1866: Beatrix Potter is Born
It was on this day in 1866 that Helen Beatrix Potter was born in England. Born into a privileged household, Potter and her brother, Walter, grew up with teaching governesses but the two had few childhood friends. However, the pair did have numerous pets including mice, rabbits, a hedgehog, bats and a collection of butterflies and insects. During family vacations she would spend time in Scotland where she developed an appreciation for plants and landscapes and would often sketch what she saw. She loved reading and often studied the illustrations in the books that she read. Then, she would often draw pictures of her own using her pets as inspiration. In the 1890s, Beatrix and her brother printed their own Christmas cards as a way to earn money. Her work got the attention of publishers Hidesheimer and Faulker who purchased a number of her illustrations for A Happy Pair, a book of verses. In 1893, Beatrix once wrote a story to the son of one of her former governesses about Peter Rabbit and his family. That letter became the start of Potter’s writing career. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was published in 1902 which was followed by 22 other books, the last being published in 1930.
1951: Disney’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Comes to Theaters
Walt Disney’s version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland was released in theaters for the first time on this day in 1951, two days after it was released in London where British film critics argued that Disney had “Americanized” the classic tale. Disney said that he wanted a film that families could enjoy, not literary critics. While the film wasn’t a huge hit in the box office, it wasn’t a complete failure either. Disney was disappointed in the film as he felt that Alice had no warmth to her character. The film featured the voice talents of Kathryn Beaumont (who also voiced the role of Wendy in Peter Pan), Sterling Holloway (who also voiced Winnie-the-Pooh) and Ed Wynn (who also shared a scene with Beaumont in Mary Poppins playing uncle Albert who had a laughing problem.
- 1945: Jim Davis (cartoonist)
- 1947: Sally Struthers (actress)
- 1964: Lori Loughlin (actress)
- 1974: Elizabeth Berkley (actress)
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