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Tag Archives: 1940s

April 20

April 20, 1946 – The Animated Feature Film Make Mine Music Premieres in New York City

“Make mine music and my heart will sing.”

On April 20, 1946, the 8th animated feature film Make Mind Music premiered in New York City. The film was one of the package films that were released during the wartime period; as resources were diverted to training and propaganda films, making a full-length animated feature was impossible. It was decided that, to make much-needed income for the studio, shorter segments would be made and compiled into a feature film. The film featured what Walt affectionately called “ghost stars,” as the voices in the film were well-known stars who were not seen on film, but usually featured in a narration role. The film was eventually released nationwide on August 15, 1946.

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April 2

April 2, 1940 – The First Sales of Disney Common Stock are Offered

On April 2, 1940, the first common stocks of Walt Disney Productions were offered to the public. The offerings were released with 6% cumulative convertible preferred shares; common stock offerings were about $5 a share (almost $89 when adjusted for inflation). The sales of stocks went on to raise $3.5 million for the company. On November 12, 1957, the company would be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

November 13

November 13, 1940 – Fantasia Has World Premiere at the Broadway Theater

Fantasia was not simply a film or a concert. Instead, it was a hybrid, a selection of great orchestral works conducted by Leopold Stokowski, played by the Philadelphia Orchestra and illustrated by Walt Disney.”

On November 13, 1940, the animated feature film Fantasia had its world premiere at the Broadway Theater in New York City. This premiere was substantial in showing the evolution of Disney animation, as the film premiered twelve years after the official debut of the first Mickey Mouse short film, Steamboat Willie. This premiere was part of a roadshow held to promote the film, along with an exclusive sound system called Fantasound. Proceeds from the opening night went toward the British War Relief Society, as England was then embroiled in World War II. There was great demand from viewers to see the film, and the film would eventually run at the Broadway for forty-nine weeks.

August 30

August 30, 1943 – Walt Disney is Awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle

On August 30, 1943, Walt Disney, along with MGM Studios co-founder Louis B. Mayer, was awarded the Order of the Aztec Eagle, Mexico’s highest honor. Disney received the award from Mexican president Manuel Ávila Camacho, honoring Disney’s efforts to create a strong relationship with Mexico through the Good Neighbor Program. Through this program, Walt and a group of animators, known as “El Grupo,” traveled through South America to research the countries and create animated features and short films. One such output was the film The Three Caballeros, which featured Mexican rooster Panchito as a lead character. This film was the beginning of a long relationship the Disney Studios had with Mexico.

August 24

August 24, 1942 – Saludos Amigos Has Premiere in Rio de Janeiro

“Saludos amigos, a fond greeting to you!”

On August 24, 1942, the sixth animated feature film, and the first package film by the Walt Disney Studios, Saludos Amigos, premiered in Rio de Janeiro. The film was an output of a goodwill ambassador tour Walt and his animators took of various Latin American countries. The countries featured in Saludos Amigos are Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Brazil, and includes a new main character in José  Carioca, a Brazilian parrot. The premiere featured a Portuguese version of the film, with the name of the film changed to Alo Amigos. The film was very popular in Latin America, and opened in the United States six months later.

 

 

August 13

August 13, 1945 – The Educational Film Tuberculosis is Delivered

On August 13, 1945, the educational film Tuberculosis was delivered to the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs. The Disney Studios had a series of “good neighbor” films during World War II that stressed the importance of cleanliness and other issues that affected areas of South America; this film was one of the first in a series addressing health concerns and the steps that need to be taken to cure someone of the disease. Though an English version was produced, the film was created entirely in Spanish.

March 14

March 14, 1942 – Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse Appear on the Cover of Liberty Magazine

“Last minute double check for your income tax.”

On March 14, 1942, the cover of Liberty magazine featured popular Disney characters Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, and Timothy Mouse. The characters were used to promote an article about filing income taxes that year, as a main message at the time was that Americans’ taxes would “beat the Axis” – a line from the Donald Duck short film The New Spirit. Disney character use was high at the time to help with the war effort, with their use ranging from military insignia to full-length goodwill films, such as Saludos Amigos.