Saturday, May 24, 2014

Restored Home Movie of the Magic Kingdom from 1972

by Keith Mahne
If you're like me you enjoy peaking into Disney World's past by looking at vintage pictures. Being able to see history and compare it to what is now can be an enjoyable way to learn how the parks and resorts have grown over the years. To find a restored home video from 1972 in high resolution is another thing entirely. Continue after the page break and have a look for yourself...

As you can see in the before and after photos above, Todd McCartney, of the fantastic site, really knows what he is doing when it comes to restoring video into high resolution. Todd has a wonderful story about where the videos your about to see came from and how they were restored.

Todd, "In 1972 my grandparents took a road trip from New Jersey to Florida...armed with AAA highlighted maps of the I-95 east coast corridor they stopped at South of the Border, Marineland, Busch Gardens, Walt Disney World and a host of other attractions. To this day I still have the 3-ring binder that contains the handwritten account of their entire itinerary; mileage logs, fuel stops, and notes. For many years I've had in my possession 700 feet of Super8 film taken by my grandparents that documented their entire trip. Recently, I had the footage converted and began to apply my film restoration techniques to the transfer. It's wonderful to see my late grandparents again and all the places they visited. What you see below is in the order that they filmed it; its as it happened.

The two reels together have a runtime of just over 40 minutes, but hidden in the middle of two reels is what I want to share with you - a bit over 9 minutes of rare early WDW home movie footage. What you are about to see is probably some of the earliest and most pristine looking film from Walt Disney World that you have ever seen. You'll be taken back to a time when Tomorrowland was incomplete, the old Frontierland Station still welcomed trains, the long lost West Street is adorned with flowers and you could see the Nautilus patrol the lagoon from the Skyway.

From their logbook, we are able to determine the exact date that this film was taken, July 23, 1972. WDW was just under 10 months old! Here are two scans of their log:

I have put in a lot of time refining my scripts and tuning the filters to ensure that the end result is nothing but the best. I was lucky that the film was in near perfect condition after 42 years of storage, making the conversion process a bit easier. For those interested, the conversion and restoration process started with the original Super8 film being scanned in at a 1920x1080 resolution by I then applied a number of filters to remove grain, stabilize, sharpen and improve the color. From their I up converted the film from its original 18 frames per second to 30 frames per second, this reduces flicker and jerky motion."

Here now is the first video taken by Todd's grandparents in 1972. The film is unique as it shows how young the park was, this was taken only 9 months after opening with Tomorrowland being sparse. Many attractions that are now lost or changed have been captured on the film which is chock full of items that only existed for a short period of time when WDW opened. I think you'll find the quality of the film transfer and the restoration effort that Todd put into it is nothing but superb. Hope you enjoy it as much as I have:

Up next is the Main Street Parade. I'll let Todd fill you in, "This is #2 in our series of restored home movies. From 1972 comes the Magic Kingdom Main Street Parade...if you can call it that. Flanked on one end by the marching band and a fife and drum on the other, this parade really should be called a Character Cavalcade. It is not much more than the characters marching down the street or riding on the Main Street Vehicles. Scrooge McDuck is featured swerving around...Also interesting to note how the characters' costumes were much simpler. Hats off to Mickey for leading the parade, love that." Here is the parade video:

If you have old footage of the parks that you want to have Todd restore and really bring up to today's standards, make sure you head on over to, get in touch with Todd and enjoy your high resolution videos for years to come.

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