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Cleansing the Past, Selling the Future: Disney’s Corporate Exhibits at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair
Unformatted Document Text:  Disney, 19 specific eras they were trying to present. As for security, WED felt competition with GM’s Futurama pavilion, and did not want any information on the Magic Skyway to be leaked. 64 The problem was that at the time WED used studios at the Disney lots near Disneyland, where a large number of employees and visitors routinely walked through. Eventually, Disney moved WED to its own spot near Glendale, California where they would have more space and privacy. 65 In April 1963, the secrecy was still on, as the New York Times tried to scope the GM and Ford pavilion rides, but without much success. 66 However, as the time for the Fair grew nearer, secrecy gave way to the need to publicize the Ford pavilion and Disney’s involvement. In 1963, magazines and newspapers began carrying stories on the Skyway. One of the first glimpses the nation had of Disney’s life-sized dinosaurs and comical cavemen was in the popular NBC television series, “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.” 67 Magazine such as Look, National Geographic, and Science Digest ran articles emphasizing Disney’s involvement with the Fair, including photographs of him mugging with the full-sized dinosaur and cavemen figures in the California studios. 68 By the end of 1963, Disney’s dinosaurs became a regular news item. In January, 64 Both GM and Disney tried to get information on each other’s work for the Fair. Anderson, 48. 65 Anderson, 36. 66 New York Times, April 14, 1963, sec A. 67 Television had been a vital marketing and moneymaking tool for Disney since the early 1950s. In 1950, Disney studios produced two television specials that showed off their cartoons and were hosted by Walt. Watts, 364. However, in 1953 Disney signed a significant seven-year deal with ABC where Disney agreed to produce a weekly show called, “Disneyland,” and ABC agreed to help finance the construction of Disneyland. Watts, 365. The ABC series was constructed around publicity for upcoming Disney films, and more importantly, for Disneyland. Shows often featured tours of the park under construction, moving TV Guide to remark, “there will be hardly a living soul in the United States who won’t have heard about the Disneyland amusement park and who won’t be dieing to come see it. Yessir, television is a wonderful thing.” Watts, 366. The show was also widely popular, occupying a space in the Nielson top ten for several years. Watts, 367. For his part, Disney was very aware of the commercial power of television, noting “television today should command our utmost respect as a medium for exploiting our wares.” Watts, 367. The Disney-ABC partnership ended in a bitter lawsuit in 1959. When the feud was brokered, Disney went to NBC, and the 60s phenomena of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” was born. Watts, 374. 68 In the Look and National Geographic articles Disney mugs with the Dinosaurs and cavemen. In the Science Digest article he mugs with one of the Carousel characters and with the cavemen (there were also cavewomen and children used, but Disney usually mugged with the cavemen. Cohen, Daniel. “Preview of Disney’s World Fair Shows.” De Roos Zimmerman. Science Digest. Vol 54., No. 6, December 1963, pp 9-15.

Authors: Lillie, Jonathan.
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Disney, 19
specific eras they were trying to present. As for security, WED felt competition with GM’s Futurama
pavilion, and did not want any information on the Magic Skyway to be leaked.
64
The problem was that
at the time WED used studios at the Disney lots near Disneyland, where a large number of employees
and visitors routinely walked through. Eventually, Disney moved WED to its own spot near Glendale,
California where they would have more space and privacy.
65
In April 1963, the secrecy was still on, as
the New York Times tried to scope the GM and Ford pavilion rides, but without much success.
66
However, as the time for the Fair grew nearer, secrecy gave way to the need to publicize the Ford
pavilion and Disney’s involvement. In 1963, magazines and newspapers began carrying stories on the
Skyway. One of the first glimpses the nation had of Disney’s life-sized dinosaurs and comical cavemen
was in the popular NBC television series, “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.”
67
Magazine such
as Look, National Geographic, and Science Digest ran articles emphasizing Disney’s involvement with
the Fair, including photographs of him mugging with the full-sized dinosaur and cavemen figures in the
California studios.
68
By the end of 1963, Disney’s dinosaurs became a regular news item. In January,
64
Both GM and Disney tried to get information on each other’s work for the Fair. Anderson, 48.
65
Anderson, 36.
66
New York Times, April 14, 1963, sec A.
67
Television had been a vital marketing and moneymaking tool for Disney since the early 1950s. In 1950, Disney
studios produced two television specials that showed off their cartoons and were hosted by Walt. Watts, 364. However, in
1953 Disney signed a significant seven-year deal with ABC where Disney agreed to produce a weekly show called,
“Disneyland,” and ABC agreed to help finance the construction of Disneyland. Watts, 365. The ABC series was constructed
around publicity for upcoming Disney films, and more importantly, for Disneyland. Shows often featured tours of the park
under construction, moving TV Guide to remark, “there will be hardly a living soul in the United States who won’t have
heard about the Disneyland amusement park and who won’t be dieing to come see it. Yessir, television is a wonderful thing.”
Watts, 366. The show was also widely popular, occupying a space in the Nielson top ten for several years. Watts, 367. For
his part, Disney was very aware of the commercial power of television, noting “television today should command our utmost
respect as a medium for exploiting our wares.” Watts, 367. The Disney-ABC partnership ended in a bitter lawsuit in 1959.
When the feud was brokered, Disney went to NBC, and the 60s phenomena of “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color”
was born. Watts, 374.
68
In the Look and National Geographic articles Disney mugs with the Dinosaurs and cavemen. In the Science
Digest article he mugs with one of the Carousel characters and with the cavemen (there were also cavewomen and children
used, but Disney usually mugged with the cavemen. Cohen, Daniel. “Preview of Disney’s World Fair Shows.” De Roos
Zimmerman. Science Digest. Vol 54., No. 6, December 1963, pp 9-15.


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