1981: ‘The Fox and the Hound’ Causes Unrest in the Kingdom
Though in the end, Disney’s 24th animated film, The Fox and the Hound (which was released on this day in 1981) was a financial success, it was made with a lot of wear and tear to the Walt Disney Studios Animation department. Many people remember the storyline of a cute and cuddly friendship between a Tod, a red fox and Copper, a hound dog, but the production itself was a lot less peaceful. Loosely based on Daniel Mannix’s novel of the same name, about two childhood friends who are somewhat forced to become enemies, the film featured the voice talents of Jack Alberston, Pearl Bailey, Sandy Duncan, Corey Feldman, Kurt Russell, Paul Winchell and Mickey Rooney. It was the last cartoon to be worked on by some of the remaining “Nine Old Men” animators along with a group of newer animators. Old-timer Wolfgang Reitherman served as a director and Frank Tomas and Ollie Johnston did some work on the film. The new animator talent included John Lasseter, John Musker, Ron Clements, Glen Keane, Tim Burton, Brad Bird, Henry Selick and others. Also in the mix was Don Bluth who at the time was considered one of the studio’s star animators, but he couldn’t see eye-to-eye with Reitherman and on his 42nd birthday, quit taking 13 other animators with him and later created his own Don Bluth Productions studio. He asked not to be credited in the making of the film. This caused a delay in the making of the film which was supposed to come to theaters during Christmas 1980. Other problems ensued when a dispute about how the death of a character in the book should be portrayed, if at all, on screen. Then there is a story that sounds almost unbelievable about a scene that was yanked from the film. It featured two cranes voiced by Phil Harris and Charo who sang the song, “Scoobie-Doobie Doobie Doo, Let Your Body Turn Goo.” So strange. (Image: Disney)
1865: Wyoming Joins the United States
The Crow, Arapaho, Lakota and Shoshone tribes were some of the original inhabitants of the area of land that we now know as Wyoming. The southwestern part of the state was considered Mexican territory until was ceded to the United States in 1848 at the end of the Mexican-American War. The state got its name in 1865 and was named after the Wyoming Valley in Pennsylvania. Wyoming joined the United States on this day in 1890. The state is the tenth largest but is also the least populated in the country. With an estimate of 586,107 people in 2015, the state’s population is less than 31 of the largest U.S. cities. This is due mostly to the fact that two-thirds of the state is covered with mountain ranges. Wyoming is home to both Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
1956: Dick Clark on AM
Dick Clark appeared on TV’s American Bandstand for the first time replacing former host Bob Horn.
1987: The Toaster was Brave
Disney’s short animated film, The Brave Little Toaster was released in theaters. Nobody seems to know why.
1978: First Black News Anchor
Max Robinson appears on ABC New’s World News Tonight alongside Peter Jennings and Frank Reynolds.
- 1926: Fred Gwynne (actor)
- 1980: Adam Petty (race car driver)
- 2001: Isabela Moner (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.