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Monthly Archives: January 2014

January 24

January 24, 1941 – The Pluto Short Film Pluto’s Playmate is Released to Theaters

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On January 24, 1941, the Pluto short film Pluto’s Playmate was released to theaters. It was directed by Norm Ferguson.

It’s a perfect day at the beach for Pluto as he races across the sand chasing a ball. The ball lands in the water, and as he goes after it, the ball seemingly moves on its own, avoiding Pluto’s teeth. As Pluto searches for the ball, a wave sweeps him across the shore, revealing that the ball has been taken by a playful seal. The seal wishes to play with Pluto, but Pluto is suspicious of the strange creature. Pluto tries to take the ball from the seal, but ends up burying holes in the sand in his pursuit. Pluto finally gets his ball back and tries to bury it in the sand away from the seal, but the seal sneaks under Pluto and takes the ball away again. The seal throws the ball for Pluto, and once Pluto retrieves it, he buries it in a hole several feet deep. The seal dives in to retrieve it, and Pluto sees this as his chance to bury the seal along with the ball. However, when a wave comes in, the seal pops out of the water, unable to be trapped by Pluto’s antics.

The seal plays with Pluto's ball while swimming around, which infuriates Pluto

The seal plays with Pluto’s ball while swimming around, which infuriates Pluto

The seal plays happily in the water with Pluto’s ball, infuriating the dog. Pluto decides to take a sneak attack approach and creeps through the water to catch the seal. As he travels through some seaweed, he unknowingly picks up an octopus, who traps Pluto to the edge of a barrel. Before Pluto can bark at the octopus, the octopus uses its legs to keep Pluto’s mouth closed. The octopus traps Pluto under the water, and Pluto struggles to get free. The seal sees Pluto struggling, and works to free Pluto from the clutches of the octopus through tug-of-war method. The seal wins, and he and Pluto are swept to shore by another wave. Pluto seems to have stopped breathing, and the seal quickly revives him. The seal returns to ball to Pluto, and the grateful dog plays ball with the seal up and down the beach.

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January 23

January 23, 2006 – The Attraction Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! Has Its Grand Opening

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“A child is loose in Monstropolis and must be apprehended!”

On January 23, 2006, the Disneyland’s California Adventure attraction Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! had its grand opening, although it had been open since December of 2005. Based on the hit 2001 Pixar film, guests are taken through downtown Monstropolis to tour the factory when they hear that a child is on the loose in the city. Guests are able to live the adventure alongside Mike and Sulley as they try to rescue Boo and bring her back to the human world. The attraction replaced Superstar Limo, which closed on January 11, 2002, and only being open for less than a year.

January 22

January 22, 2001 – The Disney Channel Original Series The Book of Pooh Premieres

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“Could it be who there? Maybe it’s Pooh Bear! Pooh? Well, that’s me!”

On January 22, 2001, the Disney Channel original series The Book of Pooh premiered. Featuring characters from A. A. Milne’s beloved franchise, this was Disney’s third Winnie the Pooh centric series; the first two were Welcome to Pooh Corner (1983 – 1986) and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988 – 1991). The series relied on the art of Japanese bunraku puppetry for the members of the Hundred Acre Wood, along with computer animated sets. The series was notable for having voice actor Jim Cummings voicing Tigger full time, replacing former voice actor, Paul Winchell. During its run, the show was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards, and won once in 2002 for Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series, tying with Sesame Street; the nominations were for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography and Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling (both in 2002), and Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series in 2005. The series stars Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, John Fiedler as Piglet, Ken Sansom as Rabbit, Peter Cullen as Eeyore, André Stojka as Owl, Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Kessie, and Paul Tiesler as Christopher Robin.

January 21

January 21, 1933 – The Mickey Mouse Short The Mad Doctor is Released to Theaters

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“I’m a raring tearing wizard when it comes to cutting up! I can graft a chicken’s gizzard on the wishbone of a pup!”

On January 21, 1933, the Mickey Mouse short film The Mad Doctor was released to theaters. The film is notable for being deemed “too frightening” by the British film censor. The film was directed by Dave Hand.

It’s a blustery night, and Mickey finds it hard to sleep, especially after hearing Pluto’s wailing. Mickey looks outside to find that Pluto has been dognapped, and follows the strange footsteps to a mysterious castle on the edge of town. As Mickey walks across the bridge to the castle, it falls away, leaving him completely trapped at the castle door. He is pulled inside and locked in, and begins his search for Pluto. The mysterious figure takes him into some sort of lab, and Mickey ends up going through a secret tunnel to a dungeon filled with mischievous skeletons. The mysterious figure, revealing himself to be a mad doctor, ties Pluto to an x-ray machine, revealing his intentions to combine Pluto and a chicken to create a hideous creation, and find out what kind of animal will hatch from its eggs.

The mad doctor reveals his plans of combining Pluto with a chicken and seeing what hatches

The mad doctor reveals his plans of combining Pluto with a chicken and seeing what hatches

Mickey hears Pluto’s cries and tries to escape from the dungeon, running into more skeletons. Mickey fights the skeletons, and is trapped in a skeleton spider’s web. As the mad doctor continues to torture Pluto, Mickey hurries to get out, but the door to the dungeon is locked. He finally is let out but is trapped on an operating table; the mad doctor sets up the trap to slice Mickey open with a buzz saw from the ceiling. Soon, it is revealed that the entire situation was a dream. As Mickey calls out for Pluto, Pluto bursts through Mickey’s window, and Mickey joyful hugs his pal.

January 20

January 20, 1971 – The Featurette Bongo is Released

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“But mostly, this is a story about Bongo. He was a circus bear: was born in the circus, grew up in the circus, in fact, Bongo was the star of the circus.”

On January 20, 1971, the Bongo segment from the animated feature film Fun and Fancy Free was released as a featurette. Based on the children’s story “Little Bear Bongo” by Sinclair Lewis, first published in 1930, it was originally slated to be a complete feature film, but the production was interrupted by the onset of World War II. In the end, with Bongo and The Legend of Happy Valley (later retitled as Mickey and the Beanstalk) were turned into a package film, as neither one was considered to be sophisticated enough to stand alone as a feature film. Bongo was narrated by musical star Dinah Shore.

The story begins with Dinah explaining that Bongo was the star of the circus, able to do any trick that was asked of him. He performs a tightrope trick while juggling several dozen items before jumping off the tightrope and landing on a wet sponge. However, life isn’t all that glamorous for Bongo, as he is chained and sent into a cage after the performance, “tossed around like an old shoe.” He dreams of living out in the wilderness, away from the circus, trains, and his current life. But every day it’s the same, he’s called out to perform, and then sent back into his gilded cage. One day, having had enough of his life, he decides to follow the call of the wild and escapes from his cage.

Bongo can hardly believe his good fortune that he is finally free

Bongo can hardly believe his good fortune that he is finally free

Free at last, he travels the woods excitedly, stopping to smell the flowers and jumping over tree roots. He meets the other animals of the forest, who laugh at his inability to act like a bear. He doesn’t get easily discouraged, as he is just happy to be free. That night, Bongo attempts to sleep, but is disturbed by the sounds and experiences of the forest before he gets caught in a storm. In the morning, Bongo wakes up to find himself on the ledge of a cliff, is very discouraged at his situation, as he doesn’t know how to act like a bear. He worries that he made a mistake, especially when he can’t catch anything for breakfast. He soon meets a female bear named Lulubelle, and the two proceed to flirt as they frolic through the woods.

Lulubelle and Bongo quickly fall in love, gathering all the attention of the bears in the woods. However, a bear named Lumpjaw, who also has feelings for Lulubelle, soon hears news of Lulubelle’s new beau, and decides to break the happy couple up with the intent of stealing Lulubelle for himself. He starts fighting Bongo, but Lulubelle stops Lumpjaw from beating him up, and then punches Bongo herself. Bongo is heartbroken, thinking that Lulubelle no longer loves him, and when she tries to punch Bongo for a third time, Bongo ducks, and she hits Lumpjaw instead. Bongo was unaware of the bear custom that slapping is a sign of affection, and sadly walks away while everyone else celebrates the “happy” couple of Lulubelle and Lumpjaw. As he looks back at the scene of the bears, he finally understands that bears “say it with a slap,” and goes back to challenge Lumpjaw. The two duke it out, and Bongo emerges victorious, using skills he learned in the circus. Bongo is reunited with Lulubelle, and gives her an affectionate slap, which she returns in kind.

January 19

January 19, 1935 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Mickey’s Man Friday is Released to Theaters

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“Gosh, cannibals!”

On January 19, 1935, the Mickey Mouse short film Mickey’s Man Friday was released to theaters. It was one of the last black and white Mickey shorts. The short was directed by Dave Hand.

Mickey is sailing on a makeshift raft, which breaks apart as he crashes into a rock on the shore of an island. He discovers footprints, and follows them to find a tribe of cannibals. He scares the cannibals with a costume created from a barrel, and saves the prisoner the tribe was going to eat. The prisoner vows to serve Mickey as his “man Friday,” and the two start to build a fort to protect themselves in case the cannibals return. With the help of several animals, the two create a strong fort named Fort Robinson Crusoe.

Mickey and Friday finish building their fort: Fort Robinson Crusoe

Mickey and Friday finish building their fort: Fort Robinson Crusoe

Once the fort is built, the cannibals return to the island, spears at the ready. They trip up the alarm, and Mickey and Friday set to work to protect themselves. Mickey quickly closes the gate to the fort, and uses a punching mechanism to keep several cannibals out. Mickey and Friday use several contraptions to keep the cannibals at bay, and Mickey even uses a pelican to drop coconuts on several of the enemy cannibals. Eventually, the cannibals are able to make their way through the gate and invade the fort, and Friday makes his way up the control tower, which the cannibals quickly climb. However, Mickey and Friday are able to escape onto a raft they set up for emergencies, and sail far away from the island.

January 18

January 18, 1992 – Beauty and the Beast Wins the Golden Globe for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy

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“We’d won the Bank of America award for Jeffrey [Katzenberg], and now the Golden Globe for the artists.” – Don Hahn, Producer.

On January 18, 1992, the 49th Golden Globe Awards were held. After scoring four nominations, the 30th Disney animated feature film Beauty and the Beast walked away with three Golden Globe Awards, including one for Best Picture – Musical or Comedy, beating out the likes of City Slickers, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Commitments, and The Fisher King. Beauty and the Beast was also awarded for Best Original Score for Alan Menken, which beat “At Play in the Fields of the Lord” by Zbigniew Preisner, “Bugsy” by Ennio Morricone, “Dead Again” by Patrick Doyle, “For the Boys” by Dave Grusin, and “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” by Michael Kamen. The other award was for Best Original Song, with the film awarded for “Beauty and the Beast,” winning against “Dreams to Dream” from An American Tail: Fievel Goes West, “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You” from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, “Tears in Heaven” from Rush, and “Be Our Guest” also from Beauty and the Beast.