Friday, December 09, 2011

The ABC-TV Deal

In order to get the capital needed to fund Disneyland, Walt and Roy Disney signed with ABC Television (ABC President Robert Kintner on left, ABC Vice President Sidney Markley on right) on April 3, 1954. The first photo shows the actual signing; photo #2 is the warm and fuzzy image of Walt posing with stuffed versions of his animated characters, being taped by (what else?) an ABC-TV camera.

For the first five years, Disneyland was owned by Disneyland, Inc., which was jointly owned by Walt Disney Productions, Walt Disney, Western Publishing and ABC. ABC had first dibs on the "Disneyland" television series in 1954. By 1960, Walt Disney Productions bought out ABC, Western Publishing, and Walt Disney's shares.

In 1996, The Walt Disney Company acquired Capital Cities/ABC, and renamed the broadcasting group ABC, Inc.. This relationship could be seen with many cross-promotional efforts when DCA opened, such as ABC Soap Opera weekends (April 2002 shot with Erika Slezak from "One Life To Live"):

and the short-lived Soap Opera Bistro (also April 2002 photos):

See more vintage & current Disneyland photos on my Disneyland web pages.


Major Pepperidge said...

Whoa, the interior of the Soap Opera Bistro is pretty horrendous. Yeesh!

Meanwhile, one of Roy Disney's smartest moves was buying out ABC's interest in Disneyland for $15 million; in hindsight it was a bargain for the Disney company.

Daveland said...

Major - I actually ate there once. If you watched ABC Soap Operas, you'd be in hog heaven, as each dining area was themed to a different soap and the wait staff played characters from those soaps. However, if you didn't watch ABC Soaps, the whole thing would be lost. I am guessing this is why the restaurant didn't last too long...very limited appeal.

TokyoMagic! said...

I have never watched daytime soaps, but I enjoyed the one time that I ate at the Soap Opera Bistro. I don't even recognize that room. We ate in the "nurse's station" room from "General Hospital." I think I can even see a waitress dressed as a candy striper in that background of your interior shot. I liked the way that the servers acted out dramatic scenes with each other and then dragged some of the customers into the drama. Too bad it wasn't more successful....but then again, the park wasn't very successful either.