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Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s

4.3 out of 5 stars 102 customer reviews

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(Dec 06, 2005)
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  • Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This fascinating volume features some of Walt's most unique animated triumphs. Included are several of Walt's "The Alice Comedies," a pioneering series of early short films that combined live-action and animation. These wonderful, lesser-known unique films pre-date much of the work that would make him world-famous. "Alice's Wonderland" is one of Walt's very first films. Fans will enjoy the unique animation of "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom," which won an Academy Award(r) (Best Short Subject (Cartoon) 1953) and was the first cartoon produced in Cinemascope. This short film established a completely new animation style for the Studio. DISNEY RARITIES, CELEBRATED SHORTS 1920s-1960s showcases a large collection of Walt's outstanding animated shorts that fans may not be aware of. Bonus features include: "Alice's Cartoon World" in which Leonard Maltin discusses Disney's historic "Alice" shorts with Virginia Davis who played the original Alice when she was 4-years old; "From Kansas City to Hollywood" - a timeline of Walt's silent era; "A Feather In His Collar" a rarely seen short supporting the Community Chest; audio commentary for "A Symposium On Popular Songs" by composer Richard Sherman, and still frame galleries. Introductions by Leonard Maltin.

* Alice's Wonderland * Ben and Me
* Alice Gets in Dutch * Football, Now and Then
* Alice's Wild West Show * Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom
* Alice in the Jungle * Pigs Is Pigs
* Alice's Egg Plant * Social Lion
* Alice's Mysterious Mystery * A Cowboy Needs a Horse
* Alice the Whaler * Hooked Bear
* Ferdinand the Bull * In the Bag
* Chicken Little * Jack and Old Mac
* The Pelican and the Snipe * The Story of Anyburg, U.S.A.
* The Truth about Mother Goose * The Brave Engineer
* Paul Bunyan * Morris, the Midget Moose
* Noah's Ark * Lambert, the Sheepish Lion
* Goliath II * The Little House
* The Saga of Windwagon Smith * Adventures in Music: Melody
* A Symposium on Popular Songs


Disney Rarities lives up to its title: It's been impossible to see many of these shorts for decades. Walt Disney bankrupted his fledgling Laugh-O-Gram studio making "Alice's Wonderland," but the short earned Disney his first national distribution contract. Films featuring animated characters in live-action settings were common during the silent era; Disney reversed the situation, placing a live actress (Virginia Davis) in a cartoon world. The "Alice" series ran from 1923-1926, and several girls played the title role. These silent films have been handsomely restored and given upbeat musical tracks by Alex Rannie.

The Oscar-winners "Ferdinand the Bull" (1938) and "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" (1953) rank as genuine classics, and have been unavailable for far too long. The wartime cautionary tale "Chicken Little" (1943) displays more imagination than the 2005 feature adaptation of the same story. "The Truth About Mother Goose" (1957) reflects the influence of Sleeping Beauty (1959), which was in production then; the elephants in "Goliath II" (1960) anticipate the ones in The Jungle Book (1967).

"Noah's Ark" (1959), Disney's first stop-motion film, features cleverly designed animals made from pencils, erasers, corks, pipecleaners, and other found objects, but the obstrusive '50s songs quickly cloy. Many of the films from the '50s and early '60s ("Pigs Is Pigs," "A Cowboy Needs a Horse," "Paul Bunyan" ) reflect the look of the UPA Studio. The characters are flatter, simpler, and more angular; the backgrounds, more stylized. Although Disney had dominated the cartoon short during the '30s, the studio largely shifted to feature and television production during the '40s and '50s. Disney Rarities is a set fans and students of animation will want to own. (Unrated, suitable for all ages: cartoon violence, tobacco use, ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon

Special Features

Alice's Cartoon World: An Interview With Virginia Davis

Product Details

  • Actors: Hal Smith, Ralph Wright, Laurie Main, John Fiedler, Will Ryan
  • Directors: Bill Justice, Charles A. Nichols, Clyde Geronimi, Dick Rickard, Hamilton Luske
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: G (General Audience)
  • Studio: Buena Vista Home Entertainment / Disney
  • DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
  • Run Time: 326 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,214 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's not exactly a state secret that the "Disney Treasures" DVDs have been big money-makers for the company. So how do you squeeze a little extra cash out of a cash cow? Why, start throwing animated shorts onto DVD without remastering them, that's how!

Yep, the bulk of these cartoons are presented in vintage 20-year-old transfers. The images are soft and low-res, colors are frequently washed-out (I defy you to find the color tan anywhere in "Paul Bunyan"), and Cinemascope films such as "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" are presented in non-anamorphic widescreen. If you have a 16X9 TV, prepare yourself for a joyless experience.

The shorts themselves are largely second-tier Disney, with a few bona fide masterpieces such as "Ferdinand the Bull." Others show that when the Disney artists tackled a new field (such as UPA-style limited animation in "A Cowboy Needs a Horse," or dimensional animation in "Noah's Ark," with its fanciful found-object animals) they could do it better than just about anybody else. Kids may become a tad restless at times, but animation fans and Disney completists will be in heaven.

Bottom line: If Disney's going to call these shorts "Treasures" they should treat them as such.
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Format: DVD
Among the four Disney Treasures DVD sets that came out this year for Wave 5 of the popular collection, Disney Rarities, Chronological Donald Volume Two, Legendary Heroes, and Spin and Marty, I do believe this is the set I was most anticipating. "Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts" collects some of the most loved one-shot Disney shorts right alongside some of the most unseen! Starting all the way back with Walt's early Alice films and carrying all the way through to 1962's "A Symposium On Popular Songs," the mixed bag that is this 2-disc collection provides treat after treat of beautiful animation, charming stories and songs, and fond childhood memories! Here's what you get in this gorgeous DVD set!

Disc 1:
Alice's Wonderland (1923): The first of Walt's silent Alice Comedies that combined live-action and animation, this charming short stars the adorable little Virginia Davis and costars a young Mr. Disney himself! In it, Walt gives Alice a tour of a magical animation studio which leads to an animated dream sequence for Alice that night.
Alice's Wild West Show (1924): Probably the best of the Alice comedies I've seen, and Virginia's favorite, the live-action sequences of this are very reminiscent of the early "Little Rascals" films, and, of course, there are animated sequences as well. Alice and her friends are putting on a wild west show, but when bullies chase her costars away, Alice resorts to telling tales of her adventures with Indians and baddies.
Alice Gets In Dutch (1924): Little Alice gets the dunce cap in school one day for playing with a balloon, and when she falls asleep on her stool, she has to deal with a cartoon teacher and her living schoolbooks!
Alice's Egg Plant (1925): Sadly, Virginia Davis is replaced by Anne Shirley in this short.
Read more ›
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Format: DVD
The cartooons on Disney Rarities are Alice's Wonderland (1923),

Alice Gets in Dutch (1924), Alice's Wild West Show (1924),

Alice in the Jungle (1925), Alice's Egg Plant (1925),

Alice's Mysterious Mystery (1926), Alice the Whaler (1927),

Ferdinand the Bull (1938), Chicken Little (1943),

The Pelican and the Snipe (1944), The Brave Engineer (1950),

Morris, the Midget Moose (1950),

Lambert, the Sheepish Lion (1952), The Little House (1952),

Melody (1952), Ben and Me (1953),

Toot, Whistle, Plunk & Boom (1953), Pigs Is Pigs (1954),

Social Lion (1954), A Cowboy Needs a Horse (1956),

Hooked Bear (1956), In the Bag (1956), Jack and Old Mac (1956), The Story of Anyburg, U.S.A. (1957),

The Truth about Mother Goose (1957), Paul Bunyan (1958),

Noah's Ark (1959), Goliath II (1960),

The Saga of Windwagon Smith (1961) and

A Symposium on Popular Songs (1962). The bonus feature are Alice's Cartoon World - Leonard Maltin talks with Virginia Davis about the Alice shorts, From Kansas City to Hollywood - a timeline of Walt's silent era, A Feather in His Collar short from 1946, Audio commentary by composer Richard Sherman on A Symposium on Popular Songs and some galleries.
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My 7 and 11 year old boys love most of the first disc and do not like most of the second disc. Alice is very appealing and funny, and they like the adaptations of the children's books, as well as the Professor Owl music lessons. The second disc seems more academic, with some experiments in style and stop-motion animation that fall flat aesthetically and are a bore or just difficult to sit through. I think this set is of great interest to animation history fans, but there are better choices if you're looking for something your children will want to watch, like the Mickey, Donald and Pluto sets, and for boys, the "On the Front Lines" set.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
At first, I was very excited to hear about the content being released on this latest wave of Disney Treasures. I grew up watching a lot of these cartoons, but haven't seen them in years, and I couldn't wait to get reaquainted.

Now I've had slight misgivings in the past over how they *present* the material on these discs with numerous, ridiculous warnings and disclaimers (many of which you can't skip past) and the fact that we have to skip past Leonard's introduction EVERY time we watch the discs does get rather annoying. But despite these concerns, there was one thing I never worried about (until now) and that is the QUALITY of the material. Up to this point, the material itself has always been beautifully remastered and has looked great! This was an aspect I didn't even think to worry about it before I ordered this disc because I trusted this line of Disney product and the people who promote it. Now I come to find out that through many advertisements and press materials, the customer has been misled to regard the new releases as up to par with the previous releases. This is simply not true! They look horrible!

Why would Disney do this? Why build up a fan base of these releases, promise them one thing, deliver it for quite a while, and then all of a sudden decide to do a 180 and screw them over? BAD BUSINESS. It's things like this that make me so upset over the current state of Disney. Their lack of concern for the customer at times is just appalling. We desperately need this problem to be fixed. As suggested, we deserve a new wave of remastered material, and a disc-swap should be put in place as soon as possible. Untll that point, I'm boycotting these releases and spreading the word as far as I can. I realize a lot of you want to see the shorts contained on these discs, as do I, but DO NOT REWARD THEM with your money for this shoddy and falsely advertised product.

Make them get it right!
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Does it have "song of the south"?
I went to the Disney Club online to ask and I haven't heard from them yet. If there is an issue with the portrayal of the era, I would like to see a remake of the movie with all the major characters as Black. There is an island off Georgia that states they have the original stories. Why can't the... Read More
Sep 19, 2015 by Qelilah Solomon |  See all 3 posts
Is The Brave Engineer, Melody, and Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom... Be the first to reply
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