Today is Memorial Day.
It is reported that Disney is readying a remake of the 1986
sci-fi adventure movie Flight of the Navigator.
The charming Audio-Animatronics show The Mickey Mouse Revue
closes at Tokyo Disneyland after nearly 26 years of delighting Japanese
guests. Originally flown in from Disney World, it will be replaced with Mickey’s PhilharMagic (the same
show that replaced The Mickey Mouse Revue at WDW).
The Disney film Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, starring Fess Parker (as
Davy Crockett) and Buddy Ebsen (as Georgie Russel), is released. An edited
compilation of the first three episodes of the Davy Crockett Disney television serial, the film will greatly
influence the design of Disneyland's Frontierland. The U.S. is in the midst of a national "Davy Crockett craze," with
hundreds of coonskin caps being sold, as well as a hit record of the theme song "The Ballad of Davy Crockett."
Disney's live-action short Arizona Sheepdog, directed by Larry Lansburgh, is released.
Mickey's All-American Pin Festival (a 2-month event) kicks off at Disneyland.
Actress & radio performer Barbara Luddy, the voice of many Disney
animated characters, is born in Great Falls, Montana. She was the voice of Kanga
for many Pooh featurettes including the 1977 The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
Luddy was also the voice of Rover in One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Merryweather in
Sleeping Beauty and Lady in Lady and the Tramp.
Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon The Cookie Carnival, directed by Ben Sharpsteen, is
released. A Cinderella story involving a cookie girl who wishes to be queen of the Cookie Carnival, Pinto Colvig
provides the voice of the gingerbread man. The short has been animated by Grim Natwick and
Bill Tytla (specifically the Angel and Devil Foodcakes).
The New York Journal prints some outspoken opinions expressed by
Jerome Kern (composer of such classics as The Song Is You and
Old Man River). Kern's words include:
"Cartoonist Walt Disney has made the 20th century's only important contribution to music. Disney has made use of music as language."
Puppeteer, actor and film director Frank Oz is born Richard Frank Oznowicz in Hereford, England. Oz began his behind-the-camera work when he co-directed the fantasy film The
Dark Crystal with long-time collaborator Jim Henson. He also directed the 1991 Touchstone release What
About Bob?, and was the voice of Fungus in the 2001 animated release Monsters, Inc. (Star Wars fans know
Oz as the Jedi Master Yoda while Muppet/Sesame Street fans know him as the voices of Fozzie Bear, Sam
the Eagle, Bert, and Grover!)
Actor, producer & writer Jamie Kennedy, the evil ice cream man in Disney's 2001
Max Keeble's Big Move, is born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. (Fans of TV's Ghost Whisperer know Kennedy for his role of Eli James.)
David Kater, a member of The All New Mickey Mouse Club in 1989
(and the Broadway musical "Phantom of the Opera") is born in La
The first Disney film of the Eisner-Wells regime, Jerry Saved from
Drowning begins filming. (It will later be re-titled Down and Out in Beverly Hills.)
Today is the last day EPCOT guests will hear the original narration
of the Spaceship Earth attraction. It will be replaced with a new narration by
legendary newsman Walter Cronkite.
Actor Josh Saviano (of The Wonder Years television series) appears as a special guest on the Disney Channel series MMC. Today is Party Day!
"Here Come the Muppets," a live action and puppet stage show based on the
Muppets, opens at the Disney-MGM Studios park in Florida.
(It will be replaced by the Voyage of the Little Mermaid in 1992.)
Touchstone Pictures releases Fire Birds, starring Nicolas Cage, Tommy Lee Jones
and Sean Young.
The newly expanded Disney Orlando Animation Studio opens at
Disney World. The new "Magic of Disney Animation" tour includes an expanded viewing
area where guests are able to meet Disney animation artists and see the ongoing work on future animated releases.
Songwriters Tim Rice and Elton John receive an Ivor Novello Award
(presented by the British Academy of Composers and Songwriters) for
International Achievement in Musical Theatre for Disney's The Lion King.
The Kindercare Center child-care facility opens at Walt Disney World.
There is a radio studio located in
Disney's Hollywood Studios. It originally
housed the first children's radio
network Radio Aahs (in the days when
was replaced with Radio Disney in 1996.
Disney later moved Radio Disney to new headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The once
bustling Disney Studios Florida radio
studios are now used as remote studios
for radio shows that are visiting
Disney or the Orlando
area and need a
Radio Disney holds the Planet Premiere of "What Time Is It", the first single from
High School Musical 2 (written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil).
Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End opens worldwide.
The third film in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, the plot follows Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann and the
crew of the Black Pearl rescuing Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones's Locker, and then preparing to fight the
East India Trading Company - who wish to extinguish piracy.
Over at Disneyland, Pirate's Lair on Tom Sawyer Island officially opens. An artificial island surrounded by the Rivers of America, it contains caves with references to Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean
films, as well as the traditional Mark Twain characters from the novel
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
Emmy Award-winning actress Karen Valentine is born in Sebastopol,
California. Her Disney live-action credits include the 1979 The North Avenue Irregulars and the
1978 Hot Lead and Cold Feet. In 1986, Valentine appeared in the Walt Disney's Wonderful World
of Color TV episode "A Fighting Choice." (Fans of classic TV know Valentine as Alice Johnson on
the series Room 222.)
The Silly Symphony short The Three Little Pigs premieres at Radio City Music Hall
in New York City for one week. It is Disney's 36th Silly Symphony and the seventh in Technicolor.
(A young man named Milt Kahl will later see this very short and be inspired to become a Disney animator.)
The Three Little Pigs will be generally released two days later.
Pinocchio's Daring Journey officially opens to the general public as part of
Disneyland's New Fantasyland. Already running over the last few days with the rest of the
overhauled Fantasyland, when Disneyland debuted in 1955 this location was home to the Mickey Mouse
Club Theater. Based on the 1940 animated classic, Jiminy Cricket guides guests through various scenes
from the movie. Pinocchio's Daring Journey is the first Disneyland attraction to have first appeared at Tokyo
Disneyland (in April 1983) and the first attraction created by Disney to use holographic material.
Actor Kevin Heffernan, Ron Wilson the bus driver in Disney's 2005 Sky High,
is born in West Haven Connecticut.
Three Little Pigs premieres
"I haven't got a good voice to carry narration, got a nasal twang, I know. I'm not being immodest, just being practical." -Walt Disney
Walt Disney World's Country & Western Spectacular kicks off for the first of three
days at the Magic Kingdom. Featuring Anne Murray, Faron Young and Freddie Hart, the special event is
included in Magic Kingdom park admission.
Cartoonist Walt Kelly writes Walt Disney a friendly letter.
Best known for his classic funny animal comic strip Pogo, Kelly's words include:
Just in case I ever forgot to thank you, I'd like you to know that I, for one, have long appreciated the sort of training
and atmosphere that you set up back there in the thirties. There were drawbacks as there are to everything, but it
was an astounding experiment and experience as I look back on it. Certainly it was the only education I ever
received and I hope of I'm living up to a few of your hopes for other people.
(Kelly worked at the Disney Studios from 1936-1941.)
The Mickey Mouse film Mickey's Revue, directed by Wilfred Jackson, is released.
Minnie, Pluto and Horace Horsecollar help Mickey put on a big show. Goofy appears, as an audience member
who annoyingly crunches on peanuts, for the very first time - but with the name Dippy Dawg. (His name will
officially became "Goofy" in March 1939, with the release of the film, Goofy & Wilbur.)
Disney-MGM hosts the fourth (and final) Star Wars Weekends of the 2001 season. Celebrity guests include Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb) and Phil Brown (Uncle Owen).
campaign, is staged on this day. Approximately 6.5 million people
hold hands in a human chain for fifteen minutes along a path across the
continental United States. From New York City's Battery Park to the RMS
Queen Mary pier in Long Beach, California, people join hands to form a line that
stretches 4,152 miles! Taking part in Hands Across America in Long Beach is
Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Reverend Robert Schuller, Kenny Loggins, and John
Stamos, backed by Papa Doo Run Run.
Disney strongly criticized CEO Michael Eisner for his decision (announced Jan. 12, 2004) to shut down its animation studios at Disney-MGM
(today called Disney's Hollywood Studios). The late Roy E. Disney, the nephew of company namesake Walt, called the closure "another example of Michael
Eisner's de-emphasis of creativity and total indifference to the impact his decisions have on the people who helped to make the company great."
Disney Cruise Line's Disney Magic sets sail from New York City, offering voyages
north to Canada and south to the Bahamas. On this day guests head out for an 8-night Bahamian
cruise (with an opportunity to spend a day at Walt Disney World as the ship will dock for one night at Port
Canaveral, Florida). It is the ship's first-ever season sailing out of New York City.
Disney's 24-hour "All-Nighter" held at Disneyland, California Adventure and Disney
World's Magic Kingdom comes to an end at 6 a.m.
Disneyland's newest stage show "Mickey and the Magical Map" opens to all guests
for the first time. The exciting new production (staged at the Fantasyland Theatre) features an innovative
multi-level map screen, live performers, classic Disney music and the sorcerer Yen Sid (from Disney's Fantasia).
Today is Memorial Day in the USA. A federal holiday for remembering those who died
while serving in the country's armed forces, it is observed every year on the last Monday of May.
An article about Walt Disney's visit to Rochester, New York on this day runs in
the Democrat & Chronicle. Walt came to Midtown Plaza at 11 a.m., the first urban shopping mall in the United
States. Having just undertaken plans to build a super-city in Florida, he was anxious to see Midtown's high wide
ceiling and rooftop hotel. Three hours later, an impressed Walt Disney was back on his private plane heading home.
(Midtown Plaza remained as a retail hub for Rochester for another two decades, but struggled after the closing of it's
two anchor stores in the mid-1990s. It closed in 2008 and was demolished in 2010.)