Walt Wednesday #5
March 9, 1955 the Man in Space episode of the Disneyland television show premiered on ABC. An estimated 42 million Americans tuned in to watch the first of three “science factual” programs Disney would air on the future of space exploration. The show, which is currently available to stream on Disney+, would influence the development of Tomorrowland as well as launch the public’s interest in space into a new orbit.
At the time there had been no Disney films or projects about the future, making Tomorrowland a unique challenge for both the theme park and television show. To help fill that void Walt turned to his in-house Renaissance man Ward Kimball to produce and direct the episode. Kimball showed Walt articles about space in Collier’s magazine written by a trio of Germans: rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, space expert Willy Ley, and physics professor Heinz Haber. After a preliminary meeting Walt grabbed a piece a paper and scribbled a note to Kimball: “Write your own ticket.” Longtime employees recall this as a rare occasions when Walt issued a blank check for a project. Two weeks later, Willy Ley was at the Studio. Von Braun and Haber were soon recruited to join the project as well.
The 51 minute episode was hosted by Walt, like all episodes of the Disneyland series, and featured appearances by Kimball, Von Braun, Ley and Haber. The episode also included a number of scale model rockets and a space station, all of which were built by Disney Legend Wathel Rogers, one of the three founding members of the WED model shop.
Los Angeles Herald and Express hailed the success of the program and its effect bringing upon the realization for millions of Americans “that space travel is no longer a wild dream.” President Eisenhower called Walt after the episode aired and asked for a print to show skeptical military generals and explain space exploration to them.
The Apollo 8 mission in 1968 marked the first time man had orbited the moon. On the day of the historic achievement, von Braun telephoned Ward Kimball and said “Well, Ward, it looks like they’re following our script.”
Black Widow Photo Shoot
Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy, and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Walt Wednesday #4
The entrance of Tomorrowland on Disneyland’s opening day, July 17, 1955. Notice the large crane lifting a cameraman on a platform for the ABC broadcast. He may have had the best E-Ticket thrill all day.
Jan. 15, 1955 - Walt Disney gave the order to go ahead with the construction of Tomorrowland for Disneyland’s opening after previously putting it on hold because there wasn’t enough time. In addition to wanting to offer more attractions to his guests on opening day, Walt was motivated by the sponsorship deal they had inked with TWA for the Rocket to the Moon attraction. One of Disneyland’s early icons was the Moonliner rocket, which stood outside the attraction and was the tallest structure in the entire park at the time, standing eight feet taller than Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
The design of the attraction’s building and theater was one of the first projects Disney Legend John Hench would work on at the park. Hench worked with famed German rocket scientist Wernher von Braun on the design of the Moonliner. In his book, Designing Disney, Hench explains that “I wanted an elegant shape that suggested high speed even though it would be stationary. The sides of the seventy-six-foot-tall rocket were actually straight — only the top and bottom sections were tapered — and I was fascinated by how people read the rocket as a continuous curved form even though it really wasn’t.”
1 - Rocket to the Moon and Moonliner
2 - Rocket to the Moon construction
3 - Moonliner construction
4 - Early attraction concept art by John Hench
5 - John Hench and Walt Disney
To prepare for the filming of the Tomorrowland episode for the Disneyland television series Walt met with famed rocket scientist Wernher von Braun and Disney Legend Ward Kimball. According to Kimball, as von Braun described the future of space “Walt listened wide-eyed, his mouth open in pure rapture at what he was hearing.” Walt was incredibly optimistic about how science could and would improve our future. He said “Tomorrow can be a wonderful age. Our scientists today are opening the doors of the space age to achievements that will benefit our children and generations to come.”
Marilyn Monroe Photo Shoot
DIY - Black Widow Bullet Cuffs
Cosplay can get EXPENSIVE. I decided to add accessories for a Black Widow cosplay and here I'm making my own bullet cuffs.
The fringed squawkers I found at Dollar Tree in the party section. I bought 2 packs.
Once you remove the cellophane fringe, you're left with "bullets". They're white plastic and in order for the gold to show well, I painted them red first. Once they dry, paint them metallic gold. I used acrylics, but you can spray paint them.
Glue the bullets onto a wrist band, mine are cut from foam sheets. Add electrical tape to the base of the bullets. Add a velcro closure and voila, your Black Widow wrist cuffs are ready for action!
Growing up in Los Angeles in the 70s/80s we visited Disneyland on a regular basis and often after school, before "Annual Passes".