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One trend Imagineers like to use is to tie many different things together to historically significant dates and events related to the Walt Disney Company.  In fact, Hollywood Studios pays homage to a lot of the early days of the company and there's one good example of this sort of trend we will look at this week.  All around Hollywood Studios, you will find references to the year 1939 and it's no coincidence.

First, let's answer why 1939 is so important.  For one, 1939 is right in the middle of the time that Hollywood Studios is set in.  Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards are designed to invoke the look of the Hollywood of the 1930's and 40's and certainly 1939 falls into that period.  In addition, 1939 is an important date in the history of the Walt Disney Company.  Turns out that Disney's Burbank studio was opened December 24th of 1939.  Therefore, many different aspects of the Studios have a link to this year.  By linking to the year in various attractions, it's a subtle nod by Imagineers to the history of the company.

Let's start off at the Tower of Terror, where we find two good references to 1939.  First, the famous event where the Hollywood Tower Hotel was struck by lightning occurred on October 31, 1939.  Secondly, the elevator inspection certificate on the Tower of Terror ride vehicle is for October 19, 1939.

Next up, we have the Earful Tower, which is modeled after the water tower that existed at Disney's Burbank Studios in 1939.

On the Streets of America, if you walk near the backdrop that has the New York City skyline, you'll see a store front for R.C. Brothers Grand Pianos, which lists the company being established in "1939".

On a lesser note, the Wizard of Oz scene in the Great Movie Ride is the most complex scene in the attraction and the film debuted in 1939.

By choosing 1939 as the year of significance for these fictitious events, companies or elements, Disney makes a subtle nod to the history of the company and acknowledging the hard work that made possible the theme park we enjoy today.

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About this column

Ever seen something in Hollywood Studios and wondered why it was placed there by Disney's Imagineers? Matt Hochberg leads you on a regular look at the hidden details in Hollywood Studios and explains why it's there.


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Posted: Thursday, December 03, 2009 by
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