Monday, April 25, 2011

EPCOT 1939: Donald Duck Day

Yes indeed, we are passionate enthusiasts here at 2719 Hyperion in regard to the 1939 New York World's Fair.  Our EPCOT 1939 series of posts examined the extensive similarities between the Flushing Meadows exposition and EPCOT Center.  Any opportunity to explore a Disney-related connection to the Fair is one we immediately pursue; thus we came to discover the significance of August 14, 1939.

It was Donald Duck Day.

Donald was flown in from Hollywood for this special event.  (Actually it was a three-foot model of the famous mallard, sent from the Disney Studios and likely the one that was typically used for public appearances and special events during that time period.)  He arrived at the Fair at 12 noon that day, just in time to attend the premiere of his latest cartoon, Donald's Penguin.  The short was shown every half hour from noon to 6pm at the National Biscuit Theatre in the Food Pavilion.  This was also the theater that hosted Mickey's Surprise Party, a cartoon short made especially for the National Biscuit Company as part of their Fair exhibit.  At 12:15, Donald handed out gifts to five hundred lucky children; at 12:30 he was paraded past the Perisphere, accompanied by marching bands and other entertainers, ultimately ending up in Carnivaland where a special luncheon was held at the Children's World Restaurant for the winning children.  Carnivaland was located in the Fair's amusement area that was adjacent to Fountain Lake.

The main event of Donald Duck Day was a special ceremony held in Carnivaland, hosted by a costumed character named Abie the Clown Policeman.  Donald was presented with a honorary degree of Doctor of International Friendship from Dr. Frank Monaghan, a professor of American History at Yale University.  In his speech, Monaghan noted that Donald, "never pretended to be a statesman, nor an ambassador nor even a politician; he has only wanted to be and has only been himself.  But his antics and his quacks are more sensible and inspired than the grave nonsense of many who pretend to higher things."  The professor continued, "He has given the world joy through laughter; he is the ambassador extraordinary of good will to the world." 

Explore the 2719 Hyperion Archives:
Epcot 1939
Museum of Modern Marvels


Connie Moreno said...

That was pretty darn cool!

Jill said...

This is great to read, I was at Flushing Meadow yesterday looking at the remains of both fairs. I love the Disney connection and loved this story. Wish I could go back and see it first hand. Thanks for highlighting my park!

Unknown said...

I especially like how "frolic" is a listed activity for the day.