America on Parade
Like the Main Street Electrical Parade it was also created under the direction of Disneyland's Director of Entertainment, Bob Jani. The parade float units were designed by New York theatrical designer Peter Larkin. The first run was in the summer of 1975 and was originally designed to run through 1977, to commemorate the United States Bicentennial. Where the Main Street Electrical Parade ran twice nightly, America On Parade ran once during the afternoon and again just prior to the nightly fireworks display. It traveled the full length of Disneyland from It's a Small World to Town Square at the beginning of Main Street, U.S.A.. The various parade float height design created a problem because returning the parade units to the starting point required traveling behind the Disneyland Public areas, encountering over-pass bridges and tunnels. The taller units were rigged to telescope up after collapsing to pass under the low ceiling obstacles. Other units' stacked towers were hinged to drop or fold on top of the parade float. Each float was an engineered marvel which the public never viewed after the parade terminated at the Main Street finale.
The Sherman Brothers who had left Disney Studios to work for independent film companies were asked to write a specialty song for the American Bicentennial. The song was called "The Glorious Fourth" and was performed as a part of AOP.
The parade also featured synchronized music to which performers danced set routines created by Disneyland choreographers (Barnett Ricci and Marilyn Magness). Each of the parade performers sported costumes appropriate to the float around which they danced, as well as enormous heads fixed on a custom-built apparatus for support, with the performer looking through the neck, giving the parade a carnival appearance.
The parade's soundtrack was Don Dorsey's first project for Disney. He used synthesizers and antique carousel organs to create the soundtrack. During the parade's run, Dorsey conceptualized a system which Disney would develop a computer controlled system called "Mickey Track" that controls the parade's music from 1980 and on.
- Don Dorsey "Don started a consulting relationship with Disney in 1975, when he was asked to create a unique new musical sound for the Bicentennial pageant “America on Parade.” He did so by combining the sounds of synthesizers with those of antique carrousel organs." http://www.dorseyproductions.com/dscoop.htm
- "As a result of Don’s coordination and timing work, Disney was persuaded to begin development on a computer system to handle the float tracking and audio coordination tasks. The first “Mickey Track” control system was completed and implemented in 1980 with software designed to Don’s specifications." http://www.dorseyproductions.com/dscoop.htm
- Sherman, Robert B. Walt's Time: from before to beyond. Santa Clarita: Camphor Tree Publishers, 1998.