|During the early 1950's the network tv execs tried to get Walt Disney to create and produce a family anthology series. Walt Disney refused the offers to produce a tv series since he always believed that his loyal audiences would want to see more of his films at the movies. Nevertheless, The tv network execs continued to persue the showman including the heads of ABC TV, Leonard Goldenson and Robert Kitner.
Disney continued to discourage their invitations until 1953, when he desperately needed funding for his theme park. He accepted ABC TV's offer to create and produce a family anthology tv series, but under one conditition. The heads of ABC TV would have to give him the funding for his theme park in exchange for a weekly tv program.
At first, Goldenson and Kitner turned down Disney's request for funding for his theme park concept until he offered the network execs shares in the park. Seeing that they needed a successful tv program to help them acquire large ratings they accepted Disney's offer and on Wednesday night October 27, 1954 "Disneyland" made it's debut.
Originally, Walt Disney didn't want to host his own show, but the network execs insisted that he mc the program. With some reluctance, he finally agreed to host the show and he became one of tv's most popular personalities. He was even nominated for an emmy (Mr. Disney lost the emmy award that year to NBC TV's George Gobel).
Each week, the format of the show would feature animal movies,adventure stories, historical dramatizations, family dramas, explorations of space travel, reruns of Disney movie cartoons and original musical specials. The program even showcased behind the scenes filims of the creation and development of "Disneyland The Theme Park".
On July 17, 1955, the opening day of the park was televisied on the ABC TV Network and feature a list of well known performers and personalities attending the festivities. The series even featured a second show which aired from the park in 1959 that featured the opening of another ride, "The Matterhorn". By the late 1950's, the show's title was changed to"Walt Disney Presents" and it also began to screen original western tales.
Yet, the success of these western films hindered the growth of the program. Mr. Disney feared that his show was simply becoming a clone of the many western anthology series that were seen on the many tv networks. He wanted his series to return the eclectic concept that he had created a few years before. He also wanted to film and screen his shows in color.
Goldenson and Kitner refused to allow the showman to screen other films and to broadcast them in color. When the heads of NBC TV came to Disney with an offer to return to his family anthology series and to film and air his shows in color, he leaped at the chance and in the fall of 1961. Walt Disney's "Wonderful World Of Color" debuted on NBC TV's Sunday night schedule, where it would remain until the late 1980's.