Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sep 14: Broadway's Belle #14

On this day in 2004 actress Brooke Tansley first stepped into the role of Belle in Disney's Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast. She became the 14th actress to play the lead role on Broadway (replacing Belle #13 - Christy Carlson Romano).
Originally from Waterbury, Connecticut, Tansley had made her Broadway debut in Hairspray. (She was the first actress from Waterbury to star on Broadway since Rosalind Russell in the 1953 production of Wonderful Town.)
Her Disney connection goes back to childhood, when Brooke and her brother Scott won a trip to Disney World.
Her run as Belle was to last just until January ... but was extended twice into September 2005.
Fans of TV's Law & Order may recognize her from the finale of season 6 - in which she played a character named Belle.

Click HERE for more September 14 Disney history.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sep 13: The Velvet Fog-Disney Connection

On this day in 1925, jazz singer, composer, arranger, actor & drummer Mel Tormé was born in Chicago, Illinois. Nicknamed the Velvet Fog, he is probably best known for co-writing "The Christmas Song" (often referred to as "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire").
A child prodigy,
Tormé first sang professionally at age 4 in a Chicago restaurant! Between 1933 and 1941 he acted on radio serials and wrote his first song ... at age 13. While still a teen he sang, arranged, and played drums in a band led by Chico Marx (of the Marx Brothers). In 1943, Tormé made his movie debut in Frank Sinatra's first film Higher and Higher. Tormé went on to write some 250 songs, of which many became jazz standards.
Tormé's connection with Disney goes back to the 1948 live-action So Dear To My Heart, in which his song "County Fair" was used in. During the 1970s Tormé appeared numerous times at the Top of the World - a restaurant/show room once located at the top of Disney World's Contemporary Resort (today known as the California Grill). In 1996, he recorded and released the album "A&E: An Evening With Mel Tormé Live From the Disney Institute." In 2006 his timeless tune "The Christmas Song" was used in Disney's live-action holiday feature The Santa Clause 3.
Mel passed in 1999, the Tormé-Disney connection continues today as his son James (also a respected jazz singer) has performed with his trio at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

Click HERE for more September 13 Disney history.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sep 11: Speaking of history ...

I am surprised and somewhat disappointed in the lack of attention Patriot Day received from Disney fan sites this year. I always associate Disney with American pride and Americana. Obviously so did Walt ... think of all the theme park attractions that are based upon American history.
I didn't expect lengthy paragraphs about Patriot Day to be posted on Disney fan sites, but an American flag icon or some such image or reference to Patriot Day would have been nice to see. Sometimes it's so much more than just about vacation photos and personal theme park opinions.
On the other hand the fact that most hop into The Hall of Presidents because of its air conditioning instead of its presentation ... I guess this lack of interest shouldn't really surprise me.
This Day in Disney History isn't about opinions but (hopefully) accurate facts and interesting anecdotes about Walt Disney and his company. I rarely give my personal opinions about events, movies, theme parks, etc. - but today I needed to vent. Today I needed to take my website (which is a hobby that I am passionate about) and my American pride and mesh them together. Thanks for reading.

To see how the events of September 11, 2001 affected Disney click HERE.