The Walt Disney World Resort's animal care team welcomes a
233-pound baby elephant early in the morning. The female African elephant
calf is born at Disney's Animal Kingdom Park.
The December 19 issue of The New Yorker includes an article
by Caitlin Flanagan titled "Becoming Mary Poppins: P. L. Travers, Walt Disney,
and the Making of the Myth."
Walt Disney's 28th Alice Comedy film Alice's Orphan is completed. Academy Award-winning songwriter & Disney Legend Robert B.
Sherman is born in Manhattan, New York, to Rosa and Al Sherman
(a Tin Pan Alley songwriter). Robert and his younger brother Richard wrote countless songs for many Disney features and park attractions. Among their best known tunes - "Feed the Birds" & "Chim-Chim-Cheree"
from Mary Poppins and the park attraction theme "It's A Small World (after all)."
Floyd Gottfredson from Utah is hired as an apprentice animator at Disney. (In April
1930 he will start working on the 4-month-old Mickey Mouse comic strip.)
Disney's Silly Symphony cartoon More Kittens, directed by David Hand, is released. A sequel to Disney's 1935 Oscar winning Three Orphan Kittens, it features
the animated work of Frank Thomas and Fred Moore.
Mickey Mouse Club airs on ABC-TV. Today is Fun With Music Day.
The ABC-TV series Disneyland airs the episode "A Present for Donald."
Donald receives a film projector, screen and various cartoons from his friends in Latin America.
ABC-TV airs the Walt Disney Presents episode "From All of Us to All of You"
for the very first time. Hosted by Jiminy Cricket along with Mickey Mouse and Tinkerbell, the
special combines newly-produced animation with clips from vintage animated shorts and feature films,
presented to the viewer as "Christmas cards" from the various characters starring in each one.
The show begins with Jiminy Cricket singing "From All of Us to All of You," written by Disney lyricist Gil George
(the pen name for the Disney Studio's nurse, Hazel George) and veteran Disney composer Paul Smith.
Actor Tom Tryon, the star of the 1958-59 Disneyland television serial "Texas John
Slaughter," records excerpts from Abraham Lincoln's speeches as a test. Disney is
in the early stages of preparing Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln for the 1964 World's Fair.
The Disney cartoon short A Symposium on Popular Songs,
hosted by the "expert on everything" Ludwig Von Drake, is
released. Headed by Disney artists Bill Justice (who has directed) and
X. Atencio (who has written and styled the short), it also features the animation of
Eric Larson, Cliff Nordberg, Art Stevens, Ward Kimball, Les Clark and Julius
Svendsen. Voiced by Paul Frees, this is Von Drake's feature film debut. With songs
written by the Sherman Brothers and music arrangements by Tutti Camarata, it will
be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cartoon Short Subject.
Songs include: "The Rutabaga Rag" performed by Paul Frees as Ludwig Von Drake,
"Charleston Charlie" performed by Gloria Wood, "Although I Dropped $100,000"
performed by Frees, "I'm Blue for You, Boo-Boo-Boo-Boo-Boo" performed by Skip
Farrell, "The Boogie Woogie Bakery Man" performed by Betty Allan, Diane
Pendleton & Gloria Wood, "Puppy Love Is Here to Stay" performed by Billy Storm,
and "Rock, Rumble and Roar" sung by Frees, Wood, Farrell, Allan, and Pendleton.
NBC-TV airs The Wonderful World of Disney episode "Disney on Parade."
For the second evening in a row, film star Rock Hudson narrates Disney
World's very first Candlelight Processional at the Magic Kingdom.
Actress Alyssa Milano, the voice of Angel in Disney's 2001 Lady and the Tramp
II: Scamp's Adventure, is born in Brooklyn, New York. (TV fans will recognize
her from such series as "Who's the Boss?" and "Charmed.")
Disney World's Country Bear Jamboree Country Bear Christmas
Special runs for the first time. (It will become a seasonal event.)
Test Track has a soft-opening at Epcot. Sponsored by General Motors, the
attraction was to originally open in May 1997. Problems revealed during testing and changes to
the ride design caused Test Track to be delayed. Housed in the building that once hosted
World of Motion, Test Track will be officially dedicated and opened in March 1999.
Disney World's Tomorrowland Speedway (originally called Grand
Prix Raceway) is renamed Tomorrowland Indy Speedway.
The Disney Channel debuts the That's So Raven episode "Separation Anxiety."
Disney releases Destino to theaters (although it had already premiered back in
June at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival). Featuring the work of surrealist
artist Salvador Dalí, the short was first conceived 57 years ago when Walt invited Dalí to the Studio to work on
a film project along with Disney artist John Hench. But after filming 18 seconds of this animation, the project
was unfortunately canceled. In 2003, Roy E. Disney helped resurrect Destino with the help of producer Baker
Bloodworth and director Dominique Monfrey. (It will be nominated for an Oscar.)
Touchstone Pictures releases the British comedy Calendar Girls. Based on a true story of a group of middle-aged Yorkshire women who produced a nude calendar to raise money for Leukaemia Research, the film stars Helen Mirren, Julie Walters, Linda Bassett, and Annette Crosbie.
Novelist Eleanor H. Porter is born in Littleton, New Hampshire. Her novel Pollyanna
(published in 1913) was released as a live-action feature by Disney in 1960. Porter achieved considerable commercial success: during 1913, Pollyanna ranked eighth among bestselling novels in the United States.
The Disneyland tradition of a giant Christmas tree towering over Main Street, U.S.A. began in 1955. Disneyland was the last
Disney park in the world to
still utilize a real live tree as
its holiday centerpiece in
Town Square! For the first time in 53 years an artificial tree was used in 2008.
Animator, story man and Disney Legend Mel Shaw is born Melvin Schwartzman
in Brooklyn, New York. Personally recruited by Walt Disney in 1937, Shaw worked on such early
classics as Fantasia, Bambi, and The Wind in the Willows (which later became a segment in The Adventures
of Ichabod and Mr. Toad). He left the studio in 1941 but returned 33 years later to help influence the look and
story for such beloved and modern-day Disney films as The Rescuers, The Fox and the Hound, The Great
Mouse Detective, Beauty and the Beast, and The Lion King. (During his break from Disney, Shaw helped
design and create the original Howdy Doody marionette puppet for NBC-TV!)
High School Musical's Ashley Tisdale and Corbin Bleu take part in Starlight
Starbright Children's Foundation Winter Wonderland. They are joined by actresses Kay
Panabaker and Lauren Storm at Studio 33 at CBS Television City in Los Angeles, California.
It is announced that the Chicago Film Critics Association has named
Disney-Pixar's Wall-E as its Best Picture of the Year.
Today is Look for an Evergreen Day
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is first published in London
by Chapman & Hall. Illustrated by John Leech, the story tells of sour and stingy
Ebenezer Scrooge's ideological, ethical, and emotional transformation resulting
from supernatural visits from Jacob Marley and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present,
and Yet to Come. The novella quickly met with commercial success and critical acclaim.
Dickens' tale is credited with returning the holiday to one of merriment and festivity
in Britain and America after a period of sobriety and somberness. In 2009 Disney
released a 3D feature film version of A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey
(Disney's third retelling of the tale).
"Money is not my motivation. Money is a means to my creative end. Mondey doesn’t excite me—my ideas excite
me. Somewhere, there’s a spark of creativity in everyone mentally sound. And yet, there are guys who don’t
want to work. They seem to lack this desire, this drive. I envy them. I envy the guy who doesn’t want to do a
thing in life but go fishing. I don’t believe in people getting things for nothing. We’ve reached the point where
we can’t get people to do all kinds of jobs any more. I washed dishes. I carried parcels. I delivered newspapers.
It didn’t hurt me." -Walt Disney
The ABC-TV series Zorro debuts the episode "Double Trouble for Zorro."
After witnessing a stranger's fencing skills, Captain Monastario plans to discredit Zorro by disguising the
stranger as Zorro, and have him rob the rich landowners during a social gathering ... but the real Zorro
arrives on the scene just in time!
Disney World's 19th and final Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
of the 2010 holiday season takes place at the Magic Kingdom.
The International Press Academy hands out the trophies for their 15th annual
Satellite Awards at a gala awards ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in
Century City. The Best Animated Feature award goes to Toy Story 3 while Colleen Atwood receives
an award for Best Costume Design for her work on Alice in Wonderland.
Touchstone Pictures releases the drama 25th Hour, directed by Spike Lee, to theaters in New York and Los Angeles. (The film will be generally released January 10.)
Two days before the grand debut of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in California, the cast of Disney's first animated feature film appear on radio during The Chase
and Sanborn Hour. The umbrella title for a series of comedy and variety radio shows, sponsored by
Standard Brands' Chase and Sanborn Coffee, it is currently being hosted by ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, his
sidekick dummy Charlie McCarthy and announcer Don Ameche. The voices of Grumpy, Sneezy, Doc, The
Snow Queen, The Snow Witch, The Magic Mirror and Snow White sing and chat with Bergen and Charlie.
"This special holiday program has been made possible by the combined talents of the entire Walt Disney Studios. It is our way of saying 'Merry Christmas from all of us to all of you'."
Monsters, Inc. 3D is released to theaters for a limited time.
Splitsville in Downtown Disney's West Side, swings open its doors on this
day. (A media preview had been held on December 7.) An upscale bowling, dining, entertainment
and retail center, Splitsville is a 50,000-square-foot "retro classic" facility inside a two-story building
which in previous incarnations had been home to the Virgin Megastore.
Disney announce that Newsies, the $5 million musical retooled from the 1992
big-screen flop, has recouped its capitalization just nine months after opening!
This marks the fastest-ever road to profit for a Disney show.
Disney's Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt, opens in theaters. Decades after her original visit, the magical nanny returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's children through a difficult time in their lives. The cast includes Meryl Streep (Topsy), Colin Firth (William Weatherall Watkins), Emily Mortimer (Jane Banks), Dick Van Dyke (Mr. Dawes, Jr.), Angela Lansbury (Balloon Lady), Ben Whishaw (Michael Banks), Julie Walters (Ellen), and Lin-Manuel Miranda (Jack).
Screenwriter, playwright, and novelist Linda Woolverton is born in Long Beach, California. Her most prominent works include the screenplays and books of several acclaimed Disney films and stage musicals. She is the first woman to have written an animated feature for Disney, Beauty and the Beast (1991), which is also the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Woolverton also co-wrote the screenplay of The Lion King, and adapted her own Beauty and the Beast screenplay into the book of the Broadway adaptation of the film, for which she received a Tony Award nomination and won an Olivier Award.
Her Disney films credits also include Aladdin, Mulan, Alice in Wonderland, Alice Through the Looking Glass, and Maleficent: Mistress of Evil.
Animator, film director, screenwriter, and voice actor Chris Williams is born in Missouri. Spending the first 25 years of his life in Canada (where his father was the Director of Counselling Services
at the University of Waterloo), Williams later graduated from Waterloo with a degree in Fine Arts before enrolling in the animation program at Sheridan College in Ontario. Upon graduation from Sheridan, he was recruited by Disney and
moved to Los Angeles. His long list of Disney credits since then include Mulan, The Emperor's New Groove, Lilo & Stitch, Brother Bear, Chicken Little, Meet the Robinsons, Bolt, Tangled, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Moana,
and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Actor and film producer Jake Gyllenhaal is born in Los Angeles, California. He played Prince Dastan in the 2010 Disney fantasy adventure film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Jimmy Livingston in the 2001 Touchstone Pictures film, Bubble Boy, Joe Nast in the 2002 Touchstone Pictures film, Midnight Mile, and Harold Dobbs in the 2005 Miramax Films film, Proof,