The television series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs "Disneyland
Around the Seasons." As this is the first episode to air after the December 15th death of Walt Disney,
a portion of Walt’s narrative is substituted by a brief tribute from Dick Van Dyke and NBC newsman Chet
Huntley. Walt takes viewers on a tour of Disneyland to point out some of the newest additions to the park,
including New Orleans Square, It's a Small World and Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln. The episode also
features Bob Cummings, Ronald Reagan and Paul Frees. (Weekly guest hosts will preside over the show for
the remainder of the 1966-67 season.)
Actress Gladys Cooper, Aunt Mary Drexel in Disney's 1967 live-action feature The
Happiest Millionaire, is born in London, England. (She is probably best known to movie fans for
her role of Mrs. Higgins in the classic My Fair Lady. Cooper also appeared in 3 episodes of The Twilight Zone. )
During a ceremony at the studio in which he is receiving an award from
The Parents Magazine, Walt Disney gets word that his pregnant wife Lilly is
about to deliver. He dashes off to the hospital and arrives just in time to see
Diane Marie Disney born!
Walt Disney is called to Washington, D.C. to meet with the Treasury
Department and the IRS. He is asked to provide a film to promote
paying taxes - to be completed by the end of February 1942.
Film/animation historian, writer, producer and television celebrity Leonard Maltin is born
in New York City. He is the author of The Disney Films (first published in 1973), appears as a speaker at Disney conventions, and hosts many of Walt Disney Treasures DVD releases (a collectible line of DVDs in which he
spearheaded in 2001). In addition, he hosted Treasures from the Disney Vault on Turner Classic Movies from 2014-2019.
(He is best known for his eponymous annual book of movie capsule reviews, "Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide," which was published annually from 1969 to 2014.
The TV series Walt Disney Presents airs "Texas John Slaughter: Range
War at Tombstone," the 9th of a 17-part miniseries starring Tom Tryon.
Walt Disney Presents airs two segments on this evening: "Escape to Paradise" and
"Water Birds." Viewers travel behind the scenes of Disney's newest feature Swiss Family Robinson (which
premiered December 10), hosted by the film's stars John Mills, Dorothy McGuire and Janet Munro. The second
portion of the episode features the 1952 award-winning True-Life Adventure Water Birds.
The Parade of Toys - led by Walt Disney himself - debuts at Disneyland.
The Walt Disney Productions live-action filmThe Black Hole,
featuring Maximilian Schell, Anthony Perkins, Ernest
Borgnine, and Robert Forster premieres in London. A research
vessel in the year 2130 finds a missing ship, commanded by a mysterious scientist,
on the edge of a black hole. (It will be released in the U.S. December 20.)
Pop star Christina Maria Aguilera, a member of Disney Channel's The All New Mickey
Mouse Club, is born in Staten Island, New York. After recording "Reflection", the theme for Disney's
1998 film Mulan, Aguilera signed with RCA Records.
Jim Henson Productions and Buena Vista Home Video (part
of the Disney family) sign a worldwide distribution deal.
(The Jim Henson Company traces its origins to the founding of Muppets, Inc. in
1958 by puppeteer Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets.)
McDonald's opens a french fry stand inside Disneyland,
housed inside a covered wagon in Frontierland.
Nick Stewart (also known as Nicodemus Stewart), the voice of Brer Bear in Disney's
1946 Song of the South & the Splash Mountain park attractions, dies at the age of 90.
The Lion King Day is celebrated in Dearborn, Michigan to honor the metro-
Detroit premiere of Disney's The Lion King and the great success of the
IMAX Theatre at the Henry Ford Museum.
The Disney Company is nominated for multiple Golden Globe Awards.
They include Miramax Films' Civil War epic Cold Mountain with 8 nominations, and a nomination each for
Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Freaky Friday.
Body Wars, Cranium Command and The Making of Me
reopen at Epcot for the holiday season.
Disney Cruise Line sets sail on its first 10-night holiday cruise from Port Canaveral, Florida.
"Mother was a true partner with my father. She traveled with him around the world to visit colleagues. When they came to Burbank, she'd cook them chicken dinner at our home. After serving in her kitchen, she usually encouraged them to help wash the dishes after eating. She was good friends with many Disney employees; she had a unique gift for understanding people."
-Roy E. Disney (son of Roy O. Disney)
The St. Petersburg High School Green Devil Band performs at Walt Disney World.
This makes them the first guest high school marching band to ever play at the new Florida theme park.
In the evening, Walt Disney World's very first Candlelight Processional is held. The processional travels down Main Street to the Cinderella Castle forecourt where a performance featuring 1200 carolers from across Florida takes place. Film star Rock Hudson narrates the Christmas story while Frederick Fennell (often referred to as the most famous band conductor since John Philip Sousa) conducts the orchestra.
A second performance will take place the following evening.
Edna Francis Disney, mother of Roy E. Disney, passes at the age of 94. Married to
Roy O. Disney in 1923, she provided enthusiastic support and sound counsel to her business-genius husband as
he helped grow his brother's creative venture from a humble storefront in Hollywood to an entertainment empire.
The Adventures of André and Wally B., an animated short made by the Lucasfilm
Computer Graphics Project, debuts at SIGGRAPH (Special Interest Group on
GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques). Running at just 2 minutes, it is directed by Alvy Ray Smith
(future co-founder of Pixar) and animated by John Lasseter (future director and chief creative officer at Pixar and
Walt Disney Animation Studios).
Often regarded as Disney's answer to Star Wars, The Black Hole cost the studio $20 million to produce - making it (at the time) the most expensive picture ever produced by the company. Although not well-received by critics, it
earned $36 million at the
US box office!
A performance of High School Musical: The Concert is taped at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. It will be released on CD and DVD in May 2007.
Disney's animated Peter Pan is released in Finland and France.
Ruben Azama Aquino, a character animator and a supervising animator, is born in Okinawa, Japan. Working for Disney from 1982 until 2013, his credits included The Black Cauldron (1985),
The Great Mouse Detective (1986), Oliver & Company (1988), The Little Mermaid (1989), The Rescuers Down Under (1990), Beauty and the Beast (1991), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), Tarzan (1999), Fantasia 2000 (2000), Lilo & Stitch (2002), Brother Bear (2003), Meet
the Robinsons (2007), The Princess and the Frog (2009), Winnie the Pooh (2011), and Frozen (2013).
The premiere of Walt Disney Pictures' Bedtime Stories takes place at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. The adventure comedy stars Adam Sandler as Skeeter Bronson, a hotel handyman whose life is changed forever when the bedtime stories he tells his niece and nephew start to mysteriously come true.
Bedtime Stories premieres
Disney's Donald Duck short Bellboy Donald, directed by
Jack King is released.
Donald, a bellboy at the Lofty Manors hotel, struggles with his self-control as
he deals with rude hotel guests ... Pegleg Pete and his son!
The Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln attraction returns to Disneyland.
Using first-time technology, Lincoln’s head is electronic, allowing the robot to make more realistic facial movements.
Also on this day, Disney announces that "Captain EO," the 3D film starring the late "King of Pop" Michael Jackson, will be returning to Disneyland for a limited time starting in February 2010. The 17-minute film will return to its original home at the theater inside Tomorrowland, replacing "Honey, I Shrunk the Audience."
Down at Disney World, Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party is held for the last
and 19th time this season.
Disney's Miramax Films releases Marvin's Room, starring Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton and Robert DeNiro. A leukemia patient attempts to end a 20-year feud
with her sister to get her bone marrow. Scenes from the film were shot at Disney-MGM Studios.
Actress Bridgit Mendler, Teddy Duncan on the Disney Channel Original Series
Good Luck Charlie, is born in Washington, D.C. She also guest starred in Disney Channel
Original Series' JONAS, played Juliet Van Heusen on Wizards of Waverly Place and starred in Lemonade Mouth.
In January 2011, Mendler was cast as Arrietty for the North American release of The Secret World of Arrietty.
What if the stories you told came to life?
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, known as the Brothers Grimm, publish the first volume of the first edition of Children's and Household Tales (today known as Grimm's Fairy Tales). Among the 86 stories ... Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Snow White.
Songwriter Joel Hirschhorn is born in the Bronx, New York. His Disney credits include
"I'd Like to Be You for a Day" first heard in the 1976 Freaky Friday and "Candle on the Water" as well as all of
the songs from the 1977 Pete's Dragon, co-written with Al Kasha. (During a successful career, Hirschhorn
won the Academy Award for Best Song - along with Kasha - on two occasions: "The Morning After" from The
Poseidon Adventure and "We May Never Love Like This Again" from The Towering Inferno.)
Keith Richards, musician, songwriter, and founding member of the rock band the
Rolling Stones, is born in Dartford, Kent, England. First portraying Captain William Teague,
the father of Captain Jack Sparrow in a cameo in the 2007 film Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,
Richards returned to the role for the 2011 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.
A Musical Christmas at Walt Disney World airs on television. Hosted by Robert Urich,
musical guests include Trisha Yearwood, Peabo Bryson, Andy Williams and Natalie Cole.
Disney releases the following titles to DVD: Underdog, Cinderella II: Dreams
Come True: Special Edition, and National Treasure: 2-Disc Collector's Edition.
Actress Rachel Griffiths is born in Melbourne, Australia. She portrayed Aunt Ellie in
Disney 2013 release Saving Mr. Banks. Griffiths co-starred in Disney's 2002 The Rookie, playing
Lorri the wife of pitcher Jim Morris.
Disney's Hollywood Studios park guests experience the first official display of the
"Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular" fireworks show the same day Star
Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters. Inspired by the Star Wars saga, it is the first
Star Wars theatrical film to have Disney's involvement. Three decades after the Empire's defeat, a new threat arises
in the militant First Order. Defected stormtrooper Finn and the scavenger Rey are caught up in the Resistance's
search for the missing Luke Skywalker. The cast includes Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Adam Driver. The 11 p.m. Florida fireworks spectacular streams live on
the Disney Parks Blog website.
Disney's Princess Diaries is released to VHS and DVD for the first time.
The soundtrack to The Royal Tenenbaums, featuring a score composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, is released on Hollywood Records. The collection also features songs by Nico,
The Clash, The Ramones, and Vince Guaraldi Trio. The film has been in release since December 14.
Disney releases Emil and the Detectives, a film directed by Peter Tewksbury based
on the novel by German author Erich Kästner. Emil, played by Brian Russell, is on his first trip to
Berlin to deliver money to his grandmother. But a pickpocket cannot resist robbing the boy while he is napping on
the bus. Awakening in time, Emil follows the crook and with the aid of a group of resourceful boys foils a bank
robbing plot and gets back his money!
Actor Josh Dallas, best known for his role of Prince Charming/David Nolan in the ABC television series Once Upon a Time, is born in Louisville, Kentucky. He also portrayed Fandral
in the Marvel Comics 2011 film adaptation Thor, and supplied the voice of Frantic Pig for Disney's 2016 Zootopia.
Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Considered one of the founding pioneers
of the New Hollywood era and one of the most popular directors and producers in film history, he also founded the company Amblin Entertainment, which co-created Who Framed Roger Rabbit with Touchstone Pictures. He directed
the 2016 film The BFG, making it the first Disney movie to be directed by Spielberg. He also directed the 2011
War Horse, the 2012 Lincoln, and the 2015 Bridge of Spies, all Touchstone releases.
Spielberg is perhaps best known for Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981),
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993).
Singer, songwriter and voice actress Sia Kate Isobelle Furler - professionally known as simply Sia - is born in Australia. She has written and/or performed songs on many film soundtracks. "Try Everything," a song Sia co-wrote with Tor Hermansen, and Mikkel Eriksen, was recorded by Shakira for the 2016 Walt Disney Animation Studios film Zootopia. Sia performed a cover of Nat King Cole's "Unforgettable" for Finding Dory. She can also be heard singing "Magic" on the soundtrack for the 2018 A Wrinkle in Time.
Animator and innovator in the animation industry David Hilberman is born in Cleveland, Ohio. Coming to Los Angeles to work at Disney in July 1936, he was one of 40 young artists who had been recruited in a national talent search. Within 18 months, he advanced from trainee to layout artist. He worked on numerous animated shorts, including Farmyard Symphony (1938) and Ugly Duckling (1939), as well as the features Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942). He later became one of the leaders of the union movement, which climaxed in the bitterly fought animators’ strike of 1941. After the strike, Hilberman joined with fellow ex-Disney artists Zachary Schwartz and Stephen Bosustow to found Industrial Film and Poster Service, a small studio that produced films, film strips and graphic materials for defense contractors and the Army and Navy. In late 1945, the rapidly expanding studio was reorganized as United Productions of America (better known as UPA). In 1992 he was given the Winsor McCay Award - For Distinguished Lifetime Achievement to the Art of Animation.
"David Hilberman was inadvertently, almost accidentally, a pivotal figure in animation history, Because of his politics in organizing the Disney strike and his artistic vision in co-founding UPA, he became a major factor in changing forever how the Hollywood cartoon was made and what it looked like." -industry historian John Canemaker.
On Pointe, a six-part docuseries that follows students and captures a season in the School of American Ballet in New York City, begins to stream on Disney+.
Walt Disney Records releases Disney Junior Music: Mickey's Holiday Party (Single), Black Beauty (Original Soundtrack), The Mandalorian: Season 2 - Vol. 2 (Chapters 13-16) (Original Score), and Soul: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker — Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, featuring music by composer/conductor John Williams, is released on Walt Disney Records.
The Pacific Telephone Family Christmas Party at Disneyland takes place on this Friday evening between 8:00 pm - 1:00 am. For $4 guests get admission to the park and unlimited use of all attractions. A full dress rehearsal of Disneyland's Fantasy on Parade is also presented.
Actor and producer Ray Liotta is born Newark, New Jersey. Best known for playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989), Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990) and Tommy Vercetti in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), Liotta's Disney credits span both film and television. His film roles include Captain T.C. Doyle in Operation Dumbo Drop (1995), Jack Blade in Wild Hogs (2007), and Big Papa in Muppets Most Wanted (2014).
Liotta's Disney television credits include episodes of Hannah Montana, Phineas and Ferb, and Modern Family.
Sadly he passed at age 67 in May 2022.