December 21, 1948: Disney’s True-Life Adventures series kicks off with the short Seal Island. It will be the first of fourteen films (both shorts and features). The debut entry picks up an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.


July 19, 1950: The second True-Life Adventures film, In Beaver Valley, is released and will go on to win the second Oscar in as many films for Best Short Subject.


July 28, 1951: Nature’s Half Acre makes it three for three at the Academy Awards for the True-Life Adventures films.


Card 1-1

Studio library card indicating Walt’s research for an upcoming installment in the True-Life Adventures series


June 26, 1952: The next Oscar winner for Best Short Subject is released in Water Birds.


February 5, 1953: Academy-Award-winning Bear Country opens, the first of three True-Life Adventures to be released in 1953.


February 18, 1953: The Alaskan Eskimo, first entry in the documentary series People & Places, is released. It picks up an Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.


November 10, 1953: The first feature-length film in the True-Life Adventures series hits theaters in The Living Desert. It wins the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Living Desert

Book adaptation of the Oscar-winning feature


August 16, 1954: The Vanishing Prairie, second feature and ninth True-Life Adventure overall, opens to audiences nationwide. It scores another victory in the Best Documentary Feature category.

Vanishing Prairie

Print version of the second True-Life Adventures feature


December 21, 1955: Fourth entry in the People & Places series, Men Against the Arctic, debuts. It will be named Best Documentary Short Subject at that year’s Oscars.


November 6, 1956: The fourth True-Life feature is released in Secrets of Life.

Secrets of Life

1957 hardcover edition based on the latest entry in the series


December 20, 1956: The sixth and most popular People & Places entry, Disneyland, U.S.A., provides an inside look at Walt’s newest theme park creation.


June 19, 1957: Oscar-winning (Best Live Action Short Subject) featurette The Wetback Hound is released.


July 9, 1958: Ama Girls, yet another Best Documentary Short Subject winner in the People & Places series, opens in theaters.


August 12, 1958: Best-Documentary-Feature-winner White Wilderness debuts. It will become infamous for propagating the lemmings-mass-suicide notion.


January 29, 1959: The featurette Grand Canyon is paired with the animated feature Sleeping Beauty for its theatrical release and will go on to win the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short Subject. The film was produced in tandem with the construction of the Grand Canyon Diorama attraction along the Disneyland Railroad.

Grand Canyon Diorama

Postcard folder featuring scenes from the film-inspired attraction


August 10, 1960: Jungle Cat, the final feature in the True-Life Adventures series, is released in theaters.

Jungle Cat Comic Book

Comic-book adaptation of the film


December 21, 1960: Featurette The Horse with the Flying Tail opens in conjunction with live-action feature Swiss Family Robinson. It picks up the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature.


April 22, 2009: Earth is the first film released in the U.S. by Disneynature, the documentary-centered arm of Walt Disney Studios.

Monkey Kingdom

Disneynature continues to release a film per year on average, including 2015’s Monkey Kingdom


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