Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Disney orginally intended to release the live-action Peter Tschaikovsky Story as a theatrical short subject (indeed, it was ultimately shown theatrically overseas), but Walt Disney felt that the featurette had more value as an episode of the weekly Walt Disney Presents anthology. This was because the producer was anxious to promote his newest animated feature film Sleeping Beauty, which utilized new orchestrations of Tchaikovsky's classic ballet compositions. After explaining that it took six years -- and six million dollars -- to bring Sleeping Beauty to fruition, Walt introduces a clip from the upcoming film, in which the heroine sings "Once Upon a Dream." The remainder of the episode dramatizes events in the early life of composer Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky, culminating in his decision to perservere in his music after being inspired by the great Anton Rubinstein. The live-action sequences include excerpts from the original Sleeping Beauty ballet, performed by Galine Ulanova and the Bolshoi Ballet. This episode is worthy of a historical footnote in that it was Walt Disney's first attempt to broadcast a TV program in stereophonic sound. Inasmuch as the necessary stereo equipment did not exist at the time, viewers were advised to listen to one stereo "channel" on their TV sets, and the other channel on their radio receivers, with local ABC radio affiliates throughout the country simulcasting the episode's soundtrack (This same technique would be utilized a quarter of a century later for the first telecast of George Lucas' The Ewok Adventure).