Recently I purchased a copy of Disney’s “The Treasure of Matecumbe.” This is an original film produced for the “Wonderful World of Disney” back in 1976. Previously this title was only available through the Disney Movie Club. When I saw it at Best Buy for only $9.99 I decided to pick it up. The packaging itself describes the “Wonderful World of Disney” TV show and I had hoped that it might include the opening fanfare of the show along with an introduction and Tinkerbell waving her wand.
But alas no, the DVD opens and ends with only the film. To me this is a huge marketing miss. Think about the early episodes of “Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” who would not want to see these shows as they aired complete with an introduction from Walt himself. I recall a few shows from the “Wonderful World of Disney” that were introduced by Uncle Walt. I’m sure many of his intros came from archived footage. I wish they would bring that back.
Walt Disney had a manner about himself that drew you in. He was a grandfatherly figure and when his show came on, I wanted to sit and stay for awhile. I miss Walt. He was a true visionary in every sense of the word. He documented everything and as a result, generations to come have the opportunity to get a glimpse of who he was. I will say that during my last visit to Orlando I was pleased to see his image and presence continues to be promoted throughout the parks.
A Nod to Rivers of America?
Let’s get back to the DVD. I can’t state with any certainty that I recall seeing this film when it originally aired on TV. It’s most likely that I did though. While viewing the film I was surprised that it had not been precluded by Leonard Maltin. The story line contains slavery, Indians, and even a cross burning with the KKK. The film was set in a time period that made all these things logical.
A Nod to the Jungle Cruise?
A unexpected scene for a Disney film.
Now I have to say this DVD may have been created before Disney became so sensitive about its image regarding such things. I have never been one that feels like the studio should have to offer any explanation about its content. In my opinion one should consider the times before jumping to conclusions. Consider the era and what else was on television in the mid seventies. A certain popular mini series comes to mind. You may recall it as ROOTS. Does the recent DVD release of this program contain an explanation about its content?
I’m not against the introductions by Leonard Maltin. In fact I like them quite a bit. They often provide insight into the history of the Disney studios and as a Disney junky I like that. I also do not mind that in some cases you can’t skip Mr. Maltin’s intros. It’s not a big deal to me as long as the show is presented in its original form.
A brief side note. After watching this film I can’t help but wonder why Disney does not release Song of the South. I’ve seen the film, it’s not great but it’s ok. Actually I feel that by not releasing it the studio is creating its own controversy. Let Mr. Maltin present the film and let us be the judge.
Oh and there's a new Doc in town. Dr. Snodgrass