Walt Disney is given an honorary Oscar "for the creation of Mickey Mouse" by
the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at the 5th Annual Academy
Awards (held at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles). It is only the second honorary Oscar
ever awarded by the Academy (the first one went to Charlie Chaplin, who is supposed to present the statuette to
Walt on this evening, but has decided to stay home). Disney's Flowers and Trees takes home the Oscar for Best
Short Subject, Cartoon (beating out Mickey's Orphans). It is the first time a Best Short Subject, Cartoon category
(today known as Animated Short Film) has been given. It is also the first year that one man has been given two
awards at the same ceremony. Although nominated for Achievement in Sound, Recording - Walt Disney
Productions is edged out by Paramount Publix Studio Sound Department.
Disney's Parade of Academy Award Nominees, an animated color short made
especially for this day's ceremony is screened. It features caricatures of those nominated in the
Best Actor and Best Actress categories. The film marks Mickey Mouse's first on screen appearance in color!
Walt Disney (and all those nominated) already know ahead of time who the winners are. Up until 1941, winners
will be informed beforehand ... to help reporters meet their news deadlines.
Mickey Mouse stars in Steamboat Willie, the first commercially
successful animated cartoon to use synchronized sound. Disney's third Mickey short (but the
first with sound) debuts as a sneak preview at Universal's Colony Theatre - located at Broadway & 53rd Street in
New York City. It is shown before the feature film Gang War. Steamboat Willie is co-directed by Walt Disney and
Ub Iwerks and features the first appearance of Minnie Mouse. It is animated by Ub Iwerks, Wilfred Jackson and Dick
Lundy. The short also features the work of inbetween artist Les Clark (who will go on to be one of "Walt's Nine Old Men"). Walt himself supplies the voices for all the characters - although there isn't any real spoken dialogue just
whistling, grunts, laughter and other vocal sounds. Walt sits nervously at the rear of the theater to gage the
audience's reaction. To his delight, the Colony echoes with laughs and giggles throughout the short! Steamboat
Willie will be shown every night for 2 weeks. (Despite the fact that this is not the first Mickey cartoon made or
released, it is still considered Mickey Mouse's true debut ... and birthday!)
Disney's animated feature Oliver & Company is released in U.S. theaters.
The film centers on a homeless kitten named Oliver who joins a gang of dogs to survive on the 1980s New York
City streets. Inspired by the Charles Dickens novel "Oliver Twist," Oliver & Company features the voices of 12-
year-old Joey Lawrence, singer-songwriter Billy Joel, comic-actor Cheech Marin, and funny-man Dom DeLuise. Six
supervising animators and a team of over 300 artists and technicians worked for over two and a half years to
create the feature film. To give the backgrounds a contemporary and hard-edged look, Xerographic overlays are
used, the first time for this approach since 101 Dalmatians. The last multiplane shots on the Disney Studio’s
famous multiplane cameras were for Oliver & Company.
A commemorative plaque is installed at the Broadway Theater - site of the
former Colony Theater - at 1681 Broadway (W. 53rd St.) in New York City,
marking the 50th anniversary of the premiere of Disney's Steamboat Willie.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City holds a birthday party for
Mickey Mouse, showing Steamboat Willie at noon, fifty years after its
first public debut!
Over on the west coast, in honor of his 50th anniversary, Mickey
becomes the first cartoon character to have a star on the Hollywood
Walk of Fame. The star is located on 6925 Hollywood Blvd.
This is the first year Mickey has an official birthday! Disney Archivist Dave Smith has
declared that November 18, 1928, was the first general public appearance of Mickey Mouse ... thus
creating an official birth date for the popular character.
At Walt Disney World, Mickey Mouse celebrates his 50th birthday with a
new parade at Magic Kingdom Park. Mickey and the Main Street Philharmonic kick off the
birthday procession, surrounded by banners that read "Happy Birthday Mickey Mouse." The parade
features balloons, wrapped gift boxes, party hats, larger-than-life birthday cards and a 50th birthday cake.
Michelle Williams (of Destiny's Child) joins the Broadway cast of Disney's Aida. The 23-year-old Williams takes over the lead role from Toni
Braxton. (Williams will appear in Aida for ten weeks.)
The Magic Kingdom in Florida unveils 75 6-foot tall
statues of Mickey Mouse in honor of his 75th birthday.
Disney Channel is launched in Japan.
Mickey Mouse Club airs on ABC-TV. Today is Talent Round-Up Day.
A color, full-page advertisement for Insurance by North America appears in LIFE magazine. The ad features a photo of a family of four standing in front of Disneyland's Sleeping
Beauty Castle and the entrance to Fantasyland. (The ad campaign, using Disneyland as a backdrop with families
standing in different sections of the park, will continue into the 1960s.)
The LP record Firehouse Five Plus Two - Around the World! is released on the
Good Time Jazz label. The Dixieland group is led by Disney animator & trombonist Ward Kimball.
Actress Elizabeth Perkins, the voice of Coral in Disney's 2003 Finding Nemo, is born in Queens, New York.
At Disneyland, the Swiss Family Treehouse attraction opens in Adventureland. The opening ceremony is hosted by Walt Disney, Hayley Mills (star
of The Parent Trap and Pollyana), John Mills (Hayley's father and star of Swiss
Family Robinson), and Kevin Corcoran (who appears in both Pollyana
and Swiss Family Robinson). The Swiss Consulate presents Walt Disney with a flag that
will fly over the attraction.
Actor Owen Wilson, the voice of Lightning McQueen in the 2006 Cars and the 2011 Cars 2, is born in Dallas, Texas.
The "Partner's Statue" Dedication is held at Disneyland.
Jack Lindquist, the President of Disneyland (who officially retires this
same day) officiates the ceremony which includes Roy Disney unveiling
the statue of Walt and Mickey Mouse (sculpted by Blaine Gibson).
At Disney World, the Audio-Animatronic robot of U.S. President Bill Clinton
first performs in the Hall of Presidents attraction.
The Walt Disney World Info Line (407-824-4321) begins to inform
callers that the Mr. Toad attraction is "definitely closing."
The CD The Lion King - Original Broadway Cast Recording is released worldwide.
The Wonderful World of Disney airs "The Facts of Life Reunion,"
a gathering of the stars from the 1979-1988 sitcom.
The five-thousand square foot interactive exhibit "Too Small to See"
opens at Epcot's Innoventions. Developed by Cornell University and
supported by the National Science Foundation, the exhibit surrounds
visitors with things at the atomic scale and exposes them to some
important concepts in nanotechnology.
The Navigator and his 1928
Steamboat Bill, Jr. were both
the inspiration for Disney's
- - - - -Happy B-day Mickey!
Walt Disney sends his first 6 Mickey Mouse comic strips to King Features.
The first Disney movie with attitude.
Kenny Ortega, director of Highs School Musical and High School Musical 2 is
honored as Best Director, Comedy/Musical at the 15th annual Diversity Awards,
held at Universal Studios' Globe Theatre.
Meanwhile over at the 35th American Music Awards, High School Musical 2 wins
Mickey Mouse celebrates his 79th birthday!
Burning Up: On Tour with the Jonas Brothers, a new book published by Disney's
Hyperion, is released. It chronicles the band's latest tour, with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos of
Kevin, Joe, and Nick.
Walt Disney Records releases the original soundtrack for Walt Disney Pictures'
animated comedy adventure BOLT. The recording features a score written by Grammy-nominated
composer John Powell and two original songs: "I Thought I Lost You" performed by the film's stars Miley
Cyrus and John Travolta, and "Barking at the Moon" by Jenny Lewis.
The Disney-Pixar animated feature WALL-E is released to DVD for the first time.
Also released on the same DVD is BURN-E, an animated short about an unlucky welder robot.
A lottery to determine who will have the opportunity to buy the first 474
houses and apartments in Disney's new Florida community Celebration, is held.
In 1940 Disney's Fantasia will premiere in New York at the Broadway Theatre ... previously known as Universal's Colony Theatre!
TEA announces the 15th Annual Thea Award recipients during the International
Association of Amusement Parks and Attraction's annual conference at
Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center. Walt Disney Imagineering captures four
prestigious Thea Awards: The Muppet Mobile Lab, currently at Hong Kong Disneyland, wins the Award for
Outstanding Achievement - Technical; The Legend of Mythica at Tokyo DisneySea and Finding Nemo – The
Musical at Disney’s Animal Kingdom each win an Award for Outstanding Achievement - Live Show; and
Epcot receives the Thea Classic Award.
(The actual awards will be handed out at a black-tie dinner held at the Disneyland Hotel, March 7, 2009.)
"Mickey reflects the exuberant optimism of his creator."
-Michael Eisner, former CEO, The Walt Disney Co.
Oliver & Company released
Actor Delroy Lindo is born in London, England. He is the voice of Beta, a Rottweiler and
member of Muntz's pack of talking dogs in Disney-Pixar's UP.
Mickey’s birthday is celebrated as 5,500 underprivileged children from
across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Japan are treated to a three-day
visit to Disneyland to assist Mickey in celebrating his day
It is reported that Victoria & Albert's, the top-of-the-line restaurant at Walt Disney
World, has been awarded its 10th consecutive AAA Five Diamond rating (one of
only three Florida restaurants to earn that ultimate classification). Located in Disney's
exceptional, contemporary American cuisine served with unparalleled charm and elegance.
"I am most strongly connected to Mickey Mouse, obviously,
because he and I are cousins. We go way back. He's a year and a half older than I am, but he looks better than I do, of course."
-Roy E. Disney
Disney announces that the Downtown area referred to as Pleasure Island will be
renamed Hyperion Wharf and that the revitalization project is scheduled to be
completed by Spring 2013.
Radio Disney is launched at 5:58 A.M. EST with the song "Get Ready For This."
Recorded by Dutch eurodance group 2 Unlimited, "Get Ready For This" first made its debut back in 1991.
Radio Disney will broadcast songs that are played on Top-40 stations as well as popular oldies and songs
from various cartoon shows and movies.
Award-winning television icon and Disney Legend Regis Philbin hosts LIVE! with Regis and Kelly (on ABC-TV) for the last time. He is retiring from the long-running talk show, which first launched into national syndication in 1988 as LIVE! with Regis and Kathie Lee.
Toy Story Land opens at Hong Kong Disneyland.
"Sometimes I've tried to figure out why Mickey appealed to the whole world. Everybody's tried to figure it out. So far as I know,
nobody has. He's a pretty nice fellow who never does anybody any harm, who gets into scrapes through no fault of his own, but always
manages to come out grinning. Why Mickey's even been faithful to one girl, Minnie, all his life. Mickey is so simple and uncomplicated,
so easy to understand that you can't help liking him." -Walt Disney
"Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two" is released on Mickey's 84th birthday.
A sequel to the video game "Epic Mickey," it is released on Wii, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Mac OS X,
Microsoft Windows, and the Wii U.
Disney Channel debuts the first-ever extended episode of the Emmy Award-winning
"Mickey Mouse" cartoon shorts as part of a themed day of programming in honor of
Mickey Mouse's birthday. The special seven-minute comedic cartoon titled "Potatoland" finds Mickey,
Donald and Goofy on a road trip to Idaho to fulfill Goofy’s lifelong dream of visiting what he fondly remembers as
Potatoland theme park.
The NBC-TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color
airs part 1 of "The Magnificent Rebel." About the life of Ludwig Beethoven, the 2-part special features
actor/pianist Carl Boehm as the great composer who is driven to success despite his long battle against deafness.
Filmed in and around Vienna (where Beethoven lived and worked), the international cast includes Giulia Rubini as
Countess Giulietta and Ivan Desny as Prince Lichnowsky.