The Story of Dateline Disneyland: 1955
by Todd James Pierce
It’s been a while since we’ve done a special podcast-only article. But we’re doing one today. In large part, this story is being released as a podcast because it relies heavily on audio interviews I conducted with the people who made Dateline: Disneyland. Some of these interviews I’ve been sitting on for eight or ten years. So it feels good to piece them into a podcast others can enjoy.
In 1955, Dateline: Disneyland was a massive undertaking, a live telecast that required over 20 cameras. Most internal documents place that number at 24, but others list as many as 29. At the time, it was the largest, most complicated show attempted for live TV. It contains both enthusiasm and errors, miscues and magic. For years, commentators have blamed those “miscues” on general problems with early live TV. But really, there’s a much larger story here, how the entire production nearly fell apart in the days leading up to its broadcast.
You can subscribe to the DHI podcast on iTunes via this link. As always, it’s free.
This podcast is part of the DHI reboot: From January through April, I’ll be posting up new articles and releasing new podcasts each week. I’m between projects, and with THREE YEARS IN WONDERLAND coming out in March, I finally have more time to devote to the blog. Most regular visitors here already know that THREE YEARS IN WONDERLAND is a detailed narrative history of the development of Disneyland (from 1953-1956), a moment by moment account of its creation and opening: the struggles, the challenges, the in-fighting and the success. And remember, even when things are slow on the blog, the DHI Facebook Group is always jumping. –TJP