Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Wednesday WOW: Tomorrowland Construction 1955



This construction photo of the original Tomorrowland is undated, but judging from time lapse footage, this could have been shot as late as May or June of 1955. Note the Rocket to the Moon attraction, still just being framed.



See more Tomorrowland (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Frontierland and Indian Joe: Mystery Solved



I know that I am not alone in wondering whether or not the Frontierland Wooden Indian and the Main Street version are the originals from 1955. Today, I can announce that half of that mystery has been solved for me. Recently, I was contacted by the owner of ol’ Indian Joe who cleared up the Frontierland portion of the story:



“In 2005, for the 50th anniv. they FINALLY replaced both Indians with new, freshly painted models made from the exact same mold (from fiberglass) One ended up in San Francisco and one ended up with us (purchased at a small store in Buena Park).”

How does Joe look after all these years? Well, let’s just say a little better than Sally Struthers, who chose to straddle the poor guy for this photo op:



And here’s the replacement Joe currently residing at the park:



See more Frontierland photos at my website.

Monday, September 28, 2009

William Kruse and The Mine Train & Mini-Trip Report



I was recently contacted by Betty B., who had an interesting story to relate to me about her father. She was also gracious enough to send some way cool photos, too. Hope you enjoy!

My dad, William Kruse, designed the locomotive that pulled the train through Rainbow Caverns, the desert, and Nature's Wonderland. He worked at a company in Chicago called Goodman Manufacturing. Goodman’s designed and manufactured mining machinery. My dad was asked to design the mancha locomotive that was to be used on the Mine Train attraction which opened in 1956. It was later used in Nature’s Wonderland and then Thunder Mountain. I know the locomotive was repaired and modified a couple of times. Williams Company bought out Goodman's but I do not know what year. The building that housed Goodman's no longer exists. Herbert Goodman who founded the company was inducted into the National Mining Museum Hall of Fame in 2004.



My father went to Disneyland just before they opened the little mine train attraction. His mancha locomotive is under the coal tender. In the picture above you can see the gentleman running it was not in the engine; he sat out on the coal tender. I must admit that I was pretty unhappy when my dad went because no other family member got to go. He did meet Walt Disney; I have a photo he took outside the Walt Disney studio which looks like a small building you would find on a corner anywhere.



He also got to walk through the desert and got to take a few pictures from the ground when the train went by. Sadly, my father passed away in 1959 when I was eleven.

Many years later, two of my sons and I went to Disneyland and they rode on Big Thunder Mountain. We feel that was the closest they or I would ever get to what their grandfather did. It was quite an experience for all of us.

I have attached some of the photos my dad took when he was at Disneyland when it opened. They are of his locomotive under the coal tender. His was on the original train when Disneyland opened.





I also sent one picture of my dad on one of his mine locomotives:




Many thanks to Betty for sharing her fantastic memories! See more Nature's Wonderland photos at my website.

Went to the park on Friday; had a fantastic time, despite some very large-sized crowds. For the first time, I got to meet Oscar Martinez, chief chef at the Carnation Cafe.



Oscar told us he’d been working at Disneyland for 53 years (started back in December 1956); he is the longest serving Disneyland cast member. However, he plans on retiring soon, but will most likely return after a short hiatus to part-time status. Oscar’s welcoming and friendly personality is typical of what you expect (and usually find) with a Disneyland cast member.

The other cool things from that day included seeing the elusive dragon from Fantasmic...and yes, he was DEFINITELY worth the wait! What a cool addition to the show.



Of course, Mickey is still the star:



And even though my vantage point was not the best, I could tell that the new Halloween Fireworks show is WAY cool—especially Jack Skellington’s dog Zero floating around the castle.







That’s it for now...more later on from my recent trip.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sailing Through Sundays on The JC: More Monkey Action



All this poor ape wants is his bananas! I feel his pain...





This scene is very reminiscent as far as the balancing dilemma goes to this one over at Pirates:



See more vintage (and current) Jungle Cruise photos on my regular website.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mexico Comes to Anaheim, Pt. 3



Finishing up today with the festive Mexican Celebration on East Center Street, circa 1963. The detail photo shows the People-to-People organization poster:



The piƱata resembles a very Dali-esque Donald Duck. Coincidence?



I really dig the retro dad with the camera and cig—how’s that for multitasking?



See more Disneyland (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Freaky Fridays @ The Haunted Mansion: The Horseless Hearse



This horseless hearse is parked just outside the steps up to the mansion. One popular HM urban myth is that the hearse carried Brigham Young’s body. Young, who died in 1877, was Mormonism’s second president. Added to the Mansion in 1995, this 19th century hearse could not have been used for Young’s funeral as records show that no hearse was used. Still, an interesting anecdote; gives you something to talk about in the line queue, right?



Unless it’s a busy day and the line queue forces you to be stopped right in front of it, many people probably do not even take the time to look at the interior. Well folks, here ya' go.







Much more effective at night with a little green glow for good measure:



See more Haunted Mansion photos at my website.



In Blu-ray news, “Snow White” is about to be released on Blu-ray, October 6. Disney has definitely been at the forefront of Blu-ray releases, and “Snow White” is no exception.



When I popped the disc into my Blu-ray player and the movie began, I was impressed by the bright colors and the level of detail, but I also noticed some slight digital artifacting. I have to admit I was a little surprised. The soundtrack was amazingly clean...the best I had ever heard in its many incarnations. After watching for a bit, I was looking through the packaging and realized I was watching the DVD copy, not the Blu-ray. Folks, let me tell you...when I put the Blu-ray disc in, I was blown away. It was sheer perfection. It was as if I was looking at the actual painted backgrounds and cels. And the soundtrack...clear as a bell. Just absolutely amazing. Pre-order this baby NOW! If you don’t have a Blu-ray player, then get one. BTW: The screen capture downloaded from DVD Beaver does not do the actual film justice! Available at Amazon.com.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Tell-No-Tales Thursdays: The Hat Thief



This July 1967 publicity photo was taken for California Living Magazine and features one of my favorite scenes, showing the burning city and the hat thief. Poor guy is damned to an eternity of having his feet straddling the shore and the boat.

In this shot of the model for the looting scene, it is interesting to note that the Hat Thief is not yet straddling the boat and the dock. The completed scene was not as complex or active as the concept shows. Most likely cost of audio-animatronic figures was the reason.





Once more, but this time without a flash on my camera:



Once on a previous trip to DLand, the Hat Man was missing...just gone...no explanation. I was very relieved to see him back, forever balancing between the boats again. Sometimes it’s fun to look backward in the boat and check out the composition of the scene behind you. Either way, you get a cinematic view of the story.



See more Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my regular website.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday WOW: The Chemical Wagon



I’m going to guess that this December 1954 shot of the Chemical Wagon is from the Disney lot in Burbank; the closeup detail shot shows what appears to be some movie lights. Personally, the Burbank lot shots showing vehicles and figures out of their Anaheim element have always seemed a little bizarre to me...but I love seein’ them! Hope you do too.



Amazingly enough, this beauty is still around, safely ensconced in the Town Square Firehouse:



See more Disneyland (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mexico Comes to Anaheim, Pt. 2



More photos from the lively Good Neighbor Mexico celebration on East Center Street from September 14, 1963.

A detail area from shot #1 shows some of the art on exhibit here:













Over in Adventureland...I have a reader who recently purchased a table; the seller told her it was the original dining room table from the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse at Disneyland. It doesn’t match any of the photos that I have; anyone care to comment?











See more Disneyland (both recent and vintage) photos at my website.