Friday, October 12, 2007

On the Trail of Alice

Sometimes, you start putting together a project like this, and then you realize it may be a little tougher than you thought. Case in point, the Alice Comedies that are among the first films that Walt Disney produced. Some have been released on the Walt Disney Treasures: Disney Rarities DVD, and some on a separate DVD called Alice in Cartoonland.

The problem is that out of all these films, only seventeen have been released on DVD or available in another form. So, how do I locate the remaining Alice films?

Alice star, Virginia Davis

Google has been worn out with my searches trying to find a place to buy/view these films. I would assume Disney has some in the archives, but I don’t think they will let me into the archives to view them. So, I’m looking around for some help.

Anyone have a lead on the Alice Comedies? Any idea where you could see these films? More to the point – do any of these remaining films still exist? I know that prints of them are very rare, so I am still uncertain whether I would be able to find them all.

Any advice?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Walt's Last Film

On this, EPCOT's 25th birthday, it only seems appropriate for a site that is dedicated to Disney films to talk about Walt's very last film. It never appeared in any theatre, but lots of people around the world have seen bits and pieces of it, thanks to Disney. It's the film Walt made to convince the locals in Florida that EPCOT, the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, would be the perfect thing for the Florida economy.

The film does not have an official title, but most people call it the EPCOT movie. You can view it on the Walt Disney's Tomorrowland DVD, from the Walt Disney Treasures line.

Disney has used it many times to promote the current EPCOT, which is somewhat of a travesty. In case you didn't know, EPCOT of today is nothing like what Walt envisioned. Mine is not the place to go into that, but Walt Disney was dreaming of something revolutionary, not just another theme park.

The film describes Walt's vision for the community of EPCOT, featuring a central city business district, with concentric circles following out to the edge of the city. In between are various entertainment options, including an amusement park, movie theatre, park and more. People movers, monorails and other forms of transportation keep cars off the roads, keeping the air clean and traffic to a minimum.

If this had been ultimately completed, it could have been Walt's ultimate gift to the world - a new way to plan communities and cities. After his death, EPCOT would never be completed the way that Walt planned. The remaining executives lacked the guiding force to make the vision a reality, and EPCOT became EPCOT Center, the theme park.

But for a few moments, Walt's vision was a reality, in this film. A model of it was built, and can be seen now in the Tomorrowland Transit Authority, and you can see the sets of the film at the One Man's Dream attraction in the Disney-MGM Studios. I advise everyone to see the film if you can, it's a true insight into Walt and his world.