Toon Talk: Walt Disney Treasures - The Complete Pluto - Volume 1
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- Disc One features a nice overview of The Life and Times of Pluto, which includes interviews with animation historian John Canemaker, contemporary Disney animator Andreas Deja (who animated Pluto in The Prince and the Pauper) and legendary animators Ollie Johnson and the late Frank Thomas (in what may be his last interview; the featurette is dedicated to him). Here we see some black and white footage of the early Pluto, such as in The Picnic (where he was Minnie's dog and named â€˜Rover') and the classic flypaper bit from Playful Pluto (now there's a non-Pluto short that should have been included in full on this set) as well as some Pluto trivia, such as who named him and who provided his vocals. Deja returns in Pluto 101, where he shows Treasures host Leonard Maltin how to draw Pluto, providing an interesting look at the animator's perspective of a character.
- Disc Two includes two unedited shorts from what has been euphemistically dubbed â€˜The Vaults', meaning the material that needs a kid-gloved Maltin to introduce it due to content that may be deemed questionable by today's audiences (both Pantry Pirate and A Gentleman's Gentleman include negative depictions of black people). Also included is Pluto's Picture Book, an excerpt from the Disneyland episode A Story of Dogs, which aired in 1954 as a promo for the upcoming Lady and the Tramp. This is mostly clips from shorts that you've just watched in full, but you do get to see Walt interact with his canine toon star as well as get a peek at several of the wartime military insignias that the patriotic pup inspired. Additional, several Galleries are also included, with comic strip and comic book art, movie posters, background paintings and animation drawings. But the main event on the second disc is Pluto's Pal Fergy, a tribute to the "man behind the muttâ€?, Norm Ferguson. Ferguson, or â€˜Fergy' as he was called, was the main animator of Pluto for many years - you may recognize him as the panting animator from The Reluctant Dragon. Fergy, a former cameraman who stumbled into animation while working at Paul Terry's New York animation studio, also had a background in accounting, which helped him in developing the use of timing sheets for the animators. Pre-Pluto, he animated such classic characters as the Big Bad Wolf in Three Little Pigs, the Old Hag in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Honest John and Gideon in Pinocchio, as well as contributing to such other feature classics as Fantasia, Dumbo, Cinderella and Peter Pan. But Pluto was his biggest contribution to the studio, and this featurette is a loving reminder of that.
Toon Talk Rating: B-
Talk Top 10 - Disney's Dog
Pluto may have been Disney's first canine celebrity, but as you can see he was far from the last:
Coming Soon in Toon Talk:
- Parts 2 and 3 of the current wave of Walt Disney Treasures DVDs: Mickey Mouse in Black and White: Volume 2 and The Mickey Mouse Club: Week 1.
- Will The Incredibles soar? Is Mary Poppins practically perfect? How victorious will On the Frontlines be? â€˜Toon' in for a special year-end wrap-up to find out in The Toon Talk Top 10 - The Best of 2004.
And Coming Soon from Buena Vista Home Video:
- Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews star in the summer hit sequel The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement.
- Barry Pepper stars as the racing legend in 3: The Dale Earnhardt Story.
- King Arthur
- Just in time to loose all that holiday-gained weight: Extreme Makeover Fitness: Weight Loss Work Out for Beginners.
-- Kirby C. Holt
-- Logo by William C Searcy, Magic Bear Graphics
Kirby is a lifelong Disney fan and film buff. He is also an avid list maker and chronic ellipsis user ...
Took Talk: Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt is posted whenever there's something new to review.
The opinions expressed by our Kirby C. Holt, and all of our columnists, do not necessarily represent the feelings of LaughingPlace.com or any of its employees or advertisers. All speculation and rumors about the future plans of the Walt Disney Company are just that - speculation and rumors - and should be treated as such.
-- Posted December 17, 2004