Missing From Disney Plus
Last year Disney entered the streaming game, like everyone else it seems, and immediately became one of its biggest players. Thanks to a vast array of content from the Walt Disney Company but their subsidiaries at: Marvel, Pixar, Lucasfilm, National Geographic, and Fox. All of this for a price so low you’ll think they’ve had brain damage. Inevitably with so many films and TV shows in their library not everything is going to make it to the stream as part of Disney + for one reason or another.
Song of the South: The dirty little secret of Disney, featuring some of the finest work ever from legendary animator and Mickey Mouse co-creator Ub Iwerks. The movie concerns a group of kids in the post Civil War South who meet the kindly former slave Uncle Remus. Through vivid animation, Uncle Remus regales them with moralistic fables of Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox, and other animal characters. No amount of groundbreaking visual fx and catchy tunes about Mr Bluebird can make up for the ignorant racially insensitive tone of the film. Initially, acclaimed African American screenwriter was brought in to help with the script but left after all of his suggestions were ignored. The NAACP protested the film and eventually led to the studio refusing to release it to home video. The issues with Song of the South can not be written-off with a disclaimer like other Disney films; hence it remains locked in a particularly off-limits spot of the metaphorical Disney Vault.
The Simpsons “Stark Raving Dad”: While today it would almost be weird to have an episode of the Simpsons without a big guest star that was not always the case. In the early days of the cartoon it was a huge deal that Michael Jackson made an uncredited appearance as a patient in a mental hospital. When Homer is mistakenly committed he meets “Michael Jackson” or rather a man who believes he is the Prince of Pop. Upon release he becomes a guest in the Simpsons home and brings Bart and Lisa together. For modern audiences, Michael Jackson’s music is not as much remembered as his bizarre behavior and the horrific crimes he was accused of. Understandably this is a controversy Disney looked to side-step. While they brag about being the exclusive streaming home of legendary series this episode is not included.
The Jungle Book: While the streaming service made sure to have both animated classic as well as the recent Jon Favreau-directed remake. However, the best adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling classic Disney ever produced is sadly missing. Those looking for talking animals and catchy songs you will be out of luck. This version of the Jungle Book grounds the story in reality going in the direction of an action-adventure flick. In this film Mowgli is discovered by a group of English adventurers as well as a woman from his past. Having been raised in the jungle by Baloo and Baghera, he is the perfect man to guide them. Mowgli not only has to contend with the greed of these newcomers but also the vicious Shere Khan.
Something Wicked This Way Comes: Many were surprised to find a lot of the darker content from the 80’s like; the Black Hole and Return to Oz on Disney +. But missing from this run of films is their adaptation of the Ray Bradbury classic Something Wicked This Way Comes. In a small turn of the century town, Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade are initially excited to see the carnival coming to town. This quickly gives way to terror as the boys learn the carnival’s leader Mr. Dark has brought a supernatural evil with him. Will’s father, the town librarian, steps in to help the kids as they battle Mr. Dark for the town’s very soul. Given Bradbury’s friendship with Walt Disney and the contribution the legendary writer made to the company, this is a surprising omission.
Darkwing Duck “Hot Spells”: In the 90’s Disney was a dominant force in making sure kids had after school cartoons. Alongside the likes of: TaleSpin, Duck Tales, and Goof Troop, was a water fowl who got dangerous Darkwing Duck. For their 1992 Halloween episode, the creators of Darkwing Duck had the caped hero and his niece Gosling go to an old magic school. Getting a chance to delve into mystical matters, but too undisciplined to follow the rules, Gosling unintentionally summons Beelzebub. The demonic foe sets out to steal the very soul of Darkwing Duck. With this episode delving right into matters of spirituality, faith, and the supernatural Disney execs have naturally not been too crazy about this episode. “Hot Spells” has never seen a VHS/DVD release nor been syndicated. It appears even in the digital era this episode remains locked away.