Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New on DVD: Walt Disney Treasures

At regular intervals over the last half-decade there have been new releases in a remarkable DVD series, WALT DISNEY TREASURES, hosted by Leonard Maltin. Each set contains Disney rareties, such as documentaries on DISNEYLAND USA or TOMORROWLAND, which mixed Imagineer Ward Kimball's programs on space with documentaries on Walt's futuristic designs for EPCOT. ON THE FRONT LINES featured Disney's WWII cartoons. The DVDs are packaged in special tins and typically have newly produced extras included along with the older material.

Among the sets our family has especially enjoyed are DISNEY RARETIES, which brought us cartoons such as PAUL BUNYAN, FERDINAND THE BULL, THE LITTLE HOUSE, and BEN AND ME, and SILLY SYMPHONIES which includes classics such as THE OLD MILL. (Disneyland's Storybook Land Canal Boats ride features the title mill, but we had never seen the cartoon until this DVD set.) My children have also loved spending time with SPIN AND MARTY, THE SWAMP FOX, and DAVY CROCKETT.

The sets are special in that they combine rarely seen "treasures" with entertainment enjoyed by the entire family.

This week sees the release of four new sets: YOUR HOST, WALT DISNEY (subject link), THE COMPLETE PLUTO, VOLUME 2, MORE SILLY SYMPHONIES, and THE HARDY BOYS. The DVDs, as described at Leonard Maltin's website Movie Crazy, sound wonderful, with commentary tracks and new featurettes among the extras.

My one complaint is redundancy: the Disneyland 10th Anniversary Show, included as part of YOUR HOST, WALT DISNEY, was included in the previously released DISNEYLAND USA set in 2001. It's a wonderful program, as Walt gives Disneyland Tour Guide Julie Reems a tour of the Imagineers at work, but I think it's reasonable to expect all-new material in each Disney Treasures set, not something we purchased five years ago.

Despite that one disappointment, I look forward to finding these under our Christmas tree. :)

For more info, please visit The Shelf.


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