The 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 Company Headlines in 1961:
- California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was found in 1961.
- Disney bought the rights to the Winnie the Pooh franchise.
Disney Movies Headlines in 1961:
In 1961, Disney released several movies, including:
- January 25 – One Hundred and One Dalmatians
- March 16 – The Absent-Minded Professor
- June 12 – The Parent Trap
- July 12 – Nikki, Wild Dog of the North
- July 17 – Greyfriars Bobby
- December 14 – Babes in Toyland
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 Parks Headlines in 1961:
Notable changes at Disneyland include:
- The Disneyland Monorail was extended to the Disneyland Hotel.
- The Snow White Wishing Well and Grotto opens.
- The Flying Saucers ride opens.
- The Holidayland area closes.
Disney Television Headlines in 1961:
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!