Monday, December 31, 2012

Ignoring Scarlett

Ashley: Yes, we've traveled a long road since the old days, haven't we, Scarlett?... the golden warmth and security of those days.

Scarlett: Don't look back Ashley, don't look back. It'll drag at your heart until you can't do anything but look back.

Well, I hate to disagree with one of my favorite movie heroines, but for today's New Year's Eve post, I am going to go against her advice and look fondly upon 2012's Top Ten Posts. You viewed 'em and ranked 'em! Click on the photos to access the original post.

#10 New Orleans Street (not Square!)

The first post in my top ten ranking deals with the pre-cursor to New Orleans Square, known as New Orleans Street. This quaint row of buildings still exists, and is where Riverbelle Terrace restaurant (home of the Mickey pancake) is located. Just click on the photo to see the original post.

#9 Walt Disney's Enchanted Tiki Room, Pt.1

It comes as no surprise that one of the most beloved attractions (in a kitschy sort of way) makes the top ten list. Coming in at #9, let's all sing like the birdies sing, shall we?

#8 Disneyland Guided Tour, Circa 1962: The Matterhorn

Thanks to a Tour Guide script in the collection of fellow blogger Jed Blaugrund, I was able to marry my vintage images with the text. This post was the most viewed entry into that particular series.

#7 Pirates Grog at Disneyland!

There are many other blogs out there that have been extremely gracious in re-tweeting/posting/promoting my posts. The Disney Food Blog retweeted this particular post and the views went through the roof.

#6 Rock Hudson

Apparently, Rock is still a fan favorite, over 60 years after his big screen debut.

#5 Walt's Humble Abode

It came as no surprise that my post on visiting Walt's Apartment above the Fire Department in Town Square was a popular one. Personally, it was also one of MY highlights of 2012; I can still feel the chills as I entered this tiny (but hallowed) space, where Walt Disney slept in humble surroundings.

#4 Vintage Haunted Mansion Tour

Haunted Mansion fans are some of the most die-hard and loyal readers; I know that they helped put this one towards the top of the list!

#3 Jim Morrison at The Hollywood Bowl

I guess I'm not the only Jim Morrison/Doors admirer.

#2 Screen Gem Saturdays: Debbie Reynolds Auction Part 2, Pt. 2

Debbie Reynolds' auction of props, photos, and Hollywood memorabilia was big news to collectors in 2012. I was fortunate enough to be able to see a portion of her collection at The William Paley Center in Beverly Hills.

#1 Adventureland & The Tahitian Terrace, 1969

The number one post was (again) pushed up the ladder by my friends over at The Disney Food Blog.

I must give thanks for all of the blessings I have had this year; so many of them thanks to people I have met through my blog and website (yes, I maintain a website, too!).

A highlight of this year was meeting the trio from Tours Departing Daily. Not only are they crazy talented photographers, they are three of the nicest and most humble people you could ever hope to meet.

3 cheers to the Disney blogger that started it all for me, Patrick at Stuff From The Park, as well as David at Gorillas, who rarely fails to leave a funny or kind comment on my blog. His daily patronage is very much appreciated.

And then there are the three websites that fulfill my inner Disneyland geek as I read them almost daily: Mice Chat, Mouse Planet, and Yesterland.

Huge shout-outs to Dale and his lovely wife Grace, who are two of the most humble people I have ever met.

Thanks to all for continuing to visit my blog. I hope to see more of you and meet a few new cool peeps in 2013!

See more of my art and photography on my main website.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dinner at The Del

My oven literally burned up on Christmas morning; thank goodness I already had plans for dinner at the nearby historic Hotel del Coronado. I have always been fond of the Victorian-styled Del, with its simple red and white color scheme.

Although impressive during the day, it is even more so when the sun goes down. Hidden details, like this stained glass window, seem to come to life with the evening illumination.

Inside the lobby, there were throngs of people jockeying for position to get their photos taken in front of the Del's Christmas tree, complete with a faux-Santa.

Dinner was in the Crown Room, which has always been my favorite part of the Del. The rich woodwork adds a warmth to the room that makes it seem very intimate, despite its gargantuan size.

Naturally, the light fixtures are in the shape of a crown, adorned with little mini crowns around the rim.

Another Christmas tree was set up in the Crown Room with a harpist playing background music from above.

The Christmas buffet was impressive for the sheer amount of choices offered, even if the taste of many of the selections was bland. I have noticed that in the last few years, the prices of the Del's buffets have gone up while the quality has continued to decline.

The outdoor pool looked lovely, but was obviously empty due to the chillier temperatures.

It is also a tradition to install a skating rink on the lawn of the Del during the holiday season. I captured this shot just before it was open for business.

See more vintage and current Hotel del Coronado photos on my Hotel del web page.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Marnie's Honeymoon

The most controversial scene in Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie" involves the rape of the title character by her husband on their honeymoon. Blackmailed into marriage by Mark Rutland (Sean Connery), Marnie had no desire to have sex with him...or any other man for that fact, which she made painfully clear in a very uncomfortable scene that takes place in their honeymoon suite at sea. Initially, Rutland agrees to keep his paws off her, but after a few nights of blue balls and fortified by the cocktails he has been drinking, he changes his mind.

For Tippi's character, the audience feels horror for what she is about to experience. For Connery's, one can't help but think "loser" as this guy begins to start kissing and making out with a woman who has gone into a total catatonic state to deal with what she knows is going to happen.

The original writer for the screenplay, Evan Hunter, was kicked off the film because he told Hitch that it was a mistake to have Rutland force himself on his frigid wife. Instead, he wrote a second version of the script for Hitch which omitted the sexual act. Jay Presson Allen was hired to take over without any knowledge of the reason for Hunter's departure from the project. When interviewed about the brouhaha years later for the documentary "The Trouble With Marnie," she said:

The rape scene is interesting because, I must say, uh, he wanted a rape scene, and I wrote a rape scene. I don't remember any consternation whatsoever. Years and years later, when I meet Evan Hunter, and he says that his relationship with Hitch on that project broke up over that rape scene, I was kind of astonished at my lack of sensitivity. It just didn't make that much difference to me. It was a scene. When you talk about a rape scene, I think of somebody grabbing somebody... a stranger in a park and forcing them and blah, blah, blah, blah. This was just a trying marital situation. I don't think I defined it as rape, and Hitch never used the word "rape" with me. I guess he'd learned his lesson when he had the hoo-ha with Evan.

Here is a photo showing the filming of the scene that ended Hunter's stint with Hitch, along with the period publicity caption:

INVADED PRIVACY — One of 'Tippi' Hedren's most important scenes in Alfred Hitchcock's "Marnie," in which, co-starred with Sean Connery, she lays the title role, shows her alone in the sanctuary of her boudoir. But, as is plain to see, such a sequence requires the presence on the sound stage at Universal of innumerable technicians required to capture the scene on film. A Hitchcock discovery, Miss Hedren portrays a compulsive thief in the psychological suspense drama.

Tippi Hedren was concerned about the realism of playing a woman who was frigid with the virile Connery.

You know, the Marnie character... is totally against all men; she screams if one of them comes near her. I don't care how much of a man-hater you are, or how negatively you feel about men, you take one look at Sean Connery, and I mean, oh, come on, Hitch. "How am I going... How am I going to do this part?" He said, "It's called acting, my dear." Which was great. That was the answer.

The severe closeup of Tippi's blank face as Connery descends on her is truly a bizarre scene. It is glossed over so quickly in the following scenes that one (almost) forgets this truly heinous act that Connery commits. How does he make up for what he did? He buys her a horse. For some reason, it all works. This movie must be seen to be believed. Only Hitch could pull this off.

See more Tippi Hedren photos on my Tippi web page.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Original Carnation Cafe

Most guests that visit Disneyland probably do not realize the history behind the Carnation Cafe; to them, it is a restaurant with outdoor seating on Main Street that recently added an indoor area. Ironically, it began its days at Disneyland as indoor venue, complete with counter seating, just like an old fashioned Ice Cream Parlour.

Up until now, I'd never seen a color photo of the interior. Back in the day, interior shots of dark rides and restaurants/shops were rarely taken, due to the limitations of the camera equipment that the typical guest would own. Now, thanks to the August 1966 image, you can see the colorful interior of the Carnation Cafe in its original form:

Where the outdoor seating exists today was formerly the Flower Market, where guests could buy faux floral arrangements to take home with them. Imagine an old fashioned farmer's market mixed in with the modern wonders of plastic! As you can see in this vintage shot, there were a few cafe tables outdoors where guests could sit and order their food.

Through the miracle of Photoshop, I combined two vintage images to get this panoramic view of the Flower Market area:

The Carnation Company truck, parked in the middle of the Flower Market, was a popular spot for photos, as you can see in this August 1963 shot:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Carnation Cafe photos on my Carnation Cafe web page.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Doña is Done!

Thanks to a few days off over the holidays, Doña is done! Now to get back to my West Baden painting, which I sketched out about 13 years ago...oops!

See more Daveland art on my website.

An Iconic Entrance

At this point in my crazy obsession with collecting vintage Disneyland images, I am looking to improve what I have rather than amass duplicates of what I already own. This first shot has trumped my August 1959 entrance sign shot by 4 months and replaced it as the earliest image I own showing the famous Disneyland entrance sign on Harbor Boulevard. The slide was stamped March 1959, and if you look close enough, you can see the Castle in the background on the left-hand side.

One dilemma I often have has to do with the qualities of the images I buy. I am a stickler for quality, but if the image shows something rare or a view not in my collection, I'll typically get it even if it's a little blurry, poorly composed, or scratched/damaged beyond belief. You might remember this September 1956 parking lot image that I recently posted. Not the best quality, but I was till excited to get it and have a "you are there" type of viewpoint as the passenger took the photo out the window of the car.

Now, I have been able to update my collection with a full color image from August 1966. Those retro buses look so chic!

25 cents for parking? Wow.

That reminds me of a story I saw printed in the January 1957 Disneylander Newsletter:

During a recent meeting of the Disneyland, Inc. Operations Committee, this incident, involving the question of an increase in the parking lot fee took place.

The question was whether or not a fwenty-five or thirty-five cent charge should be made. During the course of discussion, each member was adding pros and cons to the issue at hand and, at times, were using the expression of "two-bits" instead of twenty-five cents. After the issue had been discussed for what Tommy Walker thought was a sufficient length of time, he asked this question which he thought would work toward a solution.

"Oh, what's the difference between "two-bits" and thirty-five cents?"

Jack Sayers, Chairman of this committee, replied rather solemnly, "ten-cents." After this the meeting broke up.

See more vintage & current Disneyland entrance photos on my entrance web page.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BBQ for the Holidays

If it were December 26, 1959, you could have joined this fashionable young lady at Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue for beef, pork, ham, chicken, or spareribs.

If you're trying to place this location with its present day incarnation, then you'd be sitting in the area that serves as the outdoor seating for Riverbelle Terrace and Stage Door Cafe.

This vintage photo from the Ron DeFore collection shows a wider view of the Silver Banjo restaurant and the staircase which was originally located to the right.

For those of you who are new to the blog, here's a repeat post of the original recipe that the DeFore family used for their Barbecue sauce:

Now you can make a batch of your own. Let me know how your Silver Banjo Barbecue sauce turns out!

See more vintage Disneyland Silver Banjo photos on my Silver Banjo web page.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas, Candlelight, and John Stamos

For me, nothing gets my Christmas spirit kindled more than attending Disneyland's annual Candlelight Processional. Because of the increased amount of shows this year, I was able to attend four performances. My original intent was to see it once; because I was already going to be at Disneyland for the Dress Like Walt event, Kurt Russell would be the narrator of choice. Plans changed when it was unofficially announced that next year Candlelight would be moving from Disneyland and Main Street U.S.A. across the way to DCA and The Hyperion Theater. Throw in Disney legend Dick Van Dyke as narrator and I had all the emotional tugs to get me back to Disneyland for yet another performance. The week after, my friend Stacy enticed me with an actual reserved seat...AND John Stamos. Suddenly, I found myself back at Disneyland for the third time in less than a week. I don't regret any of those trips.

With fantastic seats only a few rows back from the podium, I was both thrilled and sad at the same time, knowing that this could be the last time I saw Candlelight in its traditional spot. As the clock approached 5:30, my anticipation increased.

Nancy Sulahian took her traditional spot on the podium and conducted the orchestra to begin the fanfare and "Joy To The World."

All of my favorite things about the show began to unfold. The human Christmas tree:

The sign language interpreter who brought the words to life with her hands and body.

And then came John Stamos, who put both dignity and joy into his interpretation of the story of the first Christmas.

It was as much fun watching him in-between segments as he silently conducted the orchestra:

Smiled at adoring fans:

and took photos to tweet to his more than one million followers:

Here's the photo he posted:

My very favorite part of the show is to hear Drew Tablak sing "Silent Night" in both Spanish and English. In all my years I have never heard anyone bring so much emotion to this traditional Christmas Carol.

At the closing of the show, the narrator is allowed a few moments to ad lib their own personal message to the audience. In light of the recent elementary school shootings, John Stamos' emotional speech hit an emotional chord.

I'm so honored to be back here to narrate the last night of Candlelight Procession, although the truth is I would have been here anyway because, you know, the world is ending tomorrow, so I figure, I'm going to be at the happiest place on earth when things go wrong.

They're like, 'Stamos, the world's ending tomorrow, where are you going?' 'I'm going to Disneyland!'

I just got a text from Bob Iger and he said it worked so well doing twenty shows, that he wants to start somewhere around Halloween and go all the way past New Year's next time, maybe into July 4th.

And so you might know, I'm a local boy, I grew up in Orange County and I spent most of my childhood right here at this park at Disneyland, and a good part of my adult life as well, and I remember when I was a kid, I don't know, 8 or 9 years old, and I could hear the music and I ran over and I saw a little bit of the Candlelight show and I didn't have seats, I was sitting back there with you people in the back rows...I dreamed big, but I never dreamed that I would be up on here on this stage. Walt Disney was right, dreams do come true.

I remember running around, and my eyes were wide and my heart was racing with excitement, and all these years later, although I've been here a hundred times...maybe two hundred times...I guess about a thousand times...I still feel the same way tonight. I still feel that magic. Disneyland, I think, reminds us adults that we're still a bunch of kids with a bunch of big dreams.

But maybe now it's time for our dreams to shift from our own to others. So, let's continue to dream for a more peaceful less violent world. We pray tonight for those children who will never have a chance to walk through those gates, but let's dream and pray that their memories will not be forgotten.

And as we leave here tonight and head back to our cars, let's carry this goodwill and this love that we feel in our hearts tonight at Disneyland, and let them shine and inspire goodness in others that are out there in the world. On behalf of my family and myself, I wish you a happy holiday and a very peaceful and loving New Year. God bless you all.

Stamos' request for a less violent world filled with peace sounds good to me. I pray that we can all feel that spirit during this holiday season and carry it with us into the New Year.

See more vintage & current Disneyland Candlelight photos on my Candlelight web page.