Disney World's Flight to the Moon attraction opens in Tomorrowland, just in time
for the busy Christmas week. (It will close in the spring of 1975 and later house Mission To Mars, Alien Encounter and ultimately Stitch’s Great Escape.) The Magic Kingdom stays open on this Christmas Eve until 6 pm.
Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida premieres at the Khedivial Opera House in
Cairo, Egypt. Commissioned by Ismail Pasha, Khedive of Egypt, production of Aida had
been delayed by the Franco-Prussian War (a conflict between France and Prussia). Aida is the
story of an Ethiopian princess being held captive by Egyptians. One of the Egyptian generals is
desperately in love with her, and she's in love with him - but so is the daughter of the Egyptian king. The opera will
be an instant success and Verdi will donate a portion of his considerable fee (150,000 francs) to the victims of the
siege of Paris. The story of Aida, but not its music, was used as the basis for Disney's 1998 musical of the same
name - with new music & lyrics written by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Alan Alexander Milne's "In Which We Are Introduced to Winnie-the-Pooh
and Some Bees, and the Stories Begin" is published in the London Evening
News. (The following year, Methuen Publishing Ltd. will release it in book
form, along with 9 more Pooh stories, under the title Winnie-the-Pooh.)
Walt Disney's Lilly Belle steam engine is tested at his studio. The engine is part of his new
railroad layout in the garden of his home on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills district of Los Angeles, California.
Lux Radio Theater with the cooperation of Walt Disney Productions presents an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland with Kathryn Beaumont, Jerry Colona and Ed Wynn.
Twin French artists, painters, illustrators, animators, and film directors Paul and Gaëtan Brizzi are born in Paris, France. Making their name working in commercials and short films, they started their own animation studio Brizzi Films in 1986. In 1989, the Brizzis sold their studio to The Walt Disney Company, who first turned the facility into a satellite shop for Walt Disney Television Animation. The Brizzis worked as unit producers on several Disney TV shows and two films based on Disney TV shows, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp (1990) and A Goofy Movie (1995). In 1994, Walt Disney Animation France was placed under the Walt Disney Feature Animation division, and after completing work on A Goofy Movie, the Brizzis moved to Los Angeles to work as storyboard/concept artists and sequence directors on The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996). They later worked extensively on Tarzan (1999), and developed and directed the "Firebird Suite" sequence in Fantasia 2000 (1999). The Brizzis left Disney in 2001, and the studio in France was closed down in 2002 during a massive downsizing of Feature Animation. The brothers continue to work as freelance story artists in addition to their personal art and painting projects.
NBC-TV's Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs the episode "The Great Cat Family."
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs the holiday episode "From All of Us to All of You."
Disney's 20th animated feature The Aristocats is generally released. The story
revolves around a family of aristocratic cats, and an alley cat who helps prevent a butler from kidnapping
them to gain his mistress' fortune. (This film is noted for being the last to be approved by Walt Disney
himself - he died in 1966 while the film was still in early production.) The all-star cast includes Phil Harris as
Thomas O'Malley the orange cat, Eva Gabor as Duchess the white cat, Sterling Holloway as Roquefort the
Mouse, Paul Wincell as Shun Gon the Chinese cat, Thurl Ravenscroft as Billy Boss the German cat, and
Scatman Crothers as Scat Cat the panther Persian.
NBC-TV's The Wonderful World of Disney airs "A Present for Donald."
The NBC television series The Magical World
of Disney airs "A Muppet Family Christmas."
Walt Disney World's Very Merry Christmas Parade airs on television. It is the first parade
to be filmed at night and broadcast on Christmas Eve (instead of Christmas Day). Hosted by actor Mitch Ryan,
guests include Wayne Brady, Harry Connick Jr., N'SYNC, SheDaisy, 98 Degrees, and James Ingram.
Disney's Night Before Christmas, a 2-hour special tracking
the globe-circling flight of Santa, airs on ABC-TV.
The cover of this day's issue of HAB"IT" (an official newsletter for men stationed
at the U.S. Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Hutchinson, Kansas) features a
Disney-designed insignia. This issue marks the first appearance of the station’s new emblem -
Jiminy Cricket in an airplane with an anchor trailing behind it.
Musician, record company executive, race car owner, and politician Mike Curb is born
in Savannah, Georgia. In 1969, his group the Mike Curb Congregation scored a Top 10 hit on the Adult
Contemporary charts with a version of "It's a Small World." The song was chosen by Disneyland as the ride's official
theme song and the group for many years were considered the official Disneyland and Disney World singers.
Sarah Uriarte Berry and Donny Osmond give their final
Broadway performances as Belle and Gaston in Disney's
hit musical Beauty and the Beast.
Each Christmas season
Walt Disney World Resort
is decorated with more than
11 miles of garland, 3,000
up to 1,500
A purr-fectly wonderful new cartoon feature.
Pixar animator Glenn McQueen is born in Toronto, Ontario. He was the supervising
animator for A Bug's Life, Toy Story 2, and Monsters, Inc. Sadly in October 2002, he passed away at age 41
during final production of Finding Nemo. The film was dedicated to him.
Today is National Egg Nog Day
Disney's Donald Duck short Tea for Two Hundred, directed by Jack Hannah, is released. Donald's camping trip is disrupted by a large number of ants!
The Disney short Lonesome Ghosts, featuring Mickey
Mouse, Donald Duck & Goofy, is released. Mickey and his pals
become ghosts exterminators when they are lured to a haunted house by
four funny ghosts named Jasper, Grubb, Boo and Moss, in this classic
short directed by Bert Gillett.
A long standing tradition begins when half of Sweden sits down in front of the
television for a family viewing of the 1958 Walt Disney Presents Christmas special,
"From All of Us to All of You" (or as it is known in Sverige, Kalle Anka och hans
vänner önskar God Jul: "Donald Duck and his friends wish you a Merry Christmas").
Kalle Anka, for short, it will air without commercial interruption at the same time on Sweden's main public-television
channel, TV1, on Christmas Eve (when Swedes traditionally celebrate the holiday) for the next 50 years! Kalle
Anka, typically one of the three most popular television events of the year, with between 40 and 50 percent of the
country tuning in to watch, will also become a tradtion in Norway and Denmark.
Tragedy strikes when massive floodwaters kill over 35 people in Yuba City,
California. Thousands are evacuated. It is the worst disaster to strike California since the San Francisco earthquake. (On February 25, 1956, Walt Disney's Mouseketeers will put on a Christmas party at Yuba City
High School - a special late Christmas gift for the kids of Yuba City.)
"I ain't afraid of no ghosts." -Goofy
Disney Legend Charlie Ridgway passes away at his Florida home at age 93.
A journalist-turned-publicist, he spent 30 years with Disney promoting its theme parks. Ridgway was behind the
1971 iconic LIFE Magazine cover showing nearly 3,000 cast members in front of Cinderella Castle during the
opening of Magic Kingdom.
Actor, voice actor and comedian Diedrich Bader is born Karl Diedrich Bader in Alexandria,
Virginia. Known for appearing in comedies and lending his voice to animated projects, his credits include the 1999 television film Hercules: Zero to Hero, the 2000 direct-to-video Buzz Lightyear of Star Command: The Adventure Begins,
the 2001 animated feature Recess: School's Out, the 2002 live-action The Country Bears, the 2005 animated television
film Kim Possible: So the Drama, the 2008 animated feature Bolt, and the 2017 animated television film Tangled: Before Ever After.
Actor, screenwriter, director, and musician Robert Schwartzman is born in Los Angeles,
California. Best known as the lead vocalist of the rock/pop band Rooney, he appeared in the 2001 film The Princess Diaries as Michael Moscovitz (Lilly's older brother who harbors romantic feelings for Mia).
Actor Michael Raymond is born Michael Weverstad in Detroit, Michigan. Fans of
ABC TV's Once Upon a Time know him for his role of Baelfire / Neal Cassidy.
Animator, character designer, and layout artist Bob Givens passes away at age 99 in California. Joining the Walt Disney Studio in 1937 (on the recommendation of school classmate and Disney staffer Hardie Gramatky), Givens worked as an animation checker on several of short subjects (mostly involving Donald Duck), before working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Bambi. He later left Disney and went on to work at such studios as Warner Bros. Cartoons and Hanna-Barbera.
Animator and writer Lee Hartman passes away at age 82 in Pennsylvania. Employed as an animator for the Walt Disney Company from 1955 to 1960, his credits included animated segments for The Mickey Mouse Club; the 1958 short film Paul Bunyan, and the 1959 animated feature film Sleeping Beauty. Hartman worked for Warner Bros. Animation as well.
Songwriter, multi-media artist, collector, and art director Allee Willis passes away at age 72 in California. Her song "Stir It Up" was used in both the 2019 Disneynature film Penguin and Disney's 2005 Chicken Little. Her "Any Fool Can See" can be heard in Disney's 1981 The Devil and Max Devlin. Willis co-wrote such hit songs as "September" and "Boogie Wonderland" (by Earth, Wind & Fire) and "I'll Be There For You" (the theme song to Friends). She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018 (the only woman to be inducted that year).
The very first Epcot Holidays Around the World comes to an end.