Saturday, September 30, 2023

The Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie Game

Did you order a beer? No? Well, you're about to get one...and this one is heading right for your lap! It's a busy bar scene so get your mind busy (or boozy) and see if you can remember what film this screenshot is from. 

As always, if you are not familiar with the rules of the Impossibly Difficult Name that Movie game or the prize, click here!

Friday, September 22, 2023

The Classic Disney Trivia Quiz

It's quiz time! And since we just hosted The 100 Years of Disney Blogathon, this quiz will be all about Disney.....with a special focus on the "classic" years (pre-1990). So dust off your thinking caps and give yourself a little test to see how well you know your Disney films. When you finish the quiz, the View Score button will tell you which ones you got right and which ones you missed. 

(If you cannot view the quiz below, click on this link)

Friday, September 15, 2023

The 100 Years of Disney Blogathon Has Begun!

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Walt Disney Studios and we are joining in on the celebration by hosting the 100 Years of Disney Blogathon! There is a fantastic selection of posts from classic film bloggers across the web covering everything from Disney's humble beginnings to his television work to the studio's later films. 

Diana and I are tickled pink to be hosting this three-day event which is beginning today and will run over the weekend. We will be offering giveaways to both readers and bloggers alike (scroll down for more details) and there will be a Disney trivia game at the conclusion of the event, so be sure to check back here throughout the weekend as we post updates. 

Walt and his Wonderful Work

The fantasmagorical Disney entertainment empire all began with a visionary man and a little mouse named Mickey back in 1923. Walt Disney had worked in the film industry for almost a decade before he struck it big with his first Academy Award win for "Flowers and Trees". Walt Disney would soon be a familiar sight at the annual awards ceremony as he kept breaking new ground with innovative animation techniques. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) set a new standard for what animated films could convey and Disney has been setting standards ever since. 

Disney's realm spread beyond television and live-action films to theme parks, restaurants, cruise ships, and who knows, maybe even a spaceship will soon be launched by Disney Corp! 

Since Silver Scenes is a classic film blog, we are here to celebrate the film and television work of Disney between 1923 and without further ado, we proclaim that the weekend of The 100 Years of Disney Blogathon has officially begun! Let the blogs roll in!


Have you ever tried to pick your favorite Disney animated film? Rachel gave it a go and came up with ten surprising favorites.

Rachel also shares with us her favorite live-action Disney films from the classic Kidnapped (1960) to The Lone Ranger (2013).

Jodie Foster had a long career at Walt Disney Studios and one of her most famous films for them was the original Freaky Friday. On her blog, Gill shares with us her thoughts about this classic. 

Disney's Silly Symphonies garnered numerous awards throughout the 1930s and Nitrate Glow shares with us her top ten favorites of these charming cartoons. 

When Walt Disney entered television production in the 1950s, two of his most popular series were Davy Crockett and Zorro, starring Guy Williams. Rick shares with his readers 7 Things to Know about this classic adventure series. 

The live-action classic Mary Poppins was Disney's biggest box-office success of the 1960s and Lizzie thinks its masterful storytelling may be one of the reasons why it is so endearing.  

Disney also delved into the realm of science fiction with two films, The Black Hole and Tron, both of which are reviewed by Quiggy at The Midnite Drive-In. 

Disney naturally made tons of movies and TV shows, but did you know they also made TV movies? We put together a list of 7 of our favorites from the 1950s-1990s.

Jess shares with us the story of Snow White and the real-life dancer who modeled for her....none other than Marge Champion!

Before Disney hit it big with his Silly Symphonies series, he made Laugh-O-Grams, silent shorts that were sure to tickle the audience.  Lê shares with her readers the story of these cartoons. 

Janet shares an insightful letter about distribution issues Walt had with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on her blog Stars and Letters.

We wrote a pile of reviews of Disney films and personnel throughout ten years of blogging, so we have gathered them all together in one big Disney Round-Up.

Winnie-the-Pooh and all his friends tooh are fondly recollected in this post from The Musical Man.

Kayla, over at Whimsically Classic, shares with her readers a review of one of Disney's most beloved animated classics Cinderella

Growing up in the 1980s, every child remembers DuckTales and the fabulous adventures Huey, Dewey, Louie and Donald would go on. One of their best was The Treasure of the Golden Sun, reviewed over at Taking Up Room.

Disney made a lot of great movies and all of them had wonderful music, so Johanna shares with us her favorite movie soundtracks from Disney.

Johanna also shares with us her favorite of Disney's historical fiction shows: The Swamp Fox and The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca. 

Kurt Russell at Disney - Phyllis Loves Classic Movies

The 100 Years of Disney Blogathon Giveaway!

Who can resist a giveaway? Not only do you get a free prize, you don't even have to do anything to earn it! Well, at least not much. For this giveaway, we are issuing virtual "tickets"...if you entered a post in the blogathon you already earned yourself a ticket (Entered two? That's two tickets!) and, for those of you who didn't enter the blogathon, you have an even easier way to get a ticket: Stop by any of the blogs listed above and then come back here and leave a comment in the box telling us which blog you've read. That's it! The more blogs you read, the more tickets you get. 

The Drawing - We'll keep track of who has what number of tickets and then there will be a random drawing held on Friday, September 22nd. The first name drawn will get first pick of the prizes, second name drawn gets second pick, etc. 

What are the prizes? Take a look below!

1. Sleeping Beauty Paper Doll PDF book (this will be sent via email)
2. A vintage 1973 re-release still from The Aristocats
3. The Strongest Man in the World DVD (not new, but like new)
4. A fab label pin featuring Walt Disney surrounded by his animated creations
5. Your choice of a vintage lobby card from any of 8+ film titles

Thursday, September 14, 2023

7 Favorite Disney TV Movies

When my sister and I decided to write a post about our 7 Favorite Disney TV movies, I didn't realize just how many television films Walt Disney Studios had made....or how many I enjoy!  A good sign of a "favorite" is how often you watch the movie so, using that criteria, we picked the films we watch the most frequently and enjoy the most when we do see them. We also ranked them in order from 1st to 7th place. So let's begin with the Number One favorite....The London Connection!

1. The London Connection (1979)

Jeffrey Byron stars as Luther Starling, a young agent for a CIA-like organization. He's on holiday in London but when an old scientist slips a gold ring in his pocket, he decides to delve into a mysterious kidnapping led by the group known as Omega. 

This film was actually released in theaters first (as a double-bill with The Aristocats) but it aired on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color soon after and has always been shown on television since under the title The Omega Connection....hence, the reason we are including it. What makes this deserve the top-spot on our list? Well, it's a family favorite that we have been watching every summer for the past fifteen years but it also has a great blend of action and comedy hi-jinks. In other words, it is just an all-around fun family film to watch!  

You can read our full review here

2. Bejewelled (1991)

Another summertime family favorite. This one is more for the kiddies because it has a lot of corny humor, but we never tire of it anyway! Emma Samms stars as an American woman who is transporting a set of valuable jewelry to England for a museum exhibition. While disembarking at the airport, the hatbox she was carrying the jewels in gets lost in a shuffle and she then has to spend a frantic weekend traveling all over London trying to retrieve the jewels. Aiding her in her endeavor is Denis Lawson and two children whom he is chaperoning. 

Like The London Connection, I think it is the English setting that draws us back to this film so often. Bejewelled boasts a great cast of British/America actors (Jean Marsh, Jerry Hall, et al ) and, even though the humor is geared for little ones, it still makes us laugh every time we watch it.

You can read our full review here. 

3. Diamonds on Wheels (1973)

Another fun mystery/suspense film! This one is about a group of teenagers who enter their MG sports car in a treasure-hunting road rally and quickly discover they are being chased by crooks for the diamonds that were hidden in their car (unbeknownst to them). A young Peter Firth stars as the driver of the car and Spencer Banks plays his navigator. Banks was a popular British TV child star. You'll also spot a bevy of familiar actors from British television in supporting parts, namely Patrick Allen, George Sewell, and Edwin Richfield. 

You can read our full review here. 

4. The Secret of Boyne Castle (1969)

The Secret of Boyne Castle was a three-part television movie that aired in February 1969. Kurt Russell and Patrick Dawson star as two Hardy-Boys-like teens who buzz all over Ireland trying to avoid capture by a Russian agent, all the while also trying to aid American spy Glenn Corbett (Russell's older brother in the film). This movie features one of the cleverest crooks to be found in any Disney film: Kersner. This man is a master of disguise and always seems to be one step ahead of the boys, who are constantly in danger of being killed. The film was shot on location in and around the Emerald Isle and is just a wonderful way to spend a few days (I'd recommend breaking it into 1-hour segments over 3 days....ideally, the week of St. Patrick's Day).

You can read our full review here. 

5. Child of Glass (1978)

This has been a longtime favorite Saturday afternoon flick...especially on a rainy fall day. If you like ghosts and legends and the old South, then you'll enjoy this one. Steve Shaw stars as Alex, a young boy with psychic powers. He and his family recently moved into an old Georgian manor once owned by a sea captain. Alex sees the glowing ghost of Captain Tremaine's daughter in the attic one afternoon and she pleads with him to help her solve a riddle so that she could be freed from her state of limbo. The movie isn't packed with excitement, but it holds your interest. Fans of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory will recognize Denise Nickerson as Alex's sister. 

You can read our full review here.

6. Escapade in Florence (1962)

Tommy Kirk was not only busy starring in films for Walt Disney Studios but on the small screen as well. This film, which was released on the heels of The Horsemaster, reunited Annette Funicello with Kirk. They play students abroad in Florence, Italy, who get mixed up in mystery and suspense when they get unexpectedly involved in an art forgery operation. The movie was filmed in Italy and features many colorful locations, including a chase sequence during the famous Palio horse race in Sienna. It also features some playful Italian-esque tunes by the Sherman Brothers, most of which are performed by Annette. 

7. The Whiz Kid and the Mystery at Riverton (1974)

This was the first of two television films that were made about Alvin Fernald, a wonderful character from the imagination of writer Clifford B. Hicks. Alvin was a child inventor who liked to tinker with gadgets every chance he had. Most of the summer he spends in his basement laboratory/workshop but this summer, he and his friend Shooey discover a case of corruption in their town of Riverton and Alvin decides to put his inventions to use as they try and solve the mystery. Tagging along is his little sister Daphne, played by Kim Richards. 

This film has a lot going for it. Not only does it boast a great cast of character actors (including Edward Andrews as the mayor of Riverton), but the children are perfectly cast and are a delight to watch. I wish Disney had developed the Alvin Fernald stories into a television series instead of just two films. 

Well, that wraps up our list of favorite Disney TV movies. Do you have any memories of watching these films? Or do you have any Disney TV movies you would pick as favorites? 

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

The Disney Round-Up!

This year, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of our blog Silver Scenes. Looking back on all of the posts my sister Diana and I (Constance) have made over the years, we discovered that Walt Disney films were a common fact, we reviewed quite a large number of Disney productions! We also covered small bios on some Disney Legends, such as Bill Cotter, Marc Davis, and James Algar.

Since we are hosting The 100 Years of Disney Blogathon in honor of Walt Disney Studios' anniversary, we decided to round up all of our Disney posts into one large corral. This way you can browse through and pick and choose which posts you may want to explore. 

The Disney Round-Up!

Disney Legends

It has been a long time since we ran this series which featured profiles of actors/directors/writers and other personnel from Disney, but looking back on it, I want to relaunch this (and this time include my favorite Legend - Richard Sherman).

Fred MacMurray - The Walt Disney Years

Editor-Cotton Warburton

Joe Flynn - A Frustrated Fellow

James MacArthur and Janet Munro - A Disney Duo

Tim Considine - A Disney Legend

Carroll Clark and Emile Kuri - Set Designers

Eustace Lycett - Special Effects

Marc Davis - Imagineer

Bill Walsh - Disney Legend

Hayley Mills - Disney Legend

James Algar - Imagineer and Director

Bill Thomas - Costume Designer

Disney Television Productions

Walt Disney Studios are known for their film work but the studio also did many many television productions, especially when Walt himself was alive and hosting The Wonderful World of Color. Here is just a selection of many of Disney's TV productions: 

The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure

The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca (1958)

The Prince and the Pauper (1962)

Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh 

Ballerina (1966)

Way Down Cellar (1968)

Secret of the Pirate's Inn (1969)

High Flying Spy (1972)

The Child of Glass (1978)

The Secret of Boyne Castle (1969)

Bejewelled (1991)

The Disney Films

If you were to mention the name "Disney" most people would instantly link the thought with "animation"...and rightly so. Disney was a pioneer in the animation field. We thought that there were enough books and articles written about his animated work, but very few about the live-action films that the studio made over the years, so we have always put the spotlight on those, some of which were: 

The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue

The Great Locomotive Chase (1956)

Johnny Tremain (1957)

Perri: A True-Life Adventure (1958)

Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959)

The Shaggy Dog (1959)

Third Man on the Mountain (1959)

Swiss Family Robinson (1960)

Nikki, Wild Dog of the North (1961)

The Parent Trap (1961)

Summer Magic (1963)

The Moon-Spinners (1964)

Lt. Robin Crusoe U.S.N. (1966)

The Gnome-Mobile (1967)

The Happiest Millionaire (1967)

The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (1968)

The Barefoot Executive (1971)

Snowball Express (1972)

Diamonds on Wheels (1973)

Island at the Top of the World (1974)

Candleshoe (1977)

Pete's Dragon (1977)

The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

The London Connection (1979)

The North Avenue Irregulars (1979)

The Unidentified Flying Oddball (1979)

Condorman (1981)

Misc. Topics

TV/Movie Set: The Parent Trap Ranch

TV/Movie Set: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

TV/Movie Set: Herbie Rides Again

Film Albums: The Happiest Millionaire

Promoting Poppins: The Merchandise of Mary Poppins

Sunday, September 10, 2023

The Cat from Outer Space (1978)

Walt Disney Studios produced a number of live-action feature films in the 1970s, most of which were comedies. One of the less memorable of these comedies was The Cat from Outer Space, released in 1978.

Ken Barry, in his pre-Mama's Family days, stars as Frank Wilson, a young scientist who is befriended by ZunarJ5/9Doric47, otherwise known as "Jake", a cat from outer space. Jake crash-landed his spacecraft on planet Earth and now needs a substance called "Org 12" to repair it. Frank discovers that Org 12 is none other than gold and that Jake needs $120,000 worth of it in less than 24 hours so that he can fix his spacecraft and reunite with his mothership in time. Quite a tall order for an underpaid scientist!

The Cat from Outer Space was written by Ted Key (Hazel) and it has a wonderful premise of a cat coming from outer space....after all, cats can seem aloof and unworldly at times. Jake comes from a planet where its inhabitants spent years developing tools to increase the mental powers of its species. His race discovered they need not progress beyond the form of a cat. Indeed, Jake can do anything a human can and beyond. 

The brilliant scientists at ERL - the lab where Frank works - are only beginning to touch on theories that Jake's civilization has known for years. It's no wonder Jake sits by with that typically feline air of superiority while he watches mortal Frank at his work. 

"We developed our brain to a fine point. Now man, on the other hand, rose off his four legs and developed tools, machinery, agriculture, and a chronic pain in his lower back. We developed tools for the mind."

That magic color around his neck is what amplifies Jake's brain power and later aids them in procuring $120,000 to buy the gold he needs. It also allows him to "speak" telepathically with Frank, with whom he has a rapport. How can anyone resist such a cute and clever cat as a companion? Incidentally, Jake is voiced by Ronnie Schell who also has a small part.

While the story of The Cat from Outer Space is clever, the film itself never gets into a proper orbit. It seems overly simple in its structure and rather uneventful, even though there is quite a bit going on....especially during the helicopter chase at the finale. Casting may be the issue here. The film is filled with characters that could be exciting but fall flat. 

Frank Wilson is an engaging character and Ken Barry has a winning personality but, in spite of that combination, this movie really needed Dean Jones (or Fred MacMurray had it been made a decade earlier). Sandy Duncan was marvelous in Disney's The Million Dollar Duck (also penned by Ted Key) but she is given very little to do here. McLean Stevenson portrays Frank's colleague Link, but he isn't humorous in the role. This would have been a great part for Tim Conway. 

Much of the film rests on the supporting players and character actors.... which there are a surprising number of! Harry Morgan, a regular in Disney comedies of the 1970s, plays an irate general, Hans Conreid has a marvelous bit as Frank's boss, Jesse White plays the pool hall owner, and Alan Young is a distracted veterinarian. And let's not forget the requisite villains. It is not A.J. Arno or Alonso Hawk who discover and are plotting to steal Jake's magic collar, instead, it is Mr. Olympus (William Prince) aided by his snooping stooge Mr. Stallwood (Roddy McDowall).

Norman Tokar directed this light-hearted comedy and there are some good special effects to thrill the little ones, but this particular viewer found the film to be only average entertainment. If I had a taste to watch a Disney comedy from the 1970s, I'd pick Disney's Dexter Riley comedies and the marvelous comedy talents of Jim Backus and Joe Flynn instead. 

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Film Albums: The Happiest Millionaire ( 1967 )

Usually, for our Film Albums series, we feature a single album relating to movies in some way or another, but this time around we have a bunch of albums all featuring the music of The Happiest Millionaire (1967), a delightful - although rather long - musical from Walt Disney Studios. 

Below each album is a link to the Internet Archive where you can enjoy the music for yourself and see how your comparisons differ from ours. 

The Happiest Millionaire - Original Sound Track Album

Buena Vista Records - 60781-7

The Happiest Millionaire featured no less than 16 songs (!), all of which were written by the wonderful songwriting team of Richard and Robert Sherman. If the film itself isn't overly memorable, the music certainly is....especially Are We Dancing (a beautiful waltz performed by John Davidson and Lesley Ann Warren), Let's Have a Drink on It, and Fortuosity. Also included, is the not-heard-on-screen It Won't Be Long Til' Christmas. Jo Stafford performs a beautiful version of this song here. 

This original album is definitely the best of the bunch. The orchestration (by Jack Elliott) is lush and lovely and the singing performances from the main cast are wonderful to hear. Plus, what a great cover with Tommy Steele smiling in spite of his big black eye!

Note: the above link contains only 30-second sound clips, but if you search for the album on the Archive, you will find another upload that contains Side A and Side B of the original album.

Beuna Vista Records STER-4030

This is another wonderful version of the music of The Happiest Millionaire, this time performed by the Mike Sammes Singers and featuring some imaginative orchestration by Tutti Camarata, a Disney legend. The Mike Sammes Singers were the UK's version of The Ray Charles Singers and they have scrumptious harmonies. Their version of Are We Dancing is lovely. 

Note: This same album was also released in the UK with a different cover: 

RCA Camden CAS-2164

This was a close second because the Living Voices (RCA's in-house recording chorus) produced some really top-notch albums in the 1960s. Their tempo is just slightly slower than The Mike Sammes Singers and it doesn't match the upbeat vibe of the movie, so that's why we ranked this album 3rd. However, their version of Fortuosity is much better than the Mike Sammes Singers. 

Coliseum Records D41003 

If you like jazz and you like Count Basie, then you'll love this album. The Count does a marvelous job of turning these Sherman Brothers' songs into New Orleans-sounding peppy jazz classics. 

Songs from Walt Disney's The Happiest Millionaire

Disneyland Records - STER-1303

This is by far our least favorite of the albums. The listing credits "various artists" but it sounds like one man singing all of the songs and his voice isn't the most pleasant to listen to. I wonder if this Disneyland Records album was cheaper than the soundtrack because why would someone buy this if they cost the same? Nevertheless, the album cover is cute.