It really is a fascinating book, one that I'd like to write about at more length sometime. For today, though, I'd like to call your attention to a television broadcast that Marling does write about at some length - the grand opening of Disneyland on July 17, 1955.
The opening was broadcast live on ABC from 7:30 - 9:00 that Sunday evening, hosted by Art Linkletter, Bob Cummings and Ronald Reagan. It was fitting, since ABC had helped to underwrite the construction of the park through its contract with Disney, signed in 1954, in which Disneyland agreed to produce a weekly television show in return for ABC's financial support. Cleverly, Disney called his program Disneyland, which by sheer coincidence just happened to also be the name of his budding amusement park. Hey, the man wasn't a business tycoon for nothing, you know.
More than anything, that opening broadcast points out the risks - and sheer fun - of live television. It's hard to imagine today's television dedicating 90 minutes to the opening of an amusement park, but after all ABC had helped bankroll Disneyland, and Walt Disney was responsible for the young network's first commercial credibility.