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Disneyland Dream 1956

March 11, 2010

This is a beautiful film detailing a family’s trip from Connecticut to Disneyland in 1956. The film runs 34 minutes and change, and the family doesn’t actually get there until around the 19 minute mark, but some of the footage prior is a fascinating document of 1950s America. The clothes, cars, signs, packaging, planes, luggage–all of it I find interesting to look at. I wouldn’t want to live in that time, but I like to view it none the less. Yeah, the film sometimes has a hokiness that you probably find on your own family movies. But hey, that just makes it more endearing in my eyes.

From a description of the film, combined from Google and YouTube:
In July 1956, the five-member Barstow family of Wethersfield, Connecticut, won a free trip to newly-opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in a nationwide contest. This 30-minute amateur documentary film tells the fabulous story of their fun-filled, dream-come-true, family travel adventure, filmed on the scene at Walt Disney’s “Magic Kingdom” by Robbins Barstow. Robbins Barstow was the first director to ever capture comedian/actor Steve Martin on film. A former Disneyland cast member and Disneyland buff, Says Martin, in a letter to filmmaker Robbins Barstow, stated: “At age eleven I worked at Disneyland. I sold guidebooks at the park from 1956 to about 1958. I am as positive as one can be that I appear about 20:20 into your film, low in the frame, dressed in a top hat, vest, and striped pink shirt, moving from left to right, holding a guidebook out for sale.” Barstow and Martin agreed to exchange gifts: Martin sent Barstow a signed copy of his memoir, “Born Standing Up,” and Barstow sent Martin a signed DVD of Disneyland Dream. In December 2008, “Disneyland Dream” was named to the National Film Registry by the Librarian of Congress. At the age of 89, Barstow is currently putting together a documentary entitled “The Making of ‘Disneyland Dream’: Family Recollections 53 Years Later.”

update: Just received a kind email from Robbins Barstow, who let me know that the Disneyland Dream and the Making of are packaged together as a DVD for sale on Amazon for only $15 (plus S&H). The Making of documentary is exclusive to the DVD.


Disneyland Dream DVD cover

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One Comment
  1. March 12, 2010 10:02 am

    That was great!!! The precursor to all the Youtube vids of today! What a great presentation and historical document! Thanks for sharing this.

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