BACKSTORY (July 17, 1955–July 1960): Guests saw a 40' polished aluminum telescope at the entrance. Naturally, the pen for the guest book was made out of aluminum. The mascot of this exhibit was KAP, the Kaiser Aluminum Pig, which is a reference to pig aluminum (the unmilled rough form of aluminum). The exhibit bemoaned the past without aluminum and extolled the virtues of the future (space suits and more), thanks to aluminum. In the excellent book “Disneyland the Nickel Tour,” the authors tell that Kaiser Aluminum wanted out of Disneyland almost 3 years before their 5 year contract had expired because they felt that the Disneyland TV show had competing sponsors on it. With some persuasion from Walt, this exhibit stayed on until July 1960.
I was at Disneyland the first day it was open to the general public, July 18th 1955. This photo is my mom and me from July 18th 1955. There must have been a professional photographer over in Tomorrowland taking pictures. I remember that my mom was holding a newspaper or magazine over my head standing in line for the Autopia. A kid with red hair and a short haircut was prone to sunburn.
I actually got a chance to work at the Walt Disney Studios as a trainee in the background department during the summer of 1979. Unfortunately, I was married at the time and Disney didn't pay well. I couldn't afford to move my family down, but I wish I would have stayed for a few more months; I could have had my name on the credits for "The Fox and the Hound" along with Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. I got to know quite a few of the animators and artists that worked with Walt through my years with a Disneyana collectors club in the 80s.