Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Knott's Berry Farm, 1960

Today's post contains the final two photos that the Devlin family generously shared with GDB - I am very grateful that I was allowed to publish them for all of you to enjoy. 

We've seen lots of Disneyland images, as well as some from Universal Studios, Marineland, and those neat EPCOT models, but there were only two humble photos of Knott's Berry Farm, dated April 24, 1960.

We'll start with the best one; a crowd has gathered around an organ grinder and his adorable trained capuchin monkey, "Shorty". We can see Pat in his blue sweater, with sister Mary just to the left. Their mom, Mary Jo, is smiling at us from behind those two ladies. Shorty will accept pennies, dimes, peanuts, and popcorn, but he prefers cigarettes (menthol), like all right-thinking monkeys do. Pat is looking back toward his mom as if to say, "Can you believe this?!".

Next we're at the merry-go-round at Knott's (please don't confuse it with the carousel) - as you can see, this one is not all white horses. Mary is astride an ostrich (or I don't know, maybe it's an emu or a rhea), while Pat rides a spirited black and white steed. Half of a lion can be seen in the lower right. The merry-go-round has a total of 48 critters, including zebras, pigs, chickens, and tigers. 

Thanks once again to the Devlin family!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Pooh For President! - Part One

Today I have a special presentation - GDB reader and pal Chuck Hansen wanted to share some of his personal photos from 1976 featuring moments from the classic "Pooh for President" parade (and more)!    Chuck apologized (unnecessarily) for the quality of the pictures, which he describes as "40 year-old matte prints from long-lost 110 film negatives shot with a plastic-lensed Kodak Pocket Instamatic 20 on what appears to have been a partly-cloudy afternoon". As far as I'm concerned, the "vintage photo print" look is part of the charm. Notice that today is the 40th anniversary of the Pooh parade!

Chuck also provided an extensive commentary, which makes my usual posts look scanty and lazy by comparison. It's a conspiracy! But I love the historical context that he evokes. Enough of my rambling... I'll let Chuck take over from here:

Campaign Rally, Sunday, October 24th,1976

We're just a few weeks out from Election Day, and, frankly, I can't wait for it to be over.  This election cycle has been a particularly long, nasty, brutal slog across the electoral landscape, and if you're anything like me, you're tired of it.  And you like to eat waffles.  With butter.  And mustard.  While shaving.  We're so much alike, it's scary.

To take your mind off of today's political squabbling, let's roll back the clock 40 years to October of 1976, just a couple of months before the beginning of the 2016 Presidential campaign...

Just as today, the nation was counting down the final days until the election on November 2nd.  The leading candidates, incumbent Gerald Ford and Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, were locked in a near dead heat in the polls.  Then a new candidate stepped into the limelight to declare his candidacy and potentially upset the the electoral race.  I speak of none other than Edward Bear, popularly known as "Winnie the Pooh."

In a Park that already had plenty of elephants and not a few donkeys, Disneyland had hosted a third-party "Pooh for President" "campaign" in 1968 and 1972.  While he hadn't garnered a single vote in the electoral college in either election, the 1968 Democratic candidate, Hubert Humphrey, had admitted that the bear made more sense than “any other candidate," and another campaign in '76 seemed a natural.

So, over the weekend of October 23rd and 24th, 1976, Pooh once again threw his hat into the ring.  And in a wonderful series of unconnected circumstances, I just happened to be there with my family as we moved from north of the Bay Area to just east of St Louis.

As we entered the Park that Sunday morning, along with an INA guidebook we were handed a yellow flyer that detailed the schedule of events for "Winnie the Pooh for President Days."  This example was previously posted by Vintage Disneyland Tickets in 2008 and is shared here [editor's note: Chuck provided the original Vintage Disneyland Tickets link for those interested - it is: http://vintagedisneylandtickets.blogspot.com/2008/10/winnie-pooh-for-president-days-october.html].

Next up is a photo of Pooh and his press secretary, Tigger, making a special appearance at the noon "Kids of the Kingdom" show.   For years I had a vague sense that we had seen this show over on the west side of the Small World Concourse, but I recently had talked myself into believing that this was actually at the Tomorrowland Stage.  Now that I've found the schedule which clearly says this was at the "Small World Stage," I'm wondering if maybe my memories are correct.  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find any photos that show the Small World Stage, so I can't directly compare my photo.  This sure looks like the Tomorrowland Stage, although the photos I've found from a few years earlier (1968) show a curved proscenium arch that rounds the upper stage corners.  Maybe a reader out there knows the answer.

At about 1:15 that afternoon, my parents walked my sister and I over to the parade route gate just to the east of It's a Small World (a.k.a. "it's a small world"), where we were handed off to smiling, perky cast members who ushered us backstage as far as the turn-off to the "Disneyland Naval Yard" (and man did I want to keep walking down that road).  We were handed balloons and signs and invited to participate in that afternoon's "Tigger tape" parade while my parents went to find a good spot from which to watch the parade, which ended up being on the Hub opposite the Tomorrowland entrance.

The following lackluster pictures show various costumed characters carrying signs showing their support for Pooh.  It really was much more exciting than it looks.  Honest.

Next is another completely unremarkable picture - Minnie and an unidentified furry character (Pluto, maybe?) riding in a horseless carriage.  I actually find the guy with the movie camera to the left of the vehicle and the woman aiming the Instamatic 100 (or 104, or 124) directly at us more interesting than the parade itself.  I'm sure she was a Vulgarian spy.

Here endeth part one! MANY THANKS to Chuck for generously sharing his photos, and for the amazing amount of work that clearly went into his writeup. I will post part two next week!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Snooze Sunday, September 1963

Hoo-boy, today's slide scans are some kinda boring. Don't think I haven't noticed! That's why they're appearing on a Sunday, when all of you are out doing something fun.

I love old Cascade Peak, but this is not the best picture of it. That being said, it's a whole lot better than what's there now (which is nothing). A lot of photos from this era seem to have a degree of vignetting - the image gets darker at the corners. Presumably this is the result of having an inexpensive camera? Believe it or not, this is how it looks after I've improved it.

I love the Snow White Grotto too; just not this photo. We're too far away, there's too much trees and not enough grotto. And admit it, don't you wish you could go back in time and move the camera just a tick to the left? I knew it!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

SeaWorld, San Diego - September 1968

Today I have some nice early photos from SeaWorld in San Diego. This park was the first of several SeaWorlds (including locations in Ohio, Orlando, and San Antonio) - it debuted in 1964.

Take a look at this first photo; it's a display of critters - fish, crustaceans, marine mammals, bivalves, cephalopods, and so on) dressed in Hawaiian shirts, grass skirts, leis, and other touristy garb. Notice the fierce carved tiki! Apparently this was a kind of "Chuck E. Cheese"-style animatronic band... from what I can glean on the internet, "Punchy" (the pugnacious mascot of Hawaiian Punch) was later added to a revamped tableau.

Next is this nice image of SeaWorld's Japanese Village area. I've always loved this peaceful, beautiful style of garden, with the manicured shrubs and stone bridges. The water was teeming with koi fish. The small structure to the right houses a very large taiko drum. I think that the building to our left had pearl divers, as well as a selection of merchandise.

Hawaiian Punch again. It's a conspiracy! This was the Hawaiian Punch Village, where you would be able to enjoy a nice "Polynesian-style drink" (presumably no alcohol?). 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Beautiful River, May 1958

Here are two more vintage photos of Frontierland, taken on a perfect day in May.

Here's a beauty taken from the Mark Twain (the Columbia wouldn't come along for another month or so... more on that in a future post); the scene is so tranquil and inviting. It doesn't take much to imagine being able to drift on the river all the way down to Memphis while taking a nap.

It's hard to tell what time of day it was, but I believe that it must have been a little after noon. If so... hardly a soul can be seen, except for the red-shirted guy wrangling that raft (is he pulling it toward him, or pushing it away?) and a few people way in the distance. To the left of Rainbow Ridge is the hill where Cascade Peak would hatch in two years.

Looking in a northwesterly direction, we can see another dock for rafts (I suppose it would have been used on especially busy days), as well as Fort Wilderness and some of the rocks and caves on Tom Sawyer Island. Just a bit further, there's the settler's cabin burning fiercely. 

I love how glassy the river is - the waterway was dredged from Orange County orchards just a few years before, but by 1958 it is easy to believe that you might catch a catfish, or spot a hideous alligator snapping turtle!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Vintage Postcards - Midway Mania

And now for something a little bit different! This is another installment looking at Ken Martinez's collection of vintage amusement park postcards. But... well, I'll let Ken explain it:

Midway Mania! - Classic Carnival Rides Part 1

Today I'm sharing postcards of classic carnival rides that could be found at the county fair of local carnival that came to town. My childhood was filled with visits to these types of places.

Here's the "Rock-O-Plane", manufactured by Eyerly Aircraft Comapny. The eight caged vehicles rotated back and forth allowing riders to travel upside down. I remember my sister losing her keys on this attraction as they clanked all over the cage and out below. The location for this postcard is Rotary Playland in Sacramento, California.

The "Octopus" was another Eyerly Aircraft Company flat ride. It was also the first carnival ride I ever rode. The sixteen vehicles rotated on the eight arms which moved up and down and around hence the name "Octopus". The location for this postcard is Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

I've only seen the "Twister" once at the county fair in Pleasanton, California. It was manufactured by Chance Rides which was a manufacturer of many carnival flat rides. All I remember is it had a rally loud and noisy motor.

The "Spider" was sort of a second generation version of the Octopus except that it had six arms/legs. It was also manufactured by the Eyerly Aircraft Company. A larger version called the "Monster" which had rotating extensions off the arms/legs and held four vehicles on the extensions, could usually be found at the larger theme parks across the country. The location for this postcard is the Iowa State Fair in Sandusky, Ohio.

The "Flying Scooters" were manufactured by Bisch Roccho. I've only seen one of these and I didn't ride it.

Hope you all enjoyed visiting the midway today. Part 2 should appear soon!

Information Source material: The Flat Joint - http://www.flatrides.com/

Thank you Ken! Part 2 will be here in a week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Today marks the first of many posts that will feature photos from the personal collection of Steve Stuart, aka "Nanook"! He was kind enough to send me a box of dozens of slides so that I could give them the Gold Star Gorilla treatment™. There are photos of Disneyland, Pacific Ocean Park, Santa's Village, and (as they say on TV) much more!

Steve was also nice enough to take the time to share his recollections, which will be fun. Today's scans are from June, 1958 - Disneyland, of course. Let's hear from Steve:

The first image on the SBC "ramp" shows yours truly, wearing what I would think is some sort of souvenir cap, but I'll be damned if I remember anything about it. I do remember always seeming to get some sort of "personalized" hat when visiting Disneyland in my pre-teen visits there. I'm standing next to childhood friends De De (Diane) and her younger brother, John. The "cool kids", standing to our right, safely separated by pennants, are unknown to me, although each one of them somehow resembles kids I knew back then. And I can spy a ticket book in the pocket of "the nice young man" standing next to me. (I should have stolen it. As if). The bigger question is - just what were we pointing at? One assumes the swans - perhaps seeing a black one. But with those grins on our faces, maybe we were laughing at the the expense of others - such as someone falling into the moat...

In the second image, if I have my bearings right, my mom appears to be sitting out near the corner of the Tinkerbell Toy Shop (under the clocktower), as the entrance to the Arts & Crafts Shop we see in the distance is located between the castle entrance, proper, and the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthru. The image manages to "shift the focus" back to the Sleeping Beauty Arts & Crafts Shop, and not quite on my mom's face. Interestingly, the gentleman exiting the Arts & Crafts Shop is carrying a 1957 guide book, but the image should be from 1958. (I'm often doubting the dates linked to certain images seen on these pages, and here I am with the original slides in my hot little hand, and I'm scratching my head, wondering if the image dates from late 1957, but the processing date indicating a delay of a full six months! My mom didn't date the Disneyland portion of the images, only the ones from Santa's Village, as from 1958). But then, I have no idea just when the updated guidebooks are offered for sale.

At Storybook Land, De De is sitting up in the prime spot with the "guide" - and back then - still piloted exclusively by men; although that did eventually change to all women, before the "role" was finally opened to both sexes. I'm sitting along back on the port side, looking intently at the dock -? John is sitting behind me looking at De De. This shot perfectly shows the spur track where the boats go for a bit of R&R - often referred to by the guides as: "Never-never-land as we never, ever, go there!". The lever apparently used to switch the tracks can be seen on the right side, beneath the cactus plant.

Thank you, Steve! I hope everybody enjoyed these (I know you did) - stay tuned for more, coming soon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Skull Rock & Geppetto's Village, September 1963

Skull Rock is still one of my all-time favorite features at Disneyland. Just look at this first photo, and I won't even have to explain why (but I'm going to anyway). The Imagineers did a brilliant job of adding a tiny bit of Never-Never Land to the park, imitating the rock formations and lush vegetation shown in the film. This small tropical paradise fit right in amid Fantasyland's flat medieval faire façades, spinning rides, and other charming features. 

As I've mentioned before, one detail that always surprises me nowadays is how small the skull was... in my foggy recollections I would have sworn it was two or three times larger - big enough to have been the world's coolest secret hideaway. It certainly made a large impression!

Happily, Storybook Land, with its canal boats and the Casey Jr. Circus Train, is still there to enchant people of all ages. This photo was taken from one of the circus trains, looking down upon Geppetto's Village. It's his village because he rules with a wooden fist. His nickname is "The Toymaker".

Zooming in, we can appreciate the level of detail; cobblestone streets, tiny gardens with miniature plants, stone walls and bridges, fingerposts, and a variety of "old" cottages and buildings - all backed by the jagged peaks of snowy mountains. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Parade Snapshots, 1974

I have a few photos from what I believe is the classic, long-lived "Fantasy On Parade" at Disneyland. In my mind I can almost hear Jack Wagner saying the parade's name, though I don't know if he actually voiced any commercials at the time.

Our photographer had primo spot near the Plaza, and he boldly stepped out into the street to get the best view possible (at great risk to his own personal safety). Leading the way is Dumbo, who had probably seen a parade or two in his circus days.  Riding that giant drum is Mickey Mouse himself. Everybody loves him! Goofy, Donald, Pluto, Chip & Dale, and Minnie Mouse can also be seen.

Goofy ("The Enforcer") has intimidated us back onto the curb. Notice how his left hand is about to curl into a fist! In spite of the hand rail on top of the drum, it looks like Mickey could have easily tumbled through to the ground. Maybe his shoes were nailed to the drum head. There's Chip again - I never loved his cartoons that much (he and Dale were stinkers!), but I liked seeing him at the park. Just visible is "Little John" from "Robin Hood", which had come out in theaters only four months before this photo was taken.

It's the Three Little Pigs (Practical, Piper, and Fiddler). Thanks to those helium balloons, they are very light on their feet. 

It's everyone's favorite crockery... teapots from Alice in Wonderland! For some reason I love that oddball features appeared in this parade. Why the heck not! Just look at the crowds, all orderly and well-behaved. Because they have all been turned into Audio Animatronics! Celebrity sighting: the Walrus. Goo-goo-g'-joob!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Castle, June 1963

The first photo for today's Sunday post is very nice - taken on a beautiful June day, with bright sunshine and a lovely blue sky. Nanook has already seen it! Long story. With the little family in the foreground, it could almost be a picture right out of a souvenir guidebook. 

Another photo, same day (apparently earlier...), same general location, but it isn't as pretty. Still... wouldn't it be nice to be there with nobody around?