August 12, 1965: 50-millionth Guest!
From Solano Beach, California, Mary Adams was the 50-millionth Disneyland guest!
August 12, 1929: Mickey Mouse Trademark
Approximately a year and three months after applying, Walt Disney was granted a trademark. He was then able to use the image of Mickey Mouse in motion pictures.
August 12, 1919: Dodie Roberts is born
Dodie Roberts is born in Plainview, Nebraska. She attended a Delaware business college, before moving to Southern California. In 1939 she began creating colors and mixing paints for the Disney Studios. She later became a supervisor of the paint lab. This was back in the pre-computer days when cel paints were mixed by hand. Roberts said, “I love puzzles and mixing paint was like putting together a puzzle.” Animation paint mixing was a very demanding job that required a lot of skills. She was remembered for having a very good eye. She recalled, “We had to mix the paints so they were exactly the same color as what was being used in an animated scene. One time, just before I retired, a computer was brought into the lab to check the colors that I had approved. To my great relief, the computer confirmed that every color matched perfectly.” The cel paint mixtures were top secret, and so mixers were only given the crucial information they needed for a specific batch. In 1972, Roberts was promoted to department supervisor and was trusted with the complete formulas for over 500 paints and hues. She retired in 1984, 45 years to the day after she joined Disney. A glossy purple shade was created in her honor named “Dodie 6.” Roberts mixed paints for basically every Disney animated project over the course of her 45 years at the company! She later said, “It was wonderful to see those colors, bigger than life, and to know that I helped make them.” She founded the Disney Golden Ears Retirement Club for former Studio employees. In 2000, Dodie Roberts was inducted as a Disney Legend. On February 11, 2008, Dodie Roberts passed away.
August 10 1955: Chuck Abbott Starts at Disneyland
Working as a ride operator on the Autopia, Chuck Abbott starts his journey at Disneyland. At this time there was no track on the attraction and drivers frequently crashed into anything; even Cast Members. “In the days when there was no track, and Cast Members had to be quick on their feet to avoid a collision with oncoming Guests,” he remembered. He went onto work at Disneyland for 36 years. He was an Attraction Host, “working wherever I was put,” he said. These attractions include the Submarine Voyage, Jungle Cruise, and the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. Abbott worked with Walt Disney on Pirates of the Caribbean as an Imagineer. Abbott, though, said his most memorable experience working at Disney was meeting his wife, whom also worked at the park. In 1969 he was named Foreman of the Year at the Matterhorn. In 1977 he was foreman for the opening of Space Mountain. Those who knew Abbott recalled his sense of humor, his dedication and work ethic and his comprehensive working knowledge of Disneyland. He was a member of Club 55. In 1991, Abbott retired and moved to Utah, where he passed away on July 7, 2003. He was named a Disney Legend in 2005, which was a first for an hourly theme park Cast Member.
August 9 1955: Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House
Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House opened in Frontierland at Disneyland. Guests were greeted into the restaurant by Aunt Jemima herself! Legends say Walt would have his breakfast at the Pancake House when he spent the night in his apartment above Main Street’s Fire House. Aunt Jemima’s existed until 1962. The building later became known as the River Belle Terrace. But, Aunt Jemima’s Pancake House did take over the Don DeFore’s Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant, becoming Aunt Jemima’s Kitchen until 1970.
August 7 1861: Robert Samuel Disney is born
Robert Samuel Disney, Walt’s uncle, is born in Bluevale, Huron, Ontario, Canada. Robert was a younger brother of Walt’s father, Elias. “Robert is the one who…persuaded Elias to move to Marceline,” Disney historian Dave Smith says. “Elias, of course, had been living in Chicago, was not pleased with the big city life and its impact on his children. Some local kids had been arrested for robbery, and he was just worried about bringing up his kids in that kind of an atmosphere.” That was in 1906. At that time, Robert owned a large piece of land just north of the town. Elias rented some property from Robert, as well as purchasing 45 acres of his own. The next several years deeply influenced Walt Disney, impacting him the rest of his life. In 1911, Elias and Flora Disney decided to move to Kansas City because Robert and his wife were living there. Robert was a successful businessman; investing in land, commercial property and mining. Robert retired in the early 1920s in a perpetual summer and simple town of Hollywood.
When Walt made the decision to leave Kansas City for more opportunity in filmmaking in California. His older brother Roy was there, leaving with their supportive Uncle Robert. Robert encouraged Walt to come to California, but did not agree to give the Disney brothers money for their studio in October of 1923. Walt used Uncle Robert’s garage as his first studio at 4406 Kingswell Avenue in Hollywood. (Today the garage is on display at the Stanley Ranch Museum in Garden Grove, California.) It is believed that Walt overstayed his welcome at Uncle Robert’s house, as they began to argue quite frequently. Walt later admitted, “He demanded a lot of respect and didn’t think I gave it to him.” Disney archivist Dave Smith noted, “Walt’s animation business had sort of gone under in Kansas City, and he needed to make a fresh start. He figured his best chance was out in California. His Uncle Robert lived in a little house on Kingswell Avenue, and Walt figured he could mooch off him for a little while.”
Those disputes seemed to have mulled over, by mid-November of 1923, Uncle Robert loaned Walt and Roy 200 dollars, another 150 ten days later and two loans totaling 150 dollars in December. Walt did end up paying the loans back in January of 1924. Uncle Robert even appeared as an extra in at least one of Walt’s “Alice Comedies.” In April of 1925, Roy married Edna Francis in Uncle Robert’s 4406 Kingswell Avenue home.
Robert Samuel Disney died in Los Angeles on July 28, 1953 at the age of 91. He passed away having seen his faith and investment in Walt and Roy Disney pay dividends beyond anyone’s expectations.
July 31 1997: Bob Penfield Retires
The last original Disneyland Cast Member, Bob Penfield, puts in his final day of work. Penfield began working at Disneyland at age 18 in July 1955. He remembers the park’s historic first day vividly; the running children and opening ceremony. “I don’t think I caught the whole impact then,” Penfield said. “But I do now.” He worked in park operations for 11 years of his career, before becoming a full-time supervisor in 1963. He then moved over to facilities, where he managed a host of departments through the years. In the last several years, Penfield worked as a project manager, coordinating projects at Disneyland. He was inducted as a member of the Club 55 when it was formed. Disneyland had always been a family affair. His mother was one of the original baby matrons at the old diaper changing station on Main Street. He met his wife, a former ride operator, at the park. His son worked summers there from high school through college. On August 1, 1997 he was honored with a window on Main Street. His window is located above the Coca-Cola refreshment corner on Main Street USA. His window refers to the annual Club 55 golf tournament that he helped organize in 1990. He also changed the Club 55 logo, to an original design that featured a silhouette of the castle. Penfield’s comment on his window was simple and sweet, “I always thought the windows were reserved for the movers and shakers of Disneyland. I was never a mover or a shaker. I just happened to be the last one. But I’m very proud of that.”
(Penfield is the second man in the first picture)
Video of Bob Penfield HERE.
July 31 1955: Casey Jr. Circus Train Opens
The Casey Jr. Circus Train—based on the train from the 1941 Disney feature film Dumbo—debuts at Disneyland. This attraction was located at the back of Fantasyland next to Dumbo. The train was meant to open on July 17 with the rest of the park, but was having mechanical difficulties.
July 30 1998: The Disney Magic
Disney launches its first cruise ship, the Disney Magic. It is one of the three largest ships in the world. The ship’s horn blasts an excerpt from “When You Wish Upon a Star”. The ship offered weekly cruises to Castaway Cay and other Caribbean islands. Though, in 2005 for Disneyland’s Fiftieth Anniversary, the ship enjoyed West Coast tours. Entertainment includes award-winning live broadway-style shows, movie theaters, night clubs, lounges and several pools. The ship uses “Rotational Dining” to ensure guests experience each of the themed restaurants on board: Lumiere’s, Carioca’s and Animator’s Palate.
July 30 1956: The Mineral Hall Exhibit Opens
The Mineral Hall Exhibit opens at Disneyland. This attraction was operated by Ultra-Violet Products, and was nestled next to the Mine Train Through Nature’s Wonderland. The Mineral Hall was a free exhibit, including a mineral display lit by black-light. The Mineral Hall was one of the rarest buildings part of Rainbow Ridge. There was a gift shop, where they sold mineral samples. The prices ranged between ten and fifty cents and were labeled as Walt Disney’s Mineral Land. This attraction remained in operation until 1963. The window and former Mineral Hall location are now part of the Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante dining area.