The last episode of the Disney-produced TV show Zorro airs. Despite good ratings, the
series ends after two seasons due to a financial dispute between Disney and ABC-TV over ownership of Zorro,
Mickey Mouse Club, and the Disney anthology television series (at this time titled Disneyland).
Muppeteer Steve Whitmire is born near Atlanta, Georgia. Working for the Jim Henson
Company since 1978, Whitmire's career with the Muppets began on The Muppet Show, where he developed his
first major character, Rizzo the Rat. His Disney credits include Studio DC: Almost Live! and Disney Extreme
Digital. Whitmire was nicknamed Kermit in his youth because he aspired to become a puppeteer. After the death
of Jim Henson, the original voice of Kermit the frog - Whitmire was chosen to take over the role of Kermit!
Disneyland debuts "Mysteries, Myths, and Legends Tour" - an interactive
tour that allows guests to be a part of a fictional storyline woven by the host.
The Last Shot, a comedy film starring Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Toni Collette, Tim Blake Nelson, and Joan Cusack, is released by Touchstone Pictures.
A movie director-screenwriter finds a man to finance his latest project but soon discovers that the producer is actually an undercover FBI agent working on a mob sting operation.
Actor, comedian, and voice artist Billy Bletcher is born in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania. Bletcher's work with Disney began with the 1933 Three Little Pigs as the voice
of the Big Bad Wolf. He later supplied the voice for Pegleg Pete (an anthropomorphic cat),
numerous characters in countless shorts such as Who Killed Cock Robin? and a clown in Dumbo.
(Bletcher voiced some of the Munchkins in the 1939 classic film The Wizard of Oz - along with Pinto Colvig, the voice of
Goofy! He later was known as the original voice of Killer the Bulldog in the Tom & Jerry cartoons.)
Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and the original voice of Kermit
the Frog, is born James Maury Henson in Greenville, Mississippi.
Henson first named his puppets, "Muppets," in 1954 while working as a producer of the
Washington, D.C. TV show, Sam and Friends. Henson was the leading force behind the
Muppets long run in the television series Sesame Street and The Muppet Show and films
such as The Muppet Movie and creator of advanced puppets for projects like Fraggle Rock,
The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth and Return of the Jedi. Sadly in May 1990, Henson passed away suddenly at the age of 53 while in negotiations to sell his company to Disney. He was named a Disney Legend in 2011.
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Hawaiian Holiday is released. In this short, Mickey and
Minnie play the uke and dance, Goofy surfs, Pluto fights with a crab, and poor Donald Duck sets himself on fire.
Actor, comedian, and screenwriter Phil Hartman is born in Brantford,
Ontario, Canada. His Disney credits include the voice of SIR for Disney World's Alien
Encounter (1994-1995), both the TV series TaleSpin and DuckTales, and the 1987 animated film
The Brave Little Toaster. He also supplied the voice of Morris for The Enchanted Tiki Room:
Under New Management attraction. Hartman's last voice-acting performance (before his untimely
death) was in Kiki's Delivery Service, a 1998 Japanese animated fantasy film dubbed in English
and released under the Disney/Studio Ghibli partnership. Hartman also played a lawyer in the
1995 comedy feature Houseguest (distributed by Hollywood Pictures). (TV fans will remember
Hartman as a member of Saturday Night Live for 8 seasons, his role of radio news anchor Bill McNeal on the
sitcom NewsRadio, and for his voice work on The Simpsons.)
Sunday: Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color makes its debut in color
and on NBC (for the series' 8th season on television). Hosted by Walt himself, the episode
consists of "An Adventure in Color," "Donald in Mathmagicland," and a brand new character called Professor
Ludwig Von Drake - voiced by Paul Frees. The episode is sponsored by RCA, who runs commercials during the
show promoting their new RCA color television. (Before this, the series had been called Disneyland and then
Walt Disney Presents - but both broadcast on ABC and in black & white.)
Construction begins in Florida on a one story pavilion to house General
at the Magic Kingdom in Tomorrowland.
The TV series Walt Disney (which originated in 1954 on ABC as Disneyland)
airs for the last time on CBS with the episode "Walt Disney’s Mickey and
Donald." (Three years later the series will be revived on ABC as The Disney Sunday Movie.)
Disney formally announces the election of Michael Eisner as chairman and CEO,
and Frank Wells as president and chief operating officer at a celebration held
the Lakeside Country Club.
The very first Official Disneyana Convention takes place at Walt Disney World.
Although enthusiasts around the world have organized conventions in the past, this marks the first time that
the Disney Company itself sponsors the 4-day event (held at Disney's Contemporary Resort).
The ABC-TV series Boy Meets World (distributed Disney-ABC Domestic Television)
premieres. A comedy-drama series that chronicles the events and everyday life lessons of Cory Matthews,
played by Ben Savage, a kid from suburban Philadelphia who grows up from a young boy to a married man, the
series will run for seven seasons. The cast includes Will Friedle (who will later voice Ron Stoppable for Kim
Possible) as older brother Eric and Lindsay Ridgeway (who appears in the introduction video of Disney's Twilight
Zone Tower of Terror attraction) as younger sister Morgan starting in season 3. (Years later Boy Meets World will become a Disney Channel and ABC Family channel favorite, and in 2014 spawn a spin-off titled Girl Meets World.)
Touchstone Pictures releases the drama The Program. Darnell Jefferson has just been inducted
into the football program at Eastern State University. With his great skills on the field, and a lovely girl, Autumn
Haley, to show him around the college, Darnell intends to enjoy himself. But his severe academic problems, and a
heated rivalry with Ray Griffen for the starting tailback position and for Autumn’s affection, makes him realize that
things will not be so easy. Darnell and his teammates discover the intense pressures, both on and off the field, of
being on the football team. The cast includes James Caan, Halle Berry, Omar Epps, Craig Sheffer, and Kristy
The sky above the Seven Seas Lagoon fill with fireworks and music as
Disney World joins forces with the American Pyrotechnics Association to
launch Disney's Rock 'n Rockets (for the next 2 nights). This first-ever
event is held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the association
and features the latest in fireworks technology along with a collection of
classic displays. Accompanying the fireworks show is live musical
performances by Kenny Loggins (on this evening) and the B52's along
with 10,000 Maniacs (on September 25).
Michael Eisner's book Work in Progress is published.
Previews begin for the London West End production of Disney's musical
"The Lion King" at the Lyceum Theatre.
Disney Channel's half-hour original series The Jersey debuts. Produced by the Disney
Channel, it is based on the "Monday Night Football Club" books by Gordon Korman. About 4 teens who
discover the magic of "the jersey", a mystical football jersey that transports them into the bodies of
professional athletes, the series features Michael Galeota and Courtnee Draper.
Touchstone Pictures releases the comedy-drama Mumford, written and directed by Lawrence Kasdan. In the small town of Mumford, a psychologist of the same name moves in and quickly becomes very popular, despite a questionable past. The film stars Loren Dean, Hope Davis, Jason Lee, Alfre Woodard, Mary McDonnell, Zooey Deschanel (in her film debut), and Martin Short.
The Tapestry of Dreams parade debuts at Epcot as part of the 100 Years
of Magic celebration. A slightly shorter recycling of the popular Tapestry of Nations Parade from last
year's Millennium celebration, Tapestry of Dreams celebrates children, dreams and the legacy of Walt Disney.
The University of Maryland honors Muppet creator Jim Henson by
holding a dedication ceremony. A life-sized statue of Henson (a University of Maryland
alumnus), conversing with one of his favorite creations, Kermit the Frog, is dedicated in front of the
Adele Stamp Student Union on the College Park campus.
Major Harry Colebourn, the soldier whose pet bear became the
inspiration for A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, passes away in Canada.
Animator Frank Thomas joins the Disney Studios as employee number 224.
He will go on to animate dozens of feature films and shorts until his retirement in 1978. Thomas will become
The cruise ship Disney Wonder makes its inaugural
visit to St. Kitts and Nevis. The 2,600 passenger capacity vessel docks at Port Zante at 7:00 a.m.,
its fifth stop on an eleven night South Caribbean cruise.
The ABC-TV drama series Brothers & Sisters premieres. The cast includes a
collection of award-winning actors, including Sally Field, Rachel Griffiths, Calista Flockhart, Rob Lowe,
and Patricia Wettig. Centering on the Walker family and their lives in Pasadena, California, Brothers &
Sisters will run for five seasons.
Season 3 of the hit ABC series Desperate Housewives kicks off with the episode "Listen to the Rain on the Roof."
In the months before his death in
extensive discussions with The
Walt Disney Company based on his
strong belief that Disney would be
a perfect home for his Muppets. It
wasn't until 2004 that Disney and
the Jim Henson Company came to
an agreement under which Disney
acquired the Muppets and Bear in
the Big Blue House.
Previews begin for the not-yet-open EPCOT Center in Florida.
On this evening, Cast Members and their families are invited to the
new park (which will officially debut October 1) from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Roy Disney learns that prospective financiers in New York for Disneyland want
to meet next week. He contacts his brother Walt, asking for a visual presentation to take.
The Lotus Blossom Cafe restaurant opens in EPCOT's China Pavilion.
Disney holds a daylong presentation at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood to
showcase its upcoming films. The industry-only showcase includes a full screening of the
animated dog-hero movie Bolt. Future films announced include a 3-D motion capture remake of Charles
Dickens' A Christmas Carol (starring Jim Carrey), Tron 2, Cars 2, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
(featuring Johnny Depp).
"The most sophisticated people I know - inside they are all children." -Jim Henson
"Many years ago, there weren't many auditions, there weren't many of us. They were doing a thing called Three Little Pigs at Disney's,
and Pinto Colvig told me, "Why don't you go over and do this thing for Walt, they want a guy who can huff and puff and blow your house
in." So what the hell, I did it, and I recorded this thing for Walt, as the Big Bad Wolf. That put me in pretty solid with Walt. From then
on, I had a session every week, not only to record one voice, but to record two or three voices, for Walt." -Billy Bletcher
"Haven't you got the word? We're in full color." -Walt Disney
"I've always tried to present a positive view of the world in my work. It's so much easier to be
negative and cynical and predict doom for the world than it is to try and figure out how to
make things better. We have an obligation to do the latter." -Jim Henson
Tony and Olivier Award-winning musical The Lion King to the Smithsonian’s
National Museum of American History. Costume elements from the show’s protagonist Simba and
the tribal shaman Rafiki (all designed by Julie Taymor) will join other objects from such musicals as Cats, Rent
and the King and I in the museum’s permanent entertainment collections.
"It is a tremendous honor to see Taymor’s groundbreaking creative vision recognized by a world-renowned
organization like the Smithsonian." -Thomas Schumacher, producer and president of Disney Theatrical Productions
Frank Thomas joins Disney Studio
Touchstone Pictures releases the comedy You Again, starring Kristen Bell, Jamie
Lee Curtis, Sigourney Weaver, Odette Yustman, Betty White, and Kristin Chenoweth.
When a young woman realizes her brother is about to marry the girl who bullied her in high school, she sets out to expose the fiancée's true colors. Directed by Andy Fickman, it is the last solo Touchstone Pictures project as future
films will be made in association with Miramax, DreamWorks, and Lucasfilm.
Destination D: Disneyland '55 kicks off in the Grand Ballroom at the Disneyland Hotel.
The two-day event takes D23 Members on a mesmerizing journey through the design, creation, debut and magical
history of the world's first Disney theme park.
The El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood presents "Beauty and the Beast Sing-a-Long"
for the next 2 weeks.
Walt Disney visits Levittown, Pennyslvania for Disney Day and the dedication
"Kids don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."
Oscar-winning director, animator and screenwriter Brad Bird is born in Kalispell,
Montana. Best known for directing and writing Pixar's The Incredibles, he also directed and wrote the
screenplay for the 2007 Ratatouille. Upon graduating from the California Institute of the Arts, Bird began working
for Disney - though his tenure was brief, and he left the company shortly after working on The Fox and the Hound
in 1981. (Bird was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men.) He next worked on animated
television series, which included The Simpsons, The Critic and King of the Hill. Bird's TV work led to writing and
directing the animated film The Iron Giant (for Warner Bros.) and ultimately a position with Pixar.
In 2011, Bird transitioned to live-action filmmaking with "Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol," which became the
highest-grossing of its franchise. In 2015, Bird's science fiction mystery adventure film Tomorrowland was
distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.
The third season of the animated series Star Wars Rebels kicks off on Disney XD
with the episode "Steps into Shadow".
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., a new television series created for ABC by Joss Whedon, Jed
Whedon, and Maurissa Tancharoen, debuts. Based on the Marvel Comics organization S.H.I.E.L.D. (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), a peacekeeping and spy agency in a world
of superheroes, the series stars Clark Gregg as Agent Phil Coulson, Ming-Na Wen as ace pilot Melinda May,
and Brett Dalton as Agent Grant Ward. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is produced by ABC Studios, Marvel Television, and Mutant Enemy Productions, and distributed by Walt Disney Television.
The Goldbergs, a period sitcom created by Adam F. Goldberg, debuts on ABC. Based on Goldberg's childhood and family in the 1980s, it stars stars Wendi McLendon-Covey, Sean Giambrone, Troy Gentile, Hayley Orrantia, George Segal, and Jeff Garlin.
The 6th season of the ABC-TV sitcom Modern Family kicks off with the episode
"The Long Honeymoon."
The second season of the ABC series The Good Doctor begins with
the episode "Hello."
The second season of the ABC legal drama How to Get Away with Murder premieres with the episode "It's Time to Move On."
ABC premieres season 12 of the medical drama Grey's Anatomy with the episode "Sledgehammer."
ABC-TV debuts season 6 of the medical drama series Grey's Anatomy with the episode "Good Morning."
Emergence, a mystery-themed thriller television series created by Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas debuts on ABC. A police chief, played by Allison Tolman, investigates a case involving a young child found near the site of a mysterious accident.