Pioneering animator Shamus Culhane is born in Ware, Massachusetts
(although as a small child his family moved to Manhattan, New York).
His most notable work for Disney includes the classic sequence with Pluto and the crab in Hawaiian Holiday and
the dwarfs' "Heigh Ho" number in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Culhane is the only animator who worked
on all of the first four animated feature cartoons in history: Disney's Snow White (1937) and Pinocchio (1940),
for which he animated the fox and cat selling Pinocchio to the Pleasure Island coachman; Max Fleischer's
Gulliver's Travels (1939) and Dave Fleischer's Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941).
Florida's Downtown Disney hosts the 3-day Festival of the Masters
(a display of more than 150 award-winning national and local artists).
Disney Channel airs the sixteenth Phil of the Future episode - "Age Before Beauty"
for the first time. Guest stars include veteran actor Ronnie Schell (who portrays a 75-year-old Phil).
Character actor Liam Dunn is born in New Jersey. His Disney credits include
The Shaggy D.A., Gus, Herbie Rides Again, and The World's Greatest Athlete. (Mel Brooks'
fans will recognize him from the films Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, and Silent Movie.)
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoons The Wayward Canary and The Klondike Kid
are both released. In The Wayward Canary, directed by Bert Gillet, Mickey buys a canary to give Minnie
as a pet, but doesn't know that the bird has a bunch of hatchlings in her cage! When they get away and fly loose
in Minnie's house, an old cat tries to catch them as Mickey destructively tries to keep order.
The Klondike Kid, inspired by the silent Charlie Chaplin film "The Gold Rush" and directed by Wilfred Jackson,
finds Mickey entertaining guests at a saloon as a piano player. All is well
until Pete kidnaps Minnie ... causing a battle!
Actor Bela Lugosi (best known for his Dracula roles) spends the day
at the Disney Studios posing for animators. It is the intent that Lugosi will be
the model for the demon Chernabog in the "Night on Bald Mountain" segment of Fantasia.
(However, Bill Tytla, the animator in charge of Chernobog, will later be dissatisfied with Lugosi's performace, and
will have sequence director Wilfred Jackson pose for the cameras. Thus it willl be Jackson, not Lugosi, who
"appears" on-screen as Chernabog!)
Character actor & playwright Wallace Shawn, the voice of Rex the Green
Dinosaur in all the Toy Story films, is born in New York City. His vast Disney
credits include A Goofy Movie (as the voice of Principal Mazur), the live-action The Haunted Mansion (playing the
role of Ezra), The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (as Tarzan the Chimp), The Incredibles (as Gilbert Huph), Air
Buddies (although a live-action film - supplying the voice of Billy), Chicken Little (as Principal Fetchit) and the
television series Teacher's Pet (as Principal Crosby Strickler).
Walt Disney's Song of the South, released by RKO, debuts at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, Georgia. The film, based on the books by Joel Chandler Harris, is Walt's first major plunge into live-action filmmaking (although it also contains 3 animated segments). Taking place in the southern United States during the Reconstruction era (a period of American history after the end of the American Civil War), the kindhearted storyteller Uncle Remus,
portrayed by James Baskett, tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear. The premiere is sponsored jointly by the Atlanta Junior League and the Uncle Remus Memorial Association. In attendance is Walt Disney himself, who makes introductory remarks, introduces the cast and then surprisingly leaves the theater before the film starts. There is concern that Song of the South will encounter controversy. The cast includes Bobby Driscoll as Johnny, Luana Patten as Virginia "Ginny" Favers, Ruth Warrick as Sally, Lucile Watson as Grandmother, and
Hattie McDaniel as Aunt Tempy. The film features 9 songs, including "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" and "Everybody's Got a Laughing Place." (James Baskett will later be given an Academy Honorary Award for his portrayal of Uncle Remus, the first African-American man to win any kind of Oscar. The film and its hit songs will later provide the inspiration for the Splash Mountain attractions at Disney theme parks.)
Disney's Donald Duck animated short The Flying Squirrel is released. Directed by Jack
Hannah, Donald enlists the help of a flying squirrel to hang a sign in a nearby tree for his peanut stand. But the
squirrel has to take revenge when Donald backs out on his half of the deal.
Disney stock is first listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The NBC-TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color airs part 1 of "The Light
in the Forest." Originally released to theaters in 1958, The Light in the Forest stars Fess Parker, Joanne
Dru, James MacArthur and Wendell Corey. A young white man who spent his whole life raised by a Native
American tribe is sent to live with his true family and must learn to fit in with the people he was taught to fear.
Prime Minister Nehru of India visits Disneyland. He is taken on a personal tour of the
park by Walt Disney himself. (The Indian leader is in Southern California for a 3-day visit.)
The Firehouse Five Plus Two (a musical group made up of writers, animators,
producers and directors at the Walt Disney Studios) perform on the stage of
the Golden Horseshoe Saloon in Disneyland.
Actor Ryan Gosling, whose career started as a member of Disney Channel's The All
New Mickey Mouse Club, is born in Ontario, Canada. He was part of the last set of new
Mouseketeers to be added to the show before it ended its run. Gosling also appeared in the 2000 Walt Disney
Pictures feature Remember the Titans. (He is best known for his roles in The Notebook and The Believer.)
Actress Anne Hathaway, co-star of Disney's The Princess Dairies and The
Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, is born in Brooklyn, New York. She
also appeared in the 2004 fairy-tale comedy Ella Enchanted (distributed by Miramax Films, the art-
house/independent film division of The Walt Disney Company) as Ella of Frell and Tim Burton's 2010
Alice in Wonderland as White Queen.
The Three Musketeers, starring Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell,
Tim Curry, and Rebecca De Mornay, is released by Walt Disney Pictures and
Caravan Pictures. D'Artagnan travels to Paris hoping to become a musketeer, one of the French king's elite bodyguards, only to discover that the corps has been disbanded by conniving Cardinal Richelieu, who secretly hopes to usurp the throne.
The Village Traders shop opens in World Showcase at EPCOT Center.
The Disney stage musical Aida debuts at Chicago's Palace Theatre.
Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year is released on video. It features the 1991
Christmas TV special Winnie the Pooh and Christmas Too, as well as a new film - Happy Pooh Year.
Singer Jon Secada brings down the curtain on the 2006 Eat to the Beat! concert
series at Epcot when he performs his final show of a 4-day engagement.
The first annual American
Teacher Awards (honoring
teachers) was hosted by
Disney in 1990. The very
first recipient was
Sylvia Anne Washburn.
Walt Disney World ushers in the holiday season with this year's
debut of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.
Also at the MK, a dazzling new lighting spectacle which transforms the iconic Cinderella Castle
into a glimmering, shimmering ice palace, debuts. Over at Disney-MGM, The Osborne Family
Spectacle of Dancing Lights (presented by Sylvania) returns to light up The Streets of America Backlot, while Mickey's Jingle Jungle Parade steps off at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
At the beginning of the Chinese Dance segment of Fantasia's "The Nutcracker Suite", Hop Low, the tiny mushroom, does a little jump while criss-crossing his legs. Animator Art Babbit supposedly got the idea from The Three Stooges - it's one of Curly Howard's signature moves!
Disney's animated feature Pinocchio is released in Egypt.
Twenty-year-old Cathy Birk is chosen to be Disneyland's new Ambassador to the
World. A Disneyland employee since April 1968, her initial duties as the new ambassador begins December 1
and will continue into the new year. A 1967 graduate of Anaheim High School and presently a junior at Cal State
Fullerton, Birk is originally from Paris, France.
"Dracula" visits Disney Studios
At Disneyland, the fourth International Children’s Peace Prize Awards are held at
the Videopolis Stage, bringing together children from 41 countries to foster the
goal of world peace.
The Annie Awards are handed out at ATAS Plaza Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Best Individual Achievement for Artistic Excellence in the Field of Animation goes to Deane Taylor the art director
for The Nightmare Before Christmas. Jeremy Irons is awarded Best Achievement for Voice Acting for his
contribution to Disney's The Lion King. Best Individual Achievement for Creative Supervision in the Field of
Animation is given to director Henry Selick for The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Lion King wins Best
Animated Film. Brenda Chapman is awarded Best Individual Achievement for Story Contribution in the Field
of Animation for her contribution to The Lion King.
The 35th Festival of the Masters fine arts show (at Downtown Disney Florida)
kicks off for the next 3 days.
The Disney Channel Original Movie Avalon High premieres. Allie (played by Brittany
Robertson) transfers to Avalon High and is shocked to discover that her classmates are reincarnations of
King Arthur and his Court.
Also airing on Disney Channel is "Alex Tells the World," the fourth season debut of Wizards of Waverly Place.
The world premiere of The Muppets takes place at the El Capitan Theater in
Hollywood, California. The first Muppets theatrical release in 12 years, as well as the first Disney-
produced Muppets film since the 1996 Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppets will be released in the
Comic book publisher Stan Lee passes away at age 95 in Los Angeles, California.
He rose through the ranks of a family-run business to become Marvel Comics' primary creative leader for two decades, leading its expansion from a small division of a publishing house to a multimedia corporation that
dominated the comics industry and later Hollywood films. Lee was named a Disney Legend in 2017.
The Disney Channel Original Movie Wish Upon A Star debuts. It stars Katherine Heigl and Danielle Harris, who play sisters that swap bodies because of a wish on a shooting star.
Actress Raffey Cassidy is born in Worsley, Salford, England. She played Athena in Disney's 2015 science-fiction mystery adventure film Tomorrowland.
Screenwriter and producer Christopher LLoyd (not to be confused with actor Christopher Lloyd) is born in Los Angeles, California. He is co-creator and executive producer
of the successful ABC-TV series Modern Family. Lloyd also wrote episodes of the sitcom The Golden Girls (distributed by Buena Vista Television).
Disney Plus (also known as Disney+) is launched at 6 a.m., in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands. The new on-demand streaming service offers Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic and of course Disney/Pixar content (including new original series) all under one roof. (It is expected to debut in Europe in late March 2020.) Disney's romance film Lady and the Tramp, a live-action version of the 1955 animated film, is released on Disney+ on this day ... making it the first Disney remake to not receive a theatrical release. Also premiering is
The Mandalorian, a space western series set in the Star Wars universe.