True-Life Adventures

Last updated

True-Life Adventures
A True-Life Adventure introductory title card.png
Introductory title card (1952)
Starring Winston Hibler (narrator)
CinematographyAlfred Milotte (1–3)
Norman R. Palmer (2–12)
Herb Crisler (3)
Lois Crisler (3)
Edited byAnthony Gérard (1–11)
Norman R. Palmer (2–14)
Lloyd L. Richardson (6–9)
Jack Astwood (12)
Music by Oliver Wallace (1–14)
Paul J. Smith (2–12)
Production
company
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures (1948–1953)
Buena Vista Film Distribution Co, Inc. (1953–1960)
Release date
  • 1948–1960
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

True-Life Adventures is a series of short and full-length nature documentary films released by Walt Disney Productions between the years 1948 and 1960. [1] The first seven films released were thirty-minute shorts, with the subsequent seven films being full features. The series won eight Academy Awards for the studio, including five for Best Two Reel Live Action Short and three for Best Documentary Feature.

Contents

The films were among the earliest production experience for Roy E. Disney. This film series was the launching pad for Disney's then-new distributor, the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc.. Television episodes from Disney's anthology TV series focus on the films, and it inspired both a daily panel comic strip distributed from 1955 to 1973 and one-shot comic-book adaptations of several films as part of Dell Comics' Four Color series.

Some of the features were re-edited into educational shorts between 1968 and 1975. The latter year saw the release of The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures , a compilation film derived from the series.

Films

#film nametypedateeducational film
1 Seal Island Two-reel shortDecember 21, 1948
2 In Beaver Valley (a.k.a. Beaver Valley)July 19, 1950
3 Nature's Half Acre July 28, 1951
4 The Olympic Elk February 13, 1952
5 Water Birds June 26, 1952
6 Bear Country February 5, 1953
7 Prowlers of the Everglades July 23, 1953
8 The Living Desert FeatureNovember 10, 1953The following educational films were excerpted from The Living Desert: [2]
  • Animals at Home in the Desert (1974)
  • Predators of the Desert (1974)
  • What Is a Desert? (1974)
9 The Vanishing Prairie August 17, 1954The following educational films were excerpted from The Vanishing Prairie: [3]
  • The Buffalo – Majestic Symbol of the Plains (1962)
  • Small Animals of the Plains (1962)
  • Pioneer Trails, Indian Lore and Bird Life of the Plains (1962)
  • Large Animals that Once Roamed the Plains (1962)
10 The African Lion September 14, 1955The following educational films were excerpted from The African Lion: [3]
  • The African Lion and His Realm (1968)
  • Birds, Baboons, and Other Animals – Their Struggle for Survival (1968)
  • Elephants and Hippos in Africa (1968)
11 Secrets of Life November 6, 1956The following educational films were excerpted from Secrets of Life: [3]
  • Secrets of the Ant and Insect World (1960)
  • Secrets of the Bee World (1960)
  • Secrets of the Plant World (1960)
  • Secrets of the Underwater World (1960)
12 Perri August 28, 1957
13 White Wilderness August 12, 1958The following educational films were excerpted from White Wilderness: [3]
  • The Arctic Region and Its Polar Bears (1964)
  • Large Animals of the Arctic (1964)
  • The Lemmings and Arctic Bird Life (1964)
14 Jungle Cat August 10, 1960The following educational films were excerpted from Jungle Cat: [2]
  • Animals of the South American Jungle (1974)
  • Jungle Cat of the Amazon (1974)

Production

The films were among the earliest production experience for Roy E. Disney. This series was the launching pad for Disney's then-new distributor, the Buena Vista Film Distribution Company, Inc.. Interstitial animated segments are included, and some filmed sequences are set to music. Ub Iwerks blew up the 16 mm film to 35 mm for theatrical projection and provided some special effects. [4]

Awards

The series won eight Academy Awards for the studio including five Best Two Reel Live Action Short awards for Seal Island , In Beaver Valley , Nature's Half Acre , Water Birds , and Bear Country , and three Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature awards for The Living Desert , The Vanishing Prairie and White Wilderness .

In other media

Television episodes from Disney's anthology TV series focus on the films, and it inspired a daily panel comic strip that was distributed from 1955 to 1973 and drawn by George Wheeler. [5] Several of the films were adapted in comic book format as one-shots in Dell Comics' Four Color series.

Educational shorts

The following shorts were edited out of the other shorts/films/episodes for educational purposes. Either a fragment was exported out of a longer film or two or more sequences were edited together from more than two or more different films to form a "new" film. Thus they are not included on the Legacy DVDs.

Films made up of stock footage from two or more Disney nature films and thus not listed with respective original film above: [2] [3]

Documentary film

On October 8, 1975, Disney theatrically released The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures, a full-length motion picture documentary derived from 13 of the acclaimed True-Life Adventures series written and directed by James Algar, executive produced by Ron Miller and narrated by Winston Hibler.

Home media

VHS releases

Australian & New Zealand

  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 1): The Living Desert (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 2): The Vanishing Prairie (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 3): Jungle Cat (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 4): Secrets of Life (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 5): The African Lion (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 6): White Wilderness (September 22, 1995)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 7): Seal Island (March 15, 1996)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 8): Bear Country (March 15, 1996)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 9): Water Birds (March 15, 1996)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 10): The Olympic Elk (March 15, 1996)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 11): Beaver Valley (March 15, 1996)
  • Disney's True-Life Adventures (Volume 12): Nature's Half Acre (March 15, 1996)

DVD release

All of the True-Life Adventures have been released on 4 double-DVD sets as part of the Walt Disney Legacy Collection, which launched December 5, 2006.

Volume 1: Wonders of the World

Disc one

Disc two

  • "Mysteries of the Deep"
  • "Wonders of the Water Worlds"
  • "The Crisler Story"

Bonus features

  • "Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Birds"
  • "Tribute to James Algar"
  • "Filmmakers' Journal"
  • "Collectors' Corner"
  • "Original Theatrical Trailers"

Volume 2: Lands of Exploration

Disc one

Disc two

  • "Islands of the Sea"
  • "Nature's Strangest Creatures"
  • "Prairie"
  • Behind the True Life Cameras

Bonus features

  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Desert Insects
  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Snakes
  • Filmmakers' Journal
  • Collectors' Corner
  • Trailers & Promo

Volume 3: Creatures of the Wild

Disc one

Disc two

Bonus features

  • Tribute to the Milottes
  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Elephants
  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Cheetah Medical Exam
  • Filmmakers' Journal
  • Collectors' Corner
  • Trailers & Promo

Volume 4: Nature's Mysteries

Disc one

Disc two

Bonus features

  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Butterflies
  • Tribute to Winston Hibler
  • Filmmakers' Journal
  • Collectors' Corner
  • Original Theatrical Trailers

Disney+

Many of the shorts are hosted on Disney's streaming platform Disney+, [6] although as of January 6, 2022, Seal Island had not yet been added to the service in the United States. [7]

Legacy

In 2007, Disney established a new nature film label called Disneynature, which produces feature films similar to the True-Life Adventures series. [8] After Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox's entertainment unit on March 20, 2019, Disneynature is a sister studio of National Geographic Films, which was owned by 21CF.

Various natural scientists have studied the contents of these films and found that various sequences in them were staged and fabricated, such as the lemmings' mass suicide in White Wilderness . [9]

See also

Documentaries

Related Research Articles

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Animated cartoon character who was Walt Disneys signature character before Mickey Mouse

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit aka is a cartoon character created in 1927 by Walt Disney for Universal Pictures. He starred in several animated short films released to theaters from 1927 to 1938. Twenty-seven animated Oswald shorts were produced at the Walt Disney Studio.

<i>Alice Comedies</i> Film series by Walt Disney in the 1920s

The Alice Comedies are a series of animated/live-action shorts created by Walt Disney in the 1920s, in which a live action little girl named Alice and an animated cat named Julius have adventures in an animated landscape.

<i>The Living Desert</i> 1953 documentary film by James Algar

The Living Desert is a 1953 American nature documentary film that shows the everyday lives of the animals of the desert of the Southwestern United States. The film was written by James Algar, Winston Hibler, Jack Moffitt (uncredited) and Ted Sears. It was directed by Algar, with Hibler as the narrator and was filmed in Tucson, Arizona. The film won the 1953 Oscar for Best Documentary.

<i>White Wilderness</i> (film) 1958 documentary film directed by James Algar

White Wilderness is a 1958 American-Canadian nature documentary produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is noted for its propagation of the misconception of lemming mass suicide.

<i>The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh</i> 1977 American animated anthology film produced by Walt Disney Productions

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is a 1977 American animated musical anthology film produced by Walt Disney Productions and distributed by Buena Vista Distribution. It is the 22nd Disney animated feature film and was first released on a double bill with The Littlest Horse Thieves on March 11, 1977.

<i>Donald in Mathmagic Land</i> 1959 Donald Duck cartoon

Donald in Mathmagic Land is a 1959 American animated-live-action featurette produced by Walt Disney Productions and featuring Donald Duck. The short was directed by Hamilton Luske and was released on June 26, 1959. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary at the 32nd Academy Awards, and became a widely viewed educational film in American schools of the 1960s and beyond.

<i>Walt Disney Treasures</i> Series of Limited Edition 2-disc DVD Collections of Rare Walt Disney Material produced from 2001-2009

Walt Disney Treasures is a series of two-disc DVD collections of Disney cartoons, television episodes and other material. They cover material from the studio's earliest days to its more recent work. There were nine waves, each containing two to four sets, for a total of 30 titles. All content is presented uncensored and uncut with digitally restored picture and remastered sound.

Nature documentary Documentary film genre

A nature documentary or wildlife documentary is a genre of documentary film or series about animals, plants, or other non-human living creatures, usually concentrating on video taken in their natural habitat but also often including footage of trained and captive animals. Sometimes they are about wildlife or ecosystems in relationship to human beings. Such programmes are most frequently made for television, particularly for public broadcasting channels, but some are also made for the cinema medium. The proliferation of this genre occurred almost simultaneously alongside the production of similar television series.

Don Hahn American film producer and director

Donald Paul Hahn is an American film producer who is credited with producing some of the most successful animated films in recent history, including Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King.

Parade of the Award Nominees is a Mickey Mouse short which was made for the 1932 banquet for the 5th Academy Awards, featuring Mickey Mouse and his friends leading a parade of caricatured Hollywood stars.

<i>Working for Peanuts</i> 1953 Donald Duck cartoon

Working for Peanuts is a 1953 animated short produced by Walt Disney, featuring Donald Duck and Chip 'n' Dale. It is notable for being one of their first shorts filmed in 3D. The tagline of the film is "Walt Disney's Donald Duck & Chip 'N Dale in their first laugh riot in 3-Dimension."

<i>Perri</i> (film) 1957 film by Ralph Wright, N. Paul Kenworthy

Perri is a 1957 film from Walt Disney Productions, based on Felix Salten's 1938 Perri: The Youth of a Squirrel. It was the company's fifth feature entry in their True-Life Adventures series, and the only one to be labeled a True-Life Fantasy. In doing so, the Disney team combined the documentary aspects of earlier efforts with fictional scenarios and characters.

Disneynature is an independent film studio that specializes in the production of nature documentary films for The Walt Disney Studios. The production company was founded on April 21, 2008, and is headquartered in Paris, France.

<i>Seal Island</i> (film) 1948 film

Seal Island is a 1948 American documentary film directed by James Algar. Produced by Walt Disney, it was the first installment of the True-Life Adventures series of nature documentaries. It won an Oscar in 1949 for Best Short Subject (Two-Reel).

James Algar was an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He worked at Walt Disney Productions for 43 years and received the Disney Legends award in 1998. He was born in Modesto, California and died in Carmel, California.

Winston Hibler American screenwriter

Winston Murray Hunt Hibler was an American screenwriter, film producer, director and narrator associated with Walt Disney Studios.

The Lion King is a Disney media franchise comprising a film series and additional media. The success of the original 1994 American animated feature, The Lion King, directed by Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, led to a direct-to-video sequel, a spin-off film, a 2019 film remake, a television film sequel, two spin-off television series, three educational shorts, several video games, merchandise, and the third-longest-running musical in Broadway history, which garnered six Tony Awards including Best Musical. The franchise, led by the musical's box office at $8.1 billion, is the highest-grossing entertainment property. The franchise as a whole has EGOT-ed, meaning it has won the four biggest awards of American show business.

<i>Wings of Life</i> 2011 French film

Wings of Life is a 2011 French-American nature documentary film directed by Louis Schwartzberg and released by Disneynature. It was released theatrically in France on 16 March 2011, with narration by Mélanie Laurent, and in home media markets across the US on 16 April 2013, with narration by Meryl Streep.

The Best of Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures is a 1975 American compilation documentary film produced by Walt Disney Productions, directed by James Algar and released by Buena Vista Distribution on October 8, 1975. The film is composed of highlights from the Academy Award winning True-Life Adventures series of 13 feature length and short subject nature documentary films produced between 1948 and 1960.

The Olympic Elk is a 1952 American short documentary film directed by James Algar and produced by Walt Disney as part of the True-Life Adventures series of nature documentaries.

References

  1. Moran, Christian (2017). True-Life Adventures: A History of Walt Disney's Nature Documentaries. Theme Park Press. ISBN   978-1683900726.
  2. 1 2 3 "- Disney Shorts: 1970ies". Disneyfilmguide.page.tl. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 "- Disney Shorts: 1960ies". Disneyfilmguide.page.tl. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  4. Smith, Dave (April 23, 2020). "Revisiting Walt Disney's True-Life Adventures: The Vanishing Prairie". D23 . Retrieved March 14, 2022.
  5. Holtz, Allan (2012). American Newspaper Comics: An Encyclopedic Reference Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. p. 396. ISBN   9780472117567.
  6. Ritzen, Stacey (July 9, 2020). "The best Disney Plus documentaries". The Daily Dot . Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  7. Shepherd, Josh (January 6, 2022). "Over 800 Disney-Owned Films And Shows Missing From Disney Plus". What's On Disney Plus. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  8. Taylor, Drew (April 22, 2020). "The 13 Best Nature Documentaries on Disney+". Vulture. Retrieved March 10, 2022.
  9. DeMello, Margo (September 11, 2015). "Between Entertainment and Education: the Disneynature's Chimpanzee". The Dodo . Retrieved March 31, 2020.