On the 50th anniversary of his debut as "king of the wild frontier," the man
known to millions of baby-boomers as legendary frontiersman Davy Crockett
receives the highest honor Disneyland bestows, when the Anaheim park
unveils a tribute window on Main Street to actor Fess Parker.
Theatre in London, England. (The show had been running at
the Bristol Hippodrome since September.)
The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction opens in Walt
Disney World. Housed in a golden Spanish fort called
Castillo Del Morro, it is located in the Caribbean Plaza of
Magic Kingdom's Adventureland. Featuring 125 Audio-Anamatronics (65 pirates & villagers and
60 animals), guests ride in flumes through 155,000 gallons of water (which includes one 14-foot drop).
The second one of its kind, the original Pirates of the Caribbean opened at Disneyland in 1967.
Disney's Alice Comedy Alice the Piper, starring Virginia Davis, is released.
A take on the story of "The Pied Piper on Hamelin," Alice and Julius are hired to rid the town of rats.
The Alice Comedy Alice in the Jungle, starring Virginia Davis, is released. While on safari in Africa, Alice gets chased by a lion after playing with a lion cub and Julius has to come to her rescue!
Disney publishes the last issue of the "Official Bulletin of the Mickey Mouse Club."
First published in April 1930, it is one of many club materials sold to theater operators for use in the Mickey
Mouse Club meetings.
Comedic actor Tim Conway is born Thomas Daniel Conway in
Willoughby, Ohio. He co-starred in The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) and The Apple
Dumpling Gang Rides Again (1979) playing the comedic role of Amos Tucker. Conway also
appeared in the 1973 The World's Greatest Athlete, the 1976 The Shaggy D.A., and the 1987 TV special Walt
Disney World Celebrity Circus. His voice credits include Disney's Hercules animated TV series and the 2009 Santa
Buddies (as Sniffer). Named a Disney Legend in 2004, he even made a guest appearance on a 2011 episode of
"Wizards of Waverly Place." (Conway is best known for his appearances on TV's "The Carol Burnett Show," his
series of satirical how-to videos in which he plays a diminutive, dark-haired Scandinavian known as Dorf, and as the
voice of Barnacle Boy on the animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants.")
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Two-Gun Mickey, directed by Ben Sharpsteen,
is released. Cowgirl Minnie (voiced by Marcellite Garner) thinks she can take care of herself on the
prairie ... but when she's captured by Pegleg Pete, Mickey must come to her rescue!
Disney releases the Donald Duck short Out on a Limb.
Disney's television adventure "Davy Crockett Indian Fighter" - the very first
episode of the Davy Crockett trilogy starring Fess Parker as Crockett and Buddy
Ebsen as Georgie Russel - airs on the ABC series Disneyland. (This episode, along with
future episodes 14 and 18 will be edited together to make the 1955 Walt Disney theatrical release
Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier.)
Mickey Mouse Club airs on ABC-TV. Today is Circus Day.
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs part 3 of "Pollyanna."
Construction begins on Space Mountain at Walt Disney World.
A descendant of the first Disney "mountain" attraction, the Matterhorn Bobsleds (at Disneyland), Space Mountain
will be sponsored by RCA. An indoor steel roller coaster, the Tomorrowland attraction will open in January 1975.
The Walt Disney World 3D presentation Magic Journeys (originally shown at the Magic Eye Theater in the Journey into Imagination Pavilion at Epcot) opens at the Fantasyland Theater in the Magic Kingdom.
Star Tours opens at the Disney-MGM Park. It is the first attraction to
open in the park's new backlot annex area. Based on the successful Star Wars franchise of movies, it is Disney's 3rd version of the attraction (Disneyland's Star Tours opened in 1987 and Tokyo Disneyland's in 1989.) The first Disney attraction based on a non-Disney produced film, the ride that
became Star Tours first saw light as a proposal for an attraction based on the 1979 Disney live-action film
The Black Hole. Star Tours puts the guest in the role of a space tourist en route to the forest moon of Endor.
(Star Tours was updated in 2011 and in October 2012 the Walt Disney Company acquired Lucasfilm - thus
making them the owner of the Star Wars franchise.)
Disney's newest feature The Little Mermaid is released in Brazil.
Ninety-eight-year-old Lillian Bounds Disney, widow of Walt Disney, suffers
a stroke in the early morning hours of this day. Married to Walt from 1925 until his
death in 1966, she attended the dedication of Walt Disney World in Florida in October 1971.
Disney's 40th animated film (in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series) The
Emperor's New Groove is released. The comedy follows the adventures of the arrogant teenage
Emperor Kuzco (voiced by David Spade) and a humble peasant named Pacha (voiced by John Goodman).
The Crystal Palace (located in Disney World's Magic Kingdom) reopens for character meals after a renovation.
Detective Nancy Drew returns to TV for the first time since 1977 when ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney presents "Nancy Drew" (starring Maggie Lawson).
"I'm not Walt Disney anymore.
Walt Disney is a thing. It's grown to
become a whole different meaning than just one man."
An extended story session for Bambi takes place at the Disney Studio between
producer-director Sidney Franklin and Walt Disney. (It is a week before the debut of Snow
White and Bambi is the next scheduled project.) Franklin is eager to get the film into production, but Walt feels
the studio isn't ready for such a sensitive re-telling of Felix Salten's novel. Later this day Walt announces to the
press that Bambi is being postponed and Pinocchio will be the next feature.
The fifth of eight installments titled "My Dad, Walt Disney," by Diane Disney Miller as
told to Pete Martin (a "celebrity friendly" writer) appears in the Saturday Evening Post.
A retirement lunch for veteran animator Bob Youngquist takes place at Disney's
Penthouse Club. Youngquist, who first came to Disney at age 29 in 1935, worked on such classics as
Fantasia, Bambi, Sleeping Beauty, and The Sword in the Stone.
Disney releases the live-action family film The Wild Country to certain cities. Starring
Steve Forrest, Jack Elam, Ron Howard, Vera Miles, and Clint Howard, it will be generally released January 20.
Disneyland's third annual holiday festival "Christmas in Many Lands"
begins (it will run through December 23).
"Indeed sorry to learn of passing of your husband and want to extend my heartfelt sympathy. I know words are most
inadequate to ease your grief, but it is my hope that you will derive consolation from knowing that his outstanding
contributions will be a lasting memorial to him. His dedication to the highest standards of moral values and his
achievements will always stand as an inspiration to those who were privileged to know him. John Edgar Hoover.
Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation."
-Western Union Telegram sent to Lillian Disney - December 15, 1966.
The San Antonio Express runs the article "DISNEY HOPEFUL FILMS WILL LIVE
- Creator of Mickey Mouse Grateful to the Kiddies And World at Large". An
interview with 34-year-old Walt Disney, readers are informed about his upcoming feature-length picture
Snow White and his personal feelings about being a celebrity.
"As far as I can remember, being a celebrity has never helped me make a good picture, or a good shot at polo, or command the
obedience of my daughter, or impress my wife. It doesn't even seem to help me keep fleas off our dogs, and if being a celebrity won't
even give one the advantage over a couple of fleas, then I guess there can't be much in being a celebrity at all." -Walt Disney
When Disney was looking for their "Davy Crockett," they originally considered actor
James Arness for the title role.
But that changed when
Walt Disney saw
Parker in a
in the feature
starred James Arness).
Yo Ho! Yo Ho! A Pirates Life for Me!
The Ultimate Star Wars Adventure!
"I was in my office at the studio. One of the men whose sister was nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital across the street from the studio called to say that Walt Disney had just died. It was a shocker." -Imagineer Marc Davis
The new Sugar Bowl Lodge at Sugar Bowl, a ski area in northern Placer County near Norden, California along the Donner Pass of the Sierra Nevada, opens. Founded in 1938
by a group of investors, including Walt Disney, it is the first ski area in California to install a chairlift (and later the
first in the U.S. to install a gondola lift). Walt will vacation at Sugar Bowl in early 1941 with wife Lillian and daughter
Diane. (The lodge will be the inspiration for the Goofy short, The Art of Skiing - released in Novemebr 1941.)
Walter Elias Disney passes away at St. Joseph's Hospital of
acute circulatory collapse (caused by lung cancer) just ten days
after his 65th birthday. When the news of Walt's death reaches Disneyland in
Anaheim, consideration is given to closing the park for the day, but instead it is
kept open (as Walt would have wanted), but the flags on Main Street USA are
lowered to half-mast. Mr. Disney will be cremated two days later.
(His 74-year-old brother Roy O. Disney will postpone his planned retirement and start construction in
Florida on Walt's latest project, Disney World.)
That evening Disneyland's Fantasy on Parade (a special presentation for the
holiday season) steps off for the first time. An unusually cold night for Anaheim,
a somber Disneyland experiences a light snow.
"It was like losing a family member. Very difficult. Most of us stayed at work because that’s what Walt
would have wanted us to do. The flag was lowered at half mast. It was very, very hard, and I stood at
Town Square for the retreat that night until the flag was totally lowered. It was my way of saying
goodbye." -Disneyland Ambassador Connie Swanson (Lane)
On the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite,
commentator Eric Sevareid states this about Mr. Disney:
"He was a happy accident, one of the happiest this century has experienced. And
judging by the way it’s behaving, in spite of all Disney tried to tell it about laughter,
love, children, puppies, and sunrises, the century hardly deserved him."
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney
Studios Motion Pictures, is released to U.S. theaters.