1924 - Actor Jim Backus born - best remembered as the voice of TV 'toon Mr. Magoo and as Thurston Howell III on "Gilligan's Island".
1901 - Walt Disney born.
1964 - Rankin-Bass' puppet holiday special "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" debuts.
1965 - T.V. special 'A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs and becomes a TV holiday tradition.
1994 - Disney animators move into their Riverside Drive building designed by Daniel Stern. A prominent feature is the large conical "sorcerer's hat" at the fromt entrance. The building becomes known as "The Hat Building".
1940 - Fleischer Popeye cartoon "Eugene the Jeep" .The Thimble Theater character would give its name to the new army General Purpose vehicle- G.P. or "Jeep".
1913 - Cartoonist Johnny Gruelle entertained his dying daughter by making up stories involving her rag dollies. After her passing friends urged Gruelle to publish them. The RAGGEDY ANN & ANDY stories are born.
1957 - "Ruff and Reddy", Hanna Barbera's first TV show, debuts.
1900 - THE FIRST AMERICAN ANIMATED FILM "ENCHANTED DRAWINGS" - J. Stuart Blackton was a New York World cartoonist who used to do a vaudeville act in drag. He came to do an article on Thomas Edison then Edison put him on the payroll. He created this and several other trickfilms. Later he started the first movie fanzine Motion Picture World, faked an eyewittness newsreel of the Battle of Manila Bay using toy boats, cigar smoke and sparklers, started Vitagraph Pictures, made a fortune, lost it, and was finally hit by a bus on Pico blvd. in 1940. In his memoirs he never bothered to mention he invented animation.
1966 - WALT DISNEY DIES - Suffering from wide-spread lung cancer, and having already endured surgery to remove one lung, Walt Disney quietly died of acute circulatory collapse early in the morning of this day. His last visitor to his room at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank was his brother Roy. The two discussed plans for Walt's last project which would later become Florida's EPCOT center and Walt Disney World. The fact that Walt was actually dying was kept from him, but all-too-well known to his brother, and his wife and children. Roy says to it that all the lights in the Disney studio, across the street and visible from the window of Walt's hospital room, were kept on at all times to comfort his dying brother. When the news of Walt's death reached Disneyland in Anahiem, consideration was given to closing the park for the day, but instead it was kept open (as Walt would have wanted), but the flags on Main Street USA were lowered to half-mast. Within 24 hours, Walt was cremated and interred in an underground vault at Forest Lawn in Glendale, with a very private service attended only by immediate family. Walt's sudden death and quick disposition gave rise to rumors that he had been cryogenically suspended (a technology that he had a passing interest in) as well as other rumors that he was buried under California Institute of the Arts in Valencia or had been stuffed and was now appearing as "Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland.
1966 - Chuck Jones' holiday classic, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", first aired.
1937 - THE BIRTH OF FEATURE ANIMATION - Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" premieres. It is the first feature-length cartoon and becomes the critical and box office champ of 1937.