Sunday, September 24, 2017

Frontierland, July 1966

Today's Frontierland photos are not the best things ever - but they aren't the worst, either!

Let's take a look up the Rivers of America. The Mark Twain has just passed Fowler's Harbor, with Castle Rock to the right (on Tom Sawyer Island). The top deck is super crowded! July, what are you gonna do. Even the raft to Tom's island is about as full as it can be; it must have just touched land, everyone is facing in that direction.

It almost seems hard to believe that Disneyland actually had a "dead settler" prominently displayed near the burning cabin; I can't imagine that they would have such a thing today. All the mommies and daddies would complain, I suppose. With all of the changes to the island during the Star Wars Land construction, there was a part of me that hoped that a version of this burning cabin might return. How hard would it be to cook up (bad pun) a story that isn't offensive to most people? Alas, it didn't happen.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Detroit Skyline, 1954

Both of today's photos feature views of Detroit (Michigan), as seen from across the Detroit River, circa 1954. 

The black-hulled vessel is the venerable "Eastern States" ferry, built in 1902 as part of the Detroit and Cleveland Navigation Company, and providing service between Detroit to Buffalo. By 1954, the ships of the Detroit and Cleveland (etc) line had fallen on hard times, and in 1957, "Eastern States" was set ablaze in order to make it easier to salvage the steel.

The white-hulled vessel behind it might be the "Western States" ferry. But maybe not!

I did my usual 30 seconds of research in an attempt to identify some of the buildings. NAP TIME!

Here's a current-day photo scrounged from the interwebs; things have changed a bit, but you can see a few familiar structures, like the Penobscot Building (looking much cleaner and whiter here).

I believe that our photographer panned slightly to his right for this next shot; I couldn't ID any of these buildings based on modern views; as far as I can tell, all of these old buildings are long-gone. Of course, I am counting on the GDB readers to let me know if I am mistaken!!

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Detroit.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Chemical Wagon & Omnibus, June 1958

I recently scanned a small group of slides dated "June 1958"; as with most batches, they were mostly unexceptional. But this photo of the Chemical Wagon is a real beauty! Thanks to a clear sunny day, and Kodachrome film, the color is gorgeous. The sky is the bluest blue, and that red wagon just "pops".

Off to the left is the Monsanto house, while the Moonliner's nose can just be seen through the trees.

Here's a nice closeup for you. I wonder if the men who worked on this attraction had unique hat badges, much like the cast members who worked various positions on the Disneyland Railroad ("Brakeman", "Fireman", etc) did?

As usual, I like seeing a fruiting orange tree inside the park - presumably from the original grove from which Disneyland was carved.

Oh man, the photographer didn't have a steady hand when this photo was taken; otherwise it would be another "A+" effort. Note the sign on the side of the Omnibus advertising the brand-new Grand Canyon Diorama ("Largest in the World") - still one of my favorite things at the park.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Disneyland's "Summer '67" Guidebook, Part Five

I think GDB readers have really been enjoying Ken Martinez's look at the wonderful "Summer '67" Disneyland guidebook. It is so full of unique and amazing photos of features that one doesn't usually see that it is one of the very best guidebooks! Here's Ken:

Summer ’67 Disneyland U.S.A. – Part 5 Entertainment, Shows and Exhibits.

Today is the fifth post in a six part series featuring the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Featured today are the free shows and exhibits at Disneyland as well as the live entertainment.  As usual, I’ll let the booklet pages tell the story.

As a kid, I remember there never being a shortage of entertainment at Disneyland.  Musicians, singers, dancers and marching bands seemed to be everywhere.

This is when the entertainment at Disneyland was top notch and involved human talent. What an era!

A bank on Main Street?  Who would’ve thought it.

There’s the INA Carefree Corner counter. Think I’ll pick up a few extra Disneyland Guides.

Disneyland Sponsors - Also Part of the Disneyland Story – Besides Coca-Cola, I don’t think any of these sponsors are at Disneyland anymore.

Next will be Part 6 the finale of the “Summer ’67 Disneyland, U.S.A” booklet.  Hope you enjoyed today’s post.

Thank you, Ken! There's one more post for this guidebook, but Ken has lots more to share.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

1960 Disneyland Ticket Info

I just scanned a very nice pamphlet from Disneyland, circa 1960! As you can see, it is incredibly important. Please don't blink while reading today's post. This piece is larger than most paper items from the same era... 10" X 5.25" closed, and nearly 16" wide when unfolded. Miraculously, this example is in crisp mint condition - not a crease or fold (excepting the ones that are supposed to be there). Somehow, nobody immediately folded this in half.

I'm not sure if these were handed out as guests paid their parking fee (likely), or if they received them while buying tickets.

If you don't use Disneyland ticket books, you are a chump! WHAT A VALUE. Don't cheap out and buy that "Big 10" either - you know you want the "Jumbo 15". FOUR "E" coupons, four "D" coupons, three "C" coupons... etcetera. You'll save $1.60 if you use the Jumbo 15 books instead of buying individual tickets - which might not sound like much that's over $13 in today's money.

The rest of the brochure helpfully lists all of Disneyland's 43 exciting adventures by ticket value; among the "E" offerings were the Mine Train Thru Nature's Wonderland, the Submarine Voyage, the Monorail and Disneyland Railroad, the Jungle Cruise, the Matterhorn, and... the Pack Mules?!

Kids, please don't read this Special Message for Adults! It contains mature themes and intense situations. I kind of love the skillful soft sell (or maybe it's a hard sell?). 

One of my favorite things about this brochure is the sheer number of awesome tiny spot illustrations. 43 in all - one for each adventure. Look at the fearsome squid from the 20,000 Leagues exhibit, or the  father and son enjoying the Art of Animation exhibit! I've isolated each tiny drawing so that you can have them tattooed onto your favorite extremity. Send tasteful pictures afterwards, won't you?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Two From 1973

I have a whole new appreciation for photos of Disneyland in the 1970's. After years of pretending that decade never happened, I now enjoy the terrible clothing, bad hair, and ugly cars. 

Here's our groovy family, posing in the parking lot near the Disneyland Hotel's Monorail station (bubble dome!). It's an unusual angle; not a nice angle, but unusual. I'm guessing we've got three kids, mom, and grandma. Grandma is saying a bad word (guess which one!), mother is comforting younger son, and big brother sports a magnificent helmet of hair. Sis gives us a peace sign, which is mighty neighborly of her. 

Now we've got the floral portrait of Mickey Mouse; grandma and mother are wearing the same clothes, but big brother now has a red shirt. Hasn't he ever watched Star Trek?? I think grandma is saying another bad word.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Vintage Postcards, Balboa, California - Part One

Today's post is a bit different from the usual theme park or world's fair subject matter; GDB pal Steve Stuart has scanned over a dozen of his postcards featuring photos from an area of Southern California that (chances are) folks from elsewhere have never heard of. And yet it's been a draw for tourists and locals for decades - a beach community on steroids, perhaps? Don't blame Steve for that terrible analogy, I own that one all by myself. 

Anyway, Steve has also provided an amazing writeup to accompany the scans - WAY more work than I would ever do. Hey, there's television shows to be watched. Because Steve scanned so many cards and wrote so much great text, I have split it into two posts, with the second installment coming in one week. Here's Steve:

Balboa – The Peninsula – whatever you call it – is that wonderful seaside town made famous in story and song-?  Okay, perhaps in TV & movies – The Baileys of Balboa and The Girl Most Likely, among others.  (Talk about obscure references-!)  Also, home to some pretty fabulous ‘estates’, the “historic” Balboa Pavilion, the Fun Zone and noted surfing spots.  Well, at least it was when these images were current.  (Come to think of it – I suppose, that really hasn’t changed.  Maybe you can go home again).  Just bring plenty – and I do mean plenty – of money.

Ahhh, what could be more fun and relaxing than a trip on the Balboa Island Ferry-?  I’ve ridden on all the ferries in the fleet: The Admiral, The Commodore, and The Captain many a time, in cars, on bicycle and on foot – from back in the days as pictured in this image (early 1960’s) prior to the addition of an enclosed wheelhouse on each ferry – well into the late 1990’s.  Although the “journey” is a mere 800 feet, it’s still one of life’s little pleasures.  The Beek family, who purchased the line back in 1915, still operates the boats.  Who says there’s no such a thing as tradition-??

Here are some images from the Balboa Fun Zone.  The first two are from 1957 and the third is from some time in the early 1960’s.  

In this first image from 1957, the Rides area is off to the left, behind the storefronts.  Either in that green building in the background, or just off to its left was where as a 10 or 11-year old, I had a custom, airbrushed tee shirt made.  I can’t recall the image which I chose, but undoubtedly it was ‘cool’ – or so my young mind thought.  (One can only speculate how cheap the rent must‘ve been back then to allow such a low-margin business to exist in what must now be ├╝ber-prime real estate).

Here’s a view from within the Rides area.  The building in the back houses the Penny Arcade, and I quite vividly remember its many pinball machines and the always-fun ‘mechanical claw’ machines, and who-knows what else it housed.  The cupola of the Balboa Pavilion can be seen just off to the right of the miniature Ferris wheel.

Here is a more flattering view of the Balboa Pavilion, with the Fun Zone off to our right.  On many occasions, we rented boats from the Boat Rental business seen here.

And here are three more views from the 1957-1959 era showing the public beach area facing Newport Bay.  Wow – talk about ‘petite’-!  “Just elbow your way right on in there, folks, and please don’t trip on that playpen…”

Man, that looks like a fun place to be, especially on a warm, sunny day. Fortunately there are a lot of those! Once again, many thanks to Steve Stuart for all of his time and effort. Stay tuned for part two!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Frontierland Views, October 1962

Well, hey! For a Sunday, today's photos ain't half bad. 3 skootches better than usual, if you want to get scientific about it. 

It's October, 1962 (or thereabouts), and somebody on the Mark Twain (or Columbia) snapped this picture looking across Tom Sawyer Island toward lovely Cascade Peak - doesn't it look great? My guess is that the four people standing next to Teeter-Totter Rock just happened to be there, and were not supposed to be the subjects of the photo. Notice Merry-Go-Round Rock in the lower left. 

Aaaaaaand... you know it, you love it, you can't live without it... it's the Friendly Indian Village! Somehow it looks especially busy in this photo, with all of the Native Americans preparing food, fixing canoes, scraping hides, and doing other useful activities. Maybe we are invited to dinner! Tonight they are serving fricassee of prairie dog. Mmmm-mmm! (Hey, I'd try it). 

I always get a chuckle over the two babies propped up against the teepee in the lower left.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Let's Go to the Airport!

Let's go to random airports! George Bailey ("It's a Wonderful Life") thought that the three most exciting sounds were "...anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles". You wouldn't argue with George Bailey, would you? Of course, nowadays airports are just oases of fun, where everyone goes to buy a tasty Cinnabon and read a quality novel (such as "The DaVinci Code"), while enjoying some good-natured ribbing with the TSA employees.

I love this first photo (undated) at the gate onto a nearby runway. The wooden cart stacked high with luggage (including one tartan bag) is novel, but the people are what make this the most fun. A nice gentleman wipes the tears from the face of a woman (hopefully a woman he knows) - is she happy to have just arrived, or sad at the thought of leaving? It will remain a mystery, though I suspect the woman was about to fly to either Flint, Michigan or New York. I'll be curious to see if any clever GDB reader will be able to name this airport. There aren't many clues except for the sign for "Capital Airlines" - which at one time was the fifth largest airline in the country. 

Here's another undated, unlabeled image at some unknown airport; I suddenly feel the need to drive a bright orange vehicle. This airport appears to be a bit more modern than the one in the previous photo, with fancy mobile stairs! No leaping 10 feet to the ground here. In spite of the dearth of information about this photo, I love it anyway.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Beautiful Fantasyland, February 1961

Like most places, Disneyland looks best on a bright, sunny day - as evidenced by today's first photo. We're looking at Fantasyland in the early part of 1961. Everything is so colorful, and the clarity is great. The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship gleams like a gemstone against that dramatic blue sky streaked with cirrus clouds (why so cirrus?).  

One might suggest that the photo has just a bit too much sky, and I am inclined to agree. I hate the sky! If it was up to me I would have the sky banned. Let's crop it down to a nice square. Bingo! This is a good photo for a bit of vintage people-watching. Like the Plaid Family! Paul and Patricia Plaid, with their daughters Pamela and Paige (too bad we can't meet their little dog Petey).

I can't tell for certain if this is the same pale yellow Skyway bucket as the one in the previous photo, but I am pretty sure that it is.