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Monthly Archives: August 2015

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

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“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

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“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.

August 21

August 21, 1999 – The Disney Chanel Original Movie Genius Premieres

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“Science and hockey: my two favorite things in the world are in the same building!”

On August 21, 1999, the Disney Channel Original Movie Genius premiered. It was written by John Rieck, Jim Lincoln, and Dan Studney, and directed by Rod Daniel. It starred Trevor Morgan as Charlie Boyle, Emmy Rossum as Claire Addison, Charles Fleischer as Dr. Krickstein, and Yannick Bisson as Mike MacGregor

The movie begins with 14-year-old Charlie Boyle playing hockey by himself in an empty rink. His dad appears and asks him to use the Zamboni, but Charlie, a genius, gives his father an invention that should clean the ice instantaneously. Charlie then heads off to a street hockey game, hoping that this day is the day the other kids will let him play. Unfortunately, Charlie once again finds himself on the sidelines, unable to fit in. Dejected, he sits on the curb until nightfall. When he gets home, however, he gets good news in the form of college scholarships from the top schools. He decides to go to Northern University of Wisconsin, where his idol Dr. Krickstein works. Charlie arrives for orientation, and heads straight for the hockey rink to see the school’s team, the Northern Lights, hard at practice, but there also seems to be some conflict between Krickstein and the hockey team. Charlie heads down to meet his idol, but is soon disappointed by what he’s found; however, he tries to make the best of his situation. Things get worse for Charlie when he meets his roommate: star of the Northern Lights, Mike MacGregor.

Charlie is reluctant to teach the students at the University

Charlie is reluctant to teach the students at the University

Charlie has to teach a few classes in order to maintain his scholarship, and heads to his first class. The students don’t respect him, and finds out later than Mike has moved out, as he doesn’t want to be anywhere near Charlie. Krickstein advises Charlie to find a new approach to making friends, and when Charlie heads to the rink, he sees a beautiful girl practicing her figure skating. She introduces herself as Claire, and Charlie decides to take Krickstein’s advice to heart, and pretends to be bad boy Chaz Anthony from Chicago. After meeting her, he creates a whole other identity and decides to transfer to her school while maintaining his real identity at the University. Charlie takes what he learned from his students to become a disruptive bad boy. Although he thinks Claire would like a bad boy, it seems that she has her reservations. He then tries to get her to be her tutor so he can spend more time with her. Unfortunately, he finds that her father is the hockey coach at Northern.

Krickstein and Charlie’s experiment hits a critical point when they find a graviton as a wave rather than a particle. Things with his other life get worse, however, when Chaz and his 8th grade class are invited to Northern to meet Charlie. Krickstein helps Charlie disguise himself under the guise of being disfigured after a horrible lab accident. When he gets back to his room, he finds Mike there again, who asks Charlie for help with his classwork. He offers to help Charlie win Claire in exchange for tutoring, and Charlie agrees. Charlie then takes Claire to the nearby pond to skate in a hockey game, and allows another kid to take his place in the game, recalling his time on the bench. Claire offers to take him to the Northern hockey game, but Charlie turns her down. The two continue to hang out at the pond, where Claire reveals that her mother was a figure skater, which inspired her to be one as well. The next day, Mike thanks Charlie before the big game, giving him an honorary Northern Lights jersey, and Charlie reveals that he knows a way to stop the opposing team. He then goes to watch the game, leaving the particle accelerator running.

Charlie awkwardly sits with his friends, trying not to get found out

Charlie awkwardly sits with his friends, trying not to get found out

When he arrives at the game, his 8th grade friends find him and have him sit with them. Claire spots Charlie and points him out to her father, but her dad tells her that the boy she’d pointed out is actually Charlie Boyle, which upsets her. The particle accelerator overloads, which cracks the ice in the rink. The game is postponed, and Charlie is to blame. Charlie tries to make amends all around, but is unable to do so. When Krickstein comes back, the two set to work on splitting the graviton so they can defy gravity. This also gives Charlie an idea to fix everything by using the experiment to help the Northern Lights win the game. He asks his friends for their forgiveness and help, and they finally agree when Charlie admits that he is Charlie. The group sets their plan in motion, beginning with Charlie sabotaging the enemy team’s skates. Charlie’s plan prevents the opposing team from cheating, as the sabotaged skates will do everything that the kids’ skates do. The plan works, with Krickstein helping with the plan until he accidentally activates the switch that allows the kids, and the affected players to defy gravity. The Northern Lights win the game, Claire’s dad’s job is safe, and Claire and Charlie finally share a kiss.

August 20

August 20, 2004 – Special Concert Walt Disney: 75 Years of Music is Held at the Hollywood Bowl

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“Nostalgic, childlike enthusiasm for Disney music was clearly conveyed in conductor John Mauceri’s opening remarks at the Hollywood Bowl tribute to Disney’s 75-year musical legacy.”

On August 20, 2004, the special concert Walt Disney: 75 Years of Music was held at the Hollywood Bowl. Conducted by John Mauceri, the concert covered the musical legacy ranging from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Melody Time, and The Lion King. Special guests for the program included Alan Menken, Dick Van Dyke, Jodi Benson, Paige O’Hara, and Judy Kuhn.

August 19

August 19, 2008 – The Soundtrack for The Cheetah Girls: One World is Released Through Walt Disney Records

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“There is nothing in the world that we can’t overcome, strength in numbers, got each other, got that cheetah love.”

On August 19, 2008, the soundtrack album for the Disney Channel Original Movie The Cheetah Girls: One World was released through Walt Disney Records. This is the sixth album by the group, and the third soundtrack. Three promotional singles were released from this album: “One World” on June 13, “Dance Me If You Can” on July 11, and “Cheetah Love” on August 1. The album managed to chart on several Billboard charts, including the peak positions of 3 on Billboard’s Top Soundtracks, 2 on Top Kids Albums, and 13 on the Billboard 200. This would be the last album released before the band’s breakup.

August 18

August 18, 1986 – The Quick Service Restaurant Crockett’s Tavern Opens in Walt Disney World

Crocketts Tavern

“Rustle up some drinks and eats at the walk-up window beside Pioneer Hall and enjoy ‘em in a rocking chair on the front porch…”

On August 18, 1986, the quick service restaurant Crockett’s Tavern opened in Walt Disney World’s Fort Wilderness Resort. It replaced the Campfire Snack Bar, and provides specialty appetizers, including chicken wings, Smoke House Nachos, and Uncle John’s Taters: potato skis loaded with fried peppers, onions, parmesan cheese, chive sour cream, and green onions. Specialty cocktails and alcoholic beverages are also available for adults. Unlike most quick services places within the park, Crockett’s Tavern does not accept dining plans.