In late 2014, Turner Classic Movies announced a two-part deal it made with the Walt Disney Company. The first part of the deal, which involves TCM helping Disney Imagineers revamp the Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World, is still in the works. The second part of the deal is more exciting, and it’s what brings us here today. Four to five times a year, TCM will put together an evening programming block of Disney documentaries, animated films, animated shorts, and live-action films. All will appear under the banner Treasures from the Disney Vault.
The first Disney Vault installment aired in December, and it was great; it included the first episode of The Wonderful World of Disney, a live-action documentary about Walt Disney Animation in the 1930s and 1940s, and several animated shorts. Unfortunately, for those of us who loved this first bunch of riches from the Disney Vault, TCM left us hanging for several months. However, our long wait is over! TCM has announced the programming for the second installment of Treasures from the Disney Vault, set to air on March 15th.
While there’s a lot of stuff on the docket for March 15th, there are really two big attractions for the animation crowd. The first attraction is The Three Caballeros, Disney’s 1944 film that follows Donald Duck on a crazy live-action/animated journey through South America and Mexico. Caballeros is very evenhanded in the way it handles Latin American culture, especially for a film from the 1940s. It also boasts great songs, and it’s fascinating to see how live-action footage and animation were blended back when this technique was first attempted. The film is definitely worth tuning in for!
The second attraction for animation fans is a 1955 episode of The Wonderful World Of Disney titled “The Story of the Animated Drawing”. In the episode, Walt takes us on a guided tour of the history of animation, talking about historic animated shorts like “Gertie the Dinosaur” and the Max Fleischer shorts. Along the way, Walt shows us two gems from his own studio: 1929’s “The Skeleton Dance” (which gave me nightmares when I first saw it at six years old) and the “Nutcracker Suite” segment from Fantasia. This segment will be followed by one animated short, 1932’s “Babes in the Woods”, which will wrap up the animation-oriented part of the evening.
The live-action programming is very much worth sticking around for. This programming includes 1959’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People (starring a pre-James Bond Sean Connery), a Wonderful World of Disney episode titled “I Captured the King of the Leprechauns”, and the 1966 film The Fighting Prince of Donegal. The crown jewel of the live-action block, however, is the 2008 documentary Walt & El Grupo, which details the South American goodwill tour Walt Disney and his creative team took in 1941. This is the tour that inspired films like The Three Caballeros and, as such, is a fascinating film for any Disney Animation fan.
Turner Classic Movies and the Walt Disney Company have forged a great deal together. Those of us who are Disney fans are really reaping the benefits of said deal; it’s wonderful to see these forgotten films emerge from the Disney Vault again. Here’s hoping for many more, equally great, evenings of Treasures from the Disney Vault coming soon!
What do you think? Will you be tuning in to Turner Classic Movies on March 15th?
Edited by: Hannah Wilkes