Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

After what seems like months of anticipation and early celebrating (for some), Halloween is finally here! I remember when October 31st was a fun little day, with some cheap costumes purchased at Sears (acetate clothing and plastic masks), some paper skeletons and black cats on the walls of the classroom, jack o'lantern carving, and trick-or-treating. And that was about it! Now it has grown and been commercialized to an incredible degree. Who woulda thunk it.

Anyway, I wasn't sure what to post today; so I finally decided to share some photos relating to the Haunted Mansion shortly after it opened. They're not anything amazing (no Hatbox Ghost, darn it), but still, who doesn't love the Haunted Mansion?

Let's start with this one, taken from outside the Mansion's beautifully manicured grounds. The line apparently snakes on and on, but our photographer was now close enough to snap his first real picture of the building, even though it is mostly hidden by stately magnolia trees. Mr. Plaid Pants looks ready to play a round of golf. Notice two men standing nearby in sport coats  - it seems odd that they would dress that way in August, unless they had to. Could they be park employees?

Zooming in on the famous bronze plaque on that brick column, you can see that it is still quite shiny, like a new penny. It wouldn't look like that for very long. Now it is practically black, with some greenish-gray verdigris.

Closer and closer, ever so slowly… the Imagineers did such an incredible job with the exterior of the Mansion, with so much detail. Everything just feels right, as if the building had been there for 100 years.

Looking through some of the shrubbery we can just see the crypt that serves as the exit to the attraction. I don't remember noticing that bird bath before, I thought there was a sundial. Maybe there's both?  

The next two are reposts (originally shared in 2010), with the photos also from August of 1969. This is a view from Tom Sawyer Island looking toward the opposite shore. It is absolutely jam-packed! Granted, some of those folks might be in line for "Pirates", which is right in front of us. But I would wager (based on what I've heard and read) that most of those folks are waiting hours to see Disneyland's newest and (arguably) most-anticipated attraction. It looks like the line easily passes the River Belle Terrace, and continues on almost to the Golden Horseshoe.

Sacre Bleu! Of course, now it looks like that many evenings after the fireworks and the second showing of "Fantasmic!".

I hope that you all have a spooktacular Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Special Guest Halloween, 1965 - Part 3

Here is the final installment of vintage Halloween photos graciously shared with us by Ken Martinez. These are from 1965, and Ken has written some nice captions to go with each picture (highlighted in orange). This is sort of a "part two" to the previous post, which is why we start with...

Image 6 - GROUP COSTUME POSE - Here's the whole gang of kids lined up for a group pose, minus my father, mother, and teenage sister.

Image 7 - HENRY (FATHER) - Here's my dad dressed up in the Hyde/Phantom inspired costume.

It's the hat that completes the outfit! And the yellow carnation.

Image 8 - K. MARTINEZ (KENNY) - This is me in my store bought Grandpa Munster Halloween costume. I was crazy about the Munsters television show during its original run back in the day.

I know I had a few different store-bought costumes, including a devil, and Snoopy (with a battery-powered lightbulb nose).

Image 9 - A. MARTINEZ - I  think my sister was going for the beatnik look. Not 100% sure though. Sometimes she goes to Disneyland to celebrate her birthday because she was born the day Disneyland opened. When it's Disneyland's 60th, it will be her 60th.

I love this costume so much!

Image 10 - S. MARTINEZ - Here's my middle sister dressed in a store bought Cinderella costume. She obviously decided to do her own make up and not use the mask.

I don't blame her, those masks got all steamy from exhalation, and you could barely see through the eye holes.

Image 11 - J. MARTINEZ - And finally, my younger sister dressed as a bride. I don't remember if it was store bought or homemade, but there seemed to be a few of those back in the mid-60's. Hope you enjoyed the vintage suburban Halloween visit to 1965.

In spite of today's more enlightened times, you'll still see plenty of princesses and brides. Girls still want to be pretty!

A BIG thank you once again to Ken for sharing these nostalgic photos of a family Halloween celebration from nearly 50 years ago. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

More Instamatics

Once again I am doing my weird thing. "Which weird thing are you talking about, Major P?". Well, the thing where I go through a batch of slides and post the less-interesting examples, getting them "out of the way" so that only gems are left. We've certainly seen plenty of very nice Instamatics from my pal "Mr. X", but the supply is dwindling, and I want to end with a bunch of especially nice ones. Just because.

But that's not to say that today's offerings are junk! This is a pretty nice Mark Twain photo - it's just that we've seen so many pictures of that sternwheeler. SO many. A googol of them at least. The color and the lighting are pretty, though.

And this is a fairly plain view of Main Street Station (it's 11:30, do you know where your children are?). The Santa Fe sign gives me the warm fuzzies, and even 1/3 of a Tiki Room poster is worth a look.

This picture was taken during the zombie war, when Disneyland was completely empty during the day. Submarines sat open and derelict, the lagoon was empty, and nobody was riding the Peoplemover. But once the sun went down, the undead enjoyed all of the park's attractions and shows!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Frontierland Scenes, March 13 1958

There is no shortage of photos of old Castle Rock on Tom Sawyer Island. But I think that this particular image is extra super-duper nice - in large part because of that dramatic early Spring sky. It looks like a chilly rain storm is passing through, but thanks to the magical berm, there is only sunshine within the park ; it has something to do with muons, gluons, and quarks. The Mark Twain must be just hidden from view on the other side of the island, doesn't it looks like a puff of steam is blowing in our direction, slightly obscuring the very top of Castle Rock? 

In the distance you can see the Casa de Fritos building, and the futuristic Moonliner makes a special guest appearance.

This picture of the entrance to Frontierland isn't the most exciting thing ever, but I love the detail of the little Union soldier in the lower right. He probably just came from Sharpsburg for a furlough. I hope he doesn't run into a pint-sized Johnny Reb! 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Two Random Pix

Today's photos are "leftuggies" - leftovers with a generous dollop of "ugh"! But they can still be tasty in their way.

Here's an oddly-composed photo of the plastic House of the Future. I guess the photographer was impressed with the way the house was raised up on the central support, which was then surrounded by lovely ponds, waterfalls, and plants. Were there futuristic koi fish in the ponds? (Futuristic koi look just like regular koi, only they wear DEVO hats).

It might be bright and sunny, but the Christmas tree (artificial, of course) in the house is a clue as to what time of year this picture was taken. I hope Santa gives me presents that aren't subject to insect damage or mildew (in other words, made of plastic). I wonder if any Halloween decorations made it onto the walls of the house in October? That would be cool. 

I always enjoy this view along the Jungle Cruise (this one is from 1957), looking up a crocodile-infested tributary. It's kind of hard to discern here, but there is an intriguing bridge that appears to have been woven from vines, indicating the presence of indigenous people - perhaps they are one of those tribes that has never had contact with the outside world!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Mark Twain, 1956

It's Sunday, which means it's time to post a few slides that are, for whatever reason, not "essential viewing". In today's case, the quality of the pictures is OK, it's just that they are among the three quadrillion images of the Mark Twain that I have shared on GDB. 

There she goes (I guess the Mark Twain is a "she"; hey, I don't judge), churning up the greenish water of the Rivers of America. It looks like one river, but trust me, it's actually a bunch. The day is bright and sunshiny, and Frontierland is charmingly barren in that specific "1956" way. A few folks walk the wide paths on Tom Sawyer Island, which was newly-opened, and a Keel Boat leads the way for the Twain.

I don't think you see areas of flowers along the shore anymore… that real estate is needed for the hordes that want to watch "Fantasmic!". I always like seeing the Disneyland Band in their dark blue uniforms (they didn't use those for very long), and here they are, holding court at the bow of the sternwheeler. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mystery Locations!

Digging through a box of random slides can be a fun activity. You just never know what you're going to find! Usually, 99% of the images are of no particular interest to me. But on occasion I'll find a slide that piques my curiosity - where is that place? Can I find a view of how it looks today using Google's "Street View"? Sometimes I'm successful, other times there are not enough clues to help. But I have faith in the GDB readers, who have worked miracles before. No pressure!

This first image is from 1957, seemingly looking up the main street of some small mountain town. I thought that the Cedar movie theater (showing Alfred Hitchcock's "The Wrong Man" starring Henry Fonda) would be a useful clue, but that led nowhere. There are other Cedar theaters, but none that remotely resemble this one. You probably can't see it in the jpeg, but in the distance there is a sign that says "Deer Creek". That should help - but it didn't help me. I wish the picture was clear enough to tell which state is on the license plate to the right, but it's too blurry.

This next one also leaves very few clues to follow. I think that the cars have old California license plates, but maybe not. You've got a nice little harbor, that distinctive bridge overhead (not a RR bridge, as we can see a single car up there). If this is California, it has to be in the northern part of the state, but that is still a pretty big stretch of coastline.

And finally, here's a photo from the early morning of March, 1960 looking up yet another little street. Those sure look like eucalyptus trees to our right, which makes me think "California". Also, that prominent brick building is called the Arbuckle Hotel. There is an Arbuckle, California, but I'll be darned if I can find any reference to an "Arbuckle Hotel" online (usually one can find vintage newspaper ads, if nothing else). 

Even if you don't know where these places are, I hope that you (like me) enjoy the photos, and the mysteries that they contain!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flying Saucers, August 1966

I don't have a lot of good shots of the Flying Saucers left in my collection (that is to say, ones that I haven't already posted). So I am always happy to find one, especially when it is as fun as this one. A mom and her daughter look like they are having a great time as they skitter across the giant air-hockey table. Or maybe they are sort of stuck there against the edge - I've read that that could happen to people.  With the impending doom (in January) of "Luigi's Flying Tires" over at DCA, it seems pretty clear that this unusual ride system was just not practical for a busy theme park.

Meanwhile over in Fantasyland… a happy lovin' couple (high school sweethearts I'll bet) are enjoying each other's company as much as they are enjoying the park. Notice the little bandstand to our left, which doesn't seem to have been there for very long.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1960

I've become so used to similar views of the old Sub Lagoon that, at times, I get jaded and forget how cool scenes like this are. But look at it! If I had never heard of Disneyland, and then somebody showed me this picture, I would want to go there. Blue blue water, Autopia cars, coral reefs, a Monorail, and Merms! 

This one's a beauty too. Love the Skyway passing overhead, along with the old Moonliner and Yacht Bar. And… more Merms.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Nature's Wonderland, July 1967

I am always happy to revisit the wonderful (and much-missed) Nature's Wonderland. What an attraction! 

Two male elk, almost hidden by trees and shrubs, are battling it out for those barely-interested females. In fact, they girls are actually watching a small black and white TV just out of frame (it is always showing animals programs like "Gentle Ben", "Flipper", "Lassie", and so on).

Here's a nice portrait of the rock formations in the desert. They get the job done, but the craftsmen who specialize in rock work have improved by leaps and bounds over the years. The desert looks especially green in this picture, I wonder if the photos were actually taken a few months before July, in the cooler months of spring.

Does anybody know if there is some sort of real-life, natural version of the "Devil's Paint Pots"? Yellowstone has some bubbling pots of hot mud, but I think they are just plain old brown. My guess is that they were just an imaginative idea, playing on the "Rainbow Desert" theme.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Murky Cruise, January 1965

Here are two more images from a set of slides in which many (but not all) of them are mysteriously dark, and soft focus in places. In spite of the flaws, they still manage to retain some visual appeal - maybe you could argue that they have a "noir" quality.

There is stuff to be seen on both sides of a Jungle Cruise launch, which makes for some less-than-optimal photos. Clearly our photographer was trying to capture the dancing natives on the opposite bank, but instead got a silhouetted picture of fellow guests (craning their necks!). I almost expect Crow and Tom Servo to be there too (any MST3K fans out there??). 

I'll bet the person who took this picture didn't even know these people! Still, it's moody and dreamy, like looking through an antique pane of glass.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Random Pix, August 1969

Here are some more of those August '69 photos; I have analyzed them with my atomic Pictometer, and they fall dangerously close to the "meh" category. Fortunately I am wearing proper lead-lined clothing and safety goggles.

Cascade Peak looks pretty in the late-afternoon sunshine; the river feels so empty and still - not a canoe, keelboat, or sternwheeler to be found. If this was a real river, I'd want to go for a swim! But then I remember that the water is Disneyland water, and who knows what's in it.

Look at how close those Mine Train tracks get to the lower falls. We need to install a railing, or better yet, replace the waterfalls with high-definition video projections (don't forget to add Nemo). Nobody will know the difference. (My atomic Snarkometer is in the red zone!).

Nature's Wonderland had its beauty, but it had its danger too. Like this marmot! Sure, he looks like the cuddly gopher from "Caddyshack", but don't let that fool you. With his shape-shifting abilities, powerful talons, poisonous fangs, and prehensile tail, he is basically a killing machine. If he was in the water, a great white shark would swim in the opposite direction.

Meanwhile, over at the Enchanted Tiki Room's outer pre-show area, we get an odd closeup of Tangaroa, the "Father of all Gods and Goddesses. Here in this land of enchantment, I appear before you as a mighty tree. Stand back! Oh mystic powers, hear my call. From my limbs, let new life fall!". I always love it when the little baby tikis emerge - and always want to pluck one and put it in my pocket. I'd take him home and feed him raisins and Slim Jims and Gatorade, and teach him tricks, and we would be best pals (since those Sea Monkeys turned out to be such a dud).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Pirate Ship, 1956

Here are two not-very-exciting pictures featuring that most-photographed ship named for a canned fish product! 

I am wondering if the photographer was trying to just get a nice photo of that lady and small child who seem to be waving at us from the upper deck (only to have the shot spoiled by those three interlopers)? I kind of think that wasn't the case, since those folks don't show up in any other photos. Maybe the guy with the camera was just really into anchors. I can almost imagine him exclaiming, "Look at the flukes on that baby!", only to get slapped by an outraged woman. This did not happen to me, and if it did, I would deny it.

Ah, there we go… that lady up by the wheel looks familiar, or at least her jacket does. Which leads me to mentioning that these are more photos from the bunch that GDB pals Kevin and Amber found for me months ago. Thanks, K & A!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bride of "Train Related"!

I have always loved Disneyland's trains, and as my appreciation for them grew over the years, I found that other trains (especially steam locomotives) were pretty appealing too. My guess is that more than a few of the GDB readers feel the same way. So… here are three photos of different trains from around the country.

This first one shows a cute little train. "Edaville", what's that? Mr. Wikipedia sez, "Edaville Railroad is a heritage railroad in South Carver, Massachusetts. Opened in 1947, Edaville Railroad is generally regarded as one of the oldest heritage railroads in the United States. Edaville Railroad is a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge line that operates excursion trains for tourists. It was built by the late Ellis D. Atwood (initials E.D.A, for which Edaville is named) on his sprawling cranberry plantation on the inland end of Cape Cod". 

Of interest to me is the fact that C.V. Wood, infamous for helping Walt Disney to realize his dream of Disneyland (and later stricken from the official record for taking too much of the credit) leased some of the Edaville equipment for Freedomland U.S.A., and Pleasure Island.

Here's a neat photo from 1950, taken at the "Duluth and Iron Range" Company Depot on Sixth Street in Two Harbors, Minnesota. On display outside the depot is the #3 locomotive (with a 2-6-0 configuration), which was built in 1883 at the Baldwin Locomotive Works in Philadelphia. Isn't it a beauty? It has an interesting history, which you can read about HERE if you like! Happily, the locomotive can still be found in Two Harbors, where it is undergoing restoration.

And just for the halibut, I figured I would include this one, even though I have precious little information about what we are looking at (other than a bunch of trains). It reminds me very much of Travel Town, located in beautiful Griffith Park in Los Angeles (though it could be someplace else, of course - chime in if you know anything!). Meanwhile, you can still visit Travel Town and walk among many gigantic old trains and trolleys, and you can even climb on them. I still remember seeing an episode of "The Monkees" in which the Prefab Four clowned around on the trains during one of their musical numbers.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Frontierland, March 13 1958

This first photo is a real beauty, featuring the wonderful Casa de Fritos restaurant in adobe glory. I love the stripe of blue painted at the bottom of the building (makes me think of Taos, New Mexico for some reason - probably inaccurately). You can see some of the colorful painted tables and benches inside the main doorway. Notice the painted sombrero above the door; it's fun to observe the way the Imagineers have played with scale.. that balcony isn't very big. And there is even a crude lodge-pole ladder, like one might have found at the Montezuma Castle National Monument. 

Zooming in a little to the left, we can see part of the Mineral Hall, sponsored by the "Black Light Corporation of America". I love things that light up and/or glow, so this place would have been a favorite of mine - if I had ever seen it.

And lastly, here's a wonderful photo of the Golden Horseshoe Revue as seen from the upper deck of the Mark Twain. That sky is just spectacular, and the park looks so neat and tidy - and empty!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm, 1950's

It's time for some more vintage Knott's Berry Farm!

Mom, dad, and two identically-dressed little girls are about to enter the tunnel that was led to the Gold Mine (where you could pan for real gold!). When I was a tiny tot, I wasn't so sure I wanted to walk into that dark tunnel. What's in there? Is it scary? Turns out it wasn't scary at all, but that's how a little kid's mind works. I like the crude wooden buildings; it's easy to imagine that they were built by prospectors who weren't especially skilled, and had to scrounge for lumber. Nearby is a sleepy burro who would be mighty glad if you went over to scratch his ears.

The Ghost Town didn't change a whole lot (as a rule) over the years - until relatively recently, that is. I'm amazed at how much the people in a photo change the feel of the place. Moms and their kids in mid-century outfits definitely elicit a "50's" vibe. The rusting hulk of "Old Betsy" can still be seen at Knott's today, which is pretty neat. 

This pretty scene was over near the Church of Reflections… as far as I know, the lake didn't have a name. There was an "island" in the middle (not really an island, as it was connected to the north and south shores by narrow pathways) where Indian teepees (and a "trading post") used to be. If you look through the weeping willow you can see a lady in red pants staring at us!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Special Guest Halloween, 1965 - Part 2

It's time for more vintage Halloween photos from the personal collection of Ken Martinez! This post (and the next one) feature photos from around the Martinez home circa 1965. As before, Ken has provided great descriptive captions (highlighted in orange) for each photo. Let's go!

Image 1 - JACK O'LANTERNS - Here are five Jack O'Lanterns carved by us five kids. Odds are they were picked from a pumpkin patch in Half Moon Bay a week earlier.

My sister always liked the littlest pumpkins, I'll bet one of Ken's sisters carved the tiny one!

Image 2 - PRE-PARTY - One of the things my parents loved doing for us kids was making the holidays extra special throughout the year. The cake in this photo looks like it is out of the pages of some Good Housekeeping type magazine (holiday edition). It was probably where my mom got her ideas.

Image 3 - DAD AT TABLE - My dad dressed up every year for Halloween until I hit the double digits. I think he was trying to go for a Mr. Hyde/Phantom type look. He was really into the old Universal horror classics and that was probably influential in his costume idea. My dad and I used to watch all those old horror classics together. I even remember collecting all the monster models back in the 1960's.

Oh yeah, those awesome Aurora models! I know I had King Kong and the Mummy, while my brother probably had Dracula and Frankenstein. I loved those things!

Image 4 - PARTY IN ACTION - The party is in full swing with my sisters, two cousins and a neighborhood kid at the table enjoying cake and fruit punch. My mom and teenage sister are working the punch bowl. I think that's a homemade skeleton made out of black construction paper hanging on the cupboard.

All I can say is that Ken's family had WAY more fun on Halloween than my family did!! It was all we could do to get our costumes on, much less have a big party.

Image 5 - SCARED STIFF - Here's my father again with creepy attitude. My sister and cousin look more fascinated than scared. It's really the wallpaper that's scary.

Yes, the girls don't look very frightened, but Ken's dad is a method actor - always inhabiting the role!

Once again, a big thanks goes to Ken for sharing these awesome family photos. There's one more batch to go!