Podcast Episode 13: Unveiling The Magic

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Welcome to Episode 13 of the Retro Disney World Podcast: “Unveiling The Magic” – We appreciate your support and hope you have been enjoying each and every episode. This marks one year of podcasts, so thanks for sticking with us and supporting this fun endeavor. Be sure to check out some of our previous shows.

Special Guest

We have a special guest, Michael Crawford, a longtime Walt Disney World fan who wrote the book: Progress City Primer.  This book contains all kinds of stories, features and just a grab bag of anything WDW. Starting off with Walt and moving on from there, you will find everything from EPCOT Center to never built attractions and lands. The book sometimes even matches many of our previous episodes, which is really cool. Check out this great book and even gift one for the holidays.

Crawford was a longtime WDW fan.  He travelled with his family to WDW many times and became a WDW history buff.  In 2007, he started blogging about random elements of WDW history at Progress City USA.   This book contains stories written for the blog, for Walt Disney Family Foundation Blog and for D23, and some new stuff.  It’s a grab bag of anything WDW and EPCOT stuff.  He has been researching and writing for the past 7 years, but the book project has been in the works for about a year putting it together.  He rewrote & edited stories that had been done in the past to update & correct them.   The book is organized in thematically related sections, chronologically in a way, starting off with Walt for several chapters.  There are a few chapters about different Imagineers, chapters about EPCOT Center, and neverworlds, never built attractions and lands. There is a section of Vacation Kingdom themed things.  Chapter on Horizons which was his favorite attraction.  The book sometimes even matches many of our previous episodes.  It includes great pictures also.

There are a lot of weird stories included in the book.  He tells the story of “Bisontennial Ben” -1987 for the bicentennial of the Constitution – combination of Benjamin Frankin & a bison.  There’s a picture of Bisontennial Ben, Muhammed Ali, and Buzz Aldren together with a Rose Parade Float.  He liked coming across the less documented stories. He told of the nickel shortage in California, and the guy who would go to the Bank of America in NY get a bunch of nickels and put them on Walt’s Gulf Stream to be brought back to California.  He ran into Walt at the plane when loading one day and Walt joked about getting hijacked to Las Vegas and airpirates were going to shoot them out of the sky for the 2000 dollars in nickels.  He also discussed the handwich three pages into the book.  The handwich ws touted as “The Sandwich of the Future”.  They served it 1987-1989, it was a hoagie roll that has the top cut off and the middle scooped out to hold the meat doo that you could walk around and eat.  They had them at The Farmers Market in the Land Pavillion and at  Launching Pad in Tomorrowland. 

The group discussed that there was nothing glaring that the podcast got wrong according to the book.  Liberty Street chapter had great details about the original planning. Liberty Street was originally planned for Disneyland along with International Square, and Edison Square.  You look and see how they got to some of today’s attractions.  Brian is also interested in lost Disney info- Brian found a press clipping of an inflatable birthday cake castle.  Disney sent the castle on a promotional tour to try to get people visit WDW for the 25th anniversary celebration with characters and fireworks.

The other Disney balloons were  Earforce 1 which didn’t fly very often because it was difficult to control.  There was also a Castle balloon, and Donald Duck balloon. 

An autographed copy of the book will be the AudioPuzzler prize for the month.  The book is available on many platforms.

Main Topic

We sit down and watch a fully restored version of “The Magic of Walt Disney World”. This is an original 16mm copy of the film that would have been sent to schools, local clubs and anywhere else back in 1972. The reel is 1200ft long and we have the only restored copy in existence. 35 listeners donated funds for this project, which included shipping, transfer and of course restoration. This really should be listened to, as you watch the film to get the full experience, you can watch the film here. You can also read fantastic annotated notes for the film written by @MKPony. 

The group discussed a fully restored version of the 1972 film, “The Magic of Walt Disney World”.  This is an original 16mm copy of the film.  The reel is 1200ft long and we have the only restored copy in existence. Thirty five listeners donated funds for this project, which included shipping, transfer and of course restoration. It was originally part of a triple bill that was shown in theaters.  It was shown before Dean Jones’ SnowBall Express and also shown with Salutos Amigos.  There’s a later 1973 version of the film as well.  Steve Forrest was the narrator.  He was the star of the TV show SWAT, he was on Gunsmoke, other westerns, and was cast in the 1970 Disney Western called “The Wild Country”.  Ron & Clint Howard were also in The Wild Country. 

This film was preceded by “The Florida Project”, made by most of the same guys from the Disney Studios.   That film encompassed clips from Walt’s 1966 EPCOT film and shots of the models and concept art for WDW, and shots from inside the WDW Preview Center.  The Preview Center stands on Hotel Plaza Boulevard and is the now the home of The Amateur Athletic Union.  They’ve done films like this before because there are films like this on Disneyland. 

They did fundraising because the technique that they used to scan this was much better than what they normally do for 16mm.  It was a much higher resolution, the film was held tighter so the scan is clearer. The color was extremely red, and they tuned it back to original color.  For part of the film there was a scratch running down the side.  Most likely this print was available through media services that would have been sent to schools, local clubs and anywhere else in 1972.  At the time Disney did not TV advertising, so these promotional films and TV specials were the only advertising.  The spindle in the center is actually mouse ears.  All the prints would have been returned to Disney after the rental period.  It was shown n the Disney Channel, so it could have been recorded by VCR.

This film was done with Optical Sound.  The opening has an old map with Christopher Columbus or Ponce deLeon coming to Florida.  They have a rocket on the map on Florida coast, an airforce base in Pensacola, Trees of Life in Fort Lauderdale.  The Opening Shot of the film is a great helicopter shot.  The absence of the noodle station, and the absence of the second part of the Polynesian were discussed.  There is a wave machine in the water.  The film was accompanied by a score by Buddy Baker, as the scenes changes he changes the orchestration. 

Beautiful shot of nothing in Tomorrowland.   The Polynesian roofs are beautiful, the white sand beaches.  All the scenes are real people.  The camera is just rolling.  A shot from the nose of the monorail.  Emphasize the modern feel of the hotel, show the mariachi band.  The liquor store in the contemporary was called the Spirit World. 

Shot flying up to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom.  Trying to find out what the sign at the turnstiles says.  The film takes you travelling down Main Street on the various transportation, seeing the stores and all the sites.  There is a 30 second clip of different people eating ice cream.  Inside the Crystal Palace, the Swan boat shot where you can see the track.  Tomorrowland with the retractable stage.  Then to the Grand Prix Speedway.  They show the SkyWay and 20000 Leagues under the Sea.  They show charaters riding the rides, the Teacup rides with no roof.  The interior of Cinderellas Castle and the store where you could buy swords, which is now Bippity Boppety Boutique.  Then they show you inside King Stephan’s Banquet Hall.  The dragon topiary.  The clock chimes which noone thinks it ever did.  They move into Liberty Square.  In the first 10 years, there is a lot of focus on Liberty Square and The Hall of Presidents.  Every day, they chose random children to be honorary Sons and Daughters of Liberty.  Everyone was amused by the old strollers.  They show the Hall of Presidents and you can appreciate the subtlety of the ananmatronics movements.  They show the ride of the Admiral Joe Fowler with the Indian Village.  There was no Tom Sawyers Island yet.  The Haunted Mansion had the canopy in mid construction.  The film also highlighted The Country Bear Jamboree which was dual sponsored by Pepsi & Frito Lay. This promotional footage was used for years in a lot of places.  Then they go through Adventureland, shots of the Sunshine Terrace and the stage that had steel drum band.  Great shots inside the temple of The Jungle River Cruise.  The film moves back to the old hub, and a montage of people. 

After exiting the Magic Kingdom they tell you everything else you can do in WDW.  The start with golfing and have the characters golfing.  They show the watercraft, waterskiing, bob around boats.  The water ski show that went on for about 10 years. 

They show you Treasure Island that eventually became Discovery Island.  Guessing that a lot of the footage came from They take you through Fort Wilderness and there’s a bus that looks articulated.  They show you the TriCircle D ranch.  The petting zoo and then the Fort Wilderness Beach.  The campfire with Chip & Dale.  Gorgeous nighttime shots & showing the dinner shows and the Electric Water Pageant footage probably from Opening Ceremonies. that we are getting Moonlight Cruise.  Top of The World with the singing Joy To The World.  Finishing up with firework footage from the Opening ceremonies. 

Contributors included Platinum Level Todd West, Rob Hinkle.  Gold Level-  Matthew Anscher, Thomas Storer, Brian, Matt Fusfield.  Silver Level- Matthew Bellis, Len Yacullo, Matt Chilcote, Glenn Welch, Justin Ponzi, Stephen Wolterstorff, EJ Farr, Kurt Miller, Daniel Wilson, Matagin, Jon Cox, Bronze Level- Griffin Knaak, Bret with “one t”, Jose Arturo, Greg Maletic, Jim Burmeeister & Slade Bailey.  Supporters Kyle Barger, Frank S, Jim Wills, Trey Snyder, Kurt Shimala, Cary Maister. Special thanks to Foxy @MKpony on Twitter for her help in putting it together. 

A 16mm print of a film from 1981 also able to restore that one as well.  It’s more of a travel commercial of WDW and Disneyland.  Get to see a lot of Ephemera as well.

Audio Rewind

Congratulations to our winner, Justin, he guessed the Tiki Statues in Adventureland. Justin will get the King Stefan’s Banquet Hall glass mug. If you think you know the answer to the audio rewind this month, email us at podcast@retrowdw.com for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Progress City Primer. Send your guesses by December 14, 2015 – All correct answers will also be entered into the drawing for the Paul Hartley reproduction map from wdwmap.com!! – This is your last opportunity to enter for the big drawing…. Thank you for all the guesses over the past year.

This month’s winner is Justin Clough and his prize is a glass mug from King Stephan’s Banquet Table.  It was The Tiki statues in Adventureland, and it came from the CD ROM called the Walt Disney World Explorer. You could explore the park through an interactive Map and came out in 1995-96.

RetroWDW Merchandise

We thank you for your purchases and we’d like to let you know about some of our newest items, which include STOL Port themed merchandise. These are RetroWDW original works of art, done by How. Super neat stuff that is only available for a limited time. Be sure to get your shirt, iPhone case, tote bag, pillow or coffee mug today: www.retrowdw.com/supportus

Listener Mail

We appreciate all your kind notes, emails and social media connections. Jonathan sent us an email regarding the music, style, fonts and small details at EPCOT Center.

Jonathan Mayfield- Really enjoyed the episode on water transportation episode.  Would love to hear about the EPCOT Center entrance music, fonts, graphics, etc.  Each pavilion had it’s own distinctive logo.  Each given to a different There were style guides Norm Innoway was one of the guys who did Journey Into Imagination Pavilion logo.  Before that he worked for general motors and came up with the flaming chicken the art on the trans am that can be seen in the movie  “Smokey & The Bandit”.  There was an EPCOT font designed and everything was customized using it. 

Our good friend Michael Crawford chimes in about these EPCOT details; this is covered in his book as well. Keep the emails, tweets and pictures coming! Please contact us – podcast@retrowdw.com

Listener Memories

Keep the calls coming, sharing your memories and giving us feedback. If you would like to call and leave us a message, please dial 978-71-RETRO.

Tweet at us, send us a Facebook post or message, tag us on Instagram or send us your thoughts.

We hope you have enjoyed this episode! If you have any questions, suggestions or find errors please email us podcast@retrowdw.com.

Next Month

Check back with us very soon for Episode 14, all themed around the holidays releasing around December 20th. 

Enhanced Show Notes by Donna (May 2021)

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