1993: ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’
Is it a Halloween story with mentions of Christmas or is it a Christmas story with mention of Halloween? That is the question regarding Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas which was released in theaters on this day in 1993. The stop-motion Disney film told the story about Jack Skellington who lived in “Halloween Town” stumbled into “Christmas Town” and decided that he wanted to bring Christmas joy to his friends and a little Halloween magic to the other. Directed by Henry Selick, the musical adventure included music by Danny Elfman (who also provided the singing voice of Jack) and voice talents of Chris Sarandon, Catherine O’Hara, William Hickey, Ken Page, Paul Reubens and Glenn Shadix. Deemed too scary for children, the movie was released under the Touchstone Pictures banner. The film was both a financial success and a hit with critics. It was nominated for the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. In 2001, Disney began to consider creating a sequel to the story but using computer animation the second time around, but Burton wasn’t too keen on the idea and the project was dropped. However in 2004, a video game titled, The Nightmare Before Christmas: Oogies Revenge, the story was continued. In 2009, Selick stated that he would be interested in doing a sequel if he and Burton could find a script that they liked. So far, nothing has risen the surface. (Walt Disney Pictures)
1998: Astronaut John Glenn Returns to Space
At the age of 77, John Glenn was the oldest human to ever travel in space. This of course was his second trip – almost 40 years after his first adventure. The 9-day trip began on this day in 1998 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Before his time as an astronaut, Glenn flew about 150 combat missions during both World War II and the Korean War.
1971: NBC Shows Off Walt Disney World
It was on this day in 1971 that about 52 million watched the NBC TV special, The Grand Opening of Walt Disney World. Filmed over three days, the special included appearances by Julie Andrews, Glen Campbell, Buddy Hackett, Jonathan Winters and Bob Hope.
1969: The First Email
Okay, so it wasn’t exactly an email as we know it, but on this day in 1969 UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock and student programmer, Charly Kline attempted to send the very first electronic message between two computers. The pair planned on typing the word “login” to programmer Bill Duall at Stanford Research Institute but were only successful in typing the “lo” before the system crashed. At least it was a start.
2012: Ralph Wrecks It
Produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wreck-It Ralph had its world premiere on this day in 2012 at El Capitain Theatre in Los Angeles. Directed by Rich Moore, it was the studio’s 52nd animated feature film that shared the story of an ingenuous world that takes place within an old video arcade parlor. Characters would leave their games to socialize with other game characters. Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) was the misunderstood villain of the game Fix-It Felix, Jr. Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) was the racer wannabe for the game Sugar Rush. Together they form an unlikely friendship in this celebration of video games. The movie also featured the voice talents of Jack McBrayer and Jane Lynch. The film was a huge success in the theaters and won the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature in addition to receiving nominations for a Golden Globe and Oscar. The movie birthed a sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet which was released on November 21, 2018.
- 1942: Bob Ross (painter)
- 1947: Richard Dreyfuss (actor)
- 1948: Kate Jackson (actress)
- 1961: Randy Jackson (singer)
- 1967: Joely Fisher (actress)
- 1971: Winona Ryder (actress)
- 1972: Tracee Ellis Ross (actress)
- 1972: Gabrielle Union (actress)
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.