Page last modified: June 19, 2003

1955 Disneyland 20,000 Leagues Exhibit

In 1955 when Disneyland opened, much of Tomorrowload was still under construction. A walk-through exhibit was quickly put together drawing on the props and set pieces from the highly successful 1954 Disney release of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. These props included the Giant Squid, as well as interiors from the Nautilus such as the Pipe Organ, and a model of the movie Nautilus.
The exhibit was opened in Aug 1955, 3 weeks after the opening of the theme park on July 17, 1955. It remained open until Aug. 1966
The exhibit was in the building that was later used for Star Tours.
The pipe organ from the exhibit was later used in the Haunted Mansion attraction.

An article "Rare Antiques in Disneyland", American Home magazine, Sept 1956 (page 14-15) indicated that an Urn, displayed in Captain Nemo's "Nautilus," is a bronze Cellini piece, dating back to 16th century Italian Renaissance. 

The following are images of the exhibit poster and map of the exhibit.
This poster was for sale on eBay in 2002.
Following the postser images is the description from the eBay auction.

Note: another variant of the poster has the word "Tomorrowloand" across the bottom.

The sale ended July 26, 2002, and the Reserve price was $1500 (I didn't log if the reserve price was met!)

This was the description:

"Here's a whale of a tale that's true for you, A whale of a tale that's true..."
In 1954 Walt Disney exploded into the world of LIVE ACTION movies with the release of 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA. The film , based on the classic novel by the incomparable JULES VERNE, was expertly directed by Richard Fleisher.

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA features an ALL STAR cast headlined by KIRK DOUGLAS. The movie also featured the talents of JAMES MASON, PAUL LUKAS , PETER LORRE and ONE ENORMOUS RUBBER SQUID wonderfully sculpted by Chris Meuller , the man who sculpted the CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON !

Walt Disney's gamble to enter a new arena paid off 100 fold and the hugely successful film went on to win the ACADEMY AWARD for BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS . It also paved the way for Disney to bring us his future LIVE ACTION extravaganza , MARY POPPINS.

At the time of the films release Walt Disney had his own "monstrous squid" to contend with - the opening of DISNEYLAND! Although the park opened on schedule it was woefully over budget. Money simply ran out before Walt could realize his dream of a TOMORROWLAND as he initially envisioned it.

So less then a month after DISNEYLAND opened Walt had them pull the sets , props and miniatures from his hit film and to present them in a WALK THRU attraction at the Park (map of exhibit shown below) . This "stop gap " attraction proved so successful that it remained for a decade ! It didn't disappear until TOMORROWLAND'S first major refit in 1966 when the building was reclaimed for the MONSANTO'S ADVENTURES THRU INNER SPACE.

The 20,000 LEAGUES attraction , must have been a GODSEND to park visitors that first decade as it was housed between the KAISER ALUMINUM DISPLAY (featuring a GIANT aluminum PIG ) and the AMERICAN DAIRY ASSOCIATION'S MILK BAR !It might interest Disneyland afficanados that the 20,000 THOUSAND LEAGUES exhibit was built inside the building that now hosts STAR TOURS. The ride based on George Lucas' STAR WARS trilogy.

Now let's get to the reason you are reading this today. This AMAZING and RARE ATTRACTION POSTER dates back to the 50's or 60's. It is an ORIGINAL Poster measure 36 x 54 inches and is SILK SCREENED giving it the texture of poster paint on very heavy stock paper . Due to the nature of the SILK SCREEN process there is MINOR wear on the poster. A few MINISCULE flakes of paint are missing . There is also a small 1/2 inch tear near the upper right hand corner of the poster.

Rest assured this is the REAL DEAL and any of you who collect DISNEYLAND ATTRACTION POSTERS will no doubt understand that this poster is as good as could be based on it's age. I would give it an overall rating somewhere between a a C-7 and a C-8.

This amazing piece of Disneyland history comes to you from the BOB BURNS COLLECTION . Mr. Burns may be familiar to you as one of SCI FI FILMS greatest ARCHIVISTS and FANS.

Over the years THE BOB BURNS MUSEUM has been featured on numerous Television specials and documentaries and in the CHRONICLE book , IT CAME FROM BOB'S BASEMENT.

As Mr. Burns recognizes the need to keep filling his museum with new objects he will , from time to time , release his DOUBLES which is why this BEAUTIFUL piece of memorabilia is available today .

Needless to say DISNEYLAND Attraction posters are highly sought after collectibles. The posters for the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN and THE HAUNTED MANSION have auctioned for well over a thousand dollars. However, since this 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction only lasted 10 years the poster has been out of print for almost 35 years making it EXTREMELY rare.

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