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May 10

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May 10, 2005 – Ollie Johnston Drives the Marie E. at Disneyland

On May 10, 2005, a special ceremony was held in Disneyland for animator and member of the Nine Old Men Ollie Johnston. Under the ruse of receiving a special honor for contributing to the Carolwood organization, Johnson was surprised to find that his locomotive, the Marie E., was on the Disneyland tracks to allow him one last ride. Johnson, along with Ward Kimball and Walt Disney, were train enthusiasts, but in his older age, Johnson had to sell his train as he was unable to operate it. Sold to none other than John Lasseter, Lasseter was able to find a way to bring it to the park in a special ceremony. Friends and family were gathered at Frontierland station to watch Johnson ride his beloved train one last time.

April 16

April 16, 2008 – Disney Theatrical Productions Honors Alan Menken

On April 16, 2008, Disney Theatrical Productions hosted an evening at the Hudson Theatre honoring the music and legacy of composer Alan Menken. Hosted by Thomas Schumacher, the evening featured Broadway performers Josh Strickland, Ashley Brown, Sierra Boggess, and Sherie Rene Scott; Donny Osmond, who played Gaston for a stint in Beauty and the Beast, also stopped by to liven the evening. Menken, who made his Broadway debut with Little Shop of Horrors with lyricist Howard Ashman, is better known for his work with Disney animated features beginning with The Little Mermaid; several of the animated features have made it to the Broadway stage. The evening focused in his lesser-known work, with the performers paying homage to a Broadway great.

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.

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 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.

November 30

November 30, 1995 – Nine New Disney Legends are Inducted

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“Since its inception, the [Disney Legends] program has honored many gifted animators, Imagineers, songwriters, actors, and business leaders as having made a significant impact on the Disney legacy.”

On November 30, the ninth group of Disney Legends was honored and inducted in a special ceremony held in the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. Among those honored were Golden Horseshoe Revue performers Wally Boag, Fulton Burley, and Betty Taylor, actor Dean Jones, actress Angela Lansbury, Disneyland publicist Edward Meck, animator Fred Moore, voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft, and Audio-Animatronic Imagineer Wathel Rogers.