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Tag Archives: Walt Disney Studios

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 19

April 19, 1983 – The Series Disney Studio Showcase Premieres on Disney Channel

On April 19, 1983, the television series Disney Studio Showcase premiered on Disney Channel as one of the first programs of the new channel. The series took viewers behind the scenes at the Walt Disney Studios, including a variety of upcoming Disney projects and ideas, such as the Tim Burton-directed short film Hansel and Gretel. The series ended its run on April 25, 1985.

March 21

March 21, 1940 – The Disney Studio Commissary Opens

Image credit: D23.com

“Many a celebrity has enjoyed dining at the commissary at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, including Walt Disney himself.”

On March 21, 1940, the Walt Disney Studios Commissary opened. Most studios had a commissary where actors and staff could congregate and have a meal between takes, and the Disney Studio was no different. The Disney Commissary was popular among actors, with actress Cloris Leachman raving about it in a 1979 interview. The area has undergone several changes over the years, including new décor and new menu items, although Walt’s favorite chili dish is still a staple on the menu.

December 12

December 12, 2012 – Disney Officially Opens the Disney Digital Studio

“At Disney Digital Services we’re all about ‘On Time’ delivery. And of course, that extends to the opening of our new Digital Studio Center, which will absolutely open on time at precisely 12:12 PM on December 12, 2012.”

On December 12, 2012, at 12:12 pm, Walt Disney Studios officially opened the new Digital Studio Center. The center is the home for serices that are described as “technical functions that are increasingly part of today’s digital media production, post production and distribution workflows,” such as digital media services, editorial services, projection services, sound services, and title graphics. The center was built to be able to adapt the fast pace of technological change, and features a variety of the best technology and staff to meet any digital need. The celebration of the center’s opening featured a ribbon cutting ceremony with Jeff Miller, Walt Disney Studios Studio Operations President; Jamie Voris, Walt Disney Studios CTO; Michael Jedlicka, Vice President of Technology and Strategy; and Leon Silverman, General Manager, Digital Studio.

February 10

February 10, 2003 – The Partners Statue is Installed at the Disney Studios

On February 10, 2003, the fifth copy of the iconic Partners statue was installed at the Disney Studios in Burbank, California. The original statue, created by Disney Legend Blaine Gibson, was installed in the central hub of Disneyland on November 18, 1993, with the other three copies placed in Disney Parks. The idea of Walt holding Mickey’s hand was inspired by a scene from the animated feature film Fantasia, where Mickey shakes the hand of famed conductor Leopold Stokowski.

October 5

October 5, 2009 – Rich Ross is Named Chairman of Walt Disney Studios

“Rich has an outstanding record of creating high-quality family entertainment that delights audiences around the world.” – Bob Iger, President and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

On October 5, 2009, The Walt Disney Company announced that Rich Ross would be taking the role of Chairman of the Walt Disney Studios. Ross, who was then serving as the President of Disney Channels Worldwide, saw that he would not only be overseeing the worldwide production of the company’s range of films (including Walt Disney Animation, Touchstone, Miramax, and Disney/Pixar), but would also be head of Disney’s theatrical and music ventures. Ross was chosen for the role based on his work in expanding the performance of Disney Channels Worldwide, as well as overseeing the growth of Radio Disney. He joined Disney in 1996 as the Senior Vice President, Programming and Production for Disney Channel, and was named President of Disney Channels Worldwide in 2004. Ross would remain in the role of Chairman until 2012.

August 25

August 25, 1923 – Walt Disney Writes Letter About Establishing a New Cartoon Studio

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“…I am establishing a studio in Los Angeles for the purpose of producing the new and novel series of cartoons I have previously written about.”

On August 25, 1923, Walt Disney sent a letter to distributor Margaret Winkler stating his intentions of establishing a new cartoon studio, particularly for the development of the series that would go on to be the Alice Comedies. Walt’s other studio, Laugh-O-gram Films, was floundering after not even being open for a year, and in serious danger of going belly-up. During this time, he was inspired by the Out of the Inkwell series of cartoons of an animated character in the world, and started developing the idea of the Alice Comedies. He had written Winkler once he had established the idea and, while she showed interest in distribution, Walt’s funds dried up after the film was only half completed. Eventually, he had no choice but to declare bankruptcy and went out West to Los Angeles. After looking around Los Angeles for directing gigs, he concluded that he would have to break into the industry with his cartoons; he then printed special stationary bearing the title of “Walt Disney, Cartoonist,” and declared his intentions in a letter to Winkler about establishing a new cartoon studio to work on the Alice Comedy “Alice’s Wonderland.” The gamble paid off, and on October 15, 1923, Winkler sent him a telegram with the offer of a contract. The Disney Studio was officially created the next day, October 16, 1923.

July 6

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July 6, 1925 – The Disney Brothers Make Down Payment on Hyperion Studios

Hyperion

On July 6, 1925, Walt and Roy Disney made a down payment on Lot 21 at 2719 Hyperion Avenue, the area that would eventually become the early Walt Disney Studio (also known as Hyperion Studio). The down payment was $400, which is almost $5,500 in 2016 rates. A larger studio was necessary after the success of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, as well as making sure that the brothers’ enterprise would pay off for their growing families. After a final payment of $600 in August, the brothers and their staff would move into the completed studio in January 1926 from the Kingswell Avenue location. Some of the buildings were eventually relocated when the studio moved to Burbank, but the rest were razed in 1966, leaving no trace of the studio’s humble beginnings.

January 6

January 6, 1939 – The First Issue of the Disney Studio Newsletter The Bulletin is Published

Bulletin

“Scoop! Exclusive! Bulletin bows!”

On January 6, 1939, the first issue of the Disney Studios newsletter, The Bulletin, was published. The newsletter reported on happenings within the studio, ranging from sports groups, special interest pieces on Disney employees, as well as special announcements. The newsletter had its final printing on April 4, 1941.

December 28

December 28, 2006 – Disney Announces $3.26 Billion Box Office Returns for the Year

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“In every area and on every level, 2006 was an extraordinary year for The Walt Disney Studios.” – Chairman Richard Cook

On December 28, 2006, Disney announced its year end box office gross of $3.26 billion. The year had been a successful one in several areas for Disney, ranging from its box office receipts and records, DVD sales, the Pixar acquisition, hit Disney Channel shows and movies, and its Broadway productions, among other profitable areas. In this report, Disney also claimed the top two box office spots for the year, with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest which earned over $1.06 billion, and Pixar’s Cars which grossed $462 million. Disney also had the three best-selling DVDs: Pirates of the Caribbean; Cars; and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe; these releases gave Buena Vista Home Entertainment an industry milestone.