Archive for the ‘Walt Disney Treasures’ Category

BlakeOnline Special – BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards 2009 Winners

June 24, 2009

Image © Disney/Pixar.

The winners for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards.

By Blake

Originally posted June 24, 2009.

This year, BlakeOnline is the home of the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! A “Bullseye” has been given to a variety of Disney-related (and some non-Disney-related) productions that I think deserve some extra attention. I chose the “Bullseye” name to keep with the Toy Story theme that began with the new “Buzz” quarterly updates. Hopefully, this will become an annual BlakeOnline event. The Bullseye nominees were announced on June 8, 2009, and the winners are in! How were the winners determined among the nominees? Well, I just chose them. Although it would make sense for Disney fans to choose what they think should win, at this point it was simpler for me to choose the results based on what I’ve observed around the Disney community.

In the future, I plan to give nominations to projects that were released within a one-year time frame (from mid-May to mid-May), but since this is the first year of the Bullseye Awards, I’m gone with an 18-month time frame, from mid-November 2007 through mid-May 2009.

Here are the winners (and runner-ups) for the inaugural BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards!! A * indicates a category that includes (but is not limited to) non-Disney nominees.

Best Movie – Enchanted

This movie has the workings of a true modern Disney classic. Many of the components that have made up previous Disney masterpieces were present, including endearing characters, superb music (provided by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz, who earned three Academy-Award nominations), and a subtle focus on animation, even though most of the movie was in a live-action format. The film consisted of an animated heroine named Giselle (played by Amy Adams) being thrust from her home in Andalasia and into the real world. Giselle’s groom-to-be Prince Edward (James Marsden) journeys after her in an effort to return her home, while Giselle is taken in by a flustered man named Robert (Patrick Dempsey). Ultimately the movie’s highest points come as Giselle takes New York by storm as she enchants the city with her charming antics, including breaking out into song and communicating with “woodland” creatures. The film also has a strong emphasis on many Disney references, sure to keep Disney fans paying close attention to detail.

Enchanted wins Best Movie. Image © Disney.

Best Movie Runner-Up – Bolt

Bolt had the feel of a classic Disney animated film. It certainly had taken great care to create its main characters, especially Rhino, the hilarious hamster. Its plot consisted of a dog named Bolt headlining his own TV series, thinking all of his powers from the show are real. This proves to be a problem when he accidentally finds himself in New York, having to trek back home to Hollywood with a sly cat named Mittens and an obsessive fan named Rhino the hamster in tow. Overall I think Bolt was culminated together rather nicely, and hopefully it’s a hint at what’s yet to come from Walt Disney Animation Studios in the coming years.

Best TV Show* – American Idol Season 7

2008’s American Idol contestants possibly revolutionized the competition by adding their own distinctive styles to their performances. With contestants being allowed to use instruments on stage for the first time, the show dramatically changed from looking for the best singer to looking for the best artist – someone who could add their personality into their performances and change up arrangements to better suit them. David Cook achieved this excellently throughout the season, and ended up winning. Cook’s debut self-titled rock album was released in November, and he’s now on tour. In second place was David Archuleta, who has since also released a self-titled album, made appearances on Nickelodeon’s iCarly and Disney Channel’s Hannah Montana, and is now touring with Demi Lovato.

American Idol Season 7 wins Best TV Show. Image © Fox.

Best TV Show Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8

Again, contestants had to step it up to change their performances and define themselves as artists in another unforgettable season. Kris Allen eventually won.

Best TV Special/Movie* – A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa

I can’t express how ecstatic I was when I found out that the Muppets would be returning to TV for a one-hour Christmas special. Part of an ongoing effort to bring the Muppets back (which is expected to continue with more upcoming projects), A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa debuted on NBC in December, 2008, and delivered a wholeheartedly quality Muppet production filled with heart, hilarity, and even a few delightful new songs (which were written by Paul Williams). The special had Kermit and friends delivering several lost letters to Santa Claus. In true Muppet fashion, everything doesn’t go exactly as planned.

A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa wins Best TV Special/Movie. Image © Disney.

Best TV Special/Movie Runner-Up* – American Idol Season 8 Finale

A real showstopper, this finale had many surprise appearances and amazing performances. Keith Urban, Kiss, Lionel Richie, Cyndi Lauper, Jason Mraz, David Cook, Queen, and more were among the highlights. Additionally, the season’s top thirteen contestants were all brought back to perform, and the night ended with Kris Allen being named 2009’s American Idol winner.

Best Acting – Amy Amy Adams as Giselle in Enchanted
The naïve, curious, and awed Giselle was played wonderfully by Amy Adams in Enchanted. In the live-action scenes, the movement and rhythm of Adams’ actions conveyed Giselle’s character excellently. In the animated sequences, the deliverance of Giselle’s diction and speech again brought the character to the screen marvelously.

Amy Adams wins Best Acting for her performance as Giselle in Enchanted. Image © Disney.

Best Acting Runner-Up – Ashley Tisdale as Sharpay in High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Already proving from the first two High School Musical movies that she could diversify her roles to become both the kind Maddie in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody as well as the devious Sharpay in HSM, Ashley Tisdale stepped up her game for the third HSM installment to bring an excellent performance. Devious, attention-getting, and clever all describe Sharpay and all were performed superbly by Tisdale, who once again delivered a solid performance.

Best Song – “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted
Written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz

Enchanted’s lavish production number, “That’s How You Know” had Giselle (played by Amy Adams) gallivanting around Central Park in an effort to bring cheer and happiness to citizens, as well as teach them how they should treat their loved ones. The song is one of the best new Disney tunes in years, and was released on the DisneyMania 6 CD in May, 2008, sung by Demi Lovato.

“That’s How You Know” written by Alan Meken and Stephen Schwartz wins Best Song. Image © Disney.

Best Song Runner-Up – “I Want It All” from High School Musical 3: Senior Year
Written by Matthew Gerrard and Robbie Nevil

Describing the personality of Sharpay Evans (played by Ashley Tisdale) to a tee in one single song, “I Want It All” consists of pretty selfish lyrics when just reading the words, but when watching it performed on screen in High School Musical 3: Senior Year, it does its job quite well to convey the personalities of two of the movie’s main characters and to deliver an important plot point. The lyrics creatively spin dialogue into melodies and suit the Sharpay and Ryan characters wonderfully. The songwriting here is just right.

Best DVD – Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition

Definitely one of my favorite Disney movies ever, Mary Poppins came to DVD again in January, 2009, with most of the wonderful bonus features that were included on 2004’s 40th Anniversary Edition of the film, as well as new supplements going behind the scenes of the Broadway production of Mary Poppins. The movie’s DVD would be magnificent if it contained nothing but the film itself, but the addition of the many DVD bonuses makes it a very satisfying set.

Mary Poppins 45th Anniversary Edition wins Best DVD. Image © Disney.

Best DVD Runner-Up – Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic

This DVD was released as part of the Walt Disney Treasures series in December, 2007, and includes a truly great new documentary tracing the history of Disneyland and what went into initially creating the park. Bonuses include an entertaining Disney trivia game, a very fascinating presentation (and commentary) of People and Places: Disneyland, U.S.A., several episodes of The Wonderful World of Color, a pleasant art gallery, and more.

Best Internet Video Series* – Disney Park Characters

These are a range of hilarious videos recorded by various Disneyland and Walt Disney World park guests focusing on the happenings of the Mad Hatter, Alice, Peter Pan, the Tremaines, and other characters throughout the parks. What’s so great about these is that – unlike the other candidates for this Bullseye category – most of them are of real events throughout the Disney parks that weren’t scripted, showing the true enchantment that exists in Disney’s characters and Cast Members. Links: Users Briberry, Disleanne, SkeletonStockings, MadHattress330, forevermeg4u.

Best Internet Video Series Runner-Up* –

Began in February, 2008, this is a collection of official Muppet videos featuring Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Pepe, Rizzo, and even some of the lesser-known characters like Bobo the Bear and Beauregard. The videos have been continuously added to the website since the site’s initial launch, and now contain enough material to provide quite a while of hilarious entertainment. They’re definitely worth checking out.

That wraps up this year’s BlakeOnline Bullseye Awards! Congratulations to all of the winners!

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted June 24, 2009. All images © Disney EXCEPT: Bullseye image © Disney/Pixar; American Idol image © Fox.


DVD Review – Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic

January 20, 2008
Image © Disney.

A very fascinating installment in the seventh wave of the ‘Walt Disney Treasures’ DVD series will delight Disney fans with trivia, little-known facts, and a plethora of exciting vintage footage and interviews celebrating the original Disney theme park.

By Blake

Originally posted January 20, 2008.

It’s about time!

Disney fans have been waiting for this DVD to arrive for over two years now. Originally supposed to be released in July 2005 in sync with the kickoff of Disneyland’s 50th anniversary celebration, Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, & Magic wasn’t initially intended for the Walt Disney Treasures series, but instead for a stand-alone, single-disc set. However, after repetitive push-backs and delays, here it lies on shelves under the Walt Disney Treasures label, jam-packed with plenty of fantastic extras and bonus material that we might not have seen if it was released when it was supposed to.

Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic was originally supposed to be released in 2005 in a case that would have looked like this. Image © Disney.

Thankfully, the set is WELL worth the long wait it went through, and I advise Disney fans to consider this impressive, limited numbered set before it’s gone.

Disc One

Approx. Total Disc Running Time – about 204 minutes (about 3 hours and 24 minutes)
Highlight of Disc – “Disneyland: Secrets, Stories & Magic”
Highlights Runner-Up – Audio Commentary for “People and Places: Disneyland USA”

Disc One Main Feature

Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, & Magic (about 81 minutes) – The main draw of this DVD set is the newly created documentary that tells the Disneyland story through archival footage and interviews with many faces familiar to Disney fans. Among these interviewees are Diane Disney Miller, Roy E. Disney, Julie Andrews, George Lucas, Pete Docter, John Lasseter, Bob Iger, Michael Eisner, Jay Rasulo, and many Imagineers who helped create the park in the 1950’s. The documentary truly is a magical film that starts out with Walt Disney’s dream of creating a place where all members of the family could enjoy themselves and then journeys through the construction of the park, the chaotic opening day, the continuous growth of the park throughout the years, and all the way up to today with the opening of Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage in June 2007.

Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is one of the attractions talked about in the new Disneyland documentary. Image © Disney.

Not only is the film a fascinating timeline into Disneyland’s history, but it also provides MANY small tidbits of trivia information that are quite neat, such as that the front of Sleeping Beauty Castle today was originally supposed to be the back (and vice versa); that due to plumbing issues on opening day Walt Disney had to choose between building either bathrooms or water fountains; that there was originally a “lost” ghost in The Haunted Mansion that’s no longer there, yet Disney has no official record of it ever existing; that the finale of Splash Mountain with all the critters dancing was built because the Imagineers had many left over Audio-Animatronics that they didn’t know where to put; and a simulator attraction similar to Star Tours was considered that involved a cowboy chase and was to be put in Frontierland. And that’s just a small sampling of the plethora of fun treats we find out in this truly magical film that captures the true essence of the Disney theme parks.

Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland, as it looked for the park’s 50th anniversary festivities during the Happiest Celebration on Earth. Image © Disney.

Disc One Bonus Features

Wonderful World of Disneyland Trivia Game (running time varies) – I don’t typically enjoy playing DVD games since there’s not much you can really do with a remote control as your joystick, though this one I actually took a taking to, especially since I’m a Disney fan. The game’s menu is set up like the map of Disneyland, and you select one of the eight lands of the park. After you make your selection, a short overview of the land you chose is played and then a question is asked about the land. If you get the question correct, you move on and get to choose another land yourself. If you get the answer wrong, the game automatically selects your next land choice and you eventually have to go back to the land you missed and answer another question. Once you’ve successfully answered all eight land’s questions, you receive a small virtual prize.

People and Places: Disneyland USA (about 41 minutes for each viewing option, about 123 minutes if all options are played) – A featurette that was theatrically released in 1956 to publicize Disneyland as part of Disney’s People and Places series, this is a nice overview of Disneyland that includes neat aerial views of the park. The featurette can be viewed in three options. First is the original 1956 theatrical version, with a narrator to guide you through the park. The second option is a real treat – an audio commentary of the featurette by Walt Disney Treasures host Leonard Maltin and longtime Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, who each chime in a good deal of information to give us a backdrop for the time period the film was released and to point out the significant changes the park has gone through since then. The last option is a “Music Version” that plays the featurette with no words or narration, just its score of various instrumental Disney songs.

Disc Two

Approx. total disc running time – about 201 minutes (about 3 hours and 21 minutes)
Highlight of Disc – Building Walt’s Dream: Disneyland Under Construction
Highlight Runner-Up – The Golden Horseshoe Revue

Disc Two Main Features

Operation Disneyland (about 14 minutes) – Originally not intended for the public’s eyes, this is a short bit of footage that was sent to ABC executives in 1955 to give the bosses there a peek into the creation of the daunting task of filming the live Disneyland opening day telecast. (The entire 90-minute broadcast can be seen on the 2001 DVD Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland USA.) The look behind the telecast that we see here is actually pretty fascinating, and it’s especially remarkable to find that construction was still going on in the park while its opening day festivities were being rehearsed.

The Golden Horseshoe Revue (about 49 minutes) – A 1962 episode of The Wonderful World of Color, this is an ENTIRE run-through of the 10,000th performance of the popular Disneyland show “The Golden Horseshoe Revue” that ran for 31 years in the park (and at one time also performed at Walt Disney World in Florida). The show is pure, simple fun. This episode features the Golden Horseshoe’s regular performers Wally Boag and Betty Taylor, as well as celebrity guests Annette Funicello (yes, the same Annette from The Mickey Mouse Club) and Ed Wynn (who played Uncle Albert in Mary Poppins and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland). The show has a western setting and involves several dance numbers featuring cowboys and Native Americans, as well as some funny comedy routines.

Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair (about 50 minutes) – This episode of The Wonderful World of Color that originally aired in May 1964 deals with Disney’s participation in the 1964-1965 New York World’s Fair, in which it contributed several attractions, among them It’s a Small World, the Carrousel of Progress, Primeval World and Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, all of which later went on to become Disneyland classics. The episode opens with an animated sequence dealing with the history of world fairs in the form of a nearly 10-minute-long song. Then, we’re taken to the Disney Studio to be shown how the 30-foot-tall dinosaurs of Disney’s prehistoric World’s Fair attraction, Primeval World, were built. Then it’s off to test the Audio-Animatronics for the attractions, a technology that was brand spanking new at the time. Finally, we’re taken to the finished product of It’s a Small World and given a complete ride-through of the attraction as seen in the 1964-1965 World’s Fair. Overall this episode provides a fascinating look into some of the backstage magic behind several classic Disney attractions, though some portions of the episode (such as the opening historical sequence and the Small World run-through) drag on a little too long.

Viewers get a peek into Disney’s attractions of the 1964-1965 World’s Fair in several episodes of The Wonderful World of Color. Image © Disney.

Disneyland Around the Seasons (about 50 minutes) – Another episode of The Wonderful World of Color, this recaps the year 1966 at Disneyland with highlights from the openings of attractions such as It’s a Small World, Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, Primeval World, and New Orleans Square. And, as you can probably tell by the list of those attractions, much of the material in this episode is borrowed from “Disneyland Goes to the World’s Fair” and at times gets somewhat repetitive. We’re also shown the gala openings of these attractions after they were imported from the World’s Fair to Disneyland.

The openings of those attractions take up about half of the episode, while the other half is about the Disneyland 1966 “Fantasy on Parade,” the park’s yearly Christmas parade. The real neat aspect of this is that even though no grand floats or quirky dancers are used, the parade still seems to satisfy the enthusiastic crowd. Another really fascinating thing worth mentioning is the look of all the characters – they look totally different than they do today! Pooh even has a honey pot on his head.

Concluding the episode is the Candlelight Processional, an annual Disneyland tradition where large assemblies of church choirs march their way down Main Street and head into Town Square for a lavish pageant featuring music and the telling of the Christmas story.

Disc Two Bonus Features

Building Walt’s Dream: Disneyland Under Construction (about 38 minutes) – During the construction of Disneyland, Walt Disney placed cameras all throughout the park, and the footage from those cameras is presented here to show a sped-up process of the building of Disneyland. The cameras show us footage from several different views in each of the lands of Main Street, Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, and Adventureland. As if that wasn’t fascinating enough, the construction footage is accentuated by a commentary track with Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter, as well as Ed Hobelman and Walter Magnuson. They chime in frequently with many little-known bits of information that are quite a treat to hear (such as that the rocket being erected on screen, which was the main draw of Tomorrowland, wasn’t put up until ten days before the park’s opening).

A fascinating look at the construction of the park is shown in “Building Walt’s Dream: Disneyland Under Construction.” Image © Disney.

Gallery (running time varies) – This is a still-frame gallery with a plethora of concept art, sketches, renderings, paintings, and posters for most of the Disneyland attractions and sets. It really is fascinating to see how much of the Imagineers’ original visions of Disneyland in these art pieces made it into what guests see in the park today.


On each disc, Walt Disney Treasures host Leonard Maltin provides us with a brief introduction to what we’ll be watching and gives us a background on what may have been happening in the Disney community at that time. Each discs’ menus are easy to navigate, and your selection on the screen is shown by either a small icon (disc one) or sparkling stars (disc two). The only issue I had with the menu format was on disc two – the background is a grid of various images, which made it somewhat confusing when picking images to view in the art gallery. At times I couldn’t tell the difference between the background and the art pieces.

The DVD set is a limited release, with 50,000 copies made, and each is presented in a signature Walt Disney Treasures silver tin, with a numbered certificate of authenticity inside the case. Also inserted inside the case are a sketch of Sleeping Beauty Castle by Herb Ryman and a replica of the original Disneyland ticket book. (Initially guests bought a ticket book that included separate tickets for each attraction, labeled from “A” to “E”, with “E” being the most exciting attractions.) I must say the inclusion of the Disneyland ticket book with this DVD was a nice, subtle surprise that I gladly appreciated.

A replica of a Disneyland ticket book is included in the Disneyland Secrets, Stories, and Magic DVD. Image © Disney.

Wrapping It Up

Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, & Magic is definitely one of the better Walt Disney Treasures installments to be released, and delivers a very intriguing look behind the scenes into the history of the happiest place on earth. The newly created documentary is a real treat with plenty of trivia to keep you watching. The People and Places featurette as well as its audio commentary are fascinating and the vintage episodes of The Wonderful World of Color show somewhat of a time capsule into the history of the park and are welcome additions to the set. Bonus features like “Operation Disneyland” and the construction cam show just how much work was put into creating the park. Additionally, the trivia game and the art gallery will surely keep you busy for a while. On top of that, the inclusion of the ticket book only ups the value of this already extraordinary DVD set, and will delight Disney fans for over seven (yup, seven!) entertaining, fun-filled hours of material.

How do I rank Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic DVD? (Bolded is my choice.)
Brilliant main feature + very good bonus features =
  • Aaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Walt Disney Treasure: Disneyland Secrets, Stories, & Magic DVD will most likely please: Disney fans – Adults – Older Folks

Related BlakeOnline articles:

By Blake; posted January 20, 2008. All images © Disney.

DVD Review – Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

December 29, 2007

Disney’s lost star finally returns home on a delightful 2-disc Walt Disney Treasures set that delivers rare and fun shorts though seems to be straining to come up with related bonus material.

By Blake

Originally posted December 29, 2007.

In the spring of 1928, Walt Disney went through a torturous experience that not only taught him an extremely valuable lesson, but shaped the motion picture industry forever by eventually leading to the creation of Mickey Mouse: he lost the rights to his first real cartoon star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. In a treacherous move, the distributor of the Oswald animated shorts that Walt’s studio had been creating, Charles Mintz, pulled the rug from under Walt’s shoes by stealing nearly all of Walt’s staff and reminding Walt that the Disney Studio didn’t actually own the characters they were creating cartoons of. Meaning that at any time they could be taken away from the studio forever, just like what was about to be done to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. Well, on the train ride back home while tossing around ideas for a new cartoon character, Mr. Disney thought of a plucky mouse whose head is shaped of three circles and, well, you can pretty much guess what that led to.

And that’s the infamous story of how Oswald was taken away forever and how Mickey was born. And that’s been the entire story. Until now, that is. In February 2006, in a slick move that no one, not even the Walt Disney Company, was quite expecting, Disney traded football announcer Al Michaels to Universal in exchange for the rights to the Oswald cartoons of the 1920’s, which Universal has legally owned all these years after Walt was jipped.

This brings us to today, when Disney has released their annual set of Walt Disney Treasures DVDs, and this round one of these prestigious 2-disc sets belongs to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.

Unlike every other volume in the WDT series, Oswald is housed in a snazzy gold tin box, as opposed the silver tin box the other installments are kept in. Inside the case are an Oswald button, a collectible sheet of sketches, a certificate of authenticity that shows the number of your specific DVD out of the 120,000 made, and a code redeemable for Disney Movie Rewards points (a WDT first). And, of course, there are the DVDs themselves.

Disc One
Approx. Total Disc Running Time: 133 mins. (2 hrs., 13 mins.)
Highlight of Disc: The Oswald Shorts
Runner-Up Highlight: “Oswald Comes Home”

Disc One opens with a commercial for Pixar Animated Short Film Collection Vol. 1, followed by an introduction to the disc by our host for the WDT series, Leonard Maltin. The menus of Disc One are easy to navigate, with a distinct bold red star indicating your choice on the screen. There are 13 Oswald shorts presented on Disc One, and bonus features on this disc include an “Oswald Comes Home” featurette, audio commentaries for 5 shorts, a fragment of a missing Oswald short, and a still frame gallery. Having been silent cartoons when they were originally released in the 1920’s, the shorts have been set to music with a brand new score created for each one. Due to the shorts originally being silent, they are abundant with sight gags and physical comedy, making them a pleasure to watch. Additionally, some of the shorts aren’t in the very best quality, as several only existed in 16mm prints to transfer from.

The Oswald Shorts

Trolley Troubles, 1927 (about 6 mins.) – Oswald is the conductor of a trolley, and he’s having a difficult time getting everyone where they need to be in one piece! The trolley continuously is making stops, falling off the tracks, flinging passengers into the air, and eventually gliding nonstop down a hill through plenty of tunnels. This cartoon is just all-around fun to enjoy. You’ll find nearly every Oswald adventure relies on some sort of chase scene to end the short, and this is one of the best presented on the set. The different struggles the trolley goes through are humorous to see, and the way Oswald is resourceful of his surroundings (such as when he temporarily removes his foot to rub is on his face for good luck – get it?) make the cartoon creatively funny.

Oh, Teacher, 1927 (about 6 mins.) – When Oswald’s girlfriend is drowning in a pond, he rushes to save her only to have the credit taken away from him by a rival who soon wins the heart of the floppy-eared female rabbit. In another misinterpretation, the girl rabbit thinks Oswald beat up the rival bully and once again returns to Oswald.

Great Guns!, 1927 (about 7 mins.) – Oswald enlists in the war and terribly misses his rabbit girlfriend. When he eventually gets in a fight and is injured by the general, Oswald ends up in the hospital, in the care of a nurse who happens to be his girlfriend. This short relies heavily on the chemistry and reaction between Oswald and the general, who make a fun rivalry to watch.

The Mechanical Cow, 1927 (about 6 mins.) – As it turns out, Oswald owns a mechanical cow that has all sorts of snazzy contraptions and gadgets. While Oswald impresses his rabbit girlfriend with the mechanical cow, the girlfriend is kidnapped by a villain and it’s up to Oswald to rescue her. This ensues in yet another Oswald chase scene! Eventually the mechanical cow helps Oswald save his rabbit girlfriend and all ends happily. This is one of the shorts that is in somewhat poor quality due to the transfer from 16mm prints. This particular short shows much creativity due to the different uses that the mechanical cow has.

The Ocean Hop, 1927 (about 6 mins.) – Oswald and Pete (that’s right, Peg Leg Pete, the same Pete from the Mickey series!) are in a race by plane to Paris. Reminiscent of the 1928 Mickey short Plane Crazy, Oswald invents a contraption to make a plane and, of course, a chase scene occurs and eventually Pete is beat to Paris by Oswald, who is greeted by cheering bystanders. This cartoon takes a while to pick up speed, but once we get into the plot it’s delightful to watch.

All Wet, 1927 (about 7 mins.) – Even though he’s supposed to be selling hot dogs at the fair, Oswald takes the day off to “fill in” as the lifeguard at the beach (without the real lifeguard’s consent) to impress his rabbit girlfriend. However, when the rabbit girlfriend is drowning, Oswald doesn’t know what to do! Eventually (after much trial and error attempts) Oswald saves her and receives a kiss.

Rival Romeos, 1928 (about 6 mins.) – It seems as though Oswald has dumped his rabbit girlfriend, because in this cartoon he has a new gal, this time a cat. Trying to woo her, Oswald appears outside her window and plays some music for her, only to have his music sheets eaten by a nearby goat. Well, that’s okay, he can just crank the goat’s tail and the music can come out of the mouth (sound familiar, Steamboat Willie fans?). Soon, an angry neighbor gets mad at Oswald for playing disrupting music, and before you know it the plot completely changes as a passerby attempts to win the heart of the cat girlfriend. As Oswald and the rival constantly try to win the girl, she’s eventually taken off into the sunset by neither of them – a completely different guy! This cartoon might have been a better one if it didn’t completely change plots in the middle of the short . . . it went from a funny problem of a complaining neighbor to a totally different concept of competing boyfriends.

Bright Lights, 1928 (about 8 mins.) – Oswald repeatedly tries new ways to get past the guard to snag a free seat for a lavish show at the theater. After several failed attempts, Oswald finally makes it inside, where he ruins the show and accidentally lets many wild animals loose inside the theatre! This short has many uses of Oswald’s body changing form to fit his situation best, which makes it humorous to watch.

Ozzie of the Mounted, 1928 (about 5 mins.) – Oswald is sent to capture the notorious Peg Leg Pete during a snowstorm. Oswald sets out on the expedition with another mechanical pet, though this time it’s a horse. Thus, another Oswald chase scene ensues, first with Oswald chasing Pete, then with a bear chasing Oswald and Pete! This cartoon reminded me of the 1929 Mickey Mouse short The Klondike Kid. This cartoon is also a joy to watch because the chase scene provides plenty of sight gags to enjoy.

Oh, What a Knight, 1928 (about 6 mins.) – Oswald visits the castle where apparently his cat girlfriend lives to sing her a song, when he is interrupted by the cat’s father, an angry bear who doesn’t exactly approve of Oswald and challenges him to a duel. Oswald sword fights the bear and of course wins. This cartoon isn’t exactly one of the best comedy-wise or story-wise, but is nicely animated, with shadows reflected on the walls of the castle as Oswald and the bear fight.

Sky Scrappers, 1928 (about 6 mins.) – VERY much like the 1933 Mickey cartoon Building a Building (nearly down to the second), Oswald is working at a construction site, and his cat girlfriend brings him some scrumptious lunch. Pete gets jealous and eventually it’s another rescue mission to get the girl.

The Fox Chase, 1928 (about 5 mins.) (J) – Another Oswald chase scene! This cartoon is basically one long chase scene, as Oswald enters a fox chase. Once his stubborn horse (who looks very much like Horace Horsecollar) finally gets moving, it’s a mad dash to catch the fox!

Tall Timber, 1928 (about 8 mins.) (J) – Oswald is canoeing down a river and constantly is troubled by the forces of nature, including animals and a giant rock chasing him (ANOTHER Oswald chase scene!). After Oswald escapes the rock, he is again chased, though this time by a bear. This cartoon is very fun to watch, and reminds me somewhat of the Roger Rabbit short Trail Mix-Up.

Disc One Bonus Features
“Oswald Comes Home” (about 14 mins.) – A look at the history of Oswald and how he returned home to the Walt Disney Company. It includes interviews with Disney execs Bob Iger and Roy Disney, plus Diane Disney Miller, Don Iwerks, and several animation historians who pipe in to share info. A very fascinating feature on the disc, this is definitely one of the highlights of the set, as it shows us the evolution of the Disney studio and the importance the Oswald shorts were to the company’s future success.

Audio Commentaries (about 36 mins.) – Audio commentaries for six of the Oswald shorts (The Ocean Hop, Oh Teacher, Oh What a Knight, Bright Lights, Ozzie of the Mounted, and The Fox Chase) with WDT host Leonard Maltin and animation historians Jerry Beck and Mark Kausler. For the most part they only point out to us who animated the scene we’re watching, and tell us to pay attention to the way the characters are drawn. While a nice addition to the disc, after watching all six of them they do seem to get a bit generic.

Sagebrush Sadie (about 1 min.) – As it turns out, Disney wasn’t able to retrieve all of the Oswald shorts after they acquired the rights to them! Sagebrush Sadie is one of the “missing” Oswald cartoons that doesn’t anymore exist in its entirety, but Disney was able to retrieve this tiny bit from it, which is presented here.

Art Gallery (self-guided) – A pleasant feature that pops up often on WDT volumes, this is a selection of still frame artwork pieces from the Oswald shorts. While the art is very neat to see, the downside to this feature is that there’s no slideshow option, and so to see every piece of art you have to continuously push your remote control. Additionally, you can’t view all the art at once. After seeing every eight pieces, you have to return to the menu and select the next page of art.

Disc Two
Approx. Total Disc Running Time: 132 mins (1 hr., 12 mins.)
Highlight of Disc: The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story
Highlight Runner-Up: “After Oswald” Shorts

Disc Two is all bonus material, and its contents seem to be tied on a very thin string in relation to Oswald. Disc Two’s menus are more difficult to navigate than Disc One’s because your selection on the screen is identified by a white Mickey glove . . . which ends up somewhat difficult to see on a white background. Disc Two includes a full-length feature film, as well as “Before Oswald” and “After Oswald” shorts.

Disc Two Bonus Features
The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (about 92 mins.) – An entire full-length feature film that was originally released by Disney in 1999, this is a biographical story of the man who virtually drew the entire Oswald and Mickey collection single-handedly (and the one who created the design for Mickey), Ub Iwerks. The only animator who didn’t turn on Walt when Oswald was stolen, Iwerks stayed loyal to the Disney Studio until Walt began getting the spotlight for Iwerks’ work. Eventually parting from Disney and setting up his own animation studio, Iwerks struggled to achieve the success he had had at Disney. A few years later he returned to Disney, where he continuously achieved technological heights, and changed the motion picture industry forever by inventing clever contraptions, such as the breakthrough that allowed those dancing penguins to duet with Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Eventually Iwerks died of a heart attack in 1971. The documentary is intriguing and fascinating, though gets a tad on the boring side by the end. Additionally, it doesn’t exactly relate to Oswald, the topic of this DVD. It does has a few minutes concerning Iwerks’ contribution to the Oswald shorts, but that’s about it. While the documentary is a welcome addition to the disc, it has me thinking that Disney was struggling to find bonus features while creating this DVD set.

Ub Iwerks animates Mickey Mouse. Iwerks was responsible for most of the animation in the Oswald and early Mickey shorts of the 1920’s and 1930’s and returned to Disney to provide innovative technologies to improve the entertainment industry.

“Before Oswald” Shorts (about 22 mins.) – Three shorts from the “Alice Comedies” series, a Disney cartoon series before Oswald that involved a live-action little girl in the cartoon world. Fortunately, the three shorts presented here aren’t repeats from the 2005 Disney Rarities WDT set, but unfortunately, they’re the same, dragged-on style as the other Alice shorts. I’ve never really liked the Alice series because they seem to have no real plot to them, and solely rely on slapstick gags for laughs instead of the story. On this set we have Alice Gets Stung (where Alice torments a bear, who sends a swarm of bees after her), Alice In the Wooly West (where animals hurt each other in the west, again with no real plot), and Alice’s Balloon Race (where animals continuously injure each other just to win a stinkin’ balloon race). I’ve never been a real big fan of the Alice Comedies anyway, and I don’t really see the relation between Alice and Oswald. Sure, Alice was made before Oswald . . . but why is that a reason to include the Alice shorts on this set?

The first Mickey Mouse cartoon ever released, the classic Steamboat Willie, is included on the “After Oswald” section of the Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit DVD.

“After Oswald” Shorts (about 20 mins.) – Again, these don’t really have anything to do with Oswald other than they were released after his cartoons were. Presented here are two Mickey shorts recycled from Mickey Mouse in Black & White Vol. 1, Steamboat Willie (the classic first ever appearance of Mickey and Minnie on a riverboat, as they play music using various animals) and Plane Crazy (where Mickey takes Minnie out for a flight in a home-made plane, much to Minnie’s dismay); as well as a classic Silly Symphonies short, The Skeleton Dance (where skeletons rise from their grave to perform random dance moves). While these cartoons are artistically and musically wonderful, they’re bonus material recycled from sets that I already own. I suppose the real incentive for these cartoons’ inclusion on this Oswald set is for those that starting liking the Walt Disney Treasures series after the first few rounds of installments were released (which included these early shorts) and haven’t already seen them, in which case this will be a real treat.

Wrapping It Up
It truly is wonderful to finally witness the legendary footage of Walt Disney’s long-lost cartoon character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, after all these years of having it deprived from Disney. Oswald is plucky, resourceful, and courageous; and his shorts are fun and whimsical to watch. The cartoons are presented in reasonable quality for having been transferred from such poor condition and the shorts’ audio commentaries are a nice touch to give us a little more insight on the cartoons. It’s nice that Disney has included the full-length Iwerks feature and the bonus Alice and Mickey cartoons on the disc, but they really don’t seem to relate to the set’s topic much. Perhaps if the other 13 lost Oswald shorts were retrieved it would have made a nicer DVD package, though for the time it’s just wonderful that the found material was restored and presented here. It definitely is nice to have Oswald home again, when at one time we thought Walt Disney’s first ever lead cartoon character would be lost forever.

How do I rank Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit? (Bolded is my choice.)

  • Aaaaah!
  • Blech
  • Not good
  • Good
  • Very good
  • Brilliant

Walt Disney Treasures: The Adventures of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit will most likely please: Disney Fans – Kids (ages 5-7) – Old Folks

By Blake; posted December 29, 2007. All images (C) Disney.