"Welcome to Disney Studios, we've been expecting you!"
I'm a huge fan of bonus features for DVD and Blu-Ray. While a lot of people are content with just the movie and some deleted scenes, I relish any opportunity to learn more about a film or television series I've just watched. My DVD and Blu-Ray collection has a staggering amount of titles, most of which contain bonus features that I've sadly had the chance to watch only once or twice. However, there are always certain bonus features that simply must be watched after I've seen the film. They turn a night of movie watching into an entire event, in which I fully immerse myself into the film. Last week, I watched one of my favorite Disney movies, 1960's Swiss Family Robinson, and immediately went through the second disc of bonus features. I realized that while there are nearly three hours of material of supplements, my favorite was the "Disney Studio Album."
The concept is fairly simple. Disney takes the year a film was released - in this case, 1960 - and puts together a montage of all the other films, television shows, and theme park attractions that were released or in production. These are all edited together with very majestic music, which always reminded me of the first few bars of the theme song for CBS soap "The Bold and the Beautiful." Bold and beautiful could accurately describe the montage as well. Clips highlight the best scenes from the films and television episodes, also supported with various photos, and the music changes according to the type of material shown. What follows below is a listing of all the films, television shows, and events that make up the 1960 Disney Studio Album, highlighted with images from some of my favorites. It is interesting to notice how many projects feature Kevin Corcoran; 1960 was a banner year for him, although his sole animation credit as the voice of the titular Goliath II is strangely omitted from the montage.
Pollyanna - Hayley Mills in her breakout role, as the wholesome and optimistic Pollyanna, a girl who manages to turn everyone's frown upside down. The film was a box-office disappointment, which Walt Disney partly attributed to the title: "I think the picture would have done better with a different title. Girls and women went to it, but men tended to stay away because it sounded sweet and sticky." Available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 1
Ten Who Dared - Fess Parker (best known as Davy Crockett) leads nine additional men on an expedition down the Colorado River. One of Disney's technological marvels, it was the first to use a new sodium screen process that would be perfected throughout the 1960's. Available on DVD exclusively through Disney Movie Club.
Kidnapped - the third Disney role for James MacArthur, who had previously played True Son in The Light in the Forest and Rudi Matt in Third Man on the Mountain. His final Disney role would be Fritz Robinson in Swiss Family Robinson, released later in the year. Available on DVD exclusively through Disney Movie Club.
Toby Tyler - the ten-week story about a young orphan (the incomparable Kevin Corcoran in the title role) who joins the circus. For me, Gene Sheldon's character of Sam Treat is the heart and soul of the picture. Available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 2
The Sign of Zorro - a theatrical feature edited together from the first eight episodes of the series, covering the Monastario storyline, which aired on ABC from October 10, 1957 to November 28, 1957. This is a great example of Disney's shrewd planning and the high quality of his work. Productions that were made for television could also be available as theatrical features. Not available on DVD.
Swiss Family Robinson - one of Disney's greatest films of the 1960's. Family fun, high adventure, and beautiful scenery help bring the Robinson story to life, also thanks in part to the wonderful actors: Sir John Mills, Dorothy McGuire, James MacArthur, Tommy Kirk, and Kevin Corcoran. Janet Munro and Sessue Hayakawa co-star. Available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 3
101 Dalmatians (in production) - Disney's first animated feature with a contemporary setting, it also heralded their new Xerography process for animation, and marked Marc Davis' final contribution to the animation studios. Davis would go on to work with WED Enterprises (now Walt Disney Imagineering). Available on DVD.
Babes in Toyland (in production) - the first live-action Disney "musical" in the traditional sense. An episode of "The Wonderful World of Color" entitled "Backstage Party" promoted the film, with a tour of the Disney lot and a look at the sets created for the film. Available on DVD, soon to be available on Blu-Ray.
Corcoran Count: 4
The Absent Minded Professor (in production) - remade in 1997 as Flubber, the Fred MacMurray original was one of the few films that Disney intentionally filmed in black and white. On a personal note, this was one of the earliest Disney films my mother remembers seeing in theatres. Available on DVD, soon to be available on Blu-Ray.
Japan - one of two "People & Places" shorts that focused on Japan, this one focused on a fishing village and sea culture. Not available on DVD.
Islands of the Sea - a two-reel theatrical short that is unofficially part of the "True-Life Adventures" series (unofficial only because it does not contain the "True-Life Adventure" title during the opening credits), which takes us through various islands of the sea. Released in early 1960, although it would have made an ideal companion to Swiss Family Robinson's December release. Available on DVD.
Winter Olympics (Art Direction) - this was something I was completely unaware of until watching this bonus feature ten years ago. Walt Disney was chairman of the Pageantry Committee, and produced both the opening and closing ceremonies!
The Matterhorn (Opens) - a roller coaster attraction still in operation at Disneyland, based on the real mountain in the Swiss Alps, also used in 1959's Third Man on the Mountain. Walt Disney attributed the hole in the mountain (where the Skyway once passed through) to its Swiss origins: if their cheese can have holes, so can his mountain.
The Submarine Ride (Opens) - a deep sea attraction at Disneyland with eight submarines, Disney's own little nautical fleet. The attraction closed in 1998, before re-opening in 2007, now featuring a Finding Nemo theme.
Monorail System (Opens) - a transportation service utilized in both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, still in use today. Please stand clear of the doors, por favor mant�nganse alejado de las puertas!
Awards - a montage of photos show some of Disney's awards in 1960, including the Laurel Awards.
Pantry Pirate (reissue) - a 1940 Pluto short as he tries to get a ham from the pantry. Available on DVD.
Toy Tinkers (reissue) - a 1949 Donald Duck cartoon in which he tries to protect his roasted chestnuts from Chip 'n' Dale, with hilarious results. Available on DVD.
Fathers are People (reissue) - a 1951 Goofy cartoon that also features Goofy Jr., who would later be known as Max. Available on DVD.
Mickey and the Seal (reissue) - a 1948 Mickey Mouse cartoon where a young seal follows Mickey home and into the bathtub. Available on DVD.
Donald's Dilemma (reissue) - a 1947 Donald Duck cartoon that actually pushes Daisy to the forefront, a rarity in the classic shorts. Available on DVD.
Corn Chips (reissue) - a 1951 Donald Duck cartoon where Chip 'n' Dale try to steal Donald's popcorn. Available on DVD.
Contrary Condor (reissue) - a 1944 Donald Duck cartoon in which he cares for an egg, only to end up mistaken as the hatchling from another of mother condor's eggs. Available on DVD.
Donald's Double (reissue) - a 1946 Donald Duck cartoon where he hires a posh look-alike to romance Daisy for him. Available on DVD.
The Horse With the Flying Tail - a theatrical documentary that later aired on "Walt Disney Presents," focusing on American Quarter Horse Peter de Oro, a racehorse who would often raise his tail after clearing a fence. Available on DVD exclusively through Disney Movie Club.
Texas John Slaughter - Tom Tryon stars as Texas John Slaughter in this popular 17-episode Western serial for "Walt Disney Presents." Episodes 10 through 13 aired in 1960: "Desperado from Tombstone," "Apache Friendship," "Kentucky Gunslick," and "Geronimo's Revenge." Not available on DVD
The Swamp Fox - Leslie Nielsen stars as Francis Marion, a.k.a. the Swamp Fox in an 8-episode series. Episodes 3 through 6 aired in 1960: "Tory Vengeance," "Day of Reckoning," "Redcoat Strategy," and "A Case of Treason." Only "Tory Vengeance" is available on DVD.
Elfego Baca - Robert Loggia stars as Elfego Baca in the 10-episode series. Episodes 9 and 10 aird in 1960: "Friendly Enemies at Law" and "Gus Tomlin Is Dead." Not available on DVD.
Escape to Paradise - Walt Disney takes viewers to Tobago to see the production of Swiss Family Robinson. Originally broadcast with the True-Life Adventure Water Birds. Available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 5
Daniel Boone - Dewey Martin stars as Daniel Boone in the 4-episode series. Episodes 1 and 2 aired in 1960: "The Warrior's Path" and "And Chase the Buffalo." Not available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 6
The Hound That Thought He Was a Raccoon - a live-action theatrical short with a young hound who's taken in by a motherly raccoon. Originally released to theatres August 10, 1960. Not available on DVD.
Moochie of the Little League - Kevin Corcoran stars as Moochie in this 2-episode series. "A Diamond Is a Boy's Best Friend" and "Wrong Way Moochie" actually aired in 1959, not 1960. Not available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 7
Moochie of Pop Warner Football - Kevin Corcoran returns as Moochie in this 2-episode series. "Pee Wees Versus City Hall" and "From Ticonderoga to Disneyland" aired in 1960. Not available on DVD.
Corcoran Count: 8
You can find the "Disney Studio Album" on the following DVDs: 1954's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, 1957's Old Yeller, 1960's Pollyanna and Swiss Family Robinson, and 1961's The Parent Trap, 1969's The Love Bug, 1975's The Apple Dumpling Gang and Escape to Witch Mountain, and 1978's Return from Witch Mountain. Unfortunately, the studio decided to no longer produce these short videos. It's a terrific featurette, which gives viewers a nice overview of various years in Disney history, getting them interested in films or television episodes they might never have seen before. Hopefully Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will decide to make these features again, especially given the news of over 30 catalog titles being released to Blu-Ray throughout the rest of 2012, which will include popular movies like The Absent-Minded Professor, Babes in Toyland, The Rescuers, Pete's Dragon, Newsies, and Pocahontas