This Day in Pop Culture for February 5
1919: United Artists is Created
On February 5, 1919, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith came together to form United Artists Corporation with the goal of gaining more financial and artistic control over producing and distributing their films. Chaplin not only acted but also directed UA films. Pickford retired in the 1930’s but continued to act as producer. In 1951 the production studio was sold and UA became only a financing and distributing facility. The company has warbled back and forth financially over the years. In 2011 MGM reacquired its 100% stake in UA.MGM might continue to make new films under the UA brand.
1953: Peter Pan Flies Into Theaters
Based on the play by J.M. Barrie, Walt Disney’s version of Peter Pan was released for the first time on this day in 1953. It has the distinction of being the last film where all of Disney’s “Nine Old Men” worked together. It cost about $4 million to make Peter Pan and the picture took in $7 million. It was re-released in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982 and 1989. The film has generally received positive reviews, but it has been criticized for its negative portrayal of Native American Indians. The character are referred to as “savages” and “redskins” and the Indians sing the song, “What Made the Red Man Red?” These stereotypes are also featured in the original play. Disney decided to give the film a sequel in 2002 titled, Return to Never Land and all of the original characters are represented, but there is only a brief scene showing the Indian village, no actual Indians.
- 1919: Red Buttons (actor)
- 1934: Hank Aaron (baseball player)
- 1948: Christopher Guest (actor)
- 1948: Barbara Hershey (actress)
- 1961: Tim Meadows (actor)
- 1962: Jennifer Jason Leigh (actress)
- 1964: Laura Linney (actress)
- 1971: Sara Evans (singer)