Walt Disney’s Cinderella Special Edition DVD Gift Set

I’d like to start by saying that the promises of Blu-ray have been overstated and under-realized. The claim of better picture quality and sound along with increased storage capacity were supposed to bring a whole new world to home entertainment.

The reality has been a marginal increase in presentation quality and, in most cases, less extras than we previously enjoyed on DVD. Much less if you compare today’s Blu-ray releases with yesterday’s Platinum 2-disc DVD Editions! And as you will see in this post, there simply is no comparison when you look at the Collector’s DVD Gift Sets:

Cinderella Collector’s DVD Gift Set

  • 2-disc Special Edition DVD (Platinum Edition)
  • 8 Exclusive Character Portraits
  • Collector Book
  • Film Frame from the movie

I have three of these Disney collectible DVD sets and I continue to be amazed at the value they yield. Let’s start with the Platinum Edition DVD:

Remember when the DVD case came in a cardboard sleeve with an opening cover? Remember that once you opened the DVD, you found a booklet inside describing what was on the discs, with navigational flow charts? Remember when ‘hours of extras’ meant hours of extras, not just 2 hours, if you were lucky? Then you remember the Platinum series of DVD’s!

The gift sets gave you this version of the DVD along with exclusive extras, like:

    

A Dream Come True ‘making of’ Storybook

As you can see from the picture above right, the illustrations in this publication are amazing! You’ll also find behind-the-scenes pictures and stories of production.

Next, this set has something truly special:

Film Frame: Cinderella on the staircase

But wait, that’s not all! You also get:

 

 

 

 

8 Exclusive Character Portraits by:

Ollie Johnston and Andre Deja

This set sold for upwards of $50.00 CAN when it first came out, and they are hard to find today, even on eBay. And when you do, the price is usually quite high. I’m glad I picked this up when I did!

So the next time you hear a commercial extolling the virtues of Blu-ray, remember this post, and the great Platinum DVD and Collector’s Gift Sets of yesterday.

Top Five Things We’ve Forgotten About Disney

The Walt Disney Company has embarked on so many projects over the years, it’s pretty hard to remember everything that they have ever done. Some things are best forgotten, but I would like to put forward five things that I think are worth remembering!

REMEMBERING     NUMBER     FIVE

ENGLISH     LIVE-ACTION     MOVIES

Due to some obscure law in England that I don’t fully understand, Walt Disney couldn’t get the profits from his movies off the British Isles. So to make the best use of these locked resources, he started making movies over there!

You likely well know the first one, Treasure Island, made in 1950. But it didn’t stop there. In 1952 The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men followed, with The Sword and the Rose coming just a year later in 1953. Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1954) was one of the last efforts, if my research is correct.

These films aren’t forgotten, as my title insinuates, but the facts that they were filmed in England, and the reason why, may be forgotten for most Disney fans. Just think: If that little tax law hadn’t existed, we would have missed out on an entire chapter of Disney films!

REMEMBERING     NUMBER     FOUR

TRUE-LIFE     ADVENTURES

This series was a collection of fourteen full length and short subject documentary films produced between 1948 and 1960. It was an Academy Award winning series that really paved the way for such shows as Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom (1963-1988), among others.

This series may also be remembered by older Disney fans, but with the theatrical release of the Disneynature films, which started in 2007, a younger generation may not realize that documentaries and nature aren’t new concepts to the Walt Disney Company!

For a full list of the films in this series, visit the Wikipedia page here.

REMEMBERING     NUMBER     THREE

ALICE     COMEDIES

When Walt Disney famously said: “It all started with a mouse!” he was not quite telling the truth. First came a little series called the Alice Comedies which were followed by a successful run of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit cartoons. Then came, and it continued with, Mickey Mouse!

Laugh-O-Grams started this series, but made only one demonstration reel before going bankrupt. It had to wait until Walt started The Disney Brothers Studios with his brother, Roy, to truly come to life and have a successful run.

Few may remember little Virginia Davis who starred in the first 15 cartoons. Margie Gay followed her and starred in an additional 31 episodes. Dawn O’Day (1) and Lois Hardwick (10) also took the role. But when we think of famous Disney ladies, we don’t often remember Virginia Davis, who started it all for Walt Disney!

REMEMBERING     NUMBER     TWO

FIREHOUSE     FIVE     plus     TWO

The Firehouse Five Plus Two was a Dixieland jazz band consisting of members of the Walt Disney Studios animation department. The band was active from 1949 to 1972, playing and recording while never giving up their day jobs as animators and artists with the Walt Disney Studios.

Ward Kimball (leader, trombone) and Frank Thomas (piano) might be the most recognizable names from the original lineup of talent. Although the original group consisted of seven players, four other men joined in over the years.

This great band guested on the original Mickey Mouse Club, marched in Disneyland parades, played on Disney television specials, and appeared in animated form in the 1953 Goofy animated short, How to Dance. They also appeared in movies for other studios. The reference you may have missed comes at the end of The Princess and the Frog when the alligator Louis is playing his horn with a group called The Firefly Five with Lou.

They released thirteen albums of which I am proud to say I have eight! Although many have probably seen them in the background of Disneyland specials and heard their music on Disney soundtracks, I’m sure most don’t realize that they were a big part of the Disney experience, especially in the 1950’s. Gone now, but hopefully never forgotten!

REMEMBERING     NUMBER     ONE

WARTIME     PROPAGANDA     FILMS

Now we get to the forgotten thing that the Walt Disney Company would most likely want us to forget. Back in the 1940’s, film studios weren’t known for their tact or for being politically correct. Of course, this made for some amazingly uninhibited films, but also for some very embarrassing product filled with negative stereotypes and nasty prejudices!

With the war effort first and foremost on the minds of the public, studios took liberties and got away with them by wrapping them all up in the flag of patriotism. Contemporary audiences back then ate it up and cheered. Modern audiences find it all a bit hard to watch!

Kudos to the Walt Disney Company for releasing all of the propaganda films in the Disney Treasures series of DVD’s. They are a part of our history, and as such, should be remembered.

Is there a forgotten piece of Disney history that I’ve missed? Please add it in the comments section below!

Book Review: Disney-Pixar Comics Treasury

I was going to be away from home for a while and wanted something to take with me to read. So I went to my local Chapters and found this book in the discount section:

    

HarperCollins Publishers Inc. 2014

It contains 14 adaptions of the Pixar films with 1 extra bonus story involving Wall-E. I’ve read about half so far and have found a pattern developing, even though different writers are responsible for some of the titles.

         

Being as I know the stories inside-out, I can follow the edited versions presented in the book reasonably well. But for first-time readers, many panels would not make sense, as crucial details are left out. It is obvious that these adaptions were not penned by seasoned comic book writers, individuals with a consummate knowledge of conveying a bigger story into the sometimes limiting space of comic book boxes.

         

Now is as good a time as any to mention the bonus story entitled Wall-E: Recharge. As you would expect, there is no dialogue to help you understand what is happening, and because of the aforementioned inexperience of the writers with this medium the story is all-but incomprehensible!

         

The best part of this treasury is the artwork! Every artist brought a great sense of the original story to each title with some truly breath-taking visuals. As a comic book fan from way back, this was a treat to read based only on the pictures (yup, I’m a picture guy).

         

Not to be too tough on this treasury, it’s still a fun read with good work done by all of the creative talent involved. I would definitely recommend it to any Disney parent who would like a nice book of bedtime stories to share with their little Disney fans-to-be!

    

As Dreamers Do Movie Review

As Dreamers Do

As Dreamers Do: The Amazing Life of Walt Disney, is one of those movies that you just happen upon, yet captures your mind, your imagination, and teaches you a thing or two about perseverance.  I was looking at my iPad, picking something out on my Amazon Instant Video app that I have, and I just searched for Disney, and came across this movie.  I had never heard of it, or if I had, I had forgotten all about it, and I was just looking for something to watch while I was on the treadmill.

The story covers the young Walt Disney — not the one that we all know, the one that created Disneyland and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and all of that.  No, this movie is about the Young Walt Disney, the child before he became a man.  Narrated by Travis Tritt, the film stars a lot of actors that I haven’t heard about before, but that just adds to this experience.  Since I was watching it on my iPad while doing my treadmill walking, I broke it up into three sessions.  The movie is right around an hour and a half long.

Dreamers covers some fantastic moments that occurred in Walt’s life, such as the time he and his sister Ruth painted the side of their house — in tar instead of paint!  The movie does such a good job of telling the story that you really can imagine that Walt didn’t realize that he was using tar.  Being the Dreamer that he was, Walt was often found drawing or painting or anything like that.

The story covers moments in Walt’s life, such as when the family moved to Marceline, and later on to Kansas City.  It covers the period of Walt’s life when Roy was in France fighting in the war, and Walt wanted to join him — but was underage — so he had join the Red Cross instead, and took up smoking.  The movie also covers the period of time when Laugh-O-grams was around, and he and Ub Iwerks were in business together.  It also covers the period of Walt’s life where his business ventures didn’t work, and he was living out of his office.

Through it all, though, no matter what life event was bringing Walt down, Walt was never down in the dumps for long.  The greatest legacy of Walt Disney is not his Parks, or his movies, or Mickey Mouse, or any of that — the greatest legacy of Walt Disney was his eternal optimism, his belief, perhaps his faith, in knowing that it was all going to work out all right in the end.

The movie concludes with Walt finally taking the advice of Roy, and moving to California to start the next adventure in his life journey.  It was in California that Walt’s ultimate dreams came true, but they were forged years before his his childhood upbringing.

If you haven’t seen As Dreamers Do: The Amazing Life of Walt Disney yet, I urge you to check it out.  You will learn a new appreciation for Walt Disney, and fill in some of those blanks that may exist in you like they did in me, without me even knowing.  If you have seen this movie, please tell me, what did you think?  Leave me a comment, and thanks for stopping by!  Here’s a trailer for you to watch.  Thanks for stopping by!

Magical Blogorail: Disney Legends – Floyd Norman

D I S N E Y       L E G E N D S

Welcome to those of you joining me from My Pixie Dust Diary and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail. And I’d like to introduce you to:

Floyd Norman

MrFunsBlog

Much has been written about animation in the early days being a man’s world, with women being relegated to the ink and paint departments or other ‘secondary’ disciplines. This, as in most other professions, has changed. But we could go back again to the early days of animation and say that it was also a largely white world. This too has changed.

Some Disney detractors have used such observations to label Walt anti-semitic or racist, or whatever other derogatory label would get them the most publicity for their publications. But in all fairness (?) it should be mentioned that women and minorities didn’t enjoy the same opportunities as white males in North America in the early days and the Walt Disney Studio was hardly unique in its employee demographics.

But I don’t want to turn this article into a soap box sermon just because the Disney Legend I’m highlighting just happens to be an African-American. However, the points I’ve shared thus far are a part of established history and so do become a part of Floyd Norman’s life story. He was and is the first black animator at the Walt Disney Studios.

Please join me in the hope that things like that will no longer be relevent or worthy of mention as our world becomes more universal and accepting!

So now I’d like to let the man himself tell you…

Who the hell is Floyd Norman?

I began my career at the Walt Disney Studios many years ago and I’ve worked on more animated feature films and television shows than I can remember. What’s really cool however, are the awesome people I’ve known and worked with throughout my career at Walt’s magic factory. It’s truly a who’s who of animation and it includes Walt’s famous “Nine Old Men” as well as the top story men who created the Disney classics. It was an amazing mentoring opportunity as well as a master class in Disney animation. My career eventually spanned several decades and I even witnessed the arrival of the “young turks” who would take the torch passed to them by the Disney Masters.

My first animated feature film was Walt’s masterpiece, “Sleeping Beauty” which wrapped in 1958 and ushered in the Old Maestro’s final decade. In 1966 I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Walt Disney on his final animated film, The Jungle Book. I capped off my career in 1999 with the Pixar production of “Monster’s Inc.” and I reluctantly “retired” from animation in the year 2001. However, I never retired from cartoon making. Since that time I’ve worked on several feature and television productions for various studios and I continue doing so even today. I’ve never considered myself top in my class and I certainly don’t buy into the “Disney Legend” thing. There are far too many forgotten talents out there that continue to go unrecognized. So, what’s my secret, you ask? It’s easy, really. I simply won’t stop working. Recently, I’ve been kept busy on various projects including Reel FX’s “Free Birds,” Cartoon Network’s “Annoying Orange” and some cool new projects for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Italic text and picture from Mr. Fun’s Blog

I bolded the type above because it caught my eye and sensibilities. There are many underrated contributors behind all of our favorite Disney Classics and we should appreciate them as much as we do our heroes. It’s nice to see someone who has certainly stood out give a shout-out to everyone else! Sorry Floyd, but that makes your Disney Legend title well-earned to me!

Behind every Disney Legend is a rich history and an interesting story to tell. Please check out his blog and be sure to immerse yourself in the creativity of a man who always seems to be smiling. Obviously he’s up to something, and I think you owe it to yourself to find out what! You may find clues at AFROKIDS.com

Oh, and by the way Floyd, Ward Kimbal called and he wants his glasses back! (Kidding!)

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Blue this month. We will be back on November 13th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail if you happened to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is – Mary Blair and Yale Gracey

2nd Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Dorothea Redmond

3rd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog – X Atencio

4th Stop ~ My Pixie Dust Diary – Lee Cockerell

Final Stop ~ Cool Nouns by Lee Beatens – (you are here)

P. S. – Thanks for liking Song of the South, Floyd! (But that’s another post!)