‘Walt Disney’s Disneyland’ Book Review

Walt Disney was a master of promotion. His Disneyland television show was basically a weekly commercial advertising his upcoming theme park. And in that theme park, he continued this self-promotion with the release, each year, of souvenir booklets, pamphlets, and hardcover books, all designed to keep guests dreaming about Disneyland long after the visit was over!

This post is a review of one such publication:

Walt Disney Book Cover

This 70-page book has no ISBN number and no publisher but does reference Walt Disney Productions. It was printed in the U.S.A. possibly in February of 1971. However, the copyright date is 1969.

Walt Disney Book Introduction

This book was first published in 1964 and was re-released every year afterwards. For how long, I don’t know. Slight changes to this publication likely would have been made as new attractions were added to the park and others removed.

Walt Disney Book Jungle Cruise

The book is filled with beautiful two-page spreads of popular attractions. The Jungle Cruise, above,  is a personal favorite!

Walt Disney Book Skyway

One of the best reasons for purchasing such an old book is because of the history it contains. Attractions like The Skyway, now gone (but rumored to be returning to Walt Disney World), are fun to see again!

Walt Disney Book Collage

Young and Old Enjoy Disneyland

Walt Disney Book Panorama

A panoramic shot like this one shows both the Columbia and the Mark Twain. Would you like to be sitting on one of those benches right now?

Walt Disney Book Riverboat

Beautiful!

Walt Disney Book Small World

The book covers many of the classic attractions with colorful pictures and informative text.

The book actually starts with a brief history of the construction of Disneyland. It then covers each of the cardinal lands in turn: Fantasyland; Adventureland; Frontierland; Tomorrowland; and of course, Main Street U.S.A.

Next it covers the first and second decades of the park in their own sections. New Orleans Square and the updated Tomorrowland are also featured. The book ends with a ‘what is to come’ page featuring the soon-to-be opened Walt Disney World.

COOL FACTOR: 4.5/5

For the casual Disney fan, this book would be a fun read. For the diehard fan, it is an essential read of the history of Disneyland!

I would have given it a higher rating if not for the fact that it is merely a reprint of earlier, essentially the same, publications. But even so, I highly recommend it!

I picked it up at a thrift store for just $5.00 CAN.

Review: American Time and Timepieces at The Henry Ford

We always find something new to see and experience at The Henry Ford Museum (of American Innovation, if we use the new, fuller name). On our last trip, we found this permanent timepieces exhibit:

Timepieces Sign

Personally, I feel we have become slaves of time. I hope for a day when we can enjoy a slower pace without the heightened sense of urgency that almost everything has these days.

But I digress. On to the timepieces in this exhibit:

Timepieces Wall Clocks

No. They don’t play Dixieland music.

One of the first truly American clock designs coming from the early 1800’s.

Timepieces Eagle

Gallery Clock: 1800-1805

This brass clock would have been displayed in a church or public building, as most common people of the day would not have had personal timepieces. It features 8-day weight-powered movement. And… it has an eagle!

Timepieces History 1

The railroad was one of the major reasons people needed a more exact way to tell time. If you were late, the train would leave without you! We got the time zone system because of the need for standardizing time between cities, and to avoid disastrous collisions due to time discrepancies.

Timepieces History 2

Enlarge and read the many reasons why New England became a major clockmaking center.

Timepieces Pendulum

Pendulum swing like a pendulum do!

Someone should put that line to music. Did you know that Galileo helped to develop the pendulum? The test above is designed to show that no matter where you start the swing of the pendulum, it will take about the same time to swing back and forth. I tried it and it’s true!

COOL FACT: Christian Huygens was the first to use pendulums to regulate clocks in 1657.

Timepieces Mechanism

Inside that Grandfather Clock

This featured an 8-day weight-powered movement and was used in a variety of tall clocks. It also had an hour strike and a quarter chime. The example pictured was manufactured between 1682 and 1709.

Timepieces Hourglass

Telling time old-school

This one only lasted 5 seconds (I guessed 6 seconds).

COOL FACT: Signage for this item also mentioned that our inner sense of time is not as accurate as many animals.

Timepieces Info 2Timepieces Info 1

More Cool Facts

This exhibit also covered sundials and many other traditional forms of timepieces. Even one digital alarm clock that many of us may still punch every morning. Love that snooze feature!

I hope you enjoyed this brief visit to The Henry Ford Museum. It can be found at 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn, Michigan.

Memorabilia from the 1964/65 World’s Fair

I have always wished that I could have attended the 1964/65 New York World’s Fair. This was a special fair for Disney fans as Walt Disney, along with his Imagineers, created many of the most memorable attractions! Today, I share some memorabilia I found from this fair.

Memorabilia World's Fair

From the Collection of The Henry Ford Museum

While visiting The Henry Ford recently I noticed these great souvenirs from the 64/65 New York World’s Fair.

Memorabilia Attraction Book

Magic Skyway for FORD

So it’s not surprising to find a booklet remembering the Magic Skyway in The Henry Ford Museum due to the obvious Ford car tie-in!

Memorabilia Glass

Drinking Glass

This is the first time I’ve seen one of these! Obviously there must have been countless of them sold during the fair, but one wonders how many would have survived to today unbroken.

Memorabilia Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. with Children

This was fun to see. Many famous people visited the fair and rode the various Disney attractions.

Memorabilia Brochure

GM Promotional Pamphlet – Futurama II

This pavilion depicted life 60 years into the future. It was one of the fair’s most popular exhibits and attracted some 26 million people. So Disney wasn’t the only designer who could put on a good show!

Memorabilia Tires

Ferris Wheel Ticket

This huge attraction was installed by the U.S. Rubber Company. Now I’m not normally a big Ferris Wheel fan but I would have loved a spin on this one! Interestingly, it was installed along the I-94 near The Henry Ford Museum in 1966. How cool is that?

These items are why I love memorabilia so much and do all I can to add new pieces to my own collection. But in this case, it seems The Henry Ford has beaten me to some really special pieces of history!

Attractions Review: Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour

After years of having annual passes to The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, MI, we finally availed ourselves of one of the extended attractions offered. Apart from enjoying Greenfield Village one can also take a walking tour of the Ford Rouge Factory.

The tour started for us with the payment of a member discounted ticket for just $14.50 US ($17.00 for non-members). Seniors and child tickets are cheaper. We boarded the free shuttle bus and were taken quickly from The Henry Ford Museum to the Ford Rouge Factory.

Up front I’ll say that the staff for this attraction are top notch! Friendly and knowledgeable and obviously in love with their jobs. We were greeted at the door and given a brief overview of what we were to experience and then shown into the first of two theaters. Let’s begin your vicarious tour with the attractions:

Legacy Theater

Archival Footage of the Rogue – Featuring rarely-seen historic footage from The Henry Ford archives, you’ll learn about the triumphs and tragedies that took place at the Rouge and how Henry Ford’s soaring ideas became actualities and helped define American manufacturing and industry. The music you’ll hear was written and performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

I personally liked this presentation, but those who aren’t big on sitting in a seat for 15 minutes or so watching instead of doing… maybe not so much! But you will learn things you never knew about Ford.

Approximate time: 13 minutes

Manufacturing Innovation Theater

Manufacturing Process Up Close – Celebrating the engineering ingenuity behind the production of the award-winning Ford F-150 truck, this multisensory film experience comes complete with vibrating seats, gusts of wind, and winking robots. With jaw-dropping special effects, from “floating” 3D laser projection mapping and high-energy audio to a breathtaking behind-the-wheel finale, you’ll see the manufacturing process up close, from concept to highway.

This was much more entertaining than the first visual presentation. As far as attractions go, this one had some very cool features! Especially interesting was the use of the F-150 model as it was modified from basic shape to full-fledged running vehicle.

Approximate time: 10 minutes

Observation Deck

Bird’s Eye View of the Rouge – You’ll also get a bird’s-eye view of Ford’s famous “Living Roof.” This eco-industrial wonder – the largest living roof in the world – blankets the top of the final assembly building. Two interactive exhibits help explain the environment features in view.

Not much to see here really. You look out the windows and see buildings. If you’re into reading though, this is the place for you!

Approximate time: 5-15 minutes
Assembly Plant Walking Tour

View F-150 Assembly – The elevated walkway, a 1/3 mile journey, provides you with a unique bird’s-eye view of the plant’s final assembly line. You’ll see firsthand the complex web of equipment, robotics, parts delivery and skilled workers that come together to build one truck per minute at full line speeds.

The tour gives you glimpses of the trim lines for cab, box, and door as well as final testing. You’ll see the F-150 come into the plant as an empty shell and leave as a fully tested F-150 ready for you and me. I’ll take mine in red, please!

FUN FACT: We were told that it was rare to see a Raptor pick-up go by on the line. Why? It may have something to do with this trim lines price tag being upwards of $75,000 US!

The only thing I could nit-pick about this part of the tour is that you start near the end of the process and finish near the beginning as you walk the main plant area. You do then go out to see the finished vehicles being checked and driven away. I thought it might have been better to bring you in from the other side of the building.

Approximate time: 30-45 minutes

Legacy Gallery

attractions car

Historic Rouge-made Vehicles – Take a journey through time and see some of the most famous Ford vehicles made at the Rouge. The cars on display inside the Legacy Gallery include:

  • 1929 Model A
  • 1932 Ford V8
  • 1949 Coupe
  • 1955 Ford Thunderbird
  • 1965 Ford Mustang
  • 2015 Ford F-150

Explore the stories and engineering behind this vehicle in the Truth About Trucks kiosk. Go deeper into The Henry Ford’s collections with the Collections Explorer kiosks that include interactive educational games, Expert Insight videos, curated collection highlights, and complete access to thousands of digitized artifacts.

Basically, you look at six vehicles and read some more.

    Factory PinFactory Pin Back

Of course, no trip to the Ford Rouge Factory Tour would be complete without a visit to the Factory Store located next to the Legacy Gallery.

Factory Pin Close Up

We picked up this commemorative pin for just $5.99 US at the Factory Store on our way out.

Approximate time: As long as it takes!

Buses leave for The Henry Ford Museum every 20 minutes or so. We finished our tour and boarded the bus for the trip back. One hitch came when we were dropped off at the final tour stop. The doors into the museum were closed because we came back close to closing time. So we had to walk to the front entrance. If it had been raining this would not have been good! The bus could have pulled forward and let us off closer to the front entrance as it had to exit the property via that route anyway.

Cool Rating: 4.5/5

I would highly recommend the Ford Rouge Factory Walking Tour along with the other attractions offered at The Henry Ford Museum! That said, it is basically a one-time experience, as things won’t likely change quickly unless Ford radically redesigns the F-150 or updates the manufacturing process.


For full details, check out the Official Website here.

Fashion at The Henry Ford: American Style and Spirit

We enjoy the revolving exhibits at The Henry Ford Museum in Deerborn, MI. Every few months or so a new temporary exhibit arrives. The latest has to do with fashion and is called American Style and Spirit and focuses on one family’s journey through the generations as told by their clothing and fashion.

Interesting, eh? I won’t add a lot of commentary but suffice it to say that these are definitely beautiful things to behold and each show a great deal of creativity in their design!

Note the differences in design cues for the garments as we travel through the years (some dates are approximate). Let’s have a look:

Worn by Jane Prindle Colton Gammon – 1856

This was her wedding dress that was made in the United States out of silk gauze.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1929

This afternoon dress was also made in the United States and is fabricated with pina fiber and silk taffeta. The main fabric used is actually woven out of pineapple leaves!

Worn by Catherine Sarah Prindle – 1908

This is her wedding dress which was again made in the United States. Made of cotton net organza, silk satin ribbon, chemical lace, and silk embroidery. The original lining was silk taffeta.

A point of interest in the design is the princess style, shaped by seams from the shoulder to hem, rather than a seam at the waistline.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1932

Made again in the good old U.S. or A. using silk taffeta and milliner’s velvet. I thought this evening gown was particularly striking!

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1934

This day dress was likely made by a family member and is Rayon and sheared beaver with a metal accent belt. It was likely inspired by French designer, Jean Patou, as it resembles a Patou coat found in a catelogue in the ladies home.

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1914

This day dress was sold by Marshall Field & Company, Chicago, IL. It is made from silk, silk corded applique, embroidery, soutache braid, and net with cotton lace.

So far I think we can see that the earlier the dress the more detailed and ornate it is. In later years dresses came to have plainer designs but with bolder cuts and colors.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1968

This dress was designed by Averardo Bessi and sold by Bonwit Teller. It is a silk jersey.

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1928

This evening dress was made by Adele & Cie of Paris, France, and is made of silk chiffon and silk crepe with rhinestones.

Worn by Agusta Denton Roddis – 1945

Designed by Samuel Kass and sold by the Weathered Misses Shop of Chicago, IL. It consists of Rayon and cotton. The fabric for this day dress was made by Onondaga Silk Company to promote a Spanish perfume called Tuya (‘for you alone’).

Worn by Sarah Denton Roddis – 1895

This dress was made in the United States with silk chiffon and cotton lace. It was updated in 1910 to have leg-of-mutton sleeves changed into long fitted ones, more in fashion at the time. In this way one could save a favorite dress by bringing it into style while saving money!

fashion

Worn by Catherine Prindle Roddis – 1933

Made in the United States using cotton lace, silk velvet, and silk crepe back satin, this evening dress was worn for her 25th wedding anniversary.


And there you have a look at women’s fashion through dress styles over the years with the added treat of having every garment on display coming from the same family! I hope you enjoyed exploring creativity as it is found in dress design and the world of fashion.

Trip Report: Walt’s Birthplace in Chicago, IL

Do you have a Disney Bucket List? So far we’ve managed to visit both North American parks, we’ve taken a Disney cruise, attended a Disney press event (and saw John Lasseter), and now we have been able to add a special item to our list. Walt’s birthplace!

We just visited the birthplace of Walt Disney at 2156 N. Tripp Ave. in Chicago, IL:

walts-birthplace-002

Corner of N. Tripp Avenue & E. Palmer Street

It was raining off and on when we pulled up but we made the best of it and even managed to do a couple of live Facebook feeds.

walts-birthplace-003

From opposite corner

The outside renovations seem to be done and the sign out front indicates a finish date of December 5th, 2016. According to the official website fundraising is still underway to help with completion of the interior.

walts-birthplace-001

Exterior Sign

I took the time to walk around the place, which didn’t take too much time, as the piece of property it’s on is very small.

walts-birthplace-004

Side and rear

I noticed the two colors of siding and the different facing material on the rear. I read once that this building has had a few additions over the years. So it is likely that the yellow portion represents the original house built by Elias Disney and the rest representing subsequent renovation efforts.

walts-birthplace-005

walts-birthplace-006

Garage and small back yard

The city of Chicago tried to designate this property a heritage site but a previous owner blocked the effort. The present owner has worked hard with a dedicated team to make sure that this building will be around for years to come! In their words, the dream is that this property ‘becomes a portal to new approaches in early childhood development and helps to inspire future Walts and Roys.’

walts-birthplace-010     walts-birthplace-009

Front porch detail

So now we can cross another item off our Disney Bucket List. And just to make sure that there is no dispute:

walts-birthplace-030

Yup. I was really there!

walts-birthplace-025

And so was Karen!

 And now you’ve been there, virtually, too!

Book Review: Flying Cars – The True Story

When you first heard the lyrics “Off we go, into the wild, blue, yonder! Off we go…” you probably weren’t thinking of doing so in flying cars. Standard airplanes are the vehicles of choice for the sky! But that was not always the plan.

flying-cars-book-1

Publisher: Clarion Books

ISBN: 978-0-618-98482-4

Type: Hardcover

Pages: 118

Price: $17.99 US

Andrew Glass has put together an interesting chronological listing of flying cars starting from 1901 to the present. He accompanies the facts with little asides about the inventors and the times they lived in, their successes and oft-times spectacular failures.

flying-cars-book-4

How could you not want one of these?

Famous people like the Wright Brothers, Amelia Earhart, and famous classical conductor Leopold Stokowski (of Fantasia fame) all followed the progress of the technology with the last two names actually ordering their own flying cars! Unfortunately, the models they ordered were never put into production. In fact, no flying car has ever been put into production.

But that hasn’t stopped inventors from continuing to design and build prototypes right down to our day.

flying-cars-book-3

If you can drive, why not fly?

The thing that stood out for me in this book is just how close North America came to having flying cars in every garage. Plans were made to position runways next to major highways so commuters could take off and land right next to their freeway exit. One visionary even claimed that rush hour traffic would be eliminated as more and more motorists took to the skies!

I guess no one envisioned traffic jams in the clouds.

flying-cars-book-5

Claims were made that flying one of these babies was as easy as driving your family car. After you learned how to attach and detach the wings and flying controls of course!

I first became aware of flying cars while watching the Disney/Pixar movie Planes which featured a German flying car named Franz Fliegenhosen. He is rendered to be a German 1954 Taylor Aerocar:

aerocar

Real or ‘invented’ by Pixar?

Below is a picture of an actual Aerocar from 1949 designed by Moulton B. Taylor:

flying-cars-book-2

Real. But Pixar gussied it up a bit for the movie

What is the same between this real flying car and the one Pixar ‘invented’ is that the Aerocar was the only flying car to carry its plane components behind it on a trailer, like Franz does in the movie. All other models were designed to leave the fuselage behind at an airstrip.

So there you go. For over 100 years inventors have been working on a way to get your Hyundai airborne. The book is chock full of freaky-tiki examples, including my favorite idea, the flying Ford Pinto (it crashed. The idea was abandoned.)

Review: I would give this book a 5 out of 5 Stars but perhaps only 4 Stars for the average reader. It is basically just a chronological look at flying cars, so if you are not interested in the subject matter, you won’t likely be entertained. However, Glass does find the humor in flying cars, if you can imagine that.

My conclusion after reading the book? I. Want. A. Flying. Car.

Book Review: Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull

I was minding my own business (pun intended) while browsing the shelves of my local Chapters book store when I saw a huge poster on the wall advertising Creativity Inc. and I recognized right away that it featured an image from Pixar Studios! Immediately I went on a hunt for the book it was advertising.

creativity-inc

Publisher: Random House Canada

Pages: 340

Type: Hardcover

ISBN: 978-0-307-36117-2

Date: 2014

And what a book it was! Most Disney/Pixar fans will pick up just about anything that is related to these companies. This book however may not find its way onto as many home bookshelves as say, The Art of Tangled or The Story of Walt Disney. Why?

Fair warning: You really need to love reading and the inner workings of business to enjoy, or even understand, this book. But that’s not a bad thing! Stick with it and you will learn some fascinating history behind the making of your favorite Pixar films along with some insights into the characters of the men and women who made them.

But especially this guy:

ed-catmull

Ed Catmull

We all know about John Lasseter and Steve Jobs and their contributions to Pixar’s success. But there are many more people who have made the company’s continued growth and profit possible. Ed Catmull is among these people. And he is generous in noting the hard work of others!

I can’t say much more about the contents of this book. To quote anything would be to print it so radically out of context that it would be impossible to understand. I think the book needs to be considered as a whole by readers who get the medal for finishing it!

Review: I’d give the book a 4 out of 5 Stars. I think many will find it a tad dry and a bit of a slog to get through. But I also think this is due to the nature of the material, and its primary focus on business, and not due to Catmull’s writing. However, it isn’t a book for every Disney/Pixar fan so I have to lower its mark because of this hampered appeal.

Personally though I’d say ‘buy Creativity Inc.’ because if you’ve ever worked for a company that was abusive to employees and made you wonder where common sense went, you’ll be uplifted to see how Pixar became a company that put people first.

Book Review: This Was Radio by Ronald Lackmann

Isn’t media wonderful? Here I am writing a post for the Internet that I will share on social media about a hardcover book which describes the early days of radio. If I could find a way to throw television in somewhere I’d have every form of media covered!

But rather than do that I will start by showing the publication in question:

This Was Radio Book 016

11 1/2″ x 14″ Hardcover, 70 Pages

This Was Radio Book 015

ISBN: 07413-0038-9

I love all-things vintage. And if I can find a Disney tie-in along the way more the better! This publication was published in 2000 by the Great American Audio Corporation. It was written by Ronald Lackmann with an introduction by Leonard Maltin.

The book is divided into 10 chapters which first cover the invention of radio before seguing into the different genres, such as comedy, children’s programming, and talk shows, among others. Chapter 10 provides a brief sum-up of radio’s impact on popular culture.

Here is an excerpt from the introduction:

This Was Radio Book 020

If it’s entertainment history, it’s Leonard Maltin

I love the reporting of this man! He has done many introductions for Disney productions and is a well-known champion of entertainment history. He, like myself, feels that the shows of the past should be remembered and studied.

In the early days of radio, two companies were major competitors in setting up networks that crossed the United States. They were:

This Was Radio Book 018     This Was Radio Book 019

Other smaller companies would join the party and the government would later step in with regulations to balance out the content.

And what was in that content?

This Was Radio Book 021

Lucille Ball’s first stint as a wife was on radio

This Was Radio Book 022

Mr. Inka Dinka Doo got his big push on radio

This Was Radio Book 023

And even dummies made it big!

Another Disney tie-in comes from a famous Disney star. From Chapter One: “As performers realized how many people were “tuned in” to radio broadcasts, entertainers like… vaudeville comedian Ed “The Perfect Fool” Wynn decided they might be able to increase the size of their audiences by performing “on radio” for thousands, instead of a mere hundreds of fans. Wynn was heard on one of the first important, well-publicized aired-live comedy shows… Wynn decided to broadcast on a regular basis, becoming one of radio’s first major stars (with the Ed Wynn Show, later called The Fire Chief).”

But it wasn’t all fun and game shows on radio. News broadcasters soon found that radio was a great way to spread fear and panic, er… I mean informative political and social commentary. Some of what was covered was quite chilling:

This Was Radio Book 017

From political commentary to the bomb

So if you needed to know it back in the day, you learned of it on radio! Of course, we all know that in time television did come along to overshadow that little talking box in the corner. But it never gave up the fight and is still around today, if only for talk and musical purposes.

But if you’re like me you yearn for the days when The Lone Ranger, gangsters, monsters from outer space, funny comedians, and famous actors all ‘appeared’ over the airwaves!

Review: I’d give this book 4 out of 5 Stars. It is a very comprehensive listing of the programming from the early days of radio with a nice selection of behind-the-scenes photographs. For those not that into radio it will seem a bit like a laundry list of shows with not enough context, but as this book was written for the über fan, that hardly diminishes the books validity.

The book also contains two compact discs with a smattering of old-time radio broadcasts.

Norman Rockwell Paints Huey, Dewey, and Louie

Everyone knows about the Disney tie-in with Norman Rockwell where an artist took-off Rockwell’s Triple Self Portrait by inserting Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse in place of Rockwell. If not, here are the two images:

Triple Self Portrait     Disney Version

But while staying at a friend’s place recently, my wife spotted an actual Disney presence in a Norman Rockwell painting, this time, painted by the Master himself. The piece is called Shuffleton’s Barber Shop and is pictured below:

Shuffleton's Barbershop

From the title of this post, no doubt you are expecting to see Huey, Dewey, and Louie visiting the Barber Shop. They are there, but you have to look very carefully to see them.

Zoom in on the bottom left corner, specifically, on the magazine rack where you can see many comic books. Look closer, and you’ll see:

Close up

And there they are!

This painting was so popular that Hallmark Movie Channel made it into a film in 2013:

Movie case

 

So once again it just goes to show that you never know where a Disney reference will pop up! But you do know that when they do, I’ll be there!