Toon Talk: True-Life Adventures DVDs
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Volume III - â€śCreatures of the Wildâ€?
â€śLions and tigers and bears, oh my!â€? is apparently the mantra for disc 1, beginning with The African Lion (1955), the Milotteâ€™s magnum opus. The couple spent three years on the â€śdark continentâ€? collecting some breath-taking footage of all that call the savannah their home (later inspiring both The Lion King and Disneylandâ€™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 Brazilâ€™s rainforest region, eye to eye with the â€śgreatest hunter of them allâ€?, the South American jaguar. Yes, the so-called â€śvillainâ€? is center stage this time out, and there is a lot of bloodshed (seemingly more then all the other films combined), so I wouldnâ€™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 seriesâ€™ most hilarious moments (see â€śTop 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 â€śstorylineâ€?. Even the â€śvillainâ€? of the piece, a bear, doesnâ€™t appear to want to be there.
Both from Disneyland, the anthology shows here are â€śCameras in Africaâ€? (1954), about, of course, the Milotteâ€™s filming of The African Lion (here it is revealed the fate of that rhino trapped in the mud pit), while â€śThe Yellowstone Storyâ€? (1957) tells the history of the location for Bear Country. A â€śDisney Family Albumâ€? (narrated by Buddy Ebsen) offers a â€śTribute to the Milottesâ€?, while Royâ€™s DAK-stage visit takes him into a live cheetah medical exam, along with a trip to see the parkâ€™s elephants.
In the â€śFilmmakersâ€™ 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 â€śYesterdaylandâ€? will want to check out this â€śCollectorsâ€™ Cornerâ€?, which delves into the long gone Disneyland attraction â€śNatureâ€™s Wonderlandâ€?, which recreated memorable scenes from the TLAs. And speaking of memorable scenes â€¦
The Top 10 Most Amazing Moments:
With everything from the Discovery Channel to YouTube, there isnâ€™t a lot the average viewer hasnâ€™t seen these days â€¦ at least until you watch these eye-popping scenes: