Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aboard Main Street Vehicles, August 1967

Here are two "Sunday quality" (in other words, "not great") photos, featuring view from on board two Main Street vehicles. 

Perhaps the most exciting part of riding the Horse Drawn Streetcars is when two streetcars pass each other in the middle. Be sure to stick you hands, arms, feet and legs outside of the vehicle! The horse has seen it a million times, and is not interested.

Next, we are aboard one of the horseless carriages; this affords a better view of a busy August day; maybe the number of guests is proportional to the number of people who have decided to walk in the street! I recently watched a video taken aboard the Omnibus, and I don't think I could handle driving one of those vehicles. People just stand in the street without a clue, even when they hear the "Aaa-ooo-gah" horn. Nevertheless, I like this colorful, bustling view of Main Street.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Ella Goes to Hollywood, Part 2

Today I am continuing our look at a series of photos following a nice lady named Ella as she toured Hollywood back in 1962. See part one HERE.

Since I have no definitive order for these photos, I'm winging it. So I'll begin with this photo; Ella has met up with some friends in an unknown location (it could be Hollywood Blvd near the corner of Van Ness...). We don't see any of these people in any of the other photos, for whatever reason. There are two men in uniform, and the lady on the left wears a USO arm band.

Now Ella is standing at the famous corner of Hollywood and Vine, near such landmarks of the time as NBC Studio, CBS Studio, and the Pantages Theater. To the right we can just see a bit of Hody's restaurant...

... here's a vintage postcard, probably from roughly the same time period. Sorry about the scary clown! Hody's had several eye-grabbing billboards on their roof over the years. A Howard Johnson's  restaurant replaced Hody's around 1970.

Ella is still on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, only now we're looking north along Vine, with the American Airlines building in the background.

Here's a vintage postcard... to the further up Vine is the famous Capitol Records building (which we will see soon!). Notice the Howard Johnson's to our left.

Nearby is the historic and beautiful Pantages Theater, just a block east of Vine Street. It was the marquee's movie listing that helped me to date these black and white photos to 1962! If you look carefully you can see the famous Frolic Room, a Hollywood dive that had been around since the 1930's. 

Here's a nice color photo (scrounged on the 'net) from about two years later...

"Judgment at Nuremberg" was a big hit, released in December of 1961. It had an impressive cast, including Judy Garland, Burt Lancaster, Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich, "Best Actor" Oscar winner Maximilian Schell, and... William Shatner!

Down at one corner of the Pantages was this USO office. Is it just a coincidence that the woman in photo #1 was wearing a USO arm band? 

Just around the corner from the Pantages (that's it on the left), on Argyle Street, we get this view of the wonderful Capitol Records building. Completed in 1956, it is sometimes known as "The House That Nat Built", because Nat King Cole sold so many records for the company. 

And finally, no visit to Hollywood is complete without a visit to Grauman's Chinese! You know, where "Star Wars" would premiere 15 years after these photos were taken. The theater is "cooled by refrigeration", which is OK by me. "West Side Story" is playing... it won 10 Academy Awards.

Here's a vintage postcard, for those of you who can see in color!

Ella stands near a display of Academy Award winners throughout history, but she only has eyes for the famous footprints, handprints, and signatures of the biggest stars in Hollywood.

Like Red Skelton! Red was an incredibly popular comic actor in movies, and in 1962 "The Red Skelton Hour" was among the most-watched television programs.

So... are you up for yet a third post of Ella's adventures in Hollywood?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sailing Ships to Rockets, July 1966

Walking through the entry into Frontierland transported guests back to the 18th century (more or less), when America was still expanding into the untamed West. The U.S. was also exploring the globe, and the country's first ship to circumnavigate the globe was the good old Columbia Rediviva. (Nevermind that Europeans did it some 270 years earlier!).

Here's a pretty view of Disneyland's Columbia, with sails at least partially unfurled as it headed into the wilderness. GDB readers pointed out those lanterns at the end of each yard, a very cool detail! A raft waits for the Columbia to pass before heading back to the shores of Frontierland.

Next we zoom from the 1700's to the far-flung future of the 1980's, with this swell photo of the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction. Notice the Flying Saucers off to our right, and the Space Bar to our left. 

Zooming in, we can see the white globes inside the entry to the Rocket to the Moon ride - the globes had educational displays. Way in the distance is the Melodyland Theater, and "Wilbur Clark's Crest Hotel" looms upper left. Wilbur Clark was a big deal in Las Vegas (owning the Desert Inn, among other things). He died just a month after this photo was taken, and the name of the hotel was eventually changed to the "Grand Hotel". 

It's amazing to think that everything in this photo was about to undergo big changes, with construction of the "New Tomorrowland" about to get underway in a matter of months.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Skyway in Black and White, August 1956

Today I am sharing scans of four nice black and white snapshots from August, 1956. Part of me wishes that they were color slides, but we have to take what we can get.

The Skyway had only been open since June 23rd of '56, but it is clearly a hit with the guests. Nearby is the Richfield Autopia, with the Space Bar to our right.

Now we're high above Storybook Land and Monstro, with Professor Keller and his Fantastic Felines performing inside that circus tent.

Continuing on our way, we are approaching the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship in its ce-ment pond.

And, swiveling our noggins to the left, we see a very busy Fantasyland, with Dumbo's Flying Elephants, the Mickey Mouse Club Theater, and a smidgen of the Mad Tea Party.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Liberty Square, November 1971

If you look at the very first souvenir wall maps that were sold at Disneyland in 1958, you'll see two side streets that branch off of Main Street U.S.A. One was "Edison Square", and the other was "Liberty Street". Neither one was actually built in Anaheim, though their concepts lived on. Edison Square morphed into the "Carousel of Progress", while Liberty Street became "Liberty Square" in the Magic Kingdom.

I love this beautiful shot of the Drum and Fife Corps, marching in the brilliant November sunshine. The flag is known as the "Grand Union Flag", and it indicated that the second Continental Congress still hoped for a reconciliation with Britain. 

Mr. X did a wonderful job with this photo. I think it might even be "postcard worthy"!

Meanwhile, crowds gather outside the Hall of Presidents. Richard Nixon was President when the park opened. He was not a crook! I love the look at the people and the way they dressed in 1971... let's classify this one as "souvenir guidebook worthy".

And finally, I don't think I'll get many complaints for this nice view of the Haunted Mansion, set back from the riverbank. Look at the queue, extending out of the picture to our right. 

I think that might be a haunted rowboat to our left! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Tomorrowland Entrance, August 1967

Here are two scans showing the brand new "New Tomorrowland", which officially debuted on July 18th, 1967, although various attractions opened a few weeks before that date (akin to a "soft opening" I suppose). If I had to put money on it, I'd bet that today's photos were taken in June. Date-stamp be damned!

There it is, the gleaming, bright and shiny update of Tomorrowland! What a place. I love those metallic "portals" flanking the entrance (one with the Bell Systems logo, the other with the Monsanto logo). Rolly Crump designed the swirling flower beds. The Peoplemover appears to be non-operational at this point (there are no passengers, at any rate - maybe they were cycling the vehicles through), and it's opening date was July 2nd. There's no line outside of "Adventure Thru Inner Space" - that one didn't open until August 5th.

Hello, Fun Mom! She's sporting the flowered kupe'e on her wrist, given to her over at the Tahitian Terrace (thanks to "anon" for that info). Blue Peoplemover trains have been replaced with red ones, so I guess they were moving, in spite of the fact that they were empty. I wish I could experience that Tomorrowland just as it was in the summer of '67.

Monday, May 14, 2018


I decided to try my hand at rescanning and improving some old, old scans, with some success!

Here's a photo featuring the brand-new Fantasyland Skyway chalet, circa 1956... the whole thing has a reddish-brown tint. Yuck.

Well, that's a bit better! The trees surrounding the chalet are so small that we can really see what the building looked like. Just beyond the Dumbo vehicles we can just see the "storybook" sign announcing the new Skyway. Well-dressed guests are on their way to check it out!

Here's one that is dark and dreary...

... restoration brightened things up pretty well, though not as much as I'd hoped. Still... it's an improvement. It's kind of interesting to be able to see behind the buildings where some of the Fantasyland dark rides are housed.

Zooming in, we can even see a single pirate ship vehicle from the "Peter Pan" attraction sitting among dumpsters and piles of random junk. 

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Random Instamatics

Random. Instamatics. GO!

First up is this photo from December, 1969, featuring a sign for a new attraction on Main Street (where Wurlitzer used to be), "Walt Disney: A Legacy For The Future". It's free! According to a list of Main Street lessees (thanks, Nanook), this attraction didn't actually open until January 15th, 1970. I am unclear as to what the displays inside were; did they show concepts for potential future attractions?  

Unfortunately this photo was underexposed, leaving it pretty murky. But it's always nice to see the Royal Street Bachelors! I can almost hear the jaunty music. They're right in front of the "One of a Kind Shop", with the "Court of Angels" to the right.

And finally, here's a rare shot from inside "Adventure Thru Inner Space"; there's the edge of a blue "Atomobile" in the rightcorner. The round thing in front of us is the "wrong" end of a telescope - guests would look up to see a gigantic eyeball observing them (the eye moved from side to side, a nice detail). We were "back on visual"! It made such an impression on my family that when my siblings were kids, we called the attraction "The Eye Ride". 

Saturday, May 12, 2018


Holy Toledo! Today marks this blog's 12th Anniversary. Yes, way back in 2006 I decided that it might be fun to share my collection of vintage Disneyland slides (inspired by Matterhorn1959 and his awesome "Stuff From the Park" blog, which had started six months earlier). It seemed silly to have all of these photos that nobody else could enjoy. Every now and then it has been fun to take side trips to places like Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, the 1964 New York World's Fair, and any other spot that inspired me.

Would anybody ever find my blog? Would anybody care? Well, a few people have! Now, 12 years and many thousands of photos later, here we are. Yup.

Let's start things off with this swell (undated, but certainly from 1956) photo overlooking the Phantom Boats (or "Tomorrowland Boats"). I love the color on this one. Imagine my surprise when I saw this very photo in a YouTube video; presumably a jpeg was taken off of eBay (where I bought the slide)... pretty sneaky!

Zooming in, we see a lady who decided she needed to get right to the edge of the water for unobstructed views of passing boats. I salute her moxie.

A bit further in the distance is the Junior Autopia. Cars that were identical to the ones in Tomorrowland (except they had a wooden block on the gas pedal to help small children reach it) putt through a landscape of magical dirt. I assume that plants and shrubs were added before the attraction closed in 1958, but I can find no photos of it looking green and pretty. Notice the orange trees!

This tent was the short-lived home for Professor Keller and his Fantastic Felines! This attraction was only there from February through September, 1956.

From here on out, we are sticking to Tomorrowland, because it's my favorite. Check out this beautiful, postcard-worthy 1958 photo of the TWA Moonliner. I guess the Flight Circle is in between shows, but you can still sit in your mid-century molded fiberglass chair and hang on to the chain link like a 5 year-old.

Sticking with the "1958" theme, here's a fun image of the Tomorrowland Spaceman and Space Girl, with an entourage of admirers. I love those space costumes! I wonder when that scary red "veins" were added to the Spaceman's helmet? It's a sure sign that he is suffering from Space Madness. This particular space couple appears together in quite a few vintage photos.

A few years later, this photo was taken (anywhere from 1962 to 1966) with an updated space couple. The Douglas Moonliner is nearby, and the Flying Saucers are in the distance, where the bright lights are. Mr. Spaceman looks like he is pretty sweet on the Space Gal!

And finally, here's a pretty afternoon photo featuring three lovely ladies who seem to be admiring those scruffy little flower beds with the white wire fencing that you only see in the first year or two. For me, this photo is just about perfect. Beautiful color, nice clarity and composition, good vintage "people watching"... A+.

Behind the stylish ladies we can see Walt Disney's custom Autopia car on display. Beyond that (to the right) is the Hat Bar. Just look at all those hats! I love the signs directing guests to such wonders as the "America Diary Association Dairy Bar", "Public Telephone" ("Mom, Dad, can we go see the public telephone? Pleeeeease??"), "The World Beneath Us", and "20,000 League Show". Squinting at the signs in the distance (to our left), I can discern "Yacht Club", "Crane Company", and "Dutch Boy Paints".

Many grateful thanks to the GDB readers who contribute with fun and informative comments, and to those who have taken the time to share their own family photos, or who have gone the extra mile and written entire posts while I lounge in my infinity pool overlooking Hollywood! I am appreciative of the nice community (small though it may be) that has formed here - if it wasn't for that, I probably would have stopped long ago. 

For the moment I still have hundreds of slides that I have not scanned, along with more gifts from Mr. X and other generous people, so the future looks good!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Early Tom Sawyer Island!

I have two fun views of Tom Sawyer Island, from undated slides - though they are almost certainly from 1956. 

We are looking at the south end of the Island, with the Fishing Pier to our right (a single cane pole poking into the scene), and a large group of guests waiting to board a Huck Finn Raft for its trip back to the mainland. It's a hazy day, but I am always amazed when I see the far shore of Frontierland completely devoid of anything except for train tracks, a white picket fence, and a pathway leading to the Indian Village. Looking through the sluice the carried water to turn the mill wheel, you can see a single Keel Boat at rest on the far shore.

Some little boys are thrilled to be the first ones aboard the raft. It doesn't matter if they have enough energy to light up New York City, they are going to sit on those red barrels, because who wouldn't? Only a crazy person. 

This view from the Mark Twain is taken looking in a south-easterly direction. The plants on the island are so scraggly that we can clearly see the waterfall that cascaded from the top of the hill. Incidentally, it seems that Tom's Treehouse hasn't been built yet.

The Suspension Bridge is pure chaos, with guests trying to go both directions. It's the Clone Wars all over again! At some point somebody decided to make the bridge strictly one-way. I get a kick out of looking at the people, especially the kids who are so excited at the novelty of the bridge.

I believe that the pink building in the distance is Aunt Jemima's Pancake House.

I forgot to add that readers should tune in tomorrow for an extra-special post!