Monday, May 22, 2017

Mystery of the Mickey's 50th Introduction...


Years and year ago, someone uploaded an introduction sequence...

In 1978, Mickey Mouse had turned 50 years old. To commemorate the anniversary of the release of Steamboat Willie, Walt Disney Productions created a bizarre-looking introduction where an abstract Mickey Mouse spun around with flashing outlines around him. Apparently, the spinning Mickey you see is rotoscoped footage of an actual animatronic.

This would then be followed by a rainbow title card, which would say "A Buena Vista Release," since all Disney films made since the 1940s were preceded by a title card some sorts, be it one for RKO Radio Pictures or Walt's self-distribution company, Buena Vista.


This would appear on films like The Cat From Outer Space (featured above) and Hot Lead & Cold Feet. I'm not sure if it appeared on any of the re-releases Disney had in 1978, though it's very possible that this showed up before Pinocchio or The Jungle Book.

I first saw this in 2008/2009-ish, when YouTube user 8to16to35 uploaded all of his Buena Vista and RKO cards, some of which were sourced from hitherto unseen 16mm prints. When I had seen his recreation of Cat from Outer Space's opening credits, I immediately thought of the introduction I saw back in 2006 that was uploaded by an Italian YouTuber...


... and for years I wondered... What release does this come from? The music that plays during the textless rainbow card sounds a little bit like the opening fanfare of the 1976 live-action sequel The Shaggy D.A. But I had no information on any Italian release of that particular picture, so I assumed for a little while that this was it.

Recently, I came across the same introduction sequence, uploaded by a user named nunval... This time, a film's opening credits follows... It's...

Peter Pan!


So perhaps that one that was uploaded back in 2006 could be for any film, and that the music in the rainbow card is just temp music of sorts, not meant to match up with any movie. I guess the editors didn't want to have the Mickey shot fade out and have it go straight to the CiC logo. IMDb doesn't list a 1978 Italian re-release of Peter Pan, but they list 1972 and 1987 re-releases... But no worry, the proof is right here. Peter Pan was re-released in Italy in 1978, and was presumably one of a few films that had this introduction before it.

There you have it.

Now our next mystery...


This one also comes from Italy, as stated by the uploader, Jordan Rios. Just by looking at it, we can also tell that it's from 1973, because it has the Walt Disney Productions 50th Anniversary introduction preceding the BV card. This was also used for American releases, 8to16to35 uploaded the original opening of the 1973 film Charley and the Angel back in 2009, it opened with this and the BV card.

This is perhaps the only sighting of a "Buena Vista International Co." card. The music, to my ears, is unfamiliar...

In the comments section of the video, I suggested that this could've come from two things...

#1. A TV miniseries-turned-movie: Know what I'm talking about? In the mid-1950s, when the Davy Crockett episodes of Walt Disney's anthology television series spawned a massive phenomenon, Disney took advantage. A few of the episodes were edited together into a theatrical feature-length film, it was released in 1955 as Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier. A year later, a few more episodes were cobbled together to make Davy Crockett and the River Pirates. After that, though, Disney rarely did this for a American audiences. Overseas, several TV programs were turned into movies. Things like Mosby's Marauders, The Prince and the Pauper, etc. Sometimes, they did hit American theaters... But on double-bills with other movies. It could very well be one of those...

#2. A cartoon compilation: In some parts of the world, compilations of various Disney cartoons were released theatrically. Whether they had BV card intros or not, I don't know, but I don't think they're out of the question.

I could say the music doesn't apply to any movie in particular, like the above Italian card... But the thing is, the Mickey Mouse 50th Anniversary precedes a CiC logo... This doesn't, this apparently leads right into a movie's opening sequence... So I think it pertains to something.

What do you think?

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