June gives us another installment in TCM’s ongoing showcase of classics from the Walt Disney library. As has become customary, film historian and Disney expert Leonard Maltin will serve as host. All of this month’s presentations are TCM premieres.
- Three cartoon shorts feature Mickey Mouse.
- short documentary A Trip Through the Walt Disney Studios (1937)
- The feature-length documentary The Best of Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures (1975)
- Five of the theatrical features in our lineup revolve around canines of one sort or another.
8:00 PM ET – A Trip Through the Walt Disney Studios (1937)
This short documentary has Disney and some of his creative staff hosting a visit to studio facilities. The film was originally intended as a promotional item for executives at RKO Radio Pictures, which had a distribution deal with the Walt Disney Company in the 1930s and ’40s. It was later adapted into a featurette and released to general audiences.
8:15 PM ET – The Best of Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures
A compilation of highlights from a series of 13 nature films produced by Disney, ranging from Sea Island (1948) to Jungle Cat (1960). Animals of all types are depicted in habitats spanning the American prairies and African deserts to the Amazon jungle and the Arctic tundra. Among other films excerpted in the documentary are Water Birds (1952), Bear Country (1953), The Living Desert (1953), The Vanishing Prairie (1954) and The African Lion (1955).
10:00 PM ET – The Legend of Lobo (1962)
The story of a wolf in the American Southwest, tracing his life from his days as a pup through his adventures as a hunter of cattle and the scourge of ranchers. Lobo is based on a wolf described in a non-fictional account by naturalist writer Ernest Seton. There is no dialogue in the film, which is narrated by Rex Allen, with music by the Sons of the Pioneers.
11:15 PM ET – Greyfriars Bobby
(Preceded by Society Dog Show)
Society Dog Show (1939), directed by Bill Roberts, Mickey enters Pluto in a fancy dog show, only to find Pluto distracted by a pretty Pekinese.
Greyfriars Bobby is based on the much-loved 1912 novel of that title by Eleanor Atkinson, tells of a Skye terrier that remains faithful to his elderly master even after the old man’s death. Set in Victorian Edinburgh and the Scottish countryside, the story is based on a true incident involving a dog who became a hero to local citizens because of his stalwart loyalty. Don Chaffey directed a cast headed by Donald Crisp and Laurence Naismith.
1:15 AM ET – Big Red (1962)
(Preceded by Pluto’s Purchase)
In Pluto’s Purchase (1948), directed by Charles Nichols, Mickey sends his pooch to the store to buy some sausage that’s intended as a birthday gift for Pluto’s rival, Butch the bulldog.
Big Red (1962), adapted from Jim Kjelgaard’s 1945 novel, concerns a champion Irish Setter who resists the discipline of the show ring and prefers running through the wild with a 10-year-old orphan boy (Gilles Payant). Walter Pidgeon plays the dog’s crusty owner, and Norman Tokar directed. The film was an early Disney effort from director Tokar, who would go on to direct such Disney classics as Where the Red Fern Grows (1974), The Apple Dumpling Gang (1975) and Candleshoe (1977).
3:00 AM – Benji the Hunted (1987)
( preceded by Moose Hunters)
In Moose Hunters (1937), directed by Ben Sharpsteen, Mickey joins Donald Duck and Goofy in a comic moose hunt.
Part of an ongoing series of films featuring the lovable mixed-breed dog, Benji the Hunted has Benji trying to survive in the wilderness after being lost in a remote area of Oregon. Among the animals Benji encounters are a brood of orphaned cougars, a timber wolf, a brown bear, a fawn, a fox and a raccoon. Joe Camp directed, and Frank Inn, Benji’s owner, plays himself.
4:45 AM ET – The Biscuit Eater (1972)
Set in Georgia and based on a short story by James H. Street, focuses on a German wirehair pointer called Moreover who is considered untrainable until two young boys work with him to compete in a state championship field trial for bird dogs. The film, a remake of a 1940 movie of the same title, was directed by Vincent McEveety and features Johnny Whitaker, Earl Holliman and Pat Crowley.