Sunday, October 1, 2017

EPCOT Center's Grand Openeing - 1982

Today is the 35th anniversary of the opening of EPCOT Center at Walt Disney World. A few weeks after the park officially opened, the EPCOT Center Opening Celebration aired on the TV show, Walt Disney (formerly Disney's Wonderful World, The Wonderful World of Disney, The Wonderful World of Color, Walt Disney Presents, and Disneyland). Let's take a look at the listing for this TV special, in the October 23, 1982 issue of TV Guide.

Danny Kaye hosted the television special. Wait a minute....."City of the Future?" That's what Walt Disney originally intended EPCOT to be (an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow), but that is NOT what was actually built!

The guest stars included Marie Osmond (she's a little bit country!), Roy Clark, Drew Barrymore, Alex Haley, Alan Shepard and Eric Sevareid.

Just in case anyone is curious, here's what else was showing on TV that night:

And here's a sampling of what was on later in the week:

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown was having it's thirteenth airing on broadcast television.

Dynasty was starting it's third season.

Friday The 13th was being shown on television for the very first time. (Spoiler Alert: Betsy Palmer did it!)

Joanie Loves Chachi was a smash hit. (Not really!)

Dallas and Knots Landing were airing back to back for "Two Stunning Hours!" (Abby wasn't letting anything or anyone stop her from getting Gary!)

On The Greatest American Hero, Ralph was finally getting the instructions to his super-suit.

"TV's most appealing new hero" was Matt Houston. And check out that order form for posters. Like, oh my god....I wonder how many people ordered the "Valley Girl" and "Valley Lingo" posters?

Speaking of Valley Girls, Elvira was and forever will be, the reigning Queen of "B" Horror Movies. Like, T-O-O-O-T-A-L-L-Y! Both Elvira and her Movie Macabre, had celebrated their one-year anniversaries about a month earlier.

Here is the cover story article on Joan Collins.

And if anyone would like to watch, EPCOT Center: The Opening Celebration, here it is in it's entirety:

Happy 35th anniversary, EPCOT Center!


K. Martinez said...

Happy Birthday, EPCOT!

I have the patch version of that pinback. I also have a Figment patch from my visits to EPCOT Center in the early pre-Eisner years.

That red TV Guide cover is so eighties. I love looking at old TV Guides.

I remember watching that EPCOT Center special on TV. I also remember watching a newscast on opening day where a Disney fan was saying how wonderful it was that Walt's final dream was realized. It was? No it wasn't!

I did manage to get to EPCOT Center as it was known back then within six months of its opening and did enjoy it, but still haven't been on Spaceship Earth to this day.

Drew Barrymore was fresh off of E.T. back then when that EPCOT Center special aired.

I see "Solid Gold" is on the TV listings that night. Anyone remember the Solid Gold Dancers?

"It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown"! What an awesome holiday special that one is. I still love watching it to this day.

Dallas or Dynasty? My mother preferred Dynasty and I preferred Dallas.

Joannie Loves Chachi! Ewwwwwww!

What kind of person watched trash like Dallas and Knot's Landing? I mean, really. ;-)

Oh, look! It's Carrie's prom date. I didn't realize William Katt's mother was Barbara Hale of Perry Mason until the other day when I was reading some article which I've completely forgot was about.

I watched Matt Houston. John Beck threatened by a blackmailer? Sounds serious. What kind of secrets was he hiding? Why did I bother to watch that show? I completely forgot.

I love seeing how old movies used to play in the afternoon on TV. That's pretty nonexistent today on the network affiliate channels.

I will always remember Joan Collins best for her role in "Tales From the Crypt". Loved her in that.

Today's post may be about EPCOT's anniversary, but I thoroughly enjoyed the romp through the old TV Guide. Thanks, TM!

TokyoMagic! said...

Ken, I also remember watching that grand opening special when it first aired. Gee, we must have only been 4 or 5 at the time. ;-)

That is so cool that you were able to see EPCOT Center within it's first year of opening. I am kicking myself for waiting so long to go there and for missing out on some of the attractions that they have since ruined or removed. If you make it back to EPCOT, you are going to have to check the park's "attraction rehab schedule" in advance to make sure that Spaceship Earth isn't closed for yet a third visit!

I watched both Dallas and Knots Landing, but Knots Landing was my favorite. I'm still not happy about the fact that it's been 11 years since they released Season 1 on DVD and 8 years since they released Season 2, and then they just stopped there. Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest have had all of their seasons released on DVD. :-(

I always remember Joan Collins for her role in "Kingdom of the Ants".....which might just be the best movie ever made. I didn't watch Dynasty as regularly as I did those other two nighttime soaps, but I did see Joan Collins and Linda Evans live in the stage play, "Legends," here in Los Angeles about 10 years ago.

"Matt Houston" was a "Magnum P.I." knockoff, but I watched it too for some reason. And I never watched an entire episode of Magnum P.I.!

I'm glad you enjoyed this post. I have some more "TV Guide/Disney" related posts coming up in the future!

The Disney Dudebro said...

I first learned about this special, like many people on the internet, from Some Jerk’s Epcot retrospective. It seems like an interesting special to say the least, but of course, it’s quite depressing that many of the planned projects such as the Africa pavilion were never built. Same goes for other proposed projects such as the Mt. Fuji roller coaster or the Space pavilion. Then again, the very fact that Epcot didn’t become Walt’s “experimental prototype community of tomorrow” is depressing in and of itself. What I wouldn’t give to see what his city would have looked like in real life. Sigh.

TokyoMagic! said...

Disney Dudebro, If Walt had only lived another few year or so, perhaps we would have gotten to see his EPCOT. Sad! Even with the EPCOT that we ended up getting, I agree that it would have been nice to see some of those proposed attractions built, like the Africa Pavilion and the Mr. Fuji coaster. I really wish the proposed bullet train attraction had been built as well as the "Meet The World" theater show, both of which were supposed to go into the Japan pavilion. At least Tokyo Disneyland got the Meet The World attraction. When they removed it from that park in 2002, they should have sent it over to EPCOT!

Chuck said...

Did any of you stay up after the special to watch Blazing Saddles?

I always think of Joan Collins in the Star Trek episode "City On the Edge of Forever." I mean, always. Even at breakfast.

Empire of the Ants - quite possibly the worst adaptation of an H.G. Wells work ever. I love that film.

I gotta disagree with you on Meet the World. When they removed it from TDL in 2002, they should have sent it to your house. Your mom could have stored it in her garage with all of your other memorabilia.

TokyoMagic! said...

Chuck, I have never seen Blazing Saddles! I hate to admit it, but I am not a huge Mel Brooks fan, so I guess I have been purposely avoiding that one.

I have also never seen that Star Trek episode with Joan Collins, but I think I've seen still photos from it. However, I did see her as "The Siren" in an episode of Batman!

You cracked me up with your "storing the Meet The World attraction in my mom's garage" comment. Given the opportunity, I would have done it! I would have also taken all of the "Mickey Mouse Revue" figures from Tokyo DL after they closed it and gladly given them a home.

Major Pepperidge said...

I am often astonished at just how awful the park-related Disney TV programs were - I find them almost impossible to watch all these years later. Just horrible, and always disappointing to a fan! Usually the parks themselves barely factor into the shows, except as a backdrop to corny TV situation comedy tropes with “C” list names. That being said, I like Danny Kaye in this one! Seeing all the other shows listed for that time brings back a ton of memories…

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I agree with you about the park-related Disney TV least for most of the ones that came after Walt passed away. The earlier ones would show the newest attractions at the park almost in their entirety, but later they would barely show any of the park at all. And yes, as fans we tuned in wanting to see the park itself, not some silly skit with Mindy Cohn and Harry Anderson.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, it is true that the earlier TV shows about Disneyland were better, but even those got a bit repetitious. Oh look, it's that footage taken from a Matterhorn bobsled, from that other special! Hey, let's go through "It's a Small World" again! And certain clips showing the Skyway at night (with colored gels simulating the light from fireworks) or the Submarine Voyage appeared in several shows. But at least we didn't have to endure Adam Rich or Tony Danza.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, that's true. I forget about those shows that used the same footage over and over......and over! Then there were the ones with Walt, where he was standing in front of some rear projection of park footage instead of actually being at the park. Maybe we need another "Sandy Duncan at Disneyland" TV Special. At least with that one, they showed her walking through Primeval World, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion and cruising through the Jungle Cruise waters. She also danced inside of It's A Small World and on the stage of Country Bear Jamboree. They should do a reunion special with her and John Davidson and Ruth Buzzi. They could all sing as they stroll through the Star Wars Launch Bay at DL or the Boudin Bakery Tour at DCA!

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, you had me at "Ruth Buzzi"!

Stefano said...

Thanks TokyoMagic!, this TV guide brought back a lot of memories from that time. Unfortunately the Tylenol poisoning tragedy happened in early October, curtailing Halloween activities; only two brave 15 year olds came to our door for treats that evening, as my family watched the talented Ms. Palmer charging through Camp Crystal Lake("Get her mommy...get her! Don't let her get away!").

I agree with Major Pepperidge and K.Martinez about the quality of early 80s TV shows; the Disney specials were mostly embarrassing (especially Heather O'Rourke promoting the New Fantasyland), while "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" is still totally fresh and appealing after half a century.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, Want a Walnetto?

Stefano, You've reminded me of two things. I had forgotten about the Tylenol tampering/scare. I had also forgotten about the New Fantasyland special with Heather O'Rourke and Morey Amsterdam. That has to be the absolute worst Disney TV special in the history of Disney TV specials!