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April 18

April 18, 1983 – The Disney Channel Begins Broadcasting

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“The people at the Disney Channel want you to know that that’s the promise: a commitment to bringing you and your family the kind of quality television you’ll be glad to welcome in to your home.”

On April 18, 1993, the cable network Disney Channel began broadcasting. The channel began with an 18-hour programming block, which became a 24-hour broadcast on December 7, 1986. The channel was chaired by Jim Jimirro, and the leadership and success continued with John Cooke and Anne Sweeney, all of whom helped the channel reach over 35 million subscribers in a little over a decade. Disney Channel’s programming from the beginning has included original programming, classic Disney films and short films, and acquired family programming from other production companies. The concept of the Disney Channel has spread out beyond the United States, reaching countries such as Australia, Brazil, and the Philippines, eventually reaching 163 countries and broadcasting in 32 languages in 2009. An accompanying magazine was also published, known as The Disney Channel Magazine, but was discontinued in 1997.

April 17

April 17, 1957 – The Disneyland Anthology Series Episode “More About the Silly Symphonies” Airs on ABC

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“Actually, the Silly Symphonies were started as an experiment. We used them to test and perfect the color and animation techniques we employed later in full-length feature pictures like Cinderella, Snow White, and Fantasia.”

On April 17, 1957, the episode “More About the Silly Symphonies” from the Disneyland anthology series aired on ABC. The episode is a continuation about the Silly Symphony line of short films, with the first episode, “The Story of the Silly Symphony” airing on October 19, 1955. The episode was directed by Clyde Geronimi.

The episode begins with Walt looking through some fanmail, telling the audience that he continually gets asked questions about the Silly Symphonies. He then reads a letter about the Silly Symphony Waterbabies, which was made in 1938; the short film itself was inspired by the 1863 story of the same name by Charles Kingsley. The scene then turns into an animated retelling of Kingsley telling the story he created to his son. The short itself begins to play. This is then followed by Walt reading a letter about the short film The Grasshopper and the Ants (1934), which traces its tale back to ancient times. The history of fables then begins in Ancient China, followed by Egypt, then finishing up with Aesop, before moving in to the 1934 short film. The third short Walt covers is Chanticleer the Rooster, who was heavily featured in the Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, as well as the Middle Ages classic Reynard the Fox. The Chanticleer stories inspired the 1938 short film Farmyard Symphony, which soon begins to play. After this, Walt introduces nursery rhymes, citing them as a big source of inspiration for the Silly Symphonies. He shows the audience a tiny book called Tommy Thumb’s Pretty Song Book, which contains several well-known verses and rhymes, including Who Killed Cock Robin. Walt then goes into the supposed meaning of the verse, which was meant to have been written about the rise and fall of Sir Robert Walpole. In 1934, Disney created a Silly Symphony based on the verse, satirizing many well-known celebrities of the time. The final Silly Symphony presented is based on Eugene Field’s well known children’s verse Wynken, Blynken, and Nod (originally known as Dutch Lullaby).

April 16

April 16, 2006 – The ABC Drama Series What About Brian Premieres

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“I’m going to live my life, I’m doing what I want, and I don’t care what anyone else thinks!”

On April 16, 2006, the ABC drama series What About Brian premiered as a mid-season replacement. The series centers around 32-year-old Brian Davis, navigating life as the last single man in his group of friends, although Brian harbors a secret crush on his best friend, Marjorie. The show also delves into different kinds of love and relationships with the other characters in Brian’s group of friends. The series was the only one renewed for a second season in 2006, but was ultimately cancelled after its second season, ending on March 26, 2007. The series ran for a total of 25 episodes. It was created by Dana Stevens, and starred Barry Watson as Brian, Matthew Davis as Adam, Rick Gomez as Dave, Amanda Detmer as Deena, Rosanna Arquette as Nicole, and Sarah Lancaster as Marjorie.

April 15

April 15, 1932 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Barnyard Olympics is Released to Theaters

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“Good luck Mickey, hope you win. Minnie.”

On April 15, 1932, the Mickey Mouse short film Barnyard Olympics was released in theaters, just in time to capitalize on the Olympics being held in Los Angeles, California. The short was directed by Wilfred Jackson.

The Barnyard Olympics are in full swing, with a marching band taking the field and performing. First is a boxing match, but the boxers keep punching the ref until they punch themselves out. The next event is diving, followed by wrestling. Minnie is on the front row of the audience with Clarabelle Cow, while Mickey is prepping for his event with help from Horace Horsecollar. The cross country event begins, with Mickey competing; when he sees Minnie in the audience, he waves at her, but Pete tries to get Minnie’s attention. Fortunately, Minnie only has eyes for Mickey. The race starts, but Pete sabotages Mickey. Mickey races to catch up to the rest, but keeps running into trouble as the race continues, especially with continued sabotage, but he manages to give his best effort anyway. He finally manages to catch up to the Pete, and manages to win the race with a bike on its last legs.

April 14

April 14, 1962 – The First Spring Fling is Held at Disneyland

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“If you were a teen in Southern California during the 1960s, then Disneyland’s Spring Fling was the place to be and be seen.”

On April 14, 1962, the first dance event known as the Spring Fling took place in Disneyland. Teenagers dressed to the nines and came to the park to dance the night away to popular 60s sounds, with the occasional celebrity guest in attendance, including Annette Funicello. The first Spring Fling featured special prizes for guests, including the chance to win a new car, a trip to San Francisco, and Disneyland tickets. Tickets could cost up to $4.40.

April 13

April 13, 1965 – The Score of Mary Poppins Wins a Grammy

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“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!”

On April 13, 1965, the 7th Annual Grammy Awards were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The smash hit film Mary Poppins walked away with two Grammy Awards: one for Best Recording for Children, and one for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show, awarded to the Sherman Brothers.

April 12

April 12, 1992 – The Maze Attraction Alice’s Curious Labyrinth Opens in Disneyland Paris

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“Can you make it to the Queen of Hearts’ Castle?”

On April 12, 1992, the maze attraction Alice’s Curious Labyrinth opened in Disneyland Paris. The giant maze is takes guests on an Alice in Wonderland journey, beginning with an entry through the White Rabbit’s hole and including special areas like the Tulgey Wood. Guests play the part of Alice, encountering characters like the Cheshire Cat and the Queen of Hearts’ soldiers around every corner as they work to reach Sleeping Beauty Castle.

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