2020: ‘Onward’ Briefly Opens in Theaters
It was on this day in 2020 when Disney/Pixar released the animated film Onward to movie theaters, but that was just before states around the country began to shut down due to the Coronavirus pandemic. By and large, critics liked the modern fairytale of two elf brothers going on a quest to meet their long lost father, but financially, it was a loss for the companies because of lost ticket sales. It only made $141 million worldwide and the second real loss for Pixar after the film The Good Dinosaur. Onward was also Pixar’s first film without any involvement from John Lasseter, following his departure. The film later premiered on the Disney+ streaming service as a promotion tool. (Image: Walt Disney Pictures)
1962: Walter Cronkite Signs Off
On April 16, 1962, Walter Cronkite anchored the CBS Evening News for the first time. On this day in 1981, he signed off for the last time. Initially, the show was called Walter Cronkite with the News and aired for only 15 minutes. The next year, it was expanded to an half hour, the first network to do so. Ever competing against NBC’s news program, Cronkite’s ratings surpassed NBC in ratings in 1970 when Chet Huntley retired. Cronkite’s show stayed in the number one spot until his own retirement. Cronkite was known for signing off with the phrase, “And that’s the way it is” followed by the date.
1981: Disney Deals with the Devil
By the early 1980’s Walt Disney Pictures was starting to have an identity crisis which included producing a number of questionable movies with low box office numbers to match. One of those was The Devil and Max Devlin which starred Elliott Gould as a corrupt businessman who makes a deal with Satan (played by Bill Cosby) to drive three people to hell in exchange for a longer life on earth. Though meant to be a comedy, audiences resented seeing Cosby donning a devil suit (he was still considered a nice guy back then) and play a role that was not particularly funny but also mean and nasty. The movie also starred Eight is Enough’s Adam Rich. Poor kid.
- 1475: Michelangelo (painter)
- 1619: Cyrano de Bergerac (playwright)
- 1906: Lou Costello (actor)
- 1917: Will Eisner (comic book artist)
- 1923: Ed McMahon (TV show host)
- 1944: Mary Wilson (singer)
- 1947: Rob Reiner (film director)
- 1947: John Stossel (journalist)
- 1948: Stephen Schwartz (composer)
- 1967: Connie Britton (actress)
- 1972: Shaquille O’Neal (basketball player)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.