Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Disney's Rocket to the Moon

Rocket to the Moon, presented by TWA, was an original Disneyland attraction in 1955. At the time going to the Moon seemed supernatural to most people. Walt believed that Tomorrowland dreams of spaceflight were as much a part of our dreams as Cinderella. Visitors sat in a circular spaceship interior while films showed the view out the windows.

In the early 1950's the popular Collier's Magazine invited Wernher Von Braun to publish a series of features on spaceflight. The articles were spectacularly illustrated by artists like Chesley Bonestell. It is wonderful being able to publish! After working in anonymity for decades, Von Braun had the opportunity to sell his ideas to the public. For the first time Collier's 4 million readers saw exciting and realistic images of spaceflight.

By the early 1950's there were 15 million television sets in the US. To promote his theme park, Walt Disney introduced the "World of Disney" TV show. Von Braun collaborated closely with Disney on three shows about "Man in Space." They used Von Braun's technical input and Disney animation to reach even more people. They showed multi-stage rockets, wheel-shaped space stations, and nuclear spaceships travelling to Mars. The first show, aired March 9, 1955 was enjoyed by 42 million viewers. 3 months later President Eisenhower announced plans to put a satellite in orbit.

This Rocket to the Moon is a 2/3 scale mockup of the 1955 original. The attraction was reworked as Flight to the Moon in 1967, and Mission to Mars in 1975. The Submarine Voyage will shortly return with a FINDING NEMO theme. Tomorrowland has seen more changes than any other part of the Magic Kingdom.

When You Wish Upon a Star...Your dreams come true! Scientists should never lose the child's desire to find the truth. In the Lego store, I met a famous advocate of "dark energy." He's fictional, but so is DE.


Blogger Kea said...

Apparently my greatgrandparents used to argue about the possibility of man landing on the moon. My greatgrandfather said we would one day, but my greatgrandmother was adamant that it wasn't possible. My greatgranddad died 2 days before the moon landing in 1969.

11:25 AM  
Blogger CarlBrannen said...

my greatgrandmother was adamant that it wasn't possible. My greatgrandfather died 2 days before the moon landing in 1969.

Maybe New Zealand women are more vicious than average. All the killers in my family tree were men.

12:48 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

Kea, so sad that your great granddad missed the Moon landing. Maybe you can tell of the New Zealander who supposedly flew an aeroplane before the Wright Brothers, but didn't get the publicity.

Carlb: It will be hard avoiding jokes about vicious women in Space, but I'll try.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Kea said...

Very funny, Carl! And yes, she was a Kiwi, but of Irish Catholic extraction, so I blame it on them.

8:55 AM  
Anonymous Sam said...

Louise, is this Richard Pearse you are talking about ?

2:58 PM  
Blogger L. Riofrio said...

HI Sam. Yes, Pearse was a farmer who built an aircraft, sort of like the Astronaut Farmer. Evidence is inconclusive whether he flew before the Wrights.

3:04 PM  
Blogger Pandabonium said...

As a kid I took Disney's rocket to the moon. It was very well presented. In the late 1950's technology was in the news often so moon travel seemed inevitable. Of course a lot things that were hyped (usually in order to bolster the defense budget) never paid off or came to be.

My dad was an aeronautical and hydraulics engineer who owned a valve manufacturing plant. He designed and built the valves for the pressurization system of the Gemini capsules, as well as valves for the Saturn S-IVB rockets.

Space transport was then and is now a dangerous and expensive business, but dreams are what drive people to learn and work toward achieving goals in face of steep odds.

3:46 PM  
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