“Happy Birthday to a Dream” is the tagline for this insert that was added to the Los Angeles Times newspaper on January 20, 1980.
As you can see from the cover picture, some artistic license was taken with the positioning and perspective of certain iconic attractions in the Park. It’s hard to believe this paper collectible is just over 40 years old! That may account for the yellowing.
As is the case with any advertising supplement in a newspaper, it is paid for by the advertising. The publisher depends on businesses that have a connection to the theme of the supplement to take out ads. These ads can be stand-alone or can relate to the theme. In this case each ad generally mentions the 25th anniversary/birthday celebration before slipping in a plug for their own interests!
Case in point: Coke uses Disney characters in this ad but makes it quite clear that it’s all about how Coke has kept Disneyland guests ‘smiling happily ever after’ with the signature beverage we all drink too much of.
Can’t afford a full-page ad? No problem, just add your name and address to this two-page spread. Nothing says ‘Congratulations’ and ‘Shop at my store’ quite like a self-serving shout-out!
Wait… what’s Pepsi doing here? Can Coke and Pepsi exist side-by-side in perfect harmony, even at the Happiest Place on Earth? Apparently.
But it’s not all about the chance to plug regional businesses and to make money. This supplement also has some interesting articles about Walt Disney and his first Park, Disneyland. “Insights” tells the story of how Walt was originally going to build his Park across the street from the Disney Studios in a weed-filled lot. But his ideas got too big and a new location was found!
“Reflections” tells the story of Disneyland’s opening day from the recollections of a certain Vernon Scott who was there taking it all in. His insightful memories are a good read indeed!
“Opening Day Blues” continues the story of the disastrous opening day. And I think ITT Continental Baking wanted to say something but I can’t… quite… make it out.
The “Opening Day Blues” article ends with some great opening day pictures. And Universal Studios didn’t miss the opportunity to remind the readers that Disneyland wasn’t the only Theme Park in town! And… Cylons!
The “Reflections” article from page nine continues with Walt pointing out some great concept art featuring the Castle, Frontierland, and Adventureland.
The “Reflections” article from page nine and ten concludes here on page thirteen. We learn now that Vernon Scott was a veteran UPI correspondent who covered the Opening Day festivities at Disneyland in 1955.
As for the advertisement for Knott’s Berry Farm… I’m not sure how to take it. The tagline ‘The place next door has mice’ is funny but could be taken as a good-natured ribbing or a backhanded jibe. Either way, you have to hand it to a competing Park that has survived since before Disneyland was born and hasn’t let the competition shut it down!
“King Arthur’s Carrousel” is a small article written by Peggy Matthews (seen on Page Fifteen, below) who was an Assistant Editor of the Disney Times and originally a Disney character in Disneyland. She gives some interesting tidbits about the Disneyland Merry-go-Round… er, Carrousel. You will find out the difference if you read the article!
Did you know that Carl’s Jr. Restaurants are still going strong? They had been in business for over 40 years when this supplement was published and as of this date are offering a green burrito. I didn’t ask.
And the award for the most straightforward advert goes to: JCPenny. They are a company of few words.
We are only halfway through this glorious piece of ephemera. It tops out at thirty-two pages. We will explore the remaining articles and advertisements in Part 2.