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Disney Films

Walt Disney Treasures: Wave 1

December 2001

Mickey Mouse in Living Color

These wonderful color cartoons of Mickey Mouse, made between 1935 and 1938, remind us of how charming and delightful he was before he sold out. They include such classics as:

  • "What's Opera, Mick?"
  • "The Speckled Band Concert" (a musical tribute to Sherlock Holmes)
  • "Pluto Goes to Hell"
  • "Thru the Mirror (a subtle piece of anti-recreational-drug propaganda)
  • "Orphan's Benefit" (Disney's first experiment with colorization)
  • "
  • "Mickey and Friends Can Clean Your Clock
  • "
  • "Lothesome Ghosts"
  • "The Brave Little Trailer"

Disneyland USA

Building Disneyland was expensive -- not "let's go out for a nice dinner" expensive, but more like "I wonder what it would be like to walk on the moon" expensive. To finance the project, Walt Disney created a series of television shows that would not only bring in much-needed advertising revenue, but would also serve as an excuse to hype his new "theme park" to potential investors and the vacationing public.

The first of these entertainment/advertisement combinations (deemed "entertisements" by the cynical press) aired in October of 1954. They ran weekly until Disneyland opened in July of 1955, and had Disney smiling all the way to the bank as advertisers paid good money to purchase commercial time during his hour-long ads.

This Treasures set includes all of the Disneyland TV show spots up to and including the Disneyland opening-day show, and a number of specials aired to promote Disneyland milestones. A few notable installments:

  • The Disneyland Story -- the first show, highlighting Disneyland as a concept and introducing plans for various rides.
  • Building a Magic Kingdom
  • Construction: Day 14
  • What's It Like To Wire an Emporium Lamp?
  • Hammering in Extreme Slow Motion
  • The Art of Decorating with Plywood
  • Six Months of Construction: an Overview
  • Let's Pour Concrete!
  • That Darned Plumbers Strike
  • Dateline Disneyland -- what will it be like to take a date to Disneyland?
  • Disneyland After Dark -- what will it be like to take a really serious date to Disneyland?
  • What's So Dangerous About Knotts Berry Farm?
  • Victory Through Manpower
  • Disneyland, One Year Later
  • Disneyland Tenth Anniversary Show
  • Disneyland "Lucky 13th" Anniversary Show
  • Disneyland Twentieth Anniversary Show
  • Twenty Five Years at Disneyland
  • Disneyland Thirtieth Anniversary Show
  • Disneyland Fortieth Anniversary Show
  • Disneyland: One Million Guests and Counting
  • Disneyland: Two Million Guests and Counting
  • Disneyland: Five Million Guests and Counting
  • Disneyland: One Hundred Million Guests -- Can We Stop Counting, Already?

The highlight of the series is the Disneyland opening-day show. This star-studded extravaganza featured Ronald Regan, among others. It is interesting to note that Regan was very interested in appearing on this show, but that Walt Disney would only let him participate on the condition that he then become Governor of California.

Silly Symphonies

In 1928, Walt Disney's artists began making a series of cartoons they titled Silly Symphonies. These cartoons were notable because they combined music (hence, "Symphonies") with material that had nothing to do with the music (hence, "Silly"). This Treasures set collects many of the least forgettable cartoons, including:

  • "The Old Mill" (which introduced the "major pain" camera -- an innovative device that added depth to cartoon images but was a pain to operate)
  • "Skeleton Dance" (completely anatomically correct)
  • "Flowers and Trees and Birds, Oh My!"
  • "The Three Little Pigs" (its immensely popular theme song, "Whose Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," was a subtle dig at Virginia Wolf)
  • "Babes in the Woods" (scripted by a young Hugh Hefner)
  • "The Ugly Duckling" (and its sequel, "The Seriously Ugly Duckling")
  • "Father Noah's Scientifically Implausible Ark"
  • "Who Killed Cock Robin" (featuring a character voiced by Mae West whose double-entendre-laden dialogue about the main character got her banned from cartoons for life)

The Complete Davy Crockett Televised Series

Davy Crockett's adventures were shown on the Disneyland television show in 1954 and '55, and recut and remixed into feature films in 1955, '56, '57, and '58. These led to a number of original sequels in later years, culminating in 1974's forgettable Davey Goes Bananas.

All four Davey Crockett shows are here, including:

  • Davey Crockett, River Fighter
  • Davey Crockett's Race for the Alamo
  • Davey Crockett and the Indian Pirates
  • Davey Crockett Goes to Keelhaul Congress

Bonus features include:

  • A look at the raccoon-skinning craze started by the series
  • A "Ballad of Davy Crockett" sing-along song ("Crockett, Crockett, 'coon on his hat, nobody knows where Crockett's at. Then one day he was shootin' for some food, and up from the ground came a-bubblin' crude, etc.")
  • Disney's full-length theatrical film The Alamo, because nobody would buy it on video by itself.

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