‘True-Life Adventures’: True Disney works of art

Tis the season to watch TV, since it’s getting downright frigid outside, and also because you couldn’t pay me to see most of the new movies out now in theaters (hey, Marty—I’ll settle that little argument for you: The Irishman and all the Marvel movies both stink equally…but at least they stink in 3D).

By Paul Mavis

So, what better way to beat both the winter and new movie blues than to sign up for Disney+, right? With the exception of Amazon Prime (the stand-out for old and obscure movies and TV shows), the other streamers leave me cold (is there anything of value on Hulu?). I grew up on old, classical Disney, and from all the pre-launch articles I read, the arrival of Disney+ seemed to be akin to the Second Coming according to pundits, with Walt’s complete vaults finally opened up for all to see.

Yeah…no. No sublime Song of the South (you craven cowards, Disney). No The Barefoot Executive. No Now You See Him, Now You Don’t (the Disney+ geniuses have included the first and third installments of the Kurt Russell “Dexter Riley” trilogy, though, which is super-helpful…he snidely wrote). All three are deal-breakers for me. And that verkakte menu. Who can navigate that? On second thought, maybe those movies are in there somewhere….

This is why physical media—specifically DVDs—will never go away. Once you have a particular title, it’s yours until doomsday. It’s not going to whisp away into the ether-net cloud. It’s right on the shelf where you last left it (or in my case: a vast subterranean vault, deep within the bowels of the Earth). And you can watch it anytime you like, just like streaming (oh so sorry you have to get up off your ass to actually grab a disc, you whiner). A good case in point: the Disney True-Life Adventures series. They are true Disney works of art which, through various repetitive editing rhythms and music cues, as well as slow motion photography, provide moments as surreal and beautiful as Walt’s masterpiece, Fantasia.

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Now, years ago, I was lucky enough to get those coveted Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection DVD tins of the four volumes of the True-Life Adventures series (apparently they’re now worth their weight in black tar heroin on the backstreet market). Maybe Disney+ is featuring the complete series of these delightful shorts, but I know for a fact that you won’t see, via streaming, all the invaluable extras that are included on those discs. Streaming is cheap, vulgar instant gratification. Physical media is prolonged, sustained satisfaction (of course I’m alluding to that…).

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When you mention the word, “Disney,” to me, what instantly jumps to my mind is first, Herbie (as in the “Love Bug”…not that clown who hilariously calls himself “the voice and the face for the classic TV world.” Jesus, can you believe anyone would cop to that?), and second, all those wonderfully entertaining True-Life Adventures nature documentaries that came out of the Disney studios between 1948 and 1960. Titles like Beaver Valley, The Vanishing Prairie, and The Living Desert hold just as much weight with me as do Disney animated classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Dumbo.

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When I was in elementary school (before the Punic Wars), Fridays were movie days, because by the end of the week, our teachers had basically given up: it was just easier to put something on the ‘ol Bell & Howell and zone out in the back of the room, than to try and actually teach something. Invariably, a Disney short would be included in the mix, or even a cartoon, if it was considered “educational” (Donald in Mathmagicland was a particular favorite).

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As well, at our local second-run movie house, at least once a month a Disney feature re-release of some kind would appear for a Saturday matinee, with a True-Life Adventures short tacked on for good measure. Rowdy kids in their theatre seats (or at their desks) would settle down once the soothing, measured tones of narrator Winston Hibler came forth (or warbled forth, depending on the shape of that 16mm school print), and we’d be treated to yet another True-Life Adventure; a timeless story of nature in all of its infinite beauty and variety, as seen through the eyes of the magic makers at Disney.

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Walt Disney’s early love of, and connection with, animals, is well known to students of the man, so it’s not surprising that for years prior to the Second World War, Walt nurtured a growing kernel of an idea for a movie series that featured live-action footage of real animals. Prior to the True-Life Adventures series debut, the Disney studios had commissioned live-action footage of animals for its animators to study, to help the artists convey greater realism to their cartoon shorts and features (Bambi, in particular, benefited from this practice).

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Walt also began to see live-action as a cheaper, less work-intensive way to diversify his studio’s output, particularly after his experience producing government-sponsored live-action training shorts during World War II. The war-related work that Disney was commissioned to deliver, and the subsequent sidetracking of his artists away from their pre-war animation projects, had also substantially impacted Disney’s ability to produce full-length animated features, which took years of planning and execution before they could reach the screens. Hence, immediately after the war, Disney had to rely on cobbled-together animated shorts made into feature-length films, such as Fun and Fancy Free and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. All of these factors contributed to Walt’s decision to inaugurate a new series of live-action shorts called the True-Life Adventures series.

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Purchasing 16mm color footage filmed in Alaska by husband-and-wife naturalists Elma and Al Milotte, Walt took the shapeless, unstructured miles of footage and gathered together a team of artists to mold the directionless material into a short subject. Walt put James Algar, one of Disney’s top animators and directors, in charge of the new True-Life Adventures unit, and secured the services of Winston Hibler to co-write and narrate the inaugural short. With Anthony Gerard editing, along with Oliver Wallace’s arresting score, what would become Seal Island took shape.

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Once completed, Walt faced the uphill battle of selling the odd little short. Of course, there had been nature documentaries before the True-Life Adventures, but they mostly consisted of either exploitation features such as Frank Buck’s Bring ‘Em Back Alive, or traveling lecture shows, with naturalists and scientists presenting their random nature footage to local clubs and civic organizations while lecturing about their adventures (such as the Milottes did). No one, though, had thought of taking nature footage, and applying to it basic storytelling techniques to create a story focused solely on the featured animals.

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Walt Disney’s distributor at the time, RKO Studios, initially rejected the idea of exhibiting Seal Island. It was considered too brief to launch as a major release, while its subject matter (“You mean it’s just shots of animals?” one can imagine hearing the executives say) was thought too new and experimental to take such a financial risk. Upon hearing this (it’s important to know Walt had had trouble with RKO before), Walt instructed his brother, Roy (who was the financial genius behind the Disney studio) to rent out a theatre in Pasadena to make sure the short qualified for Oscar consideration.

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Seal Island proved to be an enormous financial success at the theatre, further souring Walt’s view of his deal with RKO. Indeed, when Walt was ready to release the first full-length feature film in the True-Life Adventures series, The Living Desert, RKO again demurred, forcing Walt and Roy to form their own distribution arm, the famed Buena Vista company, further enriching the Disney studio and generating a far greater field of exhibition for future Disney movies. And thus, the True-Life Adventures series was born.

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In “film school” (blech), I had a Documentary Studies course where my professor took particular pleasure in eviscerating the Disney True-Life Adventures series (she had a lot of problems. Believe me…). Chief among her complaints was the notion that these nature documentaries were “staged,” and that the process of directing and editing the footage, along with added sound effects (many of them man-made for the animals) and “Mickey Mousing” music cues, negated the series from serious critical evaluation. They were, in her mind, “phony.” When I raised my hand and reminded her that Nanook of the North, long considered one of the greatest documentaries ever made, had recreated scenes, with the moviemakers having to teach Nanook how to hunt like his ancestors, before filming actually took place, I pretty much knew I was getting a low grade on my next term paper.

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The notion that these Disney True-Life Adventures are somehow “dishonest” makes no sense, in that, the producers were trying to show events and scenes for entertainment purposes—period. Educating the public, if indeed that notion was even considered, came subliminally. Walt constantly reminded the unit to make entertainments, not nature documentaries. The addition of sound effects, as well as the marvelous musical scores that not only highlighted the action, but commented on it, as well (the famous otter slide sequence in Beaver Valley), were in no way considered by the Disney staff as compromises to some vague notion of “truth.”

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Rather, they were necessary tools for making entertaining features; they smoothed over the rough spots of the largely unrelated material, while providing hooks for the audience to appreciate the footage. Have you ever stared at 30 minutes of footage showing a beaver gnawing on a tree branch? I suspect most people would get bored with that after awhile. It’s not a coincidence (nor is it ironic) that each True-Life Adventures short starts with a credit sequence featuring an animated brush, painting in the cartoon background for the coming live-action footage.

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Of course, there can be issues with staging action; in particular, the infamous “lemming suicide” sequence in White Wilderness. Much has been written about this scene, some of which is misleading. Often, this sequence is pointed to as an example of misinformation purposely staged by Disney to create a dramatic moment (of course, they never mention all of the myths that Disney corrects in these nature shorts, such as the undeserved bad reputation that wolves have, stated in White Wilderness). Listening to the narration, it’s clear that the screenwriter is saying the impulse to suicide is a legend with the lemmings, not a fact, as I’ve read before in other accounts.

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However, it does appear that animals may have been injured in staged sequences. I won’t justify such treatment, but I will say that the manner of obtaining this sequence was not authorized by Walt himself (quite a lot of the footage obtained for these shorts, particularly in the beginning, were shot not by actual Disney employees, but by freelancers, who then sold it to Disney). As well, attitudes towards the treatment of animals on movie sets have drastically changed over the decades. Just like today’s madness concerning everything from Civil War statues to John Wayne and Kate Smith, it’s not only unfair but illogical to hold yesterday’s movies to today’s standards. I don’t hear the same critics who decry this sequence calling for a ban of all John Ford films (a lot of horses bit the dust from trip wires on his productions), but I’m sure that’s only a matter of time, as well (easiest way out of one of these sticky PETA-inspired conversational quandaries at your next cocktail party? Ask your opponent if they’re pro-choice. Problem solved).

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What critics of Disney’s True-Life Adventures series also don’t take into account is the tremendous influence for the good that these shorts and features have perpetuated. I certainly remember being in awe of the views of nature on display in the True-Life Adventures. Watching them today, there are still sequences that are astounding to behold (the wolverine/osprey battle in White Wilderness is incredible). A good case could be made for these shorts and features being a major catalyst for the environmental movement that would grow during the 1950s and 1960s.

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Leaving behind any specific message of conservation in their narratives, the True-Life Adventures impart a reverence for nature and beauty in their very subtext that has influenced young viewers for decades. In 1954’s The Vanishing Prairie, the conservation message, although not exactly a call-to-arms, at least addresses the issue of our endangered, unspoiled places, and suggests that man was taking his first steps in helping to preserve them. How many scientists, environmentalists, naturalists, and botanists decided on their careers after watching these amazing movies? Certainly the good will that these shorts have promoted concerning our environment outweigh an unfortunate incident in just one entry in the series.

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And, as always with anything related to Disney—and remember, I’m referring to old, classic Disney, not the new SD (Satanic Disney…), there are critics who decry the “Disneyfication” of the animals portrayed in the shorts, lamenting the anthropomorphizing effects of the editing, sound effects and music cues. Unfortunately for those critics’ arguments, that’s a view that’s not born out by actually watching the movies. Certainly, there are “cute” moments aplenty in the True-Life Adventures; there’s a high “Awwwww!” factor whenever the shorts show various baby animals at play.

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There’s certainly nothing wrong with that; again, these shorts were meant to reach and entertain adults and children; those “cute” sequences are perhaps the best-remembered parts of the shorts. However, with all of the titles in the series, treated right up front in the narration and in the depiction of the battle for survival, is an unsentimental view of nature that imparts great respect for the animals and the presented processes of nature. Time and again, the Disney True-Life Adventures stress that nature is implacable in its disinterest; nature plays no favorites, and cute little animals die in the jaws of less cute animals (in an interview I conducted with NAME DROPPING ALERT! Walt’s nephew, Roy, who was heavily involved in the series, the editors had to cut out copious amounts of gore and blood, so as not to sicken their audiences).

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Some historians have gone back now, and have tried to retrofit political motives onto these “survival of the fittest” storylines, hoping to tie in their negative evaluations of Walt himself with these storylines. Whether this is true or not is beside the point (in a word, it’s “bullsh*t”). The True-Life Adventures show a decidedly realistic view of nature and its laws, in direct opposition to what Disney critics like to think Disney movies are all about: sweetness, light, and fairy-tale endings.

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From beginning to end, these True-Life Adventures shorts firmly get the point across that nature has had its own rules from the beginning of time, and respect must come from that—because you’re not going to change it. Animals are born, they fight for survival every day, and they die—invariably at the hands of other predators. And these cycles, like the seasons, will continue forever. I hardly call that a saccharin outlook.

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Here are the shorts, full length features—and the extras you won’t find on Disney+—included in the Walt Disney’s Legacy Collection True-Life Adventures volumes:

VOLUME 1: WONDERS OF THE WORLD

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White Wilderness

An Academy Award winner for Best Documentary, Features, for 1958, this short features some amazing footage, including awesome shots of a polar bear and his cubs in action, musk oxen versus a wolf, and perhaps the single most spectacular footage in any True-Life Adventures: an attack on an osprey nest by a wolverine. Written and directed by James Algar, and edited by Norman R. Palmer, it runs 72 minutes.

Water Birds

Water Birds, released in 1952, won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject, Two-Reel. It offers beautiful footage of various birds who live by or on the water, including the powerful gannets who dive-bomb for herrings, the ouzel which can walk under water along the river floor, and the black skimmer, with his upper-hinged jaw that allows for a plowing effect above the water. Written by Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, and William Otist, directed by Ben Sharpsteen, and edited by Palmer, it runs 31 minutes.

Beaver Valley

Fondly remembered by so many schoolkids, Beaver Valley won the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Two-Reel, for 1950. Highlights include an incredible mid-air mouse transfer between two hawks, salmon spawning, and of course, the famous sequence with the otters sliding down the snowy lake banks. When narrator Winston Hibler describes the female beaver, saying breathlessly, “She’s lovely!” the kids will scream with laughter. Directed by Algar, written by Lawrence Edward Watkin and Ted Sears, and edited by Palmer, it runs 32 minutes.

Prowlers of The Everglades

It took over a year for Alfred and Elma Milotte to get the footage for this 1952 short, featuring some crystal-clear underwater footage of alligators and otters at work and play. Written and directed by Algar, and edited by Anthony Gerard, it runs 32 minutes.

Mysteries of The Deep

This 1959 feature wasn’t included in the official True-Life Adventures canon; I asked Roy Disney why this was, and he was at a loss, as well, to explain this slight. It certainly follows the True-Life‘s pattern, and features some bright, colorful underwater photography, as well as a nicely written script by Roy himself. It runs 24 minutes.

Wonders of The Water Worlds

This is an episode from the Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color program from 1961, with an introduction by Walt himself. While it does contain many shots from the True-Life Adventures series, it looks as if other sequences come from leftover or alternate footage. It runs 50 minutes.

The Crisler Story

From a 1957 black and white episode of ABC’s Walt Disney’s Disneyland series, this 19 minute short looks at the Crislers photographer team, who aided in the filming of White Wilderness. After watching this, you have a new respect for the hardships (and obvious love of the job) that these two professionals put into the short.

Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Birds

This is the first of four contemporary segments (the other three appear on the other volumes in the series) that feature Roy Disney backstage at Disney’s theme park, Animal Kingdom. Mr. Disney is obviously the heart and soul of the Disney company, and his personable demeanor is very reminiscent of his father’s and uncle’s. It’s an entertaining, informative 9 minute look at some bird residents of the park.

Tribute to James Algar

This 3 minute look at the unit producer of the True-Life Adventures series is undated, and its main drawback is its entirely too short running time.

Filmmakers’ Journal

This 23 minute documentary, again with no date (although it’s a mixture of old and new interview footage) features a detailed look at some of the participants in the True-Life Adventures series, including Norman “Stormy” Palmer, one of the chief editors on the series, and Paul Smith and Oliver Wallace, the composers who wrote the critical soundtracks for the shorts and features. It’s an invaluable look at the series’ production.

Collectors’ Corner

Disney historian Stacia Martin shows off some collectibles and marketing items from the True-Life Adventures series. It’s an entertaining segment, but at just 3 minutes, it’s a little slight for such a big subject.

VOLUME 2: LANDS OF EXPLORATION

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Here are the shorts and features included in the Disney’s True-Life Adventures Volume 2: Lands of Exploration:

The Living Desert

The first full-length True-Life Adventures feature, The Living Desert won the Oscar in 1953 for Best Documentary, Features. It’s an amazing collection of location shooting and studio mock-ups that feature Paul Kenworthy’s amazing close-up photography. Highlights include “nature’s symphony of the mud pots,” wild boars versus a bobcat, the justly famous scorpion “square dance,” and the desert wasp battle against a tarantula. Some of the desert shots have the same pictorial power as David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. Written and directed by Algar, and edited by Palmer, it runs 69 minutes.

The Vanishing Prairie

The Best Documentary, Features winner for 1954, The Vanishing Prairie talks directly about the threat to nature by man—and man’s gradual awakening to that fact, and his efforts to turn the tide. In other words: mainstream America is introduced to the conservation movement in a manner never before attempted. Highlights include spectacular shots of Monument Valley, the famous ducks sliding on the frozen pond, and bighorn sheep butting heads in the rutting season. A full-blooded documentary with an overt message (maybe that’s why it made less than half as much money as The Living Desert). Algar wrote and directed, with Lloyd Richardson editing . It runs 71 minutes.

Seal Island

The official start of the True-Life Adventures series, Seal Island won the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Two-Reel, in 1948. Brilliant in its use of a subplot involving a wayward young seal pup searching for its mother, Seal Island set the template for the successful series. With Algar directing, and Gerard editing, it runs 27 minutes.

Islands of the Sea

This 1959 short was another feature that didn’t fall under the True-Life Adventures banner (which, according to Roy Disney, still hasn’t been adequately explained). Various islands are explored for their unique fauna, including the blue-footed booby, the complicated Man of War (Frigatebird) mating ritual, the hilarious albatross slo-mo take-off footage, and the battle between the Red Rock crab and the oyster catcher. Written by Dwight Hauser, directed by Sharpsteen, and edited by Harry Reynolds, it runs 29 minutes.

Nature’s Strangest Creatures

This 1959 short highlights footage shot during the Milotte’s travels to Australia. These naturalists brought back fascinating footage, including the lung fish in action, and duck-billed platypus hatching its young. It runs 16 minutes.

Prairie

This episode from Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color inexplicably has a date listed as 1954 in the end credits, but that must be a mistake; I would say this is from 1961 or 1962. Walt introduces a look at how the various True-Life photographers get their footage. It’s a great look behind-the-scenes of the True-Life Adventures unit. It runs 23 minutes.

Behind the True-Life Cameras

This 25 minute segment of the black and white ABC Walt Disney’s Disneyland show, from 1954, gives another great look at what went into producing the True-Life Adventures series. James Algar is the host.

Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Desert Insects and Snakes

Here are two more contemporary segments that feature Roy Disney backstage at Disney’s theme park, Animal Kingdom. It’s an entertaining, informative 9 minute look at some of the more exotic residents of the park.

Filmmakers’ Journal

This 37 minute documentary, again with no date (although it’s a mixture of old and new interview footage) features a detailed look at some of the participants in the True-Life Adventures series, including Jimmy MacDonald, the sound effects wizard behind the True-Life Adventures series, and some great stories by Roy Disney. It’s an invaluable look at the series’ production.

Collectors’ Corner

Disney historian Stacia Martin shows off some collectibles and marketing items from The Living Desert. This is an especially interesting segment for Disney fanatics and collectors.

VOLUME 3: CREATURES OF THE WILD

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The African Lion

A full three years in the making, this 1955 full-length feature showcases the Milottes’ spectacular African footage, including the courser bird’s strange, rock-still head dance, a leopard attack on a wildebeest, a cheetah running at full speed, and a lioness chasing an impala. A massive locust swarm, while a lion looks on in stunned incomprehension, is one of the series’ most memorable images. Co-written and directed by Algar, co-written by Hibler, and edited by Palmer, it runs 73 minutes.

Jungle Cat

The last official entry in the True-Life Adventures series, Jungle Cat was shot in Brazil, and tells the story of a jaguar family. It features some amazing combat footage between a jaguar and a pirarucu, and a battle royale between a jaguar and a massive boa constrictor. Written and directed by Algar, and edited by Palmer, it runs 70 minutes.

Bear Country

Bear Country won the Oscar for Best Short Subject, Two-Reel, in 1953. One of the best looking shorts in the series, Bear Country explores Yellowstone Park, and features a run-in between a pocket gopher and a hungry crow, lots of cute moments with the adorable bear cubs, as well as some truly impressive combat between two angry bears. Written and directed by Algar, and edited by Richardson, it runs 33 minutes.

The Olympic Elk

This 1951 True-Life Adventures short is another gorgeous look at the North American continent, this time focusing on the Olympic Peninsula, by Puget Sound. The majestic elks are featured as they migrate to the mountains at the Peninsula’s interior, and the pitched battles between the elk bulls is impressive. Written by Sears, Hibler and Algar (who also directs), and edited by Richardson, it runs 27 minutes.

Cameras in Africa

This 1954 black and white episode from the ABC series, Walt Disney’s Disneyland, features behind-the-scenes footage of the Milottes in Africa, shooting their short, The African Lion. Al Milotte is the host. It runs 20 minutes.

The Yellowstone Story

Another Walt Disney’s Disneyland episode, this time from 1957, explores the famous national park, site of the short, Bear Country. It’s a fascinating look at the park, as well as how things used to be run (watch all those people feeding the bears!). It runs 17 minutes.

Tribute to the Milottes

Here’s another look at the Milottes, the husband-and-wife team of photographers who brought some of the greatest moments of the True-Life Adventures to the screen. It’s narrated by Buddy Ebsen, and dates from 1985.

Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Elephants and Cheetah Medical Exam

Here are two more contemporary segments that feature Roy Disney backstage at Disney’s theme park, Animal Kingdom. It’s an entertaining, informative 14 minute look at some of the operations at this theme park.

Filmmakers’ Journal

This 29 minute documentary, again with no date (although it’s a mixture of old and new interview footage) features a detailed look at some of the participants in the True-Life Adventures series, including even more information on the Milottes (they’re a fascinating couple).

Collectors’ Corner

Disney historian Stacia Martin shows off some collectibles and marketing items from The African Lion and Bear Country.

VOLUME 4: NATURE’S MYSTERIES

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Secrets of Life

Featuring some of the first stop-motion photography of plants growing, this 1956 feature departs somewhat from the True-Life Adventures formula by focusing more on nature’s processes, rather than on cute, fuzzy animals. The short’s main thrust, as the narration states, is on nature’s forces of adaptation and self-preservation. The close-up photography of the insect battles are stunning. Algar writes and directs again, and Gerard edits; it runs 70 minutes.

Perri

An unjustly neglected feature from Disney, 1957’s Perri was the first and only True-Life Fantasy, which had a script written first before shooting was attempted. The story of a little squirrel Perri has some stunningly beautiful sequences, particularly Perri’s moon-lit dream sequence, aided by animation. It’s a crime this short isn’t better known to casual Disney fans. Directed by N. Paul Kenworth and Ralph Wright, written by Wright and Hibler, and edited by Jack Atwood, it runs 74 minutes.

Nature’s Half-Acre

This 1951 True-Life Adventures short takes the fascinating concept of looking at the teeming life and activity that can be found in one small half-acre of land. The chickadee who won’t eat is a highlight, as are the bird nest making scenes, as well as the spider web spinning. Directed by Algar, who also wrote it with Hibler and Sears, and edited by Palmer, it runs 33 minutes.

Searching for Nature’s Mysteries

This 1956 episode of Walt Disney’s Disneyland features a look at the production of Secrets of Life, along with a look at the scientist-photographers that work on the True-Life Adventures series. Winston Hibler is the host. It runs 48 minutes.

Adventure in Wildwood Heart

This black and white episode from Walt Disney’s Disneyland series, from 1957, opens with a very creepy Walt Disney, hanging out in the Disney morgue, which of course, turns out to be the store room for the Disney archives. Here, Walt goes back through the studio’s history to show the development of the True-Life Adventures series. There’s also a detailed look at Perri‘s production. It runs 49 minutes.

Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: Butterflies

Here is the final contemporary segment that features Roy Disney backstage at Disney’s theme park, Animal Kingdom.

Tribute of Winston Hibler

This 15 minute tribute to the narrator of the True-Life Adventures series, properly puts Hibler in the real context of his stay at Disney: as one of the studio’s most important writers, producers and directors. Hibler considered his voice-over work as just a minor part of his work at the company (in fact, he never took money for it, believe it or not), so this doc does a nice job of showing the rest of Hibler’s career.

Filmmakers’ Journal

This 35 minute documentary, again with no date (although it’s a mixture of old and new interview footage) features a detailed look at some of the participants in the True-Life Adventures series, including more interesting anecdotes from Roy Disney.

Collectors’ Corner

Disney historian Stacia Martin shows off some collectibles and marketing items from Perri and Secrets of Life. This segment is probably the best of the four docs featuring Martin—perhaps because it’s twice as long as the previous entries.

PAUL MAVIS IS AN INTERNATIONALLY PUBLISHED MOVIE AND TELEVISION HISTORIAN, A MEMBER OF THE ONLINE FILM CRITICS SOCIETY, AND THE AUTHOR OF THE ESPIONAGE FILMOGRAPHY. Click to order.Read more of Paul’s TV reviews here. Read Paul’s film reviews at our sister website, Movies & Drinks.

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