Thursday, August 31, 2006

Santa's Village Lake Arrowhead

Santa's Village was one of the hidden gems of a park located outside of Los Angeles at Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernadino mountains. It was a very beautiful park when it opened as seen in these slides. The park was the genesis for two other locations, one in the Santa Cruz mountains which I never did get to see and one still in operation at Dundee Illinois outside of Chicago. I have been to the Dundee park and it is slowly being "Six Flagged" with the addition of thrill rides with no theming to attract teens and losing its charm. But there are other competitors and one is located in Colorado Springs. The park is called the North Pole. It is still a charming theme park and has many of the same rides such as the Christmas Tree ornament ride, a skyway, a magical little train. the required frozen North Pole and of course Santa himself.

The Lake Arrowhead park closed several years ago to become a nature park, at least that was the rumor and the explanation. I went the last month it was open and let me tell you, the employees of the park were nothing like the employees seen in these slides. All of these clean cut girls and guys would now be working at one of the ski areas, not working at this park. As part of closing the park, there was a big auction of all the rides and other items. Luckily an antique dealer won a bunch of signs and then placed them in the antique mall. I was able to purchase most of them. Here are a couple of fun examples of the signs.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Four Southern California Amusement Theme Parks 1959

I normally do not post commercial slides, but these four slides are way too cool not to post. This is from a set of slides published for tourists to Los Angeles in 1959. The slides show four different Southern California amusement parks or theme parks. The first is the Long Beach Pike in its later glory. It is starting to turn into a seedier park like Coney Island did, but still has some nice attractions and a seaside vibe. The second is a nice shot of the architecture at Marineland of the Pacific with its very cool straight lines. The third is Pacific Ocean Park and the iconic front entrance made to look like a shell with bubbles and the signature seahorse which is found on souvenirs, brochures, tickets and employees uniforms. And for those who miss Disneyland slides, a great overhead view of Tomorrowland, Main Street and Fantasyland. The image really shows how much land was backstage between Tomorrowland and Main Street. No wonder the imagineers were always trying to add something there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stuck in the 1940s- Denver Lakeside Amusment Park

Having recently moved from Orange County to Denver, I have had the chance to explore and discover new amusement parks. Most people know about the Six Flags amusement park located downtown, which took over a classic amusement park's name Elitch Gardens. The Six Flags is a coaster park dominated with the latest version of the fastest steel coaster but having no charm. However, there is an amusement park located slightly west of downtown called the Lakeside Amusement Park boasting a classic wooden coaster, carousel, and other rides from the 1920s to the 1950s. It has been one of my best finds as the park appears to be stuck in the 1940s with classic neon and classic rides, and not one ride newer than 1955. The park is famous for its lights and neon and it is quite spectacular to see during the night. Some of the highlights are its original 1920s wooden roller coaster, a great and fast version of the wild mouse called the Wild Chipmunk, a house of mirrors, a great 1910s carousel and a pretty decent version of bumper cars. If only California Adventure had such rides in the boardwalk section, it may have succeeded. So please forgive me as I show some images I took this year of this amazing time warp park.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Universal Studios Backlot 1960

Continuing on the tour of non-Disneyland theme and amusement parks of the 1960s, here are three slides of Universal Studios and the backlot in 1960. Universal Studios is almost one of the forgotten parks as far as collectors go. Not many theme park collectors actively purchase items from this tourist attraction and the other collectors who love the park are the Monster collectors. There was some great souvenirs produced with the famous Universal Monstersb and they had a wonderful stage and photo spot called the Monsters Laboratory. I know I have some snapshots of the Monster Laboratory and I promise to drag them out and show them one day.

The shot of the Roman temple and the advertising for Spartacus is rather nice. I do not think the temple lasted for very long. Also the filming shot on the street scene is rather cool as well. Most tourists when coming to visit Hollywood want to see what Universal offers, the backstage and filming of Movies and TV shows. The addition of rides was welcome, but I feel that the tram ride suffered. I am not sure about the addition of Whoopi as the tour guide to the backstage tour, has anyone ridden that and has an opinion?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Marineland of the Pacific Performance

Two great views of the extinct Marineland of the Paciifc theater located in Palos Verdes south of Los Angeles. Actually, the location is not that extinct as it was the set for the seaside town and fort in the Pirates of the Carribbean films as well as a popular wedding reception site. Although a park I did not grow up with as Sea World was located in San Diego and was the ocean themed park I grew up with, I have developed an appreciation for Marinelend. The architecture of the buildings had great lines and the setting was spectacular. The shows here were much more sedate and not as campy as at Sea World. The costume of the guy working with the pilot whale is also a reason to keep checking vintage clothing shops.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Two Views of Knott's Berry Farm Early 1950s

From a trip to Knotts Berry Farm in the early 1950s comes these two images. One of the Knotts version of the Indian Village with a nice decorated plains Indian teepee and one of the stage where the Medicine Seller show would happen. These are for Chris M. and his love and knowledge of Knotts Berry Farm. I would guess the month to be January when it can get somewhat cold as evidenced by all the jackets worn.

Friday, August 25, 2006

2 New Blogs of Note

Hey all loyal readers- I have been made aware of two new blogs of note. The first is of another Disneyland collector and his observations on the parks and slides. It is the Pickle Barrel Blog

The other is focused on the disapearing Googie architecture in Orange County, titled Googiemel

Souvenir Friday- Pacific Ocean Park Neptune's Kingdom Sign

Once again not really a souvenir that was sold, but now a souvenir of a long gone park. This is the exit sign that would have been seen at Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, California. Neptune's Kingdom was the first attraction you walked through to enter the pier and amusement area of POP. I believe the sign would have been lit and had a strobe effect in such a way that King Neptunes hand would wave. I also believe that the attraction was lit like the Fantasyland Dark Rides, leading to a more realistic looking King Neptune. This sign is fairly big, a bit bigger than a Disneyland attraction poster. The sign is painted on plywood and has several holes from where it was screwed into the wall. The Coca Cola lettering is a silver gilt type of material and the mermaid is drinking a Coca Cola.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tom Sawyer Island Fishing Shack Summer 1956

another shot from the Mark Twain Riverboat, this time the fishing shack seen on Tom Sawyers Island. This particular structure is the smallest restroom at Disneyland and quite rustic. The nice part is that it is usually the cleanest as no one knows it is there and it is not used. I also believe this is where the fishing would take place and that is why there are markers in the water to keep those Keel Boat Captains and Canoe rowers out of the area.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Fort Wilderness Summer of 1956

Wonderful slide of the front gate to Fort Wilderness. The nice scenic touch of the pair of bleached white moose horns adds to the scene. Also the lack of trees allows the photographer to take the image from the Mark Twain river boat. I miss this old Frontierland where kids could explore and it seemed more of the old west than it does today.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Administration Building and Fire Department 1955

A rare treat was to find this image of the old white house administration building home to some of the early maintenance shops and the fire department. The fire truck appears to be based upon a Dodge truck similar to the World War 2 trucks. Also I doubt that backstage appeared this messy and disorganized for very long.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Waiting to Ride the Mark V Autopia Cars 1959

A nice view of the newly designed Mark V autopia cars at the load area. These cars were designed to replace the earlier cars that had much mechanical difficulty in the first four years. Although a great looking design, the cars proved to be very heavy and slow with the wrap around bumpers and the extra trim adding to the weight. The cars were replaced in 1965 by Mark VI cars which was also the first year for the center guide rail. The cars were then replaced in 1967 by the Mark VII that ran for more than 30 years. In fact the chassis and engines designed for the Mark VII cars are still running the autopia vehicles of today.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Disneyland Is Open View From Main Street Station

I believe this is another pre-opening ceremony shot of the park. It appears that the KABC-channel 7 camera (conveniently placed on a forklift for those dramatic overhead shots) is being moved into place, the lucky individuals with early tickets are exploring Main Street, what appears to be the Fire House 5 Plus 2 are relaxing in the shade on the Town Square lawn and in the background can be seen balloons that are flying over Tomorrowland to add a festive air. I believe the International Street has a Grand Opening year of 1956 at this time. For such an early time on opening day there sure is a lot of activity going on.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Both Sides of Plaza Pavilion Pre-Opening Day

Another pre-opening image showing the Plaza Pavilion. Clearly seen is the transition from the Victorian gingerbread roof to the Adventureland thatched roof and A Frame style. I can just imagine the architects response when the designers came to him and said "We want to have a restaurant with one side being Victorian style and the other side to be Polynesian style." The finishing touches seem to be placing in windows and touching up some of the paint. Seeing modern vehicles on Main Street is always a neat visual.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Souvenir Friday- Mad Hatter Shop Art Plus End of Parade

This is a wonderful color sketch of the Mad Hatter Hat Shop located in Fantasyland. Done as part of the 1983 redo of Fantasyland, the art depicts the side of the shop with the entrance door for the White Rabbit. I believe this piece was either done by Ken Anderson or Kim Irvine as I have seen color artwork similar to this piece by both artists. And since this is a hat shop, it really ties into my hat fetish.

And as a bonus, here is the last slide of the opening day parade...the crowd following the parade clogging Main Street. It looks almost as bad as the 50th Birthday event, just with everyone wearing a nice shirt and tie and dresses and heels. Lots of the visitors have cameras so there must be a lot more pictures of opening day out there sitting in families photo albums....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Horse Drawn Surry and Carnation Milk Truck in Parade 1955

At the end of the parade was a Horse Drawn Surrey and the Carnation Milk Truck. The Carnation Milk Truck is one of my favorite Gurrmobiles (designed by Bob Gurr and constructed by Carnation at their truck maintenance yard for Disneyland.) Although it did not get to motor out very often, it is seen in many images with little kids sitting in the C Cab. I have also been told that this was Walt's favorite vehicle to drive and have a picture of him driving it with a Carnation Milk Man sitting next to him.

Just behind the Milk truck is the crowd of people following the parade down Main Street with security keeping them a safe distance from the truck. And this shot is a little closer and you can see a lady shading herself with the first guidebook in the mid lower left hand corner. I think tomorrow may be the last slide of the opening day parade (unless I find more.)

For more information on the Carnation truck, read this post from Bob Gurr on

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Native American On Horse Opening Day Parade

Another one for Major Pepperidge, this time a Native American Indian on horseback. I love the war paint on the horse trying to make the Indian look more savage. And behind him are the Indian dancers and drummers. Frontierland was definitely a very happening land at this time.

I don't know if anyone has noticed, but in all the photos are two kids hanging and standing up on one of the windows. They are right about in the middle of this slide. Their arms must have been tired by the time the parade was finished.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Stage Coach and Revolutionary War Soldiers in Parade

Continuing the series of parade images, this is the Disneyland Frontierland Stage Coach on Main Street with the Native American Dancers behind them. In front though are Revolutionary War soldiers. They may be promoting Johnny Tremain, or just another group to add color to the event.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Native American Indian Dancers Opening Day Parade

For Major Pepperidge, here are the Native American Indian dancers participating in the Opening Day Parade. It must have been quite a sight to see all of the units and the variety, from the Firehouse Five Plus Two, Horse Drawn Wagons, Antique Automobiles, Knights in armor, the Mousekeeters, Autopia Cars, a Spaceman and more.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Frontierland Square Dancers Float Opening Day Parade

One of the more unusual floats in the opening day parade was the Frontierland float featuring square dancing. Check out the caller in his string bow tie and the band behind him. Also, the next section is Tomorrowland as seen by the banner. The crowd looks as mashed together as some of the current fireworks shows.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Tomorrowland Section of the Opening Day Parade

I was trying to go through the parade in sequence, then I saw this image and knew I had to post it. This is the Tomorrowland section of the parade with the freshly manufactured Autopia cars driving down Main Street. Leading this section is also the spaceman mascot for the land. And one of the drivers of the Autopia cars is the designer Bob Gurr. He loves to tell the story of driving the cars up Main Street in the parade.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Souvenir Friday- Disneyland Santa Fe Railroad Color Studies

Keeping in the theme of pre-opening items are three small color studies done for the Disneyland and Santa Fe Railroad. The studies are not very detailed nor very large. I believe they were done in late 1954 as the trains were being constructed. I purchased the sketches many years ago from a Howard Lowery auction and have enjoyed them since them. Unfortunately the only marking on them is a phone number written on the back so I do not know who painted them.

In other news, I am working a posting thread on Tiki Central showing my collection of Tahitian Terrace items. Check it out: .

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Horse Drawn Fire Wagon Opening Day Parade

Next up in the parade is the Horse Drawn Fire Wagon (appropriately enough.) Behind that can be seen one of the surreys and also the Carnation Milk Truck. Both the Fire Wagon and Surrey were actual rides, the Carnation Truck sat in front of the Carnation Cafe and was one of Walt's favorite toys to drive around. But it was never used to provide rides for guests. If you look closely you will see an early Dapper Dans group hanging out the second story window of the emporium.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Firehouse Five Plus 2 Marching in Opening Day Parade

One of the most enjoyable parts of watching the opening day ceremony on the Disney Treasures DVD is the performance of the Firehouse Five Plus Two. The band was Ward Kimball's baby who recruited other talented animators such as Frank Thomas, Harper Goff and soundman Jimmy McDonald to play classic Dixieland Jazz. For many years the band was a fixture at Disneyland and appeared every year at the Dixieland at Disneyland events. Last year Ward's famous train collection was auctioned off along with a couple of the Firehouse Five Plus Two fireman hats. The hats were sold for very good money, one ending up at the Walt Disney Barn in Griffith Park. I wish I could find one of those hats....maybe one of these days.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Puffin Bake Shop and Sunny View Farms Stores Opening Day

View of the Puffin Bake shop and Sunny View Farms store being finished on opening day. This was the two stores directly across from the rooftop perch the photographer had on opening day. Once again there is lots of activity and workers rushing around to complete the myriad of tasks so the park could be opened. I am willing to bet that for may weeks after, finish construction was still taking place even in the shops. Both shops would not last for very long, Sunny View Farms approximately 4 years and Puffin Bakery a bit longer.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Cars, Trucks and People on Main Street July 17, 1955

Another view of the activity on Main Street prior to the Grand Opening. I love the hustle and bustle of not only the workers on the sidewalk, but also the vehicles on the street. I have a feeling that the last days of construction were hectic and very stressful especially for Admiral Joe Fowler who was tasked with this enormous construction project.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Cars on Main Street July 17, 1955

This is the opposite view of the park on opening day in the morning for the photographer. The profusion of cars on the street for the various construction and park lessees shows the hum of activity that was happening on the opening day. In the background you can see the parking lot is starting to fill up with expectant visitors. For some of the employees, this was their first time they were able to see the park and their work location. As Major Pepperidge has stated it would be wonderful to be able to crawl into this image and feel and see the excitement of opening day.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Sleeping Beauty Castle Morning of Opening Day

Wonderful view of the activities that were going on opening day July 17. The satellite dishes on the right hand side of the image are very archaic, but did the work they were required and sent the image of the live television broadcast throughout the world. I believe this is the location where the photographer stood to take the images of the opening day parade which I will show all next week.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Souvenir Friday- 1966 Scarf

A wonderful graphic scarf made in 1966 featuring the Enchanted Tiki Room, It's A Small World, New Orleans Square and Sleeping Beauty Castle. I love the graphics of the birds and of the Small World characters. And the colors are just so 1966. Scarf is made in Japan and measures 12 by 12 inches (larger than my scanner bed so I merged two scans together.)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Los Angeles Airways Helicopter at Disneyland

What a great way to get to Disneyland: fly into Los Angeles Airport, walk to the Los Angeles Airways Helicopter pad and be flown to Disneyland. The overhead view of the park must have been great to see. And landing at the back of Tomorrowland would have been one of the best experiences of a trip. Walt was definitely thinking about transportation of the future when he created a Helicopter landing pad. At this time, helicopters were still being tested and in limited use in the Military. It was not until the Vietnam war that helicopters were used with any great frequency for transport. And now every news channel has their own. I kind of wish that this service was still available rather than trying to fight the California traffic to get to Disneyland.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Lost Children

With as many people who visit Disneyland on a daily basis, they had to create a place where Lost Children and Lost Parents could meet. What better place than First Aid with sick and bleeding people as well? I guess it was more efficient and nurses are trained to be understanding and compassionate. This location appears to be where First Aid is still located, the access road between Plaza Inn and the shops of Main Street. I have always liked the idea of a Lost Parents meeting area, taking the blame away from the kids.

If you look at the lower right hand shot, you will see artist renderings for New Orleans Square in the window. These pictures were taken in 1966 just as the new land was opening prior to any rides in the area.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Alice In Wonderland Ticket Booth 1966

Today's post for Major Pepperidges blog Gorillas Don't Blog is of the Alice In Wonderland ride showcasing the Caterpillar ride vehicle and in the background can be seen the ticket booth. Here is the front of the ticket booth with the window closed with a similar sign to the Storybook Land Canal Boats. Notice that this ride was also a D ticket at the time.

Also shown is the top of the Mushroom themed ticket booth with the great Alice In Wonderland posters on top. The story is the Alice ride posters without the Fantasyland tag on the bottom were screened for the top of the booth and since only two were used at a time, they are the more common version. Once again this scenic element still exists as a beacon for the ride, but has been moved to make it more prominent in the new Fantasyland of 1983.

One other interesting fact is that the ride has always been late, not opening with the rest of Fantasyland until 1958 and then during the rehab of Fantasyland it opened a year after the other dark rides in 1984. Maybe the White Rabbit should have been the project manager?