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Walt Disney Treasures: The Donald Duck Volume Four (1951-1961)
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In this final volume, our chronicle of Donald's solo-starring shorts wraps up with some of his rarely seen, feather ruffling adventures from 1951 through 1961. And, for the first time on DVD, Donald's CinemaScope cartoons are presented in their original widescreen format. This collection of classics includes two of Donald's Academy Awardr nominated Best Shorts -- "Rugged Bear" (1953) and "No Hunting" (1955); a retrospective of Donald's career in comic books; and a storyboard presentation for an unproduced Donald Duck cartoon pitched by famed Disney animator Eric Goldberg. From bit player to superstar, Donald gave voice to the frustrations of everyone and in the process endeared himself to the world. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.
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Disc 1 contains:
(1951) Dude Duck, Corn chips, Test Pilot Donald, Lucky Number, Out Of Scale, Bee On Guard
(1952) Donald Applecore, Let's Stick Together, Trick or Treat
(1953) Don's Fountain of Youth, The New Neighbor, Working For Peanus (Donald's 1954 3D short, which was shown at Disneyland for years in The Fantasyland Theater), Canvas Back Duck
From The Vault: This is what Disney calls the section where they put cartoons that have some content that viewers today may find objectionable. For both discs, there is the same Leonard Maltin intro that does not go into specficis (which is what some other Disney sets have done), but rather just asks the viewer to watch remembering that these were filmed in a different time and not to be judgmental. The 2 shorts on disc one "Uncle Donald's Ants" (1952) and "Rugged Bear" (1953). "Ants" is most likely in this section because the ants are based on a stereotypical african-american. "Rugged Bear" had me baffled; unless I missed something, the only reason I could figure out why it would be here is because it shows animals being hunted.
Bonus Material on Disc 1:
* Donald Goes To Press - A retrospective look at Donald's career in comic books.
* "The Unseen Donald Duck: Trouble Shooters": Storyboards for an unproduced Donald Duck cartoon pitched by famed Disney animator, Eric Goldberg. This is fascinating to watch, as Goldberg acts out the cartoon, using all the different voices. One can only imagine Walt doing this.
* Audio Commentary by Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck for "Working for Peanuts." With all their talk about this 3D short and how great it looks, makes one wish that it had been put on this disc in a 3D version with the glasses!
Disc 2 contains:
(1954) Donald's Diary, Dragon Around, Grin & Bear It, The Flying Squirrel, Grand Canyonscope
(1955) Bearly Asleep, Beezy Bear, Up A Tree
(1956) Chips Ahoy, How To Have An Acident In The Home
(1959) Donald In Mathmagic Land
(1961) Donald And The Wheel, The Litterbug
Bonus Material for Disc 2:
* Audo commentary by Leonard Maltin & Jerry Beck for "Grand Canyonscope."
* Mouseworks Cartoons is a 10 cartoons from 1998, with surprisingly good animation, that were created in an attempt to look like their vintage predecessors.
* From the Vault: includes "Spare the Rod" (1954), "No Hunting" (1955), and "How To Have An Accident At Work" (1959)
Set contains a Certificate of Authenticity (set is limited to 39,500), a postcard size reproduction of the original movie poster for "Grin and Bear It" (1954), as well as the mini-booklet featuring a little background and the table of contents for this tin. Hopefully these sets will keep on!
The CINEMASCOPE cartoons will be presented in widescreen here!
Unfortunately, WORKING FOR PEANUTS will NOT be presented in 3-D like it was filmed & shown in theaters.
DUDE DUCK (new to DVD)
CORN CHIPS w/ Chip & Dale
TEST PILOT DONALD w/ Chip & Dale (new to DVD)
LUCKY NUMBER w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
OUT OF SCALE w/ Chip & Dale
BEE ON GUARD (new to DVD)
DONALD APPLE-CORE w/ Chip & Dale
LET'S STICK TOGETHER (new to DVD)
UNCLE DONALD'S ANTS (new to DVD)
TRICK OR TREAT w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
DONALD'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
NEW NEIGHBOR (new to DVD)
RUGGED BEAR (new to DVD)
WORKING FOR PEANUTS w/ Chip & Dale (NOT presented in 3-D)
CANVAS BACK DUCK w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
SPARE THE ROD w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie (new to home video)
DONALD'S DIARY w/ Daisy
DRAGON AROUND w/ Chip & Dale
GRIN & BEAR IT w/ Humphrey Bear (new to DVD)
GRAND CANYONSCOPE (in CINEMASCOPE)
FLYING SQUIRREL (new to DVD)
NO HUNTING w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to home video!)
BEARLY ASLEEP w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
BEEZY BEAR w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
UP A TREE w/ Chip & Dale
CHIPS AHOY w/ Chip & Dale (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
HOW TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT HOME (new to DVD)
DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND
HOW TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT WORK (new to DVD)
DONALD AND THE WHEEL (new to DVD)
THE LITTERBUG (new to DVD)
"Donald Goes to Press",
"The Unseen Donald Duck: Trouble Shooters",
Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck audio commentaries on 2 shorts,
10 Mickey Mouseworks Cartoons from 1999:
BIRD BRAINED DONALD
DONALD & THE BIG NUT
DONALD'S CHARMED DATE
DONALD'S DINNER DATE
DONALD'S FAILED FORTH
DONALD'S ROCKET RUCKUS
DONALD'S SHELL SHOTS
DOANLD'S VALENTINE DOLLAR
THE MUSIC STORE
SURVIVAL OF THE WOODCHUCKS
It would have been nicer to get a seperate complete series set of these and include the three solo Chip n' Dale cartoons here instead.
The two 'accident' cartoons were previously released on VHS, edited together as one cartoon, on the Wonderful World of Disney show tapes. They do play well as one 15 minute cartoon. Those show tapes are interesting as they have new, exclusive to the TV show, animation not on these theatrical releases.
Hopefully those TV shows will get a DVD release some day.
The two other 2008 Disney Treasures releases are:
Dr Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh (From The Wonderful World Of Disney show)
Dr Syn-Scarecrow of Romney Marsh
The Mickey Mouse Club Presents: Annette (the serial from season 3)
Mickey Mouse Club Presents-Annette
These cartoons might be the most familiar of all, since they are the ones most often shown on Disney TV shows, but you didn't always get to see the titles. I discovered that many great Disney music masters composed for these shorts when I assumed most of them came from Oliver Wallace.
The Chronological Donald Volume 4 includes Walt Disney's first animation for CinemaScope, "Grand Canyonscope," which predates "Lady and the Tramp." You have to see this just to marvel at the Eyvind Earle art direction that would later grace Sleeping Beauty. Also, there is the final -- and perhaps funniest -- Daisy and Donald theatrical cartoon, "Donald Diary," in which the Duck dreams he marries his fair love and sees what she looks like first thing in the morning ("What'sa maddah?").
When the cartoon shorts run out, the educational shorts and two-reelers kick in, beginning with the landmark "Donald in Mathemagic Land," narrated by the great Paul Frees and boasting a credits list that easily matches that of a Disney feature-length film.
Less triumphant but nonetheless fascinating is "Donald and the Wheel," which labors under a wincingly silly set of "spirits" and a dated attempt at hipness, but benefits from vocal work from the MelloMen and a delightfully kitschy sequence featuring Donald and a live action dancing girl on a whirling phonograph record (did this inspire Woody and Jesse's similar moment in Toy Story 2?) Fans of the TV series "Mad Men" with surely be pleased to see that this comely young dancer, who like that show's Joan Holloway, captures the far more healthy standard of female plentitude of the early 60's than in today's pipe-cleaner pop culture icons.
"The Litterbug" rounds out this trio and is especially notable for the uncredited narration of John Dehner, one of those character actors who appeared in almost everything in the 60's and 70's but is perhaps best remembered as Doris Day's TV boss ("Yee-ello?") and the radio "Paladin." He also started his career as a Disney animator! Another narrator heard in some of the shorts in this set is radio and Capitol children's record announcer Art Gilmore.
Leonard Maltin is on hand, as on all the Walt Disney Treasures sets, to instruct, enthuse and enlighten, as well as provide a buffer to the shorts which have, for one reason or another, been considered inappropriate for the mainstream. They are in a separate category called "From the Vault."
One of the most notable of these is "No Hunting," likely relegated to the vault for gunplay and violence -- but such a searing satire of recreational hunting, it makes its point as clearly anti-gun and anti-hunting. It also is one of the few, if any, Disney cartoons from Walt's era that nod slyly to a revered animated feature: as loads of garbage flow down a stream and the sound of guns are heard, Bambi's mother says to her fawn, "Man in in the forest...let's dig out." Take that, Stitch-meets-Beauty and the Beast commercials!
The same thing happened to me. I immediately e-mailed Amazon about this, and they sent me a replacement. What did I get? ANNETTE again!
In my 2nd e-mail, I said, "Have you considered the possibility that the click-buttons for ordering these two items have become switched? I'll bet there are other customers who are having similar difficulties."
I live in Japan, and I order lots of dvds from Amazon. Over 99% of the time, they send me good merchandise very promptly, and are very cooperative. But I recall that once before, there was a glitch like this, and it was never resolved, my e-mails notwithstanding. I guess in a gigantic company, it's hard to get things communicated.
Anyway, Amazon cheerfully refunded my money, and I have ordered the Donald Duck dvd from another place.
As Amid Amidi details in his book, Cartoon Modern, Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in 1950s Animation, the '50s marked a high point in animation design, with the Disney studio borrowing some of the stark, modern look of UPA. Some of the other cartoons in this collection rank among Donald's best: the most memorable Chip and Dale 'toons, including "Out of Scale" (1951) and "Donald Applecore" (1952). Some of the best of the duck's nephews are also included: "Lucky Number" (1951) and Don's Fountain of Youth (1953). As Leonard Maltin notes in his audio commentary, most theatrical cartoons had been discontinued due to mounting costs, but Walt still insisted on full-quality Donald cartoons for theaters throughout the '50s. "Chips Ahoy" (1956) was the last theatrical feature, after which Walt moved to TV, beginning with the Disneyland TV show.
Speaking of Maltin, his intros on the Disney treasures usually consist of short disclaimers as to the politically incorrect nature of some cartoons, usually listed separately as "From the Vault". Here, however, he gives longer, engaging introductions, perhaps because he's as much a Donald fan as we are, and there's also commentary from animation historian Jerry Beck, making this set an animation fan's delight. "Donald in Mathmagic Land" originally aired on The Wonderful World of Color with an intro by Ludwig Von Drake about light and color in which he continually notes that viewers with black and white sets will have to imagine what he's talking about, as they can't experience "living color". This was clearly propaganda to sell TV sets (as was the show's title), but which is very interesting in retrospect. Hopefully it makes it out in a Ludwig Von Drake collection.
Reviewers have been suggesting that the quality of the packaging of the Disney Treasures sets is falling, and this one is no exception. The Chronological Donald Vol. Two had a swing out flap for one of the two discs. On Vol. Four, the discs are merely snapped, one overlapping the other, on the inside back of the case, and there's barely room to do that. This is one time when registering for the Disney disc replacement program might come in handy. Another annoying feature that has not gone away is a schlocky Disney ad that opens the disc. It really is unwatchable, but there's a booklet slipped in the case about Blu-ray, what it is, why you should get it, and, it follows, go get all the Disney Blu-ray releases, that is actually helpful. All in all. The Chronological Donald Vol. Four easily lives up to the name "Disney Treasure".
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