Friday, May 31, 2024

More "Loose Ends" from Previous Posts (Disneyland, Knott's, Magic Mt. & More!) - Part 2

It's time for some more "loose ends"!  Loose ends are items relating to subjects, which I have already posted about in the past.

First up, is this "Pinocchio" record from my childhood.  I had originally thought about including this in my Walt Disney's Pinocchio "mega post" from last year.  However, I chose not to at the time, just because it wasn't "Disney's" version of Pinocchio.  I have since changed my mind, and it has now been added to that post.  The company that made this was "Cricket Records."  We had quite a few other children's records from this same company.  The record sleeve not only includes their logo/mascot in the upper left corner, but they were also able to incorporate him into the artwork, as "Jiminy Cricket."  I tried doing a search for the artist, Evon Hartmann, but nothing came up.

Next, we have this 1981 Disneyland ad, which was attempting to recruit people for jobs at the park.  "Immediate openings" were available.  This is the same year that I was hired for the park's Christmas parade.  The ad has now been added to my "I Was A Teenage Christmas Tree at Disneyland" post.

This 1979 ad was for the now defunct May Co. department stores.  A robot "inspired by" V.I.N.CENT from the Disney film, "The Black Hole," was going to be appearing at select May Co. locations.

I wish the text in the middle of the ad was a little more legible, but the dark background makes it difficult to read.  I'm going to attempt to transcribe the text:  "You could win this (one?) for your own.  V.I.N.CENT (Vital Information Necessary Central) is the star of the Walt Disney Productions science-fiction thriller "The Black Hole," opening December 21st at a theater (near you?) This limited edition V.I.N.CENT clone valued at $1,000, stands 3 feet high, not including the base.  He plays games, tells jokes, answers true, false, and multiple choice questions, and even plays cassette tapes.  And he could become a member of your family.  Just fill out the coupon in this ad, and bring it to the Children's Department of the May Company near you.  Then bring the kids to meet our V.I.N.CENT clone in person at the following stores."

I wonder who won this $1,000 "clone" of V.I.N.CENT, and if they still own it, today?  This ad has now been added to my Disney's "The Black Hole" (Mega Post!) post.

In November of 1984, some of the original Mouseketeers were appearing at Disneyland, as part of a month-long celebration for Mickey Mouse's birthday.  Pictured in the then-current publicity photo are, Bobby Burgess, Sherry Alberoni, Lonnie Burr, Sharon Baird, Cubby O'Brien, Tommy Cole, Don Grady, Darlene Gillespie, and Bonnie Lynn Fields.  I have now added this to my Mickey's Month at Disneyland post, where you can see the 1983 version of that free "Mouscercise" headband.  That year, the headbands were given to everyone entering the park.  One year later, they were apparently only given to children 12 and under.

I meant to include this Los Angeles Times review of Disneyland's Light Magic, in my "What Were They Thinking - Light Magic at Disneyland" post, from 2017.  When I originally read this unfavorable review, 27 years ago, I felt that my personal thoughts on the monstrosity that replaced the Main Street Electrical Parade, had been completely validated.  I didn't crop out the movie listings below the article, because I thought it might be interesting to see some of the films that were being released at that time.

This image of a Canon® shopping bag has now been added to my "Disney's Sam the Eagle & the 1984 Olympic Games" post.  The bag was given to me at the Consumers store, where I bought my very first 35 mm camera, back in 1985.  The Olympics were over, but the store was still using these themed merchandise bags for purchases of Canon products.

I posted this photo of the camera previously, along with the very first Disneyland photos I ever took with it.

And speaking of the Olympics....the 1984 Winter Games had been held in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia.  That summer, Six Flags Magic Mountain opened their new "Sarajevo Bobsled" ride.  This advertisement and the following article, appeared in a Los Angeles Times advertising supplement.

I rode the Sarajevo Bobsled the summer that it debuted.  I remember it being a fun ride, but I was surprised that it was gone by the next time I visited the park.  It only lasted two summer seasons, and was then dismantled and moved to Six Flags Over Texas, where it opened as "Avalanche Bobsled."  It is still standing today, but now operates under the name "La Vibora" (The Viper).

For a comparison of what Knott's was doing that same summer of '84, here''s an advertisement and article from the same Los Angeles Times summer supplement.  Knott's was beating Disney to the punch, by unveiling their new teenage nightclub, "Studio K," one full year before Disney opened "Videopolis."

And Knott's was introducing the 8th edition of their summer ice spectacular, "Snoopy's Quest For The Gold," starring Olympic Silver Medalist, Dianne de Leeuw.

This ad from the summer 1984 issue of Vacationland magazine, depicts Snoopy dressed in athletic wear and donning three "Olympic" medals.  However, the Olympic themed ice show is not mentioned.

I've recently come across additional issues of the Knott's Berry Farm employee newsletter, The Berry Vine, from 1983.  These are related to Camp Snoopy, but are all dated prior to the opening of the new area.  These have now been added to my "Camp Snoopy - 40th Anniversary (Mega Post!)",  from June of 2023.

This first one is dated February 18, 1983.  The cover article is about the official press release by Knott's, announcing the addition of Camp Snoopy to the park.  It mentions how Snoopy had already been at Knott's since May of 1982, but only on a trial basis.  Knott's was now entering into a long-term contract with Snoopy's creator, Charles M. Schulz.

This next issue is dated March 11, 1983 and is about the construction of Camp Snoopy's scale model.  The model was on display just inside the park entrance, during the construction of Camp Snoopy.  It was built by Rick Bastrup and Richard Ferrin, of R & R Creative Amusement Design Inc.  Richard Ferrin had previously worked for Disney, and we recently saw a photo of him performing as a clown, in the 1981 version of Disneyland's Fantasy On Parade.

This cover article from May 20, 1983, is about the new "Grizzly Creek Lodge" restaurant in Camp Snoopy, and it's menu items.

There was an article in that same issue, about the filming of the first Camp Snoopy television commercial.  I posted the commercial in my Camp Snoopy post from last year.  The plot revolves around a family of four.  The kids dream about going to Camp Snoopy before it ever opens.  They rudely awaken their parents, to tell them about the "trip" they took to Knott's and all the things they did.  The dad tells them that they are seriously mental, and that there is no way that they could have visited Camp Snoopy, since it hasn't even opened yet.  The mom is played by Lucy Lee Flippin, who played Eliza Jane Wilder, the school teacher on "Little House On The Prairie," from 1979-1982.

I pointed this out in my original Campy Snoopy post, and it's also mentioned in the article....the commercial was filmed before construction on Camp Snoopy was completed.  For the shot of the "Cordelia K." steamboat (pictured above), the boat was lifted by a crane, and placed on the pond next to Jungle Island.  Even though the boat was originally intended to be relocated from the Knott's Lagoon area to Camp Snoopy (along with a new boat, the "Walter K."), she never made the move.  I have always wondered what happened to that plan.

I hope everyone enjoyed these additional "loose ends"!


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Vintage Disneyland Ads & "Loose Ends" From Previous Posts - Part 1

While looking through my old newspaper advertisements last month, searching for ads for Thumper's Easter Egg Hunt at Disneyland, I came across some other ads that I had forgotten all about.  Many of them related to other subjects, which I have already posted about in the past.  I've decided to scan those ads and include them all here, but I have also added them to those earlier posts.  I will include the links to those posts, just in case anyone wants to go back and revisit them, or perhaps read them for the very first time.

First up, is this colorful Toontown advertisement from a 1993 edition of The Los Angeles Times.  It has now been added to my "Disneyland's Toontown - 30th Anniversary" post, from last year.  Notice all of the costumed Disney characters, standing around in this publicity shot.  I count nine!

In September of 1981, Disneyland was hosting a "Country Weekend."  The previous September, they were calling it, "Cowboy Weekend."  I remember Jerry Reed.  He was in all three of the "Smokey and the Bandit" movies, although I never saw even one of them.  He also sang and co-wrote the theme song for the first of those films, "Eastbound and Down," which was a number two song on the Billboard Country Chart.  I had to look up Don King, since I was pretty sure that Don King "the boxing promoter" wasn't appearing at Disneyland.  It turns out there is another Don King, and he received the 1981 Academy of Country Music award for "Top New Male Vocalist."

Just five months later, in February of 1982, Disneyland was hosting another "Country Weekend."  I never knew that Mel Tillis and Reba McEntire ever performed at Disneyland!  It wasn't the Christmas season, but I wonder if Elmo 'N Patsy sang their signature song, "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer"?

This advertisement for the original "Tron" film is from the July 4, 1982 issue of The Los Angeles Times.  It has now been added to Part 2 of my "ElecTRONica Is Here!" posts, from 2010.  I have a full-sized color poster very similar to this ad, which I purchased in Tomorrowland's Character Shop at Disneyland, back in 1982.

Next we have an advertisement from the December 16, 1984 issue of The Los Angeles Times, for the 1984 re-release of "Walt Disney's Pinocchio."  This has now been added to my "Walt Disney's Pinocchio - Mega Post!" post.  Note the special logo at the bottom of the ad, for Disneyland's 30th anniversary.  The following month, the park's year-long 30th anniversary festivities would be kicking off.

I found this ad after writing my recent Japanese Village & Deer Park post.  Enchanted Village replaced Japanese Village in 1976, but it was only open for about a year and a half, before shutting down forever.

This advertisement has now been added to my "Raging Waters Waterpark" post, from 2018.  The ad was from a seasonal supplement to The Los Angeles Times, and dated June 8, 1984:

An article about the park and it's new attractions for the summer, appeared in the same newspaper supplement:

One year later (June 14, 1985), this advertisement was included in the summer entertainment supplement of The Los Angeles Times:

And there was another article, about the park's new attractions for 1985:

Getting back to the Disney-related ads, this one was from September of 1983, and claimed that Disneyland's summer season was "still going strong."  However, if you look at the hours listed at the very bottom of the ad, the park was going to start closing at 6 p.m. on weekdays, beginning September 12th.  The following weekend, Disneyland was hosting, "Viva Mexico" days.  The "Flights of Fantasy" parade (which had debuted that summer), was still being presented on weekends, but it would soon be ending it's performances in time for the holiday season, and would never return.  I've added this article to both my "Viva Mexico/Cinco de Mayo" post, and my "Flights of Fantasy" post.

This Los Angeles Times ad from July 1, 1984, ran just four days prior to the debut of "American Journeys" in Tomorrowland's Circle-Vision Theater.  However, the name of the attraction had now been changed to "World Premiere Circle-Vision 360."  And shortly after the grand reopening of the attraction, the EPCOT Center film, "The Wonders of China," was included in the theater's line up.  This advertisement has now been added to my "American Journeys & Wonders of China" post, from 2016.

I hope everyone enjoyed these "loose ends."  I may be posting more vintage ads, in the not too distant future.


Friday, March 29, 2024

Thumper's Easter Egg Hunt at Disneyland - 1980s

Let's go back 40 years, to the totally tubular 80s!  The year was 1984, the Summer Olympics were taking place in Los Angeles, the Space Shuttle Discovery launched on it's maiden voyage, Michael Jackson's hair caught on fire during the filming of a Pepsi commercial, and the very last World Expo/World's Fair to take place in the United States, was held in New Orleans.  Oh, and in April, Disneyland was holding their 3rd annual "Thumper's Easter Egg Hunt" event.

According to this "Collector's Series" card from Disneyland's 40th anniversary year, the egg hunt event began in 1982.  I have an identical button as the one above, but with "1983" on it, so I know they held the event for at least three years in a row.  However, I'm not sure how many years they continued it.

A game card was given to children ages 3-12 (3-11, in 1982 and 1983), as they entered the park.  It included 5 silver scratch-off  "eggs."  You were supposed to scratch off only one spot, to reveal which "Easter Meadow" (within the park) you needed to go to for your prize.  Someone scratched off all of the eggs on the card, below.  I hope someone told that child that they were not getting any prizes, because they couldn't follow directions properly!  Once you located your designated "meadow," you could choose one of the plastic eggs that were scattered out on the grass.  There was another scratch-off card inside the egg, that would let you know what you had won.

I scanned this card years ago, and I wish I had done it at a higher resolution.  There is a list of prizes on the back, along with a number of how many of each prize was awarded.  The prizes were; Thumper Buttons (like the one at the top of this post) - 30,000 were available to win, a child's Disneyland Passport - 25,000, a 14" stuffed Thumper toy - 800, a Thumper backpack bag - 500, and a Bradley Mickey Mouse wristwatch - 250.

There were also lesser-value food items, such as a box of Orville Redenbacher popcorn, a large Coca-Cola, a Carnation ice cream bar, and a large Sunkist orange juice.  And one lucky winner was going to win a family vacation for four, to Walt Disney World.  That prize included round-trip coach air fare, a five night stay in a Disney hotel, six days admission to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center, and breakfast, lunch and dinner at any Walt Disney World restaurant or dinner show!  Gee....that was a REALLY good prize!

Here's what the child's Disneyland Passport prize looked like:

The Spring 1983 issue of Disney News Magazine included a brief mention about Thumper's Easter Egg hunt.  It looks like you had to fill out an entry form, for the chance to win the grand prize of a vacation at Walt Disney World.

I went to the park just a few days before Easter Sunday of 1984.  This is the entertainment guide that was available at the main gate:

"Airplay" was performing at the Tomorrowland Terrace during the day, playing the "now" sounds of today's popular music, while "Krash" was playing there in the evening.  Sister Sledge and The Whispers were also performing that week!

Disney was selling a special "Olympic Spirit Passport," which came with a solid bronze medal.

This ad from the April 8, 1984 edition of The Los Angeles Times was promoting Thumper's Easter Egg Hunt, along with the grand reopening of the Alice In Wonderland attraction.  Apparently, a few days before my visit, Frankie Avalon and KC (of KC and the Sunshine Band fame) had both been appearing.  Tommy Tutone had also performed at the park, earlier that week.  I had seen him there two years earlier during my Grad Nite.  I guess Tommy Tutone is actually a "them" and not a "him," since it's the name of the band and not one individual person.  I only found that out just now, when looking up the release date of their hit song, 867-5309/Jenny (November of 1981).

Here's the advertisement for Thumper's Easter Egg Hunt, from the previous year.  This one is dated March 20, 1983.  Jay Johnson & Bob from the TV show, "Soap," were performing!  And so were Kool & The Gang!  Oh...and Chachi was there, too.

And here's the advertisement from 1982, the event's debut year.  Peaches & Herb were being "Reunited" at Disneyland, and "shaking their groove thing!"

I will "wrap" up this post with another Disney Easter item, from the 1980s.  This "Instant Egg Art" kit has a date of "1981" on back, but I purchased it at least a couple years later, approximately in 1983 or '84.

The instructions:

These colored strips could be cut out and assembled into stands, for holding the decorated eggs:

And these are the "wrappers" or sleeves, which were designed to slip over your hard-boiled eggs.  After dipping them in boiling water for 3 seconds, they would shrink tightly around the egg.  There were two sets of each design included, but I never used any of them.

A very happy Easter, to all!

Thursday, February 29, 2024

Japanese Village & Deer Park - Buena Park, CA

Today, we will be visiting a little extinct theme park called, Japanese Village & Deer Park.

The park was located just off the 5 freeway in Buena Park, about six and a half miles northwest of Disneyland.  It opened in 1967 and closed in 1974, just seven short years later.  Japanese Village was built by Allen Parkinson, who in 1962, had opened Movieland Wax Museum (which was only five minutes away, and just up the street from Knott's Berry Farm).  In 1970, Parkinson sold both Japanese Village and Movieland, to the Six Flags Corporation.

This brochure actually promotes both attractions, however I am only including the part of the brochure which relates to Japanese Village. I will post the Movieland portion in a future Movieland Wax Museum post.

The green "people" on the brochure's cover were called "Fuji Folk," and were the park's attempt at having "walk-around" characters to greet the guests.  The character on the left was "Izzy Moto."  The character on the right was, "Oto Moto," and the blue fish he is holding was "Flip Flop."

The text inside the brochure is written in the "first person" style, and gives a description of the park, by someone who is visiting with their family.  It's a better description than I could give here, so I will let the brochure explain the highlights of the park.

The brochure also included a colorful map.  After many years of searching, this is the most detailed map of the park that I have come across.

I was fortunate enough to visit Japanese Village, on multiple occasions.  Below, are some souvenirs from my visits, as well as some items that I found on ebay.

A Japanese Village fold-out postcard booklet:

I should mention that the park's deer were sika deer, which are native to East Asia, most notably, Japan.  And Japanese Village & Deer Park itself, was inspired by Nara Park in Japan, a public park where wild sika deer roam freely.

A packet of View-Master reels, featuring 21 "stereo" pictures:

I found this unopened light switchplate on ebay, and for some reason, I had to have it.  Will I take it out of the package and use it?  Nah!

This coloring book is another item from ebay:

 Next, we have two Japanese Village patches.

This second one was given to me by a friend, who I believe found it at a flea market.  It is still attached to a remnant of red material.  I thought this might have been cut off of an employee uniform, but that is just a guess.

How about a look at some Japanese Village ephemera?

A ticket to the park:

The reverse side of the ticket was offering a same-day discount to Movieland Wax Museum:

A matchbook cover:

This merchandise bag has fine print at the bottom, once again, reminding guests to visit Movieland Wax Museum and it's adjoining Palace of Living Art.

I have two of these plastic beverage cups, which I saved from one of my childhood visits.  The plastic is clear, with the park's logo painted on the front and back.  I curled up a white index card and placed it inside the cup, to make the logo show up better when photographing it.  Considering their age, the cups are in pretty good condition, without any cracks and only very minor scuffs to the paint.

A side view:

This "mini" deck of cards is another childhood item, and was purchased during a family visit to the park.

The cards came in a red plastic box, with a cardboard sleeve around it.

Each of the cards has a different Japanese "character" printed on the reverse side.  At least, I believe that is what each of the symbols represent.  And now that makes me wonder if it would be possible to memorize every card in the deck, by memorizing the symbols/characters?

Another J.V. souvenir from my childhood, was a set of little plastic animals.  The set only came with four figures; the smaller/young deer, the brown bear holding the basketball, the leaping dolphin, and the sea-lion.  The sea-lion was originally balancing a blue ball on it's nose, but that broke off years ago.  Unfortunately, damage also occurred to both of the "adult" deer figures, when they were stored in a garage for several decades.  I learned the hard way, that some plastic items will actually melt, when stored in a garage and exposed to the extreme heat of the summer months.  That is why each of those deer now only have three and a half legs.

The "adult deer" weren't a part of the souvenir set.  They were actually included inside boxes of deer "biscuits," which guests could purchase and feed to the deer.

The petting and feeding area for the deer had gumball-style machines, which dispensed handfuls of food "pellets."  Those machines can be seen in the background of this postcard view.  But there were also larger machines that dispensed the boxes of "biscuits" (or I guess you could call them "crackers"), which also contained a plastic deer figure.

Going back to that set of plastic animals, the dove figure was also "free" and was included in boxes of dove food, which could be purchased in the park's dove pavilion.  One of those boxes can be seen in this next photo, courtesy of "Stuff From The Park." (The young lady is holding the box in her left hand, while feeding a dove in her right.)

Sadly, Japanese Village and Deer Park closed just before the 1974 Christmas season, due to it's "shrinking attendance" and a "lack of profits."  There was an article in the Los Angeles Times about the closing, which I cut out and shared at school for "current events."

A spokesman stated that the park had only operated "in the black" for one year, since Six Flags purchased it in 1970.

The spokesman went on to cite possible reasons for the drop in attendance, such as the economy, a travel ban in 1974 (I wonder if that was that due to the "energy crisis"?), and also because of their nearby competition, Knott's Berry Farm.  And apparently, Knott's only cost $3.75 for adult admission at that time, whereas Japanese Village was charging $4.25, and didn't offer any rides.  Other parks owned by Six Flags are mentioned, but Southern California's Magic Mountain isn't listed, because the company didn't purchase that park until 1979.

Six Flags ended up selling the Japanese Village property.  The new owners overhauled the park, and reopened it as, Enchanted Village, with a new "exotic animal" theme.  The new park opened in June of 1976, but closed just a little over a year later, in the Fall of 1977.

Once Enchanted Village closed, the property was sold once again, and a business park was built on the site.  The roadway into the industrial park can be seen below.  Basically, the buildings to the left (north) of the roadway sit on the land formerly occupied by the park, and the buildings on the right are where the parking lot was located.

This view shows the northern half of the property, where the park once sat:

I'm assuming that the use of the word "Village" was an intentional nod to the previous residents of the property.  For a while, the business park used the same tall rotating sign alongside the freeway, which had been used by it's predecessors, but with "The Village" painted on it.  That sign was eventually removed.

This parking area behind the buildings, is where the deer feeding and petting pen was located.  The 5 fwy is located just on the other side of that dirt mound on the far left.

Here's an old postcard view of that same corner of the property, and looking in the same direction.

I hope everyone enjoyed this visit to Japanese Village and Deer Park.  We'll end this post with a few postcards, with the titles and descriptions printed in Japanese:

****Post Update (03-02-24)****

I've decided to add these family photos to the post.  These are from my very first visit to Japanese Village & Deer Park.  I also have some home movie footage from this same visit.  I should probably try and get that digitized!

****Post Update (03-12-24)****

Here's another family photo, from a few years later.  This shows a plywood cut-out of Oto Moto (and Flip Flop!) in the background.  It was actually a directional sign, pointing the way to the Dolphin and Sea Lion Shows (to the right), and the Bear and Karate Shows (to the left).

I had mentioned in one of my comments below, that during one of our J.V. visits, an employee told us it was "too hot" for the Fuji Folk to be out.  This was not that particular trip, however, we did not see any of the Fuji Folk during this trip, either.  We did encounter this guy.  I'm not sure if he had a name, or what his mask and costume represent.  He was also holding that tall pole, which for some reason, I decided to grab hold of.  My brother is wearing a Davy Crockett racoon skin cap (only the tail of it was "real racoon"), which was acquired just a day or two earlier, during a Disneyland trip.  (My grandmother was visiting from Maryland that summer, and we took her to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and Japanese Village, all in the same week.)

****Post Update (3-18-24)****

This Enchanted Village ad is from a 1976 Los Angeles Times summer entertainment supplement.  I have held onto that special section of the newspaper for almost 48 years now, but only recently remembered that it included this ad.  It pins down the exact opening date for Enchanted Village, to June 18, 1976.