Thursday, June 30, 2011

Traveling Thursdays: Around Hollywood

Although I'm not sure I'd want to live there, Hollywood is definitely a fun place to visit. While there for "The Rocketeer," I managed to add to my collection of photos from the area. For great comfort food, Mel's Drive-In sure hits the spot. The location off of Hollywood Boulevard is just a bit grittier than the one you'll find on Sunset. It is located inside part of the historic Max Factor building, a beauty salon that helped gussy-up Jean Harlow, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, and most of the major movie actresses in Hollywood. Mel's is part of a chain of restaurants founded in 1947 by Mel Weiss and Harold Dobbs in San Francisco, California. The restaurant at 140 South Van Ness was used by George Lucas for his 1973 film "American Graffiti," and then demolished shortly after filming concluded.

It's all in the lighting:

Nearby is the tacky insanity of the Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum. OK, I admit it. I went inside once. I just had to see it for myself.

I prefer to drool over the vintage architectural details of the area:

The Hollywood High Mural by Eloy Torrez took about a year to complete; Torrez's mural was painted to showcase the ethnic diversity of Hollywood celebrities. Here it is in August 2002:

And the finished product a few months later in December:

Around the corner is a portrait of the late John Ritter, best known for "Three's Company":

Next to Mel's, you can find The Hollywood Museum, which occupies the rest of the former Max Factor Building. Looking ornate as a wedding cake from the outside, this place even smells like old Hollywood!

Former make-up rooms are now dedicated to leading ladies; for the redheads, Lucille Ball is the patron saint:

Many of the displays show what appear to be rare items; however, even the descriptions, it is never really stated if they are authentic or reproductions:

As you would expect in Hollywood, the decision of whether something is real or not is nebulous.

See more vintage and contemporary Hollywood photos at my regular website.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Welcome to Disneyland, Circa Summer 1962, The (Semi) Grand Finale

It's a veritable Del Monte Fruit Cocktail in Heavy Syrup assortment today, as the Circa Summer 1962 batch comes to a close. Taking you back out to Central Plaza, we again see the patriotic bunting that typically adorns the park during the July 4th "season." Oh yeah...don't forget to check out that Matterhorn thing in the background!

The photographer made a short detour to Tomorrowland, just in time to get a blurry shot at The Autopia:

And then went back over to Adventureland to capture a few more crazy hats and guest's derrieres (that's French for buttocks, just in case you aren't that sophisticated).

This one is my fave for the day; not only does it show signage (Geek alert!), but it also shows the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse under construction. That's right—the attraction about which Walt himself dared to say “And they say only God can make a tree!” I wonder if lightning struck after he said that to Julie Andrews?!?

And the final one (get out the hankies) is the wonderful Skull Rock Cove, situated behind The Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant. One of those semi-hidden restful areas where a handful of guests could get away from the regular crazy that often goes on at Disneyland during the summer.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Welcome to Disneyland, Circa Summer 1962, Pt. 3

The Mark Twain is at the dock, waiting for you to board! C'mon—hurry up, so that you can take a spin around the Rivers of America on this majestic beauty of a boat.

Once again, more mysterious construction going on here. I believe the Indian Village had already moved over to this location by 1956, so not quite sure what the pickup truck and lumber are for; maybe just a "plussing" of the show.

Curious people like me just have to zoom in.

Despite the construction, the canoes appear to operating just fine.

With Castle Rock in the foreground, you can see The Mark Twain's competition (The Columbia) in the background, alongside the Matterhorn.

The Burning Cabin and the Dead Settler:

Gotta' see that gore as close as possible!

The faux Indian Village along the river:

And barely visible is the dead Indian; unlike the Dead Settler, this guy at least gets wrapped up:

Last ones for today are two shots of Cascade Peak:

...and a glorious closeup:

See more vintage and contemporary Rivers of America photos at my main website.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome to Disneyland, Circa Summer 1962 Pt. 2

Welcome to Frontierland! Here's out motley crew again (no Connie—they are not relatives of mine!). Looking at the apparel, it would seem that they are the textbook example for "be sure to bring layers!" For a full day in Anaheim, the temperatures can run the gamut from cool to sweltering. Note the plaid shirted cast member using a hose on the left to water the landscaping.

Up until 1962, The Chicken Plantation fed hungry guests lip-smackin' good Fried Chicken from Swift Premium meats. As you can see from this January 1962 shot, the Plantation bears a strong resemblance to the faux structure inside the Blue Bayou restaurant:

This photo shows something I'd never heard of, which appears to be a Chicken Plantation House stand. Judging from the photos, when the Plantation Restaurant was torn down, a small stand was constructed to feed guests while the work on New Orleans Square began.

Looks like the ladies in the window are ready to take your order:

Zooming in to the right side of the photo, there's all kinds of crazy construction going on! Remember—this is all pre-Haunted Mansion, Splash Mountain, and Critter Country. This shot is approximately where the Mansion would be located.

See more vintage Disneyland Chicken Plantation Restaurant photos at my main website.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Welcome to Disneyland, Circa Summer 1962 Pt. 1

The color in this batch isn't the greatest, but they still capture some fun vintage flavor. Obviously, being the anal-retentive person that I am, I have to start your journey at the beginning. The entrance looks fairly empty; something you rarely see today. I don't even think I've ever attempted a shot like this, since it would most likely be littered with people and strollers.

Once on the other side of the tunnel, business seems to be picking up! I love looking at the details in this one; the combine (which has recently been restored), the fanciful ticket booth, the guests looking at their park map (trying to figure out what to see first—always such an exciting time!), and the White Wing on the left, making sure that the park is sparkling clean.

Over at the Main Street Cinema, Blanche Sweet is entertaining the audiences:

For those of you who've never heard of this Silent Screen Queen, here's a photo of Miss Sweet:

Which one will become the centerpiece for dinner tonight?

I don't know which to comment on first; the hats or the expressions.

See more vintage and contemporary Main Street, U.S.A. photos at my main website.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Screen Gem Saturdays: The Debbie Reynolds Auction, Pt. 1

Recently, Debbie Reynolds sold off her collection of Hollywood costumes and memorabilia in a huge blow-out auction that caused jaws to drop for two reasons: the historic significance of what she owned, and the prices that were paid for those items. For the next few weeks, I will feature some of the amazing pieces that were part of this auction.

How much would you pay for a crazy blond wig and a top hat? Probably not much. If the wig and hat belonged to legendary comedian Harpo Marx, then the value goes up exponentially, as in $45,000. Here's the description from the catalog:

Harpo Marx signature historic vintage top hat and wig acquired directly from him. Vintage ca. 1930’s collapsible pop-open fur and felt top hat (quite fragile, but intact) with internal attached blond wig, which was acquired directly from Harpo Marx, and worn by him in numerous on-screen Marx brothers film appearances. Gifted by Harpo Marx to Debbie Reynolds.

Here's a photo of Harpo himself, my very fave Marx Brother:

If you couldn't win Harpo's hat, then Charlie Chaplin's derby might have been another option for you—as long as you have a spare $110,000. Yes, that's right folks. It's amazing what a little head sweat from a star on an old black derby can do for the value!

From the catalog:

Charlie Chaplin signature bowler hat from numerous productions as “The Tramp” character. Signature black felt bowler hat with “London Best Custom Made” label. Gifted by Charlie Chaplin to the Hollywood Heritage Museum and acquired by Robert Nudelman for Debbie Reynolds’ collection.

Charlie can be seen resting between takes on the right side of this vintage photo:

Much of Reynolds' collection was acquired during the famous MGM auction of 1970; however, there were quite a few pieces from other studios, including this 20th Century Fox Shirley Temple "The Littlest Rebel" (1935) dress.

Shirley Temple “Virginia Cary” green plaid period dress with jacket from The Littlest Rebel. (TCF, 1935) Green plaid period dress with matching jacket. The dress has handwritten “Shirley” and stamped 5”130 2 27 7 3904.” Jacket has no label. Worn by Shirley Temple as “Virgie” singing “Polly Wolly Doodle,” visiting her father in jail, tap dancing on the sidewalk, and visiting the President at end of film in The Littlest Rebel.

Besides this scene with Bill Robinson, Shirley can be seen wearing this dress when she sits on the lap of President Abraham Lincoln. And yet, the dress sold for a mere $35,000. I guess people are more into stinky old hats and wigs than Shirley's Presidential outfit!

If these items seem a little low-brow to you, perhaps you'd care to acquire some paintings owned by William Randolph Hearst's mistress, Marion Davies.

Marion Davies monumental oil painting by Federico Beltran Masses from Davies’ estate. Oil painting of Marion Davies by Federico Beltran Masses (1885-1949) depicting various images of Davies measuring 6’ 4” long x 4’ 8” high x 2” deep. Special shipping arrangements will apply.

Shirley shouldn't feel so bad; Marion's painting went for a paltry $10,000. So much for art!

These two went for a bit more; $11,000 for this one:

Marion Davies oil painting. Large oil painting of Marion Davies in stripped pants and black jacket housed in a gold frame. Measures 81” x 41”. 3” tear on bottom left. Commissioned by Marion Davies and hung in her home. Special shipping arrangements will apply.

And $17k for this one:

Marion Davies oil painting. Large oil painting of Marion Davies in a floral vest housed in a gold frame. Measures 81” x 41”. Large amount of cracking and paint missing. Commissioned by Marion Davies and hung in her home. Special shipping arrangements will apply.

More to come! See more classic Hollywood photos at my main website.