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"Magic Highway, U.S.A." is an episode of Disneyland. It aired on May 14, 1958.


The theme of this is the significance of the American highway, featuring the history of motoring, which explains that to drive the first cars was quite an adventure in itself, due to awful roads (which back then were not much more than rutted wagon paths) and the scarcity of fuel supplies and spare parts, not to mention the lack of useful maps and signposts, resulting in short drives turning into day-long affairs.

In the years since, automobiles improved vastly, but it also leads to traffic jams everywhere. This leads to new highway building programs, with new highways being built every day. But that is not enough. There is shown numerous suggestions offered by motorists for further highway improvements, some realistic and others far more fanciful. Finally, there is shown the possibilities of future highway travel, ranging from color-coded highway lanes to a worldwide highway system.

This episode from 1958 mostly looks back at the history of roads and travel in America, from the time that America was discovered right up through the creation of the super highways in the 1950s. It shows how slow progress was back when pioneers such as Daniel Boone moved west in the 19th century, how the railroad nearly sounded the deathnell of the highway, and how the creation of the automobile and it's popularity just after the dawn of the 20th century changed things.

There's also a feature of how crowded the roads were getting, even then, and how bad it was forecast to be by the mid 1970s (they had no idea how right they would prove to be on this front), but there also were, in the Walt Disney tradition of ideas, thoughts about what could happen in the future, in relation to cars, roads, and travel that, fortunately would not, or have not come to pass. And we see just how a highway, or any paved road was created back then.

A special note. The vast majority of this episode was narrated by Marvin Miller, who had a long voice-over acting career, which included roles on numerous cartoons, including voicing Aquaman in the Aquaman Filmation series in 1967 and narrating the official highlight films for the Indianapolis 500 in both 1975 and '76, among many other things he voiced over.