Saturday, July 4, 2009
Today is July 4th, United States Independence Day, and to celebrate this memorable day this article is all about the 1975 Disneyland's and Magic Kingdom's "America on Parade", with rare artwork and pictures of the parade models, thanks to Richard Terpstra, Disney and more reader, who sent to me the artwork and model pictures you will see below. A big hat tip to Richard for his precious help in the making of this article!
America on Parade was a temporary replacement for Disneyland's and WDW Magic Kingdom's Main Street Electrical Parade during the United States Bicentennial. Like the Main Street Electrical Parade, America on Parade was also created under the direction of Disneyland's Director of Entertainment, Bob Yani. The first run was in the summer of 1975 and was originally designed to run through 1977, to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. Where the Main Street Electrical Parade ran nightly, America on Parade ran once during the afternoon and again just prior to the nightly fireworks display. It traveled the full length of Disneyland from "it's a small world" to Town Square at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A.
The Sherman Brothers who had left Disney Studios to work for independent film companies were asked to write a specialty song for the American Bicentennial. The song was called "The Glorious Fourth" and was performed as a part of AOP.
The parade also featured synchronized music to which performers danced set routines created by Disneyland choreographers (Barnett Ricci and Marilyn Magness). Each of the parade performers sported costumes appropriate to the float around which they danced, as well as enormous heads fixed on a custom-built apparatus for support, with the performer looking through the neck, giving the parade a carnival appearance.
The parade's soundtrack was Don Dorsey's first project for Disney. He used synthesizers and antique carousel organs to create the soundtrack.  During the parade's run, Dorsey conceptualized a system which Disney would develop a computer controlled system called "Mickey Track" that controls the parade's music from 1980 and on.
And now, let's have a look to the parade renderings for all the different costumes and the floats model pictures! I've tried to put them in chronological historical order, hope i didn't do any mistake!
As i've said above the characters and the floats for "America on Parade" were designed and built by the Park's Entertainment Division. Some of the characters were later recostumed, also by WDW's Entertainment Division and used as walk-around characters in World Showcase when EPCOT first opened in 1982. I don't know if all World Showcase Pavillions had them, but some friend can remember characters in Japanese costumes, greeting guests in front of the Japan Pavillion. There were also characters appropriately costumed in front of the Mexico Pavillion. And in front of the American Adventure there were colonial costumed characters, maybe left over from the parade.
I hope you've enjoyed this America on Parade article and I wish to all my American readers a great Independence Day!
All pictures and artwork: copyright Disney
Part of the text: copyright Wikipedia
Leave a comment or discuss this article on D&M english forum on Mice Chat