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July 9

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July 9, 1958 – The People and Places Featurette Ama Girls is Released to Theaters

On July 9, 1958, the 13th People and Places Featurette, Ama Girls, was released to theaters. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, the featurette explores the life of a family of fishers in Japan, particularly the eldest daughter who is an ama diver, or pearl diver; the women in this film also dive for a mineral-rich seaweed known as “heaven grass.”. The film is also released as Japan Harvests the Sea. It would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 31st Academy Awards.

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June 26

June 26, 1952 – The True-Life Adventure Featurette Water Birds is Released to Theaters

On June 26, 1952, the True-Life Adventure featurette Water Birds was released to theaters as a two-reel short film. It was the fifth True-Life Adventure featurette created. Created in collaboration with the National Audubon Society and the Denver Museum of Natural History, the featurette showed audiences the life of a variety of water birds, such as pelicans, flamingos, and storks. The featurette would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).

June 11

June 11, 1958 – The People & Places Featurette Scotland Premieres

On June 11, 1958, the twelfth People & Places featurette Scotland premiered in theaters. Filmed in CinemaScope, this 25-minute featurette explores the three distinct regions of Scotland: the highlands, the islands, and the lowlands. This featurette also looked at the various clans of the regions, the wildlife, and how history is celebrated at the Edinburgh Festival. It was directed by Geoffrey Foot.

February 15

February 15, 1956 – The People & Places Featurette Sardinia is Released to Theaters

On February 15, 1956, the fifth People & Places featurette Sardinia was released to theaters. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen, the featurette takes the audience on a train ride through the area of Sardinia, an area that is considered politically a region of Italy; the featurette focuses heavily on their independence and their autonomy. The audience is able to see traditional ceremonies of the Sardinian people, including a wedding and the Ardia festival.

December 26

December 26, 1957 – The Featurette Mars and Beyond is Released to Theaters

“In this exciting age when everyone seems to be talking about the future possibilities of space travel, there’s much speculation on what we will discover when we visit other worlds.”

On December 26, 1957, the featurette Mars and Beyond was released to theaters. Originally featured as an episode of the Disneyland anthology series Disneyland on December 4, 1957, it was directed by famed Nine Old Men animator Ward Kimball. The featurette was researched and written by Kimball, William Bosche, John Dunn, Charles Downs, and Con Pederson, and features technical advisors such as Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, Dr. E. C. Silpher, and Dr. Wernher von Braun. Although man had not landed on the moon by 1957, this featurette took that dream beyond by exploring what would happen should man land on Mars and explore the greater universe. It featured a mix of live-action and animated sequences, with the show’s tone ranging from humorous to more serious. This theater feature was the first non-television incarnation of the episode; parts of the short were taken to create a short film called Cosmic Capers that would be released in the United Kingdom in 1979.

December 17

December 17, 1958 – The Featurette Grand Canyon Premieres in Theaters

On December 17, 1958, the CinemaScope featurette Grand Canyon premiered in theaters; it would later be released alongside Sleeping Beauty. Grand Canyon was similar in style to the True-Life Adventure documentaries but had a twist: the film had no narration, but was set against the “Grand Canyon Suite” by Ferde Grofé. The featurette would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Subject.

June 10

June 10, 1958 – The People and Places Featurette Wales is Released to Theaters

On June 10, 1958, the People & Places Featurette Wales was released to theaters. It was the eleventh featurette in the series to be released, and was filmed in CinemaScope. Directed by Geoffrey Foot, the featurette takes a look at the country of Wales, including its rich history and folklore, along with its factories and natural resources.