Rare footage of Walt Disney playing with backyard trains in 1948

Amid sez,

I recently finished a biography of Disney animator and director Ward Kimball, which the Disney Company's lawyers have gone to great lengths to keep from being published, but that's another story. In the process, I uncovered lots of interesting materials in Ward's personal collection, including this unseen home movie footage of his boss, Walt Disney.

Tomorrow, it will be exactly 65 years since this film was recorded (April 4, 1948). In it, Ward and Walt Disney visit the home of Dick Jackson, a wealthy businessman who operated a scale-railroad in the backyard of his Beverly Hills home. I believe this to be the first time that Walt Disney personally operated a scale-railroad. It's amazing that the footage still exists.

Exclusive: Unseen Home Movie Footage of Walt Disney


9 Responses to “Rare footage of Walt Disney playing with backyard trains in 1948”

  1. timquinn says:

    Rare footage of Walt Disney having ideas that will become Disneyland.

  2. David James says:

    This is surprisingly entertaining, though that may have something to do with the overly jaunty music…

  3. kmoser says:

    Once something is on YouTube it is no longer “rare”.

  4. Dave Stuckey says:

    Nice touch adding Ward’s Firehouse Five to the footage!

  5. Allen Baum says:

    If you’re interested in a scanned copy of a 1948 Popular Mechanix article on Ward Kimball and his trains, let me know. I believe the copy I have will be donated to the Walt Disney Museum in S.F.

  6. oschene says:

    Immediately calls to mind Chip and Dale in “Out of Scale,” (1951):

  7. David Kopelman says:

    @ 1:14. No one stands with their hands on their hips that way anymore. That’s so ’48.

  8. alamode123 says:

    Walt Disney World’s Wilderness Lodge resort pays a great tribute in the Carolwood Pacific Railroad Room. The original train is in the Disney family museum in San Francisco.


  9. Randall Neff says:

    Walt built his own train and layout in his backyard. He used a bigger scale, his was 1 / 8 size, the one in the video is 1 / 12 size. Walt’s train and a model of his backyard layout is in the Disney Family Museum in the Presidio in San Francisco. It is a pretty incredible museum. I was just there to see the making of Snow White exhibit.

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