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Dennis Hopper

Disneyland memories

“Strangely enough, I was at the opening of Disneyland,” says Dennis Hopper. “Natalie (Wood) and I rode in the parade. Nixon was governor of California. He led the procession.”

Hopper, who was under contract to Warner Bros. at the time — as was Wood — recalls being eager for official duties to end so he could check out the rides. “It was another amusement park, but it (had) a theme. It was more elaborate,” he says of the breakthrough that Walt Disney wrought in such entertainment.

Hopper particularly remembers enjoying a celestial-themed ride. “We took off in a rocket and we were in the stars, and it was really wonderful. Full of technology and full of things I’d never seen before.”

But Hopper finds it ironic that Disneyland is “one of the great pop monuments to culture” when it was created before the term “pop” as we know it existed. The work of artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein didn’t come to the fore until the ’60s.

But he adds, “I thought the park was wonderful (then and now). I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think Disneyland is wonderful.”

Dennis Hopper recently completed shooting the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced pilot “E-Ring.”