Friday, June 15, 2018

Father's Day In The Parks (Long Beach & South Bay Edition!)

It's time for another Father's Day In The Parks post! Today's photos were all taken by my dad at various Southern California attractions, specifically in Long Beach and the "South Bay" area.

These first three were taken at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. The Queen Mary was a Cunard-White Star Lines ocean liner that began service in 1936. After being retired and sold to the City of Long Beach for $3.45 million, she departed South Hampton on October 31, 1967 and arrived in Long Beach on December 9, 1967. This first pic was taken in March of 1968, just a few months after her arrival.

The next photo was taken five years later, in 1973. By this time, the ship had been operating as a tourist attraction for a couple years (since May 1971) and as a hotel for a year (since November 1972). In the background, we can see the Long Beach Convention Center. This was before it received it's massive wrap-around whale mural from the artist, "Wyland."

This shot was taken ten years later, in 1983. After the ship arrived in Long Beach, the ship's three smokestacks were taken off in order to remove equipment from the ship's front engine room and all of the boiler rooms. At that time, the smokestacks were discovered to be badly deteriorated, so they were replaced with replicas.

Now we're just a little further west, in the City of Torrance. "Rideland" was an amusement park that sat at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue. It closed in the late sixties/early seventies. A McDonald's and a Taco Bell replaced the amusement park and are still standing today, although an "El Burrito Junior" has now moved into the old Taco Bell building.

Being a lover of trees, I am happy to report that the tree across the street (Pacific Coast Highway) in the photo below, still exists! Today, it stands in front of the Pacific Ocean Center, a little shopping center that was built in 1966, just one year after these pictures were taken.

The little amusement park was just a few blocks from the Torrance Airport. The Goodyear Blimp had made it's home there back in the 1950's, and then again for a short time from 1967 to 1968, when it was then moved to it's current home alongside the 405 freeway in the City of Carson. It appears there was a fire burning in the distance, at the time my dad took this photo!

Moving just a little bit south to the coast, our final destination is Marineland of the Pacific, on the beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula. Marineland had a two-level observation car that offered excellent views of the park below, the rolling hills of Palos Verdes, and the Pacific Ocean. These photos were all taken in the summer of 1966. Marineland of the Pacific had opened in 1954, and ended up closing in 1987.

I know I mentioned this in one of my previous Marineland posts, but I'm going to mention it again! Sea World's owners bought Marineland in order to acquire it's killer whales (Orky and Corky) for their killer whale breeding program in San Diego.

When they purchased the park in December of 1986, they made a public statement saying that Marineland would remain open and that they were going to renovate it. However, soon after the purchase went through, they said that they were not going to keep it open after all, but they would keep it open through the Easter/Spring break, so that people would have one last chance to visit.

They ended up closing the park just before President's Weekend in February, more than two months earlier than they had announced. The animals were then packed up in trucks in the middle of the night, and relocated to Sea World in San Diego. Orky and Corky had actually been transferred, prior to the park's closing. Corky was pregnant at the time she was moved and shortly after she arrived at Sea World, she miscarried. Orky died the following year. The new owners also reportedly poured concrete into the drains at Marineland, so that the park could not be reopened. Such a sad ending to the park's 32-year history!

So as not to end on a sour note, here is one more pic from Marineland. I'm wondering if the trainer had a fish in his mouth here. I don't think I can see one, but it would make sense. Otherwise, I think he would have his hand out and not be bent over with his face so close to where the dolphin/porpoise was going to jump. And isn't the old "holding a fish in the mouth trick" something that they used to do back in the day, at marine parks?

Happy Father's Day Weekend to all of the dads out there!

Friday, May 11, 2018

The Mulan Parade at Disneyland - 1998

The Mulan Parade debuted at Disneyland in the summer of 1998 and was the last of the park's "movie tie-in" parades. It ran only at night during those summer months and was basically a replacement for "Light Magic." Light Magic had been Disney's highly touted replacement for the classic Main Street Electrical Parade. It debuted in May of 1997, but it was an immediate failure and ran for less than four months. At the end of summer, park officials insisted that Light Magic would be making a return the following year, but fortunately that did not happen. Instead, we got The Mulan Parade!

The Mulan Parade ran for one full year, and even received it's own Disneyland postcard!

Parade times were 8:50 (followed by the fireworks) and 10:15. Note below, that the Hercules Victory Parade was still running during the daytime.

I took the following pictures of the parade during the summer of 1998....20 years ago!

And speaking of the Electrical Parade, I was told at the time, that the framework for this "Matchmaker" float was the same one that had been used for the Electrical Parade's Blue Fairy float. I'm not sure if that is true or not. After all, Disneyland's Electrical Parade went to Times Square in New York for the premiere of "Hercules" in 1997 and I believe it then went on to Walt Disney World after that. If anyone knows for sure, please chime in!

Mulan and her father, Fa Zhou:

Mushu was chauffeured around in his own rickshaw:

The Fa Family Ancestors:

Mulan's fellow soldiers, Yao, Ling and Chien-Po, disguised as concubines:

Evil Hun leader, Shan Yu:

The Great Wall of China represented by a giant dragon:

Chinese yo-yo performers:

Pot balancers:

Plate Spinners:

Stilt Walkers:

Mulan, her father Fa Zhou, and Chinese army commander Li Shang, rode on a float pulled by a team of horses:

The float was followed by a clean-up crew for the horses:

The parade's finale, The Chinese Emperor:

I also shot video of the parade and I'm including it below, in case anyone is interested.

Mulan had just been released that year, as Disney's 36th animated feature film. Scenes from the movie had also been recreated in miniature, and displayed in the windows of the Main Street Emporium.

I do like the various movie scenes that are currently in the Emporium windows (when they work properly), but I miss the days when the latest Disney films would be represented in multiple window displays.

In 2005, some of the scenes from past window displays made a return for Disneyland's 50th anniversary. This window contained scenes from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Pocahontas, Mulan, and Tarzan (partially obscured).

Here is a close-up of the Mulan scene that was brought back that year.

And because I did the same thing with my Hunchback of Notre Dame post, I'm ending this post with a photo of a Tokyo Disneyland guest, dressed up as Mulan for that park's Halloween festivities!