Before man ventured into space, Walt Disney took the nation there. This set of the Walt Disney Treasures
consists of "Science Factual" shows that aired mostly in the 1950s. On the first disc, Ward Kimball, one of the company's ace animators, directs three 50-minute segments on space travel dealing with space flight, going to the moon, and going to Mars. A combination of lecture (by the tops in the field, including lead rocket designer Dr. Werner von Braun), animation, live-action segments, and models, the three segments are still relevant as they effortlessly teach such elements as why rockets are in stages, what is gravitational force, orbiting, air pressure, and even the psychological effects on the mind. It is impressive how easily these Tomorrowland
features entertain audiences of all ages. Of course, some of the details are wrong, but the wonder is not, and the final segment--a most poetic survey about what life might be like on Mars--illustrates Disney animated magic at its best.
The second disc takes on weather reporting (including a James Bond-ish way of changing the weather), how satellites work, and the touchstone 1958 short "Our Friend the Atom," a staple of explaining the world of atomic energy. Shown for the first time in its entirety is an informative pitch for EPCOT. It's not a version of the theme park now in Florida, but Walt Disney's lyrical vision of a city of the future, a dream never realized with his death two months after filming in 1966. Leonard Maltin introduces each segment, putting it in historical context and noting some political incorrectness and oversights, like atomic energy having no downside. The programs still entertainingly show the promises of the future: humans on Mars seem so tangible, even though the space program lost its way in the forthcoming decades. --Doug Thomas
Walt Disney was a true visionary, and his most far-reaching vision examined the future. During the 1950s, his investigation into space exploration and the wondrous opportunities and challenges of space travel not only came alive in several Disneyland TV shows, but helped create strong public support for The United States space program. Go back in time to the beginning of the future and enjoy four episodes and a theatrical short that delve into the mysteries of the universe and space travel -- "Man In Space," "Man And The Moon," "Mars And Beyond," "Eyes In Outer Space," and "Our Friend The Atom." You'll also get a rare look at Walt's last film, "EPCOT," in which he reveals his concepts and plans for the Disney World and EPCOT projects. Other not-to-be-missed features include a special interview with noted futurist and author Ray Bradbury. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.