Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection

Everyone knows Paul McCartney from his time in the Beatles, and afterwards, his own efforts and popular work with Wings. He has also dabbled in scoring movies and writing classical music. Enough for anyone, right?

Enter the Paul McCartney – The Music and Animation Collection:

Enchanted Animated Tales with Original Music

This set contains three original animated tales featuring one famous bear (who is not named Pooh), one book adaption, and one completely original effort (my favorite!)

But before we go on, below is some information about the two men who led the teams that created these wonderful pieces:

The Collaborators

McCartney was definitely the man behind the music but equally important was the man behind the animation, Geoff Dunbar. Between them, I believe they produced some Oscar-worthy material!

Introduction Screen

Here you can select to play all three animated films in sequence, or select them one by one. There are also many extras to choose from, which we will touch on later.

Main Menu

You can choose from Rupert & The Frog Song (1984), Tropic Island Hum (1997), and Tuesday (2002).

Let’s have a look at each in turn:

Rupert Bear is a children’s comic strip character created by the English artist Mary Tourtel. He first appearing in the Daily Express newspaper on 8 November 1920. Rupert was a childhood favorite of McCartney and a natural selection for his first foray into animation.

Rupert Bear

Perhaps not as well know outside of the British Isles as Winnie the Pooh or Paddington Bear, Rupert is still a very popular character.

McCartney himself introduces the tale:

The book he is dusting off is presumably his own childhood copy of the original children’s book.

Shush! ‘The Frog Song’ is about to begin…

The Frog Song, actually called We All Stand Together, happens only once every 200 years or so, so listen now for you won’t have a chance to hear it again! It was released and  reached number three in the UK Singles Chart in 1984.

This animated film about Rupert stumbling upon the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of hearing The Frog Song is animated in a simplified style but with beautiful imagery. The highlight of the film, however, is the music.

Psychedelic!

One scene of the frogs swimming to the music is reminiscent of some of the work done for Disney’s Fantasia. Given how both collaborators praise Disney in the Special Features section, this homage is not surprising!

I just wonder why McCartney never did any more of the Rupert Shorts?

The next film is:

Disney-like Animation

A squirrel is saved by a hot air ballooning frog and taken to a tropical island where animals of all sorts have gone to escape slaughter by man. Upon arriving, the two new friends are welcomed with a song.

Love

Tropic Island Hum is a catchy, imaginative, animated musical romp! By far my favorite of the set. The single of the title song reached #21 in the UK. The animated Short accompanied Disney’s Hercules movie in theaters in 1997.

The final film in this set is:

This film is based on a children’s book by David Wiesner but contains no words, only images to convey the story. Other than croaking and a few comments from confused humans at the end of the story, and a final piece of narration by Dustin Hoffman, the film pretty much follows that storytelling device.

Flying Lilly Pads

The story takes place on a Tuesday around 8pm. Frogs are lifted into the air, much to their surprise, and enabled to fly. They do so, right into town, where they cause all sorts of mischief.

Like knocking on windows…

… and crashing houses to watch TV.

The town is left littered with debris and lily pads. The mystery is never solved. But this is not the end! It seems that this occurs every Tuesday, but not just with frogs:

Even pigs get a turn to fly!

And why now pigs? The closing narration tells us:

The events recorded here are verified by an undisclosed source to have happened somewhere, U.S.A.. on Tuesday. All those in doubt are reminded that there is always another Tuesday.” So… why not, I guess?

The Special Features are interesting:

This is a nice collection of extras that round out the DVD collection. The set comes with a 16-page booklet with details about the production:

COOL FACTOR: 5/5

I love Paul McCartney’s music. I love animation. So having the two together is just amazing! The quality of animation is Disney-worthy and the soundtracks and original songs are obviously good. McCartney himself provides most of the voices for all three films with an assist by wife Linda for one female character.

If you are a Disney fan, an animation fan, or a music fan, this collection is for you! If only to hear Tropic Island Hum. Man, that’s one catchy tune! See for yourself:

DVD Review: Walt Before Mickey – A “True” Story

“The true story of a boy whose dreams built a kingdom” is the tag line for this production which seems pretty inspiring. But with a Rotten Tomatoes rating of just 20% you know this movie isn’t destined to be a classic. Read my DVD review to see why…

Nice concept. Bad execution.

This movie was loosely based on ‘a true story’ as recounted in the book of the same name as the movie, to wit:

Synopsis: This film is about Walt Disney’s early years. For ten years before the creation of Mickey Mouse, Walt Disney struggled with, failed at, and eventually mastered the art and business of animation. Walt Disney worked in a variety of venues and studios, refining what would become known as the Disney style. This film captures the years 1919 – 1928, creating a portrait of the artist from age seventeen to the cusp of his international renown.

Hopefully Timothy S. Susanin did a better job of researching the facts in his book than the movie did! The forward for the book was written by Diane Disney Miller, Walt’s daughter, so you naturally assume the content is legit. Well, the book may have been closer to the truth, but thankfully she wouldn’t have seen this movie (as it was released after her passing) as I’m certain she wouldn’t have approved (even though some sources give her a writing credit). As an example, one scene has Walt eating a sandwich out of a garbage can while obsessing over a mouse he had found in his studio. When the mouse runs away, Walt is depicted as almost having a mental breakdown over its loss. I find that hard to believe! However, the movie does depict Walt’s excessive smoking accurately.

From my negativity, you no doubt have guessed that I don’t like nor appreciate this movie? Please read on for my main reasons why:

The movie starts off well enough with only slight deviations from the truth which are forgivable to achieve a more streamlined plot. But about half way into things the facts become the enemy and artistic license rules the day!

Anyone watching with no knowledge of this time in Walt’s life will come away with entirely the wrong idea about the man, the events, and how they shaped the Walt Disney Company we know today. Although Walt had his bad points, this movie makes him a completely unsympathetic character with very few redeeming qualities. Even his determination to succeed and unwavering optimism is implied to come from others and not himself. And don’t get me started on how Roy is handled.

Thomas Ian Nicholas a.k.a. Walt Disney

The production values were good on a television movie level or for direct-to-video release, so kudos to director Khoa Van Le for that much. The acting was fair but the editing was choppy and some details of the plot were poorly relayed making for some confusing moments. Here is the trailer:

Vision Films – 2015 (107 mins.)

About the only thing I can say that is positive about this movie is that the cover art on the DVD packaging is awesome!

Cool Rating: 2/5

DVD Review Summation: The movie had the proper bone structure (basic facts) but entirely the wrong skin (or details) over top.

I will keep this movie in my Disney media collection because I’m a completist but I won’t likely revisit it anytime soon. You can check out the official website here to review their promotional materials or order a copy of the DVD for yourself.

I purchased a copy of this movie for review. No compensation was received.

Coming Soon: Remembering your #DisneyMemory

 

#DisneyMemory

When is comes to Disney, we all have memories if you’ve gone. What is your #DisneyMemory?

Coming Soon: Remembering your #DisneyMemory

Disney Memories.  Certainly not a new topic here at My Dreams of Disney — but it isn’t one that we focus on as much as we used to.  Well, my friends, that is about to change.  Starting on Monday, we’re going to be taking a look at a special something at Disney, and I’m going to share with you my #DisneyMemory in that post.  It could be a picture of an attraction, a resort, some food, whatever strikes me on that day, but it will have a Disney focus.  Better yet, though, I’d love for my post to trigger your own Memory — your own #DisneyMemory — that you would share with all of us.  That’s the purpose of this blog, you know — to take My Dreams of Disney and to help you make them Your Dreams of Disney.  So who’s up for the challenge?  Who’s ready to get started? Come join in the fun, and follow along online with the hashtag #DisneyMemory!  I’ll see you online, and I’ll see you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram too!

Our first memory comes to us from the Walt Disney World sign on World Drive.  I remember as a punky 11 year old kid in 1979 riding to the Magic Kingdom with my grandparents and my Mom and Sister and seeing that sign.  Back then, the only park was the Magic Kingdom, so when you saw the sign, you still drove for about 3 miles until you actually got near the Transportation and Ticketing Center, and to this 11 year old, that drive felt like driving out of Florida and into an entirely new world.  That, of course, is exactly what Disney wanted — for you to leave your life behind, even for just a short while, and to remember what it was like to be a kid again.  I’ll touch on this theme a bit more in future posts, but for me, on that summer day in 1979, seeing that incredible sign was just the first #DisneyMemory.  Tell us about your first Disney Memory online here in the comments, or on any of our social media platforms!  Thanks for sharing, and thanks for visiting!

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.

The Grasshopper and the Ants Record Reader

From WDP comes a Capitol Records release of a truly entertaining Silly Symphony: The Grasshopper and the Ants. Released in 1934, this was one of Aesop’s fables, reimagined by the animators of Walt Disney.

A Capitol Record-Reader was a cherished item for any child of the pre-TV era. They came with two double-sided 78″ (unbreakable) records which enabled the child to hear the story being read by announcer Don Wilson while reading along by turning pages when the sound of a bell was heard.

Pinto Colvig was the voice of the grasshopper, whom you might better remember as the first voice actor behind Goofy. His distinctive voice is clearly heard here, along with Goofy’s signature song ‘The World Owes Me a Living‘. But the Grasshopper sung it first! Goofy wouldn’t warble the tune until 1935 in the Disney Short entitled On Ice.

The record-reader is filled with many illustrated full-color pages, such as these:

Just as an aside, the ants sound a lot like Chip and Dale. And if you think about it, maybe this silly symphony was on the minds of the animators at Pixar when they thought up A Bug’s Life. There we have the similar theme of industrious ants storing up food for the winter, and lazy grasshoppers who just want to have fun, leaving the hard work of preparing for the winter to others. Of course, the outcome is different, but the bones are there!

Walt Disney Treasures released a complete DVD collection of the Silly Symphonies on December 4th, 2001.

You can find The Grasshopper and the Ants on disc one under the heading of Fables and Fairy Tales.

I found this record-reader at a local antique shop and was able to purchase it for just $30.00 CAN. It is in near-mint condition with only natural yellowing of the paper. It was released in 1949, so a little yellowing is to be expected, and I doubt a better copy exists! There are some scratches on the records, but none that cause the records to skip.

Here is an image of the original poster for the theatrical release in 1934:

If you’d like to further research this particular Silly Symphony, you can read a condensed version in the 360-page coffee table book Walt Disney’s Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories In Verse (2005, Gemstone, ISBN: 1888472065). On pages 14 and 15, you can read the history of the film, and of its place as the first installment of the Good Housekeeping series of full-page illustrated versions of the classic Disney films (1934-1944).

Each version of this fable is different, although all rendered by Disney animators and artists. The most detail is found in the film version, of course, but one detail is added in the record-reader: The Queen offers the Grasshopper a chance to join the ant colony and work along with them, living with them through the long winter. She does not do this in the theatrical version. He refuses, is reminded of his poor choice later, where he admits his mistake. The Good Housekeeping version strips the tale of almost all details, leaving only the basic moral in tact.