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Monthly Archives: December 2015

December 31

December 31, 1932 – The First Issue of Topolino is Published


On December 31, 1932, the first issue of Topolino, a weekly newspaper for kids featuring stories about Mickey Mouse, was published in Italy. It was started by editor Mario Nerbini, who ran into trouble shortly after the first publication when Disney’s representative for Italy found that Nerbini didn’t correctly purchase the rights to Mickey Mouse. The title, which is the Italian name for Mickey Mouse, was changed to Topo Lino and featured stories about a mouse named Lino. Nerbini eventually bought the publication rights and changed the name back to Topolino. The magazine briefly stopped publication in 1942, when fascism refused publication of American stories; they resumed publication of translated Floyd Gottfredson stories in 1945, after World War II had ended.


December 30

December 30, 1928 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Gallopin’ Gaucho is Released to Theaters



On December 30, 1928, the Mickey Mouse short film The Gallopin’ Gaucho was released to theaters. It was the second Mickey Mouse short film released by Disney, as well as the second film created; the film was created before Steamboat Willie, but was originally created as a silent film, much like the Oswald shorts. After the success of Steamboat Willie, The Gallopin’ Gaucho was given a sound track. The short also parodies the Douglas Fairbanks film The Gaucho, which had been a hit the previous year. The short was directed by Walt Disney, with Walt voicing Mickey and Minnie.

Mickey is seen riding an ostrich across the desert before arriving at Cantino Argentino. He hops in the window and watches Minnie dancing while posters issuing a reward for his capture grace the walls. Minnie entices him to dance and, after having a beer, he dances the tango with her. Mickey twirls her into the arms of Pete, and she screams for help. Mickey challenges Pete, but is thrown off as Pete grabs his donkey and rides away with Minnie. Mickey calls for his ostrich, which has gotten rather inebriated. Nevertheless, Mickey rides his ostrich in hopes of saving Minnie, though at one point the ostrich ends up riding Mickey. Mickey follows Pete down a cliff after reviving his ostrich in a bucket of starch, and follows the villain into a building. Mickey manages to fashion a rope from his tail and is able to get to the top floor, only to find Minnie chained up. Pete and Mickey engage in a sword fight, with Mickey emerging triumphant. He saves Minnie, and the two ride off together on the back of Mickey’s ostrich.

December 29

December 29, 2006 – Donny Osmond Signs Autographs in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom Park


“Please join the Walt Disney World Resort as we welcome legendary entertainer, Donny Osmond to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.”

On December 29, 2006, recording artist and actor Donny Osmond held an appearance and autograph session in the Animal Kingdom Park of Walt Disney World. Osmond is well known in Disney circles for providing the singing voice for the character Shang in the animated feature Mulan, as well as starring as Gaston in the Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast; moreover, he is also known for being discovered, alongside his brother, by Walt Disney himself and performing at Disneyland. Osmond was on hand to sign copies of the Mulan soundtrack, memorabilia from the early days of his career, and copies of his recent album What I Meant to Say, his 54th studio album.

December 28

December 28, 2006 – Disney Announces $3.26 Billion Box Office Returns for the Year


“In every area and on every level, 2006 was an extraordinary year for The Walt Disney Studios.” – Chairman Richard Cook

On December 28, 2006, Disney announced its year end box office gross of $3.26 billion. The year had been a successful one in several areas for Disney, ranging from its box office receipts and records, DVD sales, the Pixar acquisition, hit Disney Channel shows and movies, and its Broadway productions, among other profitable areas. In this report, Disney also claimed the top two box office spots for the year, with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which earned over $1.06 billion, and Pixar’s Cars which grossed $462 million. Disney also had the three best-selling DVDs: Pirates of the Caribbean; Cars; and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; these releases gave Buena Vista Home Entertainment an industry milestone.

December 27

December 27, 1930 – The Silly Symphony Playful Pan is Released to Theaters


On December 27, 1930, the Silly Symphony Playful Pan was released to theaters. The short was inspired by the tale of the Greek god Pan, a god of nature. It was directed by Burt Gillett.

Pan appears on a rock and starts playing his flute, causing the fish to dance around him. As he continues to play his pan flute, the flowers also begin to dance around at his command. He begins to play around an apple tree, calling all the worms to attention. They begin to dance around as he changes his tune. The trees and clouds begin to join in as well, with one of the clouds creating lightning so bad that it cuts a tree in half and starts a fire in the forest. The animals flee as the forest quickly burns, though many try to douse the flames and save their families. One of the raccoons alerts Pan, who rushes to the scene and puts the fire under his musical spell. He leads them into the river like a pied piper and they put themselves out. Pan cheers and disappears after saving the forest.

December 26

December 26, 2005 – The 2-Disc Special Edition DVD of Toy Story 2 is Released


“Now, in a 2-disc collector’s edition with a sparkling theater mix, this groundbreaking animated adventure is even better!”

On December 26, 2005, the special edition 2-disc DVD of Toy Story 2 was released through Walt Disney Home Entertainment. The film was mastered for the latest home entertainment technology, and featured deleted scenes, outtakes, and a special game to let the viewer discover which toy they are. A further special edition would be released almost five years later.

December 25

December 25, 1953 – The Donald Duck Short Film Canvas Back Duck is Released to Theaters


“Okay, boys, break it up. What’s the beef?”

On December 25, 1953, the Donald Duck short film Canvas Back Duck was released to theaters. It was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Jack Kinney and Bill Berg.

Donald is attending a carnival with his nephews, and decides to try one of the “test your strength” machines. He hits the bell and, after his nephews cheer him on, he decides to try another one. After winning several with ease, Donald’s confidence is up, as is the nephews. What they don’t realize is that they’ve been hustled by a little boy, who tells the nephews that his uncle could beat up Donald. Donald laughs at the boy’s assertion, though he is intrigued when he sees the sign that promises $500 should he stay 3 rounds in the ring with Peewee Pete. The boys then spot the ruse – the “boy” is actually Pete’s manager, with Pete being a massive boxer. The boys try to warn Donald, but it’s no use, and all they can do is prepare for the worst. When the bell rings, Donald sets out, but once he spots Pete, he faints. Donald gets a grip and starts the fight, though his fighting consists of dodging and hiding. The boys manage to ring the bell early for the end of the first round, but when round two starts, it’s back to dodging and other trickery. The boys then give Donald a rigged boxing glove full of nails and horseshoes, but what knocks Pete out is a simple tap to his glass jaw. Donald wins the match, and leaves with nothing more than a black eye.

December 24

December 24, 2006 – Donny Osmond and Sarah Uriarte Berry Depart from Broadway’s Beauty and the Beast


“Now almost 25 years later I have the chance – I couldn’t do it any more right than joining such an iconic show as Beauty.” – Donny Osmond.

On December 24, 2006, cast members Donny Osmond and Sarah Uriarte Berry took their final bows for the Disney Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast. Osmond, known for being a pop star, left after extending his original nine-week run as the character Gaston; Berry, known for her role of Franca in The Light in the Piazza, had performed as Belle in 1995, and was back for a limited time engagement. Stephen R. Buntrock and Deborah Lew were cast to play Gaston and Belle starting the 26th.

December 23

December 23, 1982 – The Electronic Forum Attraction Opens in Epcot


” There’s really nothing in the world comparable to the numbers we could reach.” – WED Enterprises Communications Manager Paul Goldman

On December 23, 1982, the Electronic Forum attraction opened in Epcot’s Communicore East area. The unique polling attraction had guests enter a theater and watch films on current events; they were then asked their opinions on what they had seen and provided their answers via a small set of buttons on their arm rests. The answers were compiled and submitted instantly. This technology had its uses outside Epcot, as the results were sent to newspapers across the country. The attraction was closed on March 16, 1991.

December 22

December 22, 2007 – The Attraction Twilight Zone Tower of Terror: Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension Opens in Disneyland Paris


“Face your fears and plunge 13 unlucky floors into the Twilight Zone amid the faded glamour of this haunted hotel.”

On December 22, 2007, the fourth version of the popular Walt Disney World attraction The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror opened in Disneyland Paris. The attraction, given the subtitle Un Saut dans la Quatrième Dimension, keeps the same backstory of the five unlucky souls lost to another dimension while traveling in the elevator of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. Guests board the elevator and ascend 13 floors as the story of the doomed passengers is revealed, and the guests are then taken to another dimension. The elevator then freefalls, with a random assortment of additional freefalls added to each ride experience.