Friday, August 18, 2017

Art Corner Exterior, October 1963

The first photo in today's post was a nice find - it's a beautiful shot of the legendary Tomorrowland Art Corner building; a feature that very few people captured on film. The structure itself is not much more than a steel shed, but the fa├žade has those squares (windows? I'm really not sure) of colorful abstract shapes, reminiscent of paper cutouts by Matisse. The large window in the lower left has a large shield with what appears to be smaller examples of medieval heraldry (maybe). 

Of course the Art Corner is famous for selling cels from films like "Alice and Wonderland" and "Sleeping Beauty" for a few dollars. Setups with matching background paintings were more, but still a bargain by today's reckoning. Since this photo is from October 1963, they might have had lots of cels from the previous animated feature, "101 Dalmatians" (1961). "The Sword in the Stone" would be released in December of '63, so in just a few months guests could have their very own cels of Wart, Merlin, and Madam Mim. 

Meanwhile, check out the souvenir hats in the foreground! Barely visible above the dyed ostrich plumes we can just see a part of the "Art Corner" sign.


Here's an old publicity photo showing the Art Corner - check out the thousands of dollars in attraction posters in the windows!!


This nice lady is posing for a portrait - not too far from the location of the first photo. The building behind her was where "The Art of Animation" exhibit was located (from May 28, 1960 thru September 5, 1966). Animation, eh? I've heard of it. I don't think it will catch on. Sock puppets are where it's at, mark my words.

Before that, guests would have seen the "Satellite View of America" - boy do I wish I had a few photos of that one!  


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rainbow Ridge Snapshots

As a kid, photographs generally meant square-format prints like the examples seen today. It's the way my mom did things, and even my grandparents. So today's photos feel nice and comfortable, like a pair of old shoes. 

This is a pretty nice shot of Rainbow Ridge, circa 1963; the cool cast of the photo makes this feel like early morning, but it has to be much later in the day (Rainbow Ridge faced southwest). There could be a big crowd of people standing behind the photographer, but old RR looks more like a ghost town here. A nice ghost town.


Greenhorns heading west stayed at the Rainbow Ridge Hotel (or maybe the El Dorado, seen in the previous image). They offered clean sheets for an extra nickel! Worth it, if you ask me. I never get tired of looking at all of the details of the little minin' town.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Walt Disney World, December 1971

Here are the last three scans from a lot of slides from December, 1971, featuring scenes from the Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World - this is kind of a continuation of THIS POST from June.

This is another angle showing a few watercraft that guests could use - sailboats, outrigger canoes, and in the foreground, a funny little Bob-A-Round Boat. It is my goal to someday be the first person to take a Bob-A-Round Boat around the world. Maybe I'll even sail through the Panama Canal! Or should I just go 'Round the Horn?


I presume that this is part of the hotel complex - not exactly the most lovely structure ever, but perhaps a nice variation on the super modern Contemporary Hotel. I'd like to believe that the young plants are taro roots, so that guests could make their own poi. 


And finally, one last (really!) look at the sailboats, with Tigger as your spirit guide. Clearly the Polynesian consisted of a cluster of various buildings. These days most people don't realize that guests - even the pale, trembling visitors from the frozen north - were required to wear accurate Polynesian native garb. It wasn't pretty.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Marineland of the Pacific

Today, Steve Stuart (who has a license plate that reads "NANOOK") has some scans of good old Marineland of the Pacific - a park fondly remembered by many SoCal residents, though it has been gone for (gulp) 30 years. Here's Steve with all the info:

Marineland of the Pacific – a going concern from August 28, 1954 thru February 11, 1987.  Described by Wikipedia as “a public Oceanarium and tourist attraction located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula coast in LA County”, near Portuguese Bend.  [Personally, I’m more partial to a natatorium, but I’m betting the aquatic life would have a different opinion].  Its close proximity to Tinsel Town has translated into multiple television appearances over the years, along with being seen in some feature films.

Although packing in the folks thru the 1960’s, attendance later flagged which led to a series of ownership sales – at one time involving the Hollywood Turf Club.  (They would have been well-advised to have consulted with the Los Angeles Turf Club, who could’ve told them a thing-or-two about involvement in amusement/theme parks, from their partial ownership of POP…)  Here’s a link to an article from the South Bay Daily Breeze telling the sad tale of Marineland’s closing.

Here’s a welcoming shot from 1959, with the Oceanarium building prominently-featured.  Heading-up the roadway by the flagpole, is a 1956 Red/White Ford.


A closer shot of the Oceanarium, featuring the “World’s most spectacular Circus of Marine Life”.  And not about to be upstaged by the Ford, here’s a 1955 or ’56 Buick.


From 1958, here’s a lovely shot of the 3,000+ seat arena, a part of the Oceanarium, where folks are observing the Sea Circus.  (High-atop above the spellbound throngs, we can see the backside of the Top Deck).  Evidently, performing here are Mopsy, Flopsy and Geraldine, or so I’ve been told… 


In 1961, up here on the Oceanarium’s Top Deck, excited guests are watching “White-sided dolphins take bows…”  This time the entertainment is being provided by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Bubba – or so I’ve been told…


Back in the arena, Frankie, the Bottle-nosed porpoise is jumping for a taste of mackerel, while Sophie looks-on, jealously – or so I’ve been told…


We still have SeaWorld in San Diego, and it's nice, but I miss Marineland out on that beautiful Palos Verdes peninsula. THANKS to Steve Stuart!

Monday, August 14, 2017

More Rescans!

I have rescanned more slides from the past; I think the results were worth the effort!

Let's start with this 1958 photo (originally posted in 2009) of two cute kids who have just finished riding the Dumbo attraction. Big Sis is being very helpful! As you can see, the colors are faded to a grayish yuck; and I managed to post it backwards.


This new scan has really benefited from my years of Photoshop experience! The colors really pop now, and the whole thing just looks sharper and nicer. In the background we get a decent look at one of the Fantasyland snack stands, as well as the dining area nearby. Attraction posters for the new "Alice in Wonderland" attraction and the Disneyland Hotel can be seen to the right; to the left are posters for the Skyway and "Space Station X-1".


This next one is from the same batch, although I didn't post it until 2011. The boy from the previous photo can just be seen, apparently sitting on his mother's lap. I believe the lady to our left is the grandmother.

Once again, the color leaves a lot to be desired.


Ah, that's more like it. At this point, parts of Fantasyland still had a rough, unfinished appearance, in large part due to the constant improvements that Walt Disney implemented. I love the Casey Jr. Circus Train passing in the distance!


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Frontierland & Rainbow Ridge, October 1963

This post is (in my opinion) quite a bit nicer than my typical Sunday posts - you know, the ones in which I have scraped the bottom of the barrel! I think these 1963 photos are actually very interesting.

Let's start with this picture, looking southeast toward the landing where the Mark Twain and Columbia take on new passengers. Beyond that is the little minin' town of Rainbow Ridge. If you squint real hard, you can see the Mineral Hall to the right, while Casa de Fritos is mostly hidden behind carnivorous trees. 

In the foreground, a Tom Sawyer Island raft... they were really worried about that thing bursting into flames.


This next photo is a fun view showing the Pack Mules just starting their journey through Nature's Wonderland, as they pass a few less-photographed buildings. 


I thought I'd zoom in just a bit; the tiny size of those buildings is very apparent when you really look. It's kind of cool to see one of two additional structures in the distance, including that one with the white picket fence. In the lower right is a nice little ticket booth.


Saturday, August 12, 2017

San Francisco

I'm still relying on old scans for my "Anything Goes Saturdays". It's a long story, but hopefully I'll be able to get back to scanning some new stuff very soon. 

If I had to make a guess, I'd wager that most readers will recognize this bridge (seen here in a 1950's photo) instantly. The wonderful Golden Gate Bridge, which opened in 1937, is still considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world - in part because of the gorgeous 1-mile wide "Golden Gate" straight between San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge was the longest main span suspension bridge for 27 years, finally surpassed by New York's Verrazano-Narrows bridge in 1964. 

When I was a kid I had an older cousin who lived in San Francisco; every time we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, the tops of the towers (over 700 feet tall) disappeared into heavy fog.


Thanks to my complete lack of studies and zero research I have concluded that San Francisco's Chinatown might be the second most-photographed feature of the city. I love this shot looking down one of the streets - I couldn't figure out which one - with the old vehicles in the foreground, the traditional buildings festooned with signage and Chinese decor, and the Oakland Bay Bridge looming in the distance.


Friday, August 11, 2017

The Indian Village, 1957

The old Indian Village might be long-gone, but todays beautiful Kodachrome images practically bring it right back to life. I really love the strong 50's vibe that comes through in these photos.

The performances at the "Dance Circle" were arguably the highlight of the features in the Indian Village - heaven knows that people took a zillion pictures of the costumed dancers. In this first photo, two boys (who should look familiar to many of you) pose with one of the Indian performers. I wish I knew what his name was. Did Disneyland provide their costumes? Behind them is the Dance Circle, as well as a scattering of teepees. That massive berm did an amazing job isolating Frontierland from the outside world!


Next we have the boys and their Mom standing next to one of the teepees. I am guessing that these were made from some sort of heavy cloth, cut in irregular shapes and carefully painted to resemble buffalo hides - it looks pretty convincing from here! To our right is a device from which drying ears of corn hang - it's nice and high to help keep varmints away.


Let's zoom in and say howdy to this nice family! Mom is thinking that a sun-bleached skull would be just the thing for the living room - won't the girls in her bridge club be envious? Time for a trip to "Skulls 'R Us".


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Odds and Ends

Here are some random and odd items from ye olden days of Disneyland. I scanned 'em, so you have to look at them.

First up is this nice paper bag, probably early 1960's. This one is likely for postcards or other small-ish merchandise. The condition is pretty good! And I love the decorative spot illustrations printed in white. City Hall, the Mark Twain, A hippo, the Disneyland Railroad, and even a Monorail (to name but a few) all made the cut. 


Boy oh boy, there was a time when I was collecting Disneyland postcards like there was no tomorrow. Now I have all but the rare and very expensive ones, so I don't find many that I want these days. However, this card is pretty fun!

The "Inn of Tomorrow" on Katella provided their very own shuttle bus, customized to look like a Martian (?!). Pointy ears, Maybelline eyelashes, upturned nose, toothy mouth (how about some orthodontia), and even a metal tongue. George Barris, eat your heart out. If you're going to take a photo for a postcard, you might as well ask the ladies from work to wear their short dresses for a little  "Oo-la-la".


Here's the reverse of the card, in case you were curious.


And finally... this luggage tag from the Disneyland Hotel was included as part of a lot of Disneyland paper. Of course I wish it was unused, but it's still a nice little piece of ephemera.


I hope you have enjoyed today's oddball items!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Skyway Views, February 1961

The old Skyway was the source of a lot of great bird's-eye views that are no longer possible. I sure do miss that attraction. 

First up is this lovely shot of Skull Rock. I've always loved the multiple waterfalls! This angle lets us see more of the colorful tropical plants that were planted up and around the skull so that it didn't appear so grim. Parts of Storybook Land and the backstage area are just visible, as well as a bit of Fantasyland Station. 


Let's zoom in past the crow's nest to see part of the outdoor dining area. Things are slow! That gentleman appears to be eating by himself. Maybe the lady (just to the left of the mast) will join him. A love connection at Disneyland!


A second photo peers down on the deck of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship, as well as more of the dining area. Notice the seats around the tables, they are little casks with seats on top.  


Any idea what that red container is for? My vote: poisonous queen snakes.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Vintage Postcards - A Classic 'Coaster

Steve Stuart ("Nanook") is back! Actually he never went away, I just twiddled my thumbs like an ungrateful thumb twiddler after he was kind enough to scan some vintage postcards and provide a nice historical writeup. My excuse is that there is just a bit of chaos right now. Plus I love to take 10 to 12 cat naps each day, usually while driving.

Steve's subject today is the wonderful beachside amusement park (long gone), the "Cyclone Racer" from the Long Beach Pike! Here's Steve:

Here are two images of the Cyclone Racer roller coaster, which was a fixture at The Pike [& Nu-Pike] in Long Beach, California from 1930 to 1968.  It was designed by Fred Church and Harry Traver.  Fred Church designed the wonderful Giant Dipper coasters at Belmont Park, San Diego and Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz.  Harry Traver is revered amongst coaster aficionados for designing some of the most intense roller coasters, long before any sort of steel, tubular designs were ever imagined.  None more so than the Crystal Beach Cyclone, which opened in 1927, at Crystal Beach Amusement Park (naturally) in Ontario, Canada.  To hear Harry Traver tell it:  "Everybody's equal on a roller coaster. They all shriek at the same time."



When the Cyclone Racer opened in Long Beach on May 30, 1930 - Memorial Day - it was accompanied with plenty of hoopla and marketing:  “96 feet high and over 110 feet above the sand.  The first drop measured about 90 feet at 50°, with a top speed of 55-60mph”.  The coaster could be seen in many a motion picture and also on television – even providing exciting action through the use of rear projection in an episode of Leave It to Beaver – from Season 5, Episode 21:  “Beaver’s Fear”, where it turns out it’s Eddie Haskell who is scared, rather than the Beav.  

I have more scans and articles from Steve coming up. Many thanks to him for helping me keep up with GDB!

Monday, August 07, 2017

Two More From Huck

We have seen 18 images from GDB pal Huck Caton, who took a bunch of nice photos back in April of 1995. Today I'm sharing the final two pictures from this set - all good things must come to an end.

The Mark V-style Monorails were at Disneyland for over 20 years, and yet, to this day, I still twitch involuntarily when I see them. The "Lear jet" inspired design is so tied to Walt Disney World in my mind; I'm sure that there are many people who loved this look, but I never could warm to it. The choice of font for the "Disneyland Monorail System" is adorably dated... I am almost positive that I used the same font for a sign when I was just out of high school. Because I had no aesthetic taste.

Nevertheless, this is still a bright and sunshiny look at Tomorrowland when it still had the original Submarine Voyage, and those awesome Mark VII "Stingray" Autopia vehicles. 


It's fanny packs aplenty over near the Starcade! I feel like I have wasted my life, having never owned or worn a fanny pack. But it's not too late - there's hope for me yet. Check out those very 80's colors in the background - swirling teals and purples. It's funny, I had an art teacher who pointed out the overuse of purple in certain paintings, and to this day I have a bias against it, even though it is a perfectly good hue when used correctly.

Say, what's that white spiky thing in the distance? Why, it's Space Mountain! You don't see it very often on this blog. Did the Speed Ramps still operate in 1995? I remember being able to run up them one time (late at night), and I felt like the Bionic Man. Zooom!


Thanks to Huck Caton for generously sharing his personal photos!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Snoozers, 1972

Hoo-boy, these are some real clinkers, folks. Just keep moving, nothing to see here! 

Well, you seem to be sticking around. I don't understand it, but I respect it. Over at Snow White's Super Enchanted and Magical Grotto of Wishes and Dreams, things look just like they do in every other photo of this feature. Dopey's fishing pole is gone by this point... I'll bet you 1000 golden pazoozas that somebody complained about the idea of Dopey catching (and killing) a fish. Now he must use his bare hands, and he likes it.


Here's a wonky and uninspired photo of the Disneyland Band playing in front of Town Square's flagpole. I like the little kid holding hands with his Dad (Grandpa?), I wonder if he still remembers that day 45 years later.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Universal Studios, December 1969

Here are a few vintage photos from Universal Studios, circa 1969! 

One of the stranger "photo ops" at Universal was this odd and rather phony little waterfall. I guess it was supposed to reveal "the magic of the movies" or something. 

Woody Woodpecker was sometimes used around the park as a mascot (being one of Universal Studios' cartoon stars), but Andy Pandy is featured on the sign; in the 1940's, Fred Moore (one of Walt Disney's top animators, famous for his ability to draw pleasing characters) briefly worked for Walter Lantz, and this pose definitely echoes Mickey Mouse in a big way. Unfortunately, ol' Andy was not much of a personality. 

This nice lady's fashion sense seems to predict a kind of punk aesthetic, with the plaid skirt and the giant safety pin; all she needs is a pink mohawk. In fact, all I need is a pink mohawk.


Ah, the old Western Street! It makes me want to mosey on in to the saloon to order a glass of redeye (in a dirty glass). I can almost hear the clip-clop of horse hooves, and the jingle-jangle of spurs. Let's go into the general store and get some sundries; hard candy for me, a box of tenpenny nails for Pa, and cigars for Ma. 


It looks like we've moved out of the late 19th century and into the early 20th century. Paved streets and automobiles have changed the way cities look, while buildings are no longer weathered wood, but solid and sturdy brick and stone - the way a respectable town should be.

Movie backlots really are fascinating places. Turn a corner, and you're on a typical suburban street. Not far from that, you'll be in medieval Europe. Continue walking and you might be in a coastal Asian village, or 1940's New York, or a rustic Mexican town. 


I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Universal Studios!

Friday, August 04, 2017

'64 New York World's Fair at Night - September 1964

I love night photos of amusement parks and fairs; and the 1964 New York World's Fair was a dazzling feast for the eyes when the sun set and the lights came on.

The Unisphere was an impressive symbol of the Fair - heaven knows that every visitor took at least one photo of it. Imagine seeing it on a warm summer night, feeling the spray of the fountains, music playing in the background (the Fair had plenty of audio, all the time)... it must have been amazing.


The Africa pavilion featured a number of performances for guests, including "...tall, graceful Watusi men from Rwanda perform spirited dances and demonstrate their prowess at high-jumping. Burundi drummers and West African dancers also perform".  Another guide describes "...Zulu dancers and a Nigerian dance-and-drum troupe". Which version are we looking at?


This one's my favorite; a striking and well-composed shot of the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion. Magnifico! You get some choice views of some lit Luminaires, at no extra cost. I love the brightly lit bank of pay phones in the lower right - "Guess where I'm calling from, Mother? NO, not the local jail!".


I've seen photos of the pavilion of the Philippines before, but until now I never really thought about the fact that it looked like a hat. I wondered if it was just a coincidence, but the official guidebook says that it was indeed "...built in the shape of a salakot -- the wide-brimmed sun hat worn throughout the islands".  Shouldn't I win some sort of large cash prize for my observation?


I almost didn't bother to share this one, since the focus is a bit soft, but how often do you get to see the Tower of the Four Winds at night? In spite of the blur, you can tell that it was quite a sight.


I hope you have enjoyed these nighttime views of the World's Fair!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Jungle Cruise

I kind of love this nice view of the Jungle Cruise and the "Rivers of the World" as seen from way up in the canopy of the Swiss Family Treehouse! With the classic red leaves in the foreground, this one feels like it should be in 3-D. No such luck! Of course it's a little bit jarring to look down upon a wholly convincing tropical jungle, only to look up and see acres of parking lot.


One of my favorite details is the large carved head (with its enigmatic smile), slowly being obscured by the roots of a strangler fig. Ornate columns, a statue of Ganesh (the elephant-headed god) and a partially submerged statue (a Buddha?) hint at a once-thriving civilization.


Panning up just a bit, we can see down into the Sacred Elephant Bathing Pool, including the waterfall-loving pachyderm.


And, just to round things out, here's another Jungle Cruise photo, also from 1963 though from a different lot. It's a nice shot of a launch returning to civilization. Looking through the netting to the left, it appears that there are people where I don't expect to see them. What gives??