From “The Machine-Tooled Happyland,” Ray Bradbury’s 1965 Holiday analysis of the robot-centric Disneyland:
“We live in an age of one billion robot devices that surround, bully, change and sometimes destroy us. The metal-and-plastic machines are all amoral. But by their design and function they lure us to be better or worse than we might otherwise be.
In such an age it would be foolhardy to ignore the one man who is building human qualities into robots—robots whose influence will be ricocheting off social and political institutions ten thousand afternoons from today.
Snobbery now could cripple our intellectual development. After I had heard too many people sneer at Disney and his audio-animatronic Abraham Lincoln in the Illinois exhibit at the New York World’s Fair, I went to the Disney robot factory in Glendale. I watched the finishing touches being put on a second computerized, electric- and air-pressure-driven humanoid that will “live” at Disneyland from this summer on. I saw this new effigy of Mr. Lincoln sit, stand, shift his arms, turn his wrists, twitch his fingers, put his hands behind his back, turn his head, look at me, blink and prepare to speak. In those few moments I was filled with an awe I have rarely felt in my life.
Only a few hundred years ago all this would have been considered blasphemous, I thought. To create man is not man’s business, but God’s, it would have been said. Disney and every technician with him would have been bundled and burned at the stake in 1600.
And again, I thought, all of this was dreamed before. From the fantastic geometric robot drawings of Bracelli in 1624 to the mechanical people in Capek’s R.U.R. in 1925, others have conceived and drawn metallic extensions of man and his senses, or played at it in theater.
But the fact remains that Disney is the first to make a robot that is convincingly real, that looks, speaks and acts like a man. Disney has set the history of humanized robots on its way toward wider, more fantastic excursions into the needs of civilization.” (Thanks Longform.)
“We also accompanied him on a trip to Disneyland,” 1968: