Saturday, March 12, 2011

Disney on Parade presented in USA Sports Arenas [1969 - 1973]

Q: Before "Disney On Ice" there was "Disney On Parade," which ran from 1969 to the mid-1970s. There were many segments through the years and some Disney Legends like Ward Kimball and Bill Justice worked on it. Can you please shed a little history and some facts about "Disney On Parade"?
Richard, New York, New York

A [Dave Smith]: "Disney on Parade" was affectionately known around the company as "Disney on Wood," to differentiate it from the later "Disney on Ice." I recall attending a preview performance in Long Beach, California, shortly before I turned in my proposal for the Walt Disney Archives. The show, with lavish production numbers reminiscent of an ice show, was presented in sports arenas all around the country, beginning in Chicago on December 19, 1969. There were four versions of the show, with the last in 1973.

[Marcio Disney]

Michelle Randell and Ron Cisneros taken in 1974 in Australia. Michelle was trained by the original show's Snow White, Yvonne Green, who would later go on to take the role of Mary Poppins in the fourth and final installment of the show.

Major production numbers, like this Pinocchio number in the Snow Unit, emphasized the importance of dancers and skilled gymnasts/artisans.

Sets and props like this used in Alice in Wonderland were often painful to haul from city to city.

Photo by Dave Singha

"In 1969, Walt Disney Productions produced a traveling show called, "Disney on Parade". This was an arena show that showcased the Disney characters in various production numbers and  Herbie was in it! This was the Disney Studios way of promoting their new star. Herbie was the Disney Studios first live Disney character. Meaning, Herbie wasn't an animated character drawn with ink/paint. He's a real object that Disney's amazing special effects artists created. I believe that is one of the many reasons Herbie is so popular. You don't have to go see Herbie just in a theater, you can see him in real life. I've seen children and adults get so excited when they see Herbie in person. Their faces light up with delight. The adults become kids again because they are reliving what they experienced when they first saw a Herbie movie. It's a wonderful thing to see that excitement in people. Even if you see a VW that isn't detailed like Herbie, we still refer to it as a Herbie. I mean, come on. Volkswagen is known as "The People's Car". And that's what Herbie is too."
 - By Hugh Chitwood

 Disney News Magazine - Winter Edition 1969/70 - Disney on Parade Cover


  1. I was filmed as a 9 year old sitting on Kurt Russels lap as a promotion for Disney On Parade.... We were touring in NewZealand as my Father was working there as a boss,, I would love to get the footage.. how is it possible?

  2. Here is a film transfer of one of the companies. Enjoy.


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