Frequently Asked Questions
- Do you think Michael Eisner should be ousted as CEO of Disney?
- Should I replace my Disney VHS collection with DVD's?
- Why do I have a choice between Fullscreen and Widescreen, and which format should I choose?
- Why are some of Disney's Classic Animated Films Out of Print?
- What were some of the first Disney Cartoons?
- Are you aware of the naughty gags found in some of Disney's Animated Films?
- Was Walt Disney put into cryonic storage after his death?
- When will the list of Disney Films and the list of Disney Telivision Shows be updated?
- What are your favorite Disney Movies?
Do you think Michael Eisner should be ousted as CEO of Disney?
This question comes up quite often. I would like to answer this question in two parts:
First, here is a little background information: When Michael Eisner became CEO of Disney, he did an excellent job of running the company for the first several years. Disney produced some of the best animated films under his watch. Beginning in the late 80's and continuing into the early 90's, the company went through a period of robust growth on almost all fronts. In spite of his early successes in turning the company around, the last 8 years have been a significant letdown. Much of this is due to the fact that Disney has produced relatively few great animated films since 1995.
With that said, there are numourous reasons why I think he should be ousted, but I will list my top five.
- The number one reason that Micheal Eisner must go is that he has closed all Feature Animation departments, meaning that Disney will no longer produce any hand-drawn animated films under his watch. They will only produce CG animated films. Disney has had a poor track record when it comes to making successful CG animated films, except for the Pixar films. Anyone see Treasure Planet? Or how about Dinousour?
- His micro-management style has seriously hurt the creative process at the Disney Studios. Eisner insists on having control over the creative process, and that he has to authorize all story development. This creates an atmosphere where writers, composers, animators, and actors do not perform their best, because they have no say in story development. This results in films that underperform at the Box Office.
- He has failed to negotiate fair contracts with some of Disney's greatest assets. These assets include Disney's top writers, composers, animators, actors, and partners. Jeffrey Katzenburg, Hillary Duff, and Pixar Animation are just a few of the recognizeable names that have left the Disney Family because Micheal was unwilling to pay them what they are worth. Miramax has threatened to leave the company as well.
- Eisner's desire to cut costs has resulted in many poor quality films, and merchandise. The direct-to-video sequels of their animated films are of especially low quality. When Disney releases poor quality films and merchandise, it delutes the brand name. Soon people no longer associate the name Disney with high quality family entertainment like they have in the past. To support this argument, let me just tell you that Disney has not made one film this year which has grossed more than it cost to produce. They have also closed many of the Disney Stores.
- He has mis-managed the parks big time. He ceased Walt Disney's own strict policy of maintaing the parks on a nightly basis, which is what made the Disney Parks stand out as a little world of it's own. Paint is starting to peel, lightbulbs are sometimes burned out, the pavement is starting to crack, wood structures are staring to rot, and so forth. He also has trouble keeping the popular attractions open all the time, because he has tried save money by cutting down on maintainance costs.
To sum all this up, Michael Eisner has stomped on Disney's timeless record of success as much as Micheal Moore has stomped on the truth.
For more information about what Micheal Eisner has done to damage the Disney company , please visit the Save Disney campaign website.
Should I replace my Disney VHS collection with DVD's?
In short, YES! DVD's have many advantages over VHS tapes! I won't list all of them here, but I will point out the ones of most importance.
DVD's usually have vastly superior image quality than VHS tapes. DVD has the ability to display films with twice the resolution of a VHS tape. This means that the image will be twice as sharp, colors will be brighter, more accurate, and the image will appear more film-like. The image quality of VHS tapes get worse with each viewing, because of physical wear and tear of the tape inside the cassette. There is no degredation of image quality on a DVD because a laser beam reads the information on the disc, and nothing ever touches the playing surface.
With a DVD, you usually have the choice to view the movie in it's OAR, or original aspect ratio. This means that you see the movie just as it was presented in the theater. (More on that below.)
DVD's contain multiple sound formats, and each of them has advantages over Dolby ® Prologic sound, which is what is provided on most precorded VHS tapes. Every DVD includes Dolby ® Digital sound. Certain disc's also offer DTS sound, or other sound formats. Dobly Digital 5.1 is the most common sound format, which has five channels. Those channels are left front, center, right front, left rear, and right rear. The .1 refers to the bass channel (sub-woofer).
No rewinding or fast-forwarding is necessary. DVD's have the ability to skip right to any scene in the movie.
DVD's often contain bonus materials, such as featuretts, deleted scenes, interviews with the cast and crew, photo galleries and more. Disney has many two-disc Special Edition DVD's which are some of the best special editions in the industry.
Why do I have a choice between Fullscreen and Widescreen, and which format should I choose?
If you want to see a film the way it was meant to be seen, i.e. the way it was shown in the theater, you should always purchase the Widescreen edition. I'll explain why.
The next time you go to your local movie theater, take a close look at the movie screen. You'll find that modern movie theater screens are actually rectangular in shape. They are much wider than they are tall. Movies have been shown this way since the mid-50's.
Now, when you get home - take a look at your TV set. Your TV set (if it's a regular TV) is squarish in shape. It's not the wide rectangular shape of the screen in the theater, it is closer to a perfect square.
In order to make the rectangular movie picture you saw at the movie theater fit on your square tv, one of these two processes are usually used:
- The studio cuts off the sides of the rectangular picture to make it squarish in shape (obviously losing picture area from the original film). This is called PAN & SCAN, and it is probably what you're used to if you watch movies on VHS or on Cable TV. When you see the warning "This film has been modified from it's original version: It has been formatted to fit your screen" -- they are letting you know they've cut out large pieces of the rectangular picture to make it squarish in shape. This process is also referred to as Full Screen or Full Frame.
- The image is zoomed out a little. This allows your set to fit the full width of the rectangular image inside the square TV shape, but it leaves unused areas at the top and bottom of the screen (letterboxing). You see black bars because you are seeing the full width of the rectangular image, which leaves empty space the top and bottom of your square shaped TV. The black bars are not covering anything up.
In order to truly create the THEATRICAL experience in your home (which is the basic goal of Home Theater) -- it is imperative to present the film as it was originally intended. The only way to respect the film and present it as the director composed it, is to display it without cutting off parts of the picture. Thus, we have widescreen DVDs.
This respect for the original shape of the film is often referred to as OAR, which means presenting a film in its original aspect ratio. To find out more about widescreen and OAR, visit Widescreen Advocate.
Why are some of Disney's Classic Animated Films Out of Print?
Some of Disney's Classic animated films are put on what's called morotarium after their original release to home video. They are usually available on DVD and Video for sixty to ninety days, and after that time they are discontinued for several years. In the past the morotaruim period has been seven years. In 2001, Disney introduced it's DVD Platnium line. The press release noted that they would release one title per year from the following list of it's most popular titles. Each will be sold for sixty days, then they will be put on morotarium for 10 years. The first two titles have been already been released. The ten titles are:
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Fall 2001
- Beauty and the Beast - Fall 2002
- The Lion King - Fall 2003
- Alladdin - Fall 2004
- Bambi - Spring 2005
- Cinderella - Fall 2005
- The Little Mermaid
- Lady and the Tramp
- The Jungle Book
- 101 Dalmations
Disney has recently announced that they will be releasing two Platnium titles per year, starting in 2005. The DVD's will be avalible for two years, before going on morotarium. They have also added 4 new titles to the list. Those titles are:
- Peter Pan
- Sleeping Beauty
No one knows for sure why they do this. The company states that they do it because they do not want the movies to be watched repeatedly, so that the general puclic gets tired of watching them. They want the movies to seem fresh and new again when they are released. However, many people believe they do it because they want to drive up demand when they are released.
What were some of the first Disney Cartoons?
There were a number of early cartoons made by Walt Disney himself. The first series of animated shorts was the Alice Comedies. They were silent cartoons featuring a live action girl in an animated world. There were 56 Alice cartoons in all. They were produced between 1924-1927.
The Alice Comedies were replaced by Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. There were 26 cartoons in this silent cartoon series. They were produced between 1927-1928.
The following Year, Mickey Mouse was created. Steamboat Willy was the first of the Mickey Mouse shorts, and also the first cartoon to use syrconized sound. There were 120 Mickey Mouse cartoons in all. The first was produced in 1928, the last in the series was produced in 1995.
The Silly Symphonies ran during Mickey Mouse series. It was a series of 75 cartoons. Flowers and Trees, the 28th Silly Symphony, was the first short to use color.
Are you aware of the naughty gags found in some of Disney's Animated Films?
Many people incorrectly assume that Disney intentionally inserts naughty gags into some of their animted films. That is almost always incorrect. Some things are rumored to be in the films, but are simply coincidences. Other times an animator draws something that shouldn't be there, and it goes unoticed by the Lead Animator, but is pointed out later by someone using the frame-by-frame option on his/her VCR or DVD Player. If it is discovered that something did slip by, the company will usually do a recall, and issue a fixed version, because it wasn't the original intention of Lead Animator for it to be there. Other times someone thinks they see something, but it is really imagined. For more information on some of these urban legends, click here.
Was Walt Disney put into cryonic storage after his death?
No one knows where the rumor got started that Walt Disney arranged to have himself frozen in a cryonic chamber full of liquid nitrogen upon his death. The claim is false, of course. He was buried in a cemetary near Hollywood.
When will the list of Disney Films and the list of Disney Telivision Shows be updated?
The list of feature films and television programs were taken from Disney A-Z, The Updated Official Encyclopedia.
The new edition of Disney A to Z is an absolute must-have for all Disney devotees, film aficionados, and pop culture buffs! Updated with more than 300 new entries and additions to more than 2,600 existing entries, Disney A to Z: The Updated Official Encyclopedia has been greatly expanded and enhanched. It is the only comprehensive guide to the fast-paced, ever-changing, exciting, and vast world of Disney.
The book was published in 1998, thus the programs on both of these lists were released in 1998. When (if) they publish an updated version, I will update the lists.
What are your favorite Disney Movies?
Many people assume that because I am such a big Disney fan, I must love EVERY Walt Disney film ever made. That is simply not the case. I do indeed like a great many Disney Films, and there are very few classic Disney tiles that I don't like at all. However, there are several that I just do not enjoy. Some of the early animated titles, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinnichio, and Cinderella are films that I don't particularly enjoy. I do occasionally watch them however, for historical reasons.
A few of my favorites are below. I have only included classic animated titles for the puprose of being breif. I do enjoy most of the newer ones as well a lot of the Live Action titles.
- Peter Pan
- Lady and the Tramp
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Sword in the Stone
- The Black Cauldron
- The Little Mermaid
- Beauty and the Beast
- The Lion King
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
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