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May 23

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May 23, 1982 – The Television Special Computers Are People, Too! Premieres

“Computers – they’re everywhere! There’s no escaping them, no matter who you are.”

On May 23, 1982, the television special Computers Are People, Too! premiered. Created as promotional tool for the live action feature film Tron, the feature sought to not only soothe the public’s fears that they would be displaced by computers and robots, but to show how people would work with machines peacefully. It was directed by Denis Sanders, and starred Elaine Joyce, Joseph Campanella, and Michael Iceberg.

The special begins with Elaine Joyce playing a computer game while other computer systems work around her. She loses her game, and the computer bets her “double or nothing” to play again. She wonders if she, as a singer, dancer, and actress, will be replaced by computers and machines. The main computer reminds her that computers are people as well, and simulates a juggler. Joyce then introduces the computer of the future: Telecommunicative Operative Memory, or TOM for short. TOM explains that he is an extension of a person’s intelligence, and on the verge of a partnership with several types of people, such as artists and athletes. He provides several examples of machine meeting art, including several clips from the upcoming film Tron. Joyce wonders how to work with TOM if she doesn’t know how the computer thinks. She panics, thinking that the computer will take over, but TOM reminds her that she has the control. TOM interviews several people about computers, and introduces a special summer camp in California that teaches campers how to use and code on a computer.

An early example of how computer animation was created using dancers hooked up to machines.

TOM then introduces how animation is done with computers, with the earliest example going back to Lee Harrison in 1960, with dancers wired to computers to capture the motion. He then goes through the advancements over the decades, and explains how we are then at 3-D animation. The consensus from artists is that computers will not replace creativity, but enhance it. Another animator relays the story of his search for a design machine, and then realized that he would have to create it. TOM then shows the graphical designs by the computer in a long, colorful segment. The segment then moves into how the computer can create special sound effects, or even create a “one-man band” through the use of a synthesizer known as the Fairlight CMI.

As Joyce remarks that she has the freedom to move TOM doesn’t because she is a dancer, TOM remarks that the computer has made advances in human understanding of human movement. The engineer talks about the difference between different types of athletic events and movements, ranging from dancing to diving. The engineers use the computer to look at the styles of two dancers and to determine the dancers’ centers of gravity. They see a flaw in one of the dancers’ takeoff and advise her how to correct it. After seeing this, Joyce thinks that her career as an artist is over due to technology. TOM informs her that he is powerless without her, and need her creativity. TOM then explains that computer games are the first foray into using computers, and shows several titles such as Pac-Man and Frogger. The segment also shows how computers created the look of Tron and its several games. Joyce finally accepts that the computer is the partner of the artist, rather than the adversary. The special ends with Joyce dancing alongside a computer animated counterpart.

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May 2

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May 2, 1938 – The New York Times Publishes Editorial on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

“Figments of Disney’s imagination have already sold more than $2,000,000 worth of toys since the first of the year.”

On May 2, 1938, the New York Times published a special editorial on Walt Disney and the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, titled “Prosperity Out of Fantasy.” This editorial piece looked to Disney’s brand of “industrialized fantasy” to save the United States economy, as the country was still in the throes of the Great Depression. However, while the success of Snow White wasn’t the driving force in saving the economy, the editorial was notable in seeing the effects of Disney’s full-length feature film, which became the model for building a profitable and long-lasting film franchise.

April 5

April 5, 2013 – The Disneynature Film Wings of Life Begins Limited Run at Chinese Theater

“A beautiful love story in danger.”

On April 5, 2013, the fourth Disneynature film, Wings of Life, was released in a one-week engagement at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Produced by Blacklight Films, this French-American film takes a look at pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds, and bats, and how they keep the ecosystem stable. This theatrical engagement was a promotional showing before the film was released on Blu-Ray on April 16, 2013. The film also had releases in France (as Pollen) and the United Kingdom (as Hidden Beauty: A Love Story that Feeds the Earth). The film was directed by Louie Schwartzberg, and was narrated by Meryl Streep.

February 19

February 19, 2010 – The Alice in Wonderland Great Big Ultimate Fan Event is Held at Hollywood & Highland Center

“How is it you’re being so great big? ~ Tweedledee to Alice—she’s eaten far too much cake and grown to enormous heights”

On February 19, 2010, to promote the concept album inspired by the upcoming live action film Alice in Wonderland, Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Records, in conjunction with Hot Topic, KIIS-FM, and MySpace, hosted the Great Big Ultimate Fan Event. Four musical artists featured on the album were on hand to perform, including 3OH!3, Metro Station, Kerli, and Never Shout Never. Actors from the film were also available for special meet-and-greets with fans, including Mia Wasikowska, Anne Hathaway, and Helena Bonham Carter. Other special surprises were planned for guests, including a Wonderland-style makeover for the Hollywood Hot Topic store inside the facility where the event was held.

January 9

January 9, 1977 – The New Mousketeers Perform at Super Bowl XI

“Ladies and gentlemen, the entire audience of Super Bowl XI presents from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a greeting to the world of peace, joy, and love.”

On January 9, 1977, Super Bowl XI was held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This halftime show was produced by Disney, and was used to promote the revamp of the Mickey Mouse Club by featuring the New Mousketeers performing alongside the LAUSD All-City Band. The presentation centered around the theme of the it’s a small world attraction, including the themes of “peace, joy, and love.” For the first time in a halftime show, the audience of the game was invited to participate through the waving of colored placards.

January 2

January 2, 1938 – The First Episode of the Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air Airs

“Who’s afraid of ra-di-o, ra-di-o, ra-di-o?”

On January 2, 1938, the first episode of the radio program Mickey Mouse Theater of the Air aired on NBC. It was a musical-variety series aimed at children, and was sponsored by Pepsodent. The program was created to promote the upcoming full-length feature animation film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and featured Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse, Clarence Nash as Donald Duck, Thelma Boardman as Minnie Mouse, Stuart Buchanan as Goofy, and Florence Gill as Clarabelle Cow. Each episode featured the characters in a different story, with the first story featuring the tale of Robin Hood. The twentieth, and final, episode aired on May 15th.

October 8

October 8, 2010 – The ElecTRONica Promotion Event Kicks Off in Disney California Adventure

“This will be a cool opportunity to peek inside the world of this movie, and it’s available only to visitors of Disney California Adventure park.”

On October 8, 2010, as part of the promotions for the live action feature film Tron: Legacy, the event ElecTRONica kicked off within Disney California Adventure park. The event featured a nighttime dance party; a bar called End of the Line Club; and Flynn’s Arcade, which featured a variety of arcade games from the 1980s. The dance party also featured a variety of live performers amidst the glowing accessories and laser displays. The event ended on April 15, 2012, and was replaced by the Mad T Party.