Monday, August 31, 2015

The Coolest Skull

I have become pretty jaded about many vintage Disneyland shots. It has to be a really cool one to get my attention any more. This November 1964 image reached out and grabbed me by the throat. This is definitely the best closeup Skull Rock Cove shot I have in my collection. I don't believe it was shot from the Skyway, but rather from the Pirate Ship itself.

This little area behind the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant in Fantasyland was like an undiscovered treasure. Tucked away between the Ship and Casey Junior, it not only provided eats it also provided a well-themed getaway.

Here's a previously posted shot from March 1965 giving a better overall view of the area.

More Skull Rock Cove photos at my main website.

Friday, August 28, 2015

1950s City Hall

Yesterday, we saw Shirley Temple fighting City Hall; today, we see Walt Disney's version of City Hall at Disneyland. This is one of my earliest color shots of City Hall from Summer of 1955. How about a scenic ride on a horse-drawn carriage?

Or perhaps you'd just like to rest your weary feet up on the City Hall front porch. These days, with the crowds of guests it would be difficult to do this.

This vintage shot of City Hall has a ghostly cast to it; possibly a poor attempt of somebody to take a photo of an existing shot. Still, the image itself is pretty cool.

A young boy is leisurely selling the Disneyland News. Must have been a hot day, or else this boy just was not motivated to earn any money.

A ladder is leaning up against the exterior of Walt's Apartment.

This black and white City Hall photo is from September 1956.

Love the hat on the boy AND the horse!

See more Disneyland City Hall photos at main website.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Shirley Fights City Hall

Picture this…Spring 1964. It had been a few years since Shirley Temple was last seen in a TV series. ABC and Twentieth Century-Fox approached her about giving Hollywood another shot, developing a number of different ideas for her. By January 1965 Shirley was before the cameras again filming the pilot for "Go Fight City Hall!," a half-hour situation comedy in which she would play a single social worker at a San Francisco welfare agency. "Days of Our Lives" fans will recognize Bill Hayes with Shirley in the photo above. He was to play her boyfriend. Temple imitator Victoria Meyerink, from "The Danny Kaye Show," would be her daughter. If Shirley's hair looks a little funky, that's because she's wearing a wig; and not a very good one! Rumor has it that her family objected to Shirley's dyeing her hair blonde for the role; instead she wore a red wispy wig. From a January 7, 1965 publicity blurb:

Shirley Temple returned to 20th Century-Fox Studios, where she made her first picture more than 30 years ago, to star on a television series. Miss Temple, who was born in 1928, will star in Go Fight City Hall, a situation comedy series scheduled to be televised next fall. The dimpled darling of the depression era began her career at 20th Century-Fox at the age of 6 in "Caroline." She starred in 33 films at the studio, for which she earned more than $40 million. Now the mother of three, Miss Temple lives in the San Francisco Bay area, but plans to spend four months a year here filming the series. Her husband, Charles Black, is a northern California businessman.

Jack Kruschen (seen below) played her supervisor and Cloris Leachman was also on board as Shirley's co-worker.

Leachman had previously played Shirley's mother in an episode of "The Shirley Temple Theatre" (1960). From Leachman's autobiography:

There's not a lot to say about playing Shirley's mother. It was a long time ago, and the shooting schedule was short. The memory that stands out is this. We were working on a soundstage at Twentieth Century-Fox studio, and I needed to make an important phone call. This was long before cell phones. I couldn't locate a phone. I knew there had to be one, but where was it? I turned to Shirley and said, "Shirley, you must know where there's a phone. You worked at Twentieth your whole early life. Where is it?" She said, "I don't know. I was only three feet tall then. I couldn't even reach a phone."

When Shirley passed away, Bill Hayes and his lovely wife Susan tweeted:

And Shirley Temple Black passed on Monday. She and I made a pilot for a series back in the 60s. "Go Fight City Hall!" Lovely lady.

Much more Shirley at my main website.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Wagon Repair at Disneyland

A beautiful overhead view of Rainbow Ridge in Frontierland from November 1967. Zooming in we get a closer look at the Wagon Repairing sign. By the time this photo was shot, the Wagon and Stage Coach ride attractions had been long gone.

These images might explain why they were eliminated.

More vintage Nature's Wonderland photos at my main website.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2 out of 3

I feel cheated. Clearly, the sign in this October 1960 image says "El Trio Gonzalez." Even with my limited knowledge of EspaƱol, I know that trio means 3. I only see two. Can I get a refund?

While growsing over the missing Gonzalez, let's take a look at the wares from the nearby vendor tables.

Maybe I can get a free trinket for my troubles.

More Gonzalez Trio at my main website.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Coolest Kid at Disneyland Circa 1967

This 1967 kid has cool down to a science. Just check out the paisley shirt, tiki necklace (could this be what inspired the Hawaiian Brady Bunch episode with Vincent Prince?), the ticket book in the pocket, and the scowl that every cool kid has to wear whenever being photographed with an adult.

Just for good measure I'll throw in the shot of the Monsanto House of the Future that was part of the same batch of images.

More retro futuristic cool at my main website.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Art Deco at The Hollywood Bowl

You may not know who George Stanley is, but you most likely know the little statuette that he created called "Oscar." On a recent trip to Hollywood, I photographed another one of his amazing creations, located at the entrance of the Hollywood Bowl. The Art Deco styled monument was built between 1938-1940and titled The Muse of Music, Dance, Drama. Here is a corresponding vintage shot from July 1963:

Here's the Muse of Music:

and how she looked in July 1963:

More details of this art deco beauty:

This vintage shot shows you the iconic band shell at the Bowl:

A closeup of the stage:

More Hollywood Bowl photos at my main website.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Real Betty

Meet Betty (real name). According to the urban dictionary, she truly is a betty, which means "hot chick." She is rocking that orange ball of fluff in this May 1963 photo. Is it a purse? Is it a hand warmer? Or is it a tribble from the Star Trek set? Only Betty knows. House of the what? Who would notice the background when Betty is in the photo.

Here she is again in front of the entrance to Skull Rock Cove.

Signage, Betty, and a Tribble. It's going to be a good day.

More Betty…I mean vintage Disneyland photos at my main website.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Out of Scale and RIP Batgirl

It is fairly common knowledge to most of us Disneyland geeks that forced perspective makes the Castle and Main Street seem bigger than they are. The little town of Rainbow Ridge typically gets the shaft in these discussions. Today's image from May 1963 shows just how effective this little trick works, thanks to a worker who was captured standing next to the buildings of Walt's mining town in Frontierland.

It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Yvonne Craig on Monday at the age of 78.

She is definitely best known as the purple clad Batgirl from the 1966 TV series, "Batman." Here she is modeling the original version of her mask that was used in the not often seen test reel.

Craig was the perfect choice for the role; she did a lot with very little, as her character was typically relegated to damsel in distress status. NOBODY who could do a high-kick like Craig would every REALLY be in distress.

More vintage Rainbow Ridge at my main website.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Haunted Mansion's Biggest Fan

When the Hatbox Ghost was unveiled on May 9, 2015, I had the pleasure of meeting the Haunted Mansion's biggest fan, Carter, who (not surprisingly) was also standing in line awaiting the debut of "Hattie." He very kindly agreed to answer a number of questions I sent to him about his love for one of Disneyland's most popular attractions.

When did you first ride the Haunted Mansion?

I believe I was around five years old when my parents first felt I was fit to handle it. As preparation, they had shown me the Grim Grinning Ghosts sing-along video with the dancing trees, and I loved it.

Photo credit:

Were your parents fans of the HM?

They have always enjoyed the attraction, but never to the extent that I ended up obsessing over it.

How many different Mansions have you been to?

I have been to California’s and Florida’s Haunted Mansion. I prefer California’s, probably because I’m used to it. It’s my Alma Mansion.

What is your favorite scene?

The ballroom scene is certainly where I feel that the brilliance of the of the ride’s effects materializes the strongest. Using Pepper’s Ghost Effect at that scale and level of precision created such a convincing way to fake ghostly apparitions. It’s so convincing, in fact, that many, many riders falsely assume that Disney is using futuristic, holographic technology.

What is your least favorite scene?

I had to choose between the attic and the seance circle, and I went with the more-popular opinion: the attic. The attic does not contain one effect that I find convincing or impressive. First of all, the wedding portraits with the disappearing heads almost never seem to be working properly. Even when they are, although the effect is a lot more complex, I doubt that the average rider could tell them apart from those store-bought, lenticular changing portraits. The shadowy piano player usually works fine, but I just find it unimpressive. Constance Hatchaway simply looks like a flat image on a mannequin, which is basically what she is, although I like her storyline. By the way, I don’t count the new Hatbox Ghost’s outdoor balcony as being part of the attic, and I have no complaints about him.

What would YOU like to add to the mansion if it were up to you?

This is actually something I think about a lot. I hope to be a Disney Imagineer in the future, and I’m always fantasizing about being in charge of a far-in-the-future Mansion refurbishment. If I were to only add one thing, though, it would be the floating Doombuggy. With trackless ride technology rapidly improving, in twenty or so years, I have hope that I’ll be able to help develop a trackless, magnetic omnimover system for Haunted Mansion that would allow each individual Doombuggy to float on its own at various points in the ride.

Do you collect Mansion memorabilia? If so, what is your favorite piece?

I have plenty of Mansion collectibles, but I don’t actively collect them. I’d have to say that my most treasured piece is not something you can buy. On my tenth birthday, I was evacuated on Haunted Mansion and got to walk through half of the ride. The re-entry pass they gave me as reconciliation for the technical difficulties is something I now hold dear to my heart.

Which Mansion is your favorite? Regular or Jack Skellington version and why?

Haunted Mansion Holiday, which I call “Jacked-Up” Mansion (JUM), is very enjoyable to me when it’s in-season. Of course, JUM is just a clever reinterpretation of classic Haunted Mansion that shows what it would be like if Jack Skellington decorated it for Christmas. You just can’t beat regular Haunted Mansion. In the end, though, I like them both.

When the Mansion is closed, what’s your next favorite attraction to ride?

Pirates of the Caribbean, of course. Mansion and Pirates are the two attractions that make me feel the greatest sense of Disneyland history. They’re both old classics that still manage to amaze new audiences.

What is your most cherished Haunted Mansion experience?

I would have to say my favorite experience at Haunted Mansion was when I met my goal on Disneyland’s 59th anniversary. My goal was to ride my favorite ride 59 times that day, and I did. The best part was that I made some great friends there that day: Laura, Kassy, and Serena. Laura and Kassy came back to visit me at the end of the night to see me reach my goal, and Serena later helped me start my Mansion Mayhem show. Although I had a great time riding it 71 times in a row this May, I didn’t get the same sense of accomplishment, since I didn’t reach my goal of 100 rides.

Photo credit:

More Haunted Mansion stories and photos at my main website.

Monday, August 17, 2015

More Nehru at Disneyland

In November 1961, Prime Minister Nehru and his daughter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, visited Disneyland with all the fanfare that you would expect when foreign royalty is at the Happiest Place on Earth. Here they are below in a photo from the UCLA Digital Archive pausing aboard the Mark Twain to sip some fruit juice.

Recently, I was contacted by Steve Henderson, who had an amazing story to share about that day:

I happened to see your previous posting about Prime Minister Nehru and Madame Gandhi visiting Disneyland. I just wanted to say that not only was I there, but I was picked by Tommy Walker (Disneyland's Entertainment Director) to present a Disneyland flag to Prime Minister Nehru of India. I was visiting Disneyland with my school that day. I remember there was also a girl, Stephanie Storm, chosen from another school to present the flag with me. Madame Gandhi told me and the other presenter that she wanted to visit Disneyland more than anything else on their trip. She also told us that there were many interesting places and history in India and that we should try to visit one day. Now that I'm retired I just might do that.
Thanks for the memories,
Steve Henderson

A vintage newspaper article from that day, showing Steve:

A photo showing Steve with Prime Minister Nehru, his daughter, and Walt:

I'll bet Khrushchev was jealous.

It's always fantastic to hear from people that were actually there during these historic occasions - many thanks to Steve for sharing!

More vintage & current Disneyland photos/stories at my main website.