Under storm-threatening skies, the greatest winter athletes in the world gather in
Squaw Valley, California, to begin the VIII Olympic Winter Games. The opening (and closing)
ceremonies are orchestrated by Walt Disney (the Head of Pageantry for the Games), and involve 5,000 participants,
1,285 instruments and 2,645 voices from 52 California and Nevada high school bands. The opening ceremony (delayed by an hour because of a heavy early morning snowfall) includes daytime fireworks - a first for the Olympics.
The TV sitcom The Golden Girls airs "Two Rode Together" on NBC. Dorothy (Bea Arthur) takes Sophia to Walt Disney World for "quality time," but Sophia (Estelle Getty) wants to ride Space Mountain instead. (No segments of the episode were actually shot at WDW.)
Disney's The Lion King is released on videocassette in the U.S. (Some 20 million copies will be
sold in the first week.)
Disney's made-for-TV movie The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (a remake of Disney's
1969 film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes) first airs. The content of a computer encyclopedia is
accidentally transferred into the brain of Dexter Riley (played by Kirk Cameron), a less than average college boy. The
all-star cast includes Larry Miller, Charles Lane, Dan Castellaneta, Dean Jones, Jeff Garlin and Eddie Deezen.
A new fireworks show entitled "Believe ... There's Magic in the Stars," officially debuts at Disneyland. It has been created especially for the park's 45th anniversary.
The Walt Disney Company and The Jim Henson Company announces that they have entered into an agreement under which Disney will acquire the Muppets and Bear in the Big Blue House properties from Henson.
George Givot, the voice of Tony (owner of Tony's Restaurant)
in Disney's 1955 classic Lady and the Tramp, is born in Omaha, Nebraska.
(Givot's career included radio, feature films, television and the Broadway stage from the 1930s through 1959.)
Actor-comic Billy De Wolfe, who appeared in the 1973 live-action Disney feature
The World's Greatest Athlete, is born in Wollaston, Massachusetts. (With a career that lasted
5 decades, he was active in films from the mid-1940s until his death in 1974. You may recognize him as the voice of
Professor Hinckle in the classic animated holiday TV special Frosty the Snowman.)
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Mickey's Pal Pluto, directed by Burt Gillett, is released.
Pluto rescues several tiny kittens from drowning but then becomes jealous of the way they are welcomed into
Mickey's home. It is the first appearance of Pluto's shoulder angel and devil (who'll pop up again in future shorts).
Animation credits include Johnny Cannon, Les Clark, Frenchy de Tremauden and Norm Ferguson.
Disney's animated Mickey's Surprise Party is released to Nabisco. Minnie's biscuits are
spoiled when she accidentally gets unpopped popcorn into the dough, and the whole batch explodes! The
commercial short is made for the National Biscuit Company and will be shown at the 1939 New York World's Fair
(which will open in April). It is also the last short to feature Marcellite Garner as the voice of Minnie.
Actor Pat Fraley, whose voice can be heard in such animated features as Tangled,
Chicken Little, Monsters, Inc. and Toy Story 2, is born in Seattle, Washington. He also
substituted for Tim Allen for the voice of Buzz Lightyear in various video games, merchandise, attractions, and the 2005
Disney On Ice: Disneyland Adventure. (Fraley is best known for voicing many of the characters in the animated Teenage
Mutant Ninja Turtles.)
Disney's first People and Places film - The Alaskan Eskimo - a short documentary
shot by the team of Alfred and Elma Milotte, is released. (It will win an Academy Award for
Best Documentary, Short Subject.)
The NBC-TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs episode 200 - part 1 of "Comancho."
Canadian inventor Joseph-Armand Bombardier (designer of the modern snowmobile) passes away at the age of 56. He leaves behind a thriving business - Bombardier; a manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions. Bombardier will later build Walt Disney World's Mark VI Monorails (first put into service in 1989).
Actor Matt Dillon - Trip Murphy in the 2005 Herbie: Fully Loaded - is born in New Rochelle, New York. His credits include Walt Disney Pictures' Old Dogs, and the Miramax Films Beautiful Girls and Albino Alligator. (Dillon first gained fame as a teenage idol during the 1980s in films like The Outsiders and The Flamingo Kid.)
and the Beast, is born in Seal Beach, California. She played Belle for a year
on Broadway, earning a Tony nomination for Best Actress (Musical). Egan later reprised the role for
the Los Angeles Production. Her Disney voice credits include Lady and the Tramp II, House of
Mouse, Spirited Away, and Hercules (both the feature and TV series). In 2002, she appeared in the
Disney Channel movie Gotta Kick It Up! As a concert performer, Egan has taken her solo concert
from coast to coast in over 300 appearances and even on the high seas with the Disney Cruise Line on several occasions.
The Wonderful World of Disney airs part 2 of "Ride a Wild Pony." A Walt Disney Productions film
originally released in 1975, the film follows the battle between two children, Scott, a poor farm boy, and Josie, the
handicapped daughter of a wealthy ranch owner, for ownership of a horse they both love.
The Disney Channel presents Eye On LA: First Look at Disney's Newest Theme Park.
This special introduces viewers to Disney's California Adventure Park, which opened February 8.
Disney World celebrates Presidents' Day with the official dedication of the
updated Hall of Presidents attraction (which now includes an Audio-Animatronics
figure of President George W. Bush). Fifty students from Lost Lake Elementary School (in Lake
County) lead cast members and park guests in the Pledge of Allegiance. The Disney World Philharmonic Orchestra
and Voices of Liberty choral group perform patriotic music.
The China Pavilion at Epcot celebrates the Chinese New Year.
Disney Transport is
the privately run
transportation system at
Walt Disney World.
buses cover almost
12 million miles
every single year!
Famer Tommy Lasorda by officially naming the resort's
recreation lawn "Lasorda Field" during a special
ceremony. Lasorda throws out the field's ceremonial first pitch during the
dedication event. The lawn, located at the heart of the resort along the
picturesque Vero Beach coastline, is home to a variety of sports and
recreation activities for vacationing families. During the more than six
decades in which the Dodgers have called Vero Beach, Florida their spring
home, Lasorda has become one of the most recognized figures in baseball
as a player, coach, manager and executive.
VIII Olympic Winter Games begin
First People & Places film
Film director, producer, and writer John Hughes is born in Lansing, Michigan.
He produced and wrote for Disney's 1997 Flubber and 1996 101 Dalmatians. (Hughes is best remembered for
such classic comedy features as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Home Alone, and Planes, Trains & Automobiles.)
"I did 'Beauty and the Beast' like 780 times. And so there are going to be nights when things go
wrong, like the set breaks down or the Beast mistakenly pulls your wig off." -Susan Egan
"That opening ceremony was the most remarkable thing I ever saw. No matter how much credit you give Walt Disney and
his entire organization, it isn't nearly enough." -Braven Dyer (Los Angeles Times)
Disney's Donald Duck cartoon Trombone Trouble, directed by Jack King and written by
Jack Hannah & Carl Barks, is released. Pete's trombone playing is so awful and loud that it even incurs
the wrath of the Gods. Donald Duck is eventually called in to help, but as it turns out, his playing is even worse!
Academy Award nominations are announced with Disney receiving 3:
No Hunting - Short Subjects, Cartoons
Switzerland - Short Subjects, Two Reels
Men Against the Arctic - Documentary, Short Subjects
Disney receives 3 Academy Award nominations on this day:
Cow Dog - Short Subjects, Two Reels
Samoa - Short Subjects, Two Reels
Man in Space - Documentary, Short Subjects
The Daily News reports: "Award-winning theater producer Joseph Papp is negotiating
with the Walt Disney organization to acquire the legitimate theater rights to the 1937
film version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The stage version would include the film's
original songs and would feature Linda Ronstadt in the leading role. The Papp-Ronstadt Snow White will be
presented free of charge during the summer of 1983 in the Delacourt Theater in Central Park."
(Unfortunately this show will never be produced.)
Terri Perrotta, an 11-year-old tap dancer from Hyde Park, Massachusetts, and Kevin Brando, a 6-year-old trombone player from Santa Monica, California, are featured Showtime Day guests on episode 25 of The New Mickey Mouse Club.
Little Toot, a carefree tiny tugboat, stars in the cartoon for the day.
CLICK IMAGE FOR A LARGER VIEW
Disney artist John Hench has designed the massive Tower of
Nations, located at the entrance of the valley, and the Olympic torch. The huge
ceremonial Tower of Nations measures 79 feet high and 20 feet wide. Hench's
unique Olympic torch design will be the basis for all future torches! The valley
also features 30 flagpoles for the flags of the participating nations. Each flagpole
has a plaque signed by Walt Disney. After the Games the flagpoles will find homes
in such places as the Walt Disney Elementary School in Marceline, Missouri, and
the Disney Studio Commissary in Burbank, California. Nationally televised for the
first time, the ceremonies are the most elaborate ever staged and will set new
standards for future Games.
(The Olympics will run through February 28.)
Walt Disney World kicks off a weeklong Presidents Day celebration,
featuring special, presidential performances by the a cappella group Voices
of Liberty at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot.