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Tag Archives: 1930s

February 27

February 27, 1935 – The Tortoise and the Hare Wins Academy Award

On February 27, 1935, the 7th Academy Awards were held at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The short film The Tortoise and the Hare won the Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Cartoon, beating out Holiday Land by Screen Gems and Jolly Little Elves by Walter Lantz. This was Disney’s third win in the category since its founding in 1934; Disney would dominate this category until 1940.

February 3

February 3, 1930 – Disney Signs First Merchandising Contract

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“…figures and toys of various materials, embodying design of comic Mice[sic] known as Minnie and Mickey Mouse, appearing in copyrighted motion pictures.”

On February 3, 1930, Roy Disney signed The Walt Disney Company’s first merchandising contract of what was to become a multi-million dollar merchandising empire. The contract was with the George Borgfeldt Company of New York, giving them the right to create figurines and toys of Mickey and Minnie Mouse; the first license that the Borgfeldt Company made was with a Swiss firm that created handkerchiefs with the characters’ likenesses. The returns on the products were not great for Disney, as they only received a 2.5% royalty on items that were 50cents or less (about $8.00 today), and 5% royalty on more expensive items.

January 20

January 20, 1936 – Adriana Caselotti Records First Tracks for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

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“Adriana happened to pick up an extension and, while listening to her father’s conversation, chimed in, ‘Listen to me – wouldn’t my voice do?’ Indeed it did, and, over the next year, her voice was tested, songs were recorded, and the Disney animators studied her gestures for inspiration.”

On January 20, 1936, 18-year-old Adriana Caselotti recorded her first tracks as the title character in what would become the animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Caselotti was chosen out of over 150 girls that auditioned for the part, as Walt Disney believed she sounded like a fourteen-year-old girl, which is exactly what he needed. Caselotti was paid $20 a day to play Snow White, earning $970 for her time overall, equivalent to almost $17,000 today.

 

December 15

December 15, 1934 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film Two-Gun Mickey Premieres in Theaters

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“On your way, cowboy. I can take care of myself.”

On December 15, 1934, the Mickey Mouse short film Two-Gun Mickey was released to theaters. It was the first short film to be directed by Ben Sharpsteen.

The short begins with Minnie riding a trail, with her horses stopping at a puddle and refusing to cross through it. As she tries to pull them forward, she lands in the puddle, much to the laughter of Mickey, who has been watching nearby. Minnie refuses his help, though he assists her anyway without so much as a thank you. Minnie continues into town, and rebuffs the advances of Pete, who is a wanted bank robber. He and his gang chase after her, and Minnie races through the desert to get away. Meanwhile, Mickey is dreaming of Minnie at his campfire, when he hears her scream nearby. Seeing that she is being chased by bandits, he and his horse race down the canyon to rescue her. Pete manages to trap Minnie up a pole, and catches her in his arms, teasing her about her thinking she can take care of herself. As the gang fires on Mickey, he is able to shoot back with gusto, defeating all of the bandits with a series of well-placed shots. He then finally finds Minnie, and fights with Pete, eventually ending up falling off the side of a cliff. Mickey and Minnie share a kiss as they ride off into the sunset, pulling an unconscious Pete behind them.

November 6

November 6, 1937 – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy Appear in Collier’s Magazine

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“Why Your Car is Safe”

On November 6, 1937, the three Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy appeared on the front cover of Collier’s Magazine. Collier’s was known as a magazine for social reform, and the article featuring the Disney characters was no different; Mickey, Donald, and Goofy were the illustration for the article “Why Your Car is Safe” by Captain Eddie V. Rickenbacker. The characters were used for all sorts of articles and advertisements around the 1930s, when they were in the height of their popularity.

October 10

October 10, 1931 – The Mickey Mouse Short Film The Barnyard Broadcast is Released to Theaters

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“The next number is dedicated to my little pal Pluto, who is confined at home. Hello, Pluto, old pal!”

On October 10, 1931, the Mickey Mouse short film The Barnyard Broadcast premiered in theaters. It was directed by Burt Gillett.

The short begins with Mickey beginning his radio broadcast from the barn, with Minnie, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow playing music live. The animals on the farm are enjoying the music, dancing as it plays. Horace then plays some music using a variety of tools as his instruments. Mickey then announces the next piece, dedicated to Pluto, who is chained to his doghouse. Minnie then begins the piece on the harp. A cat sneaks into the studio and starts meowing into the microphone, which causes Pluto to destroy his gramophone. Mickey manages to chase the cat out, but it returns with its kittens, causing more havoc. The kittens keep finding ways back into the station, even after Mickey kicks them out. Mickey chases the cat to the roof and ends up breaking a water tower, which has the water burst through the ceiling and destroying the radio station.

June 30

June 30, 1939 – The Donald Duck Short Film Sea Scouts is Released to Theaters

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“That looks like a fish…a flying fish!”

On June 30, 1939, the Donald Duck short film Sea Scouts premiered in theaters. It was the first short directed by Dick Lundy.

Donald is the captain of a ship, with his nephews serving as his crew. As his nephews sleep, he barks orders at them, quickly snapping them to attention. As they hoist the anchor, the anchor gets stuck under a rock and sends them flying. Donald tries to take over, and he too is thrown aside from the pushback. Donald then uses so much force that he almost capsizes the boat. His nephews laugh at his misfortune in raising the anchor, until he yells at them to raise the sails. Seeing that they are incorrect in the procedure, Donald orders them to lower the boom, which they do – on his head. Angered, Donald decides to do everything himself, and starts raising the sails. A strong wind comes in to carry them away, though none realize that the boat is still tied to the dock. The mast is broken from the force of the wind, and Donald gets tangled in a rope and swept away. Seeing his hat having fallen, he demands his nephews bring him down, until he spots a shark right below. Unfortunately, his calls to be brought back up come too late, but Donald manages to scramble his way back up the mast. The boys try to save him, but the shark scares them away, and Donald has to do battle with the beast. When Donald’s hat is ruined in the chase, Donald gets angry enough to fight – and win – against the shark. The boys then head back to short triumphantly.

June 27

June 27, 1938 – Voice Actress and Disney Legend Kathryn Beaumont is Born

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“…I went directly from finishing Alice [in Wonderland], and immediately started working on the voice for Wendy.”

On June 27, 1938, Kathryn Beaumont was born in London, England. Her career began early with MGM, where she was under contract and starred in several films, including It Happened One Sunday and On an Island with You. In 1949, when Walt was looking for the perfect British voice for the titular character in Alice in Wonderland, Beaumont auditioned and won the coveted role. Not only did she voice the character in the film, but was also her live-action model. She helped promote the film in 1950 with a Christmas television special, One Hour in Wonderland, which was the first television special for the studio. After promoting the film in 1951, she came back to the studio to be cast as another British heroine: Wendy from Peter Pan. Again, Beaumont played the character in animation and in live-action, and helped promote the film through another Disney Christmas television special: The Walt Disney Christmas Show. After working on Peter Pan, Beaumont graduated high school and attended the University of Southern California, where she majored in education; she would stay in Los Angeles to teach elementary school. She was asked to voice her famous characters again for Disney park attractions and television specials, and continued to do so until 2005, when she retired from voice acting. She was honored in 1998 for her contribution in bringing these classic characters to life.

June 22

June 22, 1938 – Walt Disney Given Honorary Degree from Yale University

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“[Disney] has accomplished something that has defied all the efforts and experiments of the laboratories in zoology and biology; he has given impressive significance to the word anima in animated; he has given animals souls.”

On June 22, 1938, Walt Disney was awarded his second honorary degree: a Master of Arts degree from Yale University; the first degree was a Master of Science from the University of Southern California, and the third was another Master of Arts degree from Harvard University. He was given the award by Professor William Lyon Phelps, the university’s public orator. Walt had been considered for an honorary degree by Yale as early as 1935, after the overwhelming success of Mickey Mouse.

May 30

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May 30, 1932 – Former Chairman of Walt Disney Attractions and Disney Legend Dick Nunis is Born

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“Disney is successful because we are dealing with people. And the words quality and pride, that is really what it is all about.”

On May 30, 1932, Dick Nunis was born in Cedartown, Georgia. He attended the University of Southern California on a football scholarship, where he met Ron Miller, Walt Disney’s eventual son-in-law. After graduating from USC with a degree in education, he applied for a summer job at the new Disneyland Park, and ended up working with Van France in developing a training program for Disneyland employees. Nunis used his education degree to his advantage, moving up the ladder to become the attractions supervisor and develop standard operating procedures for all of the attractions. In 1961, he became the director of park operations and was given larger task: helping to develop the new Walt Disney World Park. Nunis continued to move upwards, eventually becoming the executive vice president of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. He continued to work in a large capacity in the development of the parks, including Epcot, Disney-MGM, Disneyland Paris, and Tokyo Disneyland. Nunis retired in 1999, serving with the Walt Disney Company for 44 years. He was awarded as a Disney Legend the same year.