Disney in 1961 | Everything that Happened

Last Updated on: February 18th, 2024

Disney 1961 Movies ShowsThe Walt Disney Company has a rich and lengthy history with decades of amazing movies, shows and park experiences. To commemorate Disney’s 100th birthday this year, I am spotlighting the company’s history year by year in this new ‘Disney by the Years’ series.

Here is a quick rundown of everything that happened in the world of Disney in the year 1961. I hope you find this lookback in time helpful and entertaining.

Disney 1961 Company Headlines:

  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was found in 1961.
  • Disney bought the rights to the Winnie the Pooh franchise.

Disney 1961 Movies Headlines:

In 1961, Disney released several movies, including:

Also in 1961, Disney received two Oscars for the documentary  The Horse with the Flying Tail and the film Pollyanna.

Overall, although the year produced an animated classic, the headliners of 1961 were the live-action releases. Some of Disney’s most iconic live films were released in the year as Disney really started to hit its stride balancing between animated and live productions.

Disney 1961 Parks Headlines:

Disneyland Headlines:

Notable changes at Disneyland include:

Disney 1961 Television Headlines:

There was a big shift in the Television division of Disney in 1961 as the seven year run of the Disney anthology series, Walt Disney Presents, on ABC came to an end and moved to NBC. The show was retooled and renamed to Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. The name change was, in part, to spotlight the groundbreaking colorization of the show. The show would run on NBC for eight years.

A notable character debut in 1961 was Ludwig Von Drake, who was created to introduce the new concept of color television shows for the new Wonderful World of Color show.

That’s all for 1961. Stay tuned for in-depth looks at additional years in the very near future!

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About the Author

Craig Smith
I am founder and editor of DisneyNews.us. My passion for all things Disney goes pretty far back to my first trip to Walt Disney World in the mid-80's. I have since returned to the magical place more than 20 times. I started this site when I came to the realization that I spent a significant portion of my day reading articles about Disney and watching Disney content with my 8-year old, so it made sense that I would start sharing some of what I read and see and building a little community around it. Other interests include 80's nostalgia, vintage toys, video games, LEGO, Star Wars and tech gadgets. Other sites include DMR and VideoGamesStats.com.