Then, in mid 2004 and late 2004, the utterly essential Wave Three and Four of the Treasures was released, and I fell in love. Over the next few months I began collecting all the Treasures I was interested in (I'm still missing Behind The Scenes at the Walt Disney Studios, but it's one of the cheapest ones available on the second market despite the fact that The Reluctant Dragon is capital A Awesome), and I find them to be quite an invaluable line of releases.
In 2005, one of my most anticipated DVDs was to be Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, and Magic. It was to be released in July 2005, and I drove to Downtown Disney at 9 in the morning to be the first in Once Upon A Toy to buy it. They didn't get it. After spending a few hours wandering around in frustration, I returned home and finally discovered that it had been delayed - until the end of the 50th celebration. OK, I can wait. Then it was never announced. And then, in 2006, the silly looking Walt Disney Legacy Series was announced, and everyone knew the writing on the wall: Disney Treasures was effectively dead. This was confirmed when Destino, Oswald the Rabbit, and the much neglected Disneyland: Secrets and Stories was announced to be in Wave 2 of the WD Legacy Series.
Then, suddenly, the effing LEGACY SERIES was cancelled, probably due to poor sales of the True Life Adventure films (the DVD cases looked silly and confusing, is my big theory), and nobody knew what to do. Wave Seven of Walt Disney Treasures was actually announced, and they weren't fooling me when Disneyland: Secrets and Stories was included. I knew they couldn't possibly actually be releasing this. I even thought for a moment about not buying it out of spite until they announced that People and Places: Disneyland USA would be included, and I went apoplectic.
If you've never seen People and Places: Disneyland USA... well, by now everyone can, but I've been watching a bad bootleg of it for years, split into two AVI files, and furthermore significantly different than the theatrical version included here. The version I've been watching was shorn of at least ten minutes of material but they did, strangely enough, revise the Jungle Cruise segment so it included a strange man with a megaphone and a more complete trip on the 1956 ride. I think this was done for a television airing. Regardless I thought it was an amazing little film until I found out it was originally filmed in Cinemascope and, well, I went bonkers.
Now in it's proper aspect ratio and nicely restored and on those little shiny discs which have been my financial ruination since 1998, watching it is like eating a million Vanilla-Pineapple Dole Whips all at once. It's that good. I still haven't watched the feature documentary, but I paid my $25 for this and this only. Imagine my shock when other really great stuff was also included!
Thanks to most of the stuff on the second disc not being mentioned in the press release, this two disc set has been bumped from pretty awesome to absolutely essential. If you HAVE to get only three Walt Disney Treasures discs, it's this one, Walt Disney on the Front Lines, and The Complete Goofy. Now I can ditch my bootleg copies of Disney Goes to the World's Fair, The Golden Horseshoe Revue, and Disneyland Around the Seasons which I never really liked but which I'm not about to turn my nose up at having.. !
But the thing that really knocked me for a loop is an (again unannounced) 30 minute feed of time-lapse photography of the construction of Disneyland, hidden away in the Bonus Features menu, with pleasant commentary by Tony Baxter (master of rocks) and friends. This footage is amazing, and even more astonishingly, was discovered in a Pennsylvania salt mine! I don't know if that beats The Passion of Joan of Arc being discovered under a rag in a Norwegian insane asylum, but it's close.
Please regularly check between the walls of your house for undetected prints of
Greed or The Magnificent Ambersons.
Greed or The Magnificent Ambersons.
Back in 2003 when I finally pried open Disneyland USA I was disappointed at how lax the DVD set really was. Disneyland After Dark was edited, the pictorial quality of the discs was so-so, and there was nothing except those Disneyland episodes. Well Disneyland: Secrets and Stories is exactly what I wanted Disneyland, USA to be. Please immediately improve your weekend and go buy it now. If these sell out it means the good cause of the Treasures Tins could continue yet another year.