Friday, July 17, 2020

Disneyland 65th Anniversary at the First Aid Station

Did I make it? I think I just squeaked in on both coasts! Happy 65th Anniversary, Disneyland! Hard to believe the most famous Park in the world has been closed for a number of months, with its future shrouded in uncertainty. The image for today is from January 1968 and shows a family near Central Plaza. Normally, I wouldn’t care about this shot, except for what’s in the background.

It’s not too often that guests would take a shot of the First Aid station at Disneyland…

…unless you’re a completist dork like me. Like the rest of the Park, my how you’ve grown!

Somehow I would imagine that the First Aid station better be prepared for all kinds of stuff when the Park does reopen. I am most curious to see how it will occur; like any other business, if capacity is reduced for health reasons, how will it be able to continue operation and make a profit so that it can sustain itself? Typically a business has two choices: raise prices or cut back on the experience. I’m going to guess Disney will do both.

See more Disneyland Central Plaza photos at my main website.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Temple Tuesday: Shirley and the SF Film Festival

Once Shirley finished her “Storybook” TV shows in 1960, she continued to increase her involvement in volunteerism, which paved the way for her adult political career. Here she is with the 1965 San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Award. At the same time, Shirley had also been appointed to the executive committee of the ninth San Francisco International Film Festival. Not one to just sit back with a title, she was actively involved, both behind the scenes and in front of them. “The Blue Bird,” the 1940 fantasy film that she starred in was revived to positive accolades at the festival. As recalled by reporter Ruthe Stein, not all was so pleasant for Shirley at the Festival:

Before the screening of another film, an aging beatnik with shaggy hair and a scraggly beard fails to stand up with everyone else for the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner." Seated behind him, the world's most famous former child star jabs the man's shoulder, then hits him even harder. “At last, thoroughly angry, she wound up and gave him a belt that might have jolted Cassius Clay,” columnist Herb Caen reports the next day, "but he didn't even glance back to see who was hitting him. Thoroughly defeated, Shirley Temple Black gave up." A few days later, she's on the phone attempting to reach Roberto Rossellini in Santiago, Chile, to invite him here to accept a festival award for "Open City." When the noted Italian director hears an operator say, “Shirley Temple is calling,” he hangs up, sure it's a joke. The operator calls back with the same message, and he testily says to stop bothering him — at which point Shirley pipes in with, “Tell him Ingrid Bergman is calling.” Rossellini takes the call and promises to come (how can you say no to Little Miss Marker?) but is a no-show.

A year later, the film “Night Games” made the headlines. Directed by Mai Zetterling and starring Ingrid Thulin, it was so controversial that it was shown to the jury in private when it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.

What made even bigger headlines was the effect it had on Shirley, causing her to resign from the SF Film Festival as chair. Temple denounced the film as “pornography for profit” and was against it being shown. In the photo below she reads a statement explaining her resignation because the selection board had endorsed showing “Night Games” which she said merely utilized pornography for profit.

A few years later in a 1968 interview Shirley let the public know that she was definitely not a square:

It's not that I'm a prude. I don't mind nudity in a film, and I don't mind sensuality. Today's films are frank and honest and I think that's probably good. What I don't like is pornography — or what I think is pornography — things thrown in just to attract the baseness in people.

She also went on to say that she was sorry that there weren't more purely funny and entertaining movies. She liked the Beatles, and thought pop art was an effort to “tell the world the artists want something different and new” and wasn't against student protests and demonstrations “as long as they are without vulgarity and without violence.” She believed women should take an active part in politics “because they usually aren't tied down with a regular job, and they can stick more to their ideals because they haven't made so many deals with people.” You go, Shirley!

As for “Night Games,” which few remember today…film critic Roger Ebert had this to say about it:

Mai Zetterling's “Night Games” is an absorbing, even brilliant film, but it fails to evoke much of an emotional response. It is a film made entirely in the mind, as if the heart were no concern, and it can be seen that way — as a cold, aloof study of human neurosis. But not for a moment did I care about any of the characters. …It is a movie based almost entirely on technique and intellectual calculation. Miss Zetterling seems to be influenced by Fellini; we get orgies attended by grotesque people who play themselves as if they were trapped inside. And we get the hero, grimly picking his way through this maze, trying to figure out what went wrong. But his problem is the movie’s problem: no heart.

Digressing for a bit, columnist Herb Caen also had a few other amusing Temple Tales that he shared before he passed in 2015:

My most embarrassing situation occurred when I escorted Shirley Temple during the filming of “Mr. Belvedere Goes to College.” Following The Dinner Show in the Sky Room, she turned to me and said, “Aren’t you going to ask me to dance?” I replied that Terpsichore was not my forte and besides she had danced with all the great dancers in Hollywood. She insisted and as we approached the dance floor, I asked her if I could “lead.” She replied with a four-letter word. Following the dancing, we adjourned to the Sky Room bar and I asked her if she would like a Shirley Temple. She pushed me aside and said, “I’ll order the drinks.” And we quaffed down a couple of Stingers in the Rough.

See Shirley Temple more photos at my main website.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Only Way To Fly

One of my bucket list items was to ride the Angels Flight Railway in Los Angeles. I stumbled upon it through my vintage slide collecting; a few shots happened to be interspersed with some Disneyland slides I had purchased back in 2007. The rabbit hole began there. The first time I saw it in person was 2008, when it had been shuttered for almost seven years due to the accidental death of a passenger.

Originally called The Los Angeles Incline Railway, it ran northwest from the west corner of Third and Hill Streets. The entire railway was moved to its current location in 1969. The above shot from 1953 and the 1962 shot below show the original location.

A detailed view:

Thanks to a “bit part” in the blockbuster hit “La La Land,” Angels Flight got a nice little publicity push and reopened in 2017. At the time this scene was shot, the attraction was not open to the public. Oops. Tiny slap on the wrist for that one; the end justifies the means.

As serendipity would have it, I was wandering nearby doing a photo shoot recently and a few employees happened to be on site. They asked if I wanted to take a roundtrip. Duh.

While it may not be Space Mountain, it is just one of those little experiences that make downtown Los Angeles special. I thoroughly enjoyed my trip; well worth the wait!

See more Angels Flight photos at my main website.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Marilyn vs. Marilyn

In the land of Classic TV, there have been a number of cast switches that provoke debates on which actor/actress was better: the two Darrins (“Betwitched”), Gladys Kravitz (also “Bewitched”), Lionel (“The Jeffersons”), Miss Ellie (“Dallas”), Catwoman (“Batman”), and Chris Partridge (“The Partridge Family”). Often referred to as “The Darrin Effect,” I always find it interesting how a different actor changes the role itself, and sometimes even the direction of the show. In the case of “The Munsters,” Marilyn vs. Marilyn, any kind of judgment is very difficult! The role originated with actress Beverley Owen, who was dating writer/director/producer Jon Stone back on the east coast at that time. Owen was reluctant to take the role of Marilyn, as the show was being filmed at Universal in Hollywood. Told that the show was going nowhere, she relented...and then it became a hit!

As she later recalled:

I wanted to get married. I was in love with someone who lived in New York and I left my contract so we could get married. I was under a seven-year contract to Universal. In the first year of it, they would fly me out from New York to L.A. to do `The Virginian,' `Wagon Train,' `Kraft Mystery Theater,' an Audie Murphy movie. Then they put me in the series, which I protested at the time. I was told, `Do it or we'll sue you.' So I moved to California under protest and negotiated out of it. I was not allowed to do anything except commercials and occasional one-shots. I probably should have challenged that in court. But I knew I wanted to get married and have kids and I did. But I was not allowed to do anything for 5 1/2 years.

Owen ended up completing 13 episodes of “The Munsters.”

In interviews, Al Lewis (Grandpa) credits himself and Fred Gwynne (Herman) with getting Beverley out of the show. They were very fond of her and felt bad, as she was extremely depressed and visibly unhappy about being away from Stone. They went to bat for her, and before you could say “Marilyn,” Pat Priest took over the role for 70 episodes. Her first appearance was on the last episode of the first season. She remained in the role until the series ended in 1966.

It’s hard to believe the show only lasted 2 seasons; thanks to continually being shown in syndication, it appears to have lasted much longer.

Physically, the two were very similar. It has been said that one of the reasons Priest was hired was because she could fit into Owens’ wardrobe, providing a nice little cost savings for Universal. Both were very attractive blondes; Owens wore a somewhat obvious wig; Priest was a natural. Despite the visual similarities, there are noticeable differences in how they approached the role. Owens had a certain presence on the show; she really lit up the screen and had a nice comic flair.  Priest played the role a bit more straight; regardless, her chemistry with the rest of the cast is fantastic. You truly believe that she loves the rest of the family, no matter how weird the rest of the neighborhood thinks they might be.

And we won’t even talk about the third Marilyn that Universal hired to replace Priest in the feature film. So…who’s your favorite Marilyn?

See more photos at my main website.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Frontierland, 1957

Welcome to Frontierland, circa 1957! Our first shot shows the Davy Crockett Frontier Arcade, where you can find just about whatever your little pioneer heart desires! Zooming in to the left side of the shot you can see the crossover sign for the side entrance into Adventureland.


And if you can’t find what you need at the Arcade, maybe you could fill your goody bag with a little Bone from Bonekraft!

Last one today shows the inside of the Frontierland entrance. I wonder if those antlers were from Bonekraft?

See more photos Disneyland Frontierland photos at my main website.

Thursday, July 02, 2020

The Evolution of Dumbo

At Disneyland, the original Dumbo’s ears flapped up and down, causing a number of mechanical problems. The original sculptor was Rudolph Parducci. Chris Mueller Jr., created new casts with no hinges for movement of the ears. This December 1957 shot shows the hinged movement.

Dumbo with his ears down:

The one-piece mold version seen today:

A figure of Timothy Mouse rides atop the central hub; he was not original to the attraction and didn’t appear until later in 1957. The figure originally held a training whip, which was briefly replaced with a magic feather during the 1990’s. It has since been changed back to the whip.

Unfortunately, I don’t seem to have any shots in my collection of that elusive feather!

See more Disneyland Dumbo photos at my main website.