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March 28

March 28, 1910 – Host of The Mickey Mouse Club and Disney Legend Jimmie Dodd is Born

“Why? Because we like you!”

On March 28, 1910, Jimmie Dodd was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. Gifted with musical talent, Dodd attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville before attending the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and the Schouster-Martin School of Dramatics. He supported himself with various music gigs, starting with performing for a radio show in St. Petersburg, Florida. While unable to fight during World War II due to a heart condition, Dodd made his contribution to the war effort through performances with the USO along with wife, dancer Ruth Carroll. It was during his USO stint that he met Jinx Falkenburg, who was instrumental in giving Dodd his first television appearance on Arthur Godfrey’s program; he later appeared on Falkenburg’s own program. Dodd’s career with Disney began in the 1950s, when he was asked by old friend Bill Justice to help compose a song for Disney’s television program. Walt was so impressed with Dodd’s song that he hired Dodd to be the MC for a new children’s program: The Mickey Mouse Club. Dodd not only performed on the show, but wrote several songs for it, including the “Mickey Mouse Club March.” Dodd stayed with the show until its cancellation in 1959, and then accompanied several cast members on a Mickey Mouse Club tour of Australia. On November 10, 1964, Dodd passed away in Honolulu, Hawaii. For his work with The Mickey Mouse Club, Dodd was honored as a Disney Legend in 1992.

March 15

March 15, 1927 – Former President of Disneyland and Disney Legend Jack Lindquist is Born

“Jack is Jack, no matter where he is or what he is doing. He respects people. He goes out of his way not to be set up on a pedestal.” – Former Executive Vice President of Disneyland Ron Dominquez

On March 15, 1927, Jack Lindquist was born in Chicago, Illinois; he and his family moved to Los Angeles, California when he was four, where he went on to be a child actor. After graduating from the Hollywood High School, he served two years with the United States Air Force before attending the University of Southern California. Lindquist began his career in marketing and advertising, and in 1955, while working as a consultant for a corporate sponsor of what would become Disneyland, he became enamored with the place, and found himself working for Disney a month later. In 1965, Lindquist rose up the corporate ladder after being named the director of marketing, and continued his climb after his work marketing Walt Disney World. In 1972, he was named the Vice President of Marketing for Disneyland and Walt Disney World, but his climb didn’t slow from there: in 1976 he was named Vice President of Marketing for Walt Disney Attractions, followed by another promotion in 1982 to Executive Vice President of Marketing and Entertainment for Disney’s Outdoor Recreation Activities. After setting up the marketing division for Tokyo Disneyland, Lindquist continued to develop promotional ideas for all Disney parks, and in 1990, he was named the President of Disneyland. His legacy during his tenure continues to be felt in several Disneyland areas, including Disney’s California Adventure, as he lobbied for the development of the second park. On November 18, 1993, Lindquist retired after nearly 40 years with the company. He was honored with a window on Main Street a month later, naming him the “Honorary Mayor of Disneyland.” He was honored as a Disney Legend in 1994. Lindquist passed away at the age of 88 on February 28, 2016.

December 21

December 21, 1913 – Imagineer Fred Joerger is Born

“Well, my job was to create the model to avert disaster, which was fun, but a challenge.”

On December 21, 1913, Fred Joerger was born in Pekin, Illinois. In 1937, after graduating from the University of Illinois with a fine arts degree, Joerger headed out to Los Angeles, gaining employment at Warner Brothers to build models of movie sets. He joined the Walt Disney Company in 1953 when Walt was creating the initial plans for Disneyland, and Joerger was tasked to create models for what would become Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, among other Audio-Animatronic attractions within the park. He was also tasked with creating miniature sets for several Disney live-action features, including Mary Poppins and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea; for the latter, he created models of the submarine the Nautilus. When WED Enterprises was founded, Joerger was one of three original founding members, alongside fellow Disney Legends Harriet Burns and Wathel Rogers. While noted for creating several intricate models that defined the look of several many still-popular attractions, Joerger was also well-known for his work with creating realistic-looking rocks from plaster; he worked on several rockwork projects for Walt Disney World. Although he retired from Disney in 1979, he came back to work as the field art director for EPCOT. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2001, and on August 26, 2005, Joerger passed away at the age of 91.

September 4

September 4, 1913 – Chairman of the Oriental Land Company and Disney Legend Masatomo Takahashi is Born

Masatomo Takahashi

“Thanks to Masatomo, for years to come, families around the Asia-Pacific region will experience the delights of Disney and its magical theme parks.” – Roy E. Disney

On September 4, 1913, Masatomo Takahashi was born in Fukushima, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo Imperial University in 1939, and began working at the Riken Heavy Industries Company until Japan’s entry into World War II; he then served as an Army interpreter, serving in areas such as Shanghai and New Guinea. Once the war ended, he began working at Kenzai Company, Ltd., working up the management ranks from executive managing director to eventually becoming its president. In 1961, Takahashi left Kenzai to join the Oriental Land Company (OLC) as its senior executive managing director, mainly working in the area of land reclamation with fisherman. Takahashi had always had a dream of bringing Disneyland to the children of Japan and, after becoming the president and representative director of OLC in 1978, he approached the Walt Disney Company with his idea: building a Disney theme park in Japan’s capital city of Tokyo. After the creation and success of Walt Disney World, the idea was given the greenlight, and contracts were signed in 1979. Takahashi was steadfast on the idea that this wasn’t to be an Asian version of the popular Disney park, but a park similar to those in the United States. In 1983, his vision was fulfilled when Tokyo Disneyland opened to great success. For his unwavering vision, Takahashi was honored as a Disney Legend in 1998. After becoming the chairman of OLC, Takahashi continued to develop and expand his idea, creating the idea that would soon become Tokyo DisneySea, located in Tokyo Bay. Takahashi passed away on January 31, 2000, with Tokyo DisneySea opening on September 4, 2001.

September 3

September 3, 2014 – A Western Lowland Gorilla is Born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom


“It’s exciting to see a strong, nurturing family of this endangered species flourishing at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” – Animal Operations Manager for Disney’s Animal Programs Jay Therien

On September3, 2014, a western lowland male gorilla was born in Disney’s Animal Kingdom; this was the second birth of this gorilla species within the past month. The baby was born to mother Kashata and father Gino, with Gino also being the father of the gorilla born earlier in August. These arrivals mark the fourth and fifth gorillas born within Animal Kingdom, with the care and conservation done in partnership with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.

June 15

June 15, 1917 – Imagineer and Disney Legend Bill Martin is Born

Walt and Bill Martin

On June 15, 1917, Bill Martin was born in Marshalltown, Iowa. He and his family would move to Los Angeles, and in 1937, he graduated from Los Angeles Junior College after studying architecture. He continued his studies at the Chouinard Art Institute and the Art Center School of Design before landing a job at 20th Century Fox as a set designer. Like many men of the time, Martin left Hollywood to serve during World War II, servicing as a captain in the Air Force. He returned after the war to work at Panoramic Productions before rejoining Fox as an assistant art director. In 1953, Martin received a phone call from the Disney Studios, as Walt was looking for the best to help him create what would become Disneyland. He eagerly joined WED Enterprises, and would go on to develop the designs for some of the most beloved attractions, including Peter Pan’s Flight and Sleeping Beauty Castle. Eventually, Martin would be named the art director of Fantasyland, and not only developed many of the layouts of each Fantasyland attraction, but added design elements to other attractions across the park. In 1971, he was named the vice president of design at WED, and contributed his design expertise to the layout of the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World. He retired in 1977, after 24 years with the company; like many others, however, Martin continued to consult on many projects for various parks. He was inducted as a Disney Legend in 1994. In 2010, Martin passed away.

May 30

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


“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.