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Monthly Archives: January 2014

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.

January 17

January 17, 2005 – The Nighttime Event Cinderellabration: Lights of Romance Begins in Tokyo Disneyland

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昔々あるところに、シンデレラという心優しい女の子がいました。”

On January 17, 2005, the nighttime event Cinderellabration: Lights of Romance began its run at Tokyo Disneyland. The event tells the story of the coronation of Cinderella and the ensuing celebration. The area in front of Cinderella’s Castle was transformed into a special garden with a central fountain decorated with crystal sculptures of scenes from the animated film. The entertainment provided for guests included a fortune teller, a shoe merchant selling glass slippers, and various street performers. The Royal Coronation event had Mickey and Minnie Mouse, with other characters, appearing to wish happiness to Cinderella and her prince. After the ceremony, Cinderella tours the garden in her royal coach to greet their guests. The event ended March 18, 2005.

January 16

January 16, 1930 – The Silly Symphony Summer is Released to Theaters

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On January 16, 1930, the Silly Symphony Summer was released to theaters. It was the second of a part of a series of seasonal shorts. It was directed by Ub Iwerks.

The short begins with a caterpillar walking out of a corn cob and greeting other caterpillars in a nearby apple. The group of caterpillars then dance merrily through the garden before crawling into a flower. On that same flower, two butterflies emerge from their cocoons and dance as they fly through the air. They land on a stick figure, who scares them away before he, too, starts to dance. He falls off the branch and into the pond below, where several different bugs are celebrating the warm season through dance and song. Two dung beetles are then seen hard at work pushing their mound to their home, which continues to get stuck on several pebbles. The mound slips down a hill and crashes into a tree, which reveals a whole mess of tiny beetles, who being a special circle dance with each other. In the middle of the dance, a flower emerges from the ground, revealing four flies hidden within its petals. The four flies take off and find a spider in his web. They take the spider and the web, and begin to bounce the spider, who takes his revenge by eating the four flies and dancing merrily.

January 15

January 15, 1975 – The General Electric Carousel of Progress Attraction Opens in Walt Disney World

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“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, just a dream away!”

On January 15, 1975, the General Electric Carousel of Progress attraction opened in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, located in Tomorrowland. Based on the original 1964-65 New York World’s Fair attraction, the attraction closed in Disneyland on September 9, 1973 and was moved to Walt Disney World. It greatly changed when it moved to Florida, with one significant change being the theme song of the attraction changing from “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow” to “The Best Time of Your Life,” which was a reflection of the new philosophy of General Electric. Although General Electric ended their sponsorship with the attraction in 1985, the attraction was kept open and still continues to operate. In 1993, the attraction underwent a rehabilitation, which brought back the original theme song, and also added a specific holiday to each of the four segments. In 1994, it was renamed Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress.

January 14

January 14, 1924 – Actor and Disney Legend Guy Williams is Born

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“‘Guy Williams’ was about as non-specific as I could imagine!”

On January 14, 1924, actor Guy Williams was born in New York City as Armand Joseph Catalano. Although he attended military school with the intention of entering West Point, he was discovered while walking down Fifth Avenue and took a screen test. The screen test eventually lead to a one-year contract with Universal Studios; he then adopted the name “Guy Williams” so he wouldn’t be typecast due to his Hispanic name. After struggling to find a footing in Hollywood for several years, he got his first break with the 1957 film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, playing the part of a policeman that shoots Michael Landon’s character. His big break occurred when Walt Disney was looking for an actor to play the character of Zorro, based on the pulp fiction stories first published in 1919 by Johnston McCulley. Williams was snatched up for the role, and the show was another major boon for the studio. Williams also made occasional appearances in Disneyland. After the series ended, Williams shot the film The Prince and the Pauper for the Disney Studio before his contract with Disney expired. Williams then found success in the CBS series Lost in Space, where he played the role of Professor John Robinson. He retired in 1973 to enjoy his wealth, splitting his time between residences in Argentina and California. He passed away on May 6, 1989, due to a brain aneurysm. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2011.

January 13

January 13, 1939 – The Donald Duck Short Film Donald’s Lucky Day is Released to Theaters

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“Feelin’ ducky, ducky lucky, boy, this is my lucky day!”

On January 13, 1939, the Donald Duck short film Donald’s Lucky Day was released to theaters. The timing of this short’s release was genius, as it was released to theaters on Friday the 13th. It was directed by Jack King.

On a foggy night, two men are sitting in a warehouse with a bomb, setting it for midnight. They talk about having sent for a messenger boy, and laugh about the messenger’s possible misfortune, should the bomb go off too soon. Donald, as the messenger, heads to his assignment, unaware of the danger. He rings the doorbell, and is ordered to deliver it before midnight, and to not drop it. Donald heads off to his task, and turns on the radio. The radio announcer proclaims him lucky if he’s still alive, but warns him that it’s still Friday the 13th. Donald gets spooked, and even more so when he reads that the package must go to 1313 13th Street. The announcer gives Donald some advice, and Donald nearly rides his bike under a ladder. Although he avoids the ladder, he ends up breaking through a mirror and crashing into an apple cart. After the fall, Donald frantically looks around for the package. He doesn’t hear any ticking, and assumes that the package is broken, giving it a violent shake. Hearing it tick once again, he realizes he only has about five minutes to deliver the package.

Donald finds himself facing several bad omens on Friday the 13th, including a black cat crossing his path

Donald finds himself facing several bad omens on Friday the 13th, including a black cat crossing his path

When he reaches the intersection of 13th Street and 13th Avenue, a black cat crosses his path. When Donald tries to avoid the cat, the cat follows him, and Donald comically tries to get past the feline. The cat jumps on top of Donald’s package and decides to take a nap. Donald then pulls out a wind-up mouse, which sends the cat away. As Donald laughs, the clock slowly makes its way to midnight. Donald runs to avoid the cat, as it starts chasing the mouse past him, sending Donald to take refuge at the docks. Unfortunately, as the cat chases the mouse over a plank, the package, which Donald placed on the other end, is taken out of his hands. Donald heads onto the plank to retrieve the package, but is in a precarious situation over the water. Donald tries to use the cat to stay on the plank, ending up in a strange see-saw with the cat. After Donald is able to get back on the dock, the package unravels itself, revealing its contents. Fortunately for Donald and the cat, the bomb was poorly made, and doesn’t blow up right away, but sparks and hisses. The cat, annoyed by the bomb’s sparking, starts playing with the bomb and sends it into the water, where it explodes and sends dozens of fish onto the dock, on top of Donald. He proclaims it to be his lucky day, but is soon dismayed when all the cats of the dock start attacking him for the fish.

January 12

January 12, 1990 – The International Gateway Entrance Opened in Epcot

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“But by the dawn of the 1990s, with the opening of the ‘Epcot Resort Area’ southwest of the park where two Disney resorts…had become major accommodations, another entrance into Epcot was needed.” – Imagineer Marty Sklar

On January 12, 1990, the International Gateway Entrance leading from the Yacht and Beach Club hotel into Epcot opened. This gateway opened the World Showcase into the hotel areas, and has been expanded to the Swan and Dolphin, and eventually the BoardWalk Inn. This entrance allows more access from these hotels, rather than having guests go all the way around the park to enter. This secondary gate was the first of its kind to exist in a Disney park; a similar secondary entrance was used in Disney’s California Adventure for guests of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa.