Gabby Hayes and the Redman Tobacco Indian meet at the blacksmith shop?
The Coffee Saloon – too bad the dancehall girl’s face is unrecognizable. Nice gams.
More Southern California vintage coolness. My dad’s garage also yielded a bunch of souvenir slides from Knott’s Berry Farm from long long ago. If you don’t know much about Knott’s, it’s sort of Disneyland’s ugly cousin. It’s in Buena Park – only a few miles from the Magic Kingdom and has an entirely different feel. It’s Western them is complete with authentic buildings and Old West-themed amusement rides like the log ride and the Calico Mine Train. It was started by the Knott family, who sold their berry jams, jellies and pies at a roadside stand. Later, they served up fried chicken dinners in Mrs. Knott’s restaurant before building the replica of a ghost town in 1940. It grew from there.
I visited Knott’s many times as a kid. You could watch a gun fight, see a vaudeville show at the Birdcage Theater, or pan for gold.
Enjoy these nuggets (pun intended)…
Calicao Ghost Town Storefronts. Check out the schoolgirls. Definitely 50′s or 60′s.
The Old Butterfield Stagecoach. Looks like Bonanza!
I ran across an old Disneyland souvenir slide collection in my dad’s garage in California. Not quite sure what year these slides were produced for sale at the Park. The monorail system says “Alweg” on it, which was removed in 1976, so these are pre-1976. The Submarine Voyage and the Matterhorn were added in 1959, and the Skyway cars are still the old, round version.
I am guessing based on the condition of the slides and the clean-cut people depicted in them, these are from the early 1960′s. Anyway, they are a little faded out, but they are super cool and definitely fit right into the groove here at Lost Transmission.
I will offer these in small doses so as to no overwhelm anyone with coollness.
The classic Sleeping Beauty’s Castle before it was chopped down to size.
The Matterhorn Bobsleds! Permanecer sentados por favor.
It’s no secret…I grew up in Orange County, California. I was even born and lived a few early years in a city named Orange. Later, my family lived in Anaheim (also in Orange County). As an adult, I moved back one more time to the city of Orange before finally leaving California for the southeast U.S. The city of Orange is one of my favorite places in the world…very small-town.
There’s a reason there is a city in California named “Orange”. Oranges were everywhere. My dad has lived in Orange County since the 1950′s and has distinct memories of orange groves as far as you could see. Even for me, growing up in the 1970′s, the orange trees were ubiquitous. There were trees on street corners, stands of trees along the road, in people’s yards, and huge groves of trees up hillsides. The street I lived on in Anaheim backed up to a large grove of orange trees before they were all torn down to make way for new tract homes.
Going home to California earlier this month reminded me of how much I love the sight of an orange tree. They were full of fruit (as they often are in winter months) during my visit, and it was a pleasant sight.
For the last 3 years, I have been formulating a song about the orange groves. I wrestled with several ideas for the song’s style and production (as well as lyrics) for a long time before settling on an Everly Brothers-styled ballad. I’m proud to roll out (no pun intended) a new demo recording of Orange Grove – a tribute to my memories of the orange trees of Southern California. I hope you enjoy it…just click the picture below to visit my music website and check out Orange Grove.
If only Mr. Roger had saved all that wrapping paper from his youth as a mid-century boy. What a collection I'd have!
But, never fear, Mr. Roger found a great online source (via hmdavid on flickr) for his vintage wrapping paper fix. If only we could still buy these patterns today.
This wrapping paper makes me want to start singing: "Toyland, toyland, little girl and boy land..."
I believe memories of Christmas are deeply imbedded in most of us here in the good old USA. Sometimes I wonder if my kids will have the same kind of memories I do from Christmas. I don’t think so.
There was something really special about Christmas in America in the early-to-middle part of the 20th century. There is still plenty of Christmas cheer to go around, but it doesn’t mark the landscape quite the way it used to. Was it overly commercial, tacky, sappy? Maybe so, but that’s a matter of taste and opinion. Whatever it was, it was wonderful for a kid to see and experience. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about.
Main Street Downtown
The song “Silver Bells” came from a Bob Hope movie called The Lemon Drop Kid. The movie is one of my favorites. I even blogged about it a year or two ago (psst…click the “Silver Bells” link above). The scene from the movie and the song itself both exult in the imagery of downtown America at Christmas time. It’s classic.
Below is a good photo of the way things used to be all over America. The day-time photo is from the 1950′s, but this kind of over-the-top decorating still dominated my boyhood in the 1970′s. I’m pretty sure they were still using the exact same decorations in the 1970′s that they used in the 1950′s. In fact, below is another photo – one of my hometown, Anaheim all done up for the holidays in 1971. Check it out!
Christmas Tree Lots
Christmas tree lots just ain’t what they used to be. At least not where I live. There are a few random Boy Scouts lots, but I can remember Christmas trees everywhere as a kid in Southern California. The grocery store would have a huge stand of trees under strings of lights (with big 60-watt white light bulbs) in the parking lot. The vacant lot on the corner had the same lights and the same huge stand of trees. Car lots, churches, hardware stores (before Home Depot) – all with Christmas trees! There was the wonderful smell of douglas firs, the white flocked trees, the pink flocked trees, and over the sound of the Percy Faith Singers on the loudspeaker was the buzz of a chain saw and the sound of wood stands being hammered onto the stump-end of the trees. You know that tree-buying scene from A Christmas Story? That’s pretty much what I remember.
Last year, there was ONE Christmas tree lot similar to this in our town. I took my kids there so they could experience this at least once. It wasn’t quite the same. Here are some a familiar images – one real and one imaginary – for those who remember the old city Christmas tree lots. (P.S. I am well-aware Charles Schulz was taking a swipe at the commercialization of Christmas in his TV special. It’s still a great memory.)
Check out my nostaligic nod to this memory in my original oldtime radio play, O Christmas Tree!
Miscellaneous Christmas Junk
Who remembers the snow-in-a-can complete with stencil set? Nothing said “Christmas” in sunny California like fake frosted window panes.
Highly-Flammable Christmas Lights
Remember these colored Christmas tree lights? Boy, did these things get HOT! But the incredible warmth of the colors is unforgettable. Modern light bulbs feel a little too clean and bright. I prefer the old glow of these babies. In typical fashion, even the box is cool!
Old Christmas Ornaments
Remember the satin-covered styrofoam ornaments? So chic. The satin strings would always begin to unravel, leaving bald spots and big knots of frayed satin.
How about the chirping bird ornament? It seemed so cool in the tree on the Christmas section at the craft store, but within a few minutes on the tree at home it was like a torture device.
These made-in-Japan pixies/elves are a Christmas classic that appeared on our tree and all over the place at my Granny’s house…
Then there’s the all-time favorite “dancing Santa”. Whoever created this little guy must have made a bazillion dollars. The felt coating would rub off and gave you the cold chills to touch it. We had one that actually lit up with one of those highly-flammable Christmas bulbs (see previous photo in this blog).
Nobody puts tinsel icicles on their trees anymore. I don’t even think they sell this now. It was legendary for static-clinging to your jammies. Done right, I suppose it had its appeal, but back in the good old days nobody seemed to be able to resist the urge to throw gobs of this stuff on their trees. To wit…
Finally, angel hair. This wispy creation caught the light in really neat ways and looked really intriguing, but after sticking your hands in this stuff for a few minutes you realized your mistake. As the box below warns, angel hair is spun glass that leaves prickly shards in every surface of your hands – just like home insulation. Ouch!