Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Two Views of the Emporium

Two side views of the Main Street Emporium. The first is from Main Street showing the windows.

The second view is from Town Square with Mickey Mouse Club Merchandise in the windows.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Let's Hop Aboard the Mekong Maiden

Just imagine it is a nice spring day in 1961 at Disneyland. Look a Jungle Cruise boat, let's hop on board and take a ride....

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Studio Strike of 1941 Part 3

Some more images from the strike at Disney Studios in 1941. Based upon some of the fliers and also the signs, this must have been one of the most colorful strikes in history.
(Based upon the comments received from the readers, I have corrected and updated the posting. Thanks everyone!)
The first image is of Herb Sorrel who was the leader of the strike. He was a studio painter who was influenced by Australian-American labor organizer Harry Bridges. Herb would later lead the bloodiest strike in Hollywood history with Combined Screen Unions in 1945 and the infamous Black Friday on October 5, 1945 when strikers and Warner Brothers Studio clashed.

The next image is actor and screen writer John Gleason. Best known for his New York characters, being nominated for an Academy Award for playing boxing manager Max "Pop" Corkle in the film Here Comes Mr. Jordan.

I love this image and should have placed it next to the effigy of Gunther Lessing in the guillotine. This is the procession marching the guillotine to its location. I love the dramatic look and feel of this procession.

And to add a little background, a handout from the strikers describing the reason for the strike.

I would like to once again Bob Cowan ( for sharing the images with me and my readers. To see more of his collection, head to Didier Ghez's Disney History blog.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Studio Strike of 1941 Part 2

Continuing with the strike photos from the Cowan collection, I start off with another night shot with the strikers in their formal attire.

The next two images are of the soup kitchen. The tables were constructed by the Warner Brothers Carpentry department and staffed by members of the Coral Room and Disney Studio Restaurant. It was set up in a nice shady grove right across the street from the Walt Disney Studios. The man in the center of the second image is of Herb Sorrell who was one of the strike leaders from the Union. Walt was convinced Herb was a full fledged communist out to destroy the United States.

The photographs are some of the earliest from an animator who left after the strike and became a famous photographer. The animator Kosti Ruohomaa returned home to New England and took photographs of the landscape of New England with a special interest in Maine. He eventually earned the nickname the Ansel Adams of New England.

Finally another nice image of the picket line at the Studios. p>

Once again I would like to thank Bob Cowan ( for his generosity in sharing these images. And thanks to all who wrote comments. Look for some more documents and a couple of images tomorrow from this collection.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Studio Strike of 1941 Part 1

This blog thing is a really great way to meet people and see things you would have never had a chance to see otherwise. Such is the case for the following images. A reader of this blog has sent in these wonderful images. The images are of animators on the picket line at the Walt Disney Studio in 1941. The strike is one of the defining moments for Walt Disney and the Disney company. It exposed a rift between Walt and his staff and may have sent him off exploring many other avenues. I believe it may be argued that if the strike did not happen, neither would have the live action films and Disneyland. The first image shows the strikers walking the picket line wearing their evening clothes. It appears the Ink and Paint department (or the wives of the animators) have joined the strike. This may have taken place at a Movie Premiere.

The second image is of an effigy. It may be of Walt or of Gunther Lessing the Disney legal rep.

The next image shows a great picket sign featuring Walt caricatured as the Reluctant Dragon.

The fourth image shows a great Jiminy Cricket sign. The anti-strike sign hanging off the studio building is interesting.

I would like to thank Bob Cowan ( for letting me post the images. I will post some more images tomorrow.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Souvenir Friday- Television Viewers

I love these little television shaped viewers. This is only part (although a large part) of my collection of these. The pictures inside the each television viewer date from a series in the late 1950s up to the mid 1960s. The little viewers are very hard to locate. I also collect them from other theme parks with the San Antonio Zoo and Lion Country Safari included in the collection. I wish I could show the images from the viewers, but nothing seems to work. These are fun little souvenirs.

Just to add to today's post, a publicity shot of Walt Disney from the opening of a Television show.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Entrance to Adventureland

Looking like an image taken directly from a postcard or a guidebook is this nice shot of the entrance to Adventureland. The number of items decorating the entrance is amazing, looking like a classic tiki bar. I do not remember seeing many images with the cannibal head on top of the sign and the crossed paddles hanging from the sign. The masks on the fence are also very nice. A definite portal to a land of adventure.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Restrooms at City Hall

In the collection of sign shots there are some pretty obscure shots. This is one of the more obscure images, the set of restrooms attached to City Hall on Main Street. This part of the building is very unremarkable architecturally and looks just like a blank brick wall. However the photographer inadvertently made the image into a classic art photograph with the two older gentlemen sitting on the bench, the sign in the foreground matching the flag pole coming off of the roof and the father and daughter on the other bench. The more I look at the photograph, the more I like it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bank Of America Main Street Branch

One of the many innovations of Disneyland was a true working branch of the Bank of America. Visitors to the park could cash checks and purchase souvenir money orders. Walt Disney and the Bank of America had a long relationship all the way back to Snow White and The Seven Dwarves. B of A was the bank from which the loan was secured for completion of the film. Additionally, a real working bank added to the concept of realism, allowing visitors to really feel they were in a small town of the early 1900s and a helpful banker was available to assist them. In the corner, almost out of view is a section of attraction posters.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sailing Ship Columbia Dock at Fowlers Harbor

Years ago there used to be a designated dock for the Sailing Ship Columbia. Some times when the ship was not out on the river, guests could still walk on board and visit below decks. This is a nice sequence of photographs of the old dock showing the great signage that was once found. Now the Columbia docks there, but there is no easy access and guests are not allowed on board. But you can get yummy fast snack food and drinks at the Harbour Galley.

The faux restaurant at Fowlers Harbor is Maurie's Lobster Dinners named after Admiral Joe Fowler's wife.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Final Visit to the Walt Disney Studio

Today is the last set of images from the Ink and Paint Department employee. The first image is marked Betty Underhill Mrs. Robert Jewett now 1939 or 1940.

The next image is of the Minneapolis Club at the Studio with a large Charlotte Clark Minnie Mouse doll.

The next two photographs are of a Studio picnic at Griffith Park. The first photograph is marked Griffith Park 1938 Helen Nerbovig and Faith Rookus.

And this is marked Betty Underhill

A couple of more shots of the Patio at the studio. The first is captioned Patio Betty Ann Gunther.

And the caption on this one is Ruth Pardner in white.

One more shot outside. The original owner taped the two photos together. The caption on this one is Marguerite Jate, Minette, Phyllis Bounds Walt Disney's Niece, Doris, Ann, Patio at Disneys about 1938.

One of the readers has a similar but much more spectacular scrapbook kept by Ingeborg Willy. The reader has made the scrapbook available as a blurb book. The book is filled not only with pictures of her fellow employees, but also original sketches, memo's, timing sheets and more. Here is the link, I recommend it if you are interested in the history of the Walt Disney Studio in the late 1930's. Working For Disney 1936-1937

Friday, April 18, 2008

Souvenir Friday-Elitch Garden Amusement Park

In speaking with my friends and co-workers who grew up in Denver, Elitch's Garden was one of the most beautiful, peaceful and amazing amusement park. Located in a suburb of Denver, the park had immaculate landscaping as well as some great rides. The park also had a history stretching back to 1890. The park moved closer to Denver in 1995 to allow for expansion of the park and was subsequently purchased and then sold by Six Flags. The new park does not have the charm nor the landscaping of the old park (in fact it is on an old toxic waste dump, a superfund site.) The area of the old park has been developed with only the Elitch Theater and the large Carousel barn still remaining on site. The brochure below dates from circa 1952 when the Kiddie Land was added to the park.

Sorry for the little stitch glitch in the middle of the long brochure image.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Primeval World

One of my favorite parts of a train trip around Disneyland is the section from Tomorrowland to Main Street, the Grand Canyon Diorama and Primeval World. Like most boys, I had (well, still have) a fascination with dinosaurs. And to see the large terrible lizards in real size and action was always a thrill. To this day, I will ride the train to see the diorama's and marvel at the dinosaurs. Both of these photographs are press photos with attached information.

Breathtaking Battle- Disneyland dinosaurs Battle atop a volcanic mountain in this three-dimensional scene from 100-million years ago. The most feared of all, Tyrannosaurus Rex, shakes his massive tooth-filled head at a smaller Stegosauraus who makes up for his lack of size with two brains, armor plates and a death-dealing tail. They are among 46 huge "Audio-Animatronic" creatures in Disneyland's new "Primeval World" seen by passengers aboard the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad.

The Dawn of History is Now- Huge Brontosaurus herds like this roamed the earth 200-million years ago. Now Walt Disney brings them back to life in full-size, three-dimensional realism through art of "Audio-Animatronics". These are among 46 famous dinosaurs and other pre-historic creatures seen in Disneyland's new "Primeval World" along the Santa Fe and Disneyland Railroad.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Presidential Visit

A nice candid shot of Dwight D. Eisenhower and his wife Mamie along with two of their grandchildren, Dwight D. Eisenhower II and Susan Elaine Eisenhower. I believe the image is from 1959 based upon the ages of the grandchildren. Mamie is very fashionable with her large tree of life handbag, most likely made by Collins of Texas. And Dwight II makes a bold statement in his plaid suit. His sartorial style must have let him capture the heart of President Richard Nixon's daughter Julie whom he wed in the late 1960s.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Aunt Jemima Pancake Race Part Two

Some more images from the Aunt Jemima Pancake Race. The lady in this first photograph is just so graceful and determined in this shot. The pancake is doing quite a flip as she positions her body just so.

The next two images show the actual race on Main Street. Some nice details in the background on the first one including a Monorail and Submarine Voyage poster up at the Opera House.

I like the observer in the background wearing his train conductors hat. And the crowd is really getting into the race. I believe the pancake had to be flipped high enough to pass over the ribbon strung across the street. This must have been quite the competitive sport back in the day. I am sure these ladies had special trainers and diets to compete.

Here is a winner from 1960 receiving her $100 check for winning the California race. I believe the two gentleman are from Quaker Oats. According the official web page for Aunt Jemima, Aylene Lewis was the actress who portrayed Aunt Jemima at Disneyland.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Aunt Jemima Pancake Race 1961

One of the many fun events held at Disneyland over the years was the annual Aunt Jemima Pancake race down Main Street. The race featured housewives running down Main Street while wearing a house dress and apron all the time flipping a pancake. The races were held in several cities throughout the United States. Disneyland was the site of the California finals to see who would go on to the Nationals. The photographs are from the 3rd Annual race which was held in 1961. The first image is a lovely shot of Aunt Jemima with a competitor. I wish the button was specific to Disneyland, but it is a generic Aunt Jemima Pancake Days button.

The next two show some of the competitors practicing back stage. On my permanent want list is one of the aprons and one of the frying pans they are using to flip the pancakes.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Pendleton Store in Frontierland

A couple of Fridays back I posted letterhead and label used at the Pendleton Exhibit and store. I found a couple of images of the signage from the front of the building. The first shows the windows showcasing the Miss Pendleton line of clothing in a rustic setting.

The second is an image of the exhibit sign, designed to look like and in the same colors the Pendleton label on their famous Native American blankets.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Walt Disney Studios Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony Cartoons

Another visit to the Hyperion Avenue Studio. The first photograph is of a fellow ink and paint employee, Ingeborg Willy now Mrs. Burl Nelson.

The next image shows the paints, the brushes and the cels in a nicely composed still life.

The final two are some of my favorite photos from the album. The iconic Mickey Mouse sign, taken from the view inside the studio. I wonder why Disney did not move the sign to the new studio in Burbank?