photo of original debut of Babes in Toyland at Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color

NBC TV Airs the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color Show “Backstage Party”

On this day in 1961, thousands of people were invited to the Walt Disney Studios for a big party, but not literally, it was all through the magic of television. In “Backstage Party,” an episode of Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, your virtual tour began at the entrance of the studio in Burbank, where you’re escorted all around the lot, through the backlot and to Stage 4, where Walt Disney waited to greet you. He showed you some of the sets from the upcoming film Babes in Toyland as they were being dismantled. Walt then invited you, the viewer, across the way to Stage 2, where filming of the final sequence, a big dance number, is about to commence. Walt then turned the hosting duties over to the film’s star Annette Funicello for the rest of the “party.” The atmosphere is quite festive and as you travel around the set the film’s stars entertained happily. Ray Bolger does an old soft shoe dance, Tommy Sands sings “Jeepers Creepers,” Ed Wynn turned in some vaudeville-type comedy with props, and a young Ann Jilliann sang a duet with portly Henry Calvin.