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Tin Ears

There exist few DVDs that I would choose to buy instead of rent; the Walt Disney Treasures count among them. Earlier editions of these sets have gone out of print and now fetch a pretty penny (especially The Complete Goofy, which sells for $75-100 on eBay). Having missed out on the Behind the Scenes at the Walt Disney Studio one when it came out in 2002, I lucked into getting it last week on eBay — for ten bucks! I most looked forward to the set’s 1941 feature The Reluctant Dragon, a movie which previously had been rare as hens’ teeth to see. Starring Robert Benchley as himself touring the then-new Disney Burbank studios., the film was coproduced by RKO and has the easygoing charm of that studio’s grade-B musicals and comedies. Sure, the behind-the-scenes aspects come across as artificially stagey, but you do get a great sense of the studio’s close knit and jovial working environment (it must have been a blast working there in the ’40s) and the early Technicolor photography is gorgeous. Ironically, the film reaches a dull spot with the animated short of the same name, an unengaging tale of a wimpy dragon (although I got a little thrill out of the dragon’s mincing, pansy mannerisms).

The next Disney Treasures wave (due out in December) hasn’t been officially announced yet, but the forthcoming titles all have pre-order listings — Your Host, Walt Disney, The Complete Pluto, Vol. 2, The Hardy Boys, and More Silly Symphonies (1929-1938). Can’t wait for the Silly Symphonies one! Regrettably it looks like they’re already double-dipping, with a 1965 Disneyland special on Your Host, Walt Disney previously appearing on the 2001 Disneyland U.S.A. set. More info at

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