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Walt Disney Returns to TCM

I’m happy to be hosting another evening of Treasures from the Disney Vault this Wednesday on Turner Classic Movies beginning at 8pm EST/5pm PST. What makes it even more special for me is that they shot my introductions at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, a wondrous place that demands repeated visits—and lots of time to take it all in.

As for our film program, the centerpiece is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954), followed by the hour-long TV show about its creation, Operation Undersea. Today, “making-of” documentaries are commonplace, but it was rare in the 1950s and, as usual, Walt Disney was ahead of the curve. The program even won an Emmy Award. In keeping with the nautical theme, we’re also showing such vintage cartoons shorts as The Whalers, Sea Scouts, and Merbabies.

Secrets of Life (1956) is one of my favorite True-Life Adventures, and for this showing the folks at Disney have restored the final segment, which originally appeared in CinemaScope.

And for animal lovers there’s Nikki, Wild Dog of the North (1961), an entertaining yarn (based on a novel by James Oliver Curwood) about the unlikely friendship between a dog and a bear.

I’m so glad the folks at Turner Classic Movies have made this long-term commitment to Disney programming, and I feel fortunate to be involved. You can check the schedule HERE.

Leonard Maltin is one of the world’s most respected film critics and historians. He is best known for his widely-used reference work Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide and its companion volume Leonard Maltin’s Classic Movie Guide, now in its third edition, as well as his thirty-year run on television’s Entertainment Tonight. He teaches at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and appears regularly on Reelz Channel and Turner Classic Movies. His books include The 151 Best Movies You’ve Never Seen, Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons, The Great Movie Comedians, The Disney Films, The Art of the Cinematographer, Movie Comedy Teams, The Great American Broadcast, and Leonard Maltin’s Movie Encyclopedia. He served two terms as President of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, is a voting member of the National Film Registry, and was appointed by the Librarian of Congress to sit on the Board of Directors of the National Film Preservation Foundation. He hosted and co-produced the popular Walt Disney Treasures DVD series and has appeared on innumerable television programs and documentaries. He has been the recipient of awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Telluride Film Festival, Anthology Film Archives, and San Diego’s Comic-Con International. Perhaps the pinnacle of his career was his appearance in a now-classic episode of South Park. (Or was it Carmela consulting his Movie Guide on an episode of The Sopranos?) He holds court at leonardmaltin.com. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook; you can also listen to him on his weekly podcast: Maltin on Movies. — [Artwork by Drew Friedman]

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