Friday, May 31, 2013

Nature's Wonderland, May 1960

A few May 1960 shots of the Nature's Wonderland attraction, which was replaced by the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster. First up is the engine for your Mine Train attraction trip through the wonders of Bear Country, Beaver Valley, the Living Desert, and Rainbow Caverns. When these shots were taken, the improved/upgraded attraction had just reopened.

Here are a few of Rainbow Ridge, which is currently in the process of being completely rebuilt.

Zooming in for the General Store:

and for the wash, hanging out on the line to dry:

Riding through the Living Desert:

The Devil's Paint Pots in the foreground:

Zooming in, it appears that a cast member is doing a bit of maintenance work:

See more vintage Disneyland Nature's Wonderland attraction photos on my Nature's Wonderland web page.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Roughing it in Frontierland

The Pack Mules have been gone since 1973, but they are still remembered fondly by many. Although the mules may have had some temperamental moments and could be somewhat unpredictable, this is what I think made Frontierland (and the entire park) so much more charming "back in the day."

Flash forward to today, the park is an extremely controlled experience.

When you combine the amount of guests that go through the turnstiles and their expectations, then tack on the threat of a lawsuit if that expectation wasn't met or if any form of harm (perceived or real) occurred, it would be impossible for Disneyland to have the same kind of innocent and spontaneous feeling that it had during the 1950's.

At least we have the photos and the memories of an era when you could ride a real live animal through Disneyland while a train or a wagon or a stagecoach passed nearby.

See more vintage Disneyland Pack Mule attraction photos on my Pack Mule web page.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Favorite "Secret" Spot in Frontierland

Unlike Orlando, Anaheim's park suffers from limited real estate. On the plus side, I believe this is why Disneyland is so well-designed, because Imagineers have had to carefully consider each decision. The intimate nature of Disneyland is one of the things that makes it so special. When it comes to intimate spots, the area shown in this May 1960 is one of my favorite spots in the park. No attractions, no food carts...just a peaceful relaxing area shaded by the trees that surround it.

Mercifully, it has remained unchanged as you can see from this recent comparison photo. You will rarely see people taking this path, making it easy to feel as if you are the first person to discover this short cut to Central Plaza.

See more Frontierland photos on my main website.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grand Circle Tour, 1950's-style

Using a mix of "old" and "new" (as in previously and not previously published) photos, today's post will give you a Grand Circle Tour around the park, starting with two Summer 1955 images at the Main Street Train Station. It's difficult not to get excited as you approach the entrance gates and see the E.P. Ripley patiently waiting at the Main Street Train Station for its next load of guests.

Can you imagine taking a spin around the park with this guy at the helm?

The C.K. Holliday is parked at the Frontierland Depot in this 1950's shot:

This 1956 photo shows the original Fantasyland Depot:

Going in a bit closer you can see guests exiting the Depot area, attempting to decide which attraction they will experience next. One of the Autopias? Storybook Land, perhaps?

A closeup of the Fantasyland Depot Ticket Booth:

Last stop on the Tour is the Tomorrowland Depot, circa September 3, 1958. #3, The Fred Gurley, is pulling into the Depot, only a few months after its March 28th debut.

Seeing these photos all together makes me yearn for a REAL trip aboard one of the beloved trains.

See more vintage & current Disneyland Railroad photos on my Disneyland Railroad web pages.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Although many think of it as a day of rest and barbecue, Memorial Day is a day to remember those who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. Originally titled Decoration Day until 1882, it started after the Civil War as a way to pay tribute to the dead Union and Confederate soldiers. By the 20th century, Memorial Day was expanded to honor all Americans who died in service, which is what separates it from Veterans Day, which honors all military veterans. The first photo for today shows the daily Flag Lowering Ceremony at the Park, September 1959, followed by two consecutive shots from August 1958:

Note the reverence displayed by all, young and old. No texting, no talking, no multi-tasking...just a crowd of guests paying respect to the flag and all that it represents.

Here's wishing you a peaceful day while we remember those who gave all.

See more vintage & current Town Square Flag Lowering photos on my Flag Lowering Ceremony web page.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Shirley's First Turkey

Here is a behind-the-scenes shot from Shirley Temple's 1940 Technicolor spectacular, "The Blue Bird." The accompanying vintage publicity blurb:

POINT OF VIEW — When the audience sees this scene from "The Land of Memory" in the glory of full Technicolor in which "The Blue Bird" is now being filmed at 20th Century-Fox. It will be one of the high spots of beauty in the film. But from behind the scenes there is a ferment of anxious activity as director Walter Lang (right lower), Cameraman Arthur Miller, ASC (with visor behind camera), and the remainder of the crew watch Shirley Temple rehearse a shot from Maurice Maeterlinck's story. Shirley is framed in the tree limbs, while behind the main trunk left, the skirt of Cecilia Loftus as "Granny Tyl" can be seen.

This publicity photo is ironic, considering that this film was dubbed Shirley's first "turkey" of her childhood career. Studio insiders called the film "Dead Pigeon."

See more Shirley Temple "The Blue Bird" photos on my "The Blue Bird" web page.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pedro is Done

My painting of actor Pedro Infante, which I have titled "Blue Diablo," is now finished. Let's see if I can get back to that West Baden Painting over my 3-day weekend while i'm still feeling creative!

See more Daveland art on my website.

30th Anniversary of Fantasyland 2.0

Thirty-years ago today, Fantasyland 2.0 opened to the public, showing a version of this beloved land that was not possible back in 1955 when Walt Disney found himself short of money. Today's post celebrates all things Fantasyland, starting out with a construction shot of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Zooming in, it would appear that the original intention was to put something on the area where the crest now resides. However, this area remained blank for another ten years. Another cost cutting measure, perhaps?

Relive the excitement of Opening Day, July 17, 1955 as you read the publicity blurb that accompanied this photo of the first children to experience Fantasyland:

THE RUSH TO FANTASYLAND IS ON—Children sprint across the drawbridge and through the castle that marks the entrance to Fantasyland during today's premiere of Disneyland here. Fantasyland, on which Walt Disney's creators lavished their most vivid imaginations, remained closed until late in the day. A full scale stampede developed when it finally was opened.

Plenty of celebrities on hand for Opening Day festivities, including Jerry Lewis on Mr. Toad:

and Richard Nixon:

Anyone know what this cast member's shirt says?

In this October 1958 shot, you can see that the 3-year old Castle was already in need of a bit of maintenance, with scaffolds surrounding the turrets:

Although the style was charming, this October 1958 shot of the Mad Hatter stand shows the basic flaw with early Fantasyland: flat and somewhat cheap looking. Still, it is pretty cool to think that the people who painted these signs were not too far removed from the artists that first created these legendary animated characters.

A colorful 1960's overview of Fantasyland:

Flash forward to the 2.0 version, here are a few aerial/zoom views of what it looked like from the sky:

The entry sign on Harbor Boulevard is visible here:

The original stampede photo was recreated; the kids of 1983 seem just as excited as their 1955 counterparts:

The new fa├žade for Peter Pan:

Snow White:

A few interior shots of the attraction:

A brand-new attraction for Pinocchio, who replaced the Fantasyland Theater:

Toad Hall comes to life:

Naturally a new restaurant, The Village Haus, joined the mix:

Which do you prefer? Fantasyland or Fantasyland 2.0?

UPDATE: Thanks to the generosity of Disneyland nametag/badge collector, Benson Myers, you can now see the debut of two items from his collection: badges given to members of the press and invited guests at the premiere of New Fantasyland:

See more vintage & current Disneyland Fantasyland photos on my Fantasyland web pages.