• Mac
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Thanks to dbear for bringing the following video to attention in the YouTube thread. I think the video's worth discussing in its own thread.

There's a few interesting details. There's a brief clip from the Oswald short Hungry Hobos and Theo Gluck mentions that they have 17 or 18 of the Disney Oswalds now, which sounds about right (as much as I might wish they'd secretly found all of them!).

However, the video also confirms something annoying. Disney are "restoring" the opening titles to their cartoons not through careful research (i.e locating original release prints and/or original artwork), but by designing completely new titles based on guess work.

Theo Glick shows two examples of newly "recreated" (actually newly designed) titles – The Band Concert and On Ice. While the new titles look nice, frustratingly neither of them look nothing like the originals even though research has been publsihed by other individuals so we know what they *should* look like.

For The Band Concert a new design has been made based on the title card for Mickey's Polo Team. David Gerstein has already revelaed (in an article which I believe was published on Disney's D23 website) the original titles for The Band Concert, including an image of frames from an original print and information on where it was located (I think it was the Library of Congress).

For On Ice a new illustrated title card has been made, based on Disney cartoon artwork of the time, but apparently not on research into what the original design may have actually looked like. In this case, the artwork for what was likely the original card (I suppose there is a chance it wasn't actually used) was published in the book The Art of Walt Disney by Christopher Finch.

It's funny because a joke is made in the presentation, "The internet is full of people who know better than all of us". This post makes me one of "those" people, but those title cards (which have taken some effort) are clearly wrong.
Thanks Mac, this video certainly seemed both informative and worthy of further discussion. Knowing this was made for a general audience (with children even in attendance), I cut this presentation a bit of slack for some inaccuracies (On Ice was never reissued as a Donald cartoon, was it?), tho the part about recreating titles indeed quite disconcerting. It seems to suggest Disney would rather recreate original titles when they're not extant on the original negatives rather than take the effort to search other elements, which is what outside researchers like David Gerstein have been doing.

Re: The Band Concert, here's what the titles looked like , but I can't find the original accompanying article which did mention (IIRC) it came from a print in the possession of the Library of Congress.
You know, Jerry Beck gave me a good laugh this past Wednesday on Stu's Show. Stu asked why Disney celebrates the anniversaries of their animated characters (as opposed to Warner Bros. who is currently not doing so) and Mr. Beck without missing a beat said "Because Disney is smart!"

This sort of thing makes me question that conclusion.
That clip from "Hungry Hobos" actually has its filmic quality preserved, if the dirt is any indication. Hopefully, if Disney releases it on home video, it'll at least preserve its film grain.

The joke about the dirt on the original print of "Bambi" was mildly amusing, but also insulting, especially after the scrubbed-out version was shown as the "better" version. If nothing else, it at least proves that even the higher-ups in Disney restoration don't care much about animated Technicolor film, and that their crimes against it are being done in "good conscience". In the end, the colors are great, certainly, but at the price of removing the experience of physical film altogether?

If Disney has David Gerstein at its disposal for various other things, why can't they make him at least a consultant for original titles? And even then, they're very much aware that the actual original titles to "The Band Concert" exist, so couldn't they have used those rather than going through the expense of making a recreation?

From the GAC Forums, this was the (now-dead) link to Mr. Gerstein's original article: 

The reason the image survives is that it was posted on another, more recent article by Gerstein that, for whatever reason, is now also inaccessible (but the images survive?); below is a surviving Google Cache:
Interesting, but also a bit disconcerting. I am curious to know if Mr. Gluck had anything to do with the DNR/edge enhanced abomination that is Disney's "Sword in the Stone" Blu-ray release. Funny that the side-by-side illustrations around 2:13 minutes into the clip are used to show what restoration is not, and yet it looks frighteningly like what was done to "Sword in the Stone." Anybody else see something terribly wrong here? Just wondering....
  • Mac
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Originally Posted by: Toadette 

If Disney has David Gerstein at its disposal for various other things, why can't they make him at least a consultant for original titles? And even then, they're very much aware that the actual original titles to "The Band Concert" exist, so couldn't they have used those rather than going through the expense of making a recreation?

The impression I got from the presentation was that the restoration team weren't (and possibly aren't) even aware that these original titles exist. This is what I find so frustrating – so much effort is being put into faking original titles when they could be using their resources locating original titles.

I don't claim to know what Disney's process is for restoring titles, but when you see these unnecessary fakes it appears a lot more could be done and a lot of it simply. Consulting with other researchers who have looked at prints of Disney films around the world seems like a good place to start. Another would be to make contact with well known archives around the world. Dealing with private collectors could unearth a lot. As we know, even ebay can be a place to find real original titles.
Well, all I can say is try to talk about this with David Gerstein (good luck with trying to contact him with the listed email address in his blog).
  • Mac
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Actually I think the person to contact would be Theo Gluck himself (or at least someone on his team). Since I don't know how to email directly, I'm going to try emailing Dave Smith at the D23 website with some of my questions.