A rare instance of Walt Disney's praise occurs at a "Bambi" screening
of two minutes of test animation by Frank Thomas and Milt Kahl. After
seeing the footage, Disney turns to the two animators with tears in his eyes and says "Thanks, fellows.
That's great stuff, no kidding. Those personalities are pure gold." Walt seldom gives a direct compliment.
(When "Bambi" is completed it will have the fewest lines of dialogue of any Disney animated feature.)
Film director, producer, and actor Ron Howard is born Ronald
William Howard in Duncan, Oklahoma. First coming to prominence as
Opie on the sitcom The Andy Griffith Show (for 8 years), as a teen Howard appeared
in the 1970 Disney film The Wild Country (which also featured his younger brother
Clint Howard - pictured right). Ron's credits also include the Walt Disney's Wonderful
World of Color episodes "A Boy Called Nuthin'" and "Smoke." Howard contributed to
Disneyland Records' 1969 album release The Story and Song From The Haunted
Mansion - playing the role of Mike, one of two teens who gets trapped in the mansion.
As a young director, Howard made the 1984 film Splash, Disney's first release under its
Touchstone Pictures label - then known as Touchstone Films. (TV fans also know him
for his role of Richie Cunningham on the sitcom Happy Days; a spin-off of the 1973 George Lucas film American Graffiti, which also featured Howard. His directing credits include The Da Vinci Code, Cinderella Man and Apollo 13.)
Disney releases its 1942 classic Bambi for the first time on
a special 2-disc DVD. The original soundtrack is also released on CD.
The premiere of Disney's live-action film The Pacifier takes place at the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California. The family comedy starring Vin Diesel will hit theaters March 4.
Legendary actor and novelist David Niven is born James David
Graham Niven in London, England. His Disney credits include the 1977 Candleshoe in which he
played the multiple roles of Mr. Priory, Mr. Gipping, Colonel Dennis and John. Niven also appeared in the
1976 comedy No Deposit, No Return as J.W. Osborne. (Film fans will know Niven best from Around the World
in Eighty Days, The Guns Of Navarone, The Pink Panther and as Sir James Bond in the unofficial spoof
Casino Royale. Niven also wrote four books in his lifetime including his 1971 autobiography, The Moon's a
Balloon, which sold over five million copies.)
Disney's first Alice ComedyAlice's Day at Sea debuts in a handful
of east coast theaters. The combination live-action and animated
film features young Virginia Davis as Alice, and has been created
almost entirely by Walt himself (with assistance from brother Roy).
Donald Kent Slayton, better known as astronaut Deke Slayton, is born
on a farm near Sparta, Wisconsin. A Word War II pilot, he was chosen as one of 110 military
test pilots selected by their commanding officers as candidates for the newly formed National Aeronautics
and Space Administration's Project Mercury, the first U.S. manned space flight program. Following a
grueling series of physical and psychological tests, NASA selected Slayton to be one of the original
group of seven Mercury astronauts. Slayton was scheduled to fly in May 1962 on the program's
second orbital flight, but an erratic heart rate grounded him. He later became Director of Flight Crew Operations. Slayton did travel into space in February 1973 as docking module pilot for the Apollo–Soyuz
Test Project. He along with 5 of the original seven Mercury astronauts attended Space Mountain's
opening at Disneyland in May 1977.
Disney animator & techincal genius Ub Iwerks, the first animator of Mickey
Mouse, officially leaves Disney to set up his own animation studio. (His
character Flip the Frog will eventually fail and he will later return to Disney.)
Walt Disney's speech "Our American Culture," is broadcast
during an intermission of the Metropolitan Opera.
Walt's words include:
Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I
believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow
will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.
All men will want to be free and share our way of life. There must be so much that I
should have said, but haven't. What I will say now is just what most
of us are probably thinking every day. I thank God and
America for the right to live and raise my family under the
flag of tolerance, democracy and freedom.
(These words will be echoed some 60 years later by Disney CEO Michael Eisner
after the terrorist attacks of September 2001.)
At the 36th Annual Grammy Awards, the song "A Whole New World" from
Disney's Aladdin wins multiple times! Song of the Year goes to the song's composers Alan
Menken and Tim Rice. Singers Peabo Bryson and Regina Belle win for Best Pop Performance by a
Duo or Group with Vocal. Menken and Rice also win for Best Song Written Specifically For A Motion
Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture
or for Television goes to composer Alan Menken for Aladdin performed by various artists.
Best Musical Album for Children is awarded to producers Alan Menken & Tim Rice and various artists
for Aladdin - Original Motion Picture Soundtrack.
The Hilton Head Resort in South Carolina, a Disney Vacation Club resort property,
opens. A 5-hour drive from Disney World, the resort is fashioned after a 1940s hunting and fishing lodge.
Up Close & Personal, a romantic drama film directed by Jon Avnet, and starring
Robert Redford as a news director and Michelle Pfeiffer as his protegée, is released
by Touchstone Pictures. Warren Justice (Redford), a producer for a Miami news program, watches an
audition tape from a young Nevada woman named Sally Atwater (Pfeiffer) and decides to hire her. Under
Warren's mentorship, Sally rises from gofer to on-air personality, and eventually gets a job in Philadelphia, a more
prestigious market. There, she tussles with veteran anchorperson Marcia McGrath (played by Stockard Channing)
and lands a story that catapults her to national prominence. Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures, the film will later be nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Original Song for "Because You Loved Me", written by
Diane Warren and performed by Celine Dion.
Bug Juice, a documentary series about a group of kids that attend
summer camp, officially premieres on The Disney Channel.
At Disney-MGM, a third drop is added to the drop sequence for the Tower of
Terror attraction. Also, Doug Live (a stage show) opens replacing Superstar TV.
Kali River Rapids (Disney's very first rapid river type attraction) and Maharajah
Jungle Trek both open in the Asia section of Disney's Animal Kingdom. Kali River
Rapids is themed as a rafting expedition along the Chakranadi River, courtesy of "Kali Rapids Expeditions."
Maharajah Jungle Trek takes guests on a tour through Anandapur Royal Forest - filled with a variety
of exotic animals, including gibbons, black buck, fruit bats, elds deer and Asian tigers.
The Atlanta Braves take on the Florida Marlins in their first
big-league preseason game of the year at Disney's
Wide World of Sports in Florida.
Epcot features the final performances of Tapestry of Dreams,
coinciding with the end of the 100 Years of Magic celebration.
Actor Jack Davenport - known for his role of Norrington in both Disney
features Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - is born in Suffolk, England.
The soundtrack to Disney's High School Musical reaches the
number one spot on the Billboard 200 for the first time.
The Disney Fantasy, the fourth ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, is christened
during a star-studded evening celebration at the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New
York City. Disney Fantasy godmother, Mariah Carey, leads the audience in a countdown that triggers a 6-foot
tall bottle of champagne in the Atrium Lobby with confetti and streamers as a traditional bottle of champagne breaks
against the ship's hull. Celebrities taking part in the occassion include Jerry Seinfeld, Neil Patrick Harris, Nick
Cannon, Heather Headley and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The massive ocean liner is the first Disney
ship to be christened in New York City (as the Magic, Wonder and Dream were christened in Port Canaveral, Florida).
"I christen thee Disney Fantasy. May God bless this ship and all who sail on it." -Mariah Carey
D23: The Official Disney Fan Club hits the road with D23′s Disney Fanniversary celebration, commemorating dozens of Disney milestones celebrating anniversaries
in 2013. Topics featured in the show include movies, classic characters, favorite attractions and entertainment spectaculars at Disney parks, The Disney Channel, Disney Cruise Line and the
momentous founding of The Walt Disney Company in 1923. The first stop on the 10-city tour is
The Studio Theatre, The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.
This Day in Disney History - THE FIRST - THE ORIGINAL
Traveling in time since 1999!
Actress Kathryn "Kat" Cressida is born in Long Beach, California. Best known to Disney park fans as the voice and reference for "Constance Hatchaway," The Black Widow Bride in the classic attraction The Haunted Mansion, she is one of the only former
Cast Members to become a famous voice in the parks. Kat's other numerous voice credits include Tower of Terror, Epcot's Character Spot, Woody's Roundup Toy Story Midway
Mania! and Greatest Moments With Mr. Lincoln. She has also voiced for Disney Animation including several episodes of Phineas and Ferb, Tinkerbell, and Tarzan. (One of Kat's most famous "non-Disney" roles is "Dee Dee" on Cartoon Network's Dexter's Laboratory!)
Notable as a top celebrity voicematcher, Kat provides the voice of "Jessie The Cowgirl" for Disney's Disney Infinity games, and is one of the only female voices heard regularly on
ESPN! (Her father was a marketing executive who worked closely with WED Imagineers
Actor, songwriter, and game & talk show host Alan Thicke is born Alan Willis Jeffrey in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada. Thicke co-hosted the Walt Disney World Very Merry Christmas Parade (now the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade) with Joan Lunden from 1983 to 1990. In 1987 he starred in the Disney television film Not Quite Human playing the role of a doctor who creates an android that looks just like a human
17-year-old boy so he may adopt him as his son. In March 2013, he participated on ABC's Celebrity Wife Swap, in which
he swapped wives with comedian Gilbert Gottfried. (Thicke is best remembered for his role as Jason Seaver, the father
on the ABC television series Growing Pains, which ran for 7 seasons starting in 1985.)
Starting on this day, Disney World guests can enjoy 90 days of fresh festival fun during
the 24th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (which runs through May 29).
Actor Javier Bardem is born in Madrid, Spain. He portrayed Captain Armando Salazar in the 2017 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.