Retroscans: Disneyland 1958 & 1969

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This post is part of my Retroscans series, in which I rescue and restore 35mm slides that may otherwise end up in a landfill. Unlike all other posts on my site, these photos are not my own. The original photographer is unknown, unless otherwise specified. I clean and dust each slide, scan at 7200 dpi, remove scratches with a separate infrared scan, then do the remainder of the cleanup in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

Over the years, I’ve managed to accumulate a growing collection of other people’s slides. Some are given to me, and others I pick up whenever I happen by a box o’ slides someone’s trying to get rid of. And others are from my relatives.

I finally bought a decent slide scanner and I figured I’d share some of the gems with the world, rather than let them rot away in a box. This also marks the first time I’ve posted someone else’s photos on my own website, but why not.

For my inaugural Retroscans post, I’m going with some old photos of Disneyland in July 1958 and June 1969. All were apparently shot by the same family, whom I don’t know. By the looks of things, this family did a trip down the coast of California in both those years, 11 years apart. I have hundreds of other slides of their other destinations along the coast too, which I’ll save for later. I found these on a Saturday afternoon at the Treasure Island Flea Market in a big bag of old slides that was spilling all over the baking-hot asphalt. The guy selling them insisted the antique slide projector was part of the package deal. I tried to bargain him out of forcing me to take the projector and found myself offering him MORE money to keep it for himself.

The slides were in horrible shape, covered in dirt and with scratches everywhere. I thought it would be a good restoration exercise to try to recover the images. After cleaning up the slides, I used my scanner’s infrared scratch detection to mask out much of the scratches, and then handled the rest of the restoration in Photoshop.

Disneyland history is one of those quirky things I’ve studied over the years, and I’ve been there fifty some-odd times, so no better place to let the Retroscan series begin than the happiest place on earth:

June 1958: Jungle Cruise

Those poor hippos were shot by every skipper from 1955 to 2001. Note how immature the vegetation was in 1958--it is much taller today.

June 1958: Rocket To The Moon

The TWA Rocket To The Moon was an original 1955 attraction with frequent voyages in each of the domed theaters. The rocket disappeared in 1967 but returned in 1996 at 2/3 the scale of this original.

June 1958: The Pavillion

Taking a break at the Pavillion (yes, pavilion was misspelled in 1958 although the sign is out of sight of this photo). They actually had table service back then--those ladies in blue are waitresses.

June 1958: Storybook Land Canal Boats

In 1955, the canal boats gave guests a view of nothing more than mud and weeds. Here in 1958, the miniature models and bonsai trees provide a bit more interest.

July 1969: Submarine Lagoon

A Matterhorn bobsled, submarine, and Autopia car as seen from the Peoplemover.

July 1969: ALWEG Mark II Monorail and Autopia

This photo was probably taken in the final few weeks or days of the Mark II monorail, the last of the ALWEG models before WED would take over production for the Mark III. This yellow train was the newest of the Mark II fleet.

July 1969: Submarine Voyage

The Seawolf, one of eight cold war-gray submarines taking guests on a voyage under the North Pole.

July 1969: The Peoplemover And Rocket Jets

The Goodyear Peoplemover is just two years old here, as are the Rocket Jets above the Peoplemover station and the new rectangular Skyway cars in the distance--all part of the major 1967 Tomorrowland renovations.

July 1969: The Jungle Cruise

The poor old zebra on the banks of the Jungle Cruise. The vegetation is 11 years older than the previous 1958 photo.

July 1969: The Jungle Cruise

The "native village" along the Jungle Cruise river. The dead lion hanging on a spit over the fire is long gone today.

July 1969: Sailing Ship Columbia

A packed Columbia in Frontierland with pairs of Ray Bans everywhere.

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  • Alan G

    I believe the Mark III went into service in 1968.

  • One Mark III was put on the rail in 1968 with the Mark IIs. The Mark IIs were replaced with more Mark IIIs sometime in 1969.