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The Wonderful World of Disney
Disney Wiki; IMDb; Retro Junk; TV.com; TV Tango; TV Tropes; Wikipedia; Your Brain on TV

This started out as Disneyland in 1954, airing on ABC until 1961 (though the title changed to Walt Disney Presents in 1958). In 1961, it moved to NBC, and was retitled Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Walt Disney himself hosted the show from 1954 until his death in 1966. (I must have seen some of his hosting duties, but considering I wasn't born until 1975, that had to be in reruns.) In 1969, it was retitled The Wonderful World of Disney. In 1979, the title was shortened to Disney's Wonderful World. In 1981, the show moved from NBC to CBS, where it was simply called Walt Disney, and lasted until 1983. In 1986, ABC revived it as The Disney Sunday Movie, which was hosted by Michael Eisner (and I definitely remember him hosting it). In 1988, the show moved back to NBC as The Magical World of Disney (with Eisner still hosting). In 1990 it was cancelled, at least as a regular series, though I guess occasional specials or movies still aired on NBC, as well as Disney Channel, until 1997 (with Eisner still hosting). I get confused about what it was called during that period, because different websites (or even just Wikipedia) may say things that sound conflicting to me. And I can't go by my own fuzzy memory, especially considering I probably wouldn't have been watching it anymore, after 1990. But it could have gone by any of the titles I've mentioned, most likely "The Magical World of Disney." Anyway, in 1997 it was once again revived as a regular series by ABC, using the title The Wonderful World of Disney. This lasted until 2005. Since that time, Disney specials or movies may occasionally air on ABC, NBC, Disney Channel, or various other cable channels, I guess. And they can call it whatever they want.

Now that I'm done explaining (as best I can) the official story, let me tell you about my story. When I was a kid in the 80s, I lived in a small town in northern Maine, where we only got three and a half channels: CBS, PBS, a Canadian station called CHSJ (which mostly aired CBC, but didn't officially become a CBC affiliate until 1994), and... another Canadian channel that came in fuzzy. I suppose I could have have watched "Walt Disney" on CBS from 1981-83, but I really don't recall ever watching it on an American channel. What I remember is watching it on CHSJ, but I have no idea when that would have started or ended. It could have been airing on that channel ever since the "Disneyland" days on ABC, or it could have started during the NBC era, or the CBS era, or possibly not until the second ABC era in 1986 (though that seems unlikely). Chances are I watched it on CHSJ throughout the 80s, up until the end of NBC's second era, in 1990. And then if there were occasional specials, they probably would have also aired on that channel, but I wouldn't necessarily have been aware of it. Certainly I couldn't have watched anything on cable, at least prior to fall of 1995... but anyway, I just don't remember. I should also mention that it's possible the channel I watched it on called it by whatever the various American networks called it at any given time, because pretty much all the titles (except "Disneyland" and "Wonderful World of Color") seem familiar to me, now that I think about it. But I always think of it as "The Wonderful World of Disney." And that might be because that's the title most commonly used in foreign markets, regardless of what it's called in the U.S. Or it might just be because memory's a funny thing. (Especially my memory.) By the time of the 1997 revival, I had access to ABC, but at that point I didn't watch it as much as I might have liked, probably because there was stuff on other channels to watch.

Well, whatever you call it, the important thing is that this series is very nostalgic to me, and an important part of my youth. There were any number of original TV movies and specials that aired on this show, as well as tons of old theatrical films and shorts, most of them from before my time. So I'm going to list some of the ones I remember seeing, and maybe some that I want to see, whether I've seen them before or not. (I will be leaving out a great many episodes that are of little or no interest to me. I also won't be listing episodes that were compilations of animated shorts, even though those shorts may themselves be of interest to me. For a more complete list of episodes, check TV.com, TV Tango, or Your Brain on TV.) Finally, I should mention that it is entirely possible that some of the things I list here, I didn't actually see on this series, but may have just aired randomly in syndication or something.

Disneyland, ABC, 1954-58

Alice in Wonderland (1951 animated feature film)
Davy Crockett (1954-55 series of five live-action TV episodes)
Treasure Island (1950 live-action feature film)
Dumbo (1941 animated feature film)
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1949 animated feature film)
The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952 live-action feature film)

Walt Disney Presents, ABC, 1958-61

Johnny Tremain (1957 live-action feature film)
I Captured the King of the Leprechauns (1959 live-action TV episode)
Swamp Fox (1959-61 series of eight live-action TV episodes)
Daniel Boone (1960-61 series of four live-action TV episodes)

Wonderful World of Color, NBC, 1961-69

Escapade in Florence (1962 2-part live-action TV film)
Sammy, the Way-Out Seal (1962 2-part live-action TV film)
Kidnapped (1960 live-action feature film)
The Horse Without a Head (1963 2-part live-action TV film)
Pollyanna (1960 live-action feature film)
The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (1964 3-part live-action miniseries)
Toby Tyler (1960 live-action feature film)
Summer Magic (1963 live-action feature film)
Moon Pilot (1962 live-action feature film)
A Tiger Walks (1964 live-action feature film)
The Moon-Spinners (1964 live-action feature film)
The Monkey's Uncle (1965 live-action feature film)

The Wonderful World of Disney, NBC, 1969-79

Babes in Toyland (1961 live-action feature film)
Monkeys, Go Home! (1967 live-action feature film)
The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968 live-action feature film)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969 live-action feature film)
The Mystery in Dracula's Castle (1973 2-part live-action TV film)
Rascal (1969 live-action feature film)
The Barefoot Executive (1971 live-action feature film)
The $1,000,000 Duck (1971 live-action feature film)
Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972 live-action feature film)
Napoleon and Samantha (1972 live-action feature film)
The Parent Trap (1961 live-action feature film)
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954 live-action feature film)
The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975 live-action feature film)
The Strongest Man in the World (1975 live-action feature film)
The Incredible Journey (1963 live-action feature film)
The Shaggy Dog (1959 live-action feature film)
Child of Glass (1978 live-action TV film)
The Shaggy D.A. (1976 live-action feature film)
In Search of the Castaways (1962 live-action feature film)
The Gnome-Mobile (1967 live-action feature film)

Disney's Wonderful World, NBC, 1979-81

The Absent-Minded Professor (1961 live-action feature film)
The Love Bug (1969 live-action feature film)
That Darn Cat! (1965 live-action feature film)
Escape to Witch Mountain (1975 live-action feature film)
Son of Flubber (1963 live-action feature film)
Old Yeller (1957 live-action feature film)
The Ghosts of Buxley Hall (1980 2-part live-action TV film)

Walt Disney, CBS, 1981-83

Herbie Rides Again (1974 live-action feature film)
The Cat From Outer Space (1978 live-action feature film)
Beyond Witch Mountain (1982 live-action TV film)
The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979 live-action feature film)
Freaky Friday (1976 live-action feature film)
Disney's Halloween Treat (1982 animated special)
Blackbeard's Ghost (1968 live-action feature film)

The Disney Sunday Movie, ABC, 1986-88

The Last Electric Knight (1986 live-action special; pilot to Sidekicks TV series)
The Richest Cat in the World. (1986 live-action TV film)
Mr. Boogedy (1986 live-action TV film)
Robin Hood (1973 animated feature film)
Young Again (1986 live-action TV film)
Fuzzbucket (1986 live-action TV film)
Candleshoe (1977 live-action feature film)
Pete's Dragon (1977 live-action/animated feature film)
Little Spies (1986 live-action TV film)
The Leftovers (1986 live-action TV film)
Swiss Family Robinson (1960 live-action feature film)
Herbie Goes Bananas (1980 live-action feature film)
Young Harry Houdini (1987 live-action TV film)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971 live-action/animated feature film)
Bride of Boogedy (1987 live-action TV film)
The Devil and Max Devlin (1981 live-action feature film)
Mary Poppins (1964 live-action/animated feature film)
The North Avenue Irregulars (1979 live-action feature film)
Fluppy Dogs (1986 animated special)
The Journey of Natty Gann (1985 live-action feature film)
Not Quite Human (1987 live-action TV film)
Flight of the Navigator (1986 live-action feature film)
Earth Star Voyager (1988 2-part live-action TV pilot)
14 Going on 30 (1988 live-action TV film)
Splash, Too (1988 live-action TV film)

The Magical World of Disney, NBC, 1988-90

Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983 animated special)
Benji the Hunted (1987 live-action feature film)
Super DuckTales (1989 animated TV film)
Totally Minnie (1989 live-action/animated TV special)
Ernest Goes to Camp (1987 live-action feature film)
Polly (1989 live-action TV film)
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987 TV special on ABC; 1989 rerun on NBC)
Can't Buy Me Love (1987 live-action feature film)
Not Quite Human II (1990 live-action TV film)

Between fall 1990 and 1997, numerous Disney-produced feature films, TV films, and specials aired sporadically on various networks, though not necessarily under the banner of this series. A few of these included:

Polly - Comin' Home (1990 live-action TV film; NBC)
The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson (1990 live-action special; CBS)
A Mom for Christmas (1990 live-action TV film; NBC)
The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage (1991 live-action TV series; NBC)
In the Nick of Time (1991 live-action TV film; NBC)
Still Not Quite Human (1992 live-action TV film; Disney Channel)
The Little Mermaid (1992 animated TV series; CBS- pilot premiered Friday night before moving to Saturday mornings)
Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken (1991 live-action feature film; NBC)
The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1995 live-action TV film; ABC)
The Old Curiosity Shop (1995 live-action TV film; Disney Channel)
Freaky Friday (1995 live-action TV film; ABC)

The Wonderful World of Disney, ABC, 1997-2005 (sporadically thereafter)
IMDb; TV.com

Unlike with the previous incarnation(s) of the series, this time I'm not going to list any theatrical or direct-to-video films that aired on the program, just things that appeared here before they did anywhere else. (At least in the U.S., as far as I know.) And only things I've seen or have some interest in seeing.

Tower of Terror (1997 live-action TV film)
Rodgers' and Hammerstein's Cinderella (1997 live-action TV film)
The Love Bug (1997 live-action TV film)
My Date with the President's Daughter (1998 live-action TV film)
Sabrina Goes to Rome (1998 live-action TV film)
A Knight in Camelot (1998 live-action TV film)
Sabrina Down Under (1999 live-action TV film)
Annie (1999 live-action TV film)
Life-Size (2000 live-action TV film)
Geppetto (2000 live-action TV film)
The Growing Pains Movie (2000 live-action TV film)
Princess of Thieves (2001 live-action TV film)
Facts of Life Reunion (2001 live-action TV film)
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (2002 live-action TV film)
Snow White: The Fairest of Them All (2002 live-action TV film)
Dinotopia (2002 live-action/CGI miniseries)
Mr. St. Nick (2002 live-action TV film)
Nancy Drew (2002 live-action TV film)
A Wrinkle in Time (2004 live-action TV film)
Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers (2004 live-action TV film)
The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005 TV film)
Once Upon a Mattress (2005 live-action TV film)

Disneyland 60 (2016 live-action TV special)


anthology index
kid stuff nostalgia
See also: Disney Channel Original Movies