Tuesday, December 01, 2015

A Pair From August, 1963

I have two somewhat random images for you today, starting with this shot taken just inside the gates (notice the ticket booths on the other side of the chain link). Right in front of us is a nice sign (in classic "Disneyland style") for a "New T.V. series on NBC",  Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. The popular Disney program had moved to NBC in 1961 to take advantage of the growing popularity of color televisions - since this slide is dated August 1963, I wonder if this is a case of a roll of film taking months to get developed? Either that or they just left the sign up for a long time. 

The photographer inadvertently captured an actual murder taking place... that small child is being strangled by two other kids! 

Next we see the lovely Flower Market. Think of the amazing aroma of all those silk and plastic flowers!

As requested by Monkey Cage Kurt, here is a closer look at the "World of Color" sign, from a different photo that I posted back in 2007. This one is from November 1964, so I guess they did leave the sign up for a long time.


Nanook said...


One does have to wonder why that sign would still be there two years after changing networks - especially with the text indicating "new TV series", but you never know.

The move to NBC had less to do with 'the popularity of color televisions' - that wouldn't really start to take place until 1965-66 - but more with Disney's relationship with ABC, which had gone south. And 1961 spelled the end to Disney's seven year contract with ABC. Walt could now move to a network more than willing to broadcast his show in color, and move he did.

Man, with all the "fisticuffs" going on just beyond the ticket booths (strangulation and body grabbing), it looks more like a scene out of Gunsmoke. You'd-a thought those youngsters would just be chaffing at the bit to get on inside the park so they could have quality time with all those attraction posters lining the fence around Floral Mickey-! Just what was wrong with kids back then, I ask you-?

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Chain link fencing and simple functional bench seating. I love it! In the Flower Mart image, as Main Street USA is, the Disneyland guests are from another era as well.

"Walt Disney's Wonder World of Color" is the show I remember watching as a small child in the early to mid-1960s. There was something magical and reassuring about seeing Uncle Walt Sunday evenings on television. Thanks, Major.

Major & Nanook. Also of note, ABC had resisted selling its stake in Disneyland which it eventually did in 1960. This might've been another reason the relationship soured.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

That sign is a really nice bit of history, I like it! I’ve never seen it before. I’ll bet there are not too many photos of it out there at all. I mean who would think to take a photo of a sign like that? I’m glad they did though. I just wish they gotten a tad closer. Do you think you could provide us with a crop Major? (If it’s not too much to ask).

I LOVE the crime scene element, simply HILARIOUS!!! You gota love kids, murderous little beasts, the lot of em.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the sight of the classic ticket booths and chain link fence, before everything became so "done". And the aroma of the plastic flowers, takes me right back.

Thank you Major, these are wonderful.


Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Wow, I can’t believe you have two pics of that sign. I guess there are more of them out there than I thought. I really like the second one.

Thanks for providing the second photo, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Mom and dad could have saved a ton of scratch. Let the little gutter snipes choke each other to sleepy land and then drive them home and "tell" them they spent the day at Disneyland. None the wiser.

I love the old school look of the entry plaza, thanks for posting.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I don’t think it is erroneous to say that the growing popularity of color television had a lot to do with the move to NBC; as usual, Walt was ahead of the curve compared to most people. Imagine a TV station NOT wanting to transition to color! Amazing.

K. Martinez, I honestly don’t recall watching “The Wonderful World of Color” when Walt was hosting… maybe I did, but I would have been a tiny child. But it seems as if we watched some episodes on 16mm at school for “educational purposes” (also known as “giving the teacher a cigarette break”). Just think how smart is was for Roy to buy back ABC’s stake in Disneyland (and Western Publishing, too). It probably cost them a pretty penny, but it was certainly worth it!

Monkey Cage Kurt, I might have one or two other photos of the sign, and I think Daveland has at least one good one as well. If I had seen those kids near the entrance in 1963, my thought would probably be to avoid them at all costs throughout the day!

JG, I can’t say I honestly miss the chain link, except that it harkens back to a simpler time. The classic ticket booths though… they were perfect!

Monkey Cage Kurt, you just never know what people are going to point their cameras at!

Alonzo, my mom and dad just gave us a paper cup full of gin! It was “lights out” soon afterwards.

Unknown said...

Good stuff, Major. I just went and watched the first Wonderful World of Color on YouTube. There's a good bit of commentary regarding how cool it was to be watching the show on a color TV set, and a couple of in-show plugs for the new network. No color TV for us right then, but occasional color viewing at the neighbors.

Apropos of nothing, I just watched The American Experience's bio of Walt Disney that was originally broadcast in September. If you haven't seen it it's well worth the time. A pretty great, neutral bio with some outstanding archival stuff I'd never seen.

Nanook said...


I don't think it was a matter of "not wanting" to transition to Color, but a matter of the cost. We're not talking the O and O's, here, we're talking all the affiliates, where finding the money to build-out a color station could be quite expensive for them. Admittedly, if all an affiliate wanted to broadcast were shows originating on color film, as many initially did, (The Wonderful World of Color, fer instance), they merely needed the color film island, switching and broadcasting equipment, and not necessarily purchase the cameras, lighting and the rest of the gear to fully equip a color studio.

In 1960 there were 45,750,000 television households, of which merely 500,000 were color. By 1964, the total television households attained 51,600,000 with 1,610,000 being color. By 1966 it was 53,850,00/5,220,000 and in 1968 that number was 53,850,000 with the number of color households ballooning to 13,700,000. Trust me, it was Walt and David Sarnoff (of RCA) who were pulling the U.S. consumer into buying color sets. And the mid-60's when CBS & ABC finally starting broadcasting most of their shows in color, was the watershed time. Certainly the popularity of The Wonderful World of Color helped sell many color TV's, along with Bonanza and other popular TV shows broadcasting in color. By Fall, 1965, CBS relented and finally offered regularly-scheduled color programming.

You got it right about Roy buying back ABC's shares in Disneyland - THAT was the real thorn in Disney's side that caused all the friction between the two companies. And by ultimately moving to NBC, Walt was able to finally broadcast his show in Color, along with the many color properties originally broadcast in B&W, now being seen in Color.

Nanook said...


Make that "56,670,000" television households in 1968.

Monkey Cage Kurt said...

Wait, what are we doing here?! I thought we all agreed to boycott GDB until the Major confesses to having watched Saving Mr. Banks. I didn’t hear him say anything about it.

Major Pepperidge said...

Monkey Cage Kurt, I don't remember anybody agreeing with your boycott! ;-) But I doubt I will get to "Saving Mr. Banks" anytime in the near future, what with the holidays and all. I hope you will reconsider!