Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Tale (Spin) of Woe!

Coming on Saturday, January 10, 2015, is our “Looong DVD Review” of Disney’s TALE SPIN Volume Three, for which the text was prepared some months ago. 

Those of you who have any background knowledge on this release and the shabby (or, at the very least, “incomplete”) treatment of “Disney Afternoon” series in general, by the Home Video arm of Disney, are aware that TALE SPIN Volume Three was exclusively released in 2013 through its “Disney Movie Club” –and, I might add, SIX YEARS AFTER the previous “general releases” of Volumes One and Two. 

The Disney Movie Club "Exclusive" of TALE SPIN Volume Three.
Naturally, I resisted this method of obtaining those mere “final 11” episodes of TALE SPIN, and so the series remained as incomplete as my DVD collections of DUCKTALES and DARKWING DUCK (which are still so to this day)...

Is Scrooge looking for that FINAL VOLUME?

…Until paying a “third party premium” to a vendor on to finally complete the series.  The premium was at the extreme upper limit of what I felt was an “acceptable” premium price to pay for an item I should have been easily able to obtain in general release, and avoid joining some sort of Disney “club”.   

Think that's bad... The WORST is still to come! 

After our typically “Looong” text for this upcoming post was completed – and during the arduous “formatting and illustrating” phase – THIS NEWS broke, on October 31, 2014, about exactly the type of general release I felt TALE SPIN Volume Three should ALWAYS have had… and with a BETTER COVER than the “Disney Exclusive that Failed to Remain an Exclusive” that I paid a premium for! 

Here's the "new and better" cover! 
I feel doubly-duped by Disney, for having invested extra in an item they held back from the public – and then decided to release a year and a half later.  But, that’s MY problem.  Just enjoy the review – that DOES take Disney to task, but now there’s even more for me to be unhappy about than before.

That’s the background.  Enjoy the review on Saturday.  And, needless to say, regardless of Disney’s release machinations, the EPISODES themselves are great!  

Yep!  The episodes are GREAT!  


top_cat_james said...

Ah ha ha! "Doubly-duped by Disney" - That sounds like a great title for a Sherman Brothers song.

Ragtime tempo, maestro. And a-one, and a-two...

OH, I've been Doubly-Duped by Disney.
Played for a chump again, you see.
While Walt, that geezer,
lies in his freezer,
laughing at my gullibility.

I've been Doubly-Duped by Disney.
Once more, conned outta my dough.
I wish I was "smarter than the smarties",
and "sharper than the sharpies",
like a rich old duck I know.

And oy gevalt! That "Disney Vault"!
It's a concept that invites suspicion.
What a phony! "Limited Time Only"!
But shortly thereafter, comes a new "Special Edition".

I've been Doubly-Duped by Disney.
A new ruse now begins.
While I fork over my wages,
I'm reminded of casinos in Vegas,
and that is because "The (Mouse) House Always Wins!".

Joe Torcivia said...


Possibly sung to the tune of “I’m Just Wild About Harry”, perhaps?

Indeed, you may very well have achieved the impossible… actually making me GLAD that I was "Doubly-duped by Disney"

I truly have the greatest bunch of commenters! Thanks for relieving the pain of that "double-duping", and hope you enjoy the full “Looong Review” on Saturday!

Just curious… If this set contained an episode of TALE SPIN that was previously released as part of an earlier volume… Would I then be "Double-dip, doubly-duped by Disney"?

I think I'll issue myself a "time-out" for that one!

scarecrow33 said...

Wow! What a great song parody--and for the most part painfully true!

The treatment of Tale Spin on DVD has been particularly shabby, as well as Disney's other really great (likewise more adult-oriented) series Duck Tales (which as this is my main gripe will be discussed below).

First off, the opening episodes weren't even included in the first boxed set, so that viewers coming to DT for the first time wouldn't know why Uncle Scrooge was taking care of HDL. I was grateful that the missing episodes showed up in Set Two, but this placed them horribly out of sequence.

Second, releasing the volumes a year apart meant that a kid who got the first Duck Tales volume at age 9 would have been 11 by the time the 3rd volume came out and might have moved on from being interested in cartoon ducks. Spacing them 6 months apart would have been much more savvy from a marketing point of view.

Of course, my biggest gripe is that the last 25 or so episodes still remain in limbo--along with the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seasons of Huckleberry Hound, the entirety of Quick Draw McGraw, etc. (Our ongoing lament!)

Fortunately for me, I had managed to tape some of those later DT episodes off TV and so I have a handful of the best ones ("Allowance Day" is my favorite) of those that have yet to see a DVD release. (Even with that, the way they were originally shown on TV was a handful of new episodes at a time surrounded by weeks and weeks of endless repeats of the earlier was literally impossible to tape all of the new episodes because they were never run together.)

And, on to Tale Spin, like you I paid a premium price to get the last 11 or so episodes. I felt like the quality of these last ones was about on a par with the earlier parts of the series, although there were a few that I considered misfires--just didn't grab me at all. (Stories centered around Wildcat or Molly seem less interesting to me than the ones that deal with the Baloo vs. Rebecca conflict.)

Looking forward to your L-o-o-ong review!

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, again, big props to TCJ for that song! And, boo to the custodians of the “Vault of Walt”!

Indeed, the treatment of Disney Afternoon programs (miraculously still very popular more than two decades removed from their original airings) on DVD has been both abysmal and (frankly) shameful for a studio like Disney that pumps out incredible amounts of far less-worthy product to the home video market. Peruse the “Disney-Specific Sections” at big-box retailers like Best Buy and recoil at all the shelf-fillers and placeholders that abound, while DUCKTALES, DARKWING DUCK, and RESCUE RANGERS remain incomplete.

Then again, I can’t exactly lionize Warners for its treatment of their own animated properties, and those they’ve acquired over the years. The best of classic-era Hanna-Barbera is far from complete. So is MGM, and its licensing of Popeye, much less Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies – and even modern WB series like TAZ-MANIA and SYLVESTER AND TWEETY MYSTERIES, remain woefully incomplete. And, not just “slightly incomplete”, but staggeringly so – especially for the amount of time the DVD format has been in existence! At the very least, “The Warner Archive Collection” of “Manufactured on Demand” product should have taken up some of this vast slack!

Overall, DVD might very well be the greatest thing that has ever happened to classic television and movies but, when it comes to animation, its record is shockingly poor and certain studios that control those properties are squarely to blame.

The “Out of Order” sequencing of DUCKTALES might be explainable by Production Order – but, yes, a knowledgeable producer of the DVD version SHOULD have considered where “Treasure of the Golden Suns” OUGHT TO FALL on the series timeline and compensated for that.

Spacing the releases “6 months apart”, brings-up the old argument I’ve always put-forth about comic books – in that they shouldn’t ALL be monthly. Longer “on-sale” and “sell-through” periods are to the greater benefit of many comics that are not buoyed by the presence of Batman or Wolverine. As much as my love for SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP is documented throughout this Blog, I see (and agree with) the wisdom to publish it on a bi-monthly schedule.

I’d apply the same logic to spacing certain DVD releases annually, with a scheduled release at the same time each year. LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTIONS appearing once a year, each fall, was fine with me. Stopping them altogether with Volume 6 was not. You can’t tell me there is no market for the many remaining unreleased Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. But, that’s what Warner Home Video would have you believe. Not even enough demand for a “Warner Archives” release? And look at all the old, obscure stuff (lots of which I like, BTW) they pump out every week. I can’t explain it, but I don’t like it.

When you read the review, you’ll see that I enjoyed these episodes of TALE SPIN very much! I’ve not seen the series at all between the original Disney Afternoon broadcasts and the DVD era – and I remain impressed by its remarkable consistency. It’s like PERRY MASON in that nearly every episode is “good to great”, and “bad ones” simply don’t exist (…or HARDLY exist). You can’t say THAT about DUCKTALES, STAR TREK, or just about anything.

You’ll see, in detail, exactly what I like about each one of them – and I have a feeling you’ll agree. I also take Disney to task for the way TALE SPIN was handled on DVD. Hopefully, you’ll agree with that as well.

Ironically, what has made me so angry about an “after-the-fact” general release of the final volume of TALE SPIN (should it be successful) might be what ultimately gets us to the completion of DUCKTALES, etc.

…And, the only other downside of publishing this review when I did, is that it will delay my writing about SCOOBY-DOO TEAM-UP # 8 with The Jetsons! That’ll come soon.

Chris Barat said...


I have no doubt that Disney Home Video neglected to put "Golden Suns" on set one because they were going by original syndicated broadcast order (rather than production order). At least they had THAT information available to them!


Joe Torcivia said...

I completely agree, Chris.

Not to mention that, if one excludes the original, two-hour, prime-time presentation of “Treasure of the Golden Suns” as the pilot for DUCKTALES – and considers that the afternoon syndicated half-hour debuts of the five individual episodes that made up “Treasure of the Golden Suns” occurred well into the run of the series itself – the assembly of the DVDs might actually have been the purest and most correct format.

However, I’m not sure how many purchasers of the DVDs would have had any information into the Production Order of the various episodes, and only know this story as the origin of the DUCKTALES versions of the characters. An exception should have been made to present the series in a more logical series of progression.

Elaine said...

Ah, this song is *such* a fine example of the power of humor to redeem us from FEH (futile exasperation and humiliation).

Your last comment here makes me think that perhaps I need to buy the latest Talespin, as the only way to vote for Disney to complete the DVD releases of DuckTales and Darkwing Duck. I *really* want Trala La, and Ducky Mountain High, and A Brush with Oblivion, and Paint Misbehavin'...but if I do get Talespin 3, at least I know I'll get two five-star cartoons to watch. Plus, I could pass on the good cover to you!

Joe Torcivia said...


Yes, music, particularly with such fine satirical lyrics, hath miraculous powers of healing.

And, those like yourself, fortunate enough to acquire TALE SPIN Volume 3 at a reasonable price – AND with the better cover to boot – just might pave the way for the completion of DUCKTALES and DARKWING, giving us all a win.

You WILL enjoy the episodes… certainly most, if not all, of the ones I rated highly.

And, I’m also not above accepting donations of the “good cover”! …Just imagine how steamed I’ll be if there are also EPISODE LISTINGS included, after I had to make up a handwritten index card! :-)

Adel Khan said...

Hope my comments don’t divert TOO much. I could not hold back myself, when the topic of unreleased shows on DVD is mentioned.

Joe your experience of having to obtain the remaining episodes of “TALE SPIN” through a third is a grizzly (No pun intended) one at that. I liked how you diplomatically expressed you frustration. Yes, the cover art that was available for the premium version of the show sticks out

I wonder if Uncle Scrooge is on the hunt for the remaining volume of “DUCKTALES”?

The year when “DUCKTALES” Volume 1 was released, I was clearing the basement with my father. I told him to throw the tapes where I recorded the final episodes of “DUCKTALES”.
Ooooh! I feel like kicking myself, because at the time I was confident that Disney would have released the remaining episodes.

Scarecrow33 I am also in agreement with you about the releases of “HUCK” and “QUICK DRAW”. I don’t hold out any hope for Warner’s in releasing the remaining episodes of the aforementioned shows. I wish I could be more optimistic. Years ago I suggested on the “Warner Archive” Facebook wall about the release of “HUCK” and “QUICK DRAW” especially the later seasons, where Hoyt Curtain scores the music. I received a reply, which went something to the extent of how it is not feasible at this time.

I am curious who the bigger offender of not releasing their library - Warners or Disney?

I recall watching “TALESPIN” as a child with my father, but I was more interested in “DUCKTALES”. How would you say the show holds up in contrast to “DUCKTALES”?

Joe Torcivia said...


I feel your pain on the discarded DUCKTALES tapes. I managed to save some ‘80s VHS recordings of HUCKLEBERRY HOUND, when it was run on USA Network’s “Cartoon Express”, and of the later ‘80s syndicated YOGI BEAR SHOW. Both series of recordings have yielded Huck, Yogi, and Pixie and Dixie cartoons that remain unreleased by Warner Bros. The YOGI BEAR SHOW even ran some Snooper and Blabber, Yippie, Yappie and Yahooie, and Secret Squirrels! (…Not nearly enough, but anything is something!)

I’ve recently had someone convert those to DVD. They are chock-full of commercials (which, by now actually have a twinge of nostalgic value), and they are of a decidedly lesser picture quality – but, at least I have them.

And I feel Warner Bros. is the larger culprit by far – simply because they withhold many more things I actually want.

With a few excepted stragglers like some solo Chip ‘n’ Dales, I have the classic Disney theatrical cartoons on the Walt Disney Treasures collections. So, the only things I still want from Disney would be the remainder of the “Afternoon” series, thru DARKWING DUCK. …Nothing after that.

There’s a WHOLE LOT I still want from Warner! So many unreleased Looney Tunes, classic-era Hanna-Barbera, MGM, licensed Popeye, and ‘90s series like the balance of TAZ-MANIA and THE SYLVESTER AND TWEETY MYSTERIES. The remaining NEW SCOOBY-DOO MOVIES, and there are even some still-unreleased episodes of SCOOBY-DOO.

…Oh, Warner wins this contest by far.

Finally, despite my love for Uncle Scrooge and the characters that surround him, I think TALE SPIN is the superior show to DUCKTALES, simply because TALE SPIN had virtually no misfires, and DUCKTALES had quite a few. All the more so for DUCKTALES, it would seem, from this perspective, when I am less blinded by the prospect of having ANY animated series that broke from the horrors of what animation was in the ‘70s and ‘80s!