Sunday, January 22, 2012
The Start of a Beautiful Friendship
From 1954-55, Don DeFore served as President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He was instrumental in arranging for the Emmy Awards to be broadcast on national TV for the first time on March 7, 1955, which earned him the respect of Walt Disney. This is what led to the two becoming good friends. That year, he was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Regular Series for his work on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Here is a publicity blurb that accompanied the photo at left from November 1955:
11/15—NEW YORK: Don DeFore (C), president of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, shows Walt Disney (R) and Ed Sullivan the "Emmy" award which will be presented to President Eisenhower for "his distinguished use and encouragement of the television medium." The announcement of the presentation took place at a luncheon at the Hotel Plaza, here 11/15, honoring the 1954 "Emmy" winners from the East Coast.
Walt figured if a guy could get the Emmys on TV, SURELY he could make a restaurant work at Disneyland! This can-do attitue of Don's too him from the Emmy Awards to BBQ...who knew? Here's one of Don with his brother Vern, standing in front of the Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant (1957-1961):
Here is how the same location looks today:
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