Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Shirley Rides the Streetcar

What the heck could a 1963 photo of a Los Angeles railway car have to do with Shirley Temple? Plenty. I saw the listing for this photo and saw Shirley’s autograph scrawled on the front of the car. I checked with Melissa (aka “The Colonel”) and my little runaway train took off.

A vintage article shows Shirley walking hand-in-hand with Los Angeles Mayor Frank L. Shaw, the 34th Mayor of Los Angeles in front of the 3002 Los Angeles Railway Company car.

One year later, Shaw “earned” the dubious distinction of being the first Mayor to be recalled from office. Oops. I’m glad Shirley wasn’t tainted by the scandal of this allegedly (he was never officially charged of a crime) corrupt politician. But I digress…

Shirley posed for cameras on March 23, 1937, when she unveiled Los Angeles’ first PCC (President’s Conference Committee) streetcars. San Diego got them first, beating Los Angeles by a few weeks, but the Los Angeles Railway got the press coverage thanks to Shirley.

From the Trolley Tuesdays blog:

The first two LARy Type "P" cars rolled into Los Angeles on March 12, 1937, and to say that the city went nuts for their new streetcars was an understatement. Nos. 3001 and 3002 were rush-shipped from St. Louis Car for public relation purposes, as the carbuilder was busy battling a strike at home, and they certainly looked nothing like the Type "H"s that came before them: they were low, curvy, and painted in a two-tone chrome-and-lemon yellow scheme not found on other cars. Such was the uniqueness and eye-catching ability of the PCCs that not even the name "Los Angeles Railway" graced the sides cars, just a number. When car 3002 was on display at City Hall, then-mayor Frank L. Shaw declared that week of March 22-28 "Transportation Week", and took photos with legendary child actress Shirley Temple before the cars were set loose on a special demonstration loop around the city.

Here’s the newsreel footage from that historic 1937 when Shirley launched the PCC streetcars of Los Angeles.

I found some interesting tidbits about that day on the Primary Resources website:

In the newsreel footage, 8-year old Shirley receives an official “gold card” of the City of Los Angeles. Later, she has been deputized as “Conductor Number One” and takes fare from inaugural riders, including Los Angeles Mayor Frank Shaw and Los Angeles City Attorney Ray Chesebro. Library, Archives and Records staff have viewed this footage countless times, but this week, we caught something we never heard before. At the 0:42 – 0:43 mark, viewers can see one of the dignitaries boarding the streetcar while saying “Shirley, buy yourself a new automobile.” Who was it? We may never know, but it does offer an opportunity to look at the interplay between automobiles and streetcars less than a decade later. In 1945, the controlling interest in Los Angeles Railway was purchased from the Huntington estate by National City Lines, run by the five Fitzgerald Brothers. They renamed it Los Angeles Transit Lines, and at the end of World War II, they sought to substitute buses on most of the existing streetcar lines. One time railroad man E. Roy Fitzgerald had bought up dozens of small and medium sized transit companies in the late 1930s and almost without exception, quickly motorized them. General Motors, Mack Truck, oil and tire companies were among NCL’s stockholders. Could one of the Fitzgeralds been on the scene eight years earlier advising Shirley Temple to buy a car? Probably not. But the true history of Los Angeles Transit Lines and streetcar demise in Los Angeles has been debated for decades. One thing is certain: It is far more complicated than what has been perpetuated in various urban myths as well as in the film “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” At any rate, it is rather unimaginable that anyone would attend a public transportation event today and suggest that the host buy an automobile, even as a joke!

I found the color shot below of 3002 from its “end of the line” trip on the Pacific Electric website. The sad eyes painted on the front were to signify its impending retirement. 3002 poses with its motorman at the Georgia Street Car House on March 31, 1963, which was the Last Day of Service for the Streetcars of Los Angeles. This sounds like something right out of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?”

Trolley Tuesdays describes the fate of #3002 in 1963:

Now, at 26 years old, the car was dressed in a paint scheme rendered by the last remaining workers of Division Four in early 1963, with a crying face and a quoted song lyric on her side reading "GOODBYE FOREVER - old sweethearts and pals". No. 3004 was more modestly dressed, with black bunting adorning her front. From sunrise to sunset, 70 PCC cars made the hard and emotional journey to Vernon Yard, with those assembled being moved into place by hand-held stingers. By 4PM, Nos. 3004 and 3002 finally arrived in the yard and, soon after, the last powerhouse was shut down.

While I don’t know whether the scrawl on the front was actually written by Shirley in 1937 or part of the 1963 decor, according to the Trolley Tuesdays website, it appears that #3002 was sold off and shipped to Cairo, Egypt.

That’s one road trip I can skip.

See more photos at my main website.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Rolly, Liz, and Joan

Today I celebrate a trio of birthdays: a Disney Imagineer (Rolly Crump) and two (heavenly) actresses (Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Bennett). Crump’s style is right up my alley; creative, weird, and dark. I had the opportunity to see his work at an exhibit in Oceanside six years ago. What a treat! There is much more to this man than just Disney.

Walt was impressed by Rolly and was grooming the young man for stardom in the Imagineer world. Unfortunately, Walt died before Rolly’s ideas for the Haunted Mansion came to fruition. Too afraid of his weird and dark aesthetic, most of Crump’s designs were deleted or minimized. This chair is one of the few items left in the Mansion that bears his distinctive style.

Elizabeth Taylor would have been ninety-one today. The actress/activist/husband collector/jewelry enthusiast and lover of life is shown here with James Dean. Taylor was filming “Giant” at the time and Dean was wrapping up filming on “Rebel Without A Cause.” He would join the George Stevens production shortly after this publicity shot was taken.

Taylor and her two boys enjoy a day at Disneyland with then-husband Eddie Fisher, circa 1959.

Today’s third (heavenly) birthday celebration is for Joan Bennett, who started her career as a blonde and hit pay dirt when she went brunette. Who says blondes have more fun?!? Here’s a vintage shot of a marquee with her 1956 film, “Navy Wife.”

Today, if remembered at all, it is probably for playing Elizabeth Stoddard on the 1960’s/1970’s cult TV show, “Dark Shadows.”

Bennett also happened to be one of the many actresses who tested for the plum role of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” Here’s a very bad dupe of Bennett’s screen test (along with a few others):

See more Daveland photos at my main website.

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Vintage Mardi Gras Madness and The French Market

Yesterday was the culmination of the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans. Running from Twelfth Night (the last night of Christmas which begins Epiphany) to Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras translates to Fat Tuesday in English. I’m waiting for someone to petition a name change to Voluptuous Tuesday, which would be Mardi Voluptueux.

To celebrate the historic Carnival celebration, here are a selection of my favorite vintage shots from celebrations gone by.

Do you see YOUR kid up here?

Although these images are over sixty years old, the costumes are still typical of what you’d see today.

So are the revelers.

A few vintage shots of the actual parade itself, which runs down Canal Street:

This one is from 1952:

In Disneyland news, it was announced last month that the French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square will be undergoing a transformation. Open from July 24, 1966 to the present, this New Orleans Square eatery featured cafeteria-style service with an outdoor seating area. Live music was often enjoyed here by the Delta Ramblers and other jazz groups. The Disney Blog announced the upcoming change on January 12:

Tiana’s Palace Coming to Disneyland Park Later this Year. Just as Tiana transformed an old sugar mill into her dream restaurant in the Walt Disney Animation Studios film, “The Princess and the Frog,” soon the French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square at Disneyland park will be reimagined into Tiana’s Palace! Tiana’s Palace will be the newest restaurant on Orleans Street. Within its peach-colored walls and fancy green wrought-iron balconies, you’ll find elegant fixtures and appointments reminiscent of Tiana’s life and friendships. The new Tiana’s Palace will have much of the same pinch of pizzazz and flair as the restaurant from the film, offering authentic New Orleans flavors inspired by Tiana’s friends and adventures in this quick-service style restaurant. While Tiana’s Palace is not a character dining location, guests may find Tiana in New Orleans Square. The menu at Tiana’s Palace will expand on many of the current favorites served in the location, explore seasonal flavors and, of course, offer some New Orleans classics. Tiana’s Palace is sure to be a gathering place for friends and family to enjoy great food and celebrate together, just like Tiana and her father James dreamed of. Disney Imagineers are partnering with Disney Animation artists from the original film to bring this story to life at Disneyland park. In fact, the film designers took inspiration from the exterior of the original French Market Restaurant in New Orleans Square when designing Tiana’s Palace for the movie, so this is a long-dreamt homecoming. To begin this work, French Market Restaurant (and Mint Julep Bar) will be closed beginning February 17, 2023, and will reopen as Tiana’s Palace (alongside Mint Julep Bar with its famous mint juleps and Mickey beignets) later in the year.

This will coincide with the Tiana overlay of Splash Mountain. Now Critter Country and New Orleans Square will overlap. Can Pooh be far behind on the chopping block? Here are some of my favorite vintage images of the French Market:

What a beautiful view!

That’s a lot of food…and a lot of hairspray for mom on the right! Note the sign in the background for the Delta Ramblers:

Here they are! They sure look pooped. But the show must go on.

A contemporary shot of the location at night:

Here is the concept art that has been released for the restaurant:

See more Disneyland French Market restaurant photos at my main website.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Temple Tuesday: Behind the Scenes of "Honeymoon"

After three back-to-back-to hits in her teen career (“Since You Went Away,” “I’ll Be Seeing You,” and “Kiss and Tell”), Shirley Temple was poised for a second round of success in the movies. How unfortunate that David Selznick allowed her to be put in the misguided comedy (and I use that term loosely), “Honeymoon.” Oh Shirley…you should have fought as hard to get out of this turkey!

Apparently, the original intentions were good, as three of the stars from “Since You Went Away” were to be reteamed in this one, according to the New York Times on January 20, 1946: Shirley, Joseph Cotten, and Guy Madison. Cotten would have played the role that eventually went to Franchot Tone, but he wisely turned it down which resulted in his suspension. A smart move on his part, as his next film turned out to be the runaway hit, “The Farmer’s Daughter” with Loretta Young. Poor Shirley…she stayed with the project like a trooper. Guy himself attempted to drum up some excitement with his fan club, giving them some details about his upcoming movie:

The trip to Mexico didn’t happen, thanks to a workers’ strike in the Mexican film industry. The stars stayed in Hollywood, and only the second unit went to Mexico City to shoot a few long shots (with obvious doubles!).

With ad copy like, “She’s His Glamor Girl…He’s Her Guy!”, it’s not wonder this movie was doomed. Oh, I get it…her costar’s name is Guy Madison! Please…stop…no really…please…

At least the movie provided an opportunity for a few behind-the-scenes publicity stills of Shirley, looking gorgeous.

The glow of her own recent wedding and honeymoon are evident. However, I am sure she was thinking here, “Oh, if only Joseph Cotten had stayed on…”

There are a few redeeming parts of the movie, including getting to watch Shirley do a jitterbug dance with Franchot:

The film ended up losing $675,000 at the box office.

See more teenage Shirley Temple photos at my main website.

Monday, February 20, 2023

At Home with the Presidents

In honor of Presidents’ Day, my Monday post will show the trio of homes that I have visited. I have yet to scan the 1971 negatives from my childhood trip to Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington, so this vintage shot will have to do. Located in Alexandra, Virginia, the Palladian style home began construction in 1734 and went through a number of expansions and remodels over the next 45 years, yielding the present structure that guests can tour today.  

The closest you can get to seeing Washington himself is in Orlando, where his animatronic performs daily in the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World:

I’ve been to Monicello twice; once in 1971 and then returned again (with my own camera!) in 2017.

Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. President, began work on his neoclassic home in 1768, with a number of expansions and revisions that continued on until his death in 1826. 

He is also represented in the Hall of Presidents:

Want to see a panorama of the Hall of Presidents? Here you go:

I’ve never been to the home of our sixteenth president, Abraham Lincoln, but I have visited him at Disneyland’s Opera House:

…and seen his inferior counterpart in Orlando:

I also happened to catch him at the now defunct Tresor Gallery on Royal Street in New Orleans in 2015:

Jumping forward to our thirty-seventh president, Richard Nixon, I visited his birthplace in 2005.

Located on the grounds of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, it is a very modest dwelling, built in 1912 from a mail order construction kit by his father, Frank Nixon.

What better place for the then vice president to celebrate the christening of the Disneyland Monorail in 1959 than at the Carnation Ice Cream Parlour? He is surrounded by his wife Pat, Louise the waitress, and daughter Tricia Nixon. General Manager Mr. Knowles seem to be giving an unspecified direction to the photographer from the background.

Now I’m craving an ice cream sundae.

See more Daveland photos at my main website.