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Monthly Archives: December 2013

December 21

December 21, 1992 – The Aladdin’s Royal Caravan Parade Begins at Walt Disney World’s Disney-MGM Studios

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“Prince Ali, fabulous he, Ali Ababwa, genuflect, show some respect, down on one knee!”

On December 21, 1992, the Aladdin’s Royal Caravan parade began its run at the Disney-MGM Studios park in Walt Disney World. Based on the hit Disney animated feature Aladdin, released November 25, 1992, the parade featured the song “Prince Ali,” sung by actor Robin Williams. One feature of the parade were the spitting camel floats, which had their heads turning side to side and shooting water at the crowds. These camels would eventually be a part of the Magic Carpets of Aladdin attraction in Adventureland of the Magic Kingdom. The parade lasted until August 27, 1995, and was replaced by Toy Story – The Parade.

December 20

December 20, 1924 – Imagineer, Artist, Actor, and Disney Legend Sam McKim is Born

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“Sam’s creations at Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and other parks are many. Frontierland comes to mind as one of his major contributions. It was an honor to know Sam McKim, a man of very high character.” – Former Imagineer George McGinnis

On December 20, 1924, John Samuel McKim was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While still young, his family moved from Canada to Seattle, Washington; they would eventually move to Los Angeles due to his father’s health issues. He and his four siblings were child actors in Hollywood, with Sam, at age 10, being the first to enter the entertainment business. He got a contract with Republic Picutres, working mostly in B-films and Westerns, appearing with such stars as Spencer Tracy and Gene Autry. McKim always had a talent for art, and in high school, he sent his drawings to the Walt Disney Studios. He was then offered a job in the traffic department as a foot in the door; instead of taking the job, he decided to apply for the United States Army with his brother David. Although the two were turned down due to the fact that they were not U.S. citizens, the two applied for citizenship the next year and successfully applied for the Army after that, effectively leaving acting behind. McKim served in the American Infantry Division in WWII, and attended the Art Center College of Design after the war was over. Directly after graduation, he was drafted into the Korean War, and attended the Chouinard Art Institute after returning from Korea.

In 1953, McKim took a job at 20th Century Fox creating story sketches for films. After a series of layoffs at Fox in 1954, McKim took a job at the Walt Disney Studios, using his art skills to create inspirational sketches for Walt Disney’s pet project, Disneyland. McKim worked on sketches for almost every aspect of the park, including Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion. McKim was also asked to contribute to storyboarding of several Disney films and shows, including The Gnome Mobile, Big Red, and Zorro. During the development of Walt Disney World, McKim continued his contribution to the look of the park, developing sketches for Disney-MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) and several Epcot attractions. What McKim is most known for, however, is being the creator of the Disneyland souvenir maps from 1958 to 1964, which has become a highly sought collector’s item. In 1992, McKim was also asked to create the map for Disneyland Paris, in commemoration of its opening. In 1996, McKim was honored as a Disney Legend for his work as an Imagineer. He passed away on July 9, 2004, at the age of 79.

December 19

December 19, 1962 – The Special Short Film A Symposium on Popular Songs is Released to Theaters

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“Come in and sit down and I’m going to play for you several hundred of the latest hit songs of the past 60 years, which, naturally, I wrote myself.”

On December 19, 1962, the special short film A Symposium on Popular Songs was released to theaters. The short is a mix of traditional animation and stop motion animation, relaying the history of popular music within the 20th century. The short was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, but lost to The Hole by Storyboard Inc. and Brandon Films. The short was directed by Bill Justice, with story by Xavier Atencio. It stars the vocal talents of Paul Frees, Gloria Wood, Billy Storm, and Skip Farrell. The songs within the short were written by the Sherman Brothers, with musical arraignment by Camarata.

The short takes place inside Ludwig von Drake’s stately mansion, where he greets the audience at the door and brings them inside to talk about popular music. He begins with his life story at the beginning of the turn of the century where, inspired by his poverty and his ragged clothing, he created ragtime music. He then plays his hit song, “The Rutabaga Rag,” with some accompanying stop-motion animation of vegetables dancing. After this, he moves to the Roaring Twenties, where he was asked to come up with a new style of popular music to put Dixie on the map. He does so with the song “Charleston Charlie,” an allusion to popular ’20s singer Helen Kane.

Ludwig moves to the Great Depression era of songs, and turns to a picture of a signer with a backing band

Ludwig moves to the Great Depression era of songs, and turns to a picture of a signer with a backing band

Moving to the Great Depression era, Ludwig has a bit of a panic when he talks about how he lost his money in the stock market. He bought a piano with his last nickel, and wrote the song “Although I Dropped $100,000.” The song parodies the popular songs of the time period, including “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella” and “Stormy Weather.” Ludwig explains after this that he invented the microphone, and by doing so, invented the idea of a crooner. He wrote the love ballad “I’m Blue for You, Boo-Boo-Boo-Boo-Boo,” which has the singer imitating the crooning style of Bing Crosby. After this, Ludwig moved on to the style of Boogie Woogie, with three singers singing “The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man” which is allusion to the swing style, particularly the songs of the Andrews Sisters.

Ludwig then turns on the television to his favorite music show, The Von Drake Hour, which plays many of his hit songs. The song that starts to play is “Puppy Love is Here to Stay,” which is the beginning of the “modern era” of music (modern for the time the short was released). Soon, Ludwig turns off thetelevision and takes the audience into his hi-fi studio to play his final song, “Rock, Rumble, and Roar” which pays homage to the early rock and roll era in popular music. He forgot the record, and decides to play the song himself, which is segmented with snippets of all the earlier songs. The short ends with the house shaking and rocking along with the raucous music Ludwig is playing.

December 18

December 18, 1933 – Diane Disney Miller, Daughter of Walt Disney, is Born

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“[Diane Disney Miller] is remembered by Disney fans around the world as the beloved daughter of Walt Disney, and one who graciously shared her family history and personal memories of her father.”

On December 18, 1933, Diane Marie Disney Miller was born in Los Angeles, California. Walt Disney was accepting an award from The Parents Magazine for “distinguished service to children,” when he was given the news that his wife Lillian was in labor; he murmured his thanks to the guests assembled and ran out the door to join his wife and welcome his daughter. Diane was the first daughter of the Disney family; sister Sharon was adopted by the family in 1936. At age 20, Diane met Ron Miller on a blind date in San Francisco; the two married on May 9, 1954. After serving in the Army and playing professional football, Miller would work at the Walt Disney Company, eventually serving as CEO. In 1984, Miller left the entertainment industry, and he and Diane opened the Silverado Vineyards Winery in Napa, California.

After dedicating her life to raising her family, Diane became a fierce advocate of her father and his legacy. She helped document the history of Walt and the company, especially with the creation of the Walt Disney Family Museum, which opened in 2009. Diane was also instrumental in the development and opening of the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2004. Known for her fierce protection of her father’s legacy, she was honored for her efforts to preserve the history of Walt Disney and the company for nearly two decades. She continued to fight against inaccurate biographies and rumors circulating her father, and in 2001, she assisted the Walt Disney Family Foundation in creating a documentary film entitled The Man Behind the Myth.

On November 19, 2013, Diane passed away after sustaining injuries in a fall. She is survived by her husband, seven children, 13 grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

 

December 17

December 17, 1932 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Mickey’s Good Deed is Released to Theaters

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“Thank you! Merry Christmas!”

On December 17, 1932, the Mickey Mouse short film Mickey’s Good Deed was released to theaters. It was directed by Burt Gillett.

It’s a cold Christmas night, and Mickey is playing “O Come All Ye Faithful” on the cello while passersby throw him coins in his tin cup. Pluto howls along with Mickey’s playing, and the two are pleased that they have enough money to get something to eat. However, they find that people have been throwing them nuts and bolts instead of money, and are unable to buy any food. Mickey is discouraged, but cheers up quickly when he gets the idea to play outside of a rich person’s house. Inside the house, a spoiled piglet is loudly whining while his father and the butler try to entertain him. Suddenly, the piglet is distracted by Pluto’s howling outside, and demands that his father buy him the dog. The butler pursues Mickey and Pluto, but Mickey refuses to sell Pluto, as Pluto is his pal. Unfortunately, in the chase, Mickey’s cello is destroyed by a passing horse-drawn sled.

After seeing the poverty-stricken single mother and her several children, Mickey and Pluto are driven to tears

After seeing the poverty-stricken single mother and her several children, Mickey and Pluto are driven to tears

Mickey soon spies a woman crying in a dilapidated shack, and realizes that the money could help her and her several children for Christmas, and sells Pluto to the butler, provided that they give him a good home. Inside the home, the piglet starts abusing Pluto, hitting him with a hammer and chasing after him with a toy train. Meanwhile, Mickey uses the money to buy gifts for the children, and pretends to be Santa while packing their stockings. He wakes up the children as he leaves, and the children are delighted to find that Santa found them. Back at the hose, the piglet is causing even more havoc, with his father and the butler unable to stop him. The father is at his wits end, and decides to throw Pluto out. As the piglet whines, the father finally gives the piglet a long-overdue spanking. Pluto leaves the house and reunites with Mickey, and the two are pleased to find that the will have Christmas dinner, as the piglet tied a turkey to Pluto’s tail.

December 16

December 16, 1983 – The Mickey Mouse Cartoon Featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol Premieres in Theaters

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“What’s this world coming to, Cratchit? You work all your life to get money, and people want you to give it away!”

On December 16, 1983, the Mickey Mouse cartoon featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol premiered in theaters. The 25 minute film was based on the classic Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol, with Disney comic book staple Uncle Scrooge McDuck playing the part of Ebenezer Scrooge. Mickey portrays Bob Cratchit, Goofy plays Jacob Marley’s ghost, and Donald Duck plays Fred, among several other classic Disney characters. This was Mickey’s foray back into theaters after his last short film in 1953, The Simple Things. The idea for the film went back to the 1974 record of the same name. The film was released on a double billing with the film The Rescuers. It was eventually nominated for an Academy Award – the first Mickey Mouse short to be honored so since 1948’s Mickey and the Seal; it would lose to Sundae in New York. The film was directed by Burny Mattinson, with story by Mattinson, Tony L. Marino, Ed Gombert, Don Griffith, Alan Young, and Alan Dinehart. It stars Alan Young as Scrooge, Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse, Clarence Nash as Donald, Hal Smith as Goofy, Eddie Carroll as Jiminy Cricket, and Will Ryan as Willie the Giant and Pete.

The film begins on Christmas Eve in London, and Scrooge is heading back to his office, where he lectures employee Bob Cratchit for using a piece of coal in the stove. Cratchit works up the nerve to ask Scrooge for half of Christmas Day off, and Scrooge agrees, so long as his pay is docked. Scrooge goes back to his desk to count his money, but is soon interrupted by the appearance of his nephew Fred. Fred brings his uncle a wreath, but he and Cratchit are soon dismayed at Scrooge’s attitude about Christmas. Fred invites his uncle to Christmas dinner, but is soon kicked out of the office. After Fred leaves, two men arrive asking Scrooge for a donation for charity. He sends them on their way without a donation, and laments to Cratchit about how he doesn’t understand why everyone wants him to give his money away.

Scrooge eyes the clock, but begrudgingly lets Cratchit go home for Christmas

Scrooge eyes the clock, but begrudgingly lets Cratchit go home for Christmas

That evening, Cratchit leaves merrily to join his family for Christmas, and Scrooge heads home in the late London night. As he arrives home, his door knocker suddenly turns into the face of his old partner, Jacob Marley. Scrooge is startled, but thinks nothing of it. A shadow follows him up the stairs, and although Scrooge tries to hide, the ghost of Marley finds him and warns him of his fate – to have to carry heavy chains on his soul for all eternity, thanks to his sins. Marley tells him that three spirits will meet him through the night, should he want to avoid that fate. Scrooge heads to bed, worried about the spirits, but soon dismisses them and goes to sleep. The Ghost of Christmas Past arrives at one, and takes Scrooge back to his past, when he used to be kinder and believed in Christmas. After a dizzying flight through London, Scrooge arrives back at his old employer’s Christmas Party. Scrooge spies himself in the corner, and watches as he falls in love with Isabelle, the love of his life.

As they continue watching Scrooge’s life, they see the decline of Scrooge’s love for Isabelle, as money has become his only love. She leaves him, and Scrooge begs the spirit to take him home. When the clock strikes two, the Ghost of Christmas Present arrives, who is surrounded by the food of generosity. Scrooge argues that no one has ever offered him generosity, but the ghost shoots back that Scrooge never gave reason for anyone to show him any. The ghost takes Scrooge to the house of Bob Cratchit, where Scrooge sees his family, with the sickly Tiny Tim. Scrooge is concerned with the lack of food the Cratchits have, as well as the welfare of Tiny Tim, who may not live to see another Christmas. As Scrooge asks the spirit what happens to the boy, the spirit disappears, and all the lights around him go out.

Cratchit and his family mourn the loss of their youngest child, Tiny Tim

Cratchit and his family mourn the loss of their youngest child, Tiny Tim

The Ghost of Christmas Future arrives, with Scrooge being taken to the graveyard. Scrooge sees Cratchit mourning over his son’s grave, but when Scrooge begs for Tiny Tim’s life, he is interrupted by the laughter of two weasels, who are digging the grave for Scrooge. Scrooge is taken to his plot and sees his name on the tombstone, and is then pushed into the grave by the spirit. As the spirit laughs, Scrooge begs for his life, pleading that he will change. As he falls, he finds that he is back in his own room, arriving home on Christmas morning. Scrooge rushes outside, and starts his day by making a huge donation to the two men from yesterday. Scrooge then runs into his nephew Fred, and accepts the invitation to Christmas dinner before going shopping. He rushes over to Cratchit’s house, and pretends to be the same old Scrooge. He soon reveals his new demeanor, making Cratchit his partner and giving him a raise. The film ends with a celebration in the Cratchit house, with Scrooge acting as another father to Cratchit’s children.

December 15

December 15, 1973 – The Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction Opens in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

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“Set sail on a swashbuckling voyage to a long-forgotten time and place when pirates and privateers ruled the seas.”

On December 15, 1973, the Walt Disney World version of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opened, thanks to its popularity in the original Disneyland park. The attraction is mostly similar to the original Disneyland attraction, although there has been some modification during the 2006 alterations, which included elements from the hit Pirates of the Caribbean film series. Guests enter a world of pirates, entering sites like the Pirates Grotto, the Fort, Town Square, the Burning City, and the Dungeon. The attraction is still one of the most popular attractions in all of Walt Disney World.

December 14

December 14, 2003 – Walt Disney World’s Pop Century Resort Opens

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“Experience the unforgettable fads of the 1950s through the 1990s all over again.”

On December 14, 2003, the Pop Century Resort at Walt Disney World opened. The theme of the resort is important pieces of popular culture that defined the United States starting from 1950 to 1990, including toys (Rubik’s Cube), activities (bowling), and innovations (laptop computers). The resort is also known for its several pools: the 1960s Hippy Dippy Pool, the 1950s Bowling Pool, and the 1990s Computer Pool. The ’60’s section also includes a playground for younger children. The resort was originally planned to be completed in 2002, but was postponed due to the effects on tourism from the terrorist attacks in New York City. A section known as the Legendary Years was planned and had extensive work done, but was never opened; this section eventually turned into the Art of Animation Resort, which opened in 2012.

December 13

December 13, 2005 – The Direct to Video Sequel Kronk’s New Groove is Released

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“But then he did a whole 180, said vamoose to the shady lady, now he’ll teach your kid to talk like a squirrel.”

On December 13, 2005, the direct-to-video sequel to the 2000 animated feature film The Emperor’s New Groove, titled Kronk’s New Groove, was released. This sequel was nominated for three Annie Awards, including Best Home Entertainment Production, Best Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production, and Best Writing in an Animated Feature Film. The film overall was panned, as critics considered the storyline weak. It was written by Tom Rogers, Anthony Leondis, and Michael LaBash, and was directed by Elliot M. Bour and Saul Andrew Blinkoff. The film includes the original cast from the first film, including Patrick Warburton as Kronk, Eartha Kitt as Yzma, David Spade as Kuzco, John Goodman as Pacha, and Patti Deutsch as the Waitress; the film also includes Tracey Ullman as Miss Birdwell, and John Mahoney as Kronk’s father.

The film begins with a cheese explosion at Mudka’s Meat Hut, where Kronk is the head chef. Kronk is distressed, as his perfect life seems to have gone awry. He takes the audience back to when his troubles started – earlier that same day. Kronk has changed a lot since the end of his involvement with Yzma, with the whole town adoring him. Kuzco interrupts Kronk’s narration to talk about himself, but explains that the film really belongs to Kronk, but still interrupts here and there. Back at the Meat Hut, Kronk continues his duties as head chef and head delivery boy, and sees his friend Pacha and his family. Soon, an urgent message arrives for Kronk, which he attempts to hide from everyone. He is panicked that his father is coming for a visit, as he hasn’t told his father that he doesn’t have a wife, family, and a house on a hill. His father never approved of his cooking talents, and Kronk feels like he always disappointed his father.

True to form, Kronk misses the signs that he's heading into a dangerous area

True to form, Kronk misses the signs that he’s heading into a dangerous area

Kronk begins telling the story about how he gained and lost his house on a hill to the waitress, where he first goes to the senior citizens home, where the seniors are wishing for a youth potion. He is unaware that he’s being watched by Yzma, who comes up with a trap to catch Kronk. She is no longer a cat, but still maintains some catlike qualities, including a tail. She claims that she has changed and wishes to help others, and takes him down to her secret lair, where she has created a youth potion. She tasks Kronk to sell the youth potion to the seniors, knowing that he needs the money to buy a big house and finally get a thumbs up from his father. Everyone takes the potion, and starts believing they are now young and beautiful, although they are really only having a placebo effect. Yzma soon reveals that she’s been running a scam, as the potion is nothing more than sewer slime.

Kronk soon makes a lot of money, and as the seniors need money to buy more youth potion, they sell Kronk the home. After a while, one of the seniors named Rudy stops by to visit, but isn’t wearing any clothing. Rudy reveals that he had to sell his clothes to buy more youth potion, and Kronk gives him a free bottle. Rudy then goes crazy on receiving the potion, and Kronk realizes that the potion was a fake. Kronk feels incredibly guilty for helping Yzma to cheat his friends, and Rudy reveals that the seniors were ready to elect Yzma as emperor. Kronk exposes Yzma as a fake, and the seniors chase after her. After they catch her, the seniors realize that they’re only as young as they feel, but still wish to get their belongings back from Yzma. She pulls out her most diabolical potion ever, and turns into a fluffy pink bunny, but is soon taken away by a hawk. Kronk then returns his attentions to the problems at hand, and decides to give his house back to the seniors.

Kronk finishes his story, and begins the tale of his lost love

Kronk finishes his story, and begins the tale of his lost love

As Kronk finishes telling the story of how he gained and lost his house on a hill, he starts to cry. The waitress sends Kronk back to work, but he then moves into a story about how he lost his girl. Kronk begins with taking the village children to Camp Chippamunka, competing for best troop for a third year. There, Kronk falls in love with troop leader Miss Birdwell, but thanks to the antics of his troop, the romance between Birdwell and Kronk doesn’t last long, turning into a rivalry between the troops. The two have a fight one night, but come to an understanding and work together to make a treat of raisin bread for their troops, which once again leads to a mutual attraction. The two declare to their troops that they are ending the feud, but are unaware that Tipo from Kronk’s troop is planning on playing a mean prank on Miss Birdwell’s troop. At the final event of the contest, Kronk’s troop performs exceptionally well, and Tipo puts his plan into action, accidentally leaving behind his empty pouch of itching powder in their grip chalk. After discovering Tipo’s bag of powder, marked with Tipo’s name, Kronk steps in to take the blame, and loses the woman he loves. He then goes back to the present, and the waitress points out that his father is on his way.

Kronk then comes up with the idea to borrow Pacha’s wife, kids, and house on a hill. Kronk’s father soon arrives at the restaurant, and Pacha’s family pretends that they are Kronk’s family. However, the idyllic scene is interrupted when Pacha enters the scene dressed as a woman, but Kronk pretends that he’s his mother-in-law. Kronk’s father, thinking Pacha is attractive, starts hitting on him. Kronk also has to pretend that he’s not the chef of the restaurant, and as he tries to balance cooking and meaningful, yet meddlesome, gestures from his friends as they try to assist him, the fondue explodes, bringing it back to the scene at the beginning of the film. Kronk finally explains the truth to his father, and resigns himself to being a failure. Chaca, one of Pacha’s kids, tells Kronk that he has the entire village, which cheers him up. His father finally gives him the thumbs up he’s always wanted, and tells him that he’s proud of him. The movie ends with Miss Birdwell returning, and the two rekindle their romance.

December 12

December 12, 1952 – The Goofy Short Film How to Be a Detective is Released to Theaters

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“Every large city offers a wealth of opportunities for a good private detective. The requirements for such a job are quite simple: item number one, he needs office space.”

On December 12, 1952, the Goofy short film How to Be a Detective was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Dick Kinney and Brice Mack.

The short begins with a city at night, with several crimes being committed in one building. One small spot at the top of the building has an “Office to Let” sign, which is soon taken away and replaced with a sign for Johnny Eyeball, Private Eye. Johnny (portrayed by Goofy), has his reading of a Mickey Mouse comic interrupted by a mysterious woman who requests him to “find Al.” She pays him $100, and the police chief appears, telling Johnny to leave the case to the police. A shady weasel approaches Johnny with a gun soon after, and threatens him. Johnny then heads to Al’s Joint, disguised as an old man, but is quickly recognized.

Johnny finds himself "sleeping with the fishes," but is soon pulled out by the police chief

Johnny finds himself “sleeping with the fishes,” but is soon pulled out by the police chief

When Johnny enters the bar, he asks the bartender for information on Al, bribing him with a dollar. The bartender drugs Johnny’s drink with “goof balls,” and Johnny soon finds himself in the bottom of the river wearing cement boots. The chief pulls Johnny out of the river and warns him again to let the police handle this case. Johnny then heads to the Chronicle’s files, but falls down an elevator shaft. He is then kicked out of the morgue, and tries to call the police. Everyone is on the Al case, and they follow a mysterious car in taxis from “Al’s Taxi,” but end up in various dangerous situations, including dodging trains and getting squished between two trucks. The chase continues for a while, which includes gunplay, when all three cars end up crashing into a hay bale. As the weasel, the woman, Johnny, and the police chief pop out of the hay, the woman takes the chief, who is the mysterious Al Muldoon they’ve all been searching for, by the ear and drags him into the nearby building of the Justice of the Peace, who happens to be the weasel. Johnny shrugs, and says simply that this case proves that crime doesn’t pay.