Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Original Admission price to Disneyland & 1st Ticket Book

Q: How much was the original admission price to Disneyland, and when were the ticket books introduced?
Jackie, El Cajon, California 

A [Dave Smith]: The original main gate admission price was one dollar, but that just got one in the gate. Guests had to pay at each individual attraction in the park. Ticket books were first issued on October 11, 1955.

[Marcio Disney

           The first ticket to Disneyland was bought by Roy O. Disney, who for decades kept it in the top desk drawer of his office. It's shown here as a preserved artifact in the Disney Archive. (Christina House/Los Angeles Times)

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Little Girl in the First Scene of Carousel of Progress

Q: In the first scene in the Carousel of Progress, a little girl is helping Sarah with the laundry. She is not mentioned by name and does not appear in any other scenes. My discussion board buddies at are dying to know the answer.
Debbie, Hamilton Square, New Jersey 

A [Dave Smith]: She was never named. 

[Marcio Disney

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gonzo from The Muppets

Q: What kind of animal is Gonzo from The Muppets?
Angela, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A [Dave Smith]: His is not supposed to be based on any recognizable animal; he has been called a “whatever.”


Gonzo the Great (or simply Gonzo) is a puppet character, one of Jim Henson's Muppets. He was developed and performed by Dave Goelz. The character made his first appearance in a 1970 Christmas special entitled "The Great Santa Claus Switch". Known as a "Whatever" (or a "Weirdo" on Muppet Babies), he is considered one of The Frackles. Since his character lived in a cigar box, he was called the "Cigar Box Frackle". Originally a minor figure on The Muppet Show, he soon evolved into one of the franchise's principal characters.

He is voiced by Russi Taylor in Jim Henson's Muppet Babies and by Hal Rayle in the ill-fated Jim Henson's Little Muppet Monsters. He appeared in the premiere episode of Studio DC: Almost Live in 2008. In the 1999 film Muppets from Space, it is revealed that he is an alien from a distant planet in space and he meets his alien family for the first time.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dave Smith Collection - Magic Kingdom Opens [Disney Pin]

"Dave Smith Collection - Magic Kingdom® Park Opens"
Release Date:
Walt Disney World® Resort
Edition Size:
Dave Smith, director of the Walt Disney Company Archives and long-time Disney Historian, has selected the top 20 moments in Disney Theme Park History. This pin celebrates the first Disney Theme Park in Florida - the Magic Kingdom® Park.

This Limited Edition pin features Mickey Mouse sitting on a bench in the Magic Kingdom® Park. The yellow balloon next to Mickey is "free-d" - Fastened Rubber Element on a pin for Extra Dimension. The "Dave Smith Medallion" is a pin-on-pin. Martha Widener from Disney Design Group created the artwork for this pin. It is #7 out of 20 in the Dave Smith collection.
Dave says, "The Magic Kingdom® Park at Walt Disney World® Resort opened in Florida on October 1, 1971."

Please contact Walt Disney World® Merchandise Guest Services at 407-363-6200 or via e-mail: to check availability of ordering this pin. If sending an e-mail, please include "Attn: Pins" in the subject line. All Limited Edition pins are available while supplies last, and may not be available via Walt Disney World® Mail Order at time of inquiry.
Please Note - All information is subject to change including but not limited to artwork, release dates, edition sizes and retail prices.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Disney Archivist Dave Smith with the first Disneyland attraction vehicle ever sold at a Disneyana convention

10.18.11 – Walt Disney World hosts its first Disneyana convention, as told by Dave Smith in 1992.

Disney Archivist Dave Smith with the first Disneyland attraction vehicle ever sold at a Disneyana convention.

Whether it’s early Mickey Mouse watches, original cartoon cels, recent limited edition figurines, or 1955 Disneyland guide­books, Disneyana collectibles have a fascination for Amer­icans young and old. And, with the opening of Disney Parks in Japan and France, and the expansion of The Disney Stores throughout the world, what started as an American hobby has grown to where it is enjoyed worldwide today.

To provide an event where Disneyana fans could gather together for several days of collecting, guest speakers, good food, special merchandise, and the fun experi­ence of a Disney Theme Park, Walt Disney World Attractions hosted its first Disneyana Convention. Held September 24-27, the Convention Center drew over 750 Disneyana collectors and fans to Disney’s Contemporary Resort.
Guests arriving on Thursday morning took care of their hotel check-in and convention registration, then rushed to the Disneyana Collectible Shop where special merchandise featuring the convention logo had been placed on sale. Eager collectors grabbed up ornaments, decals, buttons, T-shirts, spoons, and even stropping bags. The hottest items were a $25 plate—in a limited supply of just 500—and a watch. One watch had been given to each registrant, winch left less than 500 available for sale.

The convention began in earnest Thursday evening with a welcome reception Ice Cream Social. The Fantasia Lobby was decked out with banners flags, park benches, gazebos, and greenery, along with tables loaded with ice cream, pastries, and other delectable taste treats. Disney characters were on hand to greet guests, and as a special added attraction, three of the original Mousketeers—Bobby, Sharon and Sherry—were there to autograph photographs in a Mousketeer Clubhouse in the West Rotunda.
Friday dawned with a buffet breakfast outdoors in front of the Convention Center. Mickey Mouse and Dick Nunis, Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions, made a grand entrance in the LiMOUSEine. Other members of Mickey’s gang gathered with some of the Park’s singers and dancers for a couple of musing numbers to lead guests into the Fantasia Ballroom for the opening session.

After the surprise entrance of the Voice of Disney—Jack Wagner—to emcee the events, the morning got off to an exciting start with a kinetic audio-visual presentation covering the history of The Walt Disney Company. The morning speakers were Dick Nunis, reminiscing on his many years with Disney, landscaper Bill Evans sharing experiences in creating the natural scenery in all of the Disney Parks, Max Howard speaking on the expansion of the feature animation division in Florida and showing pre­views of Aladdin, and Esther Ewert of Disney Art Editions, relating the history of Disney animation art in the market­ place. The climax of the morning ses­sion was the introduction of the Al­addin characters in a festive parade complete with a live camel and horses.

For the afternoon, convention-goers had many choices. They could attend a Limited Edition sale and Artist Signing, where a number of very special pieces had been created especially for the convention by the likes of Lladro Goebel, Armani, R. John Wright, Ron, Laurenz, and others. Nearby was a Disneyana Fair, where Disney signs, artwork, and props—many never before offered for sale—could be purchased.

There was a preview of auction items, and, upstairs, a Disney Business Group Presentation included displays from Disney Art Editions, Disney Stores, Disney Vacation Club, Disney Gallery, Disney Classics Collection, The Disney Channel, Disney Publishing, the Magic Kingdom Club and other divisions of the Disney organization. Finally, down the hall was a Disneyana Trade Show where independent dealers displayed their wares. It was almost more than a collector could han­dle in one day.

The day was capped by a thrilling Disneyana auction, with selected pieces from the Disney vaults bringing record prices. An original Dumbo attraction unit from Disneyland brought $16.000, as did a bronze-cast Mickey Mouse statue. A Carousel horse brought $4,000 and the art for a Little Mermaid plate $8,250.

At Saturday morning’s session, my assistant, Robert Tieman and I had the thrill of being delivered into the banquet with Mickey Mouse it an armored truck, bring­ing 30 Treasures of the Walt Disney Archives for show and-tell. Tony Baxter, from Walt Disney Imagineering, brought insight into Euro Disneyland’s design, and a high­light was a conversation with 98-year-old Joe Fowler, builder of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

The public was allowed to join conven­tioneers at the various fairs and trade shows on Saturday and then the convention culminated with a deli­cious banquet, followed by comments by Dick Nunis, and Bob Bowman and Bo Boyd of Disney Consumer Products. The Kids of the Kingdom brought the house down with The Best of Disney and each guest received a valuable medallion as a keepsake.
It was an exhausting three days, but those in attendance praised the conven­tion planners. The First Disneyana Convention had been a rousing success. Now, off to Anaheim for the next one in September, 1993.

From Disney News, Winter 1992.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color - All About Magic

Q: How could one go about viewing an episode of Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color that originally aired on January 30, 1957 entitled "All About Magic"?
Mitch, Cave Creek, Arizona

A [Dave Smith]: Until they are released on DVD, the early Disney television shows are unavailable. But this one was released on The Sword in the Stone (Gold Collection); the DVD was released in 2001. 

[Marcio Disney]

"Walt Disney began hosting his own television show for ABC in 1954 in an unusual contract: Disney provided ABC with a weekly hour-long television program in exchange for funding for the construction of Disneyland. As a result, the television show was also originally named Disneyland. The anthology series has since gone through a number of name changes over the years: Walt Disney Presents, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color, The Wonderful World of Disney, Disney's Wonderful World, Walt Disney, The Disney Sunday Movie, and The Magical World of Disney. The series spanned an incredible 54 years—13 seasons of which were hosted by Walt Disney, himself.

Walt shows off some magic tricks with the studio props and then turns the show over to the Slave in the Magic Mirror, who hosts a look at some magic-themed cartoons.

Aired on Wednesday, January 30th, 1957 on ABC at 7:30pm
Aired on Wednesday, June 12th, 1957 on ABC at 7:30pm
Aired on Sunday, October 23rd, 1960 on ABC at 6:30pm (under the heading of Walt Disney Presents)"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

When Mary Poppins Flew Over Sleeping Beauty Castle

Q: Some of my favorite childhood memories are of visiting Disneyland with my parents, two sisters and brother in the 1960s. This may be just a fanciful childhood memory, but I seem to recall that during that time period, in addition to Tinker Bell's flight, from Matterhorn Mountain to Sleeping Beauty Castle, there was on occasion a flight of Mary Poppins, her umbrella up and carpet bag in hand. Is this just a wishful memory?
Donna, West Covina, California 

A [Dave Smith]: There was indeed a Mary Poppins who flew over Sleeping Beauty Castle in 1966.

[Marcio Disney]

 You can find the original article bellow in our The Best Disney Parks Videos blog!

Summer fireworks at Disneyland began way back in 1956. Five years later, the “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks show debuted and ran until 2001. The next year a new show began, “Believe … There’s Magic in the Stars.” It ran for three summers. The summer of 2005 exploded with new fireworks in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Disneyland. Guests were treated to “Remember … Dreams Come True,” a nighttime spectacular, narrated by the legendary Julie Andrews, that took guests on a nostalgic journey through the park’s history. It was a touching tribute to 50 years of magic. Last summer a new show lit up the sky. “Magical” premiered, and that’s the show currently running. Check out this video of the summer fireworks past and present, and then come see them in person.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The First Tinker Bell to Fly in Disneyland

Q: The first Tinker Bell to fly in Disneyland was Tiny Kline. Can you tell me her age when Walt hired her? I have read that she was either in her 60s or 71. Do you know the date?
Debby, Oakdale, California 

A [Dave Smith]: Circus performer Tiny Kline was 70 years old when she began flying as Tinker Bell over Sleeping Beauty Castle as part of the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show on June 9, 1961.

In 1905, Kline immigrated to the United States with a dance troupe. She started as a burlesque dancer, but moved on to perform in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus as Tiny Duchée. There, she met rodeo trick rider Otto Kreinbrink (stage name Otto Kline). Two years later, they married. When he died during a ride, she took over and learned acrobatic tricks, including the "aerial iron jaw act", where she would be suspended by the mouth on a long glide wire.

In 1961, Walt Disney began a search for a Tinker Bell to wow crowds at Disneyland. Kline was hired to glide down a wire connecting the Matterhorn to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. She retired and died in 1964.

In this video you can see Otto's tombstone:

"My family and I went to see my Great-great uncle: Otto Kline. He was married to Tiny Kline. Tiny was in the circus like Otto. She was also the first tinker bell (hired by Walt Disney) She also flew across Time Square hanging by her teeth."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Disneyland Showtime with Kurt Russell

Q: A few years ago I saw a movie on Disney Channel that featured Disneyland back in the late 50s or early 60s. I'm not sure but I think it starred Kurt Russell. (I looked through his credits and can't find anything that sounds like this movie.) I just remember them running all through the park. Any information would be helpful!
Kathy, Naperville, Illinois 

A [Dave Smith]: You are remembering "Disneyland Showtime," a 1970 TV show that featured The Osmond Brothers (Donny gets lost and the others are searching for him) and Kurt Russell narrating a look at the work that went into the creating of the Haunted Mansion. 

[Marcio Disney]

Kurt Russell singing "Sugar Sugar" at Disneyland 1970. This is a clip from The Wonderful World of Disney:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Truth About "If you Can Dream It, you Can Do It"

Q: I have found the quotation, "If we can dream it, we can do it," attributed to Walt Disney, on the Internet. Do you know when he said it?
Thomas, Lincoln, Nebraska 

A [Dave Smith]: Despite its frequent publication, that is not a Walt Disney quote. We checked with Imagineer Tom Fitzgerald for the definitive answer: "I am very familiar with that line — because I wrote it! It was written specifically for the Horizons attraction at Epcot and used in numerous ways, from dialogue in the ride to graphics. I find it amusing that the Science of Imagineering DVD series attributes it to Walt Disney, but I guess I should be flattered." 

 [Marcio Disney]

He is one of the Walt’s original Imagineers and nowadays, you can read articles wrote by Tom Fitzgerald for the Disney Parks Blog! He's all about Star Tours. Just Visit:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Who played Iola Morton in the "Hardy Boys" on the Mickey Mouse Club?

Q: Who played Iola Morton in the "Hardy Boys" serials on the Mickey Mouse Club? Was she one of the "original" Mouseketeers?
Dave, Denver, Colorado 

A [Dave Smith]: Iola Morton was played by Carole Ann Campbell. The young actress was not a Mouseketeer; she retired from acting shortly after the serials aired. She passed away in March 2010 from cancer, at the age of 65. 

[Marcio Disney]
Moments after Iola is killed in a car bomb.

In "Hardy Boys", Iola Morton was Joe's girlfriend in about every series but the Casefiles. In the Casefiles she is killed by a bomb meant for Frank and Joe. Her death seriously affected Joe and he was grave and quiet after her death for a long time.

She is described as Chet 's sister and has dark hair, with a pixie like face. She kept a very detailed diary and liked sending audio tapes to friends instead of writing letters. However, in the Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers series, she is alive and well and was Joe's girlfriend in Ocean of Osyria. She was working at Phil's Phries and Phranks to pay for a trip to Montreal in Murder at the Mall.

Hand-picked by Walt Disney for the role, Carole Ann Campbell had some stage, film and television experience before appearing in both Hardy Boys serials as a younger female tag-along to the boy detectives. A singer as well as an actor, she left performing behind after finishing high school.

Released Christmas Day 1955, the film had the fifth highest gross take of 1956. Carole had some poignent scenes in this, playing Lillian Roth as a child. She later related that when called upon to cry on camera, the director had her imagine a little puppy being hit by a car, the same technique reported by Margaret O'Brien and other child actors. Her performance impressed Walt Disney, who personally ordered that she be hired for the role of Iola Morton in the upcoming Hardy Boys serial, according to contemporary newspaper accounts. 

About the same time as her second Disney serial, Carole had an uncredited bit part in a 20th Century Fox teen film called Bernadine (1957). Her last on-camera performance followed a year later, when she guest starred in an episode of the western series 26 Men. The end of her acting career may have been her own choice. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Hotel that Walt Disney Stayed in Vienna

Q: I live in Vienna and recently I read in a magazine that Walt Disney stayed in one of Austria's most famous hotels. It's called Hotel Sacher. Do you know if he really stayed there?
Thomas, Vienna, Austria 

A [Dave Smith]: In 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1962, the only years that we know Walt Disney went to Vienna, he stayed at the Hotel Imperial. We are not aware that he ever stayed at the Hotel Sacher.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The A113 Code in Pixar Movies

Q: In the movie WALL·E, the directive not to return to Earth was called A113. In the new movie Toy Story 3, the license plate on a van is shown as A113. What is the significance of this number?
John, Windsor, Connecticut 

A [Dave Smith]: The number refers to the animation classroom at CalArts, where some Pixar students studied.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Why has Figment left Epcot?

Q: Why has Figment left Epcot? I last took a picture with him by the "leaping" fountains in 2006 and now he is gone. There are traces of his history there, but no more Figment or Dreamfinder, for that matter. What happened?
Connor, San Antonio, Texas 

A [Dave Smith]: Figment is still the mascot of the Imagination pavilion. In 1999, with the premiere of Journey Into Your Imagination, he only had a cameo role. However, after an overwhelming number of guests pleaded for his return, the attraction was refurbished again, and since 2002, Journey Into Imagination with Figment has featured the playful dragon. Dreamfinder holding a small Figment used to pose for photos outside the pavilion until 1998; Figment alone made appearances after 2004, but not recently. 

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Face used as a model for the Prince in the Disneyland castle

Q: A local children's show in the Philadelphia market featured a young artist by the name of Gene London. Gene was a Disney-trained artist, and it was said he was good friends with Walt. Local lore has it that Walt gave Gene a ring. As a kid in the late '60s and early '70s, I can remember many times when the show featured Walt (1960s) or Disneyland or a new Disney movie release and communication between the host and Disney artists, etc. It is also a local tale that when Walt Disney World was under construction, Gene London's face was used as a model for the Prince in the castle murals. Are our local tales true?
Joe, Edgewater Park, New Jersey

A [Dave Smith]: I cannot authenticate the local stories, but I do recall Gene London as being a big Disney fan. He visited the Disney Archives a few times in the 1970s, was appreciative of what we were doing to preserve Disney history and he would always give me a big hug.

Philly Local TVGene London Show
gene LondonWhen TVparty first started a page for memories of The Gene London Show, we weren't prepared for the enthusiastic response.
People from all over the country have contacted us by the hundreds with their fond memories of this local kid show. So settle back and read some of the best Email messages we've gotten about Gene London.

I fondly remember the general store. Gene London was incredibly gifted in bringing his characters to life through voice and drawing. I was one child who was deeply impressed in a positive way by his talents. I've always thought about him and what he might be doing now.
I remember these words to the song.....
Come right on in to the general store
We've got licorice, gum drops, sour balls,
Anything that you're hankering for
You'll find in Cartoon Corners General Store.

And of course, I remember - The Golden Fleece that was in a chest and the magical drawings that were brought to life by the voices that Gene London would give to them.
His show was one of my very favorites. 37 years later that remains the case. :)
- Rita Lopez

I remember Gene London so well - someone had the first verse to the song - I was such a fanatic I remember the 2nd verse - There's lots of stories and songs that you know Toys to build and a big pot belly stove Something else I've forgotten, let's see Of course, Gene London, that's me!
- a reader

I was a temporary resident for 4 year in Collingdale, Pa while my father attended medical school in Philadelphia. I was about 8 years old and enjoyed the culture of the Northeast since I was from Texas.

I will always remember my friends Kenny Wilde (USN) (RIP), Frank Doyle, Jimmy Lieberknight and the rest of the gang near Mc Dade Blvd. The Mumurs Parade, Pusey Elementary, Hoagies, The Spectrum, The Philadelphia Warriors, riding my bike to Darby, Big Wheels, The Dallas Cowboys beating the Miami Dolphins, being chased by red-headed Irish girls, Jackie Delaney and Christine Sullivan, and watching Gene London on Saturdays.

Those were the days... Yo!!

- Mark H Reyes, Texas

I just remember Gene London telling a story while he illustrated it and CRYING as he did this. It was pretty scary to a kid to watch this grown man blubbering as he told a story. Anybody remember the theme song? It was something about the "cartoon corners general store". I believe that was the fictional store where Gene worked. Gene seemed to have a Disney fixation, and I'm pretty sure that he probably is now in possession of the cryogenically frozen head of Walt.
- Bill Jacoby

About ten years ago, while a bike messenger in New York City, I made a delivery to Gene London's apartment around 6th Avenue and 20th Street. I mentioned that I recognized him, and when he commented that he thought I was too young to remember the show, I responded that I remember the later seasons. The seasons that contained a purple puppet of some kind as a sidekick. Gene said he didn't remember any puppet on the show, and then after a moment of reflection, gasped, and said, "Oh, the PUPPET! I forgot all about the puppet. Working with that thing was so horriiible, I must have completely blocked the memory out!" With his eyes wide, his hands over his mouth, he thanked me for the package and sent me on my way.
- a reader

Growing up in the Delaware Valley during the late '60's and '70's, Gene London and his show "Cartoon Corners" were a big part of my childhood. 
  Gene was blessed with tremendous artistic talent, great storytellling skills, and a personality that appealed to children. I loved his show, and looking back on it now, can really appreciate the creativity associated with it. I fondly remember Quigley Mansion, the Golden Fleece and those amazing "flying" sequences, the stories drawn in crayon by Gene, and the wonderful storylines including a take-off on "The Wizard of Oz" that I still think was a tremendous undertaking for a locally-produced show, and a storyline about Gene's girlfriend Debbie getting amnesia from a jar that falls on her head. All of the productions were rather well done. 
Gene's show taught us all about the importance of using our creative talents, and how we could share our creative gifts with others. Having been blessed with the same talent for drawing that Gene has, I could and can relate to his love for it. Gene London was part of the inspiration for me to use and share my talents. I would love to see tapes of those original shows to relive the magic. Thanks Gene...never forget the positive impact you've had on a generation of children.
- Frank T 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

America, Fantasyland, Worlds of Nature and Stories from Other Lands

Q: When I was a child back in the '80s, my parents gave me an older set of Disney books that I absolutely loved. There were four books in the set, they had dark green covers and each book had a different color binding (red, yellow, blue or lighter green, I think). One book had nursery rhymes and fairy tales featuring great illustrations of Disney characters, another had stories like Pollyana, Old Yeller and Darby O'Gill, etc. I don't know what these books were called, but I would love to get copies of them. Do you know the titles, when they were printed and if it is still possible to find these books? I would love to purchase them for my daughter!
Elaine, Orlando, Florida 

A [Dave Smith]: This was a popular mail-order set, called The Wonderful Worlds of Walt Disney, published by Golden Press in 1965, with the four books titled America, Fantasyland, Worlds of Nature and Stories from Other Lands. More than a million of the sets were sold. Copies can be found through used book dealers or on eBay. 


Map of Fantasyland

"Published by Golden Books from 1961 to 1965, this is one of four books in a slip-cover set designed to excite families about the joys that awaited them in the World of Walt Disney. The books included: Fantasyland, Nature, America, and Stories from Other Lands. I found this copy of the Fantasyland book for $4 at my Friends of the Library Bookstore. Boxed sets on eBay run about $30 on the lower end. I like the old-school feel of the illustrations--this is the Disney I grew up with."
- by By Calsidyrose



Monday, June 6, 2011

Walt Disney and the Role of Carrot during World War II

Q: I run the World Carrot Museum, online at, and am researching the role of carrot during World War II. I have found that Hank Porter, on behalf of Disney, created several "carroty" characters for use in the British publicity campaign to eat more vegetables. Can you throw any light on these original cartoon characters via any archives/books you have?
John, Skipton, U.K. 

A [Dave Smith]: According to David Lesjak's book Toons at War, "Disney artists helped the British government promote food products by designing a family of carrots for England's Food Minister. The January 11, 1942 issue of The New York Times magazine announced, 'England has a goodly store of carrots. But carrots are not the staple items of the average English diet. The problem… is to sell carrots to [the English public].' The Disney-designed carrots included Carroty George, Dr. Carrot, and Clara Carrot. The vegetable characters were reproduced on a poster and recipe booklet, and the carrot images were used extensively in a newspaper ad campaign." 

[Marcio Disney]

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