The 2004 Thea Awards are presented at the 11th Annual Thea Awards Gala at
the Disneyland Hotel, Anaheim, California. Winners include Walt Disney
World's Mission: SPACE (for Attraction with Technological Breakthrough), Walt
Disney Imagineering's Lucky the Dinosaur (for Technology), and Disneyland's
Aladdin (for Live Show).
"During his prolific 65-year-career with Disney, John Hench made major contributions to
every area of the entertainment spectrum, and helped my uncle Walt put the magic into
the Magic Kingdom. He was one of the most versatile and talented artists to ever work at
the Studio, and his vision helped to create and popularize Disney theme parks."
-Roy E. Disney
Comedian, actor & songwriter Red Buttons, who
appeared in Disney's 1977 Pete's Dragon as
Hoagy, is born Aaron Chwatt in New York City.
(An Academy Award winner, Buttons appeared in such films as
The Poseidon Adventure and They Shoot Horses, Don't They?.)
The TV series Walt Disney Presents airs the episode "Two Happy Amigos."
Walt Disney Presents airs "Texas John Slaughter: A Holster Full of Law,"
the 15th episode of the western mini-series starring Tom Tryon.
The Disney live-action comedy No Deposit, No Return (starring David Niven,
Darren McGavin and Don Knotts) is released. Two would-be safe-crackers help fake the
kidnapping of two bored grandchildren (played by Kim Richards and Brad Savage) of a millionaire.
Disney's Beauty and the Beast is nominated for six
Academy Awards. Among the nominations is one for Best
Picture. It is the first time in the history of the Motion Picture Academy
that an animated feature is nominated in this category.
Imagineer, artist and Disney Legend John Hench passes away at the age of 95 in
Burbank, California. An employee of the Walt Disney Company for more than 60 years, Hench began as a story
artist in 1939. He made his way through the animation department doing everything including backgrounds,
layout and art direction, and even effects animation and special effects. Walt Disney respected Hench as one of the
studio's most gifted artists and teamed him with Salvador Dalí on the animated short Destino (a project begun in
1945 but completed and released in 2003). Hench won a special effects Oscar for his work in the 1955 film 20,000
Leagues Under the Sea before moving to WED Enterprises to spend the rest of his career helping to design Disney
theme parks all over the world. He was also the official corporate portrait artist for Mickey Mouse.
Pittsburgh Steelers' wide receiver Hines Ward is named Most
Valuable Player at Super Bowl XL upon his team's 21-10 win over
the Seattle Seahawks. Immediately following the game in Detroit,
Ward is videotaped for the latest "I'm Going to Disney World!" TV
commercial, adding "...and I'm taking The Bus!" - a reference to
teammate Jerome "The Bus" Bettis. The two teammates will appear at a
victory parade at the Magic Kingdom the following day.
A memo to Disney cartoonist Al Taliaferro from the animation story department
reads, "Inasmuch as we have decided to actually put a story crew to work on "Donald's Nephews," we would like to recognize the source from which the
original idea of these new characters sprang ... Thanks."
Taliaferro has recently created Donald's nephews, Huey, Dewey & Louie for his comic strip.
Good Time Jazz Records releases Firehouse Five Plus Two: At Disneyland -
a live recording taken of the group's performances at The Golden Horseshoe
back in July 1962.
The United Artists film Modern Times starring Charlie Chaplin is
released. In a short sequence actress Paulette Goddard picks up a Mickey
Mouse doll in a department store and holds it up in front of Chaplin!
Mickey Mouse Works airs on ABC-TV with the shorts "Donald's Dynamite:
Magic Act," "Survival of the Woodchucks," "Mickey's Rival Returns," and
"Mickey and the Seagull."
The Disney Channel Original Movie The Color of Friendship, based on a true
story about the friendship between two girls from different worlds who learn to
overcome their differences, debuts. (It will earn an Emmy Award.)
Jordan Nagai - the voice of Russell in the 2009 Pixar film Up - is born in Los
Angeles, California. Director Peter Docter auditioned 400 boys in a nationwide casting call for the part.
Nagai actually showed up to an audition with his brother, who was really the one auditioning. However,
Docter, who had passed on other potential voices that sounded too artificial, realized that 7-year-old Nagai
behaved and spoke non-stop like Russell ... and chose him for the part!
Disney announces that they have started a new company called ImageMovers
Digital with the producers of Polar Express to make animated films based in part
on the movements of actors. Producer-director Robert Zemeckis, along with Jack Rapke and Steve
Starkey, will make films that Disney will market and distribute.
Peter Pan was the final Disney
animated feature released
through RKO and the final Disney
film in which all members of
together as directing animators.
Novelist, scriptwriter and historian Samuel W. Taylor is born in Provo, Utah. His short story A Situation of Gravity was the inspiration for Disney's 1961 live-action The Absent-Minded Professor and the 1963 Son of Flubber. Taylor also wrote many stories and magazine articles for the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Adventure and Esquire.
Second star to the right and straight on till morning!
The live-action Disney feature The Misadventures of Merlin Jones -
starring Tommy Kirk, Annette Funicello, Leon Ames and Dal McKennon - premieres in St. Louis, Missouri. Kirk plays college student Merlin who experiments with mind-
reading and hypnotism ... which leads to run-ins with Judge Holmsby (played by Ames).
The Disney live-action film Night Crossing starring John Hurt and Beau
Bridges is released. It is based on the true story of the Strelzyk and Wetzel families, who on
September 16, 1979 escaped from East Germany to West Germany in a homemade hot air balloon.
Tony-nominated actor Jonathan Freeman, known for
voicing the villainous Jafar in Disney's Aladdin and its
sequel The Return of Jafar, is born in Bay Village, Ohio.
His Broadway credits include The Little Mermaid as the original Grimsby, Beauty and the Beast as Cogsworth, and
as of 2009 - Mary Poppins as Admiral Bloom and Bank Chairman. Freeman also provided the voice for Eli Pandarus
in the animated series American Dragon: Jake Long.
In Memory of John Hench (1908-2004)
"Other than Walt Disney himself, no one symbolizes The Walt Disney Company more than John Hench." -Marty Sklar
A celebration for the upcoming Disneyland production "Snow White - An Enchanting
New Musical," takes place with a handprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese
Theatre. Snow White and all the dwarfs take part with Honorary Mayor of Hollywood Johnny Grant officiating.
"I always admired Walt's optimism. He seemed to know the direction he was going to. When I was at the studio, I remember he kept driving
all of us back down to a more fundamental level all the time." -John Hench
Academy Award nominations are announced with Disney's animated
The Tortoise and the Hare being considered for an Oscar in the category Short Subjects, Cartoons. Oscar night will be held February 27, 1935.
-Best Music, Original Score
-Best Music, Original Song ("Beauty and the Beast")
-Best Music, Original Song ("Belle")
-Best Music, Original Song ("Be Our Guest")
"Ninety isn't old. You're old when your doctor doesn't X-ray you any more - he just holds you up to the light!"
Disney's 14th animated film, Peter Pan (based on
James M. Barrie's 1904 story) opens at the Roxy Theatre in
New York City. The film features the voices of Bobby Driscoll
(as the boy who won't grow up) and Kathryn Beaumont (as Wendy Darling).
This will be the final Disney animated feature released through RKO, as Walt Disney will establish his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution,
by the end of 1953.
Released along with Peter Pan is A True-Life Adventure: Bear Country,
directed by James Algar and narrated by Winston Hibler. The live-action short follows the life of black bears from one winter to another.
This day's issue of Walt Disney World Eyes & Ears ("Prepared By And For
The Walt Disney World Cast") announces that the 6th annual Village Wine
Festival will be held at the Conference Center February 5-8.
The New York Giants win the 46th Super Bowl, beating the New England
Patriots 21-17. Giants quarterback (and MVP) Eli Manning shouts "I'm going to Disney World!" -
taking part in the 26th year of the famous Disney commercial. Manning, who will take part in a parade the
following day at the Magic Kingdom, is the 45th athlete to scream those famous 5 words.
Disney releases the 1953 animated Peter Pan on Blue-ray along with a new
documentary short Growing Up with Nine Old Men. Bonus content on the 3-disc package also
includes an introduction by Diane Disney Miller and deleted songs and scenes from Peter Pan.
Disney's Brave is awarded 4 times at the 11th Annual VES Awards at the Beverly
Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Presented by the Visual Effects Society, the event recognizes
outstanding visual effects in twenty-four categories of film, animation, television, commercials and video games.
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Walt Disney Company names Thomas O. Staggs its chief operating officer, making
the parks chief the No. 2 executive at the world's largest entertainment company.
A 25-year Disney veteran, Mr. Staggs is currently Chairman, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, overseeing the
strategy, operations and creative development of the company’s iconic travel and leisure businesses. He will
assume the role of Chief Operating Officer immediately, while continuing to lead Parks and Resorts until a
successor is named.