Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Obscure, the Odd and the Impenetrable

As mentioned before, part of this project is to make a list of all the Disney feature films and shorts that were produced by Walt Disney. Sounds easy enough, right? Just go to IMDB and look for Walt. Not quite as easy as it sounds.

The question arises as to where to draw the line. For instance, during the 1950s and 1960s, the studio produced a series of educational shorts titled “I’m No Fool” featuring Jiminy Cricket. The shorts originally ran on the Mickey Mouse Club, then were released to schools on 16mm, and eventually updated and released again in the 1980s.

If you’re like me, you saw these in the 1980s at your school, but had forgotten about them completely. I had no idea these existed until I started this project. However, when I read more about them, I was intrigued and dove into research about the shorts. They are available from Disney on VHS, but the set of 10 costs $329. A bit steep for a set of shorts. They were shown on the Disney Channel series The Ink and Paint Club a few years back, and some have shown up on Youtube.

Now, here’s the fundamental question: do I include these in my list? They were not theatrical shorts, but they were a big part of the studio’s output in those days.

I’ve had a similar concern with the Disneyland TV show. Obviously, this was not a theatrical release, but the show was an integral part of who Walt was, and what he set out to accomplish in the entertainment field. If this project is going to give me insight into what Walt Disney was all about, then surely those shows are a part of the mix?

However, the more things I have to add to the list, the less likely it is that the project will be completed in the allotted time frame of a year. It’s a tough question, but one I have to solve in the months to come before I begin on January 1.

Similarly, I have found a myriad of films on the IMDB list that I do not recognize. I thought I was a Disney aficionado of the highest order, but I do not recall some of these titles.

The Light in the Forest

Take this feature, which I had never seen or heard about. Or what about the TV show, Corky and the White Shadow? There’s not much listed about it, except that Walt was a producer of the show and it aired in 1956. Buddy Ebsen appeared in one episode, but that’s about all I can find on it.

It’s these kinds of discoveries that make this a fun project. No matter how much is written or catalogued about Walt Disney, there’s always something more to learn. That’s what the Disney Film Project is about – learning about Walt through his films.

Well, it’s off to finish the list. More to come…

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