Disney's Best
The Fabulous '50s


.....The 1950s were a period of transition for the Disney studio, as short subjects were de-emphasized and the company began focusing more attention on feature films (including a burgeoning library of live-action titles), the Disneyland theme park, and TV shows (namely, Disneyland and The Mickey Mouse Club). With block showings now illegal (which in the past had essentially paid for animated shorts, especially popular ones), most studios (with the exception of Warner Bros. and newcomer UPA) were spending less time and resources on productions that would be lucky to see a profit after multiple releases, much less on the initial release. Despite this de-emphasis, the 1950s saw many successful shorts in both the character-based series (of which only the Donald series would survive the entire decade) and the one-shots. This volume features four such one-shots, three of which were nominated for Academy Awards, and the fourth ("Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom") having outright won a gold statuette. While certainly not loaded with mass appeal (which seems to have been reserved for the Disney's Best tapes that appeared in the regular Cartoon Classics series and on Limited Gold Edition II), this tape is a definite must-see. Running Time: Approx. 49 Minutes


Introduction - Once again, the standard opening is used. Good thing I like it, huh? ;)
"Lambert the Sheepish Lion" - Far more of a traditional short than the other shorts on this volume, this cartoon is a true delight nonetheless. Featuring Sterling Holloway as the Stork from Dumbo, this fish-out-of-water story is one of the greats, particularly the title song. The print is woefully worn, but the short alone is worth it.
"Pigs is Pigs" - Done in the stylized and limited style of UPA, this short is based on the children's storybook about the folly of following rules to the letter. The absurdity of the bureaucracy is exceeded only by the insanity caused by the exponentially breeding guinea pigs. Like "Lambert", the short is faded and dark.
"Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom" - Another stylized short, this educational short was the second in a series titled Adventures in Music, which was the brainchild of the late, great Ward Kimball. The first cartoon produced in Cinemascope, this film scored an Academy Award and was even more in the UPA style than "Pigs is Pigs", and a true reflection of Kimball's personality. However, since this video was released in the dark ages of the 1980s, the film is presented in a very dirty fullscreen version of the short (which was heavily adapted from the anamorphic widescreen format of the original). Still, the quality of the content shines through.
"Noah's Ark" - Disney's first attempt at stop-motion animation (and last until some guy named Tim Burton made "Vincent" in 1982), this re-telling of the famous Bible story bustles with energy and creativity (as everything is made from mundane household products). The print is fairly dark, but this little short is so rare that you'd be hard pressed to find a better version.

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