75 years ago today: ‘Fantasia’ opened in theaters

11.13.15 2 years ago

Disney

75 years ago today, Disney took a risk with the opening of its experimental animated film, “Fantasia.”

The third feature film made by the House of Mouse, “Fantasia” was released as a limited-run roadshow attraction, starting on November 13, 1940. The New York Times review published the following day declared it to be a film that “really dumps conventional formulas overboard and boldly reveals the scope of films for imaginative excursion.”

Images of Mickey Mouse set to music by Paul Dukas, hippos dancing to the tune of Ponchielli, and centaurs and cupids backed by Beethoven have all become iconic in the decades since its release. The film has further secured its pop culture status with “Fantasia” video games, a follow-up feature called “Fantasia 2000,” and with a spot on AFI”s list of the greatest 100 American films. One “Fantasia” segment will soon get the live action treatment: the nightmarish “Night on Bald Mountain” sequence is being developed into a feature film.

Other notable November 13 happenings in pop culture history:

• 1965: James Brown”s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” entered the Billboard Hot 100 at spot No. 68, later peaking at No. 3. It is one of Brown”s 99 songs to make the chart.

• 1965: Participating in a live TV debate airing on BBC, English theater director Kenneth Tynan shocked audiences when he became one of the first people to use the f-word on British TV.

• 1968: The Beatles” animated film “Yellow Submarine” premiered in the U.S.

• 1977: The comic strip “Li”l Abner” appeared in newspapers for the last time, after running for for 43 years, when creator Al Capp retired.

• 1991: “Cape Fear” opened in theaters.

• 1992: Elton John performed in Mexico for the first time, for an audience of 90,000 people in Mexico City.

• 1992: Francis Ford Coppola”s “Dracula” opened in theaters. See where it ranked on HitFix”s Ultimate Horror Poll.

• 1997: “The Lion King” stage musical officially opened on Broadway, following a month of preview performances.

• 2001: Shakira”s fifth studio album, “Laundry Service,” was released.

• 2002: No Doubt appeared in the “Dawson”s Creek” episode “Spiderwebs.”

Birthdays: Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg (turns 60 today), “300” actor Gerard Butler (45), “The Middle” actor Neil Flynn (55), “The Princess Diaries” actress Caroline Goodall (56), “The NeverEnding Story” actor Noah Hathaway (44), talk show host Jimmy Kimmel (48), “Criminal Minds” actor Joe Mantegna (68), “Happy Days” creator Garry Marshall (81), “Reality Bites” actor Steve Zahn (48)

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