Friday, October 31, 2008

Scary Disneyland!

For Halloween, I could have copped out and just posted a Haunted Mansion image or two, but instead, I’m going to post what I think are/were some of the more scary things at Disneyland, beginning with the Old Hag on the original Snow White’s Scary Adventures Dark Ride. We’ve all heard how terrified children were of the original attraction, and even today, just riding around in the dark and having the Old Hag appear can be quite unsettling for the little ones.

Having the Evil Queen guard over the attraction is also a nice subtle touch of foreboding:

And while we’re on Dark Rides, how about Mr. Toad?

Can’t you just hear this mom? “Tommy, you’ve been a bad boy, and now I’m going to make sure we scare the crap out of you!” The helmet-head hairdo is scary enough as it is!

What little kid wouldn’t be terrified of a train coming right at them, or being eternally sent to Hell?

Nothing is more unsettling than viewing The Burning Cabin! In this early shot, there is no settler dead/drunk at the front of the cabin.

Walt upped the creep factor and added him shortly thereafter. Oh yeah, and for good measure, let’s stick an arrow through his heart, okay?

Originally, this Mr. Hyde/Phantom character used to terrify children in front of the Main Street Cinema. I say bring him back!

As you can see, these little weirdos LOVE it! They can’t wait for mom to get frightened!

And for the ultimate in scary, how about these original incarnations of Mickey & Minnie?!? Smiles or no smiles, you know these little tots are going to need a diaper change soon! This shot was taken on opening day in front of the Fantasyland Theater (now the Pinocchio Dark Ride) with comic Jerry Colona.

Walt understood that kids LIKE to be scared. How many times have you heard a kid scream bloody murder and then say, “Hey, let’s do it again!” So readers, what scares you at Disneyland? Happy Halloween to all and here’s to Trick or Treat! UPDATE: for you Gabrielle, here’s Monstro!

See more vintage & current Disneyland photos at my regular website.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Disneyland Railroad & The Grand Canyon Passenger Car

This undated 1950’s shot shows the interior of the Grand Canyon Passenger Car, better known today as the VIP Lilly Belle Car. Compare with this present day view:

And just for good measure, here’s a cool vintage 50’s caboose shot somewhere in Frontierland:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Railroad photos at my regular website.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Seeing Red at Disneyland, Pt. 3

In this last image of the Russian Olympic team, we see them leaving the world of Tomorrow, which certainly looks different from today’s world of tomorrow.

I get claustrophobic every time I am about to enter Tomorrowland. It feels like a log-jam as guests are packed on both sides of the Astro Orbiter trying to exit or enter Tomorrowland. This part of the park could use some serious space planning. See more vintage & current Tomorrowland photos at my regular website.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Seeing Red at Disneyland, Pt. 2

Pt. 2 of the Russian Olympic Team at Disneyland on December 13, 1956. Today, the Russkies are in Fantasyland, enjoying a trip aboard Casey Junior. By this time, the canal dirt/mud was gone and the ride that we know today had already opened. This photo is just screaming for a caption (or two), from the “Monkeys” on the Casey Junior car to the “tracks” on the hair challenged guy with the shades inside the car. Here’s a shot of the same car today:

See more vintage & current Casey Junior photos at my regular website.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Seeing Red at Disneyland

According to the notes on this one, these guys are from the Russian Olympic Team. Maybe they were in the Shelley Winters Poseidon Swim event. Either way, the date on this one is December 13, 1956. Wouldn’t you love to see what photos they took that day? I know I would. See more vintage & current Disneyland photos at my regular website.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Zorro at Disneyland!

Back in the day, “Zorro” was all the rage. Think Indiana Jones. Jack Sparrow. Yep...that big. Walt needed more money from ABC to pump into Disneyland, so he came up with the Zorro series and gave Guy Williams (Zorro) a serious boost to his career. Fred Cavens was hired to coach Williams in the art of fencing, as he had done previously for Tyrone Power and Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Unfortunately, the singing could not be taught, and Williams was dubbed by Bill Lee, who would later dub for Christopher Plummer in “The Sound of Music.” “Zorro” was a hit and ran for 2 seasons, spawning a merchandise frenzy as well as many personal appearances by the cast at Disneyland. The first photo was actually sold at Jimmy Starr’s Show Business shop in Town Square. These other photos are from slides taken at Disneyland showing Sergeant Garcia (Henry Calvin) at the Golden Horseshoe and Zorro (Guy Williams) fencing with Captain Monastero (Britt Lomand) atop the Mark Twain.

What amazes me most is that the actual stars of “Zorro” appeared multiple times at the park...not stand-ins, not doubles...the real enchilada. Can you imagine Harrison Ford or Johnny Depp coming to the park, performing in characters, and shaking hands with guests? Not only would it never happen today, it just couldn’t. Security for such a thing would be impossible, not to mention the amount of money that Disney would have to pay these actors. Times were so much simpler back then. Unfortunately, a legal dispute between ABC & Disney prevented any more episodes from being aired, and “Zorro” became a part of TV history. Guy Williams found himself the star of another series: “Lost in Space.”

Follow my Daveland updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Disneyland photos on my Disneyland web page.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

800th Post: It All Began With A Clown

Today is my 800th post. It is only fitting that in honor of my first post (June 4, 2006), which featured this Clown, that I zoom in for a closeup.

I have had two readers (the first being Patrick from "Stuff From The Park" blog) comment that the Clown is Chucko the Clown, a staple of Los Angeles TV during the 50's and 60's. As you can see from the Viewmaster Reel image below, the same clown can be seen as part of the Mickey Mouse Club Circus. Richard from The Viewliner Limited Blog has chimed in that it’s actually just an MMCC performer, and not Chucko. In addition, I have had a rather nasty comment left on the blog by a rude man claiming to be Chucko's son (Randy), threatening legal action if I don't remove Chucko's name from the image. He obviously woke up on the wrong side of the bed or else just enjoys pissing in people's Cheerios (as the saying goes). I have no idea if it is Chucko or just a performer with the MMCC Circus. Quite frankly, I don't give a crap who it is, and most people don't even know who the hell Chucko is anymore anyway. So, I'll just leave it up to you the reader to decide.

Back on my first post, I didn't really have much sense of the history and other things that were a part of the vintage Disneyland-mania that has spawned a hundred or more blogs since Patrick at Stuff from the Park published his first entry back in December 2005. Since I have begun blogging about Disneyland and creating the page on my website that has exploded into its own beast, I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting a number of other Disney fans, admirers, cast members, and guests who were at the park during its formative years. Although there are many times that I think “Why the heck do I spend so much time and money on this stuff?!?”, there are just as many (if not more) times that I smile from the experiences that my blog and website have provided. For Ted & Tuija. I had corresponded with Ted for many months and finally got to meet the two of them at the park. I love the fact that they use "Wall-E" as a sort of benchmark to guage how they will get along with people. Unconsciously, I do the same thing with Disneyland. If people don’t “get it,” then I either try to take them there personally or just file them into a different category of friendship (the one marked: Needs to lighten up and enjoy life!). Here they are in front of Walt’s apartment above the Fire Department.

Meet Mike & Juli, a fun couple united through their love of all things Disney. I met them because of my blog, and they have been way cool about sharing their collection and stories with me to post on my site.

Surely all you Disney fanatics have heard of Don DeFore‘s Silver Banjo Barbecue. Thanks to my site, I had the opportunity to meet Don‘s two sons, Dave & Ron, who were more than kind in sharing their stories, photos, and time with me. Here I am with the DeFore brothers outside of the original location of the Banjo, with two other Disneyland fanatics that I've had the pleasure to meet, John & Lannie.

The DeFore brothers had the good fortune of being at Disneyland on Opening Day, and riding in the Autopia Cars down Main Street. Talk about a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!

One of the treasures that Ron has recently unearthed is this personally signed thank you letter from Walt himself:

And I couldn’t forget Carlene. What a treasure! I don’t know where she gets her energy from, but her enthusiam for Disneyland is incredible. Thanks to her, many of the original cast members of the Golden Horseshoe were reunited last March in a rousing tribute at the Anaheim Sheraton. Carlene’s grandfather took many historic photos of the park being built.

There are many that I have left out that began as email correspondents and then became friends. The blogging community is fantastic; extremely supportive and also very informative. The amount of knowledge out there astounds me on the subject of Disneyland. Walt sure knew what he was doing over 50 years ago, and it still strikes a chord with people today. Most of all though, I want to give thanks to Patrick at Stuff From the Park for starting it all.

Follow my updates on Twitter. See more vintage & current Disneyland photos at my regular website.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Disneyland, October 1955 Pt. 4

The Grand Finale for this series is set in Fantasyland, with 2 shots of the Castle, confirming again that it was a low-attendance day.

The Chicken of the Sea maiden beckons guests to come and eat lunch at Fantasyland’s favorite place to get a Tuna Sandwich.

Meanwhile, Casey Jr. chugs bravely along while guests check out the various types of dirt and weeds in Anaheim.

The final image for the series shows King Arthur’s Carrousel.

See more vintage & current Fantasyland photos at my regular website.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Disneyland, October 1955 Pt. 3

The October 1955 series continues today in Frontierland, with our leading lady continuing to look extremely uptight in the photos. In shot #1, she is enjoying (?) the Indian Village, with the Ceremonial Dance Circle behind her. Photo #2 taken from the Mark Twain shows that yup...the park is pretty empty! Would have been a great day for photos. Progressland, get that Time Machine ready!

The Mark Twain, aka “The Floating Wedding Cake,” sure makes for some purty pictures!

From the Twain you could also get a glimpse of Retlaw 1 passing by the Rivers of America; note the last car on the left which is the Grand Canyon Car, better known now as The Lilly Belle.

Even though the Stagecoach would be nice to have back at Disneyland, I don’t think it would be possible, as there are no spaces left that are large enough in Frontierland to host the wide open guest-free vistas that this attraction requires.

See more vintage & current Frontierland photos at my regular website.