Walt Disney is Funny!

Air Date: November 13, 1965

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Walt Disney, Jack Benny, a live tiger and an animatronic bird have fun in a cute skit. Walt Disney appearing on The Jack Benny Hour, November 13, 1965.

Most people forget that Walt Disney was a fine on-camera personality and performer. Walt had long been a voice actor in his own cartoons, but he began to be a TV personality in 1954 when Disney Studios became one of the first film production studios to enter the television market. In partnership with ABC they began the Disney anthology series, originally named Walt Disney’s Disneyland, which would later move to NBC and morph into Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, hosted by Walt, himself.

Disney Studios was groundbreaking in embracing television as a medium to promote its products, and to add to its substantial library of content. In the 1950’s, most movie studios feared that television would reduce movie audiences as viewers stayed home for free entertainment. Television networks, on the other hand, were interested in movie studios only for their existing vast libraries of existing content, not for the production of new content. Disney’s genius was able to see how the industries were mutually supportive. Personalities created on TV sold movies to audiences eager for additional and enhanced content.

By 1965, when Disney appeared in this clip on the NBC network’s Jack Benny Hour, he had already perfected the art of cross-promotion. His appearance on Benny’s TV show allows him to promote his newest film, That Darn Cat, an older film, Mary Poppins, his amusement park, Disneyland, and of course it acts a subtle reminder of his own show on NBC, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color.

Disney’s talents as a performer are evident in this clip. As always he is a master entertainment.

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