Sunday, August 9, 2015

Haunted Mansion 46th Anniversary & The Bride

Today is the 46th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion's official opening at Disneyland. In honor of this anniversary, I'm posting an older photo of the bride in the Mansion's attic scene. I took this photo in either 1978 or 1979, but I actually didn't see it until many years later because someone at Fotomat didn't include it in my original set of prints!

A few years back, I was looking at some of my old negatives and realized there was an image on one of them that I had never seen. I'm not sure why they didn't print this one, but I discovered the same thing had happened with another set of negatives. I had taken two interior shots of the original Alice in Wonderland attraction in 1982 and didn't receive those prints either. It's almost as if someone was punishing me for taking flash pictures inside of a Disneyland attraction! I'll be posting those Alice pics in the near future.

The photo is a little overexposed. Note the candle in the bride's right hand and the wilted flowers in her left hand.

For a comparison of how the bride has changed over the years, here's a photo I took of her in 1996 when she "floated" in the attic. Both of these versions of the bride had the red "beating heart" effect inside her chest.

And here is the current version of the bride (minus the projection of her face and arms). I debated whether or not to post this photo because I do NOT like this version. If Madame Leota, Little Leota, and the singing busts in the graveyard are all projected onto busts that have three dimensional faces, why is the new bride's face projected onto a flat surface? It really is a horrible effect and is pretty much the equivalent of having a flat screen television monitor with her face on it.

I was hoping with the recent addition of the Hatbox Ghost, that this version of the bride would be removed....or at least improved upon. If it had been up to me, I would have brought back one of the earlier versions of the bride (since the current one seems to be universally hated), and moved her to the other side of the attic where she used to stand and then put the Hatbox Ghost on this side of the attic where he originally stood (albeit very briefly) 46 years ago.

Just for fun, here is Tokyo Disneyland's bride. Tokyo's bride still has the plastic "shower curtain dress" that the Anaheim version used to have back in the early days. And if you look carefully, you will see the faint red glow of her heart inside her chest.

Happy 46th Anniversary to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion....the place that in the words of E.J. Peaker, "Makes me feel creepy all over!!!"

Saturday, August 1, 2015

"Berry Patch Kids" Dolls at Knott's Berry Farm

In 1982, Coleco signed a deal with Xavier Roberts to begin mass producing his "Little People" line of dolls. The next year, they were introduced as "Cabbage Patch Kids" at the International Toy Fair in New York City and were such a huge hit that by Christmastime, they were causing rioting in stores across the country, by parents that were determined to get their hands on one for their children.

Flash forward two more years to 1985, when Knott's Berry Farm was revamping the Ghost Town area of the park for it's "Ghost Town Alive in '85" summer promotion. It was at this time, that the Knott's Berry Kids were "born."

These hand-sewn dolls were an obvious attempt to get in on the Cabbage Patch Kids phenomenon that was still going strong at the time. (Incidentally, Xavier Roberts' first Cabbage Patch dolls were also hand-sewn and originally had cloth faces and bodies.)

A convoluted backstory was created to explain how the Berry Kids were discovered by Walter Knott in his "magical berry patch." This was similar to the "discovery legend" that accompanied every Cabbage Patch Kids doll, explaining how Xavier Roberts found the kids in a "magical cabbage patch." This legend was printed out and included with each purchase of a Knott's Berry Kid.

I remember these dolls being pretty popular with guests that first summer and on into the Christmas season. I bought several sets of these as Christmas gifts for family members. This is a set that I bought for my mom.

Knott's Berry Kids were made exclusively for Knott's Berry Farm by "Carleen."

I wonder if that's "Carleen" in the photo below. It's interesting to note that the dolls in the basket appear to be wearing a purple or "boysenberry" color and that the dolls being sold were wearing more of a maroon color.

The woman seen above is sitting on a porch that was located across the street from the Barber Shop and the Silver Dollar Saloon on Main Street, but the dolls were actually sold at the Bonnet Shop on School Road (currently the Halloween Haunt Museum and formerly Mrs. Murphy's Boarding House, among many other things).

I hope everyone enjoyed this short little trip to Walter Knott's magical berry patch. I leave you now with this pic of the Berry Kids as they go off into the patch to look for the boysenberry-colored caterpillar, butterfly, and bird....and the elf carrying a miniature pail of boysenberries....oh, and "Rhubarb" the scarecrow! What the heck? I wonder who came up with that story?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Happy 60th Birthday, Disneyland!

In honor of Disneyland's 60th birthday today, we are going back 50 years to when the park was celebrating it's "Tencennial." This coloring book from 1965 has the official Disneyland Tencennial logo on it's cover.

I don't own the coloring book shown above, but I do own the one below which is from the same year and contains images from the park's Tencennial celebration.

This book is actually copyrighted both 1964 and 1965, so I'm thinking this is the 1964 edition of the coloring book and in 1965, it was probably updated on the inside to include the Tencennial and then later in that same year, they gave it a new "birthday" cover.

Hey, who scribbled out the floral Mickey?

These next four images all reference the special "Disneyland 10th Anniversary" episode of The Wonderful World of Disney that aired on TV that year. There was a segment with pieces of cake that danced around, as well as candles that danced on top of the cake. ♪ ♫ "Ten years of happiness, ten years of fun......." ♫ ♪ I'm including a link at the end of this post for anyone that wants to watch it. I highly recommend's a hoot!

I wonder where these construction photos were being displayed? The Walt Disney Story obviously didn't exist at this time.

The Enchanted Tiki Room would have been just two years old at this time. Most of the show is featured in the same 10th Anniversary TV special.

This is interesting! I know the park maps and pictorial souvenirs often included "future attractions" but they were even including that information in the coloring books.

The "talking statue." It makes Lincoln sound more like the talking Confucius statue that was planned at one time for a Chinese restaurant in Disneyland. I wonder why they didn't just tell kids that Lincoln was going to be a "robot"?

The new Plaza Inn exterior and interior is shown in model form on that 10th Anniversary special. Here are a couple scenes from it with Walt showing the Plaza Inn models to Julie Reihm, the very first Disneyland Ambassador. Imagineer Harriet Burns is seen seated next to the model in the first photo and Imagineer John Hench can be seen in the second photo.

It appears by the scribbling below, that somebody didn't like the "promise" from Walt. Maybe they were psychic and they knew that quote would continue to be used for years to come, as an excuse for whenever management wanted to get rid of something that was beloved by all, like Captain Hook's Pirate Ship and Skull Rock, or Adventure Thru Inner Space, or the Skyway....or the Main St. Electrical Parade.....or Country Bear Jamboree! I could go on and on, but I won't. Okay wait, one more.....OR THE PEOPLEMOVER!!!

There were more images in the coloring book than what I've posted here. If there is interest out there in seeing more, I can scan and post more of the pages. I also have 3 more Disneyland coloring books that are all dated a little bit later than this.

Here's that 10th Anniversary Special in it's entirety. Again, if you haven't seen this, I highly recommend it! The footage includes artwork and models for Pirates of the Caribbean ("By going UP the waterfall?), and the Haunted Mansion (A SKELETON GHOST!), as well as almost full coverage of the Enchanted Tiki Room show.

Happy Birthday, Disneyland!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 200th Birthday, America! (1976 Sunday Comics & More)

Thirty-nine years ago, our nation was celebrating it's bicentennial. I recently came across the Sunday Comics section of the Los Angeles Times, dated July 4, 1976. These pages were stored in a box in my mom's garage along with some other bicentennial items that I had saved.

First up is the front page. It's odd that Peanuts and Andy Capp did NOT have a patriotic theme that day, especially when almost all of the other comic strips did.

Here are some highlights from the pages inside:

These commemorative bicentennial Pepsi cans were in the same box as the comics. The can that's been converted into a bank was given to me at a barbershop back in the summer of 1976. The barber had a case of these and was giving them out to his customers. I saved the other can after "emptying" it's contents. This was back when the tabs on top of the soda cans were removable. Just about this time, the tabs started being made to stay on top of the cans in order to reduce litter. As Woodsy Owl used to say, "Give a hoot, don't pollute!"

Last up for today is this bicentennial pressed penny. I don't remember where I got this originally, but I found it in a separate box along with some pressed pennies from Knott's Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Magic Mountain. I will post photos of those in a separate post.

To view a couple pages from the "Long Beach Press Telegram" that are also dated July 4, 1976 (including a vintage Disneyland advertisement) click here: Long Beach Press Telegram - Disneyland Advertisement

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!!!