Sunday, the 15th of March, I had the pleasure of watching
a good chunk of a special programming block on TCM (Turner Classic Movies), called Treasures from the Disney Vault. TCM’s site describes the program as follows:
Several times a year, TCM will feature a wide array of Disney classics for the entire family to enjoy, including animated shorts, feature films, live-action movies, documentaries, nature films and made-for-television movies.
This months lineup began with the 1959 classic film “Darby O’Gill and the Little People,” followed by a fun featurette starring Walt himself and Darby actor Albert Sharpe, “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns” (1959). Following this was the Silly Symphony “Babes in the Woods” (1932), and the 1955 featurette “The Story of the Animated Drawing.” Then, starting at midnight, TCM screened 1944’s “The Three Caballeros,” the 2008 documentary “Walt & El Grupo,” and lastly “The Fighting Prince of Donegal” (1966). Each of these had great little intros and outros by Disney/film historian Leonard Maltin.
I really do hope that–as the site implies–TCM turns this into a series. Preferably one that happens more than just “several” times a year! My one complaint about the program was that it ran so late on a Sunday night, with the final film starting at 3:30am (EST). I understand that the block needed to accommodate multiple time zones (and I don’t hold it against them or anything), but as a result, I was unable to see ‘Donegal.’ I also did not stay up to watch “Walt & El Grupo,” but seeing as how I own that on DVD I did not miss anything new.
The only other issue with the programming was one I did not even notice. Leonard Maltin tweeted the following:
Again, did not even realize this was a thing. Considering this was my first time ever even hearing about Darby O’Gill, let alone watching it, I was less bothered (read: not bothered at all) than those who grew up with it. But I can empathize with film/nostalgia buffs wanting the film presented as un-altered as possible.
I’m not going to sit here now and review each of these films. Perhaps I will in the future (in individual posts), but right now I’m more than happy (elated, actually) to simply acknowledge that this block happened–that this series exists at all. ‘Grateful’ sounds a bit over-dramatic, but that is sincerely how I feel. Very rarely do I get to see a lot of the more obscure live-action Disney films. Similarly, it is also a treat to see many of the black-and-white featurettes that were so prominent when Walt was marketing his films. Sometimes I would be lucky and one of them would pop up as a random bonus feature on a DVD, and would otherwise be non-existent, but it’s nice to see these equally entertaining spots be given a spotlight.
So thanks, TCM! Cannot wait for more.