The original version of the series premiered on ABC on Wednesday, October 27, 1954. The show was broadcast weekly on one of the Big Three television networks until 1990, a 36-year span with only a two-year hiatus in 1984-85. The series was broadcast on Sunday for 25 of those years. From 1991 until 1997, the series aired infrequently.
The program resumed a regular schedule in 1997 on the ABC fall schedule, coinciding with Disney's recent purchase of the network. From 1997 until 2008, the program aired regularly on ABC. Since then, ABC has continued the series as an occasional special presentation from 2008 onward.
|Walt Disney anthology television series|
Opening title for The Wonderful World of Disney used since 2012
|Also known as|
|Created by||Walt Disney|
|Presented by||Walt Disney (1954–66)|
Michael Eisner (1987–2002)
|Narrated by||Dick Wesson (1954–79)|
Mark Elliot (1979–88)
Danny Dark (1988–91)
|Theme music composer||Leigh Harline |
|Opening theme||"When You Wish Upon a Star" (1954–61, 1968-2012 and 2012–present; various instrumental adaptations)|
"The Wonderful World of Color" (1961–68)
"Heaven's Triumph" (2012–present)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||53|
|No. of episodes||1,224 (list of episodes)|
|Camera setup||Multi-camera (hosted segments)|
|Running time||156–180 minutes|
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
Disney–ABC Domestic Television
|Original network||ABC (1954–61, 1986–88, and 1997–present)|
NBC (1961–81 and 1988–91)
CBS (1981–86, 1991–97)
|Picture format||480i (SDTV),|
|Original release||October 27, 1954 –|
The anthology series was an outgrowth of Walt Disney looking for funding for Disneyland with his brother Roy Disney approaching all the big-three networks with American Broadcasting-Paramount Theatres taking the deal for programming for ABC.
Although Walt Disney was the first major film producer to venture into television, two established independent film producers successfully ventured into television production before Disney, Hal Roach and Jerry Fairbanks. Disney wanted to produce a television program to finance the development of the Disneyland amusement park. After being turned down by both CBS and NBC, Disney eventually signed a deal with ABC (which had merged with United Paramount Theaters in 1953) on March 29, 1954. The show contained teasers for Walt's park, as well as episodes representing life in one of the park's main sections: Adventureland, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, and Frontierland, with the opening titles used from its inception until the show's move to NBC in 1961, showing the entrance to Disneyland itself, as well as the four aforementioned lands, one of which was then identified as the main feature of that evening's program.
Consequently, "Davy Crockett" and other pioneers of the Old West, and American history in general appeared in "Frontier Land". Similarly, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea might be the focus of an evening spent in "Adventure Land", although a documentary on the film could also be possibly presented as a topic for such episodes, including clips from the actual film. Topics for "Fantasy Land" would include either actual cartoons, and animated films, or documentaries on "The Making of ..." (such as behind-the-scenes presentation of Peggy Lee singing the duet of the wicked Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp, or the barbershop quartet of lost dogs in the municipal Dog Pound); excerpts from a True-Life Adventure documentary may also be included (for example, one on the life and works of beavers and their dam-building) or those using stroboscopic stop-action photography (such as investigating what really happened when a rain-drop fell in a puddle, as part of a "Fantasy Land" episode), explaining the techniques of cartoon animation. The multiplane camera used to create the three-dimensional effects of Bambi was also as a topic for a "Fantasy Land"-set telecast. In one episode, four different artists were given the task of drawing the same tree, with each artist using his own preferred ways of drawing and imagining a tree; this led to cartoon examples of differently animated trees, as in some of the early Silly Symphonies shorts, and later full-length animated films. "Tomorrow Land" was an opportunity for the Disney studio staff to present cutting-edge science and technology, and to predict possible futures, such as futuristic automobiles and highways. This format remained basically unchanged through the 1980s, though new material was scarce in later years. Other episodes were segments from Disney films such as Seal Island and Alice in Wonderland, or cartoons of Donald Duck and other Disney standbys.
The program spawned the Davy Crockett craze of 1955 with the airing of a three-episode series (not shown over the course of consecutive weeks) about the historical American frontiersman, starring Fess Parker in the title role. Millions of dollars of merchandise relating to the title character were sold, and the theme song, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett", became a hit record that year. Three historically based hour-long programs aired during late 1954/early 1955, and were followed up by two dramatized installments the following year. The TV episodes were later edited into two theatrical films.
On July 17, 1955, the opening of Disneyland was covered on a live television special, Dateline: Disneyland, which is not technically considered to be part of the series. It was hosted by Art Linkletter, with whom Walt Disney had worked out a deal prior to the opening to allow Linkletter to lease a shop on Main Street in return for the broadcast. Art Linkletter was assisted by Bob Cummings and Ronald Reagan, and the program featured various other guests, including various appearances of Walt himself as he dedicated the various lands of Disneyland.
In 1958, the series was retitled Walt Disney Presents and moved to a Friday-night timeslot; by 1960, ABC had switched it to Sunday nights, where it remained for 21 years. During this iteration, The Peter Tchaikovsky Story, an episode made to promote Walt's latest animated feature, Sleeping Beauty, was one of the first stereo simulcasts on TV; in this case it was 3 channel stereo. FM radio stations across the country carried the left channel at the same time as ABC broadcast the TV show in mono, which served as a center channel, and AM radio stations broadcast the right channel. In the second half of the show, a lengthy clip of Sleeping Beauty was shown, with its 6 channels (70mm version) mixed down into 3 for the broadcast. Walt apparently wanted people to see Sleeping Beauty in 70 mm, so, in the introduction, he explained the difference between 35 mm and 70 mm and held up a card with both sizes on it. . In addition to episodes devoted to the latest additions at Disneyland, many episodes during this period were Westerns such as "Texas John Slaughter" and "Elfego Baca", while others talked about the United States' burgeoning efforts to explore outer space and others, such as "Moochie of the Little League", were set in the then-present day. Some episodes even mixed live-action and animation, showing Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket talking with Walt himself, while one 1959 episode turned the spotlight on Chip 'n' Dale, combining their theatrical cartoons with mixed media wrap-around footage.
Although the basic format remained the same, the series moved to NBC on September 24, 1961, to take advantage of that network's ability to broadcast programming in color. In addition, Walt Disney's relationship with ABC had soured as the network resisted selling its stake in the theme park before doing so in 1960. In a display of foresight, Disney had filmed many of the earlier shows in color, allowing them to easily be repeated on NBC; since all but three of Disney's feature-length films were also made in color (the three black-and-white exceptions were The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, and Son of Flubber, all family comedies starring Fred MacMurray), they could now also be telecast in that format.
To emphasize the new feature, the series was retitled Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color when NBC began airing it, retaining that moniker until 1969, by which time the big three networks were all broadcasting in color. The first NBC episode even dealt with the principles of color, as explained by a new character named Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by Paul Frees), a bumbling professor with a thick German accent, who was the uncle of Donald Duck. Von Drake was the first Disney character created specifically for television.
Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, 12 years after the anthology series premiered. While the broadcast that aired three days after his death featured a memorial tribute from Huntley-Brinkley Report anchor Chet Huntley with film and television star Dick Van Dyke, the introductions that Walt already filmed prior to his death continued to air for the remainder of the season. After that, the studio decided that Walt's persona as host was such a key part of the show's appeal to viewers that the host segment was dropped.
The series was retitled The Wonderful World of Disney in September 1969, as the previous title was no longer needed due to the aforementioned developments in color broadcasting. It continued to gain solid ratings, often ranking in the top 20, until the mid-1970s.
In 1976, Disney showed its hit 1961 film The Parent Trap on television for the first time, as a 2½-hour special. This marked a major step in broadcasting for the studio, which had never shown one of its more popular films on television in a time slot longer than an hour (although it had shown Now You See Him, Now You Don't and Napoleon and Samantha in a two-hour format in 1975). Walt Disney Productions also began running some of its multiepisode television programs, such as 1962's Sammy The Way-Out Seal, as televised feature films on the anthology series. A slightly edited version of the 1954 Disney film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea made its television debut as a two-hour special on NBC in October 1976. Several other Disney films, some of them not especially successful (such as Superdad, which was an outright flop in its initial theatrical release) were also aired on the program in the form of two-hour broadcasts that year. However, the multiepisode format for feature films had not been discontinued; as late as 1981, films such as Pollyanna were still being shown on the Disney program in several installments running a week apart.
During the early 1970s, the show began to increasingly concentrate less on animated cartoons and dramatic or comedy films, and began to place an emphasis on nature-oriented programs (such as the True-Life Adventures).
The show's continued ratings success in the post-Walt era came to an end during the 1975–76 season. At this time, Walt Disney Productions was facing a decline in fortunes due to falling box-office revenues, while NBC as a whole was also slipping in the ratings. The anthology series became even more dependent on airings of live-action theatrical features, its True-Life Adventures, reruns of older episodes, and cartoon compilations. Nothing from the Disney animated features canon aired, with the exceptions of Alice in Wonderland and Dumbo. Additionally, in 1975, when CBS regained the broadcast rights to the 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film The Wizard of Oz, it was scheduled opposite Disney, as it had been between 1960 and 1968. At that time, telecasts of that film were highly rated annual events, which largely attracted the same family audience as the Disney series. From 1968 to 1975, when NBC held the television rights to Oz (which it had acquired from CBS in 1967), it usually pre-empted Disney to show it. However, the show's stiffest weekly competition came from CBS's newsmagazine 60 Minutes.
In 1975, an amendment to the Prime Time Access Rule gave the Sunday 7:00 pm Eastern Time slot back to the networks, allowing NBC to move Disney back by a half-hour. It also allowed CBS to schedule 60 Minutes at 7:00 pm Eastern Time starting on December 7; prior to this, 60 Minutes had aired at 6:00 pm Eastern and did not begin its seasons until after the National Football League season ended. Disney fell out of the top 30, while 60 Minutes had its ratings rise significantly.
In September 1979, the studio agreed to the network's request for changes to the program. The show shortened its title to Disney's Wonderful World, and updated the opening sequence with a computer-generated logo and disco-styled theme song, but largely kept the same format. The problems for the show continued. As a result of the ratings strength of 60 Minutes, compounded by low ratings, increasingly less original material, and frequent  pre-emptions (primarily due to sporting events such as NFL game telecasts), NBC cancelled Disney in 1981. One factor that was beyond the control of either Disney or NBC was a 94-day 1980 strike by the Screen Actors' Guild  that cut the number of shows for the 1980–1981 season, but the damage was done nonetheless.
Following NBC's announcement that it would drop the anthology series, CBS picked up the program and began airing it on Saturdays at 8:00 pm Eastern Time, in September 1981. Despite a more elaborate credit sequence and another title change, to simply Walt Disney, the series' format remained unchanged. During the 1981–1982 season, the series had a full season's worth of material again, but little of it was new. Among the little that actually was new were a handful of pilots based on Pollyanna, Escape to Witch Mountain, and The Apple Dumpling Gang, but only the last sold and became the half-hour sitcom Gun Shy the following season, one of the studio's first entries in that genre.
The 1982–1983 season had enough material to fill the time slot, but almost all of it was pre-existing material, the lone exception being the celebrity-laden opening ceremony of Epcot on October 23. It also did not help matters that NBC slotted the family-friendly sitcoms Diff'rent Strokes and Silver Spoons at 8:00 pm and 8:30 pm up against it to draw children away from CBS. After moving to Tuesday at the beginning of 1983, it went on hiatus on February 15 while the aforementioned Gun Shy took up the second half of its time slot. When it came back for summer reruns on May 3, it was still on Tuesday at 8:00 pm; its final network broadcast was on September 24, bringing an uninterrupted 29-year run on all three networks to a close.
The end of the show coincided with the launch of the studio's cable television network, the Disney Channel. While ratings were a factor, the final decision to end the show came from Walt Disney Productions' then-CEO E. Cardon Walker, who felt that having both the show and the new channel active would result in cannibalization of viewership. The new channel would provide a home for the show in reruns for the next two decades, but for the time being, Disney's presence on U.S. network TV would be limited to the occasional holiday special, theme park anniversary, or cartoon compilation.
After the studio – which was rechristened as the Walt Disney Company in 1986 – underwent a change in management, Disney sought to bring back some sort of programming to broadcast television. Their efforts led to the premiere of The Disney Sunday Movie, which debuted on February 2, 1986, on ABC. Many names were considered to serve as presenter for the revived show, including Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Cary Grant, Tom Hanks, Walter Cronkite, Roy E. Disney (who closely resembled his uncle), and even Mickey Mouse. The studio finally decided to have Michael Eisner, the company's recently hired CEO, host the series. Although he was not a performer, after filming a test video with his wife Jane and a member of his executive team (which required multiple takes), studio management believed he could do the hosting job. Eisner hired Michael Kay, a director of political commercials for then-U.S. Senator Bill Bradley, to help him improve his on-camera performance.
The Disney Sunday Movie initially aired as ABC's lead-off program on Sundays, running from 7:00 to 9:00 pm Eastern Time. By this point, the format was similar to a movie-of-the-week. Gary Barton, a Disney senior vice president, was in charge of the program. "Help Wanted: Kids" was the first episode's film. Other first revival year films were, Young Again, The Richest Cat in the World, and My Town. Sometimes the slot would feature special instead of dramatic material like "Disney Goes to the Oscars" featuring the studio's Academy Award winners, and "The Greatest Moments in Disney Animation". A handful of Disney Channel original films made their network television debuts during these iteration as well, but no Touchstone films were part of the show as they were not considered appropriate for children. However, Splash, Too, a sequel to the 1984 film, aired on the series over two weeks in May 1988. The show had increased Disney park attendance and ABC's rating for the evening by an average 27% for the reason of the season. Disney, wanting to make it a regular viewing habit, gave ABC additional films from its library, including Old Yeller, The Apple Dumpling Gang, and Candleshoe for the normal rerun mid-year period. The Last Electric Knight series movie produced a spin-off, originally to be called Karate Kid for ABC's 1987 season.
The program's ratings were never strong as the established 60 Minutes and scripted mystery series Murder, She Wrote on CBS, both of which Disney was competing with for viewers, remained the leading primetime programs on Sunday nights. In 1987, ABC reduced The Disney Sunday Movie from two hours to one. The move did not help drive ratings, and the network decided not to renew its contract with Disney or pick up a fourth season of the second iteration of the anthology series.
In the spring of 1988, NBC decided to renew its association with the company after it cut ties to the anthology series seven years earlier; the network brought the series, now named The Magical World of Disney, to serve as the lead-in of its Sunday lineup in September 1988. As the program had done during its last season as The Disney Sunday Movie, The Magical World of Disney ran for one hour, airing at 7:00 pm Eastern Time; Michael Eisner also returned as its presenter. During this period, the show attempted to reintroduce the rotating format the show started out with in 1954. It also introduced new versions of Walt-era movies and TV shows such as The Absent-Minded Professor, a reboot of Davy Crockett, and the musical Polly, which was based on the book Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter and the Walt Disney's 1960 film adaptation of it. In the 1989–1990 season, during which the company was negotiating with Jim Henson to buy The Muppets, they aired two Muppet specials; one of them was The Muppets at Walt Disney World, which turned out to be Henson's last Muppet special. He died May 16, 1990, 10 days after the special aired, and the company only acquired The Muppets more than a decade later.
After two seasons experiencing the same lackluster ratings as it had accrued during the end of its initial NBC run and its subsequent runs on CBS and ABC, Disney elected to move The Magical World of Disney off broadcast television and began airing the anthology on the Disney Channel – in the same time slot it had been airing for the past decade – starting in September 1990, expanding back to a two-hour format. Since the Disney Channel operated as a premium channel at the time, films presented on the series were presented without commercial interruption. The Magical World of Disney originally aired on the cable channel as a weekly Sunday-only program for its first 5½ years; but in September 1996, as part of the first phase of a programming revamp that culminated in its formal conversion into a commercial-free basic cable channel in April 1997, the Disney Channel expanded the Magical World brand to encompass its Monday through Saturday primetime film block, maintaining its 7:00 pm Eastern time slot.
The Wonderful World of Disney returned in 1991 as an umbrella title for Disney specials airing on major networks (CBS airings used the historical title The Wonderful World of Disney, while other networks broadcast the show with another title, A Disney Special).
In 1997, with Disney acquiring ABC the previous year, ABC gave the series a regular slot in the schedule. Disney CEO Eisner formed Disney Telefilms by 1995 to supply original films to the series and program together with ABC. It led the network's Sunday night lineup at the 7:00 p.m. Eastern time slot, resulting in the displacement of Sunday mainstay America's Funniest Home Videos, which had occupied the slot since 1992. On September 28, 1997, the revived The Wonderful World of Disney premiered with the network television premiere of Toy Story. On October 5, 1997, Disney Telefilms' first production, Toothless, debuted on the series. In addition to the planned 16 original Disney telemovies, ABC and Disney added a few direct-to-video movies and films from other sources.
In 2001, a Spanish-language version of the program premiered on Telemundo (which, incidentally, was acquired by the English version's former home, ABC, that same year 2001-2010) as El Maravilloso Mundo de Disney, with more of a focus on Disney theatrical films than the English broadcasts at the time for Spanish verson's former Disney Channel (Latin America).
In September 2003, The Wonderful World of Disney moved to Saturdays at 8:00 pm Eastern, with the previous Sunday time slot being ceded to AFV (which moved back to Sundays that season) and drama series in the 8:00 pm hour. Rare exceptions to the program's format occurred during this time; for example, a Little House on the Prairie miniseries ran for several weeks in 2004 under the Wonderful World of Disney banner. For most of its second run on ABC, the program aired throughout the television season, with the exception of the 2005–06 season (when it aired during the midseason only), and in 2007 and 2008 (when it was relegated to the summer months), with a broader array of films occupying the network's Saturday primetime slot at other times, when sports programming did not air. The series ended as a regular program in 2008.
At this point, the series began to shift focus toward Disney theatrical films, relying less on original television films; however, the series aired two Disney Channel Original Movies (2002's Cadet Kelly and 2008's Camp Rock, currently the only Disney Channel television films to have aired on non-Disney Channel-branded network domestically) during its ABC run. The second ABC revival also included some family-oriented films produced by studios other than Disney under the Wonderful World banner, such as The Sound of Music from 20th Century Fox (which will soon be owned by Disney) and the Harry Potter film series and Space Jam from Warner Bros., as well as television films such as Princess of Thieves from Granada Productions and the 2001 remake of Brian's Song from Columbia TriStar Television (now known as Sony Pictures Television).
In September 2014, ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney officially returned to its anthology format with a showing of Mary Poppins, hosted by Dick Van Dyke. Van Dyke took viewers on a tour through the Disney Archives, as they explored props and costumes from the production of Mary Poppins and discussed the film’s history and context within the Disney legacy. It was then shown on February 21, 2016, with the special Disneyland 60, which honored Disneyland's 60th anniversary; on November 24, 2016, for their Magical Holiday Celebration, filmed at Walt Disney World; and on December 11, 2016, for the network television premiere of Frozen.
"The Magical World of Toons" was the daily prime time programming block featuring character's key series episodes coinciding with the launch of its channel, Toon Disney, on April 18, 1998. "Magical World" continued at least until 2002.
In 2012, Disney Junior launched the movie night anthology as Magical World of Disney Junior. The channel also premiered its first Disney Junior Original Movie, Lucky Duck during Magical World on Friday, June 20, 2014.
Around the same time that the 1980s incarnations aired on ABC and NBC, reruns of older episodes of the Disney anthology series, airing under the Wonderful World of Disney banner, were syndicated to broadcast television stations throughout the United States as well as in various international markets. In Australia, the program aired on Network Seven on Saturdays at 6:30 pm, before it was dropped in 1994 due to Optus Vision (later Foxtel)'s launch of a domestic version of the Disney Channel, with Saturday Disney replacing it as the channel's main block of Disney films.
Reruns of the shows were a staple of the Disney Channel for several years under the title Walt Disney Presents (which used the same title sequence as the 1980s CBS incarnation), when it was an outlet for vintage Disney cartoons, television series, and films, basically serving the same function that the anthology series served in the days before cable. The original opening titles were restored to the episodes in 1997. Reruns of the anthology series were discontinued when the channel purged all vintage material with the removal of its Vault Disney late-night block on September 16, 2002. However, a few select episodes are available on VHS or DVD (some of which are exclusive to the Disney Movie Club), with the possibility of additional future releases.
All of the episodes and existing material used on the series up to 1996 are listed in the Bill Cotter book The Wonderful World of Disney Television, which was released in 1997 by Hyperion Books (which was owned by the Walt Disney Company at the book's publication).
Originally hosted by Walt Disney himself, the original format of the Disney anthology series consisted of a balance of theatrical animated cartoons, live-action features, and other informational material (some original, some pre-existing) from the studio's library. For many years, the show also featured edited one-hour versions of such then-recent Disney films as Alice in Wonderland, and in other cases, telecasts of complete Disney films that were split into two or more one-hour episodes. Later original programs consisted of dramatizations of other historical figures and legends along the lines of the Davy Crockett mini-series. These included a miniseries based on Daniel Boone (not the Fess Parker characterization), Texas John Slaughter, Elfego Baca, Francis Marion (the "Swamp Fox") and 1977's Kit Carson and the Mountain Man (with Christopher Connelly as Kit Carson, Robert Reed as John C. Fremont, and Gregg Palmer as mountain man Jim Bridger).
Occasionally, a more educational segment would be featured (such as The Story of the Animated Drawing), including nature and animal programs similar to the True-Life Adventures that were released in theaters, as well as various dramatic installments which were either structured as single-part, two-part, and sometimes, multipart editions. Much of the original informational excerpts were to create awareness of Disneyland. In spite of essentially serving as advertisements for the park, entertainment value was emphasized, as well to make the shows palatable. Some of the program's informational content was formatted to promote upcoming feature film releases by the studio (such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Darby O'Gill and the Little People), with some programs focusing on the art and technology of animation itself.
El mundo de Disney (The World of Disney) aired for the first time on the OTA network Telefe in 1990, hosted by Leonardo Greco. He remained as the sole presenter of the show, lasting until 1995, when the series concluded. The programme started airing at 8:00pm nightly from the second half of 1990 until December 1992. By 1993, it was moved to weekday afternoons at 5:00pm. When it was coming to an end, around 1994, shifted to Sunday afternoons, and aired a long marathon of movies and cartoons. According to Greco, this programme was possible because of a distributor who acquired the material, and was allowed to be shown without following a strict format, because the company wanted to do so. Telefe wanted a comeback, and appointed chef and host Maru Botana (then network talent) to present Planeta Disney (Disney Planet) on Sunday evenings, at 8:00pm, beginning November 21, 2004. Starting on July 9, 2005, Botana was replaced with two personalities employed by Disney, Carolina Ibarra and Dani Martins. They both shared the duties of hosting this show and the South American edition of Zapping Zone, on Disney Channel. This lasted for a year and a half, with relative success.
While Telefe had a major success carrying the animated movies and some TV series like Blossom or Dinosaurs (distributed by Buena Vista Television), Canal 13 saw the possibility of buying material from the company and airing it (sometimes competing against the Telefe's programme) on Sunday afternoons, beginning in 1994, which at that time was filled with telecasts of ancient Argentinian films from the 1950s, 1960s or 1970s, and by reruns of Tarzan and The Three Stooges. The only clear difference was that only movies starring human actors, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or The Island at the Top of the World, could be broadcast, and not the cartoons. This experiment lasted until early 1996. By 2007, the network took off from Telefe the exclusive rights to show all the Disney franchise movies and programs, and began to air its movies on Sunday evenings at 7:00pm, without a host. This also allowed Canal 13 to detain rights for other shows not related with Disney, but with the ABC network, like Lost or Grey's Anatomy, and to produce a localised version of the high-grossing film High School Musical.
The ABC run of the program under The Magical World of Disney title originally aired in that country under the title Cine Disney on the Brazilian-portuguese version of Sistema Brasileiro de Televisão (SBT) in partnership with The Walt Disney Company. The ABC run of the program under The Wonderful World of Disney title originally aired in that country under the title O Maravilhoso Mundo de Disney on the Brazilian portuguese version of Disney Channel; the program moved to SBT as Mundo Disney in 2015, for return in partnership with The Walt Disney Company.
|Network||Season||Timeslot||TV Season||Season Premiere||Season Finale||Season
|ABC||1||Wednesday 7:00 p.m. ET||1954–1955||October 27, 1954||July 13, 1955||#6||12.00|
|2||1955–1956||September 14, 1955||May 30, 1956||#4||13.05|
|3||1956–1957||September 12, 1956||June 5, 1957||#14||12.37|
|4||1957–1958||September 11, 1957||May 14, 1958|
|5||Friday 7:00 p.m. ET||1958–1959||October 3, 1958||May 29, 1959|
|6||1959–1960||October 2, 1959||April 1, 1960|
|7||Sunday 7:00 p.m. ET||1960–1961||October 16, 1960||June 11, 1961|
|NBC||8||1961–1962||September 24, 1961||April 15, 1962||#23||11.02|
|9||1962–1963||September 23, 1962||March 24, 1963||#24||11.22|
|10||1963–1964||September 29, 1963||May 17, 1964||#21||11.87|
|11||1964–1965||September 20, 1964||April 4, 1965||#11||13.54|
|12||1965–1966||September 19, 1965||April 10, 1966||#17||12.49|
|13||1966–1967||September 11, 1966||April 2, 1967||#19||11.85|
|14||1967–1968||September 10, 1967||April 28, 1968||#25||11.73|
|15||1968–1969||September 15, 1968||March 23, 1969||#22||12.41|
|16||1969–1970||September 14, 1969||March 29, 1970||#9||13.81|
|17||1970–1971||September 13, 1970||March 14, 1971||#14||13.46|
|18||1971–1972||September 19, 1971||April 9, 1972||#19||13.66|
|19||1972–1973||September 17, 1972||April 1, 1973||#9||15.23|
|20||1973–1974||September 16, 1973||March 13, 1974||#13||14.76|
|21||1974–1975||September 15, 1974||March 23, 1975||#18||15.07|
|22||1975–1976||September 14, 1975||July 25, 1976|
|23||1976–1977||September 26, 1976||May 22, 1977|
|24||1977–1978||September 18, 1977||June 4, 1978|
|25||1978–1979||September 17, 1978||May 13, 1979|
|26||1979–1980||September 16, 1979||July 27, 1980|
|27||1980–1981||September 14, 1980||August 16, 1981|
|CBS||28||Saturday 7:00 p.m. ET||1981–1982||September 26, 1981||July 31, 1982|
|29||1982–1983||September 25, 1982||September 24, 1983|
|ABC||30||1985–1986||February 1, 1986||June 21, 1986|
|31||1986–1987||September 20, 1986||August 29, 1987|
|32||1987–1988||October 3, 1987||May 21, 1988|
|NBC||33||1988–1989||October 8, 1988||July 22, 1989|
|34||1989–1990||September 30, 1989||August 25, 1990|
|CBS||35||Sunday 7:00 p.m. ET||1990–1991||September 23, 1990||September 15, 1991|
|36||1991–1992||September 22, 1991||September 13, 1992|
|37||1992–1993||September 20, 1992||September 12, 1993|
|38||1993–1994||September 19, 1993||September 11, 1994|
|39||1994–1995||September 18, 1994||September 10, 1995|
|40||1995–1996||September 17, 1995||August 25, 1996|
|41||1996–1997||September 8, 1996||December 1, 1996|
|ABC||42||1997–1998||September 28, 1997||May 18, 1998||#30||13.50|
|43||1998–1999||September 27, 1998||May 30, 1999||#45||11.90|
|44||1999–2000||September 26, 1999||May 14, 2000||#29||12.82|
|45||2000–2001||October 8, 2000||May 27, 2001||#39||12.10|
|46||2001–2002||September 16, 2001||May 19, 2002||#38||11.20|
|47||2002–2003||November 3, 2002||July 27, 2003||#53||10.10|
|48||Saturday 8:00 p.m. ET||2003–2004||September 27, 2003||May 8, 2004||#99||7.39|
|49||2004–2005||October 16, 2004||June 18, 2005||#96||6.93|
|50||2005–2006||November 5, 2005||July 8, 2006||#137||5.30|
|51||2006–2007||December 16, 2006||August 4, 2007||#208||4.28|
|52||2007–2008||December 22, 2007||December 20, 2008||#172||4.01|
Several home media releases have included episodes of the anthology series.
In the 1980s, Walt Disney Home Video released 15 volumes of the anthology series on VHS, while many episodes have been released on DVD from either the Disney Movie Club or the Disney Generations movies-on-demand (MOD) program on Amazon.com.
"A Day in the Life of Donald Duck" is a 1956 episode of the Disneyland TV show. As the name of the episode implies, viewers experience Donald Duck himself as he struggles through a typical day at the Walt Disney Studios. In the process, he meets up with Jimmie Dodd, Roy Williams, the Mouseketeers and even his own voice, Clarence Nash. This episode introduces a song about Donald, "Quack, Quack, Quack, Donald Duck." This episode was released on DVD in 2006 as a bonus feature in the Walt Disney Treasures line.A Disney Christmas Gift
A Disney Christmas Gift is an animated Christmas television special produced by Walt Disney Productions which was originally broadcast on CBS on December 4, 1982 as part of Walt Disney anthology series.A Disney Halloween
"A Disney Halloween" is a 90-minute Halloween-themed television special which originally aired as part of The Wonderful World of Disney on October 29, 1983.A Saintly Switch
A Saintly Switch is a 1999 American made-for-television comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and produced by Walt Disney Entertainment, first exhibited on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney. The plot revolves around an aging NFL quarterback and his stay-at-home wife switching bodies. The resultant comedy focuses on family values as she has to handle the highly-physical job while he has to handle art classes, bonding with his children, and morning sickness.Child of Glass
Child of Glass is a 1978 American made-for-television family-fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Productions and based upon the novel The Ghost Belonged to Me by Richard Peck. It originally aired on NBC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney on May 14, 1978. The film was also re-aired sporadically during the early to mid-1980s, often on weekends during the afternoon. The filming locations were in Danville, Kentucky and New Orleans, Louisiana.Disney's Greatest Villains
"Disney's Greatest Villains" is a 1977 episode of The Wonderful World of Disney which originally aired on NBC on May 15, 1977.Disney's Halloween Treat
"Disney's Halloween Treat" is a 1982 Halloween-themed episode of Walt Disney which originally aired on October 30, 1982.Escapade in Florence
Escapade in Florence is a two-part episode of the Disneyland television show which was released theatrically in some countries. Walt Disney described it as a "teenage comedy adventure".It was shot on location in Florence, Italy.Freaky Friday (1995 film)
Freaky Friday is a 1995 American made-for-television fantasy-comedy film and a remake of the 1976 film of the same name produced by Walt Disney Television which premiered on May 6, 1995 as part of The Wonderful World of Disney. It is the second in a series of four remakes of Disney films produced for broadcast on ABC during the 1994–95 television season.This movie is a remake of the original Freaky Friday (1976 film) starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris in the roles of Annabelle and Ellen.Man in Space
"Man in Space" is an episode of the American television series Disneyland which originally aired on March 9, 1955. It was directed by Disney animator Ward Kimball. This Disneyland episode (set in Tomorrowland), was narrated partly by Kimball and also by such scientists Willy Ley, Heinz Haber, and Wernher von Braun; as well as Dick Tufeld of Lost in Space fame.
The show talks briefly about the lighthearted history of rockets and is followed by discussions of satellites, a practical look (through humorous animation) at what humans in space will have to face in a rocket (both physically and psychologically, such as momentum, weightlessness, radiation, even space sickness) and a rocket takeoff into space. The next episodes in this series were "Man and the Moon" and "Mars and Beyond," airing in seasons 2 and 4, respectively.Mars and Beyond
"Mars and Beyond" is an episode of Disneyland which aired on December 4, 1957. It was directed by Ward Kimball and narrated by Paul Frees. This episode discusses the possibility of life on other planets, especially Mars.
The abridged version was also produced when this was originally released.
This episode was released on DVD in 2004 as part of the Walt Disney Treasures line.Mickey's 50
Mickey's 50 is a 1978 television special honouring the 50-year anniversary of the debut of Walt Disney's animated character Mickey Mouse. The show aired on NBC on November 19, 1978, one day after Mickey's official birthday, as a special 90-minute edition of The Wonderful World of Disney.Mickey's 60th Birthday
Mickey's 60th Birthday is a 1988 television special broadcast on The Magical World of Disney on November 13, 1988 on NBC. As the title suggests, it was produced for the 60th anniversary of the Mickey Mouse character. Like Who Framed Roger Rabbit (which had been recently released at the time), much of the footage featured in the film is live-action with newly made animation (although some of the animation used for some scenes was made from existing footage) provided by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson. It was rebroadcast on Disney Channel Europe on November 18, 2008 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the special, as well as Mickey's 80th birthday.Our Unsung Villains
"Our Unsung Villains" is a 1956 episode of Disneyland which originally aired on ABC on February 15, 1956.Sunday Drive (film)
Sunday Drive is a 1986 American made-for-television family comedy film produced by Walt Disney Television starring Tony Randall, Carrie Fisher, Audra Lindley and Ted Wass. The film originally premiered as part of The Disney Sunday Movie on ABC on November 30, 1986.The Boy Who Talked to Badgers
The Boy Who Talked to Badgers is a 1975 American made-for-television adventure film directed by Gary Nelson, starring Christian Juttner and Carl Betz. It was produced by Walt Disney Productions and based on the novel Incident at Hawk's Hill by Allan W. Eckert. The film was originally broadcast on NBC as a two-part episode on The Wonderful World of Disney on September 14 and 21, 1975.The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1995 film)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is a 1995 American made-for-television comedy science fiction film and a remake of the 1969 film of the same name produced by Walt Disney Television which premiered on February 18, 1995 as part of The Wonderful World of Disney. It is the second in a series of four remakes of Disney live-action films produced for broadcast on ABC during the 1994–95 television season.Directed by Peyton Reed, it stars Kirk Cameron in the lead role of Dexter Riley, a boy who becomes an instant genius, wired directly into the Internet. The film also co-stars Larry Miller and Dean Jones plays the role of an evil dean from a competing school.The Growing Pains Movie
The Growing Pains Movie is a 2000 American made-for-television comedy film and is the first of two reunion films based on the 1985–1992 sitcom Growing Pains. It premiered on ABC November 5, 2000 as a two-hour episode of The Wonderful World of Disney anthology series.The Shaggy Dog (1994 film)
The Shaggy Dog is a 1994 American made-for-television fantasy-comedy film and a remake of the 1959 film of the same name produced by Walt Disney Television which premiered on November 12, 1994 as part of The Wonderful World of Disney. It is the first in a series of four remakes of Disney live-action films produced for broadcast on ABC during the 1994–95 television season.
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