This show was never named "Disneyland". It started as "Walt Disney Presents" and became "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color".
This show was a mainstay of my childhood. Some of the most beautiful, not to mention earliest, color film of natural wonders flowers, butterflies and national parks appeared on this show. As did some of the best animation, from Disney's best general release Donald Duck shorts to entirely new productions, including a new character who quickly achieved a place in the Duckville pantheon Ludvig Von Drake.
Its live action originals literally the stuff of legend into new legends: Davy Crockett, The Swamp Fox and The Scarecrow. These limited episode productions, the first mini-series, launched two major careers and redirected a third.
WDP gave Fess Parker his first real starring role as Davy Crockett in 1955. It created the homespun, always honest, man of the people personna that would endure through Mr Smith Goes To Washington (1962-63) and Daniel Boone (1964-70). It also turned song and dance man Buddy Ebsen, the original choice as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz, into a small screen star with the folksy, aw shucks personna continued in The Beverly Hillbillies and Barnaby Jones.
Along with 1956's Forbidden Planet, Leslie Nielsen's 1959-61 role as General Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox, helped make him an adventure star (until Airplane! accidentally returned him to comedy). Remember his biggest role before this was the romantic comedy lead in Tammy and the Batchelor opposite Debbie Reynolds.
Patrick McGoohan's three episode appearance as The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh in 1964, crystallized and confirmed the dashing, poker-faced, near super-hero personna begun in Danger Man, his 1960-61 British spy series. The Scarecrow also made McGoohan such a hot property that the defunct Danger Man was resurrected and renovated that same year as the commercial and cult hit Secret Agent. This was quickly followed by the truly iconic The Prisoner with 9.1 ratings, The Godfather and The Shawshank Redemption top IMDb's all time favorite movie list, which means that, with a 9.2 score, the Prisoner is the hottest thing ever committed to film.
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