TCM re­opens the ‘Dis­ney Vault’ for a night of treats

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv - BY JAY BOB­BIN

The Walt Dis­ney Com­pany cer­tainly has enough of its own tele­vi­sion out­lets – which it in­creased re­cently by buy­ing much of Fox – but Turner Clas­sic Movies still fa­vors the Dis­ney stu­dio’s past.

The film chan­nel presents re­cur­ring “Trea­sures From the Dis­ney Vault,” with en­tire evenings of Dis­ney ti­tles as vet­eran movie his­to­rian and critic Leonard Maltin ap­pears be­tween the fea­tures with rel­e­vant facts. TCM has another such night Tues­day, June 25, merg­ing sev­eral gen­res for which Dis­ney is known best.

One is sus­pense, as in­di­cated by the first movie in the lineup: “The Moon-Spin­ners” (1964), based on a Mary Stew­art novel and cast­ing Hayley Mills – who was one of the stu­dio’s top stars at the time – as an ad­ven­tur­ous young vis­i­tor to Crete who’s drawn into danger by a hand­some stranger (Peter McEn­ery, who would be Dis­ney’s “Fight­ing Prince of Done­gal” two years later). Eli Wal­lach also ap­pears as a mys­te­ri­ous man who means trou­ble for Mills, set­ting up a mem­o­rable se­quence in which she has to es­cape from an ac­tive wind­mill.

Sus­pense also plays into another 1964 Dis­ney re­lease that TCM will show overnight, “Emil and the De­tec­tives.” Also a Dis­ney reg­u­lar of that era, Bryan Russell plays Emil, a Ger­man young­ster who is robbed dur­ing a bus trip and sets out to re­cover the stolen money ... lead­ing him to a crim­i­nal known as The Baron (Wal­ter Slezak) and a group of young am­a­teur sleuths who help Emil.

The drama “The Lit­tlest Horse Thieves” (1976) also re­lies heav­ily on youth­ful per­form­ers. Three early-20th-cen­tury British chil­dren (An­drew Harrison, Ben­jie Bol­gar, Chloe Franks) unite to save ponies used to haul coal, but des­tined to be re­placed by ma­chines – and slaugh­tered.

Com­edy has its places dur­ing the TCM Dis­ney night, too. “The North Av­enue Ir­reg­u­lars” (1979) casts Bar­bara Har­ris, Su­san Clark, Karen Valen­tine and Cloris Leach­man as church mem­bers who re­sort to un­ortho­dox means – a.k.a. gam­bling – to re­plen­ish the new min­is­ter’s (Ed­ward Her­rmann) fund. And later, “Never a Dull Mo­ment” (1968) finds Dis­ney fa­vorite Dick Van Dyke as an ac­tor mis­taken for a mur­derer, with Ed­ward G. Robinson cast to per­fec­tion as an underworld king­pin.

Another cat­e­gory for which Dis­ney is renowned surely is an­i­ma­tion, and the lat­est “Trea­sures From the Dis­ney Vault” ros­ter in­cludes a cou­ple of ex­am­ples. “Bone Ban­dit” (1948) sets the beloved hound Pluto against a both­er­some go­pher, and “The Rob­ber Kit­ten” (1935) is a “Silly Sym­phonies” en­try about a run­away cat that messes with the wrong dog.

As the ti­tle of its weekly TV show­case used to sug­gest, Dis­ney has put forth a won­der­ful world of en­ter­tain­ment, and TCM and “Trea­sures From the Dis­ney Vault” are about to reaf­firm that again.

Leonard Maltin hosts a night of “Trea­sures From the Dis­ney Vault” Tues­day on Turner Clas­sic Movies.

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