December 21 – Snow White, Zappa birthday, Gottsching, Heart

1937

The first cel-animated color feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is premiered in Los Angeles by Disney.▷LA Times, 1938 ▹

The story is based in the Brothers Grimm version of the fairy tale Schneewittchen und die sieben Zwerge. Snowdrop was part of the first English translations; the first, illustrated volume is published in 1823 as German Popular Stories.

Disney’s film may have been inspired by a 1916 live-action US silent film. Its release is wisely timed to partake of Xmas magic for a star-studded audience at the Carthay Circle Theatre. Disney mortgaged his house to pay for the $1.5 million production; Hollywood referred to the project as ‘Disney’s Folly’; his wife said ‘No one’s ever gonna pay a dime to see a dwarf picture.’

Following the general release the following February 4, the film grossed $66 million — which was quite a lot of money in those days. By May it was the most successful film of all time.

Its #10 for (adjusted) domestic lifetime gross:$184M. In 1939 its given an honorary Oscar statuette — and seven little statuettes. In 2008 the AFI calls it the #1 animated film. (*)

First commercially issued soundtrack

Another first: its soundtrack album is the first ever released, as six songs on a set of three 78-rpm singles on RCA. Heigh Ho (The answer to the old question is: Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Happy, Bashful, Sneezy and Dopey) ( Website )

See also: 1933 animated short

1940

Birthday of prolific American composer, electric guitarist Frank Zappa, member of the Mothers of Invention.

He wrote 79 albums, the bestselling of which was 1974’s Apostrophe (US#10). Stinkfoot, live 

1981

German ‘kosmische musik’ guitarist Manuel Gottsching, formerly of Ash Ra Tempel/Ashra, records his first solo album, E2-E4. It’s released in 1984. E2-E4 

AllMusic calls it ‘one of the most important, influential electronic records ever released … it just sounds like the mainstream house produced during the next two decades.’ (*) It’s sampled for a 1989 Sueno Latino ambient house single, which becomes a #1 in parts of Europe. May remix 
 ( Ashra site

1985

Seattle/Vancouver band Heart scores a US#1 with their 8th, eponymous album. It spends 92 weeks in the top 200. Track These Dreams becomes a #1 single.

Following albums Bad Animals (9th, 1987, includes Alone (US#1,UK#3) ) and Brigade (1990) also reach the top 10.

The outstanding Airplane-ish psych single Crazy on You (dig, #2 in the Netherlands) appeared on the band’s 1976 debut album Dreamboat Annie, which eventually sells a million copies. Crazy, live 1977 second album Little Queen included hit single Barracuda(US#11,CA#2).

The band is inducted into the Rock HoF in 2013. ( Website )