Thursday, September 30, 2021

Disneyland Tour, July 1958: Part 1

Imagine a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim with no Matterhorn. No Monorail. No Submarine Voyage (and mercifully without Nemo). Welcome to Disneyland, circa July 1958. Thanks to a batch of slides I recently acquired, I am able to give a fairly comprehensive tour of the Park by adding in images already in the Daveland archives. Today, we start outside the gate. Got a dog? How about boarding them at Ken-L-Land?

Back when the ticket booths were steps away from the gate:

I spot a Guide Book salesman in a straw hat:

Don't go into shock when you see the 1958 Park prices:

At the Main Street Train Station, the Disneyland population is showing up as 10,000,000 (versus 650,000,000 back in 2016).

One of my favorite things about arrival when the Park first opens is to see the train pull into the station. That sense of the excitement of catching the first train for the Grand Circle Tour around the Park is wonderful!

Note the names on the passenger cars; this one is Land of Pueblos:

An interior view of one of the passenger cars:

More to come; we’ve just barely begun our tour!

See more photos at my main website.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Temple Tuesday: Shirley and Hattie

“The Little Colonel” (1935) was the first pairing of Hattie McDaniel and Shirley Temple. In the post-Civil War drama, McDaniel played the cook for Shirley and her mother (Evelyn Venable). There wasn’t much for the actress to do with the role, and it was a definite waste of her talents. Four years later, she would deservedly win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for the role of Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.” The scenes between her and Vivien Leigh (Scarlett) are some of my favorites, as McDaniel practically steals the spotlight from her.

In 1944, Shirley was paired for the second time with McDaniel in another David O. Selznick war drama, “Since You Went Away.” She played Fidelia, the housekeeper for the Hilton family. It doesn’t take long to see that Fidelia is as much a mother figure for the two Hilton girls (Jennifer Jones and Shirley) as their own mother (Claudette Colbert). This photo shows a scene not found in the final film.

From the vintage publicity caption:

SHE KNOWS HOW TO COOK…Shirley Temple prepares some candy that she is planning to send to her father overseas while Hattie McDaniel looks on a bit dubiously at the amount of butter that she is using in a scene from David O. Selznick’s “Since You Went Away.” Included in the stellar cast are Claudette Colbert, Joseph Cotten, Jennifer Jones, Monty Woolley, Lionel Barrymore, and Robert Walker with John Cromwell directing.

Apparently, McDaniel’s dying wish was to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery (now called Hollywood Forever) on Hollywood Boulevard. Due to segregation at the time (1952), she was buried at her second choice, Rosedale (now known as Angelus-Rosedale), southwest of downtown Los Angeles. In 1999 the new owner of Hollywood Forever offered to have McDaniel re-interred there. Her family did not wish to disturb her remains and declined. Instead, Hollywood Forever Cemetery built a large cenotaph on the lawn overlooking its lake:

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, September 27, 2021

North by Northwest: Hitchcock Perfection!

There are so many Alfred Hitchcock movies that I enjoy watching repeatedly, but none are as perfect as “North By Northwest” (1959), the one and only film “The Master of Suspense” made for MGM. The story of an “every man” who accidentally gets sucked into a world of murder, espionage, and romance because he wants a telegram makes every cinematic moment count.

It also has the perfect cast, which doesn’t hurt. The chemistry between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint is off the charts:

Never thought of as a femme fatale, Hitchcock could see the potential in Eva Marie Saint and he was right. Never before has a cigarette scene shown so little but said so much.

Jessie Royce Landis perfectly plays “Mother” to Cary Grant’s character. Who cares that she was only seven years older in real life? She is an excellent comic non-believing foil to Grant when he attempts to explain how he made front-page news as the killer of a United Nations Diplomat. Below, the two are in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This is one of the rare films where Hitchcock used quite a bit of location filming.

There would have been more if the Department of the Interior hadn’t been offended that there was going to be a killing and chase sequence on top of the real Mount Rushmore. They forbid it, and Hitchcock ended up having to shoot the scene back in the studio. While in South Dakota for filming (before the ban!), Grant was made an honorary member of the Sioux Indian nation:

The ladies even got to see a shirtless Grant (age 55 in real life) as he attempts to escape from the hospital where he is being held captive by the U.S. Government.

A behind-the-scenes shot:

Grant is wearing a disguise as a train porter, and Hitchcock can be seen in the foreground pointing his finger at the two stars:

If you’ve never seen Hitchcock, this is the one to begin with!

See more Classic Movie and TV photos at my main website.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday in Fairmount

Feeling pooped? Need something to do this weekend? How about Museum Days in Fairmount, Indiana? The town holds the annual festival around the date of James Dean’s death (9/30/1955), with a car show, look-a-like contest, vendor booths, carnival rides, food, and entertainment.

It really is a fun event in the quaint town where Dean was raised. When I lived in Indiana, you could count on me attending.

Bring extra lipstick if you plan on visiting Dean’s gravesite in nearby Park Cemetery:

See more James Dean and Fairmount photos at my main website.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

EarzUp on The Disneyland Resort, Pt. 4

It’s the final chapter of the EarzUp podcast team details that they love at the Disneyland resort, starting with:

11. The Garbage Cans. All themed to the land that they’re in; they did not have to do this at all; it’s a garbage can!

12. The Wooden sidewalks in Frontierland. Most parks would overlook, but these authentic planks are awesome, and they make a cool sound when you walk on them! (I think I can hear it right now)

13. The majority of DL attractions are inside. The attractions are mainly inside, allowing the exterior to act as a carnival barker with sneak peaks of what’s inside, drawing you in and building the excitement.

14. The Indiana Jones queue. It’s interesting and entertaining, but yes…they should fix the ceiling thing!

15. The small shells in the concrete of the Ariel attraction. Small sea shells crushed up into the concrete; like being at the beach. Helps set the stage for being underwater.

16. The nods to where past things have stood. Melvin, Buff, and Max still within Winnie the Pooh, Eyeore parking sign inside of Indiana Jones…incorporating the past into the present is amazing.

17. The ability to crowd control. At parades, the cast members do a great job with the little space that they have in keeping guests moving.

18. Walt Disney is everywhere. Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Flag Ceremony, and Lillian’s Petrified Tree. Guests don’t necessarily flock to/notice these attractions, and yet they are still there.

19. The old espresso machine in Café Orleans. Crafted in 1905 and supposedly purchased by Walt himself. The world’s first commercial espresso machine. Non-functioning now, though.

Quite a bit there, but I am also sure there are a number missing, too. What would YOU add?

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

R.I.P., Willie

Actor Willie Garson died yesterday at the age of 57. Best known as Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) GBF, Stanford Blatch, his character was a contributing part of the ensemble cast that made “Sex and the City” such a success. I got to meet him in 2003 when he introduced the sneak preview for Season 6, episode 1, “To Market, to Market” at the La Jolla Contemporary Museum of Art. It was a wonderful evening and he was very easy to talk to, and not at all like the character he portrayed. From cast member Cynthia Nixon (Miranda):

We all loved him and adored working with him. He was endlessly funny on-screen and and in real life. He was a source of light, friendship and show business lore. He was a consummate professional — always.

See more classic Movie and TV photos at my main website.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Temple Tuesday: The First and the Last Dance

Shirley Temple and Bill Robinson; a duo that made Hollywood history as the first interracial dance team. Their first onscreen pairing was in the 1935 movie “The Little Colonel.” Shirley recalled her first meeting with Robinson in her autobiography Child Star:

“Can I call you Uncle Billy?” I asked. “Why, sure you can,” he replied. After a few steps he again stopped. “Mr. Robinson doesn’t fit anyway.” He grinned broadly. “But then I get to call you darlin”.” It was a deal. From then on whenever we walked together it was hand in hand, and I was always his “darlin’.” At first we practiced in the regular mirrored rehearsal hall. Then we found it more convenient to use a contraption that when folded looked like a wooden box, but when unfolded, became three steps, up on side and down the other. At any spare moment, anywhere, we could practice.

“We’ll have a hand-squeeze system,” he proposed. “When I give you three quick squeezes, means we’re coming to a hard part. One long squeeze, really good, darlin’! No squeeze at all? Well, let’s do it again.” Before long his system of signals became superfluous. “Now we just let those hands hang loose,” he instructed. “Limp wrists, loose in the shoulders. There, that’s it! Copacetic! Now let’s get your feet attached to your ears.”…Fondest memories of dancing with Uncle Billy come not only from our camera takes but from rehearsals, up and down that portable stile, or in any convenient corner. Practicing until each move became unthinking was a joy. Learning, an exhilaration. In devising some nuance of movement or sound to make the dance only ours lay the ultimate satisfaction. Once we had reached the point of “roll ’em,” each of our routines had been perfected, ready for only a final moment of elation in a long sequence totally devoid of drudgery.

Flash forward to 1944, Shirley later recalled their last public performance:

Fifty thousand people collected in the mall of Central Park to celebrate the annual New York Mirror Sports Festival. Uncle Billy Robinson and I met onstage, our first encounter since “Little Miss Broadway” five years earlier. Appearing almost unchanged, he held my hands and suggested we perform a dance for old times. His two-toned shoes flickered with the same old magic I remembered so well, but I found myself laboring to follow his lead. Dancing the shim-sham-shimmy in high heels is not easy. “Haven’t done this since I was seven,” I told him after we had finished. “Excuse me if I wasn’t so hot.” “Darlin’,” he replied with that familiar slanted smile, “you were A, which means really sensAtional.” “Do I get a chance to visit you and Fannie[Robinson’s wife]?” I asked. A solemn little cloud passed over his face…[he] sighed, and waggled his head sideways.…Many times he and Fannie had been guests in our home, yet not once had I seen where they lived in Los Angeles. Wiser by far about racism since my first awareness acquired at the Desert Inn, I still believed that professional comradeship formed an automatic bridge across a chasm dug between people in the name of racial prejudice. A second chance to get my answer occurred at the Harvest Moon Ball in Madison Square Garden.…Leaving the central platform, we held hands as we always had, and at the top of the aisle I again asked when I could visit.…his face suddenly tinged with a calm, gentle expression. “No way, darlin’.” He gave my hand a reassuring squeeze. “Just no way.”

The two had one final visit at the end of 1949, just as Shirley was in the midst of divorce proceedings.

My cherished dance partner Bill “Bojangles” Robinson came to Los Angeles for a one-night charity performance. Dismissing the significance of my impending decree, he disclosed that he and Fannie had separated some time before, and that he was now happily remarried and had a ten-year-old adopted daughter. “But she can’t dance,” he said, cocking his head sideways and flashing that same wide-eyed, toothy smile so indelibly imprinted in childhood memory. “I’m in hard times now, and gray too.” He ruffled on hand over his hair. “But after all, I’m seventy-one.” For a while we sat together, contentedly recalling the happy past we had shared. “Both of us come a long way since that first staircase dance way back in 1934.” He gave a delighted, rolling chuckle. “Still plenty to laugh about.” Within several days, on Thanksgiving, Uncle Billy lay dead.…30,000 people lined New York City streets as his funeral cortege wound through Harlem, led by a brass band of trumpets, tubas, and trombones, stepping slowly in lockstep. What they played was not a dirge, however, but music Uncle Billy would have wanted, dance music in slow motion. Our entertainment careers were ending just as our duets always had, in good time and in step.

What made Robinson so special to Shirley? She later recounted the reason to NPR:

Bill Robinson treated me as an equal, which was very important to me. He didn't talk down to me, like to a little girl. And I liked people like that. And Bill Robinson was the best of all.

See more Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, September 20, 2021

EarzUp on The Disneyland Resort, Pt. 3

Now that we got the negatives out of the way, here are the details that the EarzUp podcast team LOVE about the Disneyland resort, illustrated with the Daveland collection!

1. The entirety of Galaxy’s Edge. Maybe not the cast members saying “Good Moon,” but…Terrence saw this area for the first time about a month ago; he rounded a corner and in front of him was the Millennium Falcon. As a 41-year old man he teared up seeing it because it felt like he was an 8-year old kid seeing something that he’d always imagined. The land is so immersive! From Jason: “Mmmmm…I’ll let it pass…” Apologies for not having a Galaxy’s Edge photo, but still haven’t been there. And no, I’m not really sorry about that!

2. Area music. Music is themed appropriately for each area (with seamless transitions), but quiet enough that it’s non-intrusive to a conversation (unlike at Universal Studios and other theme parks). They do it better than anyone else from the minute you step onto Main Street, U.S.A.

3. Center Street on Main Street, U.S.A. It’s more than just façades; the Painless Dentist and Hotel Marceline have appropriate sounds emitting from them. Little unnoticed details that they didn’t have to do…but they did.

4. The Main Street windows. They are more than just the people’s names; it’s the design, the passion, and effort to make them look like pieces of art that puts them on this list.

5. The Smellitizers. Found throughout the Park, they pump out smells to help with the immersion. Especially love the ones on Soarin’ Over California at DCA! Note: this is not talking about the “Pirate” water on the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction!

6. Still honoring Walt. The candle in the window in his Town Square apartment over the Fire Department. Still showing respect to the man who had the dream and brought it to fruition.

7. Carpet on the Lilly Belle car. They didn’t need to keep it, but they decided to honor the design and integrity of Lillian Disney’s original choices.

8. The Little Man of Disneyland’s House. Located at the base of a tree in front of the Indiana Jones queue. It’s a cute little Easter egg that a lot of people wouldn’t know about, and great for kids, getting them to interact with Cast Members. This is another one I don’t have a photo for; the one here is from The Disney Parks Blog.

9. The Main Street window for Frank Wells. He climbed six of the seven summits in the world. Wells is a guy who in many ways helped to save AND expand Disneyland into what it is today.

10. The Cleanliness of Disneyland. You take it for granted while you’re there, but there’s no trash around. It’s the freshest, cleanest, experience possible.

One more post to go!

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