2003: Nemo is Found
After years of success from films such as Toy Story and A Bug’s Life, it’s no surprise that Finding Nemo received a 99 percent “fresh” rating from Rotten Tomatoes when it opened in theaters on this day in 2003. Directed and co-written by Andrew Stanton, the computer-animated film was produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. When a young clown fish with a weak fin becomes lost at sea, his father will do anything to save him. The film featured the voices of Albert Brooks as the over-protective father Marlin, Ellen DeGeneres as the short-term memory-stricken Dory, Alexander Gould as Nemo and Stanton himself playing Crush the sea turtle. As with other films that features animals like 101 Dalmatians, Nemo prompted a huge interest in clown fish and home aquarium purchases tripled. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards and won for Best Animated Feature, the first for Pixar. As of 2006, Finding Nemo has become the best-selling DVD of all time. The sequel, Finding Dory, was released on June 17, 2016 with similar success. Nemo can also be found in various Disney theme parks including the revival of Disneyland’s Submarine Voyage attraction in 2007.
1908: The Voice of Bugs Bunny is Born
I am fully convinced that many of our beloved animated friends would not be so enduring to us if it wasn’t for Mel Blanc, “the man with a thousand voices.” Born on this day in 1908, Blanc spent the bulk of his years giving voice to Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepe Le Pew, Speedy Conzales, the Tasmanian Devil, Barney Rubble (from The Flintstones), Mr. Spacely (from The Jetsons) Woody Woodpecker and many others. Those characters have lived on since Blanc passed away in 1989, but they have never sounded quite the same since. However, in 2012, Warner Bros. took the audio recording of a 1950’s children’s album that was voiced by Blanc to help voice the Daffy Duck short, Daffy’s Rhapsody. It was as if he never left.
- 1903: Bob Hope (actor)
- 1953: Danny Elfman (composer)
- 1956: La Toya Jackson (singer)
- 1957: Ted Levine (actor)
- 1959: Rupert Everett (actor)
- 1961: Melissa Etheridge (singer)
- 1975: Mel B. (singer)
- 1993: Maika Monroe (actress)
I write about arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.