This is quite possibly the most significant find from the Hollywood storage vault which I first accessed in 2010. Just a bit of history for those who have not heard the story on this. I was driving home one night back in October of 2010. I received a cell phone call from Chris Wrather, the son of Disneyland Hotel original developer/owner Jack Wrather. Chris told me about a storage vault in Hollywood which he hadn't accessed in decades and he stated there may be some business related items contained within the vault, i.e. Disneyland/Disneyland Hotel related material. He then asked me if I would like access to see the contents. After almost wetting my pants, I quickly said yes of course. My wife and I made arrangements to fly to Hollywood for the day (left at 7:00 am, flight home at 8:00 pm). We brought notebooks, a laptop, a scanner and a few cameras and I remember remarking to my wife, "if I find 10 pictures in this vault that I haven't seen before, this will have been a successful trip." Just to put it in perspective, I recently scanned picture number 1500, document number 900 and have converted 14 films from 16mm to DVD. I have made six subsequent trips to the vault and each time I find more and more interesting items. It was on trip number four that I made the most substantial of finds when I came across this particular can of film:
It simply says "55-56 TLR at Corriganville", followed by "Westlake Mayday". TLR is of course, The Lone Ranger which is precisely the reason I took the film to convert it in the first place. Disney was still filming their version of The Lone Range and I thought this would make for interesting conversation from the 1950's, Wrather version of TLR. Corriganville was a Western movie ranch used for location and periods films with a Western theme or genre. I took the film out in my hotel at night and began looking at it frame by frame, not even with a viewer, just by eye on a table. Needless to say, I was most pleasantly surprised by what I saw on this film right at the beginning of the reel. This is color film, shot by Jack Wrather from the Press/Invited Guests opening of Disneyland on July 17th, 1955! I will now post some still images from this absolutely amazing find from the storage vault, locked away and unseen for over 55 years! This film clip (and I have since found another color clip from opening day) was the cornerstone of my most recent D23 presentation this past August in Anaheim.
The first part of the film shows Bonita Granville Wrather with actress/singer Debbie Reynolds and her then husband Eddie Fisher sitting inside the car they would ride in the opening parade. I believe this is located at the base of the train station stairs near the right tunnel as you enter Disneyland.
Next one is really neat! This is a still frame of Walt Disney arriving on the E.P. Ripley at the train station near Main Street. Walt was interviewed by Art Linkletter shortly after arrival. Note the photographers and cameramen on the top of the coal car behind Walt.
Next, Mr. Wrather moved over to Tomorrowland and captured the Boy Scouts forming for the opening day parade, the first parade ever at Disneyland.