Initially, correspondence indicates that the Bureau preferred an hour long show about the history of science in law enforcement on the more prestigious Disneyland television show on Wednesday night following the format of previous shows on atomic energy and aviation. Using a combination of animation and live action the program would trace law enforcement practices of the Dark Ages through the establishment of the FBI's laboratory in 1932 that would be celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary in 1957.
Walsh informed the FBI that Walt "is interested in filming the show on the FBI, but feels that a production on the Laboratory would be impossible at this time because of the amount of work which would be involved and the limited time available between now and the Laboratory anniversary." Walsh pointed out it took over a year and a half to produce Our Friend the Atom and that "this type of film is usually not profitable for the Disney company" but Walt "likes to do films of this type occasionally as a public service." A month later, Walt brought up the subject again with FBI Agent John Malone in Los Angeles. A memo from Malone on March 7, 1956 again met with disapproval from the senior agents.
The Washington series for the MMC series would feature young Dirk Metzger in Washington, D.C. Four parts dealt with the FBI and then two parts on Congress, three parts on the making of money and two parts on the White House. These were edited down to ten minute shorts.
From the script for that first episode:
"Washington, D.C. Quite a place! Believe me! I'm Dirk Metzger. Maybe some of you will remember me as a Mickey Mouse Club foreign correspondent from a couple of years ago. Well, Walt Disney has now assigned me to cover Washington..not from the tourist angle, as we just saw.but Washington from the inside. What goes on behind those big doors? As a Mickey Mouse Club reporter I did a little exploring, and for the next two weeks, I'm going to show you what I saw.where I went.what I did. Follow me!"
Friday afternoon January 24, 1958 . Dirk was photographed with J. Edgar Hoover on May 15, 1957 by Hugo Johnson using a hand held camera and one light in a matter of minutes in the Director's outer office. After that opening, Dirk goes right to Quantico and there is a sequence with firearms training.
Tuesday, January 28, 1958, Dirk visited Quantico for a crime scene search, followed by a visit to the Laboratory to see the examination of evidence.
Wednesday, January 29, 1958, Dirk followed up the Tuesday episode with more time in the Laboratory.
One of the MMC newsreel segments in the first and second seasons featured Dirk Metzger as a correspondent in England. (There were also Italian, Mexican, Danish and Japanese correspondents.) For a year and a half, Dirk spent his weekends being filmed in and around London as he visited secret tunnels of a pirate's cover, took a lesson in roof thatching, watched wild ponies in the west of England and talked to what he remembered as a "grizzly sheepherder with a mouthful of teeth. But the most fun was riding a canal boat from Manchester to London."
Dirk was asked to continue and stay in England and make more segments when his family returned to the Untied States but he declined saying, "London is an adult town. America is better in every way." Robbie Serpell replaced him.
"I waited a couple of weeks in the President's outer office," Dirk told a newspaper reporter in April 1958, "Then the President talked to me for eight minutes instead of two. He asked me quite a few questions like what does my family do. The President was really terrific and so nice - nothing but the best. He told me about his Bureau of the the Budget. I wasn't too interested in that. He also said two of his grandchildren watched the Mickey Mouse show."
Dirk was flown for two weeks out to Hollywood to record his commentary. The FBI liked the fact that Dirk was a Boy Scout.
However, his fame did bring him some teasing at school. As he told a reporter, "I didn't advertise too much. Sometimes I sort of get it in the face. There's always some Mickey Mouse show viewer at school who yells 'Hey, you forgot your ears!'"
The FBI reviewed the initial rough cut footage and composed a memo on October 22, 1957 of twenty-two things they wanted changed in the four episodes. Some were as elaborate as "the scene of the Agent firing two revolvers simultaneously and breaking the clay targets does not show the targets themselves breaking. This footage is available, and it is felt that if the scene is used at all, it should show the Agent's bullets breaking the clay targets" to simple phrase changes like "in line 3 of the narration, the word 'department' should be deleted and the word 'division' inserted."
While all of this correspondence sounds fairly positive, the problems began when the Bureau was shown the scripts and rough unedited film but not the finished films that they felt they needed to see and approve before release. A series of memos to Disney expressed concern that the Bureau had not seen the final cut.
Walt wasn't comfortable with others having final approval, a situation that would be revisited with Mary Poppins and P. L. Travers.
Apparently, Disney was to supply to the Washington Bureau the completed films no later than Monday, January 20. The Bureau protested the situation with Disney's Washington representative, Hugo Johnson, who was also upset and shared his communications with the Disney Studios in Burbank urging them to send the films.
An official memo from Friday morning January 24th indicated "Apparently our protest with Disney Studios took effect. Hugo Johnson, local manager Disney Studios, advised at 9:45 a.m. this morning that he was en route to the airport where he would pick up the film and would have it back to us no later than 10:45 a.m. this morning. We have arranged an immediate viewing of the film."
However, a bond of unspoken trust had been strained and some at the agency felt angry at the perceived snub and on a later memo there is a scribbled comment by Tolson "no further cooperation".