Today's Why It's There column may actually be better described by some as "seriously, why is it there at all?" and we're talking about the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame in Echo Lake. We've all walked by it and some of us may have actually stopped for a minute to pose with a bust of Oprah, but many overlook this "attraction" but Imagineers included this in the park for a very good reason.
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame was installed in 1993 to recognize the efforts of Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, highlighting icons of television. It features bronze busts of television legends that were selected by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Some of the busts featured include television legends, many of whom have a connection to the Walt Disney Company including Walt Disney, Angela Lansbury (Beauty and the Beast & Bedknobs and Broomsticks), Dick Clark (ABC) and Barbara Walters (ABC). You'll also find other TV stars like Bob Newhart, Betty White, Lucille Ball and Oprah Winfrey.
So why is it here? Imagineers added it to recognize the "real world legacy of the medium" that is in a theme park surrounded by larger-than-life imaginative environments. Think of it as a means of grounding guests in a place where Hollywood is celebrated but often with out of this world situations. Also keep in mind it's location when it was added in 1993 put it right next door to Superstar Television, an attraction that celebrated the television medium and showcased how our favorite TV shows were made. It may not be the most popular attraction in Disney's Hollywood Studios, but it does serve a purpose of celebrating a medium that has become just as important as films.