For many Americans who grew up in decades past, Sunday night provided a wonderful family tradition, where the whole clan would gather around to be entertained by the imagination of Walt Disney. Perhaps you knew it as Disneyland in the 50s, or Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color in the 60s, or maybe The Wonderful World of Disney in the 70s and 80s, but the fact remains – there are a whole bunch of folks out there who spent Sunday nights watching 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Davy Crockett, True-Life Adventures, Donald in Mathmagic Land, or perhaps just a kindly old gentleman enthusiastically telling us about his new theme park. We thought we would take a look back at these iconic shows that brought Walt Disney and his various creations into our living rooms each week.
When Walt first decided to get his feet wet in the medium of television in 1954, it was to promote his newest idea, a theme park in Anaheim, California, appropriately called Disneyland. Let’s take a look:
Disneyland actually aired on Wednesdays, but in 1958, the show was re-titled Walt Disney Presents and went from being shown of Friday nights to Sunday in 1961. Always the innovator, Walt wanted to show off the new color technology of the day, however, so he moved to NBC that year, and introduced Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. For the next 8 years, the show would enthrall viewers of all ages with its airing of classic Disney movies, cartoons, and documentaries:
The show’s name changed again in 1969, to The Wonderful World of Disney, which ran for another 10 years on Sundays:
In the years that followed, various updated incarnations of the show would bounce from network to network, under a variety of titles. But the 60s and 70s were the true glory years for those that remember spending Sunday nights with Walt and his friends. Were you one of the families that tuned in each week? What animated and live-action features do you remember most fondly? Did you have your coonskin cap on while watching Davy Crockett each week, or did you prefer seeing the Disney-fied nature films? Perhaps it was all about the Goofy cartoons? Share your memories of Sunday nights with Walt Disney as we fondly look back on this television tradition at Retroland.