Saturday, November 25, 2017

Miscellaneous Amusements

I have two somewhat random scans from fun places in the U.S.A! You like fun, don't you?

This first one is date-stamped "April, 1966", And portrays a happy group of visitors standing out in the bright sunshine. But the slides had nothing to indicate where this lovely park was. Palm trees, eh? Could be California. Could be Florida. Those might be mock palm trees, planted by the Russians in order for people to relax and lower their guards, thereby leaving wide open to a real-life "Red Dawn"! 

Anyway, I was determined to find out where this place was located. Say, what's that in the background?


Why, it's the cutest li'l monorail you ever saw! It's like an Edsel married a submarine and had a baby. At first I thought perhaps this was the monorail at the L.A. County Fair, but when I compared the two, I realized that they were quite different. After a bit of research...


... I found this swell photo of the very same Monorail - called the "Spacerail", at the Miami Seaquarium.  It was the first hanging Monorail in the United States, debuting in 1963. Here's what Wikipedia sez:  It existed solely for entertainment, not transportation, as it had only one station. It offered views not only of the Seaquarium exhibits and buildings, but also of the Miami skyline. There were six cars, though only five were run at a time, and the cars had names after fish. The cars had unique styling until they were redesigned in 1978 to be rectangular and their names were removed. The cars operated around the loop counterclockwise, and had an Automatic Block Signal system.

Sadly, by 1991, the Spacerail suffered from low ridership and high operations costs. It closed, and the cars have been used as storage sheds.


Next is this photo from May, 1962, from a mystery park. The ride is known as the "Jolly Caterpillar", and it dates all the way back to 1938. Many Jolly Caterpillars were built, and some still operate - the exuberant larva goes 'round and 'round in a bouncy motion.

If anybody has a clue as to where this photo was taken, please chime in! There's not a lot to go on, I admit.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1969

It's time for ol' Major Pepperidge to sound like a broken record again as I thank my friend "Mr. X" for giving me yet MORE images. Like, gave to me to keep! No take-backsies either. You probably remember the hundreds of Instamatic negatives that I scanned and posted for years; these new images are from slides that X took himself, and they are beauties. (PS, he also gave me more negatives, so stay tuned for those).

Check out this first one. So nice! It was a beautiful summer day - sunshine gleaming, blue sky, and even a bit of breeze (judging by the flag). I can never get enough of the old "New Tomorrowland" - just look at all those Peoplemover vehicles (yellow, blue, turquoise, and red) moving people, as promised. It surprises me to see empty cars in August - peak season - but there they are. My guess is that if the Peoplemover had never been removed, it would now be super popular.

I love the occasional bright spots of color, thanks to those 1969 fashions. Also visible are the funky fountains on either side of the entrance path, as well as the Rocket Jets, Adventure Thru Inner Space, and even the "GE" logo above the Carousel of Progress.


Erstwhile, check out this great shot; it really gives a sense of the complexity of criss-crossing tracks for the Autopia, Peoplemover, and Monorail. Amazing. It's also nice to know that Walt's "tomorrow" was full of lush green plants and trees. No "Blade Runner" dystopia for him!


Which one is your favorite?

Note: I'm still out of town! 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Two From February, 1961

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

I don't have any Thanksgiving-themed photos to share on this holiday, but I do have two very nice Disneyland pictures (circa 1961) that will hopefully give you your fix for the day before the tryptophan kicks in.

Here's a postcard-worthy shot of the Jungle Cruise loading dock, with the "Nile Princess" and the "Yangtze Lotus" in the foreground (though the Yangtze Lotus is out of commission). As usual, I love the colorful striped canopies - I don't know if that look is authentic (they do look a bit like big toys, admittedly) - but I don't care. Major Pepperidge only cares about Major Pepperidge! Sorry, the holidays always leave me stressed out. 

In the distance, diners can be seen on the Pavillion Lanai.

I can't explain it, but this photo appeals to me so much!


You'd think I might be weary of photos of the Matterhorn, but au contraire, mon frère! For instance, I like this photo a lot. The mountain looks very massive and imposing - notice how the snow level is very high and how dark the rock color is; later on they added more snow and lightened the color of the rocks, perhaps for more of an "aerial perspective" effect. 

Anyway, ya gots yer Skyway buckets in awesome colors, and that sky is something special. A single bobsled is just visible in the lower right, so... 10 extra points to Gryffindor.


(I'm still out of town, but leave a comment if you are so inclined!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Two Snapshots from 1971

I'm getting down to the last few snapshots from 1971, courtesy of Mr. X!

It's almost hard to imagine a time when "Bear Country" was just a twinkle in some Imagineer's eyes. I remember being so excited at the prospect of a whole new land being added to Disneyland! Does anybody recall if there was much information released before the land actually debuted? Were fans aware that the Country Bear Jamboree was the sole new attraction (since the canoes had been around for a long time)? 

Anyway, this is a very nice shot of a sign that hopefully whetted the appetites of guests. To be honest, until "Splash Mountain" came along in 1988 (and the name of the land was changed to "Critter Country"), I was ultimately not that enthused about Bear Country, even though I realize that many people loved that ol' Jamboree.


The former home of Aunt Jemima's Kitchen, and (briefly) the Magnolia Tree Terrace became the River Belle Terrace in 1971. As you can see it was sponsored by Oscar Meyer. Nothing says "old west" like bologna! I think I have a menu from the restaurant from around this era, it's in a box somewhere... if I can find it I'll scan it. Don't leave your computers!


As of today I will be out of town and away from my computer for a few days. Some holiday thing. So I might not be able to respond to comments as quickly as I would like. Still, if you find yourself with some time, be sure to check in, there will be new posts every day!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The NEW New Tomorrowland - Construction, 1997

Here are more snapshots, courtesy of GDB reader Irene, and her brother! Today's images feature the massive (and ill-conceived?) construction for Disneyland's Tomorrowland redo, which debuted in 1998. This is probably TokyoMagic's favorite thing at Disneyland ever

If ya got construction, your gonna have construction walls. And by golly, these are the best construction walls money could buy. I don't want to get bogged down by negativity - who needs that? But I remember being awfully excited by the prospect of a refreshed, and "reimagined" Tomorrowland. My favorite land!


One sign along that big blue wall announced the coming of "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience!"; strange to think that it has been extinct for over 7 years at this point. I enjoyed the original HISTK movie, and looked forward to a ride that would shrink us to the size of an aphid.

If there had been room, I wonder if a real ride with giant props and sets would have ultimately been more successful? Don't get me wrong, I liked HISTA, but it didn't bear many repeat visits. It closed in 2010 for the return engagement of "Captain EO".


This next one gives some idea of just how much work was being done. Whole buildings were re-skinned, and all of that paving was torn up. In the upper left is the "Innoventions" building, formerly the Carousel Theater. The old "Mission to Mars" building was on its way to becoming "Redd Rocket's Pizza Port". 

Was Irene's brother standing on the upper level of the Starcade? I'm not sure if you could go outside up there. Or was this from that upper level of the Space Mountain queue?


Work has progressed in this next picture. Redd Rocket's Pizza Port look like it's nearly ready to start serving the best pizza in the galaxy. The pylon outside the entrance to Space Mountain has received new paint and a logo that I don't remember. Just to the right of that pylon is the giant stone marble that was "floated" on a cushion of water. Kids loved playing with it, and adults loved sitting in wet Star Tours seats later!


There are more Tomorrowland '98 construction photos to come. Thank you to Irene and her brother!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Matterhorn Adjacent, September 1973

Here are more glorious photos from 1973. 

You know what else is glorious? That lady's bouffant hairdo! It defies physics in ways that science has yet to explain. Perhaps the shape of her skull caused a gravitational anomaly. Maybe it was centrifugal forces. Or flubber. She never used hairspray, so we can rule that out. Some mysteries are destined to remain unsolved. 


This is a pretty shot of the good old Matterhorn. The flower beds that flanked the entrance to Tomorrowland make a lovely foreground, with swirls of violet and gold. And of course the Matterhorn itself. It's odd to think that it was only 14 years old in 1973 - we are rapidly approaching the 60th anniversary of that iconic attraction!


Sunday, November 19, 2017

So-So Sunday

None of today's scans are ready for prime time; not that they're terrible. They just lack "oomph". That's why you're seeing them on a "So-so Sunday".

Some of you may recognize the little fellow with the suspenders; we've seen him before a few times. Maybe mom cuts his hair, it's pretty awesome. Sometimes I come home from my barber looking just like that. We all know that cannons work best when somebody is sitting on them, and this kid was well-versed in the art of battle, Civil War style. 

He looks a lot like his old man!


How about this for "so-so"? It's blurry and gray. But it's hard to take a photo of a flying elephant, so I can forgive them.


This view of Town Square would be nicer if it wasn't slightly blurry. The "smart sharpen" Photoshop filter can only do so much (though it did help!). Some fellow to the left is setting up a tripod, I think he's preparing to shoot some film. A CM is crossing the street, exchanging a word with the guy on the Horse Drawn Streetcar. And way in the distance, I can see three posters mounted together: "Nature's Wonderland", "Art of Animation", and the "Submarine Voyage".


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Greenfield Village, 1954

Today we are returning to wonderful Greenfield Village (circa 1954) - Henry Ford's wonderful collection of historical buildings and artifacts, as well as a recreation of a town from days gone by - all located in Dearborn, Michigan. I've always wanted to go there, but... well, you know how it goes. 

If you so desire, check out two previous posts about the Village HERE and HERE.

Henry Ford was an admirer and friend of Thomas Edison, and several buildings that were important parts of Edison's history made their way to Greenfield Village. This particular structure is Edison's 1878 Menlo Park machine shop - or rather, a faithful 1929 recreation of it, since the original had been torn down. 

I am pretty sure this is where Edison invented Shake-A-Pudding.


Next we have the sturdy little Smith's Creek depot, built around 1858/59. While I am very glad that it has been preserved here, it is not the most beautiful railroad depot ever. So why is it here? The (probably apocryphal) story goes that a young Tom Edison, working as a "news butcher" on the Grand Trunk Railroad (who else do we know who worked as a news butcher?) was tossed off of a train at this very station after setting a baggage compartment on fire. He was fooling around with phosphorous, as one does. 

Because Henry Ford was such a fan of Edison's, he negotiated for its purchase, and transported it brick by brick.


If Henry Ford was going to have a museum, it was going to have some cars. And this one is a 1939 Lincoln "Sunshine Special". This convertible was a favorite of Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II, and he apparently brought it with him to places such as Yalta, Teheran, and Casablanca. 

It originally had a siren, running lights, a 2-way radio, and extra wide running boards for Secret Service agents to stand on. Armor plating was added at some point, along with bullet-proof tires, and storage compartments for machine guns and the like. Just like my Honda!  

The car was retired in 1950.


Check out this huge 1891 Edison electric generator and steam engine! It is 12 feet long, 20 feet high, and generated 625 horsepower.


I can only assume that this is the same generator, since moved indoors (I'm glad to see), to protect it from the elements. It received a nice coat of paint and would make a wonderful conversation piece for any home. Order yours today!


I hope you have enjoyed this visit to Greenfield Village.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Slide Scans, 9-1-1

I recently found a bunch of Disneyland slides from the early 1960's. Most of them were perfectly fine, but about 1/3 of them (the Ektachromes) had turned very pinkish. Initially I thought I should discard the slides, but some of them appeared to be nice images - if I could restore them.

Here's what I'm talking about - this is the scan with no adjustments at all. (The images are from July, 1961, by the way).


After some futzing around in Photoshop, I wound up with this. Not too bad! Many of the images from this lot appear to have been taken around sunset, so that they probably had a warm, rosy glow - just not as rosy as the first example. It made things tricky, because I wanted to remove the red, but not all of the red.

Anyway, I think this is a beautiful shot of the old Tomorrowland, with the "Rocket to the Moon" (sans the "TWA"), the Skyway, the Space Bar, the Astro Jets, and the Yacht Bar just sneaking in at the lower left


I've noticed that slides that have turned magenta tend to look pretty grainy when enlarged, but it's a small price to pay. I wanted to point out one detail... the Yachtsmen are performing on that odd little stage near the Sub Lagoon.


Happily, our photographer went over to take a better picture of them. Here's the unadjusted version...


... and the color-corrected version! These guys really look like they just walked off of an aircraft carrier in Long Beach and decided to bring their instruments to Disneyland for a little jam session. Two sailors in the foreground feel right at home.


Incidentally, I recently received a special comment on an old blog post... here it is:

Hi. This is Kevin Shipman of The Yachtsmen. I am doing fine as are Carl and Mickey. We have lost Jay, Bill and Scotty. I miss them every day. We were all great friends. If you want to hear and see a bit more of our history you might check this out:



Very neat to hear from an actual Yachtsmen! Thank you Kevin, I hope you see today's post.

I saved the red versions of all of the scans from this bunch; do you guys like seeing them in comparison with the corrected versions? Or have you already had enough of those? Let me know!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the RIver at Dusk, August 1969

Today's scans are from a pair of Instamatic slides (from... you guessed it... Mr. X himself). The sun was on its way down, which left both photos fairly dark, but in a way that just makes them more interesting. 

Let's begin with this view of the Columbia! The ship itself is practically lost in the shadows (though you can see that it is loaded with passengers); what we mostly  notice is how the sails are reflecting the last golden rays of sunshine (as is Castle Rock in the distance). More often than not, the Columbia doesn't sport any sails at all, so it looks pretty great here. And that blue-violet sky is very pretty too.

I tried to decipher those nautical flags, but all I can make out is the word "Ovaltine".


Next we have this very shadowy image of the Bertha Mae Keelboat as is scoots past us. How I envy those people on the top level! Tom Sawyer Island looks so dark and mysterious. One thing that is very noticeable is that lady's day-glo pink top. It was 1969, after all!


I zoomed in just a bit to try to get a better look at the Keelboat's controls; not exactly authentic to the 1880's! I wonder if these were basically the same as those found on the Jungle Cruise launches?