Monsanto’s Place in Disney History

{Editor’s Note:  We are pleased to be joined by our buddy Lee from Disney Nouns today!  Lee is excellent at discovering little known tidbits of Disney History, and today he writes about the connection between Monsanto and Disney.  Please give him a hearty welcome!}

So who remembers Monsanto? You may better remember the attraction at Disneyland that they sponsored, The House of the Future, that was open from 1957 to 1967. The attraction offered a tour of a home of the future, set in the year 1986, and featured such futuristic household appliances as the microwave oven!

Monsanto Future House

The attraction hosted over 20 million visitors before it closed after Monsanto shifted their sponsorship to a different attraction, Adventure Thru Inner Space. But just who was Monsanto back then? What else did they do? I have the answer!

I was watching a special edition DVD of the musical Camelot the other day and it had a feature showing the movie premiere. The cool thing was that this feature also showed the original commercials that played on the TV the night the premiere aired. One of the commercials was for a line of garments designed after the medieval costumes from the film.

Monsanto 002

Yup, ladies could wear a dress inspired by Guinevere herself! Horse not included.

These dresses were designed and produced out of Stevetex fabric by Stevens of Monsanto Blue ‘C’ Nylon.

Monsanto 003

The line was called ‘The Then Look of Camelot’. Yeah, I don’t get it either.

So Monsanto was into making fabrics at the time they sponsored the House of the Future. So likely if you had the chance to tour this marvel, all of the interior fabrics, whether on furniture or window treatments, would have come from Monsanto. How about a vintage Monsanto commercial for nylon:

Today Monsanto is at the center of controversy over its genetic manipulation of seeds for food production. But back in the day, it was all about futuristic houses, medieval fashion, and dangerous transportation of textiles. Good times!

I hope you enjoyed learning a bit more about this company and its place in Disney history.

Book Review: Design – Just for Fun

Author: Bob Gurr
Binding: Hard Cover
Pages: 218
ISBN: 9780615553740
Publisher: APP-GurrDesign Publishing
Price: $58.95 US
Collector’s Edition: 0574 of 1000, signed
The most thorough behind the scenes stories ever told about Themed Entertainment design at America’s favorite destination resorts – Disneyland, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Tour, Spectacular Las Vegas and more.
Legendary Imagineer Bob Gurr, as Principal Designer for hundreds of Themed Entertainment projects, takes the reader behind the scenes:
• Learn how Disneyland developed the first Monorail in America.
• See how Universal Studios Tour Animated King Kong came to be.
• A Pirate Battle Show and Sinking Ship in Las Vegas – how did they do it.
• Get the story of the animated Abraham Lincoln at the NY World’s Fair.
• Meet the team behind the Los Angeles Olympics Flying Saucer.
And so much more… with a foreword by Marty Sklar.
I have to start off by saying that this book is for hardcore Disney fans ONLY! So if you’re a completest, and by that I mean someone who just has to know everything about everything, than this book is for you. Gurr holds nothing back in this tell-all book. And by that I mean he tells us about every bolt he used to create most of Disneyland’s most iconic attractions.
I admit I was geeking out when I started to read this book, but then I just got bogged down by the sheer detail that Gurr shares. It makes this a very hard read. To be honest, I read at least five other Disney-related books while reading this one, because I just had to take a break!
That being said, Gurr’s down to earth style of writing makes the book easier to get through. It’s just Bob talking with Bob’s personality clearly showing through. And that’s not a bad thing! Of course, if you’re a literary critic, than the grammar, spelling, and unnecessary repetition might drive you to distraction. But if you’re able to lighten up and just read along for the ride, it’s an entertaining enough book.
The real beauty of this book is in the pictures. These provide exclusive glimpses into the world of early Disneyland design, as well as into many post-Disney projects that Gurr was involved in. Such as King Kong at Universal Studios. Yes, he did once work for the enemy.
With heartfelt apologies to Bob Gurr, I have to give this book 3 out of 5 stars. I enjoyed the read overall, but as I say, it’s not a book for everyone, and not an easy read. It’s unlikely to appeal to non-Disney people, and so I can’t rate it higher. But of course, as I said earlier, Disney completists will love it and rate it much higher!
I will say that the last section Adventures of Bob’s World was a great and fun way to end the book, and I found myself smiling and laughing as I read these parting shots.
I was fine with the fact that I had to buy this book from APP-GurrDesign to review it