Tom Sawyer Island Brochure Map (1960s)

The fourth brochure map produced of Tom Sawyer Island, this three-panel publication from the mid-1960s is nearly identical to the previous 1959 edition, as it features the same layout, map, and seven attractions.

The only difference in text is the shift of the front-cover copyright information (still 1957 Walt Disney Productions) from bottom-left to bottom-right. At bottom left a printing identification code can be found, which reads, “D-776.” Primarily because of the familiar dating system used by the Globe Ticket Company on vintage Disneyland ticket books, many collectors misidentify this code as designation of a June 1977 printing date. The letter-number combination, however, exists in this form simply as a product identifier, not a dating code, proven by the fact that the Fishing Pier attraction remains listed (the Catfish Cove experience was discontinued in the mid-1960s). Both the code, as well as the errant copyright date, have caused much confusion for collectors over the years. The final difference is the brochure’s folding direction, from right-to-left once more, per the original 1956 guide.

Tom Sawyer Island opened on June 16, 1956, at the start of Disneyland’s second summer season. The island stands as the only theme-park attraction ever hand-designed by Walt Disney himself.

After discarding several early concepts, including Mickey Mouse Island and Treasure Island, Walt settled on a Mark-Twain-inspired theme. Walt spoke several times about his admiration of Twain’s work. Furthermore, he’d grown up in Missouri, the setting for Tom Sawyer’s adventures, which meant both the stories and the Disneyland attraction held special places in his heart.

Continually dissatisfied with the designs his team of Imagineers (the likes of Claude Coats, Herb Ryman, Sam McKim, and Vic Greene) produced throughout the development of the island, Walt finally spent a night in his backyard barn workshop sketching out his vision for the attraction. The next morning, he presented it to artist Marvin Davis with the proclamation, “Now, that’s the way it should be.”

The island was built to Walt’s specifications and opened with a grand celebration, starring honorary guests Chris Winkler and Perva Lou Smith, the young Hannibal, Missouri, residents who’d recently been crowned the town’s first official Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher representatives. An order of catfish was flown in specially from Missouri, and an “old-fashioned fish fry” was held back on the mainland at the conclusion of the festivities.

The island, which guests reach by way of “log” rafts, boasts several interactive elements and landscape features from both the Twain stories, as well as original Disney designs. The first major refurbishment took place in 1992 on the southern end of the island to facilitate the park’s new nighttime entertainment offering, Fantasmic!. In 2007, the attraction was re-fitted with a pirate theme (to some opposition), becoming Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island. Incarnations of the original island exist in both Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland.

VALUE: Due to the same basic design and color scheme being used in later reprints, there is much confusion among buyers as to what edition they are actually getting. This version usually doesn’t go for quite as much as the larger-sized, true 1957 map, due to the fact that most buyers misinterpret the code to designate a much later printing date. $25

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