Monday, December 31, 2007

The Genius of Marc Davis

Here you can see the evolution of two of my favorite scenes, the Wench Auction & Carlos at the well. The opening shot is from a Pirates of the Caribbean booklet that I have had since it was originally published, and have read and re-read it many a time. It’s great to see Davis surrounded by all of his sketches for this classic attraction. First up are a few Marc Davis sketches; I love this man’s style. He really put characters in to his characters! The Red Headed Wench seemed to have the most changes from sketch to reality; the final AA figure is definitely more buxom!

Next up we have the first 3d rendering, a very detailed small model:

This shot appears to be a larger (and extremely detailed) model:

The scene as first displayed, shown in these Panavue Slide views:

And how it looks now; not a whole lot of change going on here, which suits me just fine. Jack Sparrow not needed here:

Moving on to scene 2, this is the famous well scene, with the mayor getting dunked while his beloved snaggle-toothed lady tells him not to be “cheeee—ken” (chicken, for those of you who don’t speak snaggletooth). First we see the Davis sketch for the next three waiting to be dunked (or shot).

And here is the scene in 3D, displayed in a finely detailed miniature; one would have to look hard to be sure that this is not the actual scene itself.

Next up is the scene as it was first shown to guests, courtesy of this Panavue slide:

And a few recent shots; the biggest changes to this scene are the new lines of dialogue that now include Jack Sparrow.

To all, I wish you a very Happy New Year! See you in ’08!

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean photos at my main website.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

James Dean medley

More from my vault....when I lived in Indiana, I did a number of James Dean paintings. This first one from “Giant” sold to a lady who went to school with James Dean in Fairmount. Selling that painting encouraged me to start exhibiting and selling my work. The rest is history. Here are two other paintings I did of Dean; my camera equipment at the time was a cheap point and shoot Vivitar, so you’ll have to trust me when I say the real things are better in person.

See more of my art at my main website.

1970’s Disneyland Entertainment

Picture this...September,’re walking toward the castle and you hear live jazz coming from the Plaza Gardens. You reach the bandstand area and it’s Count Basie! How cool is that? Just check him out on the ivories, while Freddie Greene plays guitar. The Count and his orchestra played from 8:30pm until after midnight; time to get the other half and go dancing at Disneyland.

Here’s the brochure that tells you what other entertainment is going on at the park at the same time:

Going back in time another three years, we could have seen Stan Kenton in the same location, May 1975:

Stan should have fired the publicity agent that let this photo get out; even in these pre-photoshop days, there were plenty of things that could have been done to make Stan look less like an escapee from the Haunted Mansion cemetery:

Here’s the entertainment brochure from May 1975; be sure to check out this lineup, including the legendary Sara Vaughan. Does Disneyland have this caliber of entertainment play inside the park anymore?

More vintage and current Disneyland photos at my main website.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"Plusing The Show,” 1955

Most Disney afficianados have heard the term “plusing the show,” and that it received its origin from Walt overhearing a mother tell her child that they didn’t need to ride the Jungle Cruise again because they’d already been on it once. Supposedly, from that day on, it reaffirmed Walt’s philosophy that the park should constantly change and evolve so that even the classic attractions like Jungle Cruise could provide a new experience with (almost) each visit. I know that each time I am on an attraction at the park, I scrutinize each corner to look for a new gag, prop, or even a slight change in an Audio Animatronic figure’s costume. So...bringing us back to the title of this post...from 1955, here is an example of “plusing the show,” even if it is a minor one. Photo one is a painted cutout of a grizzly bear, used for a kitschy photo opportunity. Photo #2 shows the same cutout in the same position, but this time, sparkly letters have been added. Not only did this provide a marketing opportunity for Disney (capitalizing on their TV show), but it also helps identify the location of the photo; future generations would have little idea of what carnival or fair this photo may have been from. It also makes it more exciting for someone to imagine themselves as Davy Crockett, and not some ordinary schmoe who is being attacked by a bear. If you’re Davy Crockett, chances are you’re gonna have a new rug soon!

Speaking of kitschy photo’s one from Frontierland, September 1955. This 3 kids were able to pose with Davy Crockett & George...well, maybe not the real guys (Fess Parker & Buddy Ebsen), but wax likenesses...which is the next best thing! The show took the country by storm; coon-skin caps were the rage, and kids ate it up. It must have been a thrill for children to have their picture taken with these 2.

The photo jacket that came with the photo included these 2 logos:

I’d like to make an informal request to Disneyland to bring back some kitsch, as I think it is sorely missing at the park. Looking at the photos of Bud & Betty, you can see an adult couple having fun and cutting loose in a way that they may not do outside of the park. This was part of Walt’s genius; creating a place that allows adults to be childlike again and leave the cares of the outside world behind. So, how about a little more corn? A little more kitsch? It can go hand-in-hand alongside all the new-fangled technical marvels that exist at the park today without detracting from them.

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland photos at my main website.

Friday, December 28, 2007

500th Post Anniversary Series: Aug. ’55, Bob & “Me” Finale

Last one in the popular Bud & Betty series. All the ladies outside Mr. Toad have noticed our stylish heroine, Betty, and are staring at her. The lady with the large corsage knows she’s been outdone and can’t bear to look. Bud shows his sense of humor in shot 2 as he imitates Captain Hook. Betty’s caption on the back of the photo says, "Bud–no arm no hook?"

Not only is Betty a dish, but she can ride a horse, too. This final photo shows Betty crossing a Frontierland bridge with the stagecoach horses.

Thanks to all my readers, and especially the ones who take the time to comment, giving everyone more information and making it even more fun to see these classic images.

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland photos at my main website.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

500th Post Anniversary Series: Aug. ’55, Bob & “Me” Pt. 3

Hungry? Here’s the latest in the foot of Tomorrow...available today at the Space Bar! I am making a semi-educated guess that this 2nd shot is an interior from the Hall of Chemistry. Don’t Betty & Bud look happy with all that Monsanto has shown them?

This one is a favorite; at first glance, it’s just Betty, striking the typical pose of any woman of the 50’s who wants to look like the model (literally) woman of the day. But then take a closer, if you see kids and/or adults running at Disneyland, most likely it’s to get onto the Nemo Submarine Voyage, or to see the new Jack Sparrrow figures at POTC, or maybe (and I know this is a stretch here...) the California Screamin’ Coaster from DCA. Yet in this August 1955 shot, the kids are running to the Castle; they want to get to those Dark Rides, which was a fairly new concept. They wanted Dumbo...the teacups...what was exciting to them today is probably a little closer to ho-hum to the technically spoiled kids of today. Yes, I’m getting older as I lament the simpler pleasures of the past.

Speaking of dark rides, here’s the Peter Pan exterior:

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland photos at my main website.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

500th Post Anniversary Series: Aug. ’55, Bob & “Me” Pt. 2

Today begins with a great shot of Betty, modeling for us on Main Street. The rest of today’s post will be in Tomorrowland, beginning with this entrance shot. To me, that is always one of the most exciting parts of the day; reaching Central Plaza and choosing which land to enter first. 9 times out of 10, I head over to Adventureland or Frontierland.

On the back of this one, Betty has written: “Car track in Tomorrowland." However, with the Clock of the World in the background, this just doesn't seem right. Experts?

Here’s Bud taking a smoke break in Tomorrowland, with the TWA Moonliner in the background.

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland Tomorrowland photos at my main website.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

500th Post Anniversary Series: August 1955, Bob & “Me”

Hard to believe but today is my 500th post...oh yes, and also Christmas Morning! Merry Christmas to all of my readers who celebrate this awesome season, and to those who don’t, Happy Holidays for however you do choose to celebrate (because life should be celebrated). In the spirit of the season, I am releasing this little gem of a series from August 1955. Our female photographer never names herself on the back of the photos (but she looks like a Betty, so that's what I'll call her), but her honey is named Bob. I am presenting these in the order that they would have most likely been taken. However, I am starting off with a mystery photo. Betty’s inscription says, "Exhibit of Disney Studios.” Photo 2 is a model of Main Street; note that the Band Stand is located in Town Square, where it was originally placed until Walt noticed it blocked the sight of the Castle. Interesting to see the original intended design for the Mickey floral as well; guess Mickey didn’t care for this profile shot!

Starting out in Town Square, Betty got a nice shot of this Surrey Ride.

Last one for today (but more to come): Betty and Bud in front of the Tobacco Shop. She writes, “Our Indian friend on Main Street.”

As you know, I love seeing and collecting these rare images, but it also makes me a little sad and more than a little curious. Whatever happened to these young, vibrant people who seem to be having so much fun in the park? And what made them give up these photos? Weren’t there any relatives who would cherish them and pass them down to other generations? I’ve had one instance so far of a relative contacting me to identify a person in the photo. It would be great to have that occur with these 2. And as for my 500th post, big thanks go to: Matterhorn1959 who had the first Disneyland vintage photo blog that I still devour each morning; and Chris Merritt, whose snippy comment on that blog encouraged me to start posting these (and he turned out to be a really great guy, too!). Thanks to their inspiration, you now have 500 posts to savor and hopefully many more to come. Thanks to the readers who leave all the great comments, and let me also say how cool it is been for me to meet so many awesome people because of this blog. The Disney fans and collectors are second to none!

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland photos at my main website.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Animals @ DLand, April 1963

A few more from the Jungle Cruise, which show you how much the foliage has grown over the years; here's 2 recent shots to compare:

And back to 1963:

Time for a few Mother-in-law jokes:

I believe this Gorilla bit the dust and is no longer on the cruise:

Over at Nature’s Wonderland, here are some of the animals you’d see there:

This view from the Nature’s Wonderland Railroad also shows the regular Disneyland Railroad, zooming by the Devil's Paint Pots:

Speaking of the DLRR, here’s one from the Main Street Train Station, with the tops of some of the attraction posters showing:

Over in Tomorrowland, here are the animals you find under the sea at the Submarine Voyage:

See more vintage and contemporary Disneyland photos at my main website.