Sunday, August 20, 2017

Hooray for Pooh! July 1972

Remember when Disneyland's costumed characters could just wander around for a delightful chance encounter? Sure, there might be a handler nearby armed with a cattle prod, but otherwise the whole experience was a pleasant surprise. Today's photos feature that chubby little cubby, Winnie the Pooh.

Pooh made a big splash (forgive me) in 1964's "Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree", and fans have loved him ever since. Back in the 1990's (or early 2000's), his popularity eclipsed that of Mickey Mouse. His image was on every kind of merchandise, and Disney Store catalogs were dominated by plush toys and clothing featuring all of the characters from the Hundred Acre Woods. Now I like ol' Pooh Bear just fine, but come on! Mickey Mouse is the big cheese in these here parts. (I managed to avoid making a comment about Pooh being shoved down our throats. It feels good to be polite).

Pooh's eyes betray his stuffed animal origins. Glassy as heck! Maybe he's had enough honey for one day. By 1972 (when these photos were snapped), there had been two additional featurettes, "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day", and "Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too". I remember being very excited when these wonderful cartoons were aired on "The Wonderful World of Disney".

I'm happy to see that Mickey Mouse has made something of a comeback in recent years. Order has been restored to the Universe.

Saturday, August 19, 2017


New York. Skyscraper Junction. Taxi Cab Town. The City That Doesn't Nap Very Much Except When It Gets Really Hot and Muggy. The Land of a Thousand Smells. This is the place! 

Here's a fun photo, dated "June 1967", but that can't be right, because all of those charming young ladies are wearing their most stylish overcoats. They are posed in front of Radio City Music Hall on 6th Avenue, and the city is chockablock with people. Radio City is showing the 1967 film adaptation of the Broadway hit, "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying", which opened in March, so that is probably a more accurate date for this image.

Here's a Google screen grab showing how the place looks today. There are some details that have changed, but it looks largely the same.

Here's one of my favorite places ever, the amazing Metropolitan Museum of Art, on 5th Avenue (as seen from 82nd Street). There are over 25 paintings in this museum! I didn't even know there were that many paintings in the world. I think there were some sculptures too, but I was playing "Angry Birds" a lot, so I kind of forget. But the place is great! 

Actually there are over 2,000,000 pieces of art in the permanent collection. I spent a full day there two years ago, and felt like I'd barely scratched the surface - but my brain was melting from overstimulation.

Mr. Google provided this modern street-view. Somebody has used a whole lotta Bon Ami and cleaned a century of grime off of the exterior of the Met. Looks pretty good! 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Art Corner Exterior, October 1963

The first photo in today's post was a nice find - it's a beautiful shot of the legendary Tomorrowland Art Corner building; a feature that very few people captured on film. The structure itself is not much more than a steel shed, but the fa├žade has those squares (windows? I'm really not sure) of colorful abstract shapes, reminiscent of paper cutouts by Matisse. The large window in the lower left has a large shield with what appears to be smaller examples of medieval heraldry (maybe). 

Of course the Art Corner is famous for selling cels from films like "Alice and Wonderland" and "Sleeping Beauty" for a few dollars. Setups with matching background paintings were more, but still a bargain by today's reckoning. Since this photo is from October 1963, they might have had lots of cels from the previous animated feature, "101 Dalmatians" (1961). "The Sword in the Stone" would be released in December of '63, so in just a few months guests could have their very own cels of Wart, Merlin, and Madam Mim. 

Meanwhile, check out the souvenir hats in the foreground! Barely visible above the dyed ostrich plumes we can just see a part of the "Art Corner" sign.

Here's an old publicity photo showing the Art Corner - check out the thousands of dollars in attraction posters in the windows!!

This nice lady is posing for a portrait - not too far from the location of the first photo. The building behind her was where "The Art of Animation" exhibit was located (from May 28, 1960 thru September 5, 1966). Animation, eh? I've heard of it. I don't think it will catch on. Sock puppets are where it's at, mark my words.

Before that, guests would have seen the "Satellite View of America" - boy do I wish I had a few photos of that one!  

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Rainbow Ridge Snapshots

As a kid, photographs generally meant square-format prints like the examples seen today. It's the way my mom did things, and even my grandparents. So today's photos feel nice and comfortable, like a pair of old shoes. 

This is a pretty nice shot of Rainbow Ridge, circa 1963; the cool cast of the photo makes this feel like early morning, but it has to be much later in the day (Rainbow Ridge faced southwest). There could be a big crowd of people standing behind the photographer, but old RR looks more like a ghost town here. A nice ghost town.

Greenhorns heading west stayed at the Rainbow Ridge Hotel (or maybe the El Dorado, seen in the previous image). They offered clean sheets for an extra nickel! Worth it, if you ask me. I never get tired of looking at all of the details of the little minin' town.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Walt Disney World, December 1971

Here are the last three scans from a lot of slides from December, 1971, featuring scenes from the Polynesian Village Resort at Walt Disney World - this is kind of a continuation of THIS POST from June.

This is another angle showing a few watercraft that guests could use - sailboats, outrigger canoes, and in the foreground, a funny little Bob-A-Round Boat. It is my goal to someday be the first person to take a Bob-A-Round Boat around the world. Maybe I'll even sail through the Panama Canal! Or should I just go 'Round the Horn?

I presume that this is part of the hotel complex - not exactly the most lovely structure ever, but perhaps a nice variation on the super modern Contemporary Hotel. I'd like to believe that the young plants are taro roots, so that guests could make their own poi. 

And finally, one last (really!) look at the sailboats, with Tigger as your spirit guide. Clearly the Polynesian consisted of a cluster of various buildings. These days most people don't realize that guests - even the pale, trembling visitors from the frozen north - were required to wear accurate Polynesian native garb. It wasn't pretty.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Marineland of the Pacific

Today, Steve Stuart (who has a license plate that reads "NANOOK") has some scans of good old Marineland of the Pacific - a park fondly remembered by many SoCal residents, though it has been gone for (gulp) 30 years. Here's Steve with all the info:

Marineland of the Pacific – a going concern from August 28, 1954 thru February 11, 1987.  Described by Wikipedia as “a public Oceanarium and tourist attraction located on the Palos Verdes Peninsula coast in LA County”, near Portuguese Bend.  [Personally, I’m more partial to a natatorium, but I’m betting the aquatic life would have a different opinion].  Its close proximity to Tinsel Town has translated into multiple television appearances over the years, along with being seen in some feature films.

Although packing in the folks thru the 1960’s, attendance later flagged which led to a series of ownership sales – at one time involving the Hollywood Turf Club.  (They would have been well-advised to have consulted with the Los Angeles Turf Club, who could’ve told them a thing-or-two about involvement in amusement/theme parks, from their partial ownership of POP…)  Here’s a link to an article from the South Bay Daily Breeze telling the sad tale of Marineland’s closing.

Here’s a welcoming shot from 1959, with the Oceanarium building prominently-featured.  Heading-up the roadway by the flagpole, is a 1956 Red/White Ford.

A closer shot of the Oceanarium, featuring the “World’s most spectacular Circus of Marine Life”.  And not about to be upstaged by the Ford, here’s a 1955 or ’56 Buick.

From 1958, here’s a lovely shot of the 3,000+ seat arena, a part of the Oceanarium, where folks are observing the Sea Circus.  (High-atop above the spellbound throngs, we can see the backside of the Top Deck).  Evidently, performing here are Mopsy, Flopsy and Geraldine, or so I’ve been told… 

In 1961, up here on the Oceanarium’s Top Deck, excited guests are watching “White-sided dolphins take bows…”  This time the entertainment is being provided by Huey, Dewey, Louie and Bubba – or so I’ve been told…

Back in the arena, Frankie, the Bottle-nosed porpoise is jumping for a taste of mackerel, while Sophie looks-on, jealously – or so I’ve been told…

We still have SeaWorld in San Diego, and it's nice, but I miss Marineland out on that beautiful Palos Verdes peninsula. THANKS to Steve Stuart!

Monday, August 14, 2017

More Rescans!

I have rescanned more slides from the past; I think the results were worth the effort!

Let's start with this 1958 photo (originally posted in 2009) of two cute kids who have just finished riding the Dumbo attraction. Big Sis is being very helpful! As you can see, the colors are faded to a grayish yuck; and I managed to post it backwards.

This new scan has really benefited from my years of Photoshop experience! The colors really pop now, and the whole thing just looks sharper and nicer. In the background we get a decent look at one of the Fantasyland snack stands, as well as the dining area nearby. Attraction posters for the new "Alice in Wonderland" attraction and the Disneyland Hotel can be seen to the right; to the left are posters for the Skyway and "Space Station X-1".

This next one is from the same batch, although I didn't post it until 2011. The boy from the previous photo can just be seen, apparently sitting on his mother's lap. I believe the lady to our left is the grandmother.

Once again, the color leaves a lot to be desired.

Ah, that's more like it. At this point, parts of Fantasyland still had a rough, unfinished appearance, in large part due to the constant improvements that Walt Disney implemented. I love the Casey Jr. Circus Train passing in the distance!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Frontierland & Rainbow Ridge, October 1963

This post is (in my opinion) quite a bit nicer than my typical Sunday posts - you know, the ones in which I have scraped the bottom of the barrel! I think these 1963 photos are actually very interesting.

Let's start with this picture, looking southeast toward the landing where the Mark Twain and Columbia take on new passengers. Beyond that is the little minin' town of Rainbow Ridge. If you squint real hard, you can see the Mineral Hall to the right, while Casa de Fritos is mostly hidden behind carnivorous trees. 

In the foreground, a Tom Sawyer Island raft... they were really worried about that thing bursting into flames.

This next photo is a fun view showing the Pack Mules just starting their journey through Nature's Wonderland, as they pass a few less-photographed buildings. 

I thought I'd zoom in just a bit; the tiny size of those buildings is very apparent when you really look. It's kind of cool to see one of two additional structures in the distance, including that one with the white picket fence. In the lower right is a nice little ticket booth.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

San Francisco

I'm still relying on old scans for my "Anything Goes Saturdays". It's a long story, but hopefully I'll be able to get back to scanning some new stuff very soon. 

If I had to make a guess, I'd wager that most readers will recognize this bridge (seen here in a 1950's photo) instantly. The wonderful Golden Gate Bridge, which opened in 1937, is still considered one of the most beautiful bridges in the world - in part because of the gorgeous 1-mile wide "Golden Gate" straight between San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean. The bridge was the longest main span suspension bridge for 27 years, finally surpassed by New York's Verrazano-Narrows bridge in 1964. 

When I was a kid I had an older cousin who lived in San Francisco; every time we drove across the Golden Gate Bridge, the tops of the towers (over 700 feet tall) disappeared into heavy fog.

Thanks to my complete lack of studies and zero research I have concluded that San Francisco's Chinatown might be the second most-photographed feature of the city. I love this shot looking down one of the streets - I couldn't figure out which one - with the old vehicles in the foreground, the traditional buildings festooned with signage and Chinese decor, and the Oakland Bay Bridge looming in the distance.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Indian Village, 1957

The old Indian Village might be long-gone, but todays beautiful Kodachrome images practically bring it right back to life. I really love the strong 50's vibe that comes through in these photos.

The performances at the "Dance Circle" were arguably the highlight of the features in the Indian Village - heaven knows that people took a zillion pictures of the costumed dancers. In this first photo, two boys (who should look familiar to many of you) pose with one of the Indian performers. I wish I knew what his name was. Did Disneyland provide their costumes? Behind them is the Dance Circle, as well as a scattering of teepees. That massive berm did an amazing job isolating Frontierland from the outside world!

Next we have the boys and their Mom standing next to one of the teepees. I am guessing that these were made from some sort of heavy cloth, cut in irregular shapes and carefully painted to resemble buffalo hides - it looks pretty convincing from here! To our right is a device from which drying ears of corn hang - it's nice and high to help keep varmints away.

Let's zoom in and say howdy to this nice family! Mom is thinking that a sun-bleached skull would be just the thing for the living room - won't the girls in her bridge club be envious? Time for a trip to "Skulls 'R Us".