Walt Disney, one of Hollywood's most ambitious producers, was first approached to do television in 1950, when The Coca-Cola Company offered him a one-hour special. The one hour special, "One Hour in Wonderland," aired December 25, 1950 on NBC and garnered 90% of the television viewing audience. A second special, "The Walt Disney Christmas Special," aired December 25, 1951 on CBS. When Walt had drawn up plans for a theme park, known as Disneyland, he found a hard time obtaining funding; critics, including Walt's brother Roy, thought that it was unfeasible and that it would be a fiasco. At the same time, the ABC television network offered him a deal for a television anthology series. Walt wouldn't agree to it unless they put up partial financing for Disneyland (a term that had kept CBS and NBC from signing with him). ABC agreed, and also paid him $50,000 per program, an exorbitant sum for the time. The show, titled Disneyland, premiered on October 27, 1954 and was an immediate success. The program showcased original works from the Disney Studios. Cartoons, documentaries, educational shorts, all were shown to a captive worldwide audience. Variety was the key to its success, as it kept most of what it did fresh, multi-cultural and constantly changing its entertainment.
A tribute to Disney's films up to 1941 is the focus of this installments. Celebrity guests introduce clips of DIsney animation up to that time, leading into an uncut presentation of the movie Dumbo.
Mickey Mouse, arguably the most recognizable star in the civilized world, is paid tribute on his 50th birthday by celebrities. Some appear in brief cameos, but others appear in longer segments describing Mickey's career. There is also a sequence of an obsessed collector of Mickey Mouse memorabilia (using impressive stop-motion cinematography).