Singer-songwriter Terry Gilkyson, who wrote "The Bare Necessities" for Disney's
The Jungle Book, passes away in Texas at age 83. A name not well remembered today, his
influence on pop music and folk music is significant. Gilkyson and the members of his group, the Easy
Riders, made contributions as songwriters and performers with such hits as "Memories Are Made Of This"
and "Marianne." He also wrote music for Disney's Swiss Family Robinson, The Aristocats, The Moon-
Spinners, The Three Lives of Thomasina, and the television program The Wonderful World of Disney.
Walt Disney Pictures releases The Straight Story, directed by David Lynch.
The film is based on the true story of Alvin Straight's 1994 journey across Iowa and Wisconsin on a John
Deere lawn tractor.
"I Went to Disney World!" a positive article (in the midst of terrorist activities and a weakened economy) by syndicated columnist
Liz Smith, appears in papers across the country.
Walt Disney (now living in California) receives a telegram from Margaret
Winkler (a New York cartoon distributor) offering to pay $1500 each for the first six of
his Alice Comedies. Also known as M. J. Winkler, she is the first woman to produce and distribute animated
films. Walt rushes over to the Veterans Hospital, where his brother Roy is recovering from tuberculosis, to tell him
the good news. (Miraculously Roy will leave the hospital the next day - a cured man!)
The Alice Comedy Alice Plays Cupid, directed by Walt Disney, is released. While serving as a lifeguard, Julius falls in love and then saves the life of a cute female cat. Alice (played by Margie Gay) helps out by driving the car they eventually elope in.
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Touchdown Mickey, directed by Wilfred Jackson, is released through United Artists.
Comedian/actor Larry Miller is born in Valley Stream, New York. His Disney credits include The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, Max Keeble's Big Move, The Princess Diaries, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (as the voice of XR), and the 1995 TV remake of The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes. Miller also appeared in 12 episodes of the ABC-TV sitcom 8 Simple Rules and played Mr. Hollister in Touchstone Pictures' 1990 hit Pretty Woman.
The Disney cartoon Social Lion, directed by Jack Kinney, is released. A lion allows
himself to be taken from the jungles of Africa and brought to New York City to get a taste of civilization.
The NBC-TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs "Chico, the Mismatched Coyote."
Voice actor-musician Quinton Flynn is born in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the voice
of Timon in Disney's Timon & Pumbaa television series.
Actress/singer/dancer Paige Davis is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. First
known as the host of Trading Spaces, she also toured for 2 1/2 years as Babette in Disney's stage musical
Beauty and the Beast. (She actually met her husband, Patrick Page,
who played Lumiere the candlestick, while on tour with the musical!)
World in Florida. A color photo of 1,500 Disney employees, posing in front of
Cinderella's Castle, is featured on the cover. The issue also includes a pull-out
poster (sponsored by Eastern Airlines) of the new Magic Kingdom.
Members of the World Symphony Orchestra begin arriving in
New York City. These 144 musicians from 62 countries, are in Manhattan for a
series of rehearsals at Radio City Music Hall with famous conductor Arthur Fiedler.
The World Symphony Orchestra will perform only 3 times; at Lincoln Center in NY City, at Walt Disney World in
Florida as part of its formal dedication, and at the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.
The Main Street Electrical Parade at Disneyland gives its final performance.
In New York City, previews begin for Disney's live Broadway show The Lion King. The Times Square Disney Store, connected to the New Amsterdam Theatre, is filled with Lion King merchandise.
Epcot's Innoventions West closes for a major renovation.
Disney World's newest show Fantasmic! debuts at the Hollywood Hills Amphitheater
located at Disney-MGM Studios. The 26-minute performance requires 88 people to dazzle park guests.
Disney's Mickey Mouse short Clock Cleaners opens in theaters. Mickey, Donald, and Goofy find themselves high above the city skyline - washing and cleaning an elaborate high clock tower.
Hilary Duff's debut album Santa Claus Lane is released on Walt Disney Records.
In 2001, Duff gained fame through her starring role in the Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire. She
became interested in pursuing a music career after attending a Radio Disney concert!
Director of animated films Burt Gillett is born in Elmira, New York. At Disney he was noted
for his work on such early shorts as Three Little Pigs, The Moth and the Flame and The Brave Little Tailor.
There is a wind gauge installed
in Disney World's Wilderness
Lodge's marina. The computer
that runs the resort's geyser
senses the wind speed for each
"eruption" and adjusts the height
of the water. This prevents
blowing water from hitting the
balconies of lake view rooms!
The musical feature Hit Parade of 1951 is released. Among the cast are Harper Goff, Ward Kimball, Erdman Penner, Frank Thomas, Clarke Mallery, and Monte Mountjoy - collectively known as the
Firehouse Five Plus Two (a Disney employee Dixieland band).
It is announced that Disney.com's Xtreme Digital, an interactive service that combines social networking, chat and video, has been nominated for two Technology & Engineering Emmys. (The 59th annual Technology & Engineering Emmys will be handed out January 7 in Las Vegas.)
The Disney short Figaro And Cleo, distributed by RKO, is released. It is the first
appearance of the kitten and goldfish since their debut in the 1940 feature Pinocchio.
The Walt Disney Comedy and Magic Revue is released on VHS and Beta.
Containing funny and magical moments from various Disney classics, it features archive footage of such stars as Julie Andrews, Eddie Albert, Ken Berry, and Ray Bolger.
English actor/singer Gavin Lee, best known for his award-winning role of Bert in both the West End and Broadway productions of Mary Poppins, is born in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England. He was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical at the 2005 Olivier Awards and the 2005 Theatregoer's Choice Awards for originating the West End role of Bert.
The Mickey Mouse musical cartoon The Jazz Fool is released. Directed by Walt Disney, it is a salute to two recent Al Jolson films, The Jazz Singer and The Singing Fool.
"The new site is Florida, but the air is pure old Disney."
-LIFE magazine October 15, 1971
Two Cast Members are named as the next Walt Disney World ambassadors in a
ceremony at the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle before the theme park
opens on this morning. Norman Vossschulte and Jennifer Mason will represent their fellow
employees at official Disney World functions for two years.
Disney Legend Dave Smith, the founder and head of the Disney Archives, puts
in his final day of work at the Burbank studio. Smith started the archives after being
approached by Walt Disney’s family, including Roy O. Disney four years after Walt’s death in 1966, to
preserve the history of the company.
"I will take a lot of memories with me." -Dave Smith
Disney releases 12 more titles for the first time to VHS tape. They include A Dream Called
Walt Disney World, Alice in Wonderland, Old Yeller, Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Amy, Treasure Island,
Herbie Rides Again, The Shaggy Dog, Goofy Over Sports, Pollyanna, The Adventures of Chip 'n' Dale, and
The Sign of Zorro.
Phineas and Ferb, is born in Rochester, New York.
Actor and singer Toran Caudell is born in Los Angeles, California. He supplied the voice
of King Bob for Disney's Recess television series as well as for Recess: School's Out , Recess: Taking the Fifth
Grade and Recess: All Growed Down. Caudell was also the voice of Tripod for 101 Dalmatians: The Series.
To celebrate the 15th anniversary of Disney World's Fantasmic!, Disney's Hollywood
Studios becomes the first Walt Disney World Resort Entertainment offering to debut
the addition of "Glow With the Show" ear technology during this evening's
performance. The new ear hat technology (interactive light-up versions of the famous Mickey Ear hats) will be featured as a regular part of the nightly show. Technology allows the Ear hats to dance and play along with each
musical and illuminated sequence.