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June 21

June 21, 1961 – The Live-Action Film The Parent Trap is Released to Theaters


“The nerve of her! Coming here with your face!”

On June 21, 1961, the live-action feature film The Parent Trap was released to theaters. It was based on the German children’s book Das doppelte Lottchen by Erich Kästner. The film is well-known for its use of split-screen shots to help create the illusion of twins, both played by Hayley Mills. The special effects were credited to Ub Iwerks, who was well known at this time for his technical innovations. The movie also includes three songs by famed songwriting duo the Sherman Brothers: “The Parent Trap” sung by Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands (who were filming Babes in Toyland at the time); “For Now, For Always” performed by Maureen O’Hara; and “Let’s Get Together” performed by Hayley Mills (with a short version heard at the camp dance by Annette Funicello). The film was quite successful on its release, and even more successful in its rerelease to theaters in 1968. The film was also nominated for two Academy Awards: Sound, and Film Editing. Although set in Boston and California, the film was mostly shot in California, with scenes at Mitch’s ranch filmed at the Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon. The film was adapted and directed by David Swift, who would go on to write the screenplay for the 1998 remake of the film. The original film stars Hayley Mills as Susan Evers and Sharon McKendrick, Maureen O’Hara as Margaret McKendrick, Brian Keith as Mitch Evers, Joanna Barnes as Vicky Robinson, and Una Merkel as Verbena.

The film begins with Sharon McKendrick arriving at Camp Inch from her home in Boston. She is soon taken to her cabin and meets her bunkmates Betsy and Ursula. They soon make their way to the mess hall for lunch, where Sharon soon bumps into a girl who looks exactly like her. At lunch, a camp dance is announced with Thunderhead Boys’ Camp, much to the excitement of the girls. Miss Inch, the owner of the camp, declares that girls who get enough demerits will not be allowed to attend. Later on, Sharon comes across the girl again, and when the girl (named Susan) mocks her, war begins between Sharon and Susan, including their bunkmates. Susan and her friends decide to trash Sharon’s cabin; the untidiness keeps them from the dance. Sharon, Betsy, and Ursula watch angrily as the dance goes on, and Ursula comes up with an idea. As Susan steps onto the deck with her date, the girls cut the back of her dress off, exposing her underwear. Susan’s friends try to cover her up, and bring her outside. The war comes to a head where the two girls attack each other, and the fight heads inside where they knock over the records, and ruin all of the food. The two are then given their punishment: they will spend the rest of the summer together, beginning with rooming in the isolation cabin named “Serendipity.”

One stormy day, the girls bond and discover that they really are identical twin sisters

One stormy day, the girls bond and discover that they really are identical twin sisters

One stormy day, Susan is hanging pictures when a large gust of wind blows her pictures across the floor. When Sharon helps her, Susan thanks her sincerely, and the two begin to talk. They share stories of their home lives, and when Sharon sees a picture of Susan’s father, she suddenly gets goosebumps. She puts the pieces together, and shows Susan a picture of her mother. Susan asks why Sharon has a picture of her mother, and the two finally realize that they are sisters. Later, the two speculate why their parents split up, although they can’t understand why they would want to have broken up. Suddenly, Susan gets an idea: the two would switch places to meet the other parent. Sharon believes that if they switch, they’ll have to be unswitched, and they’ll bring their parents back together. They start teaching each other about their lives, and by the time the summer ends, they’re ready to switch.

Susan soon arrives in Boston, and is greeted warmly by her grandfather. She then meets her mother, Margaret, and is quite in shock when she does. Margaret makes comments on her daughter’s seemingly odd behavior, as it seems like “Sharon” had never seen her before, before finishing getting ready for her various meetings. Susan tricks her mother into staying home from her meetings, and the two go for a picnic in a park. Susan then asks for information on her father, and finds out information about their first date at a restaurant called Martinelli’s and the song they consider “their song.” Meanwhile, Sharon arrives in California and meets her father, Mitch, for the first time. Although initially nervous and flustered, she soon starts asking him a barrage of questions. He then attempt to have a serious talk with her, but doesn’t get very far. Sharon then meets ranch hand Hecky and housekeeper Verbena, with the latter thinking that something is very different with her. Her suspicions are further aroused when Susan’s dog Andromeda acts rather antagonistic towards Sharon. Sharon hears a strange woman’s voice when she enters the house, and acts Verbena about the woman she saw. Verbena doesn’t like the woman, and doesn’t hesitate to let Sharon know.

Sharon meets Vicky for the first time, though she realizes this gives her a huge problem with the plan

Sharon meets Vicky for the first time, though she realizes this gives her a huge problem with the plan

Sharon finally meets Vicky, Mitch’s young paramour, and a gold-digger to boot. Sharon tries to drive Vicky away, claiming that Mitch likes to “play the field,” although Vicky isn’t convinced. At three in the morning, Boston time, Susan waits for Sharon’s phone call. Sharon tries to warn Susan about Vicky, but Susan doesn’t listen and orders Sharon to bust up the relationship between Vicky and Mitch, as she refuses to give up her time with her mother. The next day, Mitch tries to tell Sharon that he wants to marry Vicky, although Sharon starts asking questions about her mother. Mitch tries to brush off her questions, thinking she wants the “sex talk.” She quickly changes the subject, trying to get him to talk about her mother instead, but he’s so flustered that he goes back to his golf game. They spend the rest of the day together, and Mitch finally gets the nerve to talk about marrying Vicky. Sharon storms off before he can get the words out and starts talking to herself, but Verbena overhears and starts questioning the girl. Sharon finally admits that she’s Sharon, not Susan, and Verbena promises to keep it a secret.

Mitch once again tries to talk to Sharon, but Sharon doesn’t take the news well. Vicky offers to have a talk with her one on one, and while the talk begins calmly, when Sharon points out that Vicky wants to marry Mitch for his money, Vicky becomes antagonistic. Later that night, Sharon sends a telegram to Susan, asking her to wait for her call again at 3 AM. When the two talk, Susan’s grandfather listens into the call, and corners Susan when she leaves the study. Revealing that he knows everything, Susan admits everything. Finally at the breakfast table the next morning, she admits the truth to everyone. Margaret is overcome with emotion for seeing Susan for the first time in over a decade, and the two talk about what really happened between Margaret and Mitch. Margaret and Susan pack to go to California, and Margaret’s father surreptitiously convinces her to change her look to keep up with the times in his way of helping Susan and Sharon’s plan on getting their parents back together.

Mitch is surprised to find Margaret in his house, and in his bathrobe

Mitch is surprised to find Margaret in his house, and in his bathrobe

Susan and Margaret soon arrive in California, and Sharon breaks the news to them about Mitch’s engagement, which visibly upsets Margaret, although she tries her best to cover it up. When Mitch returns, he starts chewing out Susan, with Susan catching on to how Sharon had been acting around the house. Soon after, Vicky, her mother Edna, and the Reverend Dr. Mosby arrive to talk with Mitch and see the house. Mitch goes upstairs to shower, leaving Susan to play hostess. He is unaware that Margaret has just used his bathroom to take a shower, and she slips out before he enters, wearing his bathrobe. Susan grabs Margaret so she can take a glimpse of Vicky. When Mitch finally goes downstairs, he spies Margaret running around outside, and is shocked enough that he trips over a table and drops the drinks he’s holding. When he takes the group on a tour of the outside, he spies Margaret again, and trips into the outdoor pond. He is pulled out of the water and heads inside to confront Margaret and Susan.

When Mitch gets inside, the two have a polite reunion before they start arguing loudly. Mitch is interrupted by Susan, and he suddenly realizes that Susan and Sharon are in his house. Margaret tells him of their plan to switch places, and he is thrilled that he was able to meet Sharon for the first time in years. Margaret sends the two girls away so she and Mitch can talk alone. Mitch is angry that Margaret would show up now of all times, but Margaret starts acting coy. The two then start arguing again, and she threatens to punch him, and when he starts manhandling her, she punches him in the eye. When she tries to study his eye, the Reverend walks in, and Mitch quickly tries to explain the situation, although he introduces Margaret as his wife. The Reverend takes a shine to Margaret, and seems to find humor in the entire situation. Margaret then decides to go change into something a little more comfortable than Mitch’s bathrobe; while away, Vicky informs Mitch that she is not at all thrilled with the situation and demands that she not stay the night.

The girls recreate their parents' first date and entertain them with a floor show

The girls recreate their parents’ first date and entertain them with a floor show

Edna and Vicky soon make an excuse to leave, uncomfortable with Margaret’s appearance. Later, Susan, Sharon, and Verbina convince Hecky to help them with the next step of their plan: recreating the first date. Mitch goes out onto the patio, as instructed, and sees the setup. When Margaret arrives, the two sit down and have a terse interaction. However, they stop talking when the girls step out to perform a song for the couple. After their show, they leave the couple alone to have dinner. Margaret then tells Mitch that the girls are trying to recreate their first date, including their first song. Mitch starts reminiscing about their fights in their marriage, stating that they wouldn’t have lasted anyway, and that it was a mistake in the beginning, which upsets Margaret. The two argue again, and Margaret starts to storm off, but she stops herself. She lets him know that she’s leaving in the morning with Sharon, and sincerely wishes him the best with his marriage with Vicky.

The next day, the twins have come up with a new plan: they come down the stairs in matching outfits, with no one able to tell them apart. They inform their parents that neither girl is going back to Boston, they’re all going on the campout together, and will let them know which is Susan and which is Sharon when they get back. Vicky is furious that Mitch is going off with Margaret, and Margaret agrees. She then suggests that Vicky goes in Margaret’s place. The girls are angry about this development, and Vicky isn’t thrilled either. While hiking up to the campsite, the girls play a prank of Vicky with a lizard on top of a water bottle. She threatens the girls when Mitch isn’t listening, so they decide to up the ante with their pranks. Vicky is miserable the entire time, although she says she’ll stick it out. Although Mitch lectures the girls on playing pranks, he secretly finds them hilarious. That night, the girls play one last prank, mimicking the prank that Susan played on Sharon when they first met. Vicky wakes up to find two bear cubs licking the honey on her feet, and starts trashing the campsite due to anger. She then slaps one of the twins, and decides not to marry Mitch after all, with Hecky driving her back to civilization.

After coming back to the ranch, Mitch finally realizes how much he missed Margaret, and how much he still loves her

After coming back to the ranch, Mitch finally realizes how much he missed Margaret, and how much he still loves her

The group goes back to the ranch, and Margaret asks Mitch what happened to Vicky. The girls apologize to Mitch about what they did to Vicky, then leave to let the two adults talk. Mitch suddenly realizes that he still has feelings for Margaret and, finding that the two are alone, he goes upstairs to shave and put on a nice outfit. He brings up a bottle of wine and turns on some nice music, and the mood turns to the romantic. He tells her that he misses the wet stockings she used to hang in the shower, his razor being dull from her use, her hairpins, and more of the little things about her. He then admits that he misses her, and they kiss. Meanwhile, upstairs, Susan shares a dream she had with Susan of their future: the remarriage of their mother and father.


May 28

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May 28, 1953 – The Special Short Film Adventures in Music: Melody is Released to Theaters


“Today’s lesson will be about something we really can’t do without.”

On May 28, 1953, the special short film Adventures in Music: Melody was released to theaters. This was to be the first in a series featuring the character Professor Owl teaching his students about principles of music, but only one other short was made (Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom); the character would become best known for beginning the Disney Sing-A-Long videos. Melody was also the first cartoon filmed in 3D, and was shown in Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theater as a part of the 3D Jamboree, an attraction that remained fairly popular at the park, although 3D films didn’t really catch on in regular theaters. The short was directed by C. August Nichols and Ward Kimball, with story by Dick Huemer.

All the young birds gather at the school birdhouse, where Professor Owl is waiting to take attendance. He then declares that the lesson for the day will be “melody,” much to the enjoyment of the students. He directs them to the melody of nature, including the bird, the cricket, and the willow tree. He also says that there are only two creatures on earth that can sing: birds, and humans. Using a chart, Professor Owl points out the melodies in each stage of a person’s life. He changes the topic soon after to inspiration, with Suzy Sparrow drawing inspiration from love. Penelope Pinfeather sings her song, inspired by the ocean. Another student sings about trains, while another one sings about cowboys. The Canary Sisters sing a song about motherhood, before the class sings a song all about their inspirations. In conclusion, Professor Owl points out that “beautiful symphonies are often created from simple melodies,” and the short ends with an experimental look at music, featuring the beginning piece, “The Bird and the Cricket and the Willow Tree.”

February 24

February 24, 1956 – The Donald Duck Short Film Chips Ahoy is Released to Theaters


“Hey! Wait a minute, stupid! That’s water. Don’t you know you can’t walk on water?”

On February 24, 1956, the Donald Duck short film Chips Ahoy was released to theaters. It was the last short that featured Donald fighting with his nemesis, and the last classic short to feature Chip and Dale. The short was filmed in CinemaScope. It was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer.

Chip and Dale are sitting on a tree branch, lamenting how hungry they are, when they spy one last acorn on the tree. As they fight over the acorn, it tumbles from their grasp and falls to the water below. Chip then spots a tree in the middle of the river with hundreds of acorns, and the two race down the tree. As the two think of a way to get across the water, Chip spies a ship in a bottle in a nearby shack. Donald then takes a stroll across the dock to get to his boating shack, when he spots Chip and Dale carrying a boat on their backs. When he finds out that the two stole his ship, he fixes to get it back. He uses a fishing pole to reel his ship back in, and starts playing pranks on the two. Dale finally spots that Donald is holding their ship, and Donald catches him. Chip drops the anchor on Donald’s foot, and Donald drops the ship back into the water, and Dale onto the deck. Dale then takes some nearby rope and ties Donald up before jumping onto the ship.


Donald attempts to go after the chipmunks in a variety of boats, all having been tampered with by Dale

Donald then gets into his own boat to go after them, unaware that Dale has already cut Donald’s sail to ribbons. When Donald gets into a canoe, Dale reveals he took care of that too – he burrowed holes into the bottom of the canoe. Donald gets into a rowboat, which Dale already took the screws from. Finally, Donald gets into a speedboat, and when Chip starts to panic, Dale calmly reveals that he tied a rope to the end of the speedboat. When the rope is taut, Donald is sent flying into the acorn tree, sending acorns flying everywhere, including onto the ship. When Donald tries to grab the ship, he slips on the acorns and sends the boys back to shore on a wave. That night, the boys are eating their acorns when Chip looks to see that Donald, still trapped on that little island, has cut down the acorn tree and started building a boat, a sight at which the chipmunks can’t help but laugh.

February 13

February 13, 1988 – The Expo Robotics Demonstration Opens in Epcot


“The intricate movements of the robotic arms amazingly performed various programmed tricks.”

On February 13, 1988, the Expo Robotics demonstration opened in Epcot’s Communicore West area. Expo Robotics was an expansion of the already popular Bird and the Robot exhibit in World of Motion’s Transcenter. The demonstration featured several large robotic arms that performed a variety of programmed tricks, including drawing faces of guests and airbrushing Disney characters on t-shirts that were eventually sold. The demonstration also featured lively circus music to create the jolly atmosphere. The attraction eventually closed on October 3, 1993.

February 4

February 4, 1984 – The Exhibit Backstage Magic Opens in Epcot


“Join your hostess Julie and her electronic sidekick I/O for a tour through Epcot’s Computer Central, the computer hub of Epcot Center.”

On February 4, 1984, the Epcot exhibit Backstage Magic opened in Epcot’s Communicore East. It replaced the Astuter Computer Review (1982 – 1984), and ran until October 1, 1993. It was hosted by a woman named Julie and her sidekick I/O, which stands for Input/Output. The attraction explained to guests how the Audio-Animatronic characters in the park work through the use of computers. Its closing was part of a major closing of Communicore, which reopened again in 1994 as Innoventions.

January 29

January 29, 2010 – IBM Reveals the SmarterPlanet Exhibit at Epcot’s Innoventions Area


“SmarterPlanet presented by IBM offers visitors to the park a ‘behind-the-scenes’ glimpse of how technology is helping solve the world’s most complex problems – from reducing road traffic and city crime to improving food safety and local water supplies.”

On January 29, 2010, the new Epcot Innoventions exhibit SmarterPlanet, sponsored by IBM, was revealed with a special grand opening event. The exhibit itself has several hands-on kiosks where guests play several match games to reveal societal and technological methods of changing the world into a “smarter planet,” from unplugging appliances not in use, to food systems that track food temperature during the process of shipping. In partnership with Walt Disney Imagineering, IBM also features an exhibit called Runtime: guests are turned into avatars through smart technology and make their way through a game based on IBM’s timeline of achievements. Guests are also able to email a version of the game to their personal computers, continuing their adventure after they’ve left the park. The exhibit was introduced at the grand opening by IBM General Manager Gary Cohen, who explained that the objective of SmarterPlanet’s creation was “for guests to walk away understanding how forward-thinking solutions can solve our greatest societal problems, and the increasing role technology will play in improving the quality of life for people across the world.”

January 22

January 22, 2001 – The Disney Channel Original Series The Book of Pooh Premieres


“Could it be who there? Maybe it’s Pooh Bear! Pooh? Well, that’s me!”

On January 22, 2001, the Disney Channel original series The Book of Pooh premiered. Featuring characters from A. A. Milne’s beloved franchise, this was Disney’s third Winnie the Pooh centric series; the first two were Welcome to Pooh Corner (1983 – 1986) and The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988 – 1991). The series relied on the art of Japanese bunraku puppetry for the members of the Hundred Acre Wood, along with computer animated sets. The series was notable for having voice actor Jim Cummings voicing Tigger full time, replacing former voice actor, Paul Winchell. During its run, the show was nominated for three Daytime Emmy Awards, and won once in 2002 for Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series, tying with Sesame Street; the nominations were for Outstanding Achievement in Single Camera Photography and Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design/Styling (both in 2002), and Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series in 2005. The series stars Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, John Fiedler as Piglet, Ken Sansom as Rabbit, Peter Cullen as Eeyore, André Stojka as Owl, Stephanie D’Abruzzo as Kessie, and Paul Tiesler as Christopher Robin.

September 7

September 7, 1911 – Animator and Disney Legend Fred Moore is Born


“Animation came too easily to him. He didn’t have to exert any real effort.” – Animator Les Clark

On September 7, 1911, Robert Fred Moore was born in Los Angeles, California. Despite limited training, he displayed a natural talent for animation, and worked at the Chouinard Art Institute as a janitor in exchange for art lessons. In 1930, at the age of 18, Moore was hired by the Disney studios. His first major assignment was on the Silly Symphony Santa’s Workshop in 1932, but his best known short assignment was that of a principal animator on Three Little Pigs. Moore was also known as the best animator of Mickey Mouse, creating the redesign of Mickey first seen in The Pointer in 1939, which was then used in “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment of Fantasia. Caricatures of Moore have been seen in Disney animation: once in the Mickey Mouse short The Nifty Nineties as part of the song and dance act “Fred and Ward: Two Clever Boys from Illinois,” and the other is the character of Lampwick from Pinocchio, which is considered a self-caricature. In 1946, after a series of personal and professional problems, Moore was fired from the studio. He joined Walter Lantz, redesigning the character of Woody Woodpecker, before being hired once again by Disney in 1948. Sadly, in 1952, Moore was involved in a car accident, and was killed from a cerebral hemorrhage. He is still regarded as one of the finest Disney animators, and was awarded the Windsor McCay award in 1983, and inducted as a Disney Legend in 1995.

September 2

September 2, 1902 – Animator and Disney Legend Norm Ferguson is Born


“In the case of Pluto, the man most responsible for defining the character, giving him the personality we know and love, was animator Norm Ferguson, known to his friends and colleagues as ‘Fergy.’” – Film Critic Leonard Maltin

On September 2, 1902, William Norman Ferguson was born in Brooklyn, New York. He worked as a cameraman at the Paul Terry Studios making silent animated films, and one night, when several frames were missing from the film, he animated the missing pages. A director came around the next day asking who animated the frames, as they were the best things in the picture. In 1929, he joined the Disney Studios as a successful New York animator. He animated on more than 75 shorts, including the Academy Award winning Three Little Pigs. Although not considered a great draftsman, Ferguson made up for his lack of formal training with a great skill for storytelling and a way to portray human emotion. He then animated the Wicked Witch in the full-length feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Honest John and Gideon in Pinocchio, basing these villain’s characteristics on vaudeville acts he saw in his youth. Ferguson was also credited for the technique of overlapping action, where parts of a character’s body moves at different times and different speeds, giving the illusion of realistic movement. He then moved to a supervising role for films, as a sequence director for Fantasia and Dumbo, a production supervisor for Saludos Amigos, production supervisor and director for The Three Caballeros, and directing animator for Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan. He left the studio in 1953, due to his failing health and career decline, and passed away of a heart attack in 1957 at the age of 55. He was posthumously awarded the Windsor McCay award in 1987, and was named a Disney Legend in 1999.

July 2

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July 2, 1967 – The Rocket Jets, the PeopleMover, and the General Electric Carousel of Progress Open in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland


“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow just a dream away!”

On June 2, 1967, as part of a major update to the Tomorrowland section of the Magic Kingdom, three new attractions were opened: the Rocket Jets, the Peoplemover, and the General Electric Carousel of Progress. The Rocket Jets were the replacement for Astro-Jets and the Tomorrowland Jets. The attraction is built much like the current Dumbo the Flying Elephant attraction, where guests climbed into rockets and circled around a space shuttle, able to control the height of their rocket with a lever, giving guests a great view of the park. The attraction was closed on January 6, 1997, and replaced with the Astro Orbiter in 1998.

The PeopleMover was an innovative attraction at the time of its opening, as it featured electric motors in the track that would propel the vehicles through Tomorrowland; this same technology was used to build a PeopleMover in the Houston International Airport. Guests would board the PeopleMover and see a preview of Tomorrowland as they traveled through several of the attractions. The attraction had major improvements added in 1968; the Superspeed Tunnel was added in 1977, and footage from the feature film Tron was added in 1982. The attraction was closed on August 21, 1995.


The General Electric Carousel of Progress was originally an attraction at the 1964 New York World’s Fair, and was moved to Tomorrowland  after the fair was over. Sponsored by General Electric, the attraction took guests through the home of an Audio-Animatronic family through the years, stressing the increased importance of electricity as the decades changed. A song for the attraction, “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow,” was written by the legendary songwriting team the Sherman Brothers. The attraction closed on September 9, 1973, and was moved to Walt Disney World, with America Sings taking the Carousel’s place in Disneyland.