Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 04: Walt in Marceline

On this day in 1956 Walt and his brother Roy spent the Fourth of July visiting Marceline, Missouri - their childhood town and inspiration for Main Street USA. (Though born in Chicago, Walt had always considered Marceline his hometown.)

The Disney brothers and their wives had arrived in Marceline (about 120 miles northeast of Kansas City) the day before - being greeted by hundreds of guests at the Santa Fe Country Club. But on this day Walt and Roy visited locations of some of their childhood experiences (the Disney family spent 5 years in Marceline).

The brothers stopped at the railroad depot, Park School (today known as Walt Disney Elementary School), their old family farm, and Yellow Creek (a favorite fishing spot). In the afternoon, the Midwest premiere of Disney's The Great Locomotive Chase took place at the Uptown Theater - with Walt and Roy personally greeting every child who entered the theater.

Later in the day the Disneys attended the dedication (along with 6,000 other local guests) of the Walt Disney Municipal Park and Swimming Pool. A U.S. Senator and the local Mayor took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by 50 local boys who christened the pool by all jumping in at the same time. Appropriately, the day finished with a fireworks show.

"Everything connected to Marceline was a thrill to us, coming as we did from a city the size of Chicago. I'm glad I'm a small town boy and I'm glad Marceline was my town." -Walt Disney

Click HERE for more July 04 Disney history ... and Happy Independence Day!

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