I just heard the sad news of Dennis Hopper’s death from cancer at age 74. He has quite a long list of film and TV appearances, but one that struck me was his participation in the 1959 TV show that re-dedicated Disneyland after its 1959 expansion. I was just reading about that exact show when researching Art Linkletter’s work at Disneyland. He was the show’s host.
So in Art and Dennis’ honor, here are a few clips from the show. Alas, none that feature Hopper. But if you’re a fan of early Disneyland you’ll want to check them out.
This is the opening few minutes from the show. It features the construction of Disneyland and some great overheard shots of the construction of the park and its 1959 expansion.
This section starts off with the ‘first’ ascent of the Matterhorn by some local Sierra Club members. But it ends with a look at the official opening ceremony for the attraction. The Matterhorn holds a special place in my heart as it was one of the first attractions my grandfather was the show producer on for WED. But I don’t believe I had ever seen this footage before.
And, of course, there is always a parade. Check out that Mickey Mouse costume too. I think I would have had nightmares if I saw that as a kid. However, I’m sure I would have loved the Submarine Voyage float with real Mermaids! And then the Monorail float features a futuristic city of tomorrow with model sized monorails zipping around. OMG. Disney nerd heaven.
There’s also this great video of the dedication of the first Monorail system in America. Sadly, much of Disneyland ’59 remains lost to time. I’ve never seen a complete copy on any DVDs released by Disney.