I have been collecting the Walt Disney Treasures series since they first began releasing them several years ago. Always presented in a collector's tin, these DVD's have always presented some of the most interesting material that Disney rarely releases or in some cases have never released.
Along with the collections, of Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto cartoons, have been some of the best episodes from the Disney TV shows, the Mickey Mouse Club (including sets of the entire Spin And Marty serial, as well as The Hardy Boys), and occasionally include movies that have never seen the light of day since their release. Even the cartoon treasures, in their "From The Vault" extras have included cartoons that are no longer shown because of their controversial nature.
Now there are three more Treasures to add to your collection (and mine). They include: Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Vol. 4 - 1951-1961, Walt Disney Treasures: The Mickey Mouse Club Presents Annette - 1957-1958 Season, and the one that according to IFilm.com is one of the most anticipated titles of 2008, Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh.
Originally airing in three parts on "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color," Dr. Syn stars Patrick McGoohan as Dr. Syn, a kindly country vicar in 18th-century England. Only a few know that Syn is also the masked Scarecrow, notorious leader of a band of smugglers, who defends the villagers from unjust taxes and oppression by King George III's men. George Cole, Michael Hordern, Sean Scully also star. The three-part movie was also edited into a single feature length attraction to be distributed theatrically overseas. Both versions are included on the DVD's.
Everybody's favorite Mouseketeer, Annette Funicello is given her own special volume of Disney Treasures as well. To legions of Mickey Mouse Club fans she was magic. Chosen by Walt himself as an original cast member, Annette soon became the most popular Mousketeer and was given a daily series of her own. Showcased here is the entire fish-out-of-water series, about an innocent girl from the country who moves to the suburbs to live with her well-to-do aunt and uncle. Airing during the third and final season of The Mickey Mouse Club, the 20-episode series was unlike earlier series -- it featured original music including the song that helped launch Annette's music career. Enriching this celebration of Annette are the two complete Mickey Mouse Club episodes that introduced and concluded the series, plus a new tribute to her remarkable career and more. Featuring exclusive introductions by film historian Leonard Maltin, this is a timeless collection from generations past for generations to come.
Bonus features include:
* "Musically Yours, Annette" - From a 1992 interview, Annette recalls her career as a recording star and her years on "The Mickey Mouse Club." Also includes interviews with Annette's fellow teen idols Paul Anka, Frankie Avalon, and Fabian. It is touching to see how Annette stayed unspoiled and natural, even in her contemporary interview segments. The admiration from her coworkers is also evident. The Sherman Brothers practically glow when they speak of her, and her record producer Tutti Camarata explains how "The Annette Sound" was created by overdubbing her vocals.
* "To Annette, With Love" - Is a newly produced tribute that has interviews with many of the same people as the other featurette. It is extremely touching to see Annette's reverence for Walt Disney and appreciation of him and how he guided her career. There is no artifice or canned emotion with her. Interview clips include her mother, Tutti, Shelley Fabares, and more.
* The Mickey Mouse Club - The complete first and last episodes of the popular television program that featured the "Annette" serial where were broadcast between February 11, 1958 and March 7, 1958.
This set also includes a Certificate of Authenticity (set limited to 39,500 copies) as well as a postcard size publicity photo of Annette from this serial. There is also the usual introductory booklet with a table of contents. A very nice set that will appeal to Annette's fans.
Skeptics have said that Disney is just putting this out because fans who still have an interest in her will be eager to have a copy because she is in poor health and may not be around much longer. I think it is because they know how much fans have been wanting this.
The final new Treasure release is a fourth volume of Donald Duck cartoons. In this final volume, Donald's solo-starring shorts wraps up with some of his rarely seen adventures from 1951 through 1961. And, for the first time on DVD, Donald's CinemaScope cartoons are presented in their original widescreen format. This collection of classics includes two of Donald's Academy Awardr nominated Best Shorts -- "Rugged Bear" (1953) and "No Hunting" (1955); a retrospective of Donald's career in comic books; and a storyboard presentation for an unproduced Donald Duck cartoon pitched by famed Disney animator Eric Goldberg. From bit player to superstar, Donald gave voice to the frustrations of everyone and in the process endeared himself to the world.
The collection of shorts on this release are pretty extensive. According to a post on Amazon.com by Paul J Mular, they are as follows:
DUDE DUCK (new to DVD)
CORN CHIPS w/ Chip & Dale
TEST PILOT DONALD w/ Chip & Dale (new to DVD)
LUCKY NUMBER w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
OUT OF SCALE w/ Chip & Dale
BEE ON GUARD (new to DVD)
DONALD APPLE-CORE w/ Chip & Dale
LET'S STICK TOGETHER (new to DVD)
UNCLE DONALD'S ANTS (new to DVD)
TRICK OR TREAT w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
DONALD'S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
NEW NEIGHBOR (new to DVD)
RUGGED BEAR (new to DVD)
WORKING FOR PEANUTS w/ Chip & Dale (NOT presented in 3-D)
CANVAS BACK DUCK w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie
SPARE THE ROD w/ Huey, Dewy & Louie (new to home video)
DONALD'S DIARY w/ Daisy
DRAGON AROUND w/ Chip & Dale
GRIN & BEAR IT w/ Humphrey Bear (new to DVD)
GRAND CANYONSCOPE (in CINEMASCOPE)
FLYING SQUIRREL (new to DVD)
NO HUNTING w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to home video!)
BEARLY ASLEEP w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
BEEZY BEAR w/ Humphrey Bear (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
UP A TREE w/ Chip & Dale
CHIPS AHOY w/ Chip & Dale (in CINEMASCOPE) (new to DVD)
HOW TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT HOME (new to DVD)
DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND
HOW TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT AT WORK (new to DVD)
DONALD AND THE WHEEL (new to DVD)
THE LITTERBUG (new to DVD)
"Donald Goes to Press",
"The Unseen Donald Duck: Trouble Shooters",
Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck audio commentaries on 2 shorts,
10 Mickey Mouseworks Cartoons
Whatever you're preference, you can't go wrong by having any or all of them, not only for their entertaining value, but also for their historical significance. All of them are now available at Amazon.com and you can order them directly by clicking on any of the below links.