Re: 47 years ago today at Disneyland - International Incident
"We will bury you" (pounds shoe on the desk).
If you ever see a copy of the Bob Hope book "I Owe Russia $1200", he claims to have been the one to suggest the idea to Krushchev in the first place. Maybe if he had gone, we'd have started on detente a lot earlier. It's a small world, after all.
It really was a huge, huge story at the time. And that story often got distorted or exaggerated over time.
Even Disneyland historian Tim O'Day's version (blaming the Orange County Sheriff) is slightly different:
Box Office Mojo: When communist dictator Nikita Khrushchev, head of the Soviet Union, came to Los Angeles, he threw a tantrum at being told by officials he could not visit Disneyland. Is it true that Walt Disney refused Khrushchev admission?
O'Day: Actually, Walt was very excited to have Nikita Khrushchev at Disneyland and his wife, Lillian, was most excited to meet Khrushchev. It was September of 1959, and it was the first time a Soviet premier had ever visited the United States of America. It was a big, big deal. Khrushchev inquired about what his family was doing while he was supposed to be visiting a housing project, and, when he was told they were visiting Disneyland, he said he wanted to go, too. The State Department said no after the Orange County sheriff refused to guarantee his safety and, to placate him, they took him to the 20th Century Fox studio lot, where they put on this wonderful luncheon. Bob Hope was there and they did the "Can-Can" [with Shirley MacLaine and Juliet Prowse, who were shooting the movie of the same name], which Khrushchev thought was disgraceful, and he got up and said "I still want to go to Disneyland!" Walt was most proud of the fact that he wanted to point to Disneyland's submarine fleet but he never got to do that.
But it really was the major item on the news across the nation back then. It was the lead story on most TV newscasts and front page on most papers. And all the talk-show hosts did gags based upon it for days. I bet Walt was just lovin' it!