Walt Disney Treasures - Disney Rarities - Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
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
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Perhaps most importantly, we get several installments from the silent "Alice Comedies" series. Over fifty shorts were produced between the years 1923-27, showcasing a live little girl in an animated wonderland. Several girls played Alice during the run of the series, the first and most famous being Virginia Davis--who has the unique honor of being Disney's very first star, pre-dating even one Mickey Mouse! Davis' most beloved episode ("Alice's Wild West Show") is included in this set.
My favourite shorts include "Lambert the Sheepish Lion" and "The Little House" (modeled after the art of Mary Blair) , both warmly narrated by Sterling Holloway. "Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom!" has the distinction of being the first Disney short to be filmed in CinemaScope and stereophonic sound--it also picked up an Academy Award in 1953. "Ferdinand the Bull" (an Oscar winner in 1938) is another valuable addition to this set. "The Truth About Mother Goose", one of Disney's unusually dark musical shorts, also makes an appearance; along with the riotous comedy gem "Pigs is Pigs", the story of a railroad station-master who inherits an ever-growing family of guinea pigs.
In the extras, Leonard Maltin shares an insightful interview with Virginia Davis (now sadly no longer with us), and also details Disney's early career in the featurette "From Kansas to Hollywood". Songwriter Richard Sherman provides an audio commentary for one of his favourite shorts, 1962's "A Symposium on Popular Songs" on Disc 2.
If you're building a library of Disney's cartoon classics, this Treasures Tin is a must own--if only for the super-rare Alice shorts (which really deserve their own tin release). A delightful, timeless slice of magical entertainment for the entire family!
The funny thing is the oldest stuff on this set (Alice's Wonderland), looks extremely good considering they were made in the 20's. Most of the other shorts range from good to excellent, but too may time they look a little soft or slightly washed out. Nothing looks so bad that I would call them total trash, but it's obvious that they could have looked a lot better. It's as if they said "They look pretty good...just leave them that way!"
On the plus side this is a really great collection of Walt's lesser known works, but I was amazed at how many of these shorts I remembered, but had been long forgotten. The shorts range anywhere from 6 to 21 minutes and are much more diverse than past collections featuring one character.
Disc one features 18 shorts including the 7 Alice's Wonderland that have survived the past 80 years. Five of the seven look very good with two shorts looking a bit tattered. It's a great addition of these shorts regardless as I found them to be entertaining and interesting. The rest of the shorts on disc one are of varying quality too. It's a shame that the care wasn't taken to make this shorts jump off the screen, but they are all acceptable. The extras on these sets are getting a little thin too, but what is here is appropriate for the collection.
Disc two includes 13 shorts, but being that some are rather long, I don't feel short changed. Overall this is a set I wouldn't pass up if you're a fan of Disney animation, but it would have been great if more care was given to the shorts. The rare collection of true rarities certainly makes up for the sets shortcomings.
Max and Dave Fleischer had already introduced a cartoon series called "Out of the Inkwell" which superimposed animated figures on real film backgrounds (allowing a live actor to interact with a cartoon character). Walt borrowed this idea for the first segments of "Alice's Wonderland" and for the later segments he reversed it and superimposed a live actress (Virginia Davis) on an animated background. Virginia's mother let them shoot the live scenes in her house with Virginia's aunt playing Alice's mother.
The film begins with little Alice visiting an animation studio, where Walt and Ub Iwerks are working. They show her some scenes on their drawing boards and these turn into moving cartoons, which interact with live things in the studio. The best is a cartoon mouse (imagine that) poking a live cat until it moves. Although everything was silent in 1923 some music was later added to the production.
Back home from her day at the studio, the sleeping Alice dreams of taking a train to cartoon-land. She appears in live action superimposed on a cartoon background and interacts with a variety of cartoon animals. Finally, she jumps off a cliff and after falling for a while wakes up in her own bed.
Walt ran out of money before "Alice's Wonderland" could be finished and his company was disbanded. He moved out to Los Angeles and eventually sent what had been completed to an independent cartoon distributor in New York who contracted for a series of Alice cartoons.
Virginia Davis joined Walt in California and they began cranking out the series. Eventually there would be 56 Alice cartoons although Virginia was eventually replaced over a pay dispute.
"Alice's Wonderland" was probably never really completed. It appears that at some point they reassembled it to provide an ending (basically just a repeat of an earlier scene in a different context). It is also likely that the falling scene was originally intended for a rabbit hole entrance to Wonderland at the start of the dream sequence, but was moved to the end to substitute for the unfinished portion.
"Alice Gets in Dutch" is another early example of the series but Disney had already figured out the basic economies of the cartoon business. It was far cheaper in those days to film live action than to draw the 12 frames per second needed for good animation, and the first half of "Alice Gets in Dutch" is live action. Of course the reverse is true today as computer animation is now cheaper than filming live action ("Ultraviolent" is actually a return to the silent film days where Fleischer's live characters interact with animation).
The short begins with Alice in a classroom where she is blamed when an exploding balloon covers her teacher's face in ink. Alice is banished to a stool in the corner and given a Dunce Cap (when is the last time you saw one of those). She falls asleep and dreams she is outside the schoolhouse dancing with a bunch of cartoon animals. A cartoon version of her teacher (with devil's horns) comes outside the break up the fun. Trailing behind as her assistants are three animated books; labeled reading-writing-arithmetic.
The two sides shoot cannons at each other with inconclusive results until a cayenne pepper charge cause the books to sneeze until they are just piles of pages. But the next charge backfires and Alice and her pals begin to sneeze.
Although crudely drawn the animations do convey a bit of personality and Virginia Davis does a great job with her part.These silent cartoons are surprisingly entertaining. More importantly, Alice qualifies as Disney's first enduring character and the Alice series was his first successful venture.
By the time of "Alice's Mysterious Mystery", Margie Gay had replaced Virginia. To disguise this charge, Disney eliminated tight shots of the live character and went entirely with wide shots. The economics of the animation business had begun to dictate quality and quantity; meaning the stories were cut to one reel (six minutes) and the animation far less elaborate. In spite of this the characters in "Alice's Mysterious Mystery" still convey some personality.
"Alice's Mysterious Mystery" is about as bizarre a story as you are likely to find. A mouse (not Mickey) and a bear supply a sausage factory with dog meat; first they pose as dogcatchers and capture a schoolhouse of puppies, then an attractive female dog lures male dogs to the factory window where the cat and bear open a trapdoor which whisks them into the basement. A helper down there hits them with a mallet and deposits them in cells. Then he takes them into a killing room and presumably stuffs them into sausage skins (I'm not joking this really happens).
Adding to the surreal quality of the thing are the Ku Klux Klan hoods and robes worn by the bear, mouse, and the basement henchman. Alice and Julius the Cat eventually save the day but not for those who have already been made into sausage.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.