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October 21

October 21, 1951 – The Goofy Short Film Fathers Are People is Released to Theaters

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“The new father should start immediately sharing the responsibility for the child’s upbringing.”

On October 21, 1951, the Goofy short film Fathers Are People was released to theaters. This was one of several shorts where Goofy is portrayed as everyman George Geef. There is also a Hidden Mickey in this short, found on Junior’s bed. The short was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer.

The short begins with George entering the waiting room in the hospital with a box of cigars, proudly announcing that he is a father. Soon after, he is seen performing chores around his house, hanging up diapers, collecting milk bottles, preparing bottles for his son, and trying his best to help his wife. In the middle of the night, George goes to feed Junior, and ends up making himself a cocktail before turning off the light. The next morning, it’s time to take the family to Grandmother’s, forgetting one important thing: the baby. A picture diary shows the milestones in Junior’s life, including his first tooth, first step, and first word. One Sunday morning, Junior is seen getting in a fight with a neighborhood kid, with George and the other father fighting over which kid is in the wrong, although the kids just begin to play again. George tries to play with his father, but this “play” wears George out, as Junior is rather rough. George tries to sit and read the paper, although Junior pesters his father, wanting him to play. Junior also disobeys his father, and George tries to use reverse psychology, but to no avail. In the end, George falls on a roller skate, and decides that he’s had enough, and is going to give Junior a paddling. However, Junior is able to weasel out of it by acting cute. George decides that kids aren’t that bad, and wishes he had a million of them. When his wife asks how a tiny sweater she knitted looks, George panics, but relaxes when he realizes that he and his wife may only have the one child after all.

October 20

October 20, 1997 – The Disney Channel Show Bear in the Big Blue House Premieres

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“Howdy from the Big Bear! Want some fun? Here’s where! Just for you, all is new, in the house of blue!”

On October 20, 1997, the Disney Channel show Bear in the Big Blue House premiered. Produced by Jim Henson Productions in association with Disney, the show became a huge hit for the channel, running for five seasons with 118 episodes. The show centered around main character Bear, who lives in a big blue house in the middle of Woodland Valley with his friends Tutter the mouse, Pip and Pop the otters, Ojo the bear cub, Treelo the lemur, Shadow, Luna the Moon, and Ray the Sun. The show spawned several albums, merchandise, and even a live touring show. The characters were acquired by Disney when Disney bought the franchise, along with The Muppets, in 2004.

October 19

October 19, 1989 – The Thrill Attraction Body Wars Opens in Epcot’s Future World

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“A high speed thrill ride into the heart of adventure!”

On October 19, 1989, the thrill ride attraction Body Wars opened in the Wonders of Life Pavilion, then located in the Future World section of the Epcot park. Guests board a shuttle, and in an attempt to rescue Dr. Cynthia Lair from inside a human body, they will be “shrunk” and sent inside on an adventure through several systems in the body, including the cardiovascular and the respiratory systems. Tstarred Tim Matheson as Captain Braddock, Dakin Matthews as Mission Commander, and Elisabeth Shue as Dr. Cynthia Lair. The attraction used the same simulation technology was used on Star Tours. The ride, along with many other attractions in the Wonders of Life Pavilion, was closed on January 1, 2007.

October 18

October 18, 1946 – The Educational Film The Story of Menstruation is Delivered

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“So, as we see now, menstruation is just one routine step in a normal and natural cycle that is going on continuously within the body.”

On October 18, 1946, the educational film The Story of Menstruation was delivered to International Cellucotton Co. (now known as Kimberly-Clark). It was produced through a partnership with Kotex Products. It became a staple of health education classrooms for decades, using animation to depict the changes in a woman’s body through puberty. The film runs about ten minutes.

The film begins with a conversation about glands, namely the pituitary gland, which produces growth hormones. Between the ages of 11 to 17, the pituitary gland sends a new maturing hormone through a woman’s body, particularly to the ovaries. An explanation is given of a woman’s sexual reproduction hormones, and the cycle of an egg. It then goes to describe regularities when it comes to a period, and how timing can go off due to fatigue, catching a cold, or becoming emotionally upset. It reminds girls to keep a calendar for their cycle, and introduces a booklet called “Very Personally Yours,” which was handed out upon viewings of this film. It also dispels any theories that women should not shower or exercise during their period. The booklet also provides exercises to help with cramping, and advises healthy living every day to help keep the body running smoothly.

October 17

October 17, 1937 – Donald’s Nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie First Appear

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“I am sending your angel nephews, Louie, Huey and Dewey, to stay with you while their father is in the hospital. A giant firecracker exploded under his chair.”

On October 17, 1937, the characters Huey, Dewey, and Louie first appeared in the Donald Duck Sunday comic strip. They made their first appearance after Donald’s cousin Della sent them to him while their father was in the hospital thanks to one of their pranks. The triplets and their antics would prove popular enough to transition onto the screen in the short film Donald’s Nephews, released on April 15, 1938. Seen as one entity throughout most of their career, the choice to make them wear different colors for distinction came about when they were given their own show in 1987, DuckTales. Huey was to wear red (the brightest “hue”), Dewey would wear blue (the color of water and dew), and Louie would wear green.

October 16

October 16, 1925 – Actress and Disney Legend Angela Lansbury is Born

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“Oddly enough, children recognize my voice. They’ll hear me and say, “Mom, that’s Mrs. Potts!” It’s the timbre of my voice that they pick up on.”

On October 16, 1925, Angela Brigid Lansbury was born in Regent’s Park, London, England to actress Moyna MacGill and politician Edgar Lansbury. Her talent manifested at the age of nine, when she took to playing characters as a way to cope with her father’s death of stomach cancer. She immersed herself in film, and in 1940, she began studying acting at the Webber Douglas School of Singing and Dramatic Art; her formal education was cut short by the Blitz, where she and her family immigrated to the United States, ending up in New York City. While there, Lansbury gained a scholarship to study at the Feagin School of Drama and Radio. In 1944, she got her big Hollywood break when she was cast as the maid in the film Gaslight, which not only scored her a contract with MGM, but an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The following year would see another Academy Award nomination for Lansbury after her work in The Picture of Dorian Gray, and a third nomination would occur in 1962 for her role in The Manchurian Candidate.

Lansbury is better known for her roles on the stage, beginning with her debut in 1957 in the short-lived Hotel Paradiso. Her first musical was Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ Anyone Can Whistle, which closed after 9 performances. This was followed with Mame in 1966, where she was cast as lead Mame Dennis. Lansbury not only gained near universal praise for her performance, but received her first of five Tony Awards for the role. She would then win Tony Awards for her roles in Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975), Sweeney Todd (1979), and Blithe Spirit (2009). Despite this success, Lansbury is probably best known for her role as writer and amateur sleuth Jessica Fletcher in the long-running television series Murder, She Wrote. For her role, she was nominated for twelve Emmy awards.

Lansbury’s association with Disney began in 1971, when she was cast as the lead character Eglantine Price in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. She would go on to be nominated for a Golden Globe for this role. Her second main role with the studio came in the 1990s, where she voiced the role of Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, and sang the title song, which would go on to win an Academy Award. In 2006, she would also be featured as a host in Fantasia 2000, introducing “The Firebird Suite.” Known as a Disney icon to children everywhere, she was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1995. Among her numerous other awards and honors, Lansbury was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2014.

October 15

October 15, 1943 – The Figaro Short Film Figaro and Cleo is Released to Theaters

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“Although she’d make a dainty little dish…”

On October 15, 1943, the Figaro short film Figaro and Cleo was released to theaters. This is the first of a handful of shorts that features the popular character from the animated feature film Pinocchio, with Figaro continuing to star in an additional six short films. The short was directed by Jack Kinney.

Figaro is waiting to be fed his supper, and is angered that more attention is being paid to Cleo, the goldfish. Hungry, Figaro eyes Cleo, but tells himself that he’d rather die. However, his hunger gets the best of him, and he decides to hunt after her. He then decides to play with the broom instead, much to the annoyance of the maid. He tries to get her attention, but she brushes him away. He lands in the living room and decides to play with a ball of yarn instead, finding himself in more trouble; when the maid punishes him by giving him no milk, Figaro decides that now is the time to eat Cleo. He waits until the coast is clear, then approaches Cleo with a makeshift fishing rod that uses his tail. When the maid catches him, he accidentally hooks the side of the fishbowl, but she frees him and scolds him again. Tired, the maid decides to take a nap, leaving Figaro with nothing to do but to go after Cleo. She wakes up to find him face-first in the bowl, and she ties his tail to her chair to keep him out of trouble before nodding off again. Unfortunately, her snoring causes the bowl to travel closer to the trapped Figaro, and he ends up freeing himself and falling into the bowl. The maid wakes up to find him in drowning in the bowl, and she quickly pulls him out and revives him. She makes sure that the two of them finally get along, and Cleo and Figaro seal their friendship with a kiss. In the end, the maid gives Figaro his milk.

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