Disney's 24-minute Mickey Mouse short Mickey's Christmas Carol is released
as an accompaniment to a re-release of The Rescuers. An animated version of the
Charles Dickens tale featuring Scrooge McDuck, it is Mickey's first appearance since The Simple Things in
1953. The short features the final performance of Clarence Nash as Donald Duck (the only character in the
film to be voiced by his original actor) and the first performance of Wayne Allwine as Mickey Mouse.
Mickey's Christmas Carol will be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Subject.
The very first "Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party" premieres at
The Walt Disney Company breaks ground on the first phase of a 125-acre
campus that eventually will house its theme-park designers, sound stages and a
high-tech business center. The Grand Central Creative Campus project (or GC3) at Grandview
Avenue and Flower Street in Los Angeles is expected to be completed by December 2006.
Writer and linguist Wilhelm Grimm passes away in Berlin, Germany. He and his
brother Jacob were the first to write down such classic tales as Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty.
Hardie Albright, one of the adolescent voices of Disney's 1942
Bambi, is born in Charleroi, Pennsylvania.
The Walt Disney Studios is incorporated as a partnership and replaced by 4
companies: Walt Disney Productions, Ltd.; Walt Disney Enterprises; Liled
Realty and Investment Company; and the Disney Film Recording Company.
The Walt Disney directed Silly Symphony cartoon The Merry Dwarfs is released.
Actress Joyce Bulifant is born in Newport News, Virginia. Best known for her role of
Marie Slaughter (Murray's wife) on the classic series Mary Tyler Moore, Bulifant appeared in Disney's 1967
live-action feature The Happiest Millionaire as Rosemary.
WED Enterprises is founded as a private company owned solely
by Walt Disney to design and create Disneyland and to manage
Disney's personal assets. WED stands for Walter Elias Disney. Already hard at work on the theme park project are Walt's first 3 Imagineers ... Harriet Burns, Fred Joerger and Wathel Rogers. (In 1986, WED will be renamed Walt Disney Imagineering.)
Mickey Mouse Club airs on ABC-TV. Today is Talent Round-Up Day.
The TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs "Hurricane Hannah."
At 5:00 p.m. on this Friday, a private service is held for Walt Disney's immediate
family at Little Church of the Flowers of Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale,
California. No announcements of the funeral are made until after it has taken place.
The New York Times runs "Walt Disney, 65, Dies on Coast; Founded an Empire on a
Mouse" the day after his passing. The obituary (penned by Marty Sklar, who at this time is a staff writer
at WED) reads:
Disney's animated short The Small One, directed by Don Bluth, is released. Set in the
town of Bethlehem on the eve of the first Christmas, it is based on the children's book by Charles Tazewell.
Disney Channel Christmas airs on the Disney Channel.
The Commisary restaurant opens at Disney-MGM Studios.
After extensive renovations, Walt Disney World's Snow White's
Adventures reopens as Snow White's Scary Adventures.
Meanwhile over in Tomorrowland, the new ExtraTERRORestrial Alien
Encounter offers a soft opening.
Ninety-eight-year-old Lillian Bounds Disney dies peacefully in her sleep at her
home in West Los Angeles, after suffering a stroke the day before.
(Her husband Walt had died thirty-one years ago and a day in the early morning of December 15, 1966.)
The Disney Family invites fans to celebrate the holidays at Walt's
Carolwood Barn in Griffith Park, California. The festive gathering features
free refreshments, candy canes, and "Engineer Santa."
Disney's 2003 comedy hit Freaky Friday is released on DVD and VHS.
Actor Edward James Olmos narrates Epcot's Candlelight Processional.
It is reported that Disney has set a July start date for its remake of the
1959 feature The Shaggy Dog. The studio has asked Brian Robbins to
direct Tim Allen as a man who occasionally changes into a sheepdog.
Disney's Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black
Pearl, Brother Bear, and Freaky Friday are all nominated for
BFCA Awards (given by the Broadcast Film Critics Association).
The Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association presents Al Weiss, president of
worldwide operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, the 2006 Charles Andrew
Hospitality Award for Community Leadership. Each year, the award honors one local leader
for his or her contribution to the area's tourism industry through community service.
Florida governor-elect Charlie Crist spends the morning at Disney World's Magic
Kingdom with 20 foster families for "Florida's Youth Day." Families are later led through
the park with personal guides, armed with Fast Passes to the most popular rides and attractions.
The Disney live-action feature Candleshoe, starring Jodie Foster as Casey Brown,
Helen Hayes (in her final screen appearance) as Lady St. Edmund, and David Niven
playing 3 roles including the part of a butler, is released. Based on the Michael Innes novel
Christmas at Candleshoe, a small time crook named Harry Bundage discovers that the old manor house where
Lady St. Edmund resides, with three orphans and her butler Priory, is the resting place for a hoard of treasure!
"We will continue
Company in the
way that he has
-Roy O. Disney
(This Day 1966)
Disney's animated Peter Pan is released in Italy.
WED Enterprises established
"This really is the end of an era for the Disneys, and it's ironic and somehow fitting that it should be at this
time of the year...Walt, in 1966, my dad in 1971, my mother in 1984, and now Lily have all gone during
the 10 days before Christmas." -Roy E. Disney
"Mrs. Disney was a full-time partner to Walt and we are all grateful for her contributions in the creation of Mickey Mouse and the Disney company and for the example she set for family life and community service. Lillian and Walt Disney and Edna and Roy Disney were pioneers in turning a creative vision through hard work and sacrifice into an American institution. For that, the world is grateful." -Michael D. Eisner
In an official memo to J. Edgar Hoover (Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation)
dated on this day, Los Angeles agent John Malone of the Los Angeles Field
Division recommends that Walt Disney be made a Special Agent in Charge (SAC)
Contact. Walt, who had volunteered the use of his studios to representatives of the Bureau, will be named
an official SAC Contact on January 12, 1955.
The Donald Duck cartoon Toy Tinkers, directed by Jack Hannah, is released. In this
Christmas short, Chip 'n' Dale fight with Donald for the goodies under his tree!
Roy E. Disney, son of Disney Studios co-founder Roy O. Disney, and
nephew of Walt Disney, passes away at the age of 79 at Hoag
Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California
(following a year-long battle with stomach cancer). A successful businessman,
philanthropist, filmmaker, and award-winning sailor, he played a key role in the revitalization of The Walt Disney
Company and Disney's animation legacy (his influence led to the departure of former chief Michael Eisner). Roy
Edward Disney was associated with the Company over a 56-year period, and from 1984–2003, served as vice
chairman of the Company's board of directors, and chairman of the Studio's Animation Department. In recent years,
he held the title of director emeritus and consultant for the Company.
"I first met Roy when I was still an animation student at CalArts. Not only did I
consider him a personal friend, but he was a great man who believed deeply in the art of animation. He put his heart
and soul into preserving Disney's legendary past, while helping to move the art of animation into the modern age by
embracing new technology." -John Lasseter (chief creative officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios)
"On behalf of everyone at Disney, we are saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague Roy E. Disney. He was
much more than a valued 56-year Company veteran — Roy's true passion and focus were preserving and building
upon the amazing legacy of Disney animation that was started by his father and uncle. Roy's commitment to the
art of animation was unparalleled and will always remain his personal legacy and one of his greatest
contributions to Disney's past, present and future." -Bob Iger (president and CEO of The Walt Disney Company)
Disney's live-action documentary Mysteries of the Deep is released. Narrated by Winston
Hibler, the featurette shows just how incredibly diverse and compelling our planet is. Written and co-produced by
Roy E. Disney, Mysteries of the Deep is one of thirteen True-Life Adventures.
"Well, I always say the one I made myself — Mysteries of the Deep — was the most important to me. To make a long story short, it
was nominated for an Academy Award, and it should have won — I mean it!" -Roy E. Disney
Editorial cartoons honoring Walt Disney begin to appear in
newspapers around the country. The one to the left, by famed editorial
cartoonist Charles Brooks appears in The Birmingham News (a newspaper in
Birmingham, Alabama). Brooks' farewell to Walt shows Disney's cartoon characters
gathered mournfully at his grave. Thousands of copies will be requested from
across the country ... including one from the Disney Studios. (Click on the cartoon
to the left for a larger view.)
Roy O. Disney sends a 6-page telegram to the London Disney
office announcing the death of his brother Walt. It is then forwarded to the Paris Disney
office. The telegram includes these words:
Walt Disney, who built his whimsical cartoon world of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Snow White and
the Seven Dwarfs into a $100-million-a-year entertainment empire, died in St. Joseph's Hospital here
this morning. He was 65 years old.
His death, at 9:35 a.m., was attributed to acute circulatory collapse. He had undergone surgery at the
hospital a month ago for the removal of a lung tumor that was discovered after he entered the hospital
for treatment of an old neck injury received in a polo match. On Nov. 30, he re-entered the hospital for
a 'post-operative checkup.'
Just before his last illness, Mr. Disney was supervising the construction of a new Disneyland in Florida,
a ski resort in Sequoia National Forest and the renovation of the 10-year-old Disneyland at Anaheim.
His motion-picture studio was turning out six new productions and several television shows and he was
spearheading the development of the vast University of the Arts, called Cal Art, now under
Although Mr. Disney held no formal title at Walt Disney Productions, he was in direct charge of the
company and was deeply involved in all its operations. Indeed, with the recent decision of Jack L.
Warner to sell his interest in the Warner Brothers studio, Mr. Disney was the last of Hollywood's
veteran moviemakers who remained in personal control of a major studio.
Roy Disney, Walt Disney's 74-year-old brother, who is president and chairman of Walt Disney
Productions and who directs its financial operations, said:
"We will continue to operate Walt's company in the way that he had established and guided it. All of
the plans for the future that Walt had begun will continue to move ahead."
Besides his brother, Mr. Disney is survived by his widow, Lillian, two daughters, Mrs. Ron Miller and
Mrs. Robert Brown.
"The death of Walt Disney is a loss to all the people of the world. In everything he did, Walt had an intuitive
way of reaching out and touching the hearts and mind of young and old alike. His entertainment was an
For more than 40 years, people have looked to Walt Disney for the finest quality in family entertainment. There
is no way to replace Walt Disney. He was an extraordinary man. Perhaps there will never be another like him. I
know that we who worked at his side for all these years will always cherish the years and minutes we spent in
helping Walt Disney entertain the people of the world. The world will always be a better place because Walt
Disney was its master showman.
As President and Chairman of the Board of Walt Disney Productions, I want to assure the public, our
stockholders and each of our more than 4,000 employees that we will continue to operate Walt Disney’s
Company in the way that he has established and guided it."
Veteran effects animator Dorse Lanpher passes away in California. First honing his
craft at Disney as an assistant effects animator on Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians, he left Walt's studio
during production of The Sword In The Stone to work on industrial films. Later returning to Disney, Lanpher
worked on The Rescuers, Pete’s Dragon and The Black Hole. He left Disney for a second time but rejoined
the Disney fold with Roger Rabbit, then toiled on every significant Disney animated feature, from
The Little Mermaid (1989) all the way through to Home on The Range (2004).
"If I could die without my knowledge of the event, death would be nothing to fear." -Dorse Lanpher
"Well, WED is, you might call it my backyard laboratory, my workshop away from work.
It served a purpose in that some of the things I was planning, like Disneyland for example… it’s pretty hard for banking minds to go
with it… so I had to go ahead on my own and develop it to a point where they could begin to comprehend what I had on my mind."
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first stand-alone film in the Star Wars Anthology
series, opens in U.S. theaters. Produced by Lucasfilm and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, the film is chronologically set between the films Revenge of the Sith (2005) and A New Hope (1977). Rogue
tells the story of a group of unlikely heroes who band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the
Empire's ultimate weapon of destruction.