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Category:    Home > Reviews > Animation > Comedy > Shorts > Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Volume 4: 1951-1961 (Disney DVD Treasure Tin Set)

Walt Disney Treasures: The Chronological Donald, Volume 4: 1951-1961 (Disney DVD Treasure Tin Set)


Picture: B-     Sound: B-     Extras: B-     Shorts: A-



After watching many Donald Duck shorts I have one question; why does he only wear pants when he goes swimming?  Not that it matters, but really?  Anyhow, Disney has just release The Chronological Donald, Volume 4 and this reviewer could not be more pleased.  This set features some of the best Donald Duck shorts from his animated heyday.  From 1951 to 1961, Donald Duck was in his prime and in extreme demand; doing a balancing act between having comedic fun and being a timeless art piece.


With Mickey being Disney ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ role model, Donald was always Disney’s means to portray the more negative traits that we may all possess from time to time.  He is short tempered, ill mannered, and sometimes just down right mean; but for what ever reason be still love the intelligibly voiced duck.  In this collection we are getting to take a look into the world of Post-Wartime Donald and Disney Studios.  In the Post-War Era Donald is once again tormented by everything and everyone under the sun; the topics are not so serious (not that they ever were very serious) and the Donald shorts begin to introduce a lot more Disney characters to the world.  Besides being harassed by the Bears and the Bees; Donald also found time in this animated era to find a love for education.  A perfect example of this is in the short Donald in Mathmagic Land (found on Disc 2) that explores math and while having fun, may even help a few kids along the way.  The set overall is fantastic and if you own the previous Chronological Donald Sets you will definitely see the evolution of the classic Duck here.



The shorts included on the two discs in this Disney Treasure Collection are as follows:


Disc One


Dude Duck (1951)

Corn Chips (1951)

Test Pilot Donald (1951)

Luck Number (1951)

Out of Scale (1951)

Be on Guard (1951)

Donald Applecore (1952)

Let’s Stick Together (1952)

Trick-or-Treat (1952)

Don’s Fountain of Youth (1953)

The New Neighbor (1953)

Working for Peanuts (1953)

Canvas Back Duck (1953)



Disc Two


Donald’s Diary (1954)

Dragon Around (1954)

Grin and Bear It (1954)

The Flying Squirrel (1954)

Grand Canyonscope (1954)

Bearly Asleep (1955)

Beezy Bear (1955)

Up a Tree (1955)

Chips Ahoy (1956)

How to Have an Accident in the Home (1956)

Donald in Mathmagic Land (1959)

Donald and the Wheel (1961)

The Litterbug (1961)



The technical features on this new Donald Duck tin release are quite good for the features age and there is not too much harm done by the digital restoration.  Most of the picture is presented in a 1.33 X 1 full screen and certain other shorts are presented in the classic 2.55 X 1 or 2.35 X 1 CinemaScope segments that are anamorphically enhanced transfers.  All of the shorts look great for their age with bright colors, very little debris, some grain that is to be expected from the older shorts, and a crisper image than this reviewer would have ever expected.  There is an issue here and there with the restoration efforts taking an obvious toll on certain segments; giving the image a somewhat washed appearance at times and noticeable digital ‘scratching’ at others.  The digital restoration problems are far and few in between.  What can be said is the image quality is great for its age.  The sound is a simple 2.0 track that has been upgraded from the shorts original Mono track.  The sound is nothing special, but it gets the job done without sounding distorted or having that background ‘hiss’ that many older cartoons are subject too.


There are extras found on both the first and second discs of this wonderful tin.  Disc One holds an excellent commentary on the Donald short Working for Peanuts with Disney Archivist/Historian Leonard Maltin and Jerry Beck; who both diving into the intricacies of the animated short in its intended 3-D version with interesting factoids and talks about the art direction.  The first Disc also holds a Story Board “Pitch” Segment where a never before seen Donald short from 1946 is discussed in the featurette “The Unseen Donald Duck: Troubleshooters.”  Finally on Disc-1 there is an interesting featurette entitled “Donald Goes to Press” which reviews the years of Donald Duck Comic Books that made him insanely popular with children and furthered his demand in the film industry.   In the “From the Vault” section there are two ‘Politically Incorrect’ shorts entitled Uncle Donald’s Ants (1952) and Rugged Bear (1953).


Disc-2’s extras are not quite as interesting as those found on the first disc, but solid and insightful nevertheless.  First there are “Mickey Mouseworks Cartoons” that are more contemporary attempts to recreate Donald at his best, but ultimately fail to capture the charisma and charm that the original shorts had back in the day.  The is also a second commentary by Maltin and Beck on the excellent Cinemascope Donald Short “Grand Canyonscope” that once again dives into the minuscule details of the short that are often taken for granted as well as look at it as one central piece of Disney immense art library.  Disc Two also features some “From the Vault” shorts that are looked at as taboo or not “Politically Correct” by today’s standards, but thankfully are included here anyway.  As even Maltin explains, these shorts are from a different era and whereas they can at times be offensive by today’s standards; we can still appreciate them as art and as a means not to forget our past.  The shorts include Spare the Rod (1954), No Hunting (1955), and Accident at Work (1959).  The shorts are in no way extreme or flat out racist, but there is a definite sense of racial insensitivity AT TIMES that would never be allowed in “children’s cartoons” today.


Overall, the extras were amazing and masterfully done.  Maltin’s presence is something that Disney should not lose.  He brings a great deal of knowledge and magnetism to the table that push the Disney Treasure Sets to the next level.


I would highly recommend this Disney set to anyone young or old.  If you have never seen these shorts or are looking to expose a younger generation to some classic Disney NOW is the time.  These Donald shorts are solid gold (though they come in a silver tin) and highlight why Disney is the powerhouse that it is.  With a back catalogue of such splendid classics Disney can never fail, we don’t need cheesy sequels are double dip, after double dip; Disney fans across the world need to see these classic shorts and films that have not seen the light of day for a long time.


Quack! Quack! Quack!



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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