German composer and virtuoso pianist Ludwig van Beethoven is baptized. (The exact
date of his birth is not known but experts believe his family may have celebrated his birthday on December 16.)
Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, completed in December 1808 and often referred to as the Pastoral Symphony, can
be heard in a segment of Disney's 1940 Fantasia. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and
Romantic eras in Western art music, Beethoven remains one of the most influential composers of all time.
Disney Channel and Toon Disney Channel are launched in India on Star (India's most widely viewed network).
It is announced that Victoria & Albert's at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
has been awarded a AAA Five Diamond rating for the fifth consecutive year.
Disney Channel premieres "Double Vision," the 50th episode of That's So Raven.
Arthur Fiedler, conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra for 50 years (starting in 1930),
is born in Boston, Massachusetts. In October 1971, he conducted the World Symphony Orchestra (a
carefully chosen group of 144 musicians from around the world) at the first evening of Walt Disney World's formal dedication. Fiedler's many recordings included Salute to Disney: Arthur Fiedler/The Boston Pops, first released in 1973. Fiedler, who projected a jolly, unsnobbish image, was one of the world's best- known musical figures. (Read more about Fiedler and the World Symphony Orchestra at Oct 15, 1971.)
Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon The Ugly Duckling, directed by Wilfred Jackson
and loosely based on the popular Hans Christian Anderson story, is released.
Actor Dave Madden is born in Ontario, Canada. Hosting two episodes of The Mouse Factory (a
syndicated television series produced by Walt Disney Productions which ran from 1972 to 1973), Madden is best remembered for his role on the 1970's musical sitcom The Partridge Family.
Disney's 8-minute black & white Christmas-theme Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's
Good Deed, directed by Bert Gillett, is released. It's Christmas Eve and Mickey needs money to
help out a poor mother's desperate children. So he sells Pluto to a rich family - whose spoiled brat gives the
pooch a real run for his money!
Actor/pop star Tommy Steele is born Thomas William Hicks in London, England.
He played the role of Johnny Lawless in Disney's 1967 live-action feature The Happiest Millionaire.
(Widely regarded as Britain's first teen idol and rock 'n' roll star, Steele is also known to American audiences for
his role in the 1968 musical Finian's Rainbow.)
Disney's cartoon short Chicken Little is released. Foxey Loxey convinces dim-witted Chicken Little
and the other farmyard poultry that the sky is falling and the fox's cave is the only safe place. But when they enter
and are trapped ... they are devoured!
Walt Disney returns home to California after a trip that has taken him from
Atlanta (for the premiere of Song of the South) to New York (where he
boarded the Queen Elizabeth) to England and finally Ireland.
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs the episode
"Backstage Party." It promotes the new Babes in Toyland feature film. The principal Toyland
stars perform songs and comedy routines, accompanied by such Disney staffers as composer George
Bruns on trombone, lyricist Mel Leven on ukulele, and sound effects expert Jimmy Macdonald on drums.
Choreographer Tom Mahoney dances, director Jack Donohue takes some good-natured ribbing, and
Tommy Kirk presents Ed Wynn with a "Mousecar" award commemorating Ed’s 60th anniversary in show business.
Meanwhile over at Disneyland the Babes in Toyland Exhibit opens on Main Street the same day the "Christmas in Many Lands" parade steps off.
Disney's 1940 Fantasia is re-released in theaters. It will become immensely
popular with teenagers and college students and for the first time turn a profit.
(It was only after the film's 1963 re-release that Walt learned that Fantasia had finally covered its cost!)
Roy O. Disney (Walt's brother & the builder of Walt Disney World) decides
not to attend the Disneyland Christmas Parade with his wife, son and
grandchildren. Although he is not feeling well, he insists that they go on
without him. (Sadly he will slip into a coma and 3 days later pass away at age 78.)
Disneyland's "Very Merry Christmas Parade" debuts.
Honey I Shrunk the Audience Movie Set Adventure opens in the backlot annex area
of Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World.
Actress Ashley Edner, the voice of Young Kiara in the 1998 The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, is born in Downey, California. She also supplied additonal voices for the 2001 Monsters, Inc.
In Florida, Planet Hollywood opens at 1506 E. Buena Vista Drive, adjacent
to Disney's Pleasure Island at Walt Disney World.
Disney's animated feature film Fantasia/2000 debuts
at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Western entertainer and Disney Legend Rex Allen (known for his work on many Disney films and theme park attractions) dies in Tucson, Arizona, two weeks before his 79th birthday. He narrated over 80 films for Disney and was the original voice of the
"father" character in Walt Disney's Carousel of Progress attraction. A film actor, singer, and songwriter, Allen
starred in 19 cowboy movies between 1950-1954 and had a 35 year recording career with Decca Records.
Touchstone Pictures and Columbia Pictures release the drama-science fiction film Bicentennial Man starring Robin Williams.
The Disney films Freaky Friday (a remake of the 1976 movie), Pirates of the
Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Finding Nemo, and Brother Bear are all
nominated for SATELLITE Awards (given by The International Press Academy).
Roy O. Disney reiterates to Disney management and the Imagineering
team that the company will continue to be run according to Walt's wishes.
(Walt Disney passed away two days ago.) He states that Walt's first name
will be added to the title of the Florida theme park project.
There has been a long-standing
urban legend that after his death,
Walt Disney was cryopreserved so
he could be revived at a later date.
This is not true. Mr. Disney was
cremated on December 17, 1966
and his ashes were later interred
at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in
"It is our intention to make a new version of Fantasia every year. Its pattern is very flexible and fun to work with-not really a concert, not a vaudeville or a revue, but a grand mixture of comedy, fantasy, ballet, drama, impressionism, color, sound and epic fury." -Walt Disney, 1941
The Disney MGM Studios logo on the animation courtyard archway is removed. The
Disney MGM Studios will be named Disney’s Hollywood Studios in January 2008.
Actor George Lindsey, the voice of Lafayette the Basset Hound in Disney's 1970 The Aristocats, is born in Alabama. Lindsey's Disney credits also include an episode of the 1982 TV series Herbie, The Love Bug, and the feature films The Rescuers - as the voice of Rabbit, and Snowball Express - playing the role of Double L. Dingman. (Fans of classic TV know Lindsey as
Goober Pyle on The Andy Griffith Show.)
The Disney Channel airs "Vows from the Deep," the 78th
and final episode of The Edison Twins.
Walt Disney Productions releases The Shaggy D.A. - a sequel to the 1959 The
Shaggy Dog. Wilby Daniels (the focus of the 1959 film) is now an adult (played by Dean Jones) who is a successful attorney. Unfortunately for Wilby, he can still transform into an English sheepdog! The film's all-star comic cast includes Tim Conway, Suzanne Pleshette, Keenan Wynn, Jo Anne Worley, Dick Van Patten, and Vic Tayback.
This is the last of 19 films Robert Stevenson directed at Disney over a 20 year period.
Buena Vista premieres Freaky Friday in a few select cities. A comedy starring Jodie Foster and Barbara Harris as a daughter and mother who switch personalities, the cast includes John Astin, Dick Van Patten,
Ruth Buzzi and Charlene Tilton (making her feature film debut). Based on the novel of the same name by Mary Rodgers, Freaky Friday will be generally released in January 1977.
The only candidate with a LAW DEGREE and a PEDIGREE!
Walt's name added to Florida project
It is announced that Disney has appointed Jim MacPhee to the position of vice
president, next generation experiences and Walt Disney World parks. MacPhee,
51, a former vice president in charge of Epcot who earlier this year was moved to vice president for “special
projects," will now be in charge of theme-park operations as well as new technology.
Profiles in History’s Hollywood Auction 43 begins (for the next two days) at the
Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, California. Included is an assortment of unique Disney
collectibles from film and theme parks, including an original stretching room oil painting from The Haunted
Mansion, and an original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 1937 production cel.
TRON: Legacy, a science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Pictures, is released
in U.S. theaters. It is a sequel to Disney's 1982 film Tron. Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Kevin Flynn, and
Bruce Boxleitner reprises his roles as Alan Bradley and Tron, while Garrett Hedlund portrays Flynn's now-adult
son, Sam. Electronic music duo Daft Punk has composed the film score.
Disney releases the live-action short film Grand Canyon to theaters. Unlike other
Disney documentaries, this film has no narration - just beautifully shot scenes of the Grand Canyon set to
Ferde Grofé's "Grand Canyon Suite."
In 1989, Kevin Flynn, software engineer and the CEO of ENCOM International, disappears. Twenty years later,
his son, Sam, now ENCOM's primary shareholder, is requested by his father's friend, ENCOM executive Alan
Bradley, to investigate a message originating from Flynn's shuttered video arcade. There, Sam discovers a
hidden basement in which Sam unintentionally teleports himself to the Grid, a virtual reality created by his father.
Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort first opens. A new spa
facility now run by Disney, it has been completely redesigned, blending turn-of-the-century elegance with
modern accoutrements. (As of January 2013 all spas, salons, and fitness centers on Disney World property
will be run by Disney.)
Guests and fans are among the first to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The
Force Awakens during a sold out, special-ticketed Star Wars: The Force
Awakens Opening Night event at AMC Disney Springs 24 at Walt Disney World.
After the movie, fans enjoy a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2 a.m. The party
includes access to new Star Wars experiences, including Star Wars Launch Bay and Star Tours — The
Adventures Continue attraction.
Nominations for the 56th Golden Globe Awards are announced. Nominees include:
-Best Motion Picture Drama: The Horse Whisperer
-Best Director: Robert Redford – The Horse Whisperer
-Best Original Score: "A Bug's Life" – Randy Newman and "Mulan" – Jerry Goldsmith
-Best Original Song: "Reflection" performed by Christina Aguilera – Mulan
Winners will be announced on January 24, 1999, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.