Thursday, January 19, 2017

Disneyland 1961 - STEVE STUART

Hey! Ho! Let's Go! It's time for more photos from Steve Stuart. This time he and some of his pals are at Disneyland, circa 1961. Once again, Steve has provided some fun context:

Apparently keeping-up with the “tradition” of wearing hats while at The Happiest Place On Earth, ‘us guys’ paid a visit to the local haberdasher, and came-away with a ‘feathered collection’ we shamelessly showed-off.  The date on the slides (ah-hem) – there’s been quite a hullabaloo as of late regarding the often inaccuracy of such annotations – but the slide box indicated March, 1961.  (I would ‘think’ a visit closer to my birthday [June] would seem more in-order, but this is what we’ve got to work with).  So, I’m either nine years old, about to turn 10, or – happy 10th birthday to me-!

Down front we see Ricky and Peter; and in back – yours truly and Andy.  Once again – I have questions without answers.  It’s sort of like “the sound of one hand clapping…”  Just what am I looking at – again with the sinister grin-?  And, what is that pin Andy is wearing-?

In this next image I seem to have an answer to one of my questions:  That “pin” Andy is wearing is no pin at all, but instead a patch – a MLB team patch.  And to get really specific ‘me thinks’ the one “featured” on Andy’s left shoulder in the first image belongs to the Baltimore Orioles, from the 1960’s.  And could my ‘grin’ be in response to the rather “supercilious grin” on that caterpillar-?  "Whooo ... are ... you-?”  You’d a thunk I’d be more interested in the rather curvaceous gal loading-in two caterpillars behind us – or perhaps that strange-looking hat on the gal-? disembarking from the next caterpillar back, with that very long, pink something-or-another cascading down the side.  “Whaaat … is … that-?”

There are actually two more photos of the guys in the Alice caterpillars, but I am miserly and will share the others in a separate post. THANK YOU, Steve!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Vintage Dorney Park Postcards

It's time for another batch of vintage amusement park postcards from the collection of Ken Martinez! It's for Dorney Park - a place I am completely unfamiliar with. Here's Ken:

Dorney Park before Cedar Fair

Today we visit another wonderful Pennsylvania park.  This was Dorney Park before it became known as “Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom” and before Cedar Fair took over and Snoopy moved in.  The park can trace its history as far back as 1860 when it was known as Dorney’s Park.  Like many of the other traditional parks of the day it became a trolley park (end-point destination to encourage riders to utilize the entire trolley system).   It eventually grew into a full-fledged amusement park and has now become a modern theme/amusement park owned by Cedar Fair.

I love the colorful central support tower from what appears to be a very early midway attraction.  There are many photo images of attractions like this.   It definitely served as the inspiration for Disney California Adventure’s “Golden Zephyr”.  This shot was taken from atop the lift-hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster.  Note the Mill Chute ride similar to Hershey Park’s “Lost River”.

Here we have a PTC coaster train climbing the lift hill of the park’s wooden roller coaster simply known as “Coaster” from 1924 to 1988.  It is now known as “Thunderhawk”.  Originally an out-and-back coaster, it was modified in 1930 into a figure-eight coaster.  It’s great to see that there are still several of these golden age roller coasters that have still survived into the 21st century.

Featured here in this postcard image is a coaster train plummeting down a drop.  I’m not sure if it’s the first drop but it’s still a wonderful shot.  I love the old style PTC trains here.  These three postcards are some of my favorites as they capture that old-time feel of the traditional parks in the eastern U.S. at the time.  Today, the coaster is now dwarfed by the modern “Steel Force” coaster towering 200 feet over the 80 foot tall classic wood coaster.

Hope you enjoyed your vintage visit to Dorney Park!  Stay tuned for more.

Information Source material: 
The Great American Amusement Park copyright 1976 by Gary Kyrazi
Funland U.S.A. copyright 1978 by Tim Onosko
Roller Coaster Database

Dorney Park, huh. I should have known this place. I love the classic look of the grounds and rides! Thank you as always to Ken Martinez.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Trip To Disneyland, 1958

Today I have something a bit different for you; a few years ago I bought a lot of Disneyland brochures and other items. Among the stuff was an envelope that contained a letter that is a record of a trip to the park taken by a woman and several of her friends on June 19, 1958 (a Thursday). There are some fun details about how they got there, etc. I was amused by the old-fashioned (or odd) names. Faetta, Whenn, Nellie, and Vesta! To spice things up, I added some photos from past blog posts. 


Vesta, Nellie, Whenn, Faetta, and I met at the P.E. (Pacific Electric) Station at 9 a.m. I missed a bus and had to wait 20 minutes, so I was five minutes late. Vesta and Whenn had gone on to the bus station on the street below the depot (on Los Angeles street). Our bus left at 9:20 - we couldn’t all sit to-gether, so V., N., and I sat in the back and F & W sat to-gether by the rear door. We went via Knott’s Berry Farm.

It took a little over an hour. Vesta gave all four dollars and fifty cents from club treasury, the fare round trip was $2.22.

The weather was perfect, altho it got a little warm in the early afternoon. We all bought a book for twenty five cents. Guess all got them to send away to friends. Vesta & Nellie got some post cards right away. They were 6 for 25 cents.

We went on the Grand Canyon train first - it was trully (sic) a beautiful trip, but so different from what we expected. The train went through a tunnel & the scenes were behind glass windows - it wasn’t a painting but made up of real things. The goats and wild animals were stuffed but had been real once - it only took a few minutes to go through the tunnel but it was very nice anyway. 

We looked around some and Vesta, Faetta, and Whenn went into “Alice in Wonderland”. Nellie and I sat in the shade and chatted and waited for them. Something broke down inside the building and the ladies were a while in getting out. It was one of the newer attractions and hadn’t been perfected as yet.

Faetta & Vesta went to the Carnation snack room to eat (on the main square), & Nellie, Whenn and I ate in “Tomorrow Land”. We ordered what we wanted and ate from chairs with a wide arm.

Then we all went to see “2000 (sic) Leagues Under the Sea”. It was 10 cents. None of us got the “ride books” - we got general admission for 90 cents each. I guess it would have been just as well to have gotten the books as we rode on the train - 50 cents - 50 cents for a ride on the new sailing ship “The Columbia”. It had only been in the water 5 days. It is a very beautiful ship and Faetta took several pictures in color of it at all angles - one they had put up 2 huge sails - then when it came around the lagoon they were down. It is made like the real old time ships.

From there we walked around in the different shops & every little while we rested - Vesta & Whenn went back to L.A. on the 3:30 bus. They said the last bus that goes on Glen Oaks left L.A. at 6 or 6:30 so they had to leave then. Faetta, Nellie and I stayed on. We went to Tom Sawyer Island, and climbed to the tree top & went in all the caves - - over the rocks - then we came back to the main land & went to the Indian Village. 

They put on a dance every two hours or so.There are 16 Indian tribes that (illegible) some activity in Disneyland. The main speaker for the dances was a Hopi from Arizona, he was very pleasant & friendly. He told us about the new sailing ship. It had only been completed 5 days.

We went through the village and Faetta bought a small Indian doll for her daughter in law. We went back to the main part & Faetta and I had a waffle at Aunt J. kitchen - Nellie didn’t want a waffle as she had a salad in a little snack place a few doors from where we ate. 

[Note: Here's a small Indian doll that was in a recent Van Eaton Gallery auction - when I saw it I wondered if it was like the one that Faetta bought. It's only 7 inches tall].

[Note #2: Inside the envelope was this item, presumably taken from the table while they ate at Aunt Jemima's. There is another version that says it's from Disneyland - those are very valuable - but this one is generic].

We took the 7:51 bus back to L.A. only we didn’t go directly home. The busman must have been a new man as crossed hiway 39& went up Norwalk Ave.We came to a road block & he asked a man in the service station. We came back to #39 - & went to Knott’s Berry Farm to pick up some people. 

The bus driver told the people in the front part of the bus he was going to phone, but he didn’t. We got into L.A. after 9 - I called Earl so he wouldn’t worry. We all took the same bus home. Faetta & Nellie waited until my #25 bus came along. I got home at 10:15 - we had a nice day.

I'm glad our unnamed letter writer had a nice day! It really is more of a memoir, since the document does not start with "Dear Patty..." (or whatever), and it isn't signed at the end.

I hope you enjoyed reading about a 1958 trip to Disneyland!

Monday, January 16, 2017

A Trio from DrGoat!

Today I have three more vintage slides from the family collection of GDB reader Peter, aka "DrGoat"! Check 'em out.

Peter says: This first image is of me and my Dad, circa 1967 I believe, about 8 years after the shot of me and him in the Autopia car. That was a great trip. I was just about to graduate from high school. Wish I still had whatever we were reading there. It was just Dad, Mom, my sister and I that year.

I wish I had a photo of me with my Dad at Disneyland!

Peter thinks that this second one if from the same trip (makes sense, being the same square format). It's a nice shot looking North on Main Street on a wonderfully uncrowded day. 

In spite of the fact that this one is also square-ish, DrGoat thinks that it might be from 1961. So the park had probably just opened; it looks like Peter's family was heading to Tomorrowland right away, or maybe they wanted to ride the Matterhorn before the lines got too long.

Many thanks to DrGoat for sharing his family photos!!

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Snapshots, July 1971

Here's a small group of only three vintage snapshots from July, 1971. Nothing great, but they'll do. They all have a common theme: music.

First up is this photo taken at the French Market in New Orleans Square. with guests protected from the summer sun by those swaths of cloth - kind of an ingenious solution, since a single piece of cloth would act as a huge sail on a windy day, and would probably exert a lot of force on whatever it was tethered to. Anyway, in the distance the Straw Hatters (I think) are performing. 

At first I thought that the little girl in the foreground seemed surprisingly interested in that Dixieland music, but then I noticed that Br'er Bear and Br'er Fox are just to our left!

Now we're over at the Carnation Plaza Gardens, with Harry James and his orchestra performing for  enthusiastic dancers. Take a look at these photos from a previous post to see Harry in the same location circa 1972.

I almost skipped this one because of the blurry quality, but what the hell. It's parade time in Town Square, and Mickey Mouse is leading the Disneyland Band; a few Dwarfs can just be seen behind the Band - perhaps this is "Fantasy on Parade"? If so, this was the final year for that iteration (though it would return a few years later), since the Main Street Electrical Parade would debut to huge success the following year.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Roadside U.S.A.

For lack of a better idea, I decided to post two rather random photos which fit neatly under the broad umbrella of "Roadside U.S.A.". Hop in the old station wagon and let's go!

Let's start with this photo from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, circa September 1960, at the corner of US 191 (aka Broadway)  and Glenwood. Nowadays, Jackson Hole is pretty touristy, being a popular ski town in the winter, and on the way to Yellowstone National Park. If this really was taken in September, the town looks pretty sleepy. A few classic cars are parked outside "The Roundup"; I need the biggest cowboy hat they have in stock! That way everyone will know how important I am, being a world-famous blogger and all.

Here's a screen grab from Google Maps showing the same corner as it looks today. The Roundup is gone, sadly. 

Also from 1960 (November) is this photo of a tidy li'l motel - the "El Palomino". It looks pretty cute, you could probably do a lot worse. And they have TV, so you won't miss your favorite 1960 shows, like "Maverick", "Walt Disney Presents", "The Ed Sullivan Show", "Dobie Gillis", "Wagon Train"... so much to choose from.

I was unsure of the location of the El Palomino Motel, but after a bit of searching, I am relatively confident that it was (is) on Illinois Street in Sidney, Nebraska, which is roughly 120 miles northeast of Denver as the crow flies. The architectural details seem to match, in spite of the new paint job and sign. But where-oh-where are all the trees?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Two Nice Ones From September 1963

I have just a few photos left from a lot from September, 1963 - but they're nice ones!

Take a look at this great shot of the entrance to Tomorrowland. What's not to love? Blue skies, the flags of all 50 states waving in the breeze, the Clock of the World, the Douglas Rocket to the Moon, some attraction posters, an ice cream vendor, and even a Kodak Picture Spot. Not to mention all of those great vintage people!

This afternoon photo of the Mad Tea Party (aka "The Teacups") shows the results of thousands of shuffling feet during that crazy time when kids loved to put sandpaper on the soles of their shoes. One teacup has a tarp over it; I'll bet the people inside it are annoyed. Look at the cast members to the right in their silly outfits - shorts, red vests, a Tyrolean cap, and black socks. That's how I dress every day! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Vintage Hershey Park Postcards

It's been a few months, but Ken Martinez is back with more scans from his collection of vintage amusement park postcards! Here's Ken:

Hershey Park before it was Hersheypark

If you love amusement parks, the State of Pennsylvania is a great place to start.  There’s Kennywood, Lake Compounce, Dorney Park and Hersheypark.  In today’s post Hershey Park is featured.  For those who’ve wondered why there are two different spellings for the park,  the park was known as “Hershey Park” during its traditional park era and changed to Hersheypark” in 1970 when it went through redevelopment changing it into a modern theme park..

Featured here is the “Lost River” attraction water ride.  This attraction existed as the “Old Mill” from 1929 to 1962.  Then for the 1963 season it was remodeled with an African theme and named “Lost River”.  This lasted until 1972 when a strong hurricane ripped through the area damaging the attraction beyond repair.  It was replaced the following season by an Arrow Water Flume called “Coal Cracker.  The main footprint that the “Lost River” existed on is now the site of the B&M inverted coaster “The Great Bear”.

Turnpike rides seemed to have sprung up all over the U.S. after the success of Disneyland’s Autopia and like Disneyland, Hersheypark had five different turnpike rides throughout its history.  The first one was the “Kiddie Turnpike” complete with bus bar.  Pictured here is the third turnpike attraction at the park simply known as “Turnpike”.  The load area had a toll booth theme and there were two bridges that crossed over Spring Creek.  (Notice there is no guide rail on the turnpike road).  The “Turnpike” operated from 1960 to 1973.  It’s the “Twin Turnpike - Classic Cars” and “Twin Turnpike - Speedway” sponsored by Sunoco that operate at Hersheypark today.  The bridges of the old “Turnpike” were converted to pedestrian bridges after closing. 

One of the things I love about the older parks is their older midway rides, but they seem to be disappearing along with the sky rides.  Here we have the “Tip-Top” which operated at the park from 1966 to 1979.  If I remember correctly, the platform rotates and lifts up and down at an angle while you spin your individual ride vehicle.  By the way, all three of today’s postcards feature the attractions in the area known as “Comet Hollow” at the time Hershey Park was known as a traditional park.

Hope you enjoyed today’s vintage visit to Hershey Park! 

Information Source material:

Thank you Ken! I lived near Hershey when I was a kid and had some great times at that park. 

Stay tuned for more vintage postcards next week!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Random Stuff From Steve Stuart

Here are more photos from Nanook - I mean, Steve Stuart! It's a mini-mix this time. Let's hear it from Steve:

Well, here I am sometime in 1954 at the famous Beverly Park with another childhood friend, Bonnie. And we seem to be riding in the petite version of the Astro Jets – but these are beautifully equipped with front & rear-facing, on-board weaponry-!  Now we’re talking.

For those unfamiliar with Beverly Park, it occupied less than once acre, on the SW corner of Beverly Blvd & La Cienega Blvd in Los Angeles, and operated from 1943 to 1974. (Adjacent to Beverly Park was the separately-operated Beverly Ponyland or just plain Ponyland - which opened in 1945, but remained there thru 1979). Ultimately both properties, along with others contained within the entire block were razed to make way for The Beverly Center Shopping Center. I need not mention all the memories and birthday parties, along with divorced Dads having a weekend fling with their kids, held in this little oasis right in the middle of the big city...

The connection between David Bradley (the owner) and Walt Disney was more than just casual, and an internet search will yield many tidbits about David, Walt and of course, Disneyland.  And if the name Bradley seems to ring a bell, it’s the same one as in ‘Bradley & Kaye Amusements’ – famous for manufacturing children’s rides.  [It was purchased by Chance Rides Manufacturing back in 1986].  I encourage those with interest to search it out.  David Bradley made a lasting impression in the amusement park business. 

In the meantime – here’s a wonderful quote about Beverly Park from a 1993, LA Times article describing David:  “Bradley was everywhere in the little park, switching on the tiny motorcycles on the minibike race course, running the kid-sized roller coaster, and, through a remote microphone, projecting the voice of the blue hippopotamus that talked to children outside the Haunted Castle. Inside the castle, two giant freak faces rolled their eyes, and a bat flapped up and down in front of visitors. Young children sometimes came out sobbing.”  

Now that’s what I call a man after my own heart-!  It’s not that I think children should live a life in fear, but in today’s world, which seems to be brimming-to-overflowing with ‘disingenuous unctuous good cheer’, a few more young children sobbing would help right the ship.  There’s entirely too much ‘forced happiness’ for my taste.

If we could widen-out the image just a bit, we’d spy that “nasty” Haunted Castle, off to the right.  And on the opposite side of the red & white striped food stand (evidently featuring Coca-Cola and Dad’s Old Fashioned Root Beer), would be a small oil derrick and Smokey Joe’s Hickory Wood Barbeque, seemingly sandwiched-in beneath it.  I believe the last time I ate there was in late 1969, with my aunt (who you might remember from her days lounging on a raft in the cool blue waters of the Howard Manor Hotel pool), and we were on our way to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to see Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  And if the image in the distance were just a bit sharper, I’m betting that barely-discernable ‘tan orb’ sandwiched between the white pole & dark utility pole, popping-up behind the “Standard Stations Inc.” sign, we could more-clearly make out the end of the “bun” of the original location of the Tail ‘O the Pup hot dog stand – not to mention the Islander Restaurant – if it was open in 1954.

Unfortunately this seems to be the only image I found from Beverly Park, but I spent many a sunny day there, not to mention having and attending birthday parties there, too.

Jump forward to April, 1962, and we’re now at Marineland of the Pacific.  And just who might this dolphin be-?  Were they into naming them back then-?  I suppose so.

This turtle looks downright gigantic.  I blame it on the magic glass surrounding the tank, designed to keep us dry – or so they promised.  But I always managed to get wet somehow.

THANK YOU to Steve Stuart for sharing his photos, and for all the Beverly Park research, which I would have been way to lazy to do! Stay tuned for more from Steve.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tomorrowland Construction

We're getting down to the last few scans showing the construction of the New Tomorrowland. 

As usual, I am unclear as to what we are looking at, exactly - in this case it appears to be the "backstage" area of a show building. But which show?? Granted, it's difficult to get one's bearings when there are few clues. It's round, but I don't think it's tall enough to be the Carousel of Progress structure. Notice the worker (next to the column).

This next one is another mysterious round building, most likely taken on a different day than the first one. What in the world are those holding tanks to the left? I can't even imagine what they would be for. Coke syrup? Pressurized pixie dust?