PAX TV premieres Night of Joy: A Holiday Celebration of Faith and Family, a
one-hour special hosted by actor Kirk Cameron. The program chronicles the creation
and execution of the Night of Joy event at Magic Kingdom (an annual tradition at Walt Disney World
Resort since 1983).
A Merry Mancini Christmas is presented at the new Walt Disney Concert Hall in
California. The concert features the Henry Mancini Institute Alumni Orchestra. (Legendary composer Henry
Mancini wrote the music for Disney's 1986 The Great Mouse Detective.)
The Magical World of Disney presents "The Christmas Visitor"
on the Disney Channel. Originally airing in December 1987, "The Christmas
Visitor" is an American/Australian coproduction set in the Australian outback of the 1890s.
Actress, model, and singer Anna Maria Francesca Enriquez Perez de Taglé
is born in San Francisco, California. Disney Channel fans know her as Ashley Dewitt on
Hannah Montana and Ella Pador on Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2.
Touchstone Pictures releases the romantic comedy Green Card, starring
Gérard Depardieu and Andie MacDowell.
Comic actor Eric Blore, who voiced J. Thaddeus Toad in Disney's
1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, is born in London,
England. Often cast as a snide gentleman's gentleman or dissipated nobleman, Blore was a
fixture in Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals and appeared alongside such comedy greats as
Laurel & Hardy, the Marx Brothers and Bob Hope.
Comedian-actor Ronnie Schell is born in Richmond, California. His Disney credits include the 1981 The Devil and Max Devlin, the 1978 The Cat From Outer Space as the voice of Jake the cat, the 1977 TV special The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World, the 1976 feature The Shaggy D.A., and even an episode of Disney Channel's Phil of the Future. (Schell will always be best remembered for playing Private Duke Slater on the series Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..)
Disney's Silly Symphony Mother Goose Goes Hollywood,
directed by Wilfred Jackson, is released. This animated short puts
Hollywood stars of the 1930's into roles from Mother Goose stories. Among the stars
are W.C. Fields as Humpty Dumpty, Laurel and Hardy as Simple Simon and the
Pieman, Katherine Hepburn as Little Bo Peep, and the Marx Brothers as Old King
Cole's fidlers three. The short will be nominated for an Academy Award.
Mouseketeer John Lee Johann is born in Madison, Wisconsin. Known simply as Lee, he was hired for ABC-TV's Mickey Mouse Club in 1955 - as a replacement for his brother Dallas.
Actor-writer Harry Shearer, the voice of Dog Announcer in the 2005 animated feature Chicken Little, is born Los Angeles, California. His Disney credits also include the 1987 TV "duckumentary" Down and out with Donald Duck. (A Saturday Night Live alumni, Shearer provides many of the voices for TV's The Simpsons and has appeared in such features as A Mighty Wind, The Truman Show, and This Is Spinal Tap.)
The Disney live-action film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (based on the
classic story by Jules Verne) starring Kirk Douglas, James Mason, & Peter
Lorre, is released. It is only the sixth film to ever be shot in CinemaScope (a widescreen movie
format) and the first science fiction feature produced by Disney. The film will be enormously popular at the
box-office, grossing $6.8 million on its first release. It however will not make a profit ... because it is one of
the most expensive movies produced up to this time, costing over $9 million! The film will also be highly
praised for the performances of the leading actors ... the first time that major Hollywood stars have
appeared in a Disney film.
Playing in front of 20,000 Leagues is the Donald Duck animated short Grand Canyonscope. Disney's first
cartoon filmed in CinemaScope, Donald takes a tour of the Grand Canyon ... with disastrous results.
Today is Talent Round-Up Day with actors Fess Parker and Buddy Ebsen on
ABC-TV's Mickey Mouse Club.
The television series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs "Holiday
Time at Disneyland." Walt Disney starts the episode by ringing a bell as Dickensian garbed
Christmas carolers sing in front of the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. Even Santa Claus (portrayed by
actor Paul Maxey) stops by to chat with Uncle Walt.
The NBC-TV series The Wonderful World of Disney airs
a re-edited version of "From All of Us to All of You."
Electronic Forum (an attraction where guests view film
clips focusing on current events) debuts at EPCOT's Future World.
up. All guestrooms and suites in the hotel have been redone, and all
of the public areas have received a face-lift.
TIME magazine features the article "Walt Disney: Images of Innocence"
(volume 88 no. 26). The article includes these words:
"When he died last week of cancer at 65, Disney was no longer simply the fundamental primitive imagist (the psychedelic merchants preempted that role),
but a giant corporation whose vast assembly lines produced ever slicker products
to dream by." A portrait of actress Julie Andrews graces the cover.
The Mightiest Motion Picture of Them All!
The giant squid in Disney's 20,000 Leagues
Under the Sea movie was constructed of
rubber, steel spring, flexible tubing, glass
cloth, lucite, and plastic. It had tentacles
measuring 40 feet with 2
feelers of 5 feet and took
a staff of 28 to operate its
intricate remote controls!
The film later inspired
Touchstone Pictures releases the comedy-drama Good Morning Vietnam starring
Robin Williams. Set in Saigon during the Vietnam War, Williams portrays Adrian Cronauer, a real-life Air
Force sergeant and radio personality on Armed Forces Radio Service. Although entertaining and popular with the
troops serving in South Vietnam, disc jockey Cronauer infuriates his superiors. The film co-stars Forest Whitaker,
Bruno Kirby and Floyd Vivino.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea released
Helen Hennesy, Disney's very first librarian, is born Helen Josephine DeForce in
Spokane, Washington. First hired in 1935, she was given the authority to organize and establish the
Walt Disney Library. Helen was also the wife of legendary layout artist Hugh Hennesy.
"I don’t care about critics. Critics take themselves too seriously. They think the only way to be noticed and to be the smart guy is to pick and find fault with things. It’s the public I’m making pictures for." -Walt Disney
Walt Disney sends an 8-page memo to Don Graham, a highly respected art teacher from Chounaird Art Institute. Walt's note includes these words:
Right after the holidays, I want to get together with you and work out a very systematic training course for young animators, and also outline a plan of approach for our older animators.
Some of our established animators at the present time are lacking in many things, and I think we should arrange a series of courses to enable these men to learn and acquire the things they lack.
Naturally the first most important thing for any animator to know is how to draw. Therefore it will be necessary that we have a good life drawing class. But you must remember Don, that while there are many men who make a good showing in the drawing class, and who, from your angle, seem good prospects - these very men lack in some other phase of the business that is very essential to their success as animators.
The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special starts this day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Performed 5 times daily at the Premiere Theater on the Streets of
America, the show will run through January 5.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil spectacular
at Downtown Disney West Side, Florida. (A special ceremony with Mickey & Minnie took
place at the December 18 performance to mark the milestone.)
La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show, opens at Downtown Disney, Florida.
With an international and diverse cast of 65 talented performers, the show features funambulists,
dancers, tumblers, trapeze performers, a juggler, clowns, actors, acro-gymnasts, cyclists, musicians,
vocalists, skippers and circus artists. La Nouba, which comes from the French phrase "faire la nouba,"
and means to live it up, has been created exclusively for Walt Disney World. Design teams
from Cirque du Soleil and Walt Disney Imagineering worked together to create the show’s unique
freestanding theatre – the first ever to be built for a Cirque show.
The Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival officially opens in Epcot, replacing Captain EO.
This new experience features a look into the visionary minds behind some of the world’s most iconic animated films.
Once inside the theater, guests put on their 3D glasses and enter the imaginative worlds of three animated shorts –
"Get A Horse," "For The Birds" and "La Luna."
Robert Theodore McCall, a conceptual artist known particularly for his works of space
art, is born in Scottsdale, Arizona. Starting out as an illustrator for Life magazine in the 1960s, he later
created promotional artwork for Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey. This led to work for NASA (creating mission patches) as well as Disney's 1979 The Black Hole. Epcot fans may remember McCall's mural, "The
Prologue and The Promise," which was featured in the Horizons pavilion. McCall spent close to 10 months
planning and then painting the Horizons mural on a 19-by-60-foot canvas. The mural (which was completed in
March 1983) could be seen as you exited the pavilion and exhibit.