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Toon Talk: True-Life Adventures DVDs
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Volume III - "Creatures of the Wildâ€?
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!â€? is apparently the mantra for disc 1, beginning with The African Lion (1955), the Milotte's magnum opus. The couple spent three years on the "dark continentâ€? collecting some breath-taking footage of all that call the savannah their home (later inspiring both The Lion King and Disneyland's Jungle Cruise ride), most notably the king of the jungle himself - although the elephants (who almost starred in a companion feature, The African Elephant) nearly upstage them.
Jungle Cat (1960) was the last TLA and certainly its grimmest chapter. We find ourselves in the midst of Brazil's rainforest region, eye to eye with the "greatest hunter of them allâ€?, the South American jaguar. Yes, the so-called "villainâ€? is center stage this time out, and there is a lot of bloodshed (seemingly more then all the other films combined), so I wouldn't recommend this one to younger viewers. However, it is surely the most thrilling of all the TLAs and offers plenty of gorgeous scenery and comedic monkeys.
In contrast, Bear Country (1953) is accessible to all, for it is a delightful vacation to Yellowstone National Park to see the American Black Bear, a playful species despite their fierceness. This Oscar-winning short also features the series' most hilarious moments (see "Top 10â€? side bar) and a tear-jerker of an ending. Another, lesser TLA short, Olympic Elk (1952), is bumped to disc 2. A look at the Pacific Northwest elk and their migratory and mating habits, this one is hampered by choppy editing and an obvious "storylineâ€?. Even the "villainâ€? of the piece, a bear, doesn't appear to want to be there.
Both from Disneyland, the anthology shows here are "Cameras in Africaâ€? (1954), about, of course, the Milotte's filming of The African Lion (here it is revealed the fate of that rhino trapped in the mud pit), while "The Yellowstone Storyâ€? (1957) tells the history of the location for Bear Country. A "Disney Family Albumâ€? (narrated by Buddy Ebsen) offers a "Tribute to the Milottesâ€?, while Roy's DAK-stage visit takes him into a live cheetah medical exam, along with a trip to see the park's elephants.
In the "Filmmakers' Journalsâ€?, Elma Milotte recounts some close encounters with bears and elephants, and Roy discusses how each film was constructed from all those miles of footage. Fans of "Yesterdaylandâ€? will want to check out this "Collectors' Cornerâ€?, which delves into the long gone Disneyland attraction "Nature's Wonderlandâ€?, which recreated memorable scenes from the TLAs. And speaking of memorable scenes ...
The Top 10 Most Amazing Moments:
With everything from the Discovery Channel to YouTube, there isn't a lot the average viewer hasn't seen these days ... at least until you watch these eye-popping scenes: