Walt Disney and Scrooge McDuck in Adventures in Color

An Adventure in Color Debuts on TV

The world is a carousel of color, yet for many years audiences had to watch Walt Disney’s television shows in black and white, which might have made Walt blue, as he long wished for color TV. That changed on this day in 1961, a red letter day for sure, when Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color debuted in living color on NBC. While the episode begins colorless, with a “bibbidi bobbidi blue,” Walt transforms the new series to color.

To help Walt in the premiere episode, the world was introduced to the animated Professor Ludwig Von Drake, a colorful character voiced by Paul Frees, who helped educate viewers about color with Sherman Brothers songs such as the “Spectrum Song” and “Green with Envy Blues.”

Walt also called upon the Shermans, his true-blue songwriting team, to write a song that would serve as the finale to the episode, played with beautiful footage of color in nature. The song became the theme song for the series and years later Richard M. Sherman was tickled pink remembering, “We never dreamed at that time that it was going to become the theme song for so many years.”