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Monthly Archives: August 2015

August 31

August 31, 1935 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Pluto’s Judgement Day is Released to Theaters


“Always chasing cats, aren’t ya? Well, you’re gonna have plenty to answer for on your judgement day!”

On August 31, 1935, the Mickey Mouse short film Pluto’s Judgement Day was released to theaters. It was directed by Dave Hand.

The short begins with Pluto chasing a kitten around the yard until it jumps inside the house. The chase creates a huge mess, and Mickey chastises the pup. Pluto angrily lies down in front of the fire and starts to nap while Mickey cleans up the frightened kitten. Pluto then dreams that a cat has come to the door to call him out for a challenge, and Dream Pluto heads out, though Dream Mickey attempts to stop him. Pluto is led to a special cat cavern, where he is taken deep below and decried as Public Enemy No. 1. He is sentenced for his crimes against all cats, with the judge, jury, and all present all cats, with a wink to the audience that justice certainly is not on Pluto’s side. Each witness is brought in, with one crime more horrific than the next. The jury deliberates for one second before they deliver a guilty verdict for Pluto, and the cats carry him out to his punishment of being held over a fire. Pluto is woken up by a stray piece of coal from the fire, and lands in the tub, splashing Mickey and the kitten. Although initially frightened of the kitten, Mickey convinces the pair to kiss and make up.


August 30

August 30, 1908 – Actor and Disney Legend Fred MacMurray is Born

Fred MacMurray

“I will say the seven pictures I made at the Disney Studio were the pleasantest times I’ve had in the picture business, and I’ve been around quite a while.”

On August 30, 1908, Frederick Martin MacMurray was born in Kankakee, Illinois. His family moved to Wisconsin when he was a boy and after graduating from high school, he earned a scholarship to Carroll University. He supported himself through college by playing the saxophone and performing as a vocalist for local bands; he ultimately did not graduate from college. In 1920, MacMurray headed west to Los Angeles, where he found work with the California Collegians vocal ensemble, which appeared in several Broadway productions. MacMurray ended up as Bob Hope’s understudy for the production Roberta, and scored a screen test and studio contract after being scouted by a Paramount talent scout. 1935 found MacMurray in the film The Gilded Lily alongside Claudette Colbert, and became a star overnight. Walt Disney hired MacMurray for the first live-action comedy for the studio called The Shaggy Dog, which went on to be a surprise hit in 1959. All in all, MacMurray was hired for seven live-action feature films, including Follow Me, Boys!, The Absent Minded Professor, and The Happiest Millionaire. His last feature for the studio was 1973’s Charley and the Angel. In 1987, MacMurray had the honor of becoming the first Disney Legend, honored for his work in entertaining millions. He passed away in 1991 at the age of 83.

August 29

August 29, 1905 – Comic Artist and Disney Legend Al Taliaferro is Born


“Al was dying for his own comic strip. He was a pretty ambitious guy, hard working, and a fast worker, too…Al thought [Donald Duck] would be a great character for him to develop for the comics.” – Disney Legend Floyd Gottfredson

On August 29, 1905, Charles Alfred Taliaferro was born in Montrose, Colorado. As a young man, his family to Southern California and, after graduating from Glendale High School in 1924, he took correspondence art courses and studied art at the California Art Institute. In 1931, he scored a job at the Disney Studios as the assistant to comic strip artist and fellow Disney Legend Floyd Gottfredson, who was working on the Mickey Mouse daily strip and the Sunday strips. During Taliaferro’s tenure, Donald Duck made his Disney premiere in the Silly Symphony The Wise Little Hen. Once the Silly Symphony made its way to the Sunday strips, Taliaferro realized the commercial potential for Donald Duck, and lobbied to give the character its own strip. Although there was some resistance to give Donald his own strip, Taliaferro prevailed and on February 7, 1938, the Donald Duck strip premiered. Working with colleague Bob Karp, the strip proved to be a huge success. Taliaferro found more success in the creation of three new characters: Donald’s nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie. They proved to be so popular that a short film was created for them: Donald’s Nephews, which was released on April 15, 1938. Taliaferro passed away on February 3, 1969. He was posthumously honored as a Disney Legend in 2003.

August 28

August 28, 1929 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Mickey’s Follies is Released to Theaters


“With the cows and the chickens they all sound like the Dickens when I hear my little Minnie, ‘Yoo hoo!’”

On August 28, 1929, the Mickey Mouse short film Mickey’s Follies was released to theaters. It was the first short directed by Wilfred Jackson, and also features the Mickey Mouse theme song, “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo.”

The party starts with a lively rendition of “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo,” and then leads into a group of ducks dancing merrily to “Swanee River.” The barnyard cheers wildly before the next dance, which is a rooster and a hen performing an Apache dance, with the chicken rushing off to lay an egg mid-performance. The rooster crows with pride, and everyone once again cheers. The next performance is a pig performing opera, whose bloomers keep falling down as they sing, but this performance is met with booing from the crowd. The pig is then carried away with a hook, and it is announced that Mickey will perform his theme song. His singing and dancing is then met with much adulation.

August 27

August 27, 1948 – The Donald Duck Short Film Inferior Decorator is Released to Theaters


“Stick around, bud. Stick around.”

On August 27, 1948, the Donald Duck short film Inferior Decorator was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Lee Morehouse and Bob Moore.

Spike the Bee is buzzing happily amongst the flowers, when he hears a horrible singing inside the huse. He sees Donald plastering some flower wallpaper and, thinking that these are real flowers, he runs into the wall. Donald, observing Spike, plays a cruel prank on the bee, capturing him in a bucket of wallpaper paste. Spike tries to escape, and Donald cuts the paste that is attached to Spike, sending him hurtling into the ceiling. Donald sends the dizzy bee outside, but Spike angrily makes his way back in tries to sting Donald’s tail, but gets caught on the sticky wallpaper. As Donald tries to shake Spike off, he gets the wallpaper and himself stuck on the ceiling, leaving himself open for Spike’s attack. Donald is able to dodge the attack with a well-placed cork, but Spike is able to free himself and once again ready himself for a sting. Spike calls in reinforcements from his hive, and they all go sting Donald one by one.

August 26

August 26, 2008 – The Direct-to-Video Animated Feature The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning is Released


“The world above is a wonderful place, but everyone knows the true magic lies under the sea.”

On August 26, 2008, the direct-to-video animated feature The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning was released on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film, a prequel to the hit 1989 animated feature The Little Mermaid, was written by Julie Selbo and Jenny Wingfield, with screenplay by Robert Reece and Even Spiliotopoulus. It was directed by Peggy Holmes, and stars Jodi Benson as Ariel, Samuel E. Wright as Sebastian, Sally Field as Marina Del Ray, and Jim Cummings as King Triton.

The film begins with an introduction of Atlantica, with a young King Triton playing with his daughter Ariel, and listening to his wife Athena sing to their daughters. Triton gifts Athena a special music box that plays their song, and it is revealed that life is wonderful and magical. Things change when a strange boat of pirates travels to their cliffs, and Athena is killed when she tries to retrieve the music box, and the pirate ship crashes into her. Triton is devastated at his loss, and music was banned from Atlantica. Ten years later, Atlantica is still thriving, and Ariel is as precocious as ever. The girls are woken by their governess, Marina Del Rey, who hates her job. The girls go to greet their father, as is routine, and Ariel asks that they go swim by the reef instead. Triton, still grieving for his loss, strictly forbids it, and the group goes on their morning walk, where Ariel plays a prank on her sister. Ariel gets lectured by her father for disrupting their routine, and he punishes her harshly.

Marina can't stand her job much longer, and wishes to take over Sebastian's position

Marina can’t stand her job much longer, and wishes to take over Sebastian’s position

Marina vents to her assistant Benjamin the Manatee, as she wants Sebastian’s job. She comes up with a plan to rid the kingdom of Sebastian and take over his job. Meanwhile, as Ariel toils away at her punishment, Flounder swims on by, playing some music. Ariel hears him and asks him to do it again, but he nearly gets arrested by two guards for breaking the Triton Act, the law that outlaws music. Flounder grabs her and the two swim away, with the guards in pursuit. The pair run into Sebastian, and Sebastian orders Flounder to be taken away to the dungeon. Ariel covers for him, and he is let off with a warning, though Ariel is sent back to her room. Triton comes by to bid the girls goodnight, but Ariel is less than receptive. Soon after Ariel spies Flounder sneaking out of the palace grounds, and she decides to follow him. She finds him heading into a secret building, which is revealed to be a music club, surprisingly led by Sebastian. Ariel’s appearance spooks the club members, even though she promises not to tell. She starts recalling a melody from a long time ago, and the sea creatures join in with her song. Sebastian begrudgingly makes him a member of her music club.

The next morning, Sebastian and Marina are called in front of Triton, who says that there is a problem with Ariel. Triton asks Sebastian to take care of Ariel, much to the surprise of both Marina and Sebastian. Ariel’s sisters question where she was the previous night. Attina, the eldest, worries about Ariel, and Ariel finally explains the underground club. The girls suddenly realize how much they miss their mother, and they all ask her to take them to the club. Marina is confused and suspicious as to why the girls are awake on time. That night, the princesses all head to the club, and see Sebastian, who is less than thrilled to see the princesses. Although they are having the best time, they absence does not go unnoticed by Marina, who tracks them down to the club. Once she sees Sebastian, she realizes that she has her leverage to get his job, and runs straight to Triton.

The club is crashed by the palace guards, who capture the band and the girls

The club is crashed by the palace guards, who capture the band and the girls

The girls continue to go to the club, and one night, the club is invaded by the palace guards and Triton. Triton has Sebastian and the other club goers locked away, and gives Marina Sebastian’s job. Triton then destroys the entrance to the club. Back at the palace, the girls are placed under house arrest, and Ariel demands to know why music is forbidden in the kingdom. Triton tells her that there will be no music in the kingdom, to which Ariel replies that her mother wouldn’t have wanted that before swimming away. Ariel’s sisters turn their back on her as well, as they believe she’s made the situation worse. Marina is over the moon about her new position, with the power going straight to her head. That night, Triton finds a statue of his wife and sits by it, distraught. Ariel, similarly distraught, swims out of her room and heads to the jail to free Sebastian and the other band members. She decides to run away from Atlantica, and the group goes with her. Sebastian leads them to a secret area, with Flounder leading them song on the way.

Benjamin has noticed Ariel’s absence, and pulls Marina aside to tell her, although Attina tells Triton first. Triton reassures her that they’ll find Ariel, and heads off to find her. Marina, angered at this slight, especially since Sebastian is missing as well, heads off on her own search with her group of electric eels, vowing to get rid of Ariel as well. Sebastian has led the group to their destination, and explains to Ariel that there’s more to this place than it appears. The next morning, Ariel wakes up and hears something nearby, and finds her mother’s old music box. Sebastian explains that it was an anniversary gift, and why Triton took Athena’s death so hard. Ariel, finally understanding her father’s pain, decides to bring the music box home to Triton, much to Sebastian’s glee. Ariel, Sebastian, and Flounder head back, but meet up with Marina’s eels, who attack. Sebastian tries to protect Ariel and Flounder, and the rest of the band appears to help protect the trio. Ariel gets hurt when she rushes to protect Sebastian from Marina, and Triton, who saw the entire thing, rushes to her side. The music box opens and plays the song, and Triton sings it, waking Ariel. In the end, Triton brings music and happiness back to the kingdom, and appoints Sebastian as the court composer. Marina is locked in jail with Benjamin, and after Benjamin consoles her, the two dance in their cell.


August 25

August 25, 1992 – The Album Free by Mickey Mouse Club Band The Party is Released

The Party Free

“I wanna be free to do whatever I want to, free like a bird in the sky.”

On August 25, 1992, the second studio album by the band The Party was released through Hollywood and Elektra Records. The band was comprised of five members of the Mickey Mouse Club: Albert Fields, Tiffini Hale, Chase Hampton, Deedee Magno, and Damon Pampolina. The album, named Free, had the band working with the likes of record producer Teddy Riley, Dr. Dre, and E-Smooth. The album was more mature in sound and lyrics than the first album, and had two singles: “Free” and “All About Love.” The band promoted the album alongside the band Color Me Badd, as well as on an episode of the hit show Blossom. The album was not as successful as its predecessor, and the group would disband in 1993.

August 24

August 24, 1989 – The Ewok Village Area Opens in Disney-MGM Studios

Ewok Village

“Hurry along the forest moon of Endor – home to rustic Ewok cottages and a towering AT-AT…”

On August 24, 1989, the Ewok Village area opened at Disney-MGM Studios (now Hollywood Studios) at the entrance of the Star Tours attraction. Based on the village found on forest moon of Endor from the Star Wars film Return of the Jedi, guests queue around the village on their way to the attraction. At night, the area is lit up to give the illusion that the Ewoks are around, and they can be heard talking and singing as guests make their way to Star Tours.

August 23

August 23, 1997 – The Disney Channel Original Movie Northern Lights Premieres


“It is never a happy time when we are asked to say goodbye, yet that’s what today is for.”

On August 23, 1997, the Disney Channel Original Movie Northern Lights premiered. This was the first film to be billed as a Disney Channel Original Movie, as others preceding it had been known as Disney Channel Premiere Films. It was based on the 1988 stage play of the same name by John Hoffman. The film was written by Hoffman and Kevin Kane, and directed by Linda Yellen. It starred Diane Keaton as Roberta Blumstein, Maury Chaykin as Ben Rubadue, Joseph Cross as Jack, Kathleen York as Daphne, and John Robert Hoffman as Joe Scarlotti.

The film begins with a little boy being told about the Northern Lights by his father, how they are a phenomenon that shows up in their own time. Meanwhile in New York, Roberta Blumstein is in trouble once again. She sells tickets for Broadway shows, and continually argues with her customers, as well as takes too many breaks. She then gets a phone call about her brother, as he died rescuing a cat from the top of an electrical pole. Roberta has been estranged from her brother for ten years, and she recalls their last moment together. She heads out on the next train, and meets a strange man at the Bright River Junction station, also waiting for a ride into town. She and the man head to the King Edward Hotel, which is surprisingly decorated with hundreds of lights. The hotel is filled with interesting characters, and the two quickly make their way to settle down for the night.

Two boys spy on Roberta around the corner of the hotel lobby

Two boys spy on Roberta around the corner of the hotel lobby

The next morning, two kids are spying on Roberta, who is brought room service by a scary individual, which causes her to drop the tray on the floor. The other man, Ben Rubadue, has left several messages for his wife, who doesn’t seem to be responding. Later, she is accompanied by Joe Scarlotti to the memorial service for her brother, while Ben is being stalked by a strange woman. Roberta is confused and stunned by the attention given to her brother, which includes several interesting changes to how the church is being run. She then is shocked to find that Frank had a son named Jack she knew nothing about. Scarlotti then reads the will to Roberta and Ben, which gives them joint custody of Frank, which greatly annoys Roberta. She decides to call her lawyer to remove her from the responsibility, and gets incredibly lost on her way back to the hotel. She runs into the reverend’s wife, and tries to get her to take responsibility for Frank.

Roberta finally makes her way back only to get stuck in the hotel’s elevator. Jack helps her get out, and Roberta finds out that he and Frank live in the hotel. He thinks that Roberta didn’t like her father, and that his dad told him that she was a lot of fun. Roberta is impressed by Jack’s piano skills, particularly when he plays Debussy, and is painfully reminded of Frank. Later, she starts throwing a tantrum when the cigarette machine won’t dispense her cigarettes, and runs into Ben. The two head out to dinner to talk, and she admits that she is a childless widow. The two try to pawn Jack off onto the other, and are surprised by the band beginning to play. The singer of the band, Daphne, introduces Roberta, and tries to get her on stage to sing. Although reluctant, she gets up and sings, but has to leave when she starts to cry. Daphne attempt to comfort her, though Roberta rebuffs her. Ben tries to comfort her too, but Roberta angrily admits that no one understands what she’s feeling, and opening up doesn’t help. Roberta is unaware that Jack has heard the entire exchange. Ben leaves another message for his wife, who still won’t return his calls.

Ben is startled to find Daphne waiting for him outside his room

Ben is startled to find Daphne waiting for him outside his room

The next morning, Ben gets a visit from Daphne, who asks him to help her to a picnic. Roberta is ready to go home to New York, refusing to go to Frank’s memorial party. She finally is persuaded to go, after being given a pair of sneakers to wear. She starts to bond with Jack at the party, and they talk about Frank. However, when she admits that she doesn’t know why Frank chose her to take care of Jack, it prompts Jack to run away. Roberta frantically searches for Jack, and finds him with his mother, Margaret. Roberta is surprised that she is still alive, and they sit together when Jack plays the piano at the party. Roberta questions Margaret at the party, and the woman starts jumping about and dancing. Everyone chases after Margaret, who runs into the river. His mother has mental issues and is unable to take care of Jack, and Jack runs away again. Ben chases after him, and finds him on a nearby swing set. Jack says he can’t leave his mom behind, and Ben agrees. When Roberta finds Jack later throwing rocks at his cat, as he is mad that his cat caused his dad’s death. She admits that she was mad at Frank because she didn’t want him to leave. Jack thinks Roberta will stay, but is hurt when he finds that she still want to go back to New York City.

Ben and Daphne have tea together, and there seems to be a mutual attraction between them, culminating in a kiss. Later, he finally gets a call from his wife, who turns out to be his ex-wife. He admits to Roberta that he wants to stay and take care of Jack. Roberta decides to take the train back to New York, and when she gets ready to leave, the town has gathered to wish her well. She still falters on leaving, but Jack says he understands, as he likes where he lives as well. As she waits for the train with Ben, Jack heads out to the roof to once again search for the Northern Lights. Jack slips on the roof and is dangling from the gutter, with Ben and Roberta rushing to help. The group at the hotel manages to catch him in a sheet, and Roberta holds him close, though she misses her train. The film ends with everyone wishing Jack a happy birthday, and Roberta has remained in town. On their way home, Jack, Roberta, and Ben look up to see the Northern Lights.

August 22

August 22, 1947 – The Donald Duck Short Film Bootle Beetle is Released to Theaters


“Just think of it: the famous Professor Duck!”

On August 22, 1947, the Donald Duck short film Bootle Beetle was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Bill Berg and Milt Banta.

The narrator opens the short with an introduction of the “Bootle Beetle,” a once plentiful bug whose numbers diminished due to their love of travel. One beetle is seen getting ready to travel, when he is stopped by an older bug. He warns the kid that so many beetles before him traveled across the stream and never came back, then starts telling him a story of when he was a younger bug, setting out for adventure. At first, the journey is enjoyable, until he comes Donald, an entomologist. Donald, who has been looking for the elusive Bootle Beetle, celebrates his good fortune, but the poor beetle manages to escape. Donald continues to chase after the beetle, and finally manages to trap it in a jar, taking it home. However, when Donald takes another look at the beetle, he thinks it has disappeared. The beetle manages another escape, and makes his way back home, determined to stay. The kid beetle is convinced to stay home, and it is revealed that Donald is still searching for the beetle all those years later.