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Cleansing the Past, Selling the Future: Disneys Corporate Exhibits at the 1964-65 New York Worlds Fair
Unformatted Document Text:  Disney, 15 Even at these early stages Disney insisted on the insertion of “Midwestern values” and optimism that he felt was at the core of American culture. 45 Furthermore, as well as being a canvas for portraying certain ideals and nostalgia, Disney’s enthusiasm and hard work on the Carousel was also based on the belief that his involvement in the Fair was vital for the success of the Disney Company’s innovations and future plans. “Walt was really into the Carousel of Progress show,” said one imagineer. “He was really excited with what was happening with Audio Animatronics. It enabled him to do things he had never done before…there was more of Walt in the characters of that show than anything done.” 46 The Carousel also allowed Disney to connect his and WED’s skills at creating nostalgic versions of the past with his optimism for the future. “The theme song, ‘Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,’ had a wonderful positiveness about it,” said Richard Shermen, the co-author of the tune. “In a way, it was Walt’s theme song, because he was very positive about the future. He really felt that there was a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day.” 47 By January 1963, construction was under way in New York on the Progressland pavilion. One month later the Carousel sets for each act began arriving and were slowly assembled, one-by-one. 48 General Electric and WED staff was apprehensive, because Audio Animatronics problems persisted up until the Pavilion’s opening day. 49 Once the Pavilion opened however, on April 21, 1964, the response by the press, the public, and General Electric was very positive, and contributed to the company’s future 45 According to one WED employee, “Walt picked the voices personally. He wanted that Midwestern drawl, because the show represented Midwestern values.” Interview with Harriet Burns. Anderson, 68. 46 Interview with Sklar. Anderson, 68. 47 Interview with Richard Sherman. Anderson, 68. 48 Disneyland Goes to the Fair, videocassette. 49 The Carousel was never fully assembled before arriving bit-by-bit to New York. After assembly in New York, it was discovered that the audiotape that coordinated the signal controlling the movements of the AA characters needed to be re-recorded. Although Disney was alerted that the show was still not ready the day before a press conference and tour of the Carousel, he decided that his staff would be able to fix the errors by then, which they purportedly did. Anderson, 80.

Authors: Lillie, Jonathan.
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background image
Disney, 15
Even at these early stages Disney insisted on the insertion of “Midwestern values” and optimism that he
felt was at the core of American culture.
45
Furthermore, as well as being a canvas for portraying certain
ideals and nostalgia, Disney’s enthusiasm and hard work on the Carousel was also based on the belief
that his involvement in the Fair was vital for the success of the Disney Company’s innovations and
future plans. “Walt was really into the Carousel of Progress show,” said one imagineer. “He was really
excited with what was happening with Audio Animatronics. It enabled him to do things he had never
done before…there was more of Walt in the characters of that show than anything done.”
46
The
Carousel also allowed Disney to connect his and WED’s skills at creating nostalgic versions of the past
with his optimism for the future. “The theme song, ‘Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,’ had a wonderful
positiveness about it,” said Richard Shermen, the co-author of the tune. “In a way, it was Walt’s theme
song, because he was very positive about the future. He really felt that there was a great big beautiful
tomorrow shining at the end of every day.”
47
By January 1963, construction was under way in New York on the Progressland pavilion. One
month later the Carousel sets for each act began arriving and were slowly assembled, one-by-one.
48
General Electric and WED staff was apprehensive, because Audio Animatronics problems persisted up
until the Pavilion’s opening day.
49
Once the Pavilion opened however, on April 21, 1964, the response
by the press, the public, and General Electric was very positive, and contributed to the company’s future
45
According to one WED employee, “Walt picked the voices personally. He wanted that Midwestern drawl,
because the show represented Midwestern values.” Interview with Harriet Burns. Anderson, 68.
46
Interview with Sklar. Anderson, 68.
47
Interview with Richard Sherman. Anderson, 68.
48
Disneyland Goes to the Fair, videocassette.
49
The Carousel was never fully assembled before arriving bit-by-bit to New York. After assembly in New York, it
was discovered that the audiotape that coordinated the signal controlling the movements of the AA characters needed to be
re-recorded. Although Disney was alerted that the show was still not ready the day before a press conference and tour of the
Carousel, he decided that his staff would be able to fix the errors by then, which they purportedly did. Anderson, 80.


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