disneyland African Veldt is viewed from aboard Jungle Cruise Launches in Adventureland.

Card #21: Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room marks the entrance to Adventureland.

Never fear, there are still 45 cards to go!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Frontierland, 1959

By 1959, the Columbia was a year old. I wonder how many thousands of miles it had already sailed on the Rivers of America? The upholstery was getting worn, one of the tail lights was cracked, and one of the knobs on the radio was missing. That's what happens when millions of people walk all over you. But you know what? It was still pretty awesome. There are rumors that the track will be modified so that the boat will do a loop, but I think it will be more of a "corkscrew". It just makes sense.

Walt Disney had already had some success using props from a movie in an attraction (the "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" walk through), so there was no reason to NOT do a similar thing in Frontierland. This sign tells us that parts of the Indian Village were used in "Westward Ho the Wagons". I haven't seen that film; does it have Fred McMurray? Is there a chimpanzee? Does Annette make an appearance? Or better yet, all three of those things?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Vintage Los Angeles

It's time for some vintage Los Angels photos!

Here's a beautiful 1950's shot of Bullock's in Westwood (on Weyburn Avenue). Bullock's department stores were among the nicest in L.A. back in those days (especially the famous Bullock's Wilshire location). Bullock's had a store in Westwood going back to 1931, but in 1951, Welton Beckett (designer of the Capitol Records building, the Cinerama Dome, the Pan Pacific Auditorium, and many other Los Angeles landmarks - as well as the famous A-frame Contemporary Resort Hotel at Walt Disney World) designed this new building.


After changing to a Macy's, the store closed in 1998, and is now a multi-use store, including a Target, a Best Buy, and a Ralph's grocery store.

Over at 8532 Sunset Boulevard, we see Dino's Lodge (circa 1961), a nightclub that was once owned by none other than Dean Martin. Dino's was made famous when it appeared on the TV show "77 Sunset Strip"… Ed "Kookie" Byrnes' character worked as a valet there. The lodge opened in 1958 and was very popular, but by 1962 Dean Martin had severed all ties with the restaurant, which continued to operate for many years, gradually fading into obscurity. By 1985 the building was razed, with no hint of what used to be there.

For a wonderful, complete history of Dino's Lodge, please read Kliph Nesteroff's article on WFMU's "Beware of the Blog".

Here's an August 1969 photo of North Orange Avenue in Hollywood. Not exactly a major street, but there at the top of the hill is the historic Yamashiro restaurant, built in 1914 as a replica of a 17th century palace. Right at the end of the street you can see the world-famous "Magic Castle" (which opened in 1963), a private club and restaurant featuring magicians, ranging from closeup sleight of hand to larger, more elaborate magic shows. 

It's kind of surprising how much this Google Maps screen capture still resembles the view from 45 years ago.

I hope you have enjoyed these vintage L.A. pix!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Adventureland & Frontierland, August 29, 1965

I have two super-goodies for you today! They're both from August 29, 1965. Jason's Disneyland Almanac tells us that it was a beautiful Sunday, with a high of 89˚ and a low of 65˚; the park was open from 9 AM to midnight; and attendance was 30,653.

I love, love, love this shot of the exterior dining area for the Casa de Fritos restaurant. Those wonderful tables in primary colors (I know, I know, orange is a tertiary color) and their painted palm frond umbrellas are a dazzling feast for the eyes. At night, when Frontierland was much quieter, I can imagine how lovely it must have been with the multi-colored lights on overhead, the sound of the Mark Twain's whistle, and perhaps some distant music in the background.

Next we head over to Adventureland, where we can hear the Barker Bird (Juan) give his spiel, enticing us into the Enchanted Tiki Room. Juan is wearing his red plumage (as opposed to blue) along with his straw boater. Next to him stands Uti, the goddess of fishing (which explains the prow of the outrigger canoe). Is it just me, or does Uti have a distinctly Rolly Crump look about her? It would be nice to have Uti back, though I am not holding my breath.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two More From Chuck! 1971 & 1976

Today I have two more Disneyland photos from GDB reader Chuck Hansen's personal collection! The pictures are great, but Chuck's recollections make them even better.

"I only have two slides from my first trip to DL, and this is the only one that's in focus. It's still pretty meh. It was taken in probably July of 1971, within a day or two of the Universal slides I sent you earlier. From left to right are my dad's cousin, Jimmy; my mother in another outfit she made herself, me in a gloriously color-coordinated outfit that included by favorite button-up sleeveless shirt, red socks, and brown shoes. my Hansen Grandparents, and two random people, one of whom seems to be practicing the proper posture for that Verizon flip phone she'll have in another 35 years".

"I was two-and-a-half, and I can honestly say this visit changed my life. I still remember specific events from this one-day visit from my low-angle vantage point; the horse-drawn streetcars; watching the DL Band march past a I enjoyed a carton of Carnation milk from the curb next to West Center Street; running all over the Mark Twain by myself and thinking we'd traveled to another part of the Park; lunch at the Magnolia Tree/River Belle Terrace (not sure when in '71 the name actually changed); "Let's All Sing Like the Birdies Sing" in the Tiki Room; watching "Winnie-the-Pooh and the Blustery Day" in the Fantasyland Theater; traveling past a distant castle on a train (which I later realized was Cinderella's Castle from Casey Jr.); standing up in a boat as we plowed through a terrifying gale (Pirates of the Caribbean); being enchanted by It's a Small World; being scared out of my wits by a blacklit, animatronic Captain Hook; and stumbling out of  the park clinging tightly to a Mickey Mouse-shaped balloon. I know the whole family had a marvelous time - so much fun that nobody remembered to take any more pictures".

"Afterwards, I was Disneyland crazy, alerting on every toy or book that was remotely connected to the place. I used to draw maps of how to get there - basically a wavy line of a piece of paper that crossed a bridge at some point, went past some mountains, and ended up at a train station. I can remember climbing to the top of the monkey bars at the base daycare center and straining my eyes over the fence to the south, swearing I could just make it out on the horizon - a highly unlikely occurrence since we lived north of San Francisco. It was a long, LONG four years before we were to return".

"The next picture is a scan of an Instamatic print taken in October of 1976 on the same trip as the other one I sent you of my sister and I in our DL t-shirts. I was almost 8 and in the 2nd grade; my sister was almost 5. We were moving out of California en route to Illinois and my parents treated us to not one but TWO days at Disneyland; it would be 17 years before I would return. This was taken just before my sister tagged me out and really put the smack-down on Goofy. The guy puts on a good show but has a glass jaw".

MANY THANKS to Chuck for sharing his photos and his wonderful memories of early visits to the park. This is the kind of thing that I really love, perhaps because I can identify with his experiences so much. We'll have more photos from Chuck in the future, I'm happy to say.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Knice Knott's PhotoI

I love this first photo, from Knott's Berry Farm in the 1950's and featuring two performers from the wonderful Birdcage Theatre (home of classic melodramas). The man in the top hat and cape has been helpfully identified for me as  "…a very young Woody Wilson, the co-proprietor of the Birdcage". My source couldn't ID the pretty actress, who looks like she would be an ideal pure-hearted damsel. Check out the cool dad to our right, his shirt appears to have some sort of tasteful Polynesian "block printing" on it.

"Give me the deed to the farm, or I'll tie you to the buzz saw"! "Never, you cad, the Royal Mounted Police will save me"! I think I need to start wearing cape. Nya-ah-ah!

According to vintage postcards, this grannylicious lady was known as "Aunt Nellie", and she rocked the hammered dulcimer. I'm more of a Tremeloa man myself, but I have to admit that she really played the stuffing out of Zeppelin songs. 

EXTRA! EXTRA! (I added this to the post just 2 hours before publishing).

SO… I was on ebay, and I saw this flyer from the Birdcage Theatre, and had to buy it:

What do you think, could the lovely young miss in the first photo be Louise Russell? I'm going to say "definitely maybe".

And I see another familiar face: Skip Young, aka "Wally" from "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" (a staple of my after-school TV watching when I was a kid)!