Thursday, February 24, 2011

America Sings Weekend & Tomorrowland - 1981

Hey kids, it's time for another vintage newspaper ad from the Los Angeles Times! Thirty years ago this week, Disneyland was celebrating "America Sings Weekend."

One month earlier, Disneyland had "Small World Days". Now it was America Sings' turn in the spotlight and once again, park guests did not have to give up an "E" ticket in order to experience it (or was America Sings already a "D" ticket by 1981?) The ad reads, "Snap a souvenir photo with Sam the Eagle".....was there ever a walk-around character of Sam the Eagle? I miss America Sings. I would rather watch those characters perform in the Carousel Theater instead of just float past them briefly on Splash Mountain. Oh well, I guess that's PROGRESS!

One of the souvenirs being sold in the park at this time, were postcard books that included eight regular sized postcards attached to a mini version of the postcard. I guess the idea was that you could tear along the perforation, send the postcard to someone and still have the smaller version attached to the book to keep for yourself. There was a postcard book for each of the "lands" and there was also one with shots of the park's 25th Anniversary "Family Reunion Parade" from 1980. The Tomorrowland book featured two interior scenes from America Sings. Here is the entire postcard book.

The front cover was the only postcard that did not include the "mini version."

The back cover:

Wouldn't THIS monorail still look futuristic today?

By the 1980's, wasn't the Matterhorn considered strictly a Fantasyland attraction?

Too bad Space Mountain doesn't look like this anymore!

Geez, everything at Disneyland was better back then, wasn't it?

This group sang, "Hound Dog" and "See You Later, Alligator" in Act 4 of America Sings.

The Swamp Boys sang, "Polly Wolly Doodle" in Act 1.

I think it would be nice to see all of the buildings in Tomorrowland restored to their 1967 glory. I really don't have faith anymore that Disney could do anything that looks better. They wanted "retro" for the '98 Tomorrowland.....well, do retro again, but do THIS version of retro! It would also be nice to see the PeopleMover come back in some form and also some kind of rotating theater show in the former Carousel Theater building. I know, I know....IT AIN'T NEVER GONNA HAPPEN!

Happy America Sings Weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Knott's Berry Farm - Goldie's Place Update & Another "Major" Photo Comparison

Hey everyone, it's time for a Goldie's Place Update! The last time we took a look at Goldie's, construction was still taking place. Well, Goldie's is now finished and just like the Assay Office, Wing Lee's Laundry and the Barber Shop, I think it turned out pretty darn good. Before looking at the "today" photo, let's first look at some "before" and even some "in between" shots. These next five photos show a camera angle that I had previously not posted. This first pic was taken in 2007.

POOF! Goldie's is gone! This shot was taken in September of 2010 after Goldie's had been demolished.

Goldie's went back up pretty quickly. This next shot was also taken in September of 2010.

The exterior was actually finished by the time the Knott's Christmas Crafts Festival began, but the interior sets had not been completed. Here's a shot taken in November of 2010. Note the Christmas wreath on the facade.

And here we have the completely finished product.

The sets were installed just three weeks ago. The furnishings look great (although I do miss that tapestry that hung on the back wall for decades). The figures also look wonderful with new clothing, wigs and "makeup."

The leg has returned!

The outhouse behind Goldie's has returned as well! The guy that provides the voice of Sad Eye Joe in the jail is also back in the front window of Goldie's. I'm hoping this is something that never goes away! I was at the park last night and the guy was shutting down just about 15 minutes before park closing. I noticed after he left that there was a pre-recorded audio of Sad Eye Joe talking, but it was coming from the outhouse! Too funny! I'm just hoping that Sad Eye Joe is never turned into a permanent pre-recorded "peek-in" the next time you're at Knott's, make sure you stop by and say hello to Sad Eye Joe!

And now for another Major Pepperidge of Gorillas Don't Blog "Before and After" photo comparison. Here is a photo (used here with permission) that the Major posted back in December showing the Ghost Town Antique Store and it's courtyard area.

Here's the same angle today. The covered patio on the right has since been enclosed and that door now leads to a backstage area for the Calico Saloon. The Antique Store space is now part of the Western Trails Museum. Note the bottles stuck into the cement and used as a garden border.

Here's another vintage shot taken from a Knott's souvenir booklet.

And two more "today" shots showing close-ups of the garden statue.

Awww, he's holding a chicken!

Here's a photo I took last week of a fountain that sits next to the Emporium (formerly the International store and before that, the Basket Shop). The figure looks very similar, but not quite identical. This one has water trickling down from a small bowl. Does anyone know the story of these figures or where they came from? Are they Claude Bell creations by any chance?

And since we're on the subject of the Antique store, here are some antique items that I just recently noticed for the very first time. These pieces of china can be found in a glass case in the Chicken Dinner Restaurant and are part of Walter and Cordelia's original wedding china from 1911. Cordelia Knott supposedly served her very first chicken dinners to the public on her wedding china.

Here's a water pitcher that is also from 1911. The interesting thing here is that next to the typed cards labeling the items, are scraps of paper hand written in pencil, presumably written by Cordelia herself. One of the pieces of paper has the initials "C.K." on it.

Below, is a hat that was custom made for Walter Knott by Stetson in 1966.

This photo was taken sometime in the 1950's and shows Walter and Cordelia standing in front of the Original Berry Stand that started it all. In the foreground is the Ford Model T that brought them to Buena Park in 1920. When I worked at Knott's, there was a huge painting of this scene that went from the floor to the ceiling in the breakroom of the Cable Car Kitchen. Within a year, the employees had peeled enough of the paint off the wall that it required repainting and they did not bother to repaint the mural. People! I remember a Disneyland employee telling me back in the 80's that they replaced their breakroom furnishings with "prison furniture" because the employees were so destructive.

This last item is a copy of the letter from Walter Knott that was sent out to employees in March of 1968, informing them of the fence that was going to be put up around the property and the reasons why. Hmm, I wonder if they still have a profit sharing plan? They still had one back in the eighties.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed this Knott's post. I have been going to the park much more now that I have an annual pass. I must say that seeing the restoration Cedar Fair has been doing has given me somewhat of a new appreciation for Knott's and the stuff that is still there. Now Cedar Fair, bring back the Haunted Shack.....and Knott's Bear-y Tales, too!

To see my earlier posts showing the demolition of Goldie's as well as different stages of the construction and vintage post cards of the exterior and interior, click here: Goldie's Place (and then scroll down past the repeat of this post.)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

Disney's Construction Wall Adventure!

In my last post, "California Adventure's 10th Anniversary....Who Cares?", we saw just a couple of the construction walls over at DCA, but I had a few requests to see more of the character artwork that I had only mentioned. These first six photos show the walls located at the entrance of the park.

The concept art below is also from the entrance area.

These next four photos are of the walls in the Paradise Pier area of the park. The first one shows an announcement of a new park that is going into the spot previously occupied by the Maliboomer. Just what I've always wanted to see added to DCA, a lush new park! A park will be so much more enjoyable than something like an actual ride!

I do have to say that I like the use of the "pie-eyed" versions of the Fab Five.

Next, are some close-ups of the construction walls around Carsland.

The Little Mermaid attraction.......

These last five photos aren't of construction walls, but they show a new map that is on display in the Blue Sky Cellar. It is "rear-lit" and features animation of the Monorail, Red Cars, and Carsland Road Racer vehicles moving around on their tracks as well as other animation such as the water for the Wonderful World of Color show and klieg lights in front of the Carthay Circle Theater.