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. (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
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 Presents, Dragnet, Gunsmoke, and TheLineup). Walt Disney himself also
wins an Emmy award for Best Producer of Filmed Series for Disneyland. Although
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
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 televison programming skills. Post discovers that his girlfriend's pet chimpanzee has the ability to predict which television programs will receive the highest ratings! 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 the network president and character actor Wally Cox plays Merton his chauffeur.
Today is Saint Patrick's Day
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.
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. The film stars Emma Watson as Belle and Dan Stevens as the Beast.