Friday, July 28, 2017

L.A. Airways, October 1965

I have two neat photos of one of the Los Angeles Airways helicopters that flew guests from Los Angeles International Airport to Disneyland, and back. This is a Sikorsky S-61L twin-turbine, medium lift transport/airliner model - as you can see, it's pretty sizable. Imagine how amazing it would have been to land at LAX, and fly a mere 20 minutes to the park... and imagine the view that you would have had!

Here's a second photo showing the Sikorsky coming in low over the Disneyland Hotel's Garden Rooms. I can't help wondering about the noise the aircraft made as it went to and fro all day.

Sadly, there were two disastrous crashes that ended helicopter service to Disneyland. This very helicopter crashed on August 14, 1968, in Compton as it made its way from the airport to the park. All 21 people aboard perished. L.A. Airways survived for a while, and even briefly resumed service to Disneyland, but it finally flew its last helicopter in 1972.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

DCA Is On Its Way

It's time for more snapshots, courtesy of Irene (you know her by her first name, just like "Cher"!), and her brother (who took the photos). All three of todays images show the earliest evidence of construction for Disneyland's upcoming "second gate", Disney('s) California Adventure. In fact, there's no real construction at all... just the razing of the old (and surprisingly beloved) parking lot.

Work began on DCA in 1998; presumably these photos are from that year. In this undated view (taken from the Disneyland Hotel?), we can see that the earth movers have arrived, but only a relatively small amount of demolition has been accomplished. I want to drive out there and "do some donuts"!!

Here's a second view from a later date -  I believe it was taken not far from the first photo - there's the Monorail beamway to our right. In the distance, even more blacktop has been scraped away. I remember the excitement at the prospect of a whole new Disney park in Anaheim. How could it be anything but great? At some point information began to leak out with specifics about the rides and attractions, leaving many people more than a bit concerned.

Say, those palm trees make a giant "W"!

This one might predate the other two - it's hard to tell. Some of the parking lot looks pretty intact in the distance, and maybe was even still in use. Earth movers and "steam rollers" (what are those called nowadays?) are working on a turnaround that I believe is some sort of dropoff. 

Notice the old Disneyland marquee in the distance - it was removed in 1999.

This Google satellite image shows what I think is the area shown above - notice the long u-turn to the right, perpendicular to Harbor Boulevard.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

More Vintage Postcards from Magic Mountain

Hey, ho, it's back to Magic Mountain (in glorious Valencia, California) we go! Thanks to Ken Martinez's vintage postcards, that is. I love me some vintage Magic Mountain, for sure. Take it away, Ken:

Magic Mountain, Part 6

Here we go on another trip to Southern California’s Magic Mountain.  Today, we have two monorails, a bumper car and multi-scene postcard.

In this postcard, we have the blue monorail gliding over the Red Baron ride which I think is in “Children’s World” section of the park.  I like the combination of the Red Baron planes and the bi-planes.  In other versions it only has the red baron planes.  I also like the wood fencing around the ride’s footprint.

Here’s the same view but closer-in with the orange monorail traveling along the curve and just above the “Buggie Ride” still in the “Children’s World” section.  I worked the kiddy rides at the Boardwalk quite a bit and I always found the children easy going, but not so much the parents who thought their child should get the best vehicle on the platform even though their kid was too slow to the draw to get it.  9 times out of ten the children could’ve cared less.

The Sandblasters (bumper cars) is one of the four last original attractions still in operation at Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The other three are Goldrusher, Grand Carousel and Orient Express (Funicular).  I think that’s the monorail track behind the bumper car pavilion.

Here’s a multi-scene postcard of Magic Mountain just around the time it joined the Six Flags family of theme parks.  Notice the six flags around the fountain in front of The Revolution and the new paint scheme on the monorail still which still has the classic “Magic Mountain” style fonts.  The Eagle’s Flight sky buckets are on their run between the Galaxy and Shrangri-la Stations.

Hope you all enjoyed another visit to Magic Mountain! 

Information Source material: 

A big THANK YOU to Ken Martinez for all of his time and effort in sharing his great vintage postcard collection!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Carnation Souvenir Headband

Today's vintage souvenir is a simple (but great!) paper headband that was apparently given to kids who visited the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor. These are not common, so I am assuming that they weren't handed out for more than perhaps a year or two - I have one photo of a kid wearing one circa 1955, and two more from 1956.

So there it is - a simple strip of paper with a design that (I suppose) resembled the fine beadwork used by some Native American tribes. Only they generally didn't include a cutout of a tub of Carnation Ice Cream.

I picked this up a few years ago for a lot less money than I expected, and since then I've seen two or three others.

No "Indian" headband is complete without a feather, and this one still has its original plume.

As I mentioned earlier, I have a few photos showing kids wearing these headbands - such as this one from April, 1956. 

Some of you may remember this freckled girl in a photo from May, 1956.

And finally, here's a detail from a November 1955 image!

Monday, July 24, 2017

More 1995 Pix From Huck

I'm sharing three more 1995 photos from GDB friend Huck! His pictures sure look better than anything I ever took.

By 1995, Fantasmic! had been at Disneyland for five years; the requirements of this ever-popular show necessitated some fairly extreme changes to the southern point of Tom Sawyer Island, with steps and stages and platforms, and a large building that looks like a place where crawdads were processed.

As is often the case, the Columbia rests at Fowler's Harbor, and beyond that, the tree trunk atop Chickapin Hill, where Splash Mountain splashes splashily. Just visible is the Haunted Mansion's cupola.

Meanwhile, over in Tomorrowland... the summer crowds are in evidence. It must be Dapper Day! I tried to zoom in to see if the t-shirts on those kids were Disneyland-related, but was unable to identify the designs. Notice the Peoplemover vehicles sitting on the tracks - cruel, since the ride had closed the year before. 

Also from Tomorrowland comes this photo of a sign affixed to the "America Sings" carousel theater. America Sings had been closed since 1988, and apparently parts of the building were used as office space for nearly a decade, while the crumbling sets of the old attraction remained inside. From what I can glean online, this sign popped up in 1995, though the "brand new attraction" turned out to be underwhelming "Innoventions" (which opened in 1998 as part of the new "New Tomorrowland").

One interesting factoid is that the sign with Sorcerer Mickey was made into a postcard, which was sold at the park.

Here's what the postcard looked like! Kind of an odd subject, but I appreciate it because it's different from the usual stuff.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Random Images

I'm using up two rather uninspiring scans today!

First up, the Bazaar in Adventureland, circa October 1963; a place that has sold more rubber snakes than any other store in the world. I just made that up, but it must be true. It also sold woven goods such as hats and handbags, along with rubber-tipped spears, and maybe even a novelty shrunken head or two.

I just noticed the birdcage near that upper window, do you think the bird inside is real??

Next comes this view (from the Skyway) dated October 1961; we're gazing down on Storybook Land, and the little French village where Cinderella and her evil stepmother and smelly stepsisters lived. The landscaping is lovely; and I've always loved that winding, perilous road leading up to the pink frosting fairytale castle at the top of the mountain. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Oasis Club, Honolulu, Hawaii

Today I have some interesting photos from Hawaii, undated but probably from the mid-1950's. The pictures were taken inside the Oasis restaurant and nightclub, which was on Waialea Road in Honolulu. As you know, post-war Hawaii was occupied by lots of servicemen, and it was also a hot tourist destination for folks from the Mainland. Hawaii had (and still has) a large population of people of Japanese descent, which is why visitors could see traditional Kabuki theater.

According to Mr. Wikipedia, "Kabuki is a classical Japanese dance-drama. Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. Kabuki is sometimes translated as 'the art of singing and dancing'", though it is largely dramatic rather than comic.  If you need more information about Kabuki, go to your local liberry!

While Kabuki originated with all-female performers, it changed to all-male performers in the 1600's, and that tradition has held since then. The person in the next photo is a comic musician, which might mean that he is more of a Kyōgen performer, whose goal is to make the audience laugh. Or maybe he is just a weisenheimer. 

Wikipedia sez: "The three main categories of kabuki play are jidai-mono (historical, or pre-Sengoku period stories), sewa-mono (domestic, or post-Sengoku stories) and shosagoto (dance pieces)". 

This one appears to be historic or domestic. The elaborate costumes are pretty amazing. 

I was curious about the makeup, and learned that: "Keshō, kabuki makeup, provides an element of style easily recognizable even by those unfamiliar with the art form. Rice powder is used to create the white oshiroi base for the characteristic stage makeup, and kumadori enhances or exaggerates facial lines to produce dramatic animal or supernatural masks. The color of the kumadori is an expression of the character's nature: red lines are used to indicate passion, heroism, righteousness, and other positive traits; blue or black, villainy, jealousy, and other negative traits; green, the supernatural; and purple, nobility".

This appears to be an example of shosagoto, a dance piece. I can't help wondering what western audience members thought of this very foreign form of theater. Men dressed as women?!

I found a jpeg of a postcard (probably from the 1960's); it looks like the show has evolved away from traditional Kabuki to something with a more "Las Vegas" style, with plenty of women.

From what I have gleaned online, the Oasis closed, though I could not find a specific date. A person on one message board mentioned working there in 1975. Apparently the location is now a self-storage facility.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Submarine Lagoon, October 1961

I sure do love today's first scan, with Tomorrowland framed by one of the Matterhorn's stony Skyway openings (orifices?)! I will be diplomatic and describe the atmosphere as "hazy" rather than "smoggy" - but it adds a dreamlike quality to the image, as if the world ends not far beyond that eucalyptus tree  wind-break.

A sub is in the perfect position as it moves through water the color of a blue tourmaline. Two butter-yellow Skyway buckets are in front of us, one heading with us toward Tomorrowland,  the other about to pass on its way to Fantasyland. I miss this whole experience so much.

Moments later, a second photo was snapped for a clean, stone-free view. Notice the fruit-laden orange tree - presumably a survivor from the original orange groves from which Disneyland was whittled - in the lower right, along with plenty of delicious oleanders*. 

*Don't eat oleander!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Along the Shore of the River...

Today I have two nice photos from 1957, taken along the Rivers of America. I'll start with this example, which is interesting to me because the very barren shore reveals those deer, peacefully grazing, unaware that a hungry mountain lion is watching them from atop the nearby rock formation. But I guarantee that they all had a case of the heebie-jeebies! 

It looks like the railroad track runs left to right at about 1/3 of the way from the top of the image. I'm so used to this area looking very lush and verdant....

... like this photo. I can't help wondering if the deer were removed (or at least moved), because they sure wouldn't be visible behind those shrubs. I always thought that the mountain lion was oddly placed up there, and now I know that there originally was a reason (beyond the fact that he would be more visible).

Next is this great early view of the Friendly Indian Village, also looking strange due to a lack of plants. In almost every other photo I've seen, that canoe is upside-down - to keep it from floating away? I kind of like it right side up.

Hello, telephone poles!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Vintage Postcards - Legend City

Ken Martinez is back - with a vengeance! Also with some more vintage postcards from Legend City, in Phoenix (pronounced pu-ho-enix) Arizona (don't forget Winona). Let's hear it from Ken:

More Fabulous Legend City!

Here are the last of my Legend City postcards.  Conceived in the late 1950’s by Louis Crandall, the park which serviced the Phoenix area opened in 1963 and closed forever in 1983.  It consisted of a lot of old west atmosphere and cool themed rides.

Here we have the familiar “teacup” ride which at Legend City was called “Krazy Kups”.  Strangely this ride looks like it has interlocking circles which might make it more similar to “Maters Junkyard Jamboree” than the “Mad Tea Party”.

Who doesn’t love a Sky Ride.  This one goes way up high.  Notice the rider with his camera is getting ready for some serious aerial photography.

In the description it says residence of the fort are required to help defend against occasional Indian attacks but I think these folks are fending off door to door solicitors.  Or is that fort to fort solicitors?

Now here’s what makes Legend City fabulous!  Shooting and killing people.  They’re supposed to be bad people, but sometimes you make an honest mistake.  Two more bite the dust with a third going down.

Here we have a bank robber digging his own grave on Boot Hill.  Holding a gun on him and a rope around his neck should motivate him.  I love the nice touches like the skeleton horse, the hearse and vulture.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to the fabulous and parched Legend City. 

Information Source material: 
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko

As always, MANY thanks to Ken for sharing his collection of vintage amusement park postcards!