It's A Wonderful World In Color
These ads will be a curiosity for the younger readers, and perhaps a happy journey back for many of the rest. Certainly for those of us who came of age in the sixties, the memory of Walt Disney’s Sunday night program is indelible. Color television was something beyond a miracle for me in 1961. We wouldn’t have a color set until 1966, but an uncle down the street was a great proponent of the various media breakthroughs of that era, and couldn’t wait to install his first color set. At that time, there was so little multihued programming available that the expense seemed hardly worthwhile, but the rainbow visible on NBC Sunday evenings compensated for many a monochromatic night otherwise, and the Disney show, with its dynamic, paint-splashed opening, was an essential rite of passage into the exotic realm of color TV . The sheer novelty of the program overcame some pretty dreary content that first season. For every good episode (usually built around cartoons), there would be a "funny" animal show, or an earnest animal on some endless, and seemingly futile, trek through the wilderness show. Those were hard to get through, even in color. Sometimes they’d use an obscure Disney live-action feature as a two (or three) parter. Some of these, like The Horsemasters (Annette!), or The Prince and The Pauper, were released theatrically in Europe, and first-run on television stateside. As you can see from these elaborate magazine ads, the campaign for September’s premiere that year was all-out. The idea was to use the series to sell RCA color sets, and the company sponsored Disney’s show in a determined effort to do just that.