hbvideos via YouTube
hbvideos via YouTube

A Giant Sandwich? The Wacky Way Disney Celebrated America’s Bicentennial in 1976

hbvideos via YouTube
hbvideos via YouTube

Disney Parks have long been known for their elaborate parades. And after setting the bar high with the Main Street Electrical Parade, which debuted at Disneyland in 1972, the company knew they would have to create something spectacular for America’s Bicentennial in 1976. They turned to Bob Jani, orchestrator of the Main Street Electrical Parade, to create something that would absolutely delight guests. Here’s what he came up with:

Chris Knittle via YouTube

Yep. It’s a giant sandwich. From June 1975 through September 1976, Disney cast members at Disneyland and Magic Kingdom Park in Florida performed Jani's America on Parade, a tribute to America’s history set to a song written by the Sherman Brothers. The parade featured all of the textbook highlights you’d expect: Christopher Columbus on a ship, the first Thanksgiving, Betsy Ross sewing the American flag, and covered wagons heading west, among other things.

But there were also some rather unexpected elements. For starters, as described in the video below, two of the pilgrims were being disciplined for being “mischievous,” with one in the stocks and one being dunked in “chilly” water. The section featuring the “traditional Sunday picnic” included a massive sandwich layered with eggs and celery. A gigantic pot of mustard trailed behind. And the celebration of electricity featured larger-than-life versions of an Edison bulb, an old radio, and an iron.

If you weren’t one of the 25 million people who caught this parade during its brief run in the mid-’70s, or if you did and would simply love to recreate the magic, here’s America on Parade in all of its (abbreviated) glory:

Pop Culture
Rare Disney Artifacts From Early Imagineer Rolly Crump Head to Auction

If you’ve ever marveled at the fantastical facades of Disney’s "It’s a Small World" attraction, you can partly thank Imagineer Rolly Crump. Throughout the 1960s, the animator and designer helped bring to life some of Walt Disney Parks’s most iconic attractions, including the "Enchanted Tiki Room," "Haunted Mansion," and "Adventureland Bazaar."

Later this month, some of his original pieces will go under the hammer at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California. The most valuable of the 400-plus lots is Crump’s original model for a clock in "It’s a Small World," which could sell for up to $80,000, according to the auction house. The design was mocked up from fellow Disney artist Mary Blair’s original sketch, and the end result is now a permanent fixture of the boat ride attraction.

A few other items up for grabs are a Polynesian-style shield that Crump sculpted for the "Enchanted Tiki Room," an original devil prop from "Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride," an original "Haunted Mansion" poster, and a costumed character head from "Babes in Toyland." A ticket for the grand opening of Disneyland in 1955 is expected to sell for as much as $5000—although unfortunately it won't grant the buyer entry to the park these days.

In addition to pieces created for Disney, the collection also includes Crump’s original artwork, some of which dates back to his high school years. One such illustration of a colorful character wielding a sword and smoking a pipe was entered into a radio contest in 1947 by Crump’s mother, unbeknownst to her son. He didn’t win, but his consolation prize came five years later when he was hired to work at Walt Disney Studios at age 22.

The “Life and Career of Disney Legend Rolly Crump” auction is scheduled for April 28, 2018.

Disney/Marvel Studios
Success of Black Panther Inspires Disney to Donate $1 Million to Youth STEM Programs
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Since opening in U.S. theaters on February 16, Blank Panther has already defied industry expectations more than once. The blockbuster now holds the records for biggest February opening, biggest standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and highest-grossing film featuring a black cast. To celebrate the film's groundbreaking success, Disney is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Fortune reports.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs to young people from low-income households. They offer kids a place to build their athletic, artistic, and leadership skills, but Disney's donation will go specifically toward funding STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The technology of the fictional African nation of Wakanda plays a central role in Black Panther. Shuri, T'Challa's sister and the head of all things tech in the film, has been praised for potentially inspiring young women to take an interest in STEM. "It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film," Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "So it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use Disney's generous donation to help establish STEM Centers of Innovation in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, where much of the movie was shot, and Oakland, California, the hometown of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. Ten additional cities, from New Orleans to Chicago, will also be getting STEM centers of their own.

The donation is sure to make a huge impact on communities around the country, but it's just a fraction of what Disney is set to make from the film. According to some projections, it won't be long before film surpasses the $1 billion mark at the global box office.

[h/t Fortune]


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