Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Hump Day with Sarah

It was Spring 2005; I was obsessed with the Sarah Jessica Parker Gap commercial and the billboard on Sunset Boulevard. It was one of those feel-good ads that you actually wished was a little longer. She sings the Rodgers and Hammerstein song “I Enjoy Being A Girl” from the 1958 musical “Flower Drum Song.” Parker floats through the commercial in a sea of pink; it is hard not to be uplifted when you observe her joy. Let this one get you through hump day.

See more Hollywood photos at my main website.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Temple Tuesday: The Titanic Connection

On July 12, 1938, Shirley Temple and family departed for Bermuda:

With three bodyguards and two toy dolls, Shirley Temple yesterday sailed for Bermuda. The child star’s departure was kept secret to permit her to escape hordes of admirers. Shirley and her mother, Mrs. George F. Temple, arrived only five minutes before the Queen of Bermuda sailed. Adopting her usual simplicity with the press, Shirley told reporters: “I want to ride a bicycle and those little carts they have in Bermuda. I want to go swimming and I expect to have an awfully good time.” Completely unnoticed by the sailing crowd of 300 at the pier was another of the ship’s passengers, Vincent Astor.

Shirley stayed at the Castle Harbour Hotel and visited various local attractions, including the Bermuda Aquarium which had been founded in 1926. Vincent Astor and Aquarium curator Louis Mowbray would often take a motor yacht down to South America and bring animals back to Bermuda, like Crooked Nose, the Galapagos tortoise. American millionaire and philanthropist Vincent Astor accompanied Shirley to the Aquarium:

Shirley Shoots Fish
Bermuda—Inside of Bermuda’s Government Aquarium at the Flatts Village, Bermuda, Vincent Astor is shown with Mr. Louis Mowbray, curator of the Aquarium and one of the world’s foremost Icthyologists, and Shirley Temple, child movie star, on holiday in Bermuda. A little boy gazes in awe at Shirley, and not at the queer fish in the tanks.

Astor also invited Shirley to ride on his private railway which ran through his 22-acre estate. Vincent was very fond of trains, and built a narrow gauge track consisting of about 1400' of track. The train had two passenger cars (each sat four) and two luggage cars. The train was used to take his guests around the large estate and over the hill to his private station where he connected his tracks to those of Bermuda’s Main Railway. The junction point was known as Astor’s Siding. The railway no longer exists, apart from trails and remnants.

Vincent’s parents were wealthy American business tycoon John Jacob Astor IV and Philadelphia heiress Ava Lowle Willing. They divorced in November 1909. As if that wasn’t scandalous enough, in 1911 John Jacob remarried (at the age of 47) 18-year-old socialite Madeleine Talmage Force. Vincent did not care for his stepmother, yet still served as best man at his father's wedding. The couple took an extended honeymoon in Europe and Egypt to avoid all of the gossip back home, but still managed to make headlines since their honyemoon vessel was the ill-fated Titanic. John Jacob Astor put his five months pregnant wife Madeleine on one of the ship's lifeboats. She was rescued eight hours after her husband went down with the ship.

When Astor helped his wife onto the lifeboat, he was wearing his dinner suit, complete with his favorite 14 karat gold Waltham pocket watch, which was intact and in his coat pocket when his body was discovered nearly 13 days later. John Jacob Astor’s body and his belongings were shipped to Nova Scotia, where Vincent arrived a few weeks later to collect them. Vincent wore the watch for years and showed it to Shirley when they were aboard the Queen Bermuda. Eventually, he gave the watch to his godson, William A. Dobbyn V.

John Miottel (shown above with the watch), who collects luxury ocean-liner memorabilia, said in a phone interview that he bought the Astor watch “in 1997 in a small auction house in Asheville, North Carolina, around the 85th anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking.…The ironic thing is that almost nobody, including the Astor Foundation, knew about this watch at the time. There would have been a lot more bidders if they had.” Mr. Miottel said that he bought the watch after Mr. Dobbyn’s widow died and her heirs put it up for auction. “Mrs. Dobbyn had a young cousin in Asheville in the auction business, so instead of going to Sotheby’s or Christie’s she took it to him,” he said.

And that is Shirley’s Titanic connection!

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Storybook Land/Casey Jr. Evolution

This undated 1950’s image shows two intersecting attractions, the Casey Jr. Circus Train and Storybook Land. Most likely taken by a guest near the exit of Casey, you can see the very young plants and landscaping, placing this shot around 1956/1957.

How this area looked in 2015 when I was last on the attraction:

The Skyway buckets provided this June 1958 overhead view of Monstro the Whale and the Storybook Land attraction:

Look at all that undeveloped backstage area!

A unique view of the mountains behind Pinocchio/Gepetto’s village and the Three Windmills:

Another June 1958 shot from my collection shows how that part of the attraction looks while on the ride itself:

From 2013:

…and I realized my library of vintage Storybook Land Windmill shots is mighty scarce! Here’s an undated one from 1957/1958:

…and another one from August 1959:

and finally from 2007:

See more Disneyland Storybook Land photos at my main website.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Friday Frontierland Fun

It’s February 1958 at Disneyland, and the dastardly villain Black Bart is up to no good in Frontierland…again! Sheriff Lucky appears to have things under control. I love seeing the reaction of the crowd, like this little boy covering his ears from the loud gunfight sounds.

…and the little girl wringing her hands with glee as Bart is captured.

If I had been there, I’d be the guy on his knees with the camera trying to get that unique angle of the fight! Wonder where those photos are today?

The next shot in the consecutive sequence is either from the next show, or Bart has managed to get away!

That red cowboy hat is everything.

See more vintage Disneyland Black Bart photos at my main website.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Evolution of Disneyland’s Frontierland

From the top of Disneyland’s Mark Twain Riverboat, one can get a great overview of Frontierland. Today’s post shows a few vintage views of the evolution of this area. While this image is undated, thanks to the lack of the Matterhorn on the horizon, we know it’s at least pre-1959. Zooming in, we can see the ticket booth for the The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train; this shot is most likely between 1956 and 1958.

Panning to the right for details you can see the tarps covering the Zocalo Market area:

At the far right, the Moonliner in Tomorrowland looks strangely out of place with the Frontierland Shooting Gallery in the foreground.

Another undated 1950’s shot that would appear, based on the tree growth, to be from the same time period:

The original round Skyway bucket design can be seen floating in the background:

This March 1958 shot was probably taken from the Treehouse on Tom Sawyer Island:

Still no Matterhorn at this point in Disneyland history:

By June 1959, the Matterhorn was almost complete:

A great overview detail of Rainbow Ridge:

And if you zoom in juuuuuuuust a bit closer you can see the scaffolding on the still unfinished Matterhorn:

Our June 1961 photographer didn’t care about the panorama, but instead chose to focus on the dock area itself:

The little pavilion where the Gonzales Trio performed is now visible:

That beautiful sign for El Zocalo...if only the photographer had a better zoom lens!

Moving ahead to September 1963:

Colorful thatched “umbrellas” now adorn the Casa de Fritos restaurant:

June 1965:

A Tour Guide can be seen at left, and it would also appear that the photographer captured the Gonzales Trio mid-performance:

The last one for today hails from September 1969:

The Pavilion is no longer in site:

But a little refreshment stand is visible:

This 1978 publicity shot let’s us know it was for Hot Burritos for only 35¢:

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Disneyland Keel Boat Detail

New to me is the discovery that on the Bertha Mae Keel Boat at Disneyland the front of the watercraft had what appears to be a hand-painted detail. A closeup from the December 1958 image:

The Gullywhumper had a placard affixed instead of the painted name of its sister-boat, as seen in this June 1964 image:

And while we’re on Keel Boats, here’s one from the Fall of 1956:

See more vintage Disneyland Keel Boat photos at my main website.