Disney // 2005 // 55 Minutes // Rated G
Reviewed by Judge Steve Evans (Retired) // June 15th, 2006
Seven rare Disney cartoons with a holiday theme make this one of the better discs in the studio's multi-volume classics series.
Only three of the seven vintage shorts on this disc are new to DVD. The rest have all been released on earlier compilations or soon will be, so to avoid duplication, consumers are advised to check their collections before buying.
* "Mickey's Good Deed" In this black-and-white short from 1932, street performer Mickey Mouse reluctantly sells Pluto to a wealthy family so a poor family can celebrate Christmas. After suffering some cruelty at the hands of his new owners, Pluto teaches the bratty rich kid a lesson. Pup and mouse are reunited for a heartwarming conclusion as the true meaning of Christmas shines through on a cold, silent night.
* "Peculiar Penguins" This short tells the whimsical tale of two tuxedoed lovebirds. This originally played in theaters in 1932.
* "The Clock Watcher," Donald Duck toils as a gift wrapper in a department store. He's no good at the job, but in his typical fashion, Donald doesn't care, either. This cartoon was made in 1945.
* "Rescue Dog," Pluto stars as a hero pooch who needs to be rescued. Released in 1947.
* "Corn Chips," Released in 1951, this short features Donald Duck and mischievous chipmunks Chip and Dale, who duel over a snow-covered sidewalk.
* "Lend a Paw" This entry won a 1941 Oscar for Best Cartoon Short. Pluto's jealousy over a new kitten causes problems at home. Ultimately, the faithful yellow dog's sweet nature prevails.
* "Toy Tinkers" Donald Duck is at odds again with Chip and Dale in this 1949 cartoon making its DVD debut. Donald wants to decorate for Christmas. The nefarious and relentlessly cheerful chipmunks want to mess with the easily-flustered duck.
Image and sound are astounding for these old shorts. Either the source materials have been carefully preserved or the Disney home entertainment unit has spruced up these old chestnuts with digital clean-up tools. This is a pleasing assortment of mostly holiday-themed cartoons ("Peculiar Penguins" is stretching a bit to fit the Christmas theme). I also like the fact that these older Disney shorts tend to have an edge to them, compared to the schmaltz in more contemporary offerings. Mickey and his pals often encounter significant problems that test their resolve (well, it's never too serious). This may be a factor of the original target audience -- mainly adults -- since these shorts originally screened in support of a feature attraction in movie theaters.
While there are no extras on the disc, it's hard to say what Disney would be able to include in the way of supplements for a seven-title program that clocks in at under an hour. Perhaps there's a musty documentary of the animation process somewhere in the vaults, or maybe some audition footage of the voice talent in the recording studio. But I won't quibble the lack of extras, since children seldom show interest in supplemental material unless it involves bonus cartoons or some sort of interactive game.
Volume Eight of Classic Cartoon Favorites is reasonably priced for a Disney title. My kids loved it. Chances are yours will, too.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 55 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated G