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Monthly Archives: February 2013

February 28

February 28, 1993 – The Animated Series Bonkers Premieres on the Disney Channel

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“Once upon a time in Toontown, there was a cat that had it all: fortune and fame, top of the game, up until he hit the wall.”

On February 28, 1993, the first episode of the animated series Bonkers premiered on the Disney Channel with the episode entitled “Trains, Toons and Toon Trains.” The title character had originally been part of the Raw Toonage feature, appearing in segments of the show. The series was also run in syndication starting on September 6, 1993, although it was taken off the air in 2004. The premise of the show is that popular cartoon character Bonkers D. Bobcat becomes a police officer with the Hollywood Police Department – Toon Division, after he was washed up and finished with show business. Bonkers is partnered with Detective Lucky Piquel, a cantankerous middle-aged man who hates cartoons, and is constantly trying to win Piquel’s praise, only to botch their assignments; the first season, however, had Bonkers paired with Miranda Wright, a cop that works at the same station. The series ended after 65 episodes on February 23, 1994, and starred Jim Cummings as Bonkers and Lucky Piquel, Karla DeVito as Miranda, and Frank Welker as Fall Apart Rabbit.

The episode begins with Bonkers getting his hand stuck in a typewriter, then accidentally sending it flying through the Chief’s door when trying to free himself. The Chief, not entirely thrilled by Bonkers’ arrival, gives him and Miranda an assignment to transport a criminal to the state penitentiary. While Bonkers is excited for the trip, Miranda is less than enthused. The criminal, Stiff Lips Sullivan, is the last surviving member of an infamous gang, and the only one who knows where the jewels the gang stole are hidden, but no one is able to get the information out of him. Miranda and Bonkers take Stiff Lips to the station, where they are spied on by a mob couple who is also after the location of the jewels. Miranda leaves Bonkers alone to watch Stiff Lips, but Bonkers finds himself getting into more trouble than he should, although he manages to make Stiff Lips laugh with his antics. Stiff Lips offers to tell Bonkers the location of the jewels since Bonkers is the only one to make him laugh.

Helga pretends to be a maid to get close to Stiff Lips, hiding the knock out gas under some pillows

Helga pretends to be a maid to get close to Stiff Lips, hiding the knock out gas under some pillows

The mob couple, Helga and Mr. Blaine, come up with a plan to use knock out gas and truth serum to get the jewel information. Unfortunately, the knock out gas knocks out Stiff Lips rather than Bonkers, and Bonkers attempts to arrest Helga, although he is chained to Stiff Lips and unable to leave. Miranda searches for the mob while Bonkers tries to hide Stiff Lips, although Helga is hot on his trail. When Blaine finds that Bonkers knows where the jewels are buried, Blaine and Helga try and torture the information out of him. Bonkers is able to escape and tells Miranda what’s been going on. Bonkers tries to hide, but is found by Helga and Blaine. Helga tries to use the truth serum on Bonkers, but Miranda takes him away before he can reveal the secret of the jewels. Helga and Miranda end up battling on top of the train until Bonkers sprays her with the truth serum, where she reveals she wanted to act and dance, but is snapped out of it by Blaine.

Miranda and Bonkers are thrown off the train, and are forced to walk the tracks. Bonkers comes up with an idea to get his train friend, the Locomotive Kid, to come save him and Miranda, and the Locomotive Kid races off to the rescue. After taking a rather unconventional shortcut, the three are able to catch up with the train, but the mob couple coerces Bonkers to tell them where the jewels are hidden. Bonkers draws them a map, and they jump off the train to their riches. As Miranda tells Bonkers they should radio for backup, Bonkers tells her it’s not necessary and reveals the location of the jewels: Stiff Lip’s teeth. The map he drew leads the criminal couple to the police station, in the middle of the Chief’s office.

February 27

February 27, 2005 – The Pixar Film The Incredibles Wins Two Academy Awards

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“Animation is about creating the illusion of life, and you can’t create it if you don’t have one.” – Brad Bird at his acceptance speech

On February 27, 2005, the 77th Academy Awards were held at the Kodak Theater in Los Angeles, California. Nominated for four Academy Awards, the sixth Pixar film, The Incredibles, walked away with two, including Best Animated Feature, beating out DreamWorks’ Shark Tale and Shrek 2. The Academy was also awarded the Best Sound Editing Oscar to Michael Silvers and Randy Thom, who were nominated against Paul N.J. Ottosson for Spider-Man 2 and Randy Thom and Dennis Leonard for The Polar Express. This would be director Brad Bird’s first Academy Award; he would win again three years later for Ratatouille.

February 26

February 26, 2008 – Disney’s The Little Mermaid: Original Broadway Cast Recording is Released Through Disney Records

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“Strange as a dream, real as the sea, if you can hear me now, come set me free…”

On February 26, 2008, the original Broadway cast recording of Disney’s The Little Mermaid was released through Disney Records. The recording of the 2008 Broadway musical includes the main cast: Sierra Boggess as Ariel, Sherie Rene Scott as Ursula, Norm Lewis as King Triton, Sean Palmer as Prince Eric, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian, and Brian D’Addario as Flounder. The soundtrack has twenty-nine songs, including many of the songs from the original film, and 10 new songs written by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater. The soundtrack was produced by Alan Menken, and was nominated for a Grammy Award at the 51st Grammy Awards, but lost to In the Heights.

February 25

February 25, 1927 – Actor and Disney Legend Dickie Jones is Born

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Pinocchio. Every time I think about it, I think about how blessed I was that I was there at the right time, the right moment, and I was the one Walt Disney decided to use. And the people I got to work with, it’s unbelievable. I worked with some of the best character actors in the business at that time. I’m so proud I was able to work with one of the greatest groups that was ever assembled for an animated feature.” – Dickie Jones.

On February 25, 1927, Richard “Dickie” Percy Jones was born in Snyder, Scurry County, Texas. At the age of four, Jones was billed as “World’s Youngest Trick Rider and Trick Roper,” and at age six, he was hired by actor Hoot Gibson to perform tricks in his rodeo. Gibson convinced Jones’ mother to take young Jones to Hollywood, where he landed small parts in B-Westerns. In 1939, Jones had his breakthrough with Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, playing Senate page Richard Jones. Soon after, Jones would have his most well-known role as the voice of the title character in Walt Disney’s second full-length animated feature film, Pinocchio. At the age of fifteen, Jones then joined the popular radio show The Aldrich Family as Henry Aldrich. During World War II, Jones served in the Army in Alaska, and was hired by Gene Autry after the war. Jones would then work in several western-themed television series, including The Range Rider, Annie Oakley, and Buffalo Bill, Jr. In 1959, Jones retired from acting and began a career in real estate. He was named a Disney Legend in 2000.

February 24

February 24, 1939 – The Silly Symphony The Practical Pig is Released to Theaters

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“He’s building another wolf machine – he must be crazy in the bean!”

On February 24, 1939, the Silly Symphony short film The Practical Pig was released to theaters. It is the fourth and final “Three Little Pigs” short film, and the second to last Silly Symphony ever made. Like the other sequels, it would never reach the level of popularity that The Three Little Pigs found. It was directed by Dick Richard.

Fiddler and Fifer Pig approach Practical Pig’s home, hearing him hammer away at his new invention. The blueprints reveal that he’s working on a lie detector, and the two laugh at his toil. As they reveal their plans to go swimming, the Practical Pig warns the two not to go, as the Wolf is nearby. They dismiss his concerns and run to the local swimming hole. From the nearby reeds, the Wolf spies on the two, salivating. He disguises himself as a mermaid on a rock, luring the two close before scooping them up in a net.

The Wolf ties up the two pigs and keeps them in a sack in front of his children

The Wolf ties up the two pigs and keeps them in a sack in front of his children

He brings the two pigs home to his family, but his kids aren’t allowed to eat the two until the Wolf captures the third pig. The kids promise not to eat the pigs until their father comes back home, but it’s an empty promise, as they start to fix them up in a pot the moment he leaves. The Wolf disguises himself as a messenger and takes a message to the Practical Pig, hoping to capture the pig when he rushes out to save his brothers. Unfortunately for the Wolf, the Practical Pig captures the wolf and uses his lie detector machine, which washes the Wolf’s mouth with soap or spanks him when he lies. The two pigs escape the kids’ clutches when too much pepper is sprinkled on them, and they sneeze, freeing themselves from the unbaked pie dough. They sprint home as fast as they can. Meanwhile the Wolf finally admits where the pigs are, and the Practical Pig sends him flying away on a firecracker before he attempts to rescue his brothers. The two pigs fly through the door, and when the Practical Pig chastises them for ignoring him, they sit down unknowingly on the lie detector and claim they never went swimming. The lie detector goes off, and the two are spanked.

February 23

February 23, 1955 – “Davy Crockett at the Alamo” Premieres on ABC

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“During the past season, we’ve presented two stories based on the life of Davy Crockett of Tennessee, a man whose courage, whose humor, and exploits lifted him into the legend class.”

On February 23, 1955, the final episode in the Davy Crockett trilogy, “Davy Crocket at the Alamo,” premiered on ABC in the Disney Anthology series Disneyland. Although this was written as Davy Crockett’s last adventure, two additional episodes were created thanks to the show’s enormous popularity; these final episodes were turned into a full-length feature film. The “Alamo” episode was directed by Norman Foster, and was written by Tom Blackburn. It stars Fess Parker as Davy Crockett, Buddy Ebsen as George Russel, Hans Conreid as Thimblerig, Nick Cravat as Bustedluck, Kenneth Tobey as James Bowie, and Don Megowan as William Travis.

The story begins with Davy and his friend George Russel heading out West “to follow the sun.” On a riverboat, a sly fellow named Mr. Thimblerig is playing pinochle with the travelers. He asks Davy and George to participate in the game. Davy says he doesn’t hold much for gambling, considering it foolish, but he finally consents to play and in the course of the game, he reveals to everyone how Thimblerig has been swindling them all. Thimblerig then realizes he’s been playing Davy Crockett, and ends the game, having been “hoisted on his own petard.” Later that evening, Davy stands on the railing of the boat, telling George of his intentions to head to Texas to help all the settlers in trouble. George is not thrilled with this plan, but he decides to go along with it. As they head downstairs for a drink, Thimblerig drunkenly offers his companionship, and ends up accompanying Davy and George to Texas.

Davy, Georgie, and Thimblerig peer over the rocks carefully to observe their surroundings

Davy, Georgie, and Thimblerig peer over the rocks carefully to observe their surroundings

As the three arrive in Texas, Davy spots smokesignals in the distance and follows them, although he knows that it could be the dangerous Comanche tribe. The trio peeks over a rock formation to see a Comanche warrior help the buffalo stampede, when the warrior falls off his horse. Crockett tries to help the injured Indian when the warrior pulls a knife on him. Davy and the warrior scuffle, but Davy wins and helps nurse the warrior back to health, nicknaming him “Bustedluck.” Davy then converses with Bustedluck, who offers to lead them to a white settlement as thanks for their help. They pass a small group of Mexicans, who warn Davy and the others that San Antonio has been taken over by Santa Ana, and the Texans have moved to the Alamo, which is surrounded by soldiers. Davy and his men continue to the Alamo anyway, and are soon pursued by Mexican soldiers. The Texans inside the Alamo help protect Davy and his crew until they can get safely inside the fort.

Davy is then sent to meet Jim Bowie, the commander, who is thrilled that Crockett is here, until he realizes that Crockett brought only four men. Davy volunteers to be a courier for more troops, but Bowie tells him that he’s needed there to help at least hold the fort. Colonel Bowie had been injured and with his condition worsening, he relinquishes his command. While Crockett is offered the position, he refuses and gives it up to William Travis, who is second in command to Bowie. Travis gives Crockett and a group of men the south wall to protect, and they watch as a messenger is sent from Santa Ana’s camp. The message says that the men in the Alamo are allowed to surrender on Santa Ana’s terms, or they will be slaughtered. Travis and Davy refuse to surrender, and the battle starts.

Davy and his crew band together as the Alamo is shelled day and night

Davy and his crew band together as the Alamo is shelled day and night

The Alamo is shelled all day and night, but after four days there are still no casualties. Late one night, George lets Davy know that they’re almost out of ammunition, and Davy reveals that he’s known that since they got there, only Bowie made him promise not to say anything. George is furious, thinking that Davy couldn’t trust him, and storms away, declaring that it’s now “every man for hisself.” George then goes to Travis, asking to be let out to get more troops from Goliad. George then makes it out, while Davy watches, worrying. A few days later, George makes it back, but arrives with the bad news that Goliad won’t be able to spare any men. Davy has to break the news to the ailing Bowie, who requests to be taken outside to be with his men. Travis breaks the news to the men that they are on their own to protect the Alamo. He then gives the men the option to either stay or leave, and not a single man will leave the Alamo.

One of the lookouts spies Santa Ana’s men sneaking up to the fort, and the final battle begins as those men storm the Alamo. The men in the Alamo are able to hold off the men in the first wave, but it becomes increasingly difficult with each storm of the small building. Bustedluck is the first of Crockett’s men to die, stabbed with a bayonet while protecting Thimblerig. Thimblerig is then shot by the invading troops, as is Travis. George is shot several times, but refuses to go down until he fires the cannon, and Bowie, hidden away in a room, prepares himself with two pistols as the soldiers break in. Davy turns to the dying George, whose last words are “Give ’em what fer, Davy.” Davy fights bravely as the last survivor as the men advance on him, although he is eventually killed in the process. The story ends with the flag waving above the Alamo turning into the flag of the State of Texas.

February 22

February 22, 1908 – Actor and Disney Legend Sir John Mills is Born

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“One of the luckiest things that ever happened to me was to be born with the desperate desire to become an actor. I never remember at any age wanting to be anything else.”

 

On January 22, 1908, Lewis Ernest Watts Mills was born in North Elmham, Norfolk, England, and grew up in Belton. In 1929, Mills made his professional acting debut in The Five O’Clock Girl at the London Hippodrome, and made his film debut in the 1932 film The Midshipmen. He enlisted in the Royal Engineers at the beginning of World War II, but was medically discharged in 1942 due to a stomach ulcer. In the late ’40s and ’50s, Mills was known predominantly for starring in war dramas, including The Colditz Story and Above Us the Waves.

Beginning in 1959, Mills starred in several films alongside his daughter Hayley, beginning with Tiger Bay. In 1960, Mills starred in the highly successful film Swiss Family Robinson, which became the highest grossing film of the year, beating out Psycho, Spartacus, and Exodus. He was also featured in the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color episode “Disneyland 10th Anniversary,” showing his family the new Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse attraction. Over his entire seven-decade career, Mills starred in more than 120 films, and was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1960 before being knighted in 1970. Mills was named a Disney Legend in 2002, and passed away in 2005 at the age of 97.