Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette
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Annette. To legions of Mickey Mouse Club fans she was magic. Chosen by Walt himself as an original cast member, Annette soon became the most popular Mousketeer and was given a daily series of her own. Showcased here is the entire fish-out-of-water series, about an innocent girl from the country who moves to the suburbs to live with her well-to-do aunt and uncle. Airing during the third and final season of The Mickey Mouse Club, the 20-episode series was unlike earlier series -- it featured original music including the song that helped launch Annette's music career. Enriching this celebration of Annette are the two complete Mickey Mouse Club episodes that introduced and concluded the series, plus a new tribute to her remarkable career and more. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.
Annette Funicello was "was the perfect girl next door!" enthuses former teen actress and pal Shelley Fabares in the excellent documentary included in Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette, 1957-1958. But Annette, TV's first true breakout kid star, was so much more--the Britney/Miley/Lindsay of her day, loved by children as well as their moms and dads. This wonderful boxed set is rich with Disney memories, including 20 Mickey Mouse Club Annette episodes, and extras including the lovely documentary (featuring an interview with the adult, still lovely Funicello, done in the early 1990s) and two complete special MMC episodes focusing on music. There is also an invaluable introduction and ongoing commentary by film historian Leonard Maltin, who gives great context for Funicello's career. She was the only Mouseketeer hand-picked by Walt himself, and her appearance on the show marked a departure for the previously very white-bread medium, as Funicello was "ethnic-looking," her dark Italian features unusual on '50s TV.
This set focuses on episodes when Annette comes to California to stay with her aunt and uncle, and basically does teenager stuff, like hanging out at the malt shop, making plans for the weekend sock hop, and figuring out how to pin on corsages. At one point, Annette's stuffy uncle suggests she attend a school different from one a new pal goes to, and the usually compliant Annette simply has to burst out, "Oh, please, Uncle Archie, can't I go to Old South High, Jet says it's keen!" It's all very quaint and endearing, and a reminder of how winsome the young Annette was, before she became a singing sensation ("Tall Paul") and boogied on the beach with Frankie Avalon in the '60s. Disney and early-television fans will want this sweet--make that keen collection. --A.T. Hurley
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With that said, I do wish Disney had a play all feature. Each time an episode ends (and some of them last no more than 10 mins) it pops back to the main menu and then you'll need to select the next episode. The opening credits get tiring to sit through, so you'll need to fast forward each time through them.
As always, Leonard Maltin does a great introduction on both discs to provide historical perspective and context.
I hope Disney never stops issuing these great, unseen classics - both animated and live. I've been collecting these since the initial series started in their beautiful tin cans.
ANNETTE is another must-buy! (and only 35,000 editions available)
I chose this as a birthday gift for myself. For years I remembered the story, or at least bits of it, I remembered Roberta Shore (here called Jimmie Shore) and the song "Don't Jump To Conclusions" or at least parts of it. It was a sweet, if odd story, where an orphan goes to live with a maiden aunt and uncle (don't laugh, I had several maiden aunts and uncles). Her adventured included fitting in with the wealthier crowd, yet having fun with the farm girl who delivered the family's eggs and milk (remember when we had a milkman and a bread man???). She was shabbily treated by one girl who was jealous of Annette's popularity, and the typical story ensued.
I loved it! I would rather watch this every week than see some of the reality junk they have on TV! I will watch it again in six months or so, just for the atmosphere of the fifties and sixties. It may seem odd to today's young people, but I ate it up when I was a little girl!
Part of the Walt Disney Treasures collection, this two disc DVD set contains the first week's worth of episodes from 1955. Each of the five episodes runs approximately 47 minutes and are presented in black and white, which is how they were originally filmed and broadcast.
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday start off with newsreels. A foreign concept now, they highlight kids around the world and things they are accomplishing. Each episode contains another entry in the first series "I Want to Be an Airline Pilot/Hostess" which follows two kids as they get a behind the scenes tour of TWA. Some of the attitudes are definitely 1950's gender rolls, but considering that's when it was created, nothing else should be expected. Each episode also contains a Mickey Mouse cartoon. Since the show was filmed in black and white, the cartoons are black and white as well no matter what their original color release was. For those looking for the cartoons in color, it's best to look at other Disney Treasures releases.
Each episode also includes the Mouseketeers and the theme of the day. Monday they get to sing and dance with "The Friendly Farmer" and "The Shoe Song," a couple funny songs. Tuesday brings guest Wally Boag and his puppet friend doing a show. Also featured is a balloonist making animals while telling jokes. When anything can happen on Wednesday, the Mouseketeers form a gadget band with the pans, bottles, and combs found lying around the set. Thursday features the DeWaynes Acrobats for Circus Day. Finally, Friday highlights the trumpet talent of Larry Ashurst and Mouseketeer Cubby O'Brien's drumming.
Just now watching these shows as an adult, I must confess I don't quite see the appeal. Of course, I'm about 50 years too late and at least 20 years too old to be in the target audience. After the first couple episodes, I was ready to quit. Then an interesting thing happened. I started to enjoy them. Not that I want to sit down and watch every episode ever made of the show, but I was beginning to find something appealing about the hokey songs and antics. By the end, I was disappointed that I didn't have the next episode to see what happened next in the serial.
No Disney Treasures set would be complete without some kind of bonus features. Besides the introduction on both discs by Leonard Maltin, disc one features a tribute to head Mouseketeer Jimmie Dodd and disc two features six of the original Mouseketeers (Sharon Baird, Bobby Burgess, Lonnie Burr, Doreen Tracey, Cubby O'Brien, and Karen Pendleton) sharing memories of what it was like to be on the show. Both are fascinating. In addition, both discs contain stills galleries of behind the scenes pictures. Disc two also contains the opening in color (it was filmed in both originally), and some footage of the Mouseketeer performance at Disneyland's opening day.
Some of the Disney Treasures sets are designed with a specific audience in mind. This set will appeal most to Baby Boomers looking for a reminder of their childhood and confirmed Disney fanatics. Others probably won't enjoy these five programs from fifty years ago.