This is the accompanying press releases.
The second image is of Bud Hurlbut, Walter Knott, Don Koll looking at the attraction model at the ground breaking for the ride on July 29, 1968. The ride opened in the summer of 1969 with great fanfare. The first family to ride the attraction was the John Wayne family and Tony Baxter from WDI was there that day also. (There is a publicity shot showing Tony in line while the Wayne family is riding the drop.)
Here is the accompanying press release.