Disneyland: Behind the Scenes with Fess Parker (1956)

Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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This episode of the ABC anthology Disneyland is an extended promo for Walt Disney's then-upcoming theatrical feature The Great Locomotive Chase. Narrated by the film's star Fess Parker, the episode offers a thumbnail history of railroads in the United States with stopovers at trainyards in Baltimore and Los Angeles where vintage Civil War locomotives are kept on display. These engines are then shown in use as props in Great Locomotive Chase, a dramatization of the famous Andrews raid in 1862, in which several Northern spies went behind enemy lines to capture a Southern train (the same story served as the basis for the 1926 Buster Keaton vehicle The General, which curiously goes unmentioned here). Also shown are the efforts by the Disney Studio staffers to scout out appropriate locations and vintage buildings to be seen in the film. Technical adviser Wilbur Kurtz is interviewed, as are several Georgia residents who appear as extras. Once the sets are construction, the props are in place and the cameras are ready, the episode offers tantalizing glimpses of the film itself, featuring actors Fess Parker, Jeffrey Hunter, Jeff York, John Lupton and others. As a bonus, the viewer is treated to "Sons of Old Aunt Dinah", a song specially written for this episode by Stan Jones and Lawrence Edward Watkin.