This Day in Disney July 31

Jul 31, 1955
Casey Jr Circus Train opens at Disneyland

Ladies and Gentlemen, the one… the only… Casey Jr., based on the circus train from the film Dumbo, debuted at Disneyland just 14 days after the park opened. Although the little engine thought he could, he thought he could… he just could not run on Disneyland’s opening day due to mechanical difficulties. Until 1956, Casey Jr. was just a train ride with little in terms of scenery, but when the Storybook Land attraction set sail in 1956, the miniature homes and villages that accompanied that attraction proved to be the perfect backdrop for Casey’s passengers. Today, Casey Jr. continues to chug along with the added narration of Dumbo‘s Circus Ringmaster, voiced by Ray Templin. Templin recently told D23, “The Ringmaster voice was great fun, but a challenge because there is no consistency to his accent. Herman Bing was probably just having fun doing the original and not basing it on any particular dialect. ‘R’ is not always rolled and ‘W’ is not always pronounced as ‘V’ for instance. Shortly before leaving Disneyland I got a call from Brian Nefsky in Burbank. He said they were re-doing all ride safety spiels and asked if I could still do the Ringmaster. I went up and not only recorded additions to the 22-year-old original track, but did the Spanish version as the Ringmaster, too. Crazy, huh? Well, (to quote the ride narration) as vee zay to da animals, ‘Daht’s da ent of da lion!’”

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This Day in Disney July 30

Jul 30, 1932 Flowers and Trees Premieres In 1916, The color process for Technicolor was developed by Kalmus, Comstock & Westcott, Inc., but it wasn’t until 1932 that the fourth color process gave the ability to produce true and realistic colors in film. Dr. Herbert Kalmus was faced with the challenge of convincing the studios that Technicolor was a good idea. Knowing that Walt Disney was a fan of the three-color process, Dr. Kalmus convinced Walt of its potential, and soon after, Walt signed a two year agreement with Technicolor, giving him sole rights to the process for animated shorts, certainly making the other cartoon producers green with envy. At that time, during the production of Disney’s 29th Silly Symphony, Flowers and Trees, Walt Disney decided it was the perfect film to BRANCH out into the world of color, so at great cost all work was scrapped and the film was redone, helping set the ROOTS for the future of animation, and soon all Disney cartoons would be made in color, and seen by audiences beginning on this day in 1932. The film was a colorful success and garnered Walt Disney his first Academy Award.
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This Day in Disney July 29

Jul 29, 1999
The Rock N Roller Coaster Opens at DisneyMGM Studios

In the pre-show for Disney Hollywood Studio’s Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster, guests meet the rock group Aerosmith (via realistic video) who must be whisked away for a concert. Regretting that they are disappointing fans upon their departure, they promise all visitors in attendance backstage passes for their concert. With the concert starting soon, guests hop aboard a (roller coaster themed as a) stretch limo, and like lightning are ROCKeted through Hollywood to the rock ‘n’ roll sounds of Aerosmith! The Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster is the first attraction in Walt Disney World to feature a high-speed launch, and guests are thrown for a loop, several ROLLS in fact, in the Resort’s first attraction inversions. On this day in 1999, Aerosmith was on hand for the dedication of the attraction, which opened to the public the next day… and the general consensus of the ride was that it ROCKS!
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This Day in Disney July 28

Jul 28, 1989
Turner Hooch Premieres

On this day in 1989, a Touchstone movie about a pooch named Hooch and his master, Scott Turner, portrayed by Tom Hanks, was released. In Turner & Hooch, Turner’s elderly friend is murdered, so he unwillingly takes in his friend’s unappealing and sloppy dog, who happens to be the only witness to the crime. The slobbering dog who portrayed Hooch had a contract other actors would drool over, including having his own Learjet during production. Turner & Hooch wasn’t Tom Hanks’ first film for Disney, he has the distinction of appearing in Disney’s first Touchstone movie, Splash, and he’s also appeared in The Ladykillers. But partner, his Disney connection doesn’t end there. He’s the voice of the rootinest, tootinest cowboy of the wild, wild west, Woody, in Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and the upcoming Toy Story 3 as well as in Disney park shows, parades and attractions. So long, y’all.
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This Day in Disney July 27

Jul 27, 1956
In the Bag Premieres

Although Humphrey, the bumbling bruin, made his screen debut in 1950′s Hold That Pose, it wasn’t until 1954 that Humphrey first met the fussy ranger in Grin and Bear It. Altogether, Humphrey appeared in seven cartoon shorts, one of his most memorable appearances debuted on this day in 1954′s In the Bag, in which he assists in cleaning up the park to the catchy tune “Humphrey Hop.” Ranger J. Audubon Woodlore was voiced by Bill Thompson, and if he sounds just a HARE familiar, you may be recognizing his voice as the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland. The voice of the ranger was no stranger to Disney, and some of his other vocal work includes Mr. Smee in Peter Pan, King Hubert in Sleeping Beauty, and Professor Owl in Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom. BEAR in mind that the voice actor for Humphrey was no newcomer to the industry. Disney’s sound effects wiz, Jimmy Macdonald, was a longtime voice of Mickey Mouse himself, and provided the grunts and growls of Humphrey by utilizing the latest high-tech and most technologically advanced method… he growled into a glass jar!
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This Day in Disney July 26

Jul 26, 1951
Alice in Wonderland Premieres in England

On this day in 1951, Alice in Wonderland had its world premiere at the Leicester Square Theatre in England. Young Katherine Beaumont, the voice of Alice, must have felt right at home upon returning to her native land. Recently, Beaumont exclusively told D23, “I have to be honest, by the time of the premiere, which of course was the culmination of a two-week promotion trip, I had been on such a whirlwind tour through England on local TV, radio and public appearances, that everything was pretty much a blur! I remember that wearing my Alice costume for this event became important because I was really not known visibly, and using it helped identify me with the character. It was just fine with me, although I did have a special formal dress (actually blue) at the ready. I think I was just in awe of being part of such a momentous event, and I had never had the experience of attending a premiere in my life. I remember arriving at the theatre and being helped from the vehicle by the Mad Hatter. Yes, Walt was there, and it was wonderful having pictures taken with him. He looked so handsome in his tuxedo!”
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This Day in Disney July 25

July 25, 1927
Alice the Whaler is Released

Released between 1924 and 1927, Alice Comedies are a series of 56 silent, black and white cartoons that feature a live girl, Alice, acting in Cartoonland. Walt sent out the unfinished pilot film, Alice's Wonderland, to various cartoon distributors in New York, and one of them, Margaret Winkler, agreed to distribute the series with payment beginning at $1,500 per reel. The pilot film was created in Kansas City, and all 56 of the remaining films in the series were made in Hollywood. The six and a half minute animated short Alice the Whaler finds young Alice on a whale hunting expedition with an unusual crew of animal musicians and cooks. Though they eventually spot a whale, the outcome of their expedition is not what they expected. Alice the Whaler was released on July 25, 1927.
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This Day in Disney July 24

July 24, 1966
New Orleans Square is Dedicated at Disneyland

When New Orleans Square opened in Disneyland, it was the first new land built since the opening of the park in 1955. New Orleans Square also has the distinction of being the only land in the magic kingdom to debut with no attractions. There were shops and restaurants, but the land's major attractions, Pirates of the Carribean and Haunted Mansion hadn't materialized yet. New Orleans Square took park Guests back to New Orleans a century ago, and boasted shops such as the One of a Kind shop where Guests could shop for rare antiques, and Mademoiselle Antoinette's Parfumerie welcomed ladies to blend their own exclusive brand of perfume. 1966 Disneyland Ambassador Connie Swanson Lane still remembers this day, forty three years ago, with great fondness, "I had the honor of standing next to Walt for the opening of New Orleans Square. His eyes missed no detail and he spoke of how he would improve on the concept. Accompanying us was the mayor of New Orleans. At lunch, Walt was continually making notes in the Blue Bayou, raise the tree five feet, lighten the sky… What a thrill to touch his shadow."
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This Day in Disney July 23

July 23, 1953
The Sword and the Rose is released

Hear ye! Hear ye! On this day in the year one thousand, nine hundred and fifty three, it shall be held forever true that the film The Sword and the Rose was released in theatres across our fine country. When much of Disney's earned funds in England were blocked off during the war, Walt decided he could use that money if he made films in England, and The Sword and the Rose was the third, and certainly the most elaborate, out of four of those films. The film took place in England during the reign of King Henry VIII, and tells the love story of Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor, portrayed respectively by Richard Todd and Glynis Johns, both of whom have since been named Disney Legends. Todd also appeared as the title characters in Disney's live-action films Robin Hood and Rob Roy. Johns also appeared in Rob Roy as well as The Ref and While You Were Sleeping, but her best-loved Disney film role was as the mother, Winifred Banks, in Mary Poppins, who desperately fought for the equal rights of women with her sister suffragettes.
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This Day in Disney July 22

July 22, 1955
Rocket to the Moon Opens at Disneyland

Because anything is possible in Disneyland, it was on this day in 1955 that guests were transported into outer space when the Rocket to the Moon attraction first took flight. Although real space flight was still years away, this attraction was based on science fact rather than science fiction, simulating an experience that was as realistic as possible in its day. Seated in a large circular theater with seats that would slightly inflate and deflate, space travelers were able to view two "television screens" to see around them. The upper screen looked ahead, while the lower scanned the view below. Your captain for the mission was one Captain Collins. Because this space flight took place 21 years in the future, in the year 1986, predictions of the future were incorporated into the script. Captain Collins talked about the first space flight, which would occur in 1960. He also mentioned that back in the 1950s (the present time in reality), space travelers would have seen a hazy brown spot over southern California. That was smog, but that "was eliminated once and for all about 15 years ago."
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This Day in Disney July 21

July 21, 1950
Pests of the West is Released

Who's your favorite Disney cartoon character? Mickey Mouse? Jiminy Cricket? Ariel? Tiana? Bent-Tail? You do know Bent-Tail, don't you? Perpetually hungry Bent-Tail and his son, Junior, tried to steal the hens that Pluto is guarding in the Pluto cartoon short Pests of the West, which first had audiences howling on this day in 1950. Bent-Tail, who appeared in a total of four cartoon shorts as well as Disney Comics, first made his debut in the 1945 Pluto short The Legend of Coyote Rock, where the narrator described him as "old Bent-Tail, a mighty powerful critter he was, with a voice that would turn an opera star green with envy."
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This Day in Disney July 20

July 20, 1951
Lucky Number is Released

Nearly always down on his luck, Donald Duck, who is working at a service station, doesn't hear his number announced when he wins a brand-new Zoom V-8 automobile on the radio in Lucky Number, released on this day in 1951. When nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie learn that their Uncle Donald has just won, they go town to the radio station to pick up the prize. After playing tricks on their poor uncle, he doesn't believe the car is legitimate and destroys it. Perhaps Donald's lucky number was actually 101, as this was the 101st Donald Duck cartoon short out of a total of 128.
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This Day in Disney July 19

July 19, 1950
Treasure Island is Released

Arr, me hearty. It be 59 years since Treasure Island first hit the magic screens landlubbers call a theater. It be tellin' the tale of young Jim Hawkins, who be played by the young matey, Bobby Driscoll, who also be the voice of Disney's lad, Peter Pan. The young Hawkins and friends travel to me favorite land of Treasure Island to hunt for hidden booty. Gentleman o'fortune Walt Disney had "blocked funds" in ye land of England due to the war. That be booty he earned in the country but could not get his ruddy hands on. So Captain Walter decided to make films in England, a total of four in all. Since he could not find hearty swashbuckling trained animators in England, he used real humans for all hands in the cast and created his first live action film, and aye, it be lots of action. And here be a bit of Disneyland trivia for ye. When buccaneer, or Imagineer, X Atencio was writing the script for Pirates of the Caribbean and the lyrics for me anthem, "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)," the matey used Treasure Island as a reference to write like a true pirate! Yo ho!
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This Day in Disney July 18

July 18, 1955
Disneyland Opens to the Public for the First Time

It was on this day in 1955 that Disneyland opened to the public for the first time, the day after an ambitious − and stressful − Sunday press preview that survived the myriad complications of a live televised broadcast, invited guests that stayed longer than expected and thousands of uninvited guests finding their way into the park. Disneyland cast members learned all about Murphy's Law that day, and on the following one newspapers printed stories about these and other problems, including restaurants that were "unable to care for all who wanted to eat," "endless lines" for attractions and freeway "traffic jams." One newspaper stated that, "probably for the first time in his career, Disney disappointed thousands of youngsters." And so it was Disney Legend Eddie Meck to the rescue! Eddie was Disneyland's first publicity manager, and he believed in the power of inviting the press to experience Disneyland for themselves. Now, with Disneyland operating under normal circumstances, Eddie began bringing back all the members of the press over the course of about two years to experience Disneyland as it was intended to be experienced. This helped build favorable relationships with the press − resulting in priceless positive PR − and helping turn Walt Disney's magic kingdom into a success story that continues today, 56 years later.
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This Day in Disney July 15

July 15, 2005
Turtle Talk with Crush Opens

Dude! Yeah, you! Thanks for surfin' over here. I'm, like, writing this just for you, nobody else, dude! Awesome! Do you, like, know that Crush the 152-year-old sea turtle in that gnarly film Finding Nemo? In the Disney・Pixar film, you watch hi… but, dude, starting on this day at that rockin' Disney California Adventure, you could, like, interact with the coolest animated turtle to come out of the EAC. Shway! That's right, dude, like he says your name and listens to guests and like, talks back. Cha! You know, dude, the totally rad attraction first opened in The Living Seas at Epcot just a gnarly year before. Sweeeet! Oh, and dude, get this… it uses like, digital projection and, whoa, voice-activated animation to let Crush interact. Dude, what does that even mean? Who cares! It is sweet! Later!
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This Day in Disney July 14

July 14, 1934
The Flying Mouse is Released

Whoever heard of a flying mouse? That's a trait even Mickey would have been envious of. In 1934's The Flying Mouse, a little mouse becomes just that. When the wishful critter saves a butterfly from a web, it turns out to be a butterfly fairy. On a wing and a prayer, the ready rodent requests the ability to fly and is granted his wish. Mishaps ensue, including contact with some evil bats who recognize that he's not a bat and that mice don't have wings ("You're nothin' but a nothin', a nothin', a nothin'. You're nothin' but a nothin', you're not a thing at all," they sing). Although that song lasts on the screen for just about 30 seconds, the song became a something and was even released on sheet music. And so friends, today's D23 moral of the day comes directly from the butterfly fairy who removes our hero's wings, "Do your best. Be yourself, and life will smile on you." Good advice. Of course, you've never received bad advice from a butterfly fairy, have you?
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This Day in Disney July 13

July 13, 1925
Walt Disney and Lillian Bounds Marry

Lillian Bounds was a secretary working for Walt Disney shortly after the start of the Disney company, when he became enthralled with her, and although he vowed he would not marry before he was at least 25 years old with $10,000 saved, he couldn't resist. On this day in 1925, the two married at Lillian's brother's home in Lewiston, Idaho. Thirty years later, in 1955, just four days before the opening of Walt's new theme park, the couple invited 300 guests to celebrate their anniversary with them − according to their invitation, "by cruising down the Mississippi on the Mark Twain's maiden voyage followed by dinner at Slue Foot Sue's Golden Horseshoe!" The invitation continued, "Hope you can make it − we especially want you and, by the way, no gifts, please − we have everything, including a grandson!"
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This Day in Disney July 12

July 12, 1961
Nikki, Wild Dog of the North is Released

One of several feature-length collaborations between Disney Studios and Canada's Cangary productions was released on this day in 1961, Nikki, Wild Dog of the North. The film, which took three years to produce, was shot with an all-Canadian cast and crew near Banff, Alberta, which included four weeks of freezing temperatures. The film follows the adventures of a wolf dog who, while traveling with his master, encounters an orphaned bear cub, and the natural enemies become fast friends before continuing on a dramatic journey for survival.
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This Day in Disney July 11

July 11, 1947
Donald's Dilemma is Released

This Donald Duck cartoon opens with a forlorn Daisy recounting the 'beautiful spring day" she had with her boyfriend, Donald, to an unseen psychiatrist. Through a series of flashback scenes, Daisy details the ill-fated moment when a flower pot fell several stories from a tall building and directly onto Donald's head. Just as Donald awoke from the blow, he heard a voice telling him, "Donald Duck, you are the greatest singer in the world!" From that moment, he stood up, bowed, and began singing to the delight of his proud girlfriend. But, as she reached out to grab his hand, he gave her a look as though he didn't recognize her. After detailing the emotional pain she's withstood because of these unfortunate circumstances, Daisy receives some unconventional advice from the psychiatrist on how to get Donald back.
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This Day in Disney July 10

July 10, 1981
The Fox and the Hound is Released

When The Fox and the Hound was released in 1981, it was a huge success, no bones about it. The film tells the, um, tale, of a most unlikely pair of pals, Tod the fox and Copper, a hound dog, who happen to be the best of friends. This was the first film to be largely animated by a new generation of Disney artists, although several veteran animators were certainly involved in the creation of the film, including Cliff Nordberg, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston. A new generation of Johnstons was also involved. One of the songs, "The Best of Friends," was co-written by Ollie's son, Richard O. Johnston, along with Stan Fidel and sung by Pearl Bailey. The 1981 episode of Disney's Wonderful World entitled The Illusion of Life demonstrated the art of animation and featured a segment on the creation of The Fox and the Hound. Hostess Hayley Mills meets Bailey, the voice of the wise owl Big Mama, to learn what it takes to provide the voice for a character in a Disney film, and along with clips from the film, viewers get to see a recording session in which Bailey sings her owl character's song, which is quite a hoot.
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