A special presentation of four Disneyland television specials - The Disneyland Story, Dateline Disneyland, Operation Disneyland, Disneyland After Dark - plus The Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show, all originally broadcast between 1955 and 1970, and hosted by Walt Disney himself. Also includes additional archival footage of Disneyland's opening day and other rare materials. Introduction by Leonard Maltin.
To finance Disneyland he wanted to build, Walt Disney turned to the new medium of television. As host Leonard Maltin notes on this two- disc set of televised specials for the amusement park, Disney used the series to promote it, "and no one seemed to mind." ABC agreed to invest in return for a weekly one-hour program. The "Disneyland" TV show premiered on October 27, 1954: "Disneyland Story" introduced the park and its various lands, which would be the subject of future programs. The opening-day special, "Dateline Disneyland" (July 17, 1955), attracted an estimated audience of 90 million--virtually every television household in America. Hosted by Art Linkletter, Robert Cummings, and Ronald Reagan, the live broadcast includes such unplanned moments as Linkletter searching frantically for a microphone in Fantasyland. The Tenth Anniversary show (January 3, 1965) features cameos of Mary Blair and Marc Davis, two celebrated animation artists. Home movie footage of Walt pacing off distances at the barren site in Anaheim is intercut with peeks at forthcoming attractions. "Disneyland After Dark" (April 15, 1962) offers performances by Annette Funicello, Bobby Burgess, Bobby Rydell, Louis Armstrong, and a prepubescent quartet of Osmond Brothers. A must-have set for Disneyland buffs, Disney collectors, and nostalgic baby boomers. --Charles Solomon