Friday, January 30, 2009

January 30: Rockin' Disney Legend

On this day in 1951, singer-songwriter-drummer Phil Collins was born Philip David Charles Collins in Chiswick, London.
Best known as the lead singer & drummer for Genesis and as a Grammy and Academy Award-winning solo artist, Collins started out wanting to be an actor. (He was an extra in The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night and in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.)
His connection to Disney goes back to the 1999 animated Tarzan and his hit single "You'll Be in My Heart" - which spent 19 weeks at #1 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and won an Oscar.
He even performed "You'll Be in My Heart" during a Super Bowl half-time show. His music can also be heard in the 2002 follow-up Tarzan & Jane. Tarzan went on to become a stage musical as well with Collins writing additional material.
Collins also wrote music for the 2003 Brother Bear. One of his songs "Welcome" was later used as the theme for Walt Disney's Parade of Dreams (which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Disneyland.)
His interest in acting came full circle when in 2002 he voiced the character Lucky for Disney's animated feature The Jungle Book 2 ... the same year he was inducted a Disney Legend.

Click HERE for more January 30 Disney history.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27: The Original Mad Hatter

On this day in 1832 English author, mathematician, and Anglican clergyman Lewis Carroll was born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson in Daresbury, Cheshire County, England. (Carroll invented his pen name by translating his first two names into the Latin "Carolus Lodovicus" and then anglicizing it into "Lewis Carroll.")
He is best known to Disney fans as the author of the 1865 story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the 1872 Through the Looking-Glass.

Click HERE for more January 27 Disney history.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

January 25: One Great Big ONEderful Motion Picture

On this day in 1961 Disney's animated 101 Dalmatians premiered.
The story centers on Pongo (voiced by Rod Taylor) and Perdita, a pair of Dalmatians who play Cupid for their human pets. In a short time, the dogs become the proud parents of 15 winsome puppies. But their happiness is short-lived when the wicked Cruella De Vil (voiced by Betty Lou Gerson) wants to buy all the puppies—to make a coat! When her dastardly offer is turned down, she orders her bumbling henchmen Horace and Jasper to abscond with the puppies as well as every other Dalmatian puppy in London. Pongo and Perdita rally a network of animals across England with the “twilight bark” to help find Cruella's secret hideaway and rescue 99 precious puppies.

Click HERE for more January 25 Disney history.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20: The Real Buzz

On this day in 1930, astronaut Buzz Aldrin was born Edwin E. Aldrin in Montclair, New Jersey.
It was no wonder he would grow up to be the second man on the moon ... his mother's name was Marion Moon and his dad Edwin Eugene Alrdin was an aviation pioneer (and a student of rocket developer Robert Goddard).
In October 1963, Aldrin was selected by NASA as one of the third group of astronauts. Three years later he (along with James A. Lovell) took part in the flight of Gemini 12, the 18th manned American space flight.
On July 20, 1969 Aldrin (and Neil Armstrong) made history when they became the first to land on the surface of the Moon.
Aldrin is the inspiration for Toy Story's spaceman action figure Buzz Lightyear!

Click HERE for more January 20 Disney history.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 19: A Wonderful Story that will be Dear to Your Heart!

On this day in 1949, Disney's So Dear To My Heart, a combination live-action and animated feature, was generally released. Set in early 20th century Indiana, it tells the story of a boy named Jermiah and his quest to raise his champion lamb Danny. His dream of showing Danny at the Pike County Fair must overcome the objections of his strict grandmother.

Click HERE for more January 19 Disney history.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

January 15: A Journey Through Time & Space

On this day in 1975, Space Mountain (a themed indoor roller coaster) opened at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
The first of all the Space Mountains, its concept was a direct descendant of Disneyland's Matterhorn Bobsleds. As far back as 1964, Walt Disney himself had approached designer John Hench about a new Tomorrowland attraction for Disneyland. The "Space Port" would feature a roller coaster ride in the dark with lighting and special effects. The idea was refined by WED Enterprises and by June 1966 the name "Space Mountain" was used for the first time.
Unfortunately Walt's passing the following December and emphasis on preparation for a Florida park, put Space Mountain on hold.
Once Walt Disney World was up and running in 1971, designers went back to the Space Mountain idea and significantly refined its design. To help cover the costs of the attraction Card Walker, CEO of Walt Disney Productions, convinced RCA chairman Robert Sarnoff to sponsor Space Mountain. The attraction went on to become a Disney classic.
On this day, Colonel James Irwin (who had served as the Lunar module pilot for Apollo 15) took Space Mountain's first official ride.

Click HERE for more January 15 Disney history.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

January 10: Mr Disney Turns 79

On this day in 1930, Roy Edward Disney (Walt Disney's nephew) was born to Roy and Edna Disney in California.

Click HERE for more January 10 Disney history.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

January 06: Final Day for Disney-MGM

On this day in 2008, the Disney World theme park Disney-MGM Studios was known as "Disney-MGM" for one last day. The following day (January 7) the Florida park would be called Disney's Hollywood Studios.
Spanning 135 acres, Disney World's third theme park originally opened on May 1, 1998 as Disney-MGM Studios. Disney's relation with MGM goes back to 1985, when they entered into a licensing contract that gave Disney the right to use the MGM logo for a yet-to-be-built theme park, as well as the rights to some of MGM's more famous characters from such movies as The Wizard of Oz.
Although Disney's plan for the park included working production facilities for movies and TV shows, by 1988 MGM filed a lawsuit that claimed Disney violated the original agreement by having such a working studio. Disney went ahead and opened the park with the production facility and the only affiliation MGM really had to the park was their brand name and lion logo. Hence began years of problems and disputes between the two movie makers. In fact Disney was contractually prohibited from using the Disney-MGM Studios name in certain marketing contexts ... which is why sometimes the park was referred to as simply The Disney Studios.
In August of 2007 it was announced that the theme park would be changing its name, as MGM had decided not to renew its branding contract.

Click HERE for more January 06 Disney history.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

January 04: Birthday Wishes

All born today January 04:
1785 - Jacob Grimm (writer, linguist, and collector of folktales)
1905 - Sterling Holloway (character actor & the first voice of Winnie the Pooh)
1918 - Norman 'Buddy' Baker (composer & arranger)
1943 - Mary Lynn Satori (original Mouseketeer)
1958 - Matt Frewer (actor & voice of Panic for Hercules)
1962 - April Winchell (voice actress/radio personality)
1963 - Dave Foley (actor & voice of Flik in A Bug's Life)
2007 - Tom (the 6th White Rhino born at Disney's Animal Kingdom)

Click HERE for more January 04 Disney history.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

January 03: Disneyland's Tencennial

On this day in 1965, Disneyland's 10th anniversary officially kicked off. The park debuted its Tencennial Parade and in the evening, Walt himself introduced new attractions that were coming to the park on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
This television episode also featured Julie Reihm - the very first Disneyland Ambassador (who Walt mistakenly introduced as Julie "Reihms"). Walt gave Miss Reihm (and TV viewers) a tour of such upcoming attractions as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean.
Reihm (today known as Julie Reihm Casaletto) went on to travel the world in 1965 as a special representative for Disneyland and the Disney Studio.

Click HERE for more January 03 Disney history.

Friday, January 2, 2009

January 02: The Maestro Arrives

On this day in 1938, famed conductor Leopold Stokowski arrived in Los Angeles, California to begin work on a Disney project. Known as the conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, he came to the west coast to conduct a session for Disney's animated short The Sorcerer's Apprentice.
Walt Disney had first met Stokowski in late 1937 while they were both dining alone at Chasen's restaurant in Hollywood. Stokowski had offered to conduct the music for Walt's newest project ... for free. Out of this chance meeting came the very basic concepts for what would be the 1940 Fantasia.
On January 9, 1938 Stokowski conducted a recording session in Culver City, California for The Sorcerer's Apprentice using local musicians. The piece of music (originally written by Paul Dukas) was also titled The Sorcerer's Apprentice. This would be the only music used in Fantasia not performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Click HERE for more January 02 Disney history.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

January 01: An IMAX New Year

On this day in 2002, an improved version of Disney's Beauty and the Beast (first released in 1991) was released to IMAX and other giant screen theaters. The film, reissued in IMAX format, featured a new musical sequence and enhanced imagery - that animators spent over a year working on. The new musical sequence featured the song "Human Again," written by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Written for the original version of Beauty and the Beast, the song had been cut after it was storyboarded. It marked the first time Disney had ever animated a new sequence for a previously-released feature.
IMAX (which is short for Image MAXimum) is a film format that has the capacity to display images of far greater size and resolution than other modern systems.

Have a happy and healthy New Year.

Click HERE for more January 01 Disney history.