This Was Television On July 17

1955: Disneyland is unveiled to the world

The most famous theme park this side of Neverland opened to the public on this day, with ABC broadcasting the event live. The attractions and the broadcast both struggled with technical difficulties, befitting their status as new and evolving forms of entertainment in the early second half of the twentieth century.

ABC played a financial and creative role in the development of Disneyland, part of a corporate relationship that existed for decades before The Walt Disney Company’s formal acquisition of the Alphabet Network in 1996. The long-standing ties produced successes such as The Wonderful World of Disney, as well as less auspicious moments, such as the 1976 worker-exchange program that let Jimminy Cricket and Ron “Horshack” Palillo briefly swap jobs. -A.D.

Today’s BirthdaysMark Burnett, reality show impresario (52); Diahann Carroll, sitcom trailblazer (77); Phyllis Diller, sharp-tongued Scooby-Doo foil (95); David Hasselhoff, sidekick to a car (60); Art Linkletter, variety show host (d. 2010); Beth Littleford, Daily Show original (44); Donald Sutherland, dirty, sexy (77); J. Michael Stracznski, brains behind Babylon 5 (58); John Ventimiglia, Soprano chef (49).

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