Sunday, May 27, 2018

Two From '76

Here are two somewhat "blah" photos (because it's Sunday!) from 1976.

If nothing else, this is a different view of the Submarine Lagoon - I'm not really sure where our photographer would have been standing for this oblique angle. Maybe it was shot from one of the Tomorrowland vehicles (such as the Peoplemover)? I'm also curious about the walkway at the bottom of the image, and where it led to.

And... here's a muddy, murky shot of the Matterhorn, which makes me miss the Skyway. Again.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Fairyland Caverns, Tennessee - August 1958

Today I'm going to share some 1958 slides from "Fairyland Caverns" in southern Tennessee (Chattanooga, that is). The "caverns" are a part of famous "Rock City", on Lookout Mountain. Rock City opened in 1932, with winding paths (named after fairy tale characters), interesting rock formations, and beautiful gardens. 

The caverns are actually man-made (built in between large rocks that happened to be very close together), added in 1947 to feature playful, black-lit dioramas featuring gnomes and familiar scenes from fairy tale classics.

Here's a photo of the entrance to Fairlyand Caverns, as seen in 1958. As a child, the idea of walking into that dark tunnel would have been scary! But once I had conquered my fears, I'm sure I would have loved this place.

Here's a scan of an early postcard...

... and here's a lovely photo (scrounged from the Internet) showing Lookout Mountain. I wonder how it got its name? Perhaps it was named after General Hezekiah Lookout. On a clear day, guests can supposedly see seven states from atop the mountain.

Here is one of the dioramas... the playful gnomes have built themselves a carnival (why, it's the "Carnival of the Gnomes"), complete with a Ferris Wheel, and a big top containing thrilling and mysterious side shows. Remember, all of the scenes were intended to be viewed by black light, so the flash ruins some of the magic.

There's Cinderella, running away from the prince (who has found her glass slipper). Cindy's coach has shrunk down to normal pumpkin size, and the horses have turned back into rats. Disgusting, filthy rats.

You know it, you love it, it's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Looks like her prince has just awakened her with his kiss, which was mighty neighborly of him. If you look closely through the dimness, you can see flitting birds and butterflies, as well as an assortment of woodland critters.

The Castle of the Gnomes. Fun fact: if you give a gnome a beer, he will grant you three wishes - as long as those wishes are that you want to be in the company of a drunken gnome.

Hansel and Gretel were greedy little children who ate gingerbread and candy instead of the healthy apples, string cheese, "ants on a log" (celery with peanut butter and raisins), and other snacks prepared by their mother. Also, they never flossed and rarely bathed. Frankly, I'm on the witch's side on this one.

I happened to find this slide (from 1963) showing a charming little snack shop, located right next to the "Lookout Mountain Museum" which I think is where the Mona Lisa can be seen. I might be wrong. The souvenir shop is still there today.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to Rock City, Lookout Mountain, and Fairlyland Caverns!

Friday, May 25, 2018

Beautiful Tomorrowland, August 1967

I am always extra glad to be able to bring you nice photos from Tomorrowland, and today's examples are real beauties. As I have noted in earlier posts, these were probably taken in early July, if not sometime in June, even though the date-stamp is from August.

There's that distinctively non-futuristic Matterhorn mountain, with Hans (or is it Otto?) clinging near the top like a bug. To our left, the Monsanto Plastic Pad, soon to be relegated to Yesterland™ (as of December of '67). In the middle, behind the tree, you can just make out the small tent that I believe used to be part of the Monsanto exhibit, though it was converted to a souvenir stand. To our right... the Peoplemover.

For you fans of vintage people-watching, check this one out! The lady in the Chartruese outfit has just come from the future, directly from a Devo concert. Whip it! Two sailors (to our right) enjoy ice cream bars; they are probably on leave from Long Beach Naval Base! 

The Mary Blair mural on the south side of Tomorrowland seems to have been photographed far less than the one on the opposite side of the corridor, so it's nice to get this angle. Overhead, the still-riderless Peoplemover vehicles sit, apparently motionless until the ride debuted on July 2nd.

Here's a late-breaking addition: DrGoat asked what magazine the girl to the left was holding. I recognized the shape of Independence Hall at Knott's Berry Farm (plus you can juuuust read the word "Knott's" in red), and knew that this was an issue of "Vacationland" magazine. I wonder if she brought it with her from a nearby motel?

And while they used that photo on several consecutive issues of Vacationland, the photos are from the summer of 1967; so this is likely the front cover of the issue that the girl is carrying. Love that Herb Ryman artwork.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Three Blasts From the Past

I hope you love reruns of "Welcome Back Kotter", or "Star Trek", or "Friends", because I am presenting three "reruns" today. They're pretty good ones though, just like the episode where Kirk has to battle the horrible *Gorn!

Boy oh boy, there's lots going on in this view of the northermost edge of Fantasyland (circa 1958). I originally posted this one 10 years ago. In the distance is the little Fantasyland train station, complete with a departing train. There's the Midget Autopia (slightly left of center), and the striped tent of the Junior Autopia (slightly right of center).

This second photo was also originally posted in 2008; it is a 1966 view of the Plaza (sort of). The Plaza Inn is out of frame to our right, and the Monsanto House of the Future is back there, not long for this world. Just lift it up with a crane, put it on a flatbed truck, and move it to my 2000-acre ranch, won't you?

From 1960 we get this neat view of the sailing ship "Columbia" as it begins its cruise along the Rivers of America. Who knew that a sailing ship would churn the waters so much! The best part of this photo is the stately Plantation House in the distance. I would love to sit out on the veranda, eat a quiet lunch, and take in the scenery!

I hope you have enjoyed today's repeats.

*Spoiler alert: Kirk defeats the Gorn.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Disneyland Souvenir Guidebook, 1965 - Part 1

Today I have the pleasure of presenting PART ONE of a series of posts featuring scans of a 1965 Disneyland souvenir guidebook. One of the nicest guidebooks that was ever produced! It was a break from the designs and layouts of past editions, and it introduced a bold, fun, very 60's style, along with a ton of truly wonderful photos.

This guidebook was scanned entirely by longtime GDB reader "JG" (you know him from the comments); I know that it took a lot of his time, so I am very grateful that he wanted to share it with all of you. Due to the sheer number of pages in this particular book, I will be dividing it up into four posts.

First off, I thought I would include a scan of the front and back of the rare mailing envelope for these books (from my own collection). It's in several eye-popping shades of pink. Pre-psychedelic! My envelope shows a lot of handling wear, but I honestly don't remember ever seeing another one. 

And now, on to the cover! Multicolored lettering was in vogue at that time. And there's Walt - this would be the last guidebook to be produced in his lifetime. The painting of the castle and Mickey leading the Disneyland Band has a distinctive look - I would bet dollars to donuts that it was painted by illustrator Neil Boyle, who produced a lot of work for Disney around this time.

Here's one of Neil Boyle's album covers, with the vivid,  painterly, energetic style that he was famous for. On a personal note, Mr. Boyle was kind enough to sponsor me when I (fresh out of school) wanted to join the Society of Illustrators, even though my portfolio was not very inspiring!

It might be a little awkward to view a two-page spread one page at a time, but I'm sure you can handle it! Opening the cover, you are presented with a colorful, very simplified map of the park. Love the spot illustrations.

How about a nice forward from Walt? Or Marty Sklar, at any rate. It makes me smile either way.

Our visit begins (as they always do) with a trip down Main Street. Reading the text, one gets a sense that the theme of a turn-of-the-century midwestern town was very important.

I love how the layout resembles a wall covered with green wallpaper (probably flocked), covered with an assortment of framed photos, including the Omnibus, the Flower Market, the Train Station, the Plaza Pavillion, and a rare interior of the Carnation Ice Cream Parlor.

Next we see the Disneyland Band marching past, a Main Street crowded with various vehicles, and concept art to show the inside of the new Plaza Inn.

Along with a general view of Town Square, there is a painting (also by Neil Boyle, I believe) of Mr. Lincoln, a photo from the Grand Canyon Diorama, and the interior of the candle shop.

We're going to be exploring the park in a counter-clockwise direction, so once you've arrived at the hub, take a hard right into Tomorrowland. Enjoy that aerial view, along with that crazy "Atomic Googie" lettering. 

Switches, knobs, dials and buttons, along with reel-to-reel tape are all suitable graphic embellishments for our technological future. Look at that beautiful photo of the Monorail!

This page gives us a rare view inside the "20,000 Leagues" walk-thru... there's Captain Nemo's pipe organ. Flying Saucers. Astro Jets, and Submarines, wowee.

And we get another rare view inside the "Rocket to the Moon" attraction, along with climbers Hans and Otto, the House of the Future, and Bobsleds splashing down.

Pretty amazing, don't you think? And this is just part one! Many thanks to JG for his scanning efforts, and for sharing these jpegs with us. Stay tuned for part two...

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Fantasyland, 1959

Who loves vintage Fantasyland? Well, you are in luck if you raised your hand. K. Martinez, please spit out your gum!

Here's a hazy view of Fantasyland, on an amazingly sleepy day at the park. Monstro is chomping away at those canal boats. They should have made it so that his jaws actually opened and closed for each boat, using thousands of pounds of force. Talk about exciting! I love the little lighthouse ticket booth (by now the circular porthole window has been added). In the distance is the Motor Boat Cruise, the Monorail track, and some of the Fantasyland Autopia.

The Kodak film stock adds to the vintage appearance, somehow accenting anything that is turquoise in hue. Timothy (from Dumbo) waves his lash angrily at a passing Skyway bucket. Try decaf, Timothy. 

Monday, May 21, 2018

Frontierland, August 1979

Today's first photo is more interesting than it might appear to be at first glance. It shows the famous "Burning Settler's Cabin" on Tom Sawyer Island; but this is 1979, smack-dab in the middle of one of the energy crises that the U.S. experienced. The natural gas flames were turned off, and fire effects similar to those used inside "Pirates of the Caribbean" were used.

Here's a closer view; The poor settler is still there! Those flames really do look like some orange light bulbs (reflected on some fluttering plastic?). Some smoke effects help a little bit...

... but it sure looks wimpy when compared to this 1962 photo!

Here ya got yer typical photo of the Friendly Indian Village; those trees feel much more on top of everything, it's kind of odd!

Compare it to this 1958 photo.

I used to think that this scene from an Indian Burial Ground was on the western shore of the Rivers of America. But thanks to the amazing "Long Forgotten" blog (read all the posts, it's worth it!), I learned that this scene was on the eastern shore of Tom Sawyer Island. Check out HBG2's excellent and extensive post HERE.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Aboard Main Street Vehicles, August 1967

Here are two "Sunday quality" (in other words, "not great") photos, featuring views 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 your 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?