Friday, September 22, 2006

Coming Soon: True-Life Adventures

Every year for the past few years, Disney enthusiasts would wait anxiously for the official announcement that provided the details of that year’s wave of Disney Treasures DVD releases. To say that many of us are downright giddy about this year’s revelations would be a serious understatement.

Due December 19th, the new titles in the Treasures line include More Silly Symphonies, Your Host Walt Disney, The Complete Pluto Volume 2, and The Hardy Boys. But wait, that’s not all!

Long suspected as a series of Treasures releases, Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures will launch a whole new line of Disney DVDs entitled the Disney Legacy Collection. Arriving December 5th, the four debut 2-disc sets will collect all the True-Life Adventure films and additional related content as well.

Viewing these films has ever been a challenge. The features, Secrets of Life, Jungle Cat, African Lion, White Wilderness, Vanishing Prairie, and Living Desert were released in the early 1980s to the then small video rental market. Disney released them again as value-priced VHS in the early 1990s, but their availability was brief. The short subjects showed up intermittently on the Disney Channel’s overnight Vault Disney block during the late 1990s.

One of the aspects of the True-Life Adventures that I personally enjoyed was Winston Hibler’s narrations. Hibler, who was awarded Disney Legend status in 1992, was a jack-of-all-trades over his long career at the Disney Studios. His credits included writing, directing, producing, and numerous off-screen narrations for films and television episodes. Disney’s official website has a detailed biography of Hibler here. A profile/tribute to Hibler would certainly be a deserved and welcome addition to the upcoming DVDs.