Voice actor/sound effects man, musician & creator of hundreds
of one-of-a-kind gadgets and props, James MacDonald is born in
Monks Coppenhall, England. He and his parents (Richard and Minnie) sailed
to the United States in November 1906 when he was only a month old, and young James grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While playing drums and percussion with a band for the Dollar Steamship Lines in 1934, MacDonald was called to the Disney Studios to record music for a Mickey Mouse cartoon. His impeccable timing and talent earned him a permanent position to form the sound fx department at the studio. In 1946, Walt Disney personally selected MacDonald to take over the voice of Mickey Mouse. His Mickey credits include
Mickey's Trailer, Mickey and the Beanstalk and the TV series House of Mouse, as well as such animated classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Alice in Wonderland. He also made brief live-action appearances in Fantasia and Toby Tyler or Ten Weeks with a Circus. MacDonald was also the original voice actor for Chip, one half of the duo Chip and Dale. He voiced Mickey Mouse until his retirement in 1976, at which point he was replaced by his sound effects protégée, Wayne Allwine, for The New Mickey Mouse Club. An original member of the popular jazz group, The Firehouse Five Plus Two, MacDonald was named a Disney Legend in 1993 (2 years after his passing).
Disney's Mickey Mouse cartoon Gulliver Mickey, directed by Burt Gillett, is released. Mickey enthralls his young nephews with the story of his adventures among the tiny people of a faraway land (a nod to Jonathan Swift's classic tale).
Disney's Donald Duck short Donald's Cousin Gus is released. Donald's cousin Gus arrives with an inexhaustible appetite and a bottomless tummy. The voice cast includes James Macdonald as Gus and Clarence Nash as Donald. On this very same day, Donald's Cousin Gus becomes the very first cartoon and the first prerecorded program to be broadcast on an American TV station; NBC's experimental station W2XBS in New York. (Television had only been demonstrated for the first time in April at the 1939 New York World's Fair and the Golden Gate International Exhibition in San Francisco.)
Mouseketeer Bobby Burgess is born in Long Beach, California. He
auditioned 5 times before finally being chosen as a member of Mickey Mouse Club. One of the two best male dancers on the show during its three year run, taking part in just about every musical number, as an adult Burgess appeared on The Lawrence Welk Show as half the dancing duo Bobby & Barbara.
Disney's Primitive Pluto, directed by Charles Nichols, is released. The sound of
wolves howling makes Pluto's ancestral lupine instinct awake ... personified and determined to make the
well-pampered domesticated city canine catch up with his wild hunting roots!
Disney's Pollyana starring Hayley Mills, Jane Wyman, Karl Malden, Richard Egan,
Kevin Corcoran, and Nancy Olsen (and based on a 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter) is released. Her first (of what will be 6) Disney films and her American film debut, it will earn Mills an Academy Award. Orphaned yet cheerful Pollyanna comes to live with her dour Aunt Polly Harrington who sternly runs her small
New England town. The film is director David Swift’s first Disney feature.
Davy Crockett's Explorer Canoes debuts in Disneyland. A free-floating gas-powered canoe experience, it had originally opened as Indian War Canoes in 1956. Inspired by the Davy Crockett Disneyland television shows, the park's guides wear coonskin caps.
Episode 20 of MMC airs on the Disney Channel. Today is Hall of Fame Day!
Epcot's Illuminations 25 debuts with classical music.
Disney's animated Dinosaur featuring the voices of D.B. Sweeney, Ossie Davis,
and Julianna Margulies is released in the U.S. Set 65 million years ago during the late
Cretaceous Period, the film follows the adventures of an Iguanodon named Aladar who is separated from his
own species when a Carnotaur allows an Iguanodon nest to be robbed. Using live-action backgrounds with
computer animation of prehistoric creatures, it is the 39th animated feature produced by Walt Disney
Animation Studios. (The Countdown to Extinction attraction at the Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park will
be re-named and re-themed to the movie.)
Plans for Disney's newest attraction Mission: SPACE (to be
completed in 2003-2004) are launched into space aboard Atlantis,
NASA's International Space Station shuttle flight (STS-101).
The crew, made up of six American astronauts and one Russian
cosmonaut, will spend nearly 10 days in space.
The 1999–2000 Daytime Emmy Awards are presented at New York City's Radio City Music Hall. The award for Outstanding Children's Series goes to Disney Presents: Bill Nye the Science Guy. Rolie Polie Olie wins for Outstanding Children's Animated Program (special class).
Star Wars Weekends kicks off for the third time this season at Disney-MGM. This weekend's celebrity guests are Jake Lloyd (Anakin Skywalker) and Dave Prowse (Darth Vader).
A set of Mickey Mouse drawings from 1928 - estimated to be worth more than $3 million - fail to sell at auction, leaving The International Museum of Cartoon Art (at this time located in Boca Raton, Florida) scrambling for other ways to pay its debt. The six-page, 36-panel storyboard sketches from the Disney cartoon Plane Crazy was the first appearance of Mickey Mouse. The storyboard’s owner Mort Walker, creator of the Beetle Bailey comic strip & founder of the museum, is attempting to sell the drawings because the museum is nearly $2 million in debt. (Stephen Geppi, owner of Diamond Comics Distributors, donated the storyboard for Plane Crazy to the museum back in 1995. Geppi had originally obtained the sketches from the estate of an early Disney publicist through a New York gallery.)
The ABC-TV series House of Mouse airs the episode "King Larry Swing In."
Euro Disney replaces its chief executive with Karl Holz.
The first (of 4) Star Wars Weekends of the 2006 season begins at the Disney-MGM
Studios. Celebrity guests include Rick McCallum & Peter Mayhew.
As of this day, the non-intense version of Epcot's
Mission: Space opens to guests.
The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars (a film not created by Disney but released
by Walt Disney Home Video) is released. Voice credits include veteran Thurl Ravenscroft,
Farrah Fawcett, Carol Channing, and Eric Lloyd.
Disney Legend Al Konetzni is born in Brooklyn, New York. He joined Walt Disney Productions in 1953 as an artist and idea man for the character merchandising division - located at the time on Madison Avenue in New York City. Over the next 28 years he developed ideas for toys, clothing, stationery, greeting cards, and jewelry. Konetzni's most famous creation - the popular lunch box set, featuring Disney characters on board a school bus. The lunch box, sold 9 million units in 1976, and
became a prized collector's item among Disney fans! After retiring from the Disney in 1981, Konetzni served as a merchandise consultant for Ringling Bros., Barnum and Bailey Circus for two years. While there he helped develop merchandise for the joint Disney and Ringling Bros. touring ice show, Disney on Ice. He celebrated his 100th birthday in 2015 with at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Actor Eric Lloyd - Charlie Calvin in all three of Disney's Santa Clause features - is born in Glendale, California. He also supplied the voice for Blanky in the 1998 The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars and the 1997 The Brave Little Toaster to the Rescue.
created a prop that made a
"clackety-clack" sound that was
perfect for recreating a train car.
He mounted wheels on a track
that one could spin around with a
handle. It can be heard every day
at Disneyland's Thunder Mountain
Railroad, when the train circles
the mountain in the distance!
A gala premiere for the feature Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End takes place at Disneyland. Johnny Depp and his fellow actors attend the world premiere.
The Disney Channel Premiere Film Anne of Avonlea: The
Continuing Story of Anne of Green Gables debuts.
Walt Disney's animated film Academy Award Review of Walt Disney Cartoons is released for a limited time to help promote the upcoming release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It is a collection of five Oscar-winning Silly Symphony shorts, bridged together with title cards and narration. At approximately 41 minutes, the film includes Flowers and Trees, Three Little Pigs, The Tortoise and the Hare, Three Orphan Kittens, and The Country Cousin.
Sketch artist and character designer Dan Lee is born in Montreal, Quebec. Best
known as the creator of the title character from Finding Nemo, his Pixar credits also
include Toy Story 2, A Bug's Life, Monsters, Inc., and Ratatouille.
"Part of its success can be attributed to a fine cast that does exact justice to a collection of
assorted colorful characters. Its most remarkable member is 13-year-old Hayley Mills, who
imbues Pollyanna herself with so much quiet curiosity and enjoyment that her unshatterable
optimism seems delightfully plausible." -Newsweek
Baltimore money manager T. Rowe Price Group's new financial education and
interactive exhibit opens at Epcot. The Great Piggy Bank Adventure at Innoventions features
personal finance lessons for families on saving, spending wisely and diversifying investments.
It is reported that Disney plans to build a 500-room hotel resort on 15 acres at
the ambitious National Harbor development about eight miles south of
Washington D.C. in Maryland. The Peterson Companies announce on this day the sale of land at
its National Harbor development to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. Disney is considering using the 15-acre
site overlooking the Potomac River in National Harbor as the location for a resort hotel for families and others
visiting the National Capital Region. (National Harbor already includes a 2,000-room Gaylord National
convention center, a Westin, an Aloft and other hotels, shops, restaurants and residential units.)
The 1998 animated A Bug's Life is released on Blu-ray.
"But it still surprises and delights me that people remember me now and come to see me at the stage door when I'm doing a play, or write to me, and associate me with their own lives when they were growing up. It's obvious that all those films are very much a part of many people's childhood and teen years. Of course it's helped now by the fact that those films are available on video and many are shown quite regularly on the Disney Channel. They're still alive and kicking." -Hayley Mills
Disney's Miramax Films premieres The Piano at Cannes. About a mute pianist and
her daughter, set during the mid-19th century in a rainy, muddy frontier New Zealand backwater on the
west coast of New Zealand, the film stars Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Anna Paquin and Sam Neill. It
will be generally released in the U.S. the following November.
Today is Turtle Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Held at Rafiki’s Planet Watch,
guests can learn about turtles and tortoises – and what they can do to protect them and their habitats.
Hundreds of Star Wars fans (many of them in costumes) become the first
to ride at midnight "Star Tours - The Adventures Continue" at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The all-new 3D attraction is set to officially debut tomorrow May 20.
Artist-animator-author Tom Sito is born in Brooklyn, New York. A graduate of New York's High School of Art & Design, where he first learned animation, he later attended the School of Visual Arts and the Art Students League. Among Sito's Disney credits: The Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Pocahontas. In 2010 he was awarded the June Foray Award from the Hollywood Chapter of the International Animators Society for a lifetime of service to the animation community.
Sito served three terms as President of the Hollywood Animation Guild Local 839 IATSE, the largest professional tradeunion for animation cartoonists in the world. He currently holds the title of President-Emeritus.
Located at The Walt Disney Theater and created for the 100th anniversary of Walt's birth, Walt Disney: One Man's Dream is a walk-through attraction at
Disney's Hollywood Studios that takes guests on a nostalgic journey of Walt's life and creations. The exhibit has hundreds of pieces of priceless
memorabilia, props, archived footage and inventions on display. In addition to the gallery, a 15 minute film is presented detailing Walt Disney's
dreams, hardships and accomplishments.
Actor, voice actor, comedian and radio & television host/personality Alan Young passes
away at age 96 in Woodland Hills, California. He was the voice of Disney's Scrooge McDuck for over
30 years, first in the Academy Award-nominated short film Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) and later in various other films,
TV series and video games. Young also appeared in the 1978 live-action The Cat from Outer Space (as Dr. Winger)
and supplied the voice of Hiram Flaversham in the 1986 animated The Great Mouse Detective.
Fans of classic TV will always remember him as Wilbur Post on the 1960s sitcom Mister Ed.
Actor Peter Mayhew, best known for portraying Chewbacca in the Star Wars film series, is born in Barnes, Surrey, England. He played the character in all of his live action appearances from the 1977 Star Wars to the 2015 The Force Awakens (though he shared the role with Joonas Suotamo) before his retirement due to health issues. Suotamo appeared as Chewbacca, taking over the role
full-time from Mayhew who acted as consultant, for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Over the years, Mayhew played the role of Chewbaca in commercials and hospital appearances for sick children
and made numerous appearances outside the Star Wars films including Star Wars Weekends at Walt Disney World.
Disney's Star vs. the Forces of Evil, an animated television series, airs its final episode. Running since January 2015, it was the first Disney XD series created by a woman, Daron Nefcy. The series followed the adventures of Star Butterfly (voiced by Eden Sher), the young turbulent heir to the royal throne in the dimension of Mewni, who is sent to Earth to mellow her reckless behavior. Although it debuted on Disney Channel, the show was moved to Disney XD in March 2015.
Film and television director/producer Vincent McEveety passes away at age 88.
He directed numerous films for Walt Disney Pictures, including The Million Dollar Duck, The Biscuit Eater, Superdad, The Strongest Man in the World, The Apple Dumpling Gang Rides Again, Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo, Herbie Goes Bananas, and The Castaway Cowboy. Born in Los Angeles in 1929, he also worked in television, with a long list of television series and made-for-television movies spanning nearly forty years.
The musical score for the Disney film Tomorrowland, composed by Michael Giacchino, is released digitally. (A physical release of the soundtrack will be released on June 2, 2015.)
The 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival ends.
Animator James Baxter is born in Bristol, England. His long list of Disney credits include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Tummy Troubles, The Little Mermaid, DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp, The Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Enchanted, Gravity Falls, and Mary Poppins Returns.
Journalist and media host David Hartman is born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Starting out as an actor, he played the role of Professor Ivarsson in Disney's 1974 live-action fantasy adventure The Island at the Top of the World. Hartman is perhaps best known as the first host of ABC's Good Morning America (1975-1987), and for his role as a teacher in the television series Lucas Tanner (1974-75).