Summer Magic

Summer Magic: Saving a Cinematic Relic on the Disney Backlot

By Rick Lorentz, Walt Disney Archives

Acquiring objects for the multiple collections of the Walt Disney Archives may take one of many routes. Typically, television and film productions will offer props and costumes to the Archives once a production has wrapped. If an attraction undergoes refurbishment or permanently closes, Disney Parks and Resorts will receive an Archives “Wish List” for select and iconic pieces that we would like to add to our collection.

However, when founder of the Walt Disney Archives, Dave Smith, first began acquiring objects for the cause, he sometimes had to resort to more “direct” options. Case in point: a baluster from the 1963 film Summer Magic. According to Dave, the house used for exterior shots in the film was part of the studio back lot. One day, while walking across the lot, Dave passed by the house as it was being torn down to make way for new construction. Recognizing both the film location and the history that was being destroyed, Dave ran over to the house and grabbed one of the only things he could—an 18-inch piece of carved wood directly from the front porch! The baluster now resides comfortably in an archival box in a secure warehouse. Fortunately, the rest of the Summer Magic collection (two dresses and several original pieces of costume development art) were acquired in a more conventional manner!