Over the past few months, there has been much speculation about Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof’s upcoming sci-fi film, Tomorrowland. When we first learned of the mysterious project, it simply had a working title of “1952,” but now it seems a Disney historian may have uncovered the truth behind Tomorrowland.
Jeff Hill, a historian of all things that involve Walt Disney and the Disney Corporation, has unlocked the secrets of Brad Bird’s “1952” mystery box. According to Hill, the box was first brought out in a story meeting with Disney Executive Sean Bailey. The contents of the box were originally for Disney’s 1965 comedy That Darn Cat, starring Hayley Mills, but then alternatively re-labeled 1952. The box belonged to WED Enterprises, Walter Elias Disney’s Imagineering company.
A few weeks ago, Disney Archivist Director Becky Cline examined the contents of the box and broke down each item that appeared in the photo Damon Lindelof tweeted. It held an important clue that pointed to “Project Blue Book,” the U.S. Air Force group assigned to investigate reports of flying saucers back in the 1950s.
This clue that matched up with stories from legendary Imagineer Ward Kimball about Walt Disney’s involvement in Project Blue Book. Kimball was also Brad Bird’s mentor at Disney, which gives more weight to the possible premise of the film.
Kimball’s stories involved the Disneyland TV series’ episode “Man in Space,” which was seen by 42 million viewers when it first aired in 1955. According to the Eisenhower administration, the popularity of the episode was one of the key reasons why the U.S. got into the space race in the 1950s. According to Kimball’s stories, some government officials actually approached Disney about doing a TV show about UFOs, one that would eventually, allegedly, have been the U.S. government’s way of revealing to the public that UFOs do exist, and have been visiting Earth throughout history. The idea being that, if you need to reveal such a profound truth, why not enlist a beloved figure like Disney to help ease the blow?
According to Hill, the UFO documentary was eventually scrapped when government officials refused to use actual footage from real UFOs. Apparently, Walt Disney didn’t want to produce something that he didn’t fully understand, and the U.S. government was reluctant to tell him more than he needed to know.
Regardless of the validity of the stories, they definitely make for a great yarn, and could easily form the basis for Tomorrowland. Can’t you see George Clooney as Walt Disney?
Tomorrowland is set for release on December 19, 2014.
You can watch the episode “Man in Space” (in four parts), from the Disneyland TV series, below.