The first Disney television show premiered on this day in 1954
The very first Disney TV series premiered on October 27, 1954. They've done pretty well for themselves since.
Before Disneyland was a theme park, it was a place in the imagination. The Anaheim attraction opened on July 17, 1955. Yet nearly a year earlier, on October 27, 1954, Disneyland premiered on television. Over time the anthology series became better known as Walt Disney'sWonderful World of Color or The Wonderful World of Disney. When it first aired on ABC, the black & white show focused on the forthcoming amusement park in California in the episode "The Disneyland Story." The event made the cover of the TV Guide that week, as pictured above.
"Each week, as you enter this timeless land, one of these many worlds will open to you," the soothing voice of Dick Wesson announced, as Tinkerbell flitted over Cinderella Castle. By now we all know these lands — Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Adventureland and Fantasyland. That first episode offers an intriguing peek behind the curtain at Walt Disney Studios, with teases of upcoming Disney films 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Sleeping Beauty, which was still years away. You can watch it here. Disney had mastered the art of self-promotion long before it had its hands on Star Wars.
Walt Disney himself proclaimed, "Later on in the show, you'll find that Disneyland the place and Disneyland the TV show are all part of the same." He shows off scale models and maps as if he were leading a board meeting, though it still manages to stir a sense of childhood awe in us. This was sheer marketing spun into fairy tale. Later, Fess Parker is introduced as Davy Crockett and he sings a little ditty. In a way, it's bit like telling kids who plays Santa Claus, yet the warm, inimitable Disney style keeps the tone filled with wonder.
The Mickey Mouse Club, the second Walt Disney television production, premiered a year later on ABC, sixty years ago on October 3, 1955. Now, of course, Disney owns the network.
Do you remember watching the Disneyland television show? What was your favorite "Land" of Disneyland?