Monday, August 22, 2016
Tim and I know a lot about Disney history. But there’s always room to learn more, especially when the tutor is Bob Gurr, an early Disney imagineer and mastermind behind Disneyland’s Monorail and the Autopia ride.
Bob Gurr’s Disney History Trail Bus Tour starts at Walt Disney’s first L.A. home, which he and brother Roy built in the late 1920s. From here, we traveled a few blocks to the former site of Walt’s first studio on Hyperion Avenue, where Mickey Mouse and beloved classics, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, were created. Breaks my heart that the site now houses a Gelson's market and parking lot, but some studio "bungalows" still remain.
Walt's first home on Lyric Avenue, within walking distance
of the now gone Hyperion studio
Our tour guide, Bob Gurr
Historical sign noting location of original Disney studio
Former studio bungalows (above and below) are now residences
Next up: the Griffith Park merry-go-round, where Disney took his daughters every weekend. There are certainly far more beautiful carousels to see and ride—indeed, Walt thought the grounds were dirty and unspectacular. What’s so special, then, about this one? Well, this is where Walt famously began dreaming of someday building an amusement park that children and their parents could enjoy together. Several years later, Disneyland was born.
Griffith Park merry-go-round
Carousel art (detail)
Ticket booth detail (yikes!)
Ridin' the merry-go-round!
After riding the merry-go-round and truly soaking in the historical significance of the place, we hopped back on the bus to Walt’s barn, rescued from the wrecking ball by Diane Disney and now a treasured Griffith Park attraction. Originally located in the backyard of the Disneys’ Holmby Hills estate, the barn is where Walt and his imagineers would go to relax and think up new projects, after riding narrow-gauged trains all day. Again, the historical significance of this relatively modest building cannot be overstated.
Disney cartoon memorabilia
The last leg of the tour focused on the Burbank studio—built after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs—plus the expanded Disney properties in Glendale. Throughout, our tour guide provided fascinating as well as entertaining insights into the history of Disney—both the man and the company—which Bob was lucky enough to experience firsthand. What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday.
The building where Disneyland was designed and realized
The MAPO building—so called by the imagineers, because
it was erected using profits from the movie Mary Poppins. The
People Mover and 3d iteration of the Monorail were built here.
Grand Central Air Terminal, L.A. area's first intercontinental
airport, recently renovated by Disney as office space
Landscaped grounds around the old terminal—so
thrilled to see it all looking so beautiful!
One of the Glendale campus gates
Main gate to the Burbank studio
The Seven Dwarfs holding up the Disney admin. building
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Adele's world-famous eyes
"Carpool Karaoke" with James Corden
Late last year, Adele announced that she would be appearing in six concerts at L.A.'s 17,000-seat Staples Center arena this month. Tickets sold-out immediately and so eventually two more concerts were added, breaking all Staples Center records. I wanted to go, but knew it would be impossible. That is, until two weeks ago, when Tim surprised me with tickets for our 30th anniversary! We saw Adele in concert last night.
Waiting for the concert to start
On the main stage
The concert ended back on the center stage with Adele singing "Set Fire to the Rain," while water poured all around her. Her encore ended with "Rolling in the Deep," the song that made me love her four years ago at the Grammys. It was all just about perfect.
Before the rain started to fall
Me, looking all girly-girl for Adele
Monday, August 08, 2016
One of 50 artworks celebrating the 50th
anniversary of Star Trek
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the franchise, Creation, which has been organizing pop culture gatherings since 1971, decided to expand this year's annual Star Trek convention (i.e., "con") to an unprecedented five days. Always held in Las Vegas, the event claimed to be the biggest, most glorious celebration of all things "Star Trek" ever assembled.
Although Karen and I have been to many Star Trek cons over the years, we had never attended the one in Las Vegas. Too damn hot, for one thing! But this promised to be historic: almost every major cast member of every Trek series was scheduled to appear. Plus, of course, there would be lots of opportunities to buy one-of-a-kind commemorative merchandise. The convention was held last week. We bought our tickets way back in December.
After driving five hours to Vegas, arriving
at the con, at last
An over-sized Starfleet insignia
greeted all con attendees
All fake weapons had to be inspected
No real weapons allowed
Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock
Control panels on the bridge
The bridge replica
Me, pretending to be captain on a different faux bridge
A "drunk" Klingon as Batman
Fans dressed as various TOS characters on stage
Starfleet cadets (officers?)
Captain Kirk's nemesis, Khan
Harry Mudd, a popular character
Covered in tribbles!
Orion slave boys
Kamin, from my favorite TNG
episode, "The Inner Light"
Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise, and Kate Mulgrew, the first and only female captain of all the shows. We also viewed previously "lost" footage from TOS, which will soon be available on DVD, and learned that the long-overdue revision of the Star Trek Encyclopedia will finally be released in October. I've already placed my order.
Adam Nimoy, paying tribute to his dad, Leonard
(Mr. Spock), who died last year
Artist's rendering of the TNG cast
Andorian science officer next to a Starfleet poster,
Me and Karen being assimilated into the Borg
Plenty of merchandise to buy, including tribbles
Me having trouble with tribbles
Other activities: Klingon karaoke, Friday night
Cake decorating: Q
Salt vampire from "The Man Trap" (TOS)
Fans were invited to sign a farewell to Anton Yelchin, who
was tragically killed earlier this year
Me returning home through the Guardian of Forever
(from my favorite TOS episode, "City on the Edge of Forever")