Jeremy wrote about one of his favorite jobs here at DHI (here and here): the scanning of all of the Institute’s movie Campaign and Exhibitor’s manuals (nearly a complete collection from Walt’s lifetime–can anybody spare an original release Fantasia?). This particular exploitation idea comes to us via the Gala Day At Disneyland (1960) Exhibitor’s Campaign Manual.

The film was, in essence, an extended theatrical commercial for Walt’s Happiest Place on Earth. Today, the film has preserved for us a remarkable Technicolor view into Disneyland’s past. Released as a “news special” on January 21, 1960, it highlighted the eventful 24 hours that celebrated the 1959 expansion (which Todd has written about here). As it was explained to theater owners, the film would showcase (and thereby promote) the “six spectacular new Disneyland attractions, built at a cost of $6,000,000 and now in full operation at the California wonderland, highlight Walt Disney’s ‘Gala Day At Disneyland,’ an exciting 25-minute Technicolor News Special.”

This particular promotion illustrates Walt’s wishes to include Disneyland sponsors and licensees and, especially, treat them with respect; to foster a “win-win” relationship. This TWA Moonliner campaign is a perfect example of this, where it is suggested that theatre owners contact their local TWA office for promotional tie-ins (a vital and key element for film exploitation in the 1950s and 1960s). This type of promotion was one of the foremost strategies in getting the word out and creating a buzz, long before the internet with the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and so forth, had entered our world.

Gala Day At Disneyland Campaign Manual newspaper herald advertisement.

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