Thursday, July 23, 2015

Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant, Frontierland

Only the most dedicated Disneyland historians know of a restaurant that existed for only a few short years in Frontierland from 1957 through 1961 but has a number of fascinating aspects to it: Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant.  First, it's the only concession in the Park to ever bare the name of a real person.  Second, Don DeFore has a star on Hollywood Boulevard and was friends with Walt Disney who was very impressed with Don's sale of the first nationally televised Emmy Awards Show in 1955 to NBC when Don was president of the Television Academy.  That's one of many things that make me very proud of my Dad.  What makes the story more interesting are the numerous tales the family has of growing up in Disneyland - literally!  Although our main house was in Brentwood we had a second home in Anaheim so my Dad could be close to the restaurant as much as he could (in between being "Thorny" on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet," and his new hit TV series, "Hazel.")  To learn more about what kids do at Disneyland after boredom sets in and much more about this interesting piece of Disneyland history, as Don's second son, I invite you to see my presentation, along with brother David, at this year's D23 Expo August 15 at 10 a.m, second floor on the Archives Stage.  You can also read more in my guest column this month at  Here's just a few wonderful memories:
Ed Sullivan, Don DeFore, Walt Disney

Original Restaurant Sign

Historic Disneyland Map With Silver Banjo

Very Rare Official Disneyland Post Card

DeFore kids with Walt in Christmas Parade (his grandchildren hadn't shown up!)