Astronaut James B. Irwin, the 8th man to walk on the moon (as a member of Apollo
 15), is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1971 he will drive the the first Lunar
 Rover on the moon and in 1975 take the first official ride aboard Walt Disney
 World's Space Mountain. (Read more about Irwin and other astronauts who have appeared at Disney parks, HERE.)
A St. Patrick's Day Parade is held for the first time at Disneyland.

           Louis Armstrong and his 7-piece band record the 
           final 3 songs for his upcoming LP Disney Songs the 
           Satchmo Way in a Hollywood studio. Today's 
           session, produced by Tutti Camarata,
           includes "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "Heigh-Ho," 
           and "Whistle While You Work."
"The Mice on Disney's Board" an article by Roy E. Disney and 
Stanley P. Gold is published in the Los Angeles Times.

Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, the newest ride at Disneyland, officially opens in 
Tomorrowland after weeks of soft openings. A videogame-inspired attraction based on Toy 
Story 2, guests can become Space Rangers and join Star Command on a mission to defeat Evil Emperor 
Zurg and his evil robots using pistols that shoot "laser beams." (It will have a special grand opening ceremony 
on May 5.) Also, reopening is the Disneyland Railroad which had been shut down (for reballasting, regauging and new block signals) since December 2004. 

Actress Julie Andrews (the star of Disney's 1964 classic feature Mary Poppins
attends a charity performance of the London stage musical Mary Poppins at the 
Prince Edward Theatre. She appears onstage during the curtain calls, and gives a speech recalling her
own memories from making the film and praises the cast for their new interpretation!

Over at Walt Disney World, the live show Cinderellabration begins soft openings 
at Magic Kingdom's Castle Forecourt Stage. The show has been imported from 
Tokyo Disneyland Park as part of the Happiest Celebration on Earth.
The Disney Mickey Mouse short Plane Crazy - now with 
sound - premieres at the Mark Strand Theater in New York City.
Donald Duck's pet St. Bernard first appears in the Donald Duck newspaper comic strip (drawn by Al Taliaferro).
The Disney short Goofy and Wilbur, directed by Dick Humer, is released. Goofy enlists the help of his friend  Wilbur, a grasshopper, in a fishing  expedition, but later has second thoughts when
he realizes that his tiny friend just might get eaten by a fish! Goofy's first
solo appearance in a short without Mickey and/or Donald, it is also the
debut of Wilbur the grasshopper.
Actor and 1998 Disney Legend Kurt Russell, the voice of Copper in Disney's 1981 release The Fox and the Hound is born Kurt Vogel Russell in Springfield, Massachusetts. Originally signed to a contract by Walt Disney himself, Russell's live-action Disney credits include Follow Me, Boys! (1966), The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band (1968), The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968), The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The Barefoot Executive (1971), Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972), Charley and the Angel (1973), Superdad (1973), The Strongest Man in the World (1975), Miracle (2004) and Sky High (2005). Russell also appeared in a March 1970 episode of The Wonderful World of Disney (along with the Osmond Brothers), which centered on Disneyland's new Haunted Mansion attraction.
Actor and film director Gary Sinise, who appears in Epcot's Mission: SPACE attraction
as CAPCOM, is born in Blue Island, Illinois. (CAPCOM stands for Capsule Communicator.) Sinise has
taken part in Epcot's annual Candlelight Processional, held every Christmas season at WDW. In 2011, he hosted 
Disneyland's Candlelight Processional as well. Sinise played Jim McConnell in the 2000 feature film release Mission to 
Mars, distributed by Touchstone Pictures. Sinise can be heard as the Smithsonian Narrator in the 2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier(He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his 1994 role of Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump. Fans of TV's CSI: NY know Sinise for his role of Detective Mac Taylor.)
The Emmy award for Best Action or Adventure Series is awarded to the Walt Disney
 Studio for the Davy Crockett series on the Disneyland TV show (beating out Alfred
 Hitchcock PresentsDragnetGunsmoke, and TheLineup). Walt Disney himself also
 wins an Emmy award for Best Producer of Filmed Series for DisneylandAlthough
 nominated for Best Children's Series, The Mickey Mouse Club is edged out by Lassie. Best Single Program of the
 Year is awarded to Producers' Showcase for the episode "Peter Pan," beating out six other nominees including the
 Disneyland episode "Davy Crockett and River Pirates."
Actress Vicki Lewis - the voice of Deb/Flo in Finding Nemo - is born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Her Disney credits also include An Extremely Goofy Movie, the TV series Hercules, and the Disney Channel series Sonny With a Chance. (TV fans of the series Newsradio may recall Lewis for her role of Beth.)
The TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs part 1 of the feature film "Kidnapped."

Actress, singer & dancer Lise Simms - known to Disney Channel fans as Barbara Diffy on the series Phil of the Future - is born in Colorado. She was also a member of the original Los Angeles, California cast of Beauty and the Beast
Disney World's Pleasure Island is transformed into Pleasure "Ireland" for St.
 Patrick's Day. The first 1,000 guests receive free party favors, and the night is
 filled with games including a contest to find the best Irish-jig dancer.
Test Track officially opens at Walt Disney World's Epcot. Sponsored by General Motors, the attraction is the fastest ride ever designed (at this time) by Disney's Imagineers ... guests can reach speeds of 65 mph! 
(The ride has been up and running since December 1998.)
The United Kingdom Pavilion at Disney World's Epcot celebrates St. Patrick's Day with special food, decorations and entertainment. Storyteller Darby O'Gill and The Butler School of Irish Dance perform throughout the afternoon. The Rose & Crown Restaurant serve traditional green beer and green Sprite, as well as corned beef, cabbage, Irish stew and soda bread.

The animated series Disney's House of Mouse debuts the 9th episode 
"Rent Day."

The National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., presents an exhibit called "The Architecture of Reassurance: Designing the Disney Theme Parks." The exhibition (which will run through August 5) is organized by the Canadian Center for Architecture. 
Exxon Mobile ends its sponsorship of Epcot's Universe of Energy.
Artist John William Cannon is born in in Terre Haute, Indiana. He will be hired at the
Disney Studio in 1927 to work on the Oswald cartoons and later work as an animator on Mickey Mouse shorts through 1940.
Actress Olesya Rulin - known to High School Musical fans as Kelsi Nielsen - is born in Moscow, Russia. Her Disney Channel credits also include Halloweentown High.
A new television series Herbie, the Love Bug (based on the Love Bug
 movies) premieres with the episode "Herbie the Matchmaker."

Herbie, the Love Bug, a TV series
that debuted on this day in 1982,
starred Dean Jones - who had
appeared in two of the films (The Love Bug and Herbie Goes to
Monte Carlo), reprising his role
of Jim Douglas.
William Haydon Burns, the thirty-fifth governor of Florida (from 1965 to 1967) is
 born in Chicago, Illinois. He participated in the news conference at the Cherry Plaza Hotel in Orlando in
November 1965, announcing that Disney "will build the greatest attraction yet known in the history of Florida."
Disney's live-action comedy The Barefoot Executive is released. The film stars Kurt Russell (who turns 20 years old on this day) as Steven Post, an eager mailroom clerk desperate to impress his production company bosses with his clever television programming skills. Post discovers that his girlfriend Jennifer (played by Heather North) has a pet chimpanzee named Raffles who has the ability to predict which television programs will receive the highest ratings! Post hatches a plan for success. The Barefoot Executive provides the film debut of John Ritter as Roger, the scheming nephew of the boss, played by veteran funny-man Joe Flynn. Harry Morgan plays network president E.J. Crampton and character actor Wally Cox plays Merton his chauffeur.
Kurt Russell born
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Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Traffic Troubles is released. Reckless taxi driver Mickey is having a tough day with traffic, a flat tire, a phony patent-medicine man, and a collision with a cow and barn!
A New Ride for the New Year

"When you first are in front of the camera as a young person, you'd be surprised at all the insecurities you can get." -Kurt Russell 
Disney releases a statement saying that it has "temporarily suspended all its
 administrative and store operations in Tokyo" after 28 of its 47 Disney stores in
 Japan have been closed due to damage from the devastating March 11 earthquake.


March 17
This Day in Disney History - THE FIRST - THE ORIGINAL
Traveling in time since 1999!
Disney releases Beauty and the Beast, a musical romantic fantasy adventure film (and a live-action remake of Disney's 1991 animated film of the same name) to U.S. theaters.
An arrogant prince is cursed to live as a terrifying beast until he finds true love.
Directed by Bill Condon, the film stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast. The ensemble cast also includes Luke Evans, Kevin Kline, Josh Gad, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Ian McKellen, and Emma Thompson. The film features a remake of the 1991 original song recorded as a duet by Ariana Grande and John Legend. Co-produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Mandeville Films, Beauty and the Beast was filmed in the UK. The film will gross over $1.2 billion worldwide, making  it the second-highest-grossing film of 2017.

Marvel's Iron Fist - Original Soundtrack, featuring music by Trevor Morris, is released on Hollywood Records.
Liv and Maddie (Music from the TV Series), a soundtrack to the Disney Channel
Original Series, Liv and Maddie, is released by Walt Disney Records. It features 12 songs
performed by the show's star, Dove Cameron and a song performed by Teen Beach Movie star, Jordan Fisher. 
Art director, writer, and animator Ken Anderson is born in Seattle, Washington.
After studying architecture at the University of Washington, Anderson secured a job at at Walt Disney Animation 
Studios. He became a key player in some of the studio's most well-known animated films such as Snow White 
and the Seven DwarfsPinocchioOne Hundred and One Dalmatians, and The Jungle Book. He later helped 
with the development of Disneyland and EPCOT Center. He was named a Disney Legend in 1991.
Actor John Boyega is born John Adedayo B. Adegboyega in London, England. He is known for playing Finn in the 2015 film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the 2017 sequel Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and the 2019 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
Gameloft (a leading digital and social game publisher) in collaboration with Disney, launches Disney Magic Kingdoms for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android and Windows Phone. Players can live the thrill of their favorite Disney Park by embarking on a new adventure with Mickey Mouse and all his friends, as they endeavor on a mighty quest to restore the kingdom's magic from evil powers.
Mom's on Strike, a television film starring Faith Ford and Tim Matheson, premieres on ABC Family. When Pam Harris, an overworked housewife, goes on strike to persuade the rest of her family to share in household chores, she becomes a national celebrity. The cast includes Florence Henderson, Spencer Breslin, and Sarah Gadon.
The 44th British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, are handed out. Among the winners:
-Best Makeup and Hair: Dick Tracy – John Caglione Jr. and Doug Drexler
-Best Production Design: Dick Tracy – Richard Sylbert
-Best Special Visual Effects: Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – Special Visual Effects Team
Character actor Frank de Kova is born in New York City. Perhaps best known for his television role of "Chief Wild Eagle", chief of the Hekawi tribe, on the western comedy F Troop (1965–1967), he played Nigosh in Disney's 1965 drama Those Calloways.
Actress Helen Hayes passes at the age of 92 in Nyack, New York. With a career spanning 80 years, she was nicknamed "First Lady of American Theatre." Her Disney credits include the 1974 Herbie Rides Again (as Mrs. Steinmetz ) and the 1977 Candleshoe (playing Lady St. Edmund).