Tuesday, January 16, 2018

In Memoriam, and Grateful Thanks

I have some very sad news to report today; long-time GDB friend and contributor Irene told me that her beloved brother passed away last week after a long illness. Almost exactly two years ago, I met Irene in person, and she gave me hundreds of snapshots that were taken by her brother, who loved Disneyland more than just about anything; I've been sharing them here, little by little.

Here's a photo of Ariel, looking adorable. What prince could possibly resist falling for her?? She took time out from her busy schedule to meet some of her many fans at the Carnation Plaza Gardens. 

She's in her "flipper form", so I wonder if a burly CM needed to carry her away once the meet 'n greet was over? Something tells me there were plenty of volunteers.

While Irene's brother was ailing, she was reluctant to release his name, for personal reasons; but now she says it is OK to let everyone know that his name was Bruce, and that at one time he was very well-known in the online Disney community. 

Here's a tableau that is long gone from Frontierland, with Cascade Peak mostly out of frame, along with the little Nature's Wonderland Mine Train rusting away after getting hit by a rock slide. Many of you probably remember the little marmots that popped up from the cars! This is a very unusual view.

As far as I know, this is the only surviving NWRR locomotive - it is now in the possession of the Carolwood Society, where it will be restored thanks to the hard work of volunteers.

Irene said that Bruce "...had been in a skilled nursing facility since Oct. of 2015.  He was a HUGE fan of Disneyland.  Our family went to Disneyland for the very first time on July 18, 1955, the day it opened to the public.  He was very proud of that fact :)  He loved all things Disney and his life reflected that".

Here is a nice shot of the Swiss Family Treehouse. Pre-Tarzan! I love the sign for the Disney Gallery in the foreground - there was something fun about climbing those stairs up to the location that was originally supposed to be a new apartment for Walt and his family that made it feel special. "The Art of Disneyland" happened to be the inaugural exhibit for the Disney Gallery, which opened in 1987.

For those of you who go way back on various Disney-related message boards, Irene says, "...Bruce went by the moniker of Lost Boy.  He was on the MiceChat message board for years, one of the early people, and that was his name there.  He had a big thing for Peter Pan, obviously.  Way back when I decided to get on MiceChat too I wanted to come up with something to do with Bruce and therefore Peter Pan.  Most people who knew me on MiceChat/MiceAge knew me as Bruce's sister.  That's how I would introduce myself because everyone knew Bruce!  So that is how I came up with the name WendyGirl!  And as you can see, I still use some form of the name to this day, ie my email address.  It has gotten confusing at times because people used to call me Wendy and thought I used WendyGirl because my name was Wendy!!! LOL  I got used to answering to both Irene and Wendy :)  ". 

Here is an interesting view of the old Peoplemover tracks, presumably from between the time that the Peoplemover had closed, and the construction for the Rocket Rods had begun. We all know how that turned out!

The last photo for the day is this lovely shot of a Horse Drawn Streetcar coming from the backstage area next to the Firehouse on a sleepy morning. I wonder if Bruce was standing in a virtually-empty Town Square (something that we may never see again), or if there was a version of "rope drop" that started much closer to the Train Station?

Bruce was very lucky to have Irene there for love and support, she clearly cared so much for him even under the most difficult of circumstances. I am very grateful that she entrusted her brother's photos to me, so that all of us can continue to enjoy them for weeks and months to come.

Monday, January 15, 2018

More 1976 WDW from Warren Nielsen

GDB reader Warren Nielsen has been on a tear, slaving over a red-hot scanner to preserve some of his personal photos from various trips to Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other destinations. And he's sharing a bunch with all of us! All of today's scans are from a trip that Warren and his wife Kai took to WDW in 1976.

Let's start with this interesting view taken from the front of Cinderella Castle looking south toward Main Street Station. Even in '76 the trees in the hub are so large that they block most of Main Street. They probably worked fine looking from the opposite direction, as the castle is so darn huge. 

I believe that the vehicle is a Jitney - not sure if the Magic Kingdom had more than one of those, but they certainly held a lot more people than the smaller vehicles found at Disneyland.

Here's Main Street Station as seen from inside the park; I love the way it looks, but it almost feels like it would be more appropriate for a city like Paris than any midwestern town. Was it based on a real train station?

Next we have this nice view looking north from Town Square, toward the castle; this one reminds me of some early postcards. 

I guess there were daily parades, based on the next two photos. There goes the Fife and Drum Corps; these guys were like rock stars in 1976! The high school drum lessons really paid off.

Here come four (or is it five?) disparate characters. We can't see the two in the back, but the fellow on the left looks like a carpetbagger - or maybe the mayor. Then there's a fireman (wearing period-accurate Foster Grants), and next to him... a bank teller? Sure, why not. They were like an early version of The Village People.

And finally, I love this lovely view of Town Square as the sun was setting, and the lights were already working their magic. I wish I could have seen the Magic Kingdom the way it was back then...

That's it for today, but never fear! Warren Nielsen has more photos from this trip. Thanks, Warren!

(Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Skyway Stuff, July 1966

Here are two snoriffic Skyway-related photos, circa 1966. Pretty boring, folks.

Looks like we are heading toward Fantasyland, while the red Skyway bucket is heading toward Tomorrowland. Now that I have changed my mind and want to return to Tomorrowland, I will leap out of my bucket and hang on to the red one. Think of the time I'll save!

I snapped this photo as I clung to that bucket, so I only had one hand free. Sorry about the bad framing! There's the new It's a Small World attraction, with its surprisingly gigantic plaza out front. They must have really expected a whole lotta people. To the left we can see all three Li'l Pigs, meeting and greeting like crazy.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Vintage Viewmaster Scans

Once again, I find myself (somehow) caught without any cool stuff to share on today's "Anything Goes Saturday". It happens a lot, I know - you'd think that I would learn to be prepared.

Anyway, for lack of anything better, I'm going to post some vintage Viewmaster scans. I did these years ago, with the intention of scanning many (if not all) of my Disneyland reels. However, I ran out of enthusiasm partway through the Main Street packets, and didn't really get around to the other lands. I blame society.

On to the scans! This first one is pretty great, featuring a newfangled Horseless Carriage. It was horseless, but not dogless, since it had Pluto, and Goofy. (Goofy is a dog, right?). 

This one, showing the animatronic of Honest Abe, cracks me up. He looks as if he is about to leap out of his chair and throttle us! And he has a long reach too, so don't think you're going to get away. You couldn't stop snapping your gum during the Gettysburg Address, could you? Even a President has his limits.

Why his hands were sculpted in that attitude, I'll never know.

I don't know, he's giving me the creeps. Imagine if you were the only person in the theater, and he started walking towards you, T-1000 style! 

Ah, this is more like it... a young Rod Miller is making them smile over at the Coke Corner. Rod started at the park in 1969, and played ragtime melodies for 36 years.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Two Instamatics, December 1969

Here are two random photos, courtesy of (you know him, you love him) good old Mr. X; both of from December, 1969. In just weeks, the world would graduate from the 60's to the 70's! Cue the disco music.

 So much for sunny Southern California - with that gray sky, it looks fairly bleak and chilly. Or at least the SoCal version of chilly - Mr. X might have had to put on a sweater! Oh, the shame of it. But in spite of the cold, I still love this view, with a buttercup-yellow Peoplemover heading uphill - or is it heading downhill? It's so hard to tell the front from the back - what they needed was a bubble dome. I think it's cool that the Peoplemover was able to go up some fairly gnarly gradients - presumably as evidence of its practicality in real-world situations. Down below, candy-colored Autopia vehicles huddle together for warmth.

There's the Fred Gurley - old # 3 (actually old, dating from 1894!) is chugging into New Orleans Square station. It looks great! The surrounding buildings are not as ornate as the ones found in NOS proper. What do you expect from the area right next to the tracks? I wonder if they have any function other than being decorative. Are there offices in them?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Pirates Façade, October 1970

I think these are the final two scans from that cursed batch of GAF slides!

As much as I complained about them, they weren't a total loss. I don't have too many photos of the original entrance to "Pirates of the Caribbean", before the 1987 addition of the Disney Gallery, and the the bridge/walkway that (I guess?) eliminated the backups that used to occur on busy days.  So, in spite of the murkiness, I am glad to have this photo.

Next is a familiar view of the waterfalls that spilled into the Submarine Lagoon - a simple, but very clever device that simulated your sub's dive into the mysterious depths, and its return to the friendlier, less sea-serpenty shallows. 

I know I've said it more than once, but as a kid I always wished I would be allowed to lounge around in that tranquil pond just above the falls, sipping an ice-cold lemonade while laying in my inflatable floaty.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fashion & Fabrics Through the Ages

Here are some scans from an uncommon flyer, in conjunction with the short-lived Tomorrowland display (sponsored by Monsanto), "Fashion and Fabrics Through the Ages" (1965 - 1966). Here's the front:

Hopefully you waited until you got home to unfold it, since it was a bit unwieldy! Here's one entire side of the flyer.

For those of you who wanted to read the text, this oughta be sufficient. The company clearly wanted you to be excited about the many possibilities offered by the latest space-age synthetic fibers and fabrics.

Examples of dresses of the past - presumably reproductions! - go all the way back to Cleopatra, the Napoleonic Era, Mary Todd Lincoln, the flappers of the 1920's, and even Hollywood glamour girl Jean Harlow.

The other side unfolded to a sort of mini-poster. What am I doing wearing this crummy cotton when I could wear comfortable, easy-to-care-for Acrilan, Nylon, and Rayon? All of the other moon people are going to laugh at me. 

The lady in the middle is about to head to Carousel, because the red crystal on her palm is flashing red. It was nice knowing you...

I hope you have enjoyed this neat piece of Disneyland ephemera!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Entering the Park, July 1972

Here are three more scans from several large lots of slides, all from the same family. They liked to go to Disneyland! 

First off... you have to take a picture of the kids in front of Mickey! The two on the right are making an effort to be cute, but the others... not so much. You can almost hear the squirming. What do you think is in that large black case hanging from the boy's shoulder? Mom's purse? A tape recorder? The glowing thing from "Pulp Fiction"? He is also holding a flyer in his left hand, see another like it at this post.

Town Square, goooolllleeey! Those kite-eating trees are flourishing despite the lack of kites. Maybe they've learned to adapt to dropped popcorn? Being '72, I would hope to see one or two hippies in the crowd, but no such luck.

I find it so interesting that these photos feel so different from earlier examples. The Horse Drawn Streetcar is the same. Town Square hasn't changed. But the clothing is certainly different, the mature foliage changes things, and I think the quality of the film also affects things.

Hey, wait a minute. What was I saying earlier... something about hippies?


Monday, January 08, 2018

More Frontierland in Black and White

It's time for more photos from Frontierland (scanned from 35mm negatives), in spectacular shades of gray. It was good enough for Orson Welles, so it's good enough for me.

Everybody gets to be "King of the Mountain" for at least a few seconds if they have the gumption to climb Castle Rock. No supplemental oxygen is necessary. This interesting geological formation was probably pushed up by tectonic forces hundreds of millions of years ago. Or maybe in 1956.

Here's the peak as seen from a different angle. The kid with the souvenir trilby looks like he's auditioning to be in the Rat Pack. Hey, he already has more appeal than Peter Lawford. 

Castle Rock was such a simple feature - a winding "natural" staircase up, and another one returning to the ground. But it obviously held a lot of appeal for kids and adults.

Now we're inside Fort Wilderness; the only oasis of safety for hundreds of miles! The fort was one of the features on Tom Sawyer Island that added an air of authenticity to the Land. With Westerns being a staple on television, I'm sure that more than a few kids and adults felt as if they were stepping into one of those classic dramas.

Here's a zoom; on the upper level, you could walk into the corner stockade and point a rifle at any guest who looked like they might cause trouble. Down below you could visit the headquarters, where a waxwork Andy Jackson conferred with Davy Crockett and Georgie Russell. 

We miss you, Fort Wilderness!

I assume that The Magic Kingdom still has their fort?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

So-So Sunday

The holidays have passed and we're back to the usual snoozers on Sundays. Shouldn't you be watching TV or going to church, or something like that? ;-)

So here's an odd view. Not a good view, but an odd one. I guess the photographer was mighty enraptured by those elliptical (and almost certainly ATOMIC) shade thingies, which protected guests from the harsh rays of nearby exploding stars. I've seen distant shots of the walls in Tomorrowland, and I always thought that the round decorations applied to them were half spheres, basically stuck right on the wall. Now I see that they were mounted on poles, and were more like slightly squashed spheres. The angled shadows provided some interest to what would otherwise be a big flat nothing.

Poster alert... an "Alice in Wonderland"  - the rare version with "Fantasyland" at the bottom. 

I would feel bad about posting this particular image, except that I am a sociopath and lack the ability to feel empathy for anyone about anything. It really simplifies life! Someone needs to call Huck Finn and ask him to please stop parking his raft next to the mill. That guy has no respect for the rules!