This pioneering example of cooperation between a film studio and a television network also happens to be the longest-running running show in the history of television. Not bad for a ‘kiddie program.’
Known over the years by many titles, Disneyland began its long run in 1954 on ABC. At the time, ABC was in third place among the three networks and ready to take a gamble on Walt Disney. Not only did the network have to pay a high price for the Disney programming, it also had to contribute funding for Walt Disney’s proposed amusement park, Disneyland. ABC took the risk, and that judgment was vindicated when both the show and the park became huge successes.
Originally titled Disneyland, the program was hosted by Walt Disney himself. Initially, the show was split into four rotating segments that represented the four areas that made up the Disneyland park: Frontierland, Fantasyland, Adventureland, and Tomorrowland. This format allowed for several different styles of content, including live-action programming, cartoons, and documentaries. All were popular, but Disneyland kicked into ratings overdrive when it began running a serialized program on the life of Davy Crockett as a Frontierland segment. Fess Parker played the title role, chronicling the adventures of the real-life explorer in the 1800’s. Davy Crockett made an overnight star of Parker, spawned a theme song that became one of the biggest hits of the 50’s, and turned Davy’s coonskin caps into the must-have fad of the mid-50’s.
Surprisingly, Crockett was killed in the last of the segments. Public demand resulted in a few more episodes chronicling Crockett’s earlier adventures, but Crockett never got a regular series. Several new western heroes likeTexas John Slaughter and Swamp Fox would be telecast until the early 60’s to fill the void created by the loss of Davy Crockett, but none of them ever achieved the same popularity. Other segments aired during the early run of the show included adaptations of classics like Robin Hood and Babes in Toyland, as well as original cartoons featuring the likes of Donald Duck and Goofy.
In 1961, the show moved to NBC, where it could broadcast in color. The show’s title was changed to toot the multi-hued horn a bit, and Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color hit the airwaves. A new animated character named Professor Ludwig Von Drake was introduced at this time. This relative of Donald Duck was voiced by Paul Frees and was used to introduce educational-themed segments like “Mathmagic Land.” The combination of varied original programming was maintained, although the focus on Western programming shifted to nature-themed segments like “Joker, the Amiable Ocelot” and “Lefty, the Ding-A-Ling Lynx,” often narrated by Rex Allen.
Walt Disney died in December 15, 1966, and his passing was mourned by many a viewer. As a result, the opening and closing ‘host’ portions of the program were dropped, and introductory duties were handled by an off-screen narrator, Dick Wesson. Gradually, the focus of the show shifted from original programming to re-runs of Disney cartoons and films. Though it was consistently viewed by many, the ratings gradually began to slip over the years, and NBC cancelled it in 1981. It was almost immediately picked up by CBS, where it ran until 1983. After that, the show went into a hiatus period while the Disney company concentrated on a new cable venture known as the Disney Channel.
In 1986, the show was revived by new Disney head Michael Eisner and returned to its original network home, ABC. Eisner also hosted the show, which alternated classic Disney films with new made-for-TV films like The Last Electric Knight and Not Quite Human. In 1988, the show moved to NBC. It was still hosted by Eisner, but now consisted primarily of original programming, including series based on The Parent Trap and The Absent-Minded Professor, as well as an update of Davy Crockett. This version of the show was cancelled in September of 1990, but the format was revived yet again in the fall of 1997. Fittingly, it returned once more to ABC. Made-for-TV extravaganzas like Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and a new version of Annie have put the program back in “Mom, is it time forWonderful World of Disney yet?” territory, and network TV debuts of theatrical fare like Toy Story and Pocahontas have helped turn the show back into the ratings powerhouse it was back in the glory days.
A final note: this show went through a variety of title changes as the years passed. The following is a complete list of the shows various titles:Disneyland (1954-58), Walt Disney Presents (1958-61), Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color (1961-69), The Wonderful World of Disney(1969-79) Disney’s Wonderful World (1979-81), Walt Disney (1981-83),The Disney Sunday Movie (1986-88), The Magical World Of Disney (1988-90), and The Wonderful World of Disney (1997-present).
| Release History
|10/27/54 – 9/17/61 ABC
9/24/61 – 9/13/81 NBC
9/26/81 – 9/24/83 CBS
2/2/86 – 9/11/88 ABC
10/9/88 – 9/9/90 NBC
1997 – present ABC
| Sub Categories
|ABC, NBC, CBS|
|Walt Disney Television|
Clairvoyant, The (BBC-2 1986, Roy Kinnear, Sandra Dickinson)
In Roy Clarke penned sitcom The Clairvoyant used car salesman Arnold Bristow is knocked down in a car accident and suddenly finds himself with psychic powers – or so he believes. There was a pilot broadcast 27 Nov 1984.
ROY KINNEAR as Arnold Bristow
SANDRA DICKINSON as Lily
HUGH LLOYD as Burma
SHAUN CURRY as Newton
GLYNIS BROOKS as Dawn
CARMEL CRYAN as Carmen
Writer: Roy Clarke
Producer and Director: Alan J.W. Bell
Network and Production Companies: BBC-2
Duration: 6×30 minute episodes
Aired From: Pilot – 27 November 1984 and Series – 15 May – 19 June 1986
Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)
Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017
Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)
In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.
Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015
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