On This Day, Dec. 30, 1980 – NBC Cancels ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’
1980 – “The Wonderful World of Disney” was cancelled by NBC after more than 25 years on the TV. It was the longest-running series in prime-time television history.
Originally hosted by Walt Disney himself, the series presented animated cartoons and other material (some original, some pre-existing) from the studio library. For many years, the show also featured one-hour edits of such then-recent Disney films as Alice in Wonderland, and in other cases, telecasts of complete Disney films split into two or more one-hour episodes.Occasionally, a more educational segment, such as The Story of the Animated Drawing, would be featured.
The show spawned the Davy Crockett craze of 1955 with the three-episode series (not shown in consecutive weeks) about the historical American frontiersman, starring Fess Parker in the title role. Millions of dollars of merchandise were sold relating to the title character, and the theme song, “The Ballad of Davy Crockett“, was a hit record that year. Three historically based hour-long shows aired in late 1954/early 1955, and were followed up by two dramatized installments the following year. The TV episodes were edited into two theatrical films later on.
In the fall of 1958, the series was re-titled Walt Disney Presents, and moved to Friday nights, but by 1960, it switched to Sunday nights.
Although the basic format remained the same, the series moved to NBC on September 24, 1961 to take advantage of that network’s ability to broadcast in color. In a display of foresight, Disney had filmed many of the earlier shows in color, so they were able to be repeated on NBC, and since all but three of Disney’s feature-length films were also made in color, they could now also be telecast in that format.
1460 – At the Battle of Wakefield, in England’s Wars of the Roses, the Duke of York was defeated and killed by the Lancastrians.
1853 – The United States bought about 45,000 square miles of land from Mexico in a deal known as the Gadsden Purchase.
1879 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Pirates of Penzance” was first performed, at Paignton, Devon, England.
1880 – The Transvaal was declared a republic. Paul Kruger became its first president.
1887 – A petition to Queen Victoria with over one million names of women appealing for public houses to be closed on Sundays was handed to the home secretary.
1903 – About 600 people died when fire broke out at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago.
1919 – Lincoln’s Inn, in London, admitted the first female bar student.
1922 – The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) was formed.
1924 – Edwin Hubble announced the existence of other galactic systems.t
1927 – The first subway in the Orient was dedicated in Tokyo, Japan.
1935 – Italian bombers destroyed a Swedish Red Cross unit in Ethiopia.
1936 – The United Auto Workers union staged its first sit-down strike, at the Fisher Body Plant in Flint, MI.
1940 – California‘s first freeway was officially opened. It was the Arroyo Seco Parkway connecting Los Angeles and Pasadena.
1944 – King George II of Greece proclaimed a regency to rule his country, virtually renouncing the throne.
1947 – King Michael of Romania abdicated in favor of a Communist Republic. He claimed he was forced from his throne.
1948 – “Kiss Me Kate” opened at the New Century Theatre in New York City. Cole Porter composed the music for the classic play that ran for 1,077 performances.
1953 – The first color TV sets went on sale for about $1,175.
1954 – Pearl Bailey opened on Broadway in the play, “House of Flowers.”
1972 – The United States halted its heavy bombing of North Vietnam.
1976 – The Smothers Brothers, Tom and Dick, played their last show at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas and retired as a team from show business. Both continued as solo artists and they reunited several years later.
1978 – Ohio State University fired Woody Hayes as its football coach, one day after Hayes punched Clemson University player Charlie Bauman during the Gator Bowl. Bauman had intercepted an Ohio pass.
1993 – Israel and the Vatican established diplomatic relations.
1996 – A passenger train was bombed by Bodo separatists in India’s eastern state of Assam. At least 26 people were killed and dozens were seriously injured.
1996 – About 250,000 striking workers shut down vital services across Israel in protests against budget cuts proposed by Prime Minister Netanyahu.
1997 – More than 400 people were massacred in four villages in the single worst incident during Algeria’s insurgency.