Disney at the Movies – Day 2

Pinocchio Day 2

Pinocchio is now 80 years old. photo by Martin Blanco

Disney at the Movies – Day 2

  1. Cartoon Shorts    The Clock Store and The Band Concert
  2. Main Feature      Pinocchio
  3. Live Action          Babes in Toyland

The main feature, Pinocchio, had its world premiere on February 7, 1940 and was released on February 23.  Disney’s second full-length animated feature is every bit as beautiful and emotionally engaging as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  80 years after its release, many of the songs are still culturally relevant, especially “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

This pairs well with an early Silly Symphony feature called The Clock Store (1931).  This black and white short’s artistry is simple compared to the later films in the series, but it’s not without substantial charm.  We like it alongside Pinocchio because the animators bring elaborate timepieces to life in imaginative ways that prefigure the more detailed clocks and toys that you’ll see in Gepetto’s workshop.

Next up we recommend The Band Concert.  This exuberant piece from 1935 was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon filmed in color, and it also raised Donald Duck to star status.  Once upon a time, outdoor concert band performances were one of the most popular forms of entertainment, which is beautifully captured in this cartoon.  Mickey Mouse, adorned in a handsome red outfit and possessed with much gravitas, recalls the great composer and band leader John Philip Sousa.  Mickey is determined to conduct the overture to Rossini’s opera William Tell (more familiarly known as the theme from “The Lone Ranger”) despite disruption from a terrible storm conjured by the music itself, and an obnoxious Donald Duck intent on playing “Turkey in the Straw” on a discordant flute.

Finally, we’ll end the evening with Babes in Toyland.  This delightful 1961 film is a liberal adaptation of Victor Herbert’s operetta of the same name.  Some of Herbert’s famous music, most notably “Toyland,” appears alongside new songs composed for the film.  The impressive cast includes Ray Bolger, Annette Funicello and Ed Wynn.  At the center of the film is a toyshop worthy of Pinocchio’s father Gepetto.

This evening is full of toys, clocks, color and fantasy.  The corn is popped, and we are ready to embark on Day 2 of Disney at the Movies.  Hope you enjoy this!

#Pinocchio #TheBandConcert #TheClockStore #BabesinToyland #sillysymphony #disneymovienight #MickeyMouse


Disney A to Z The Official Encyclopedia Fourth Edition Dave Smith c. 2015 Disney Editions

The Disney Films Leonard Maltin c. 1978 Popular Library


c. Martin Blanco, Kathryn Blanco, and Disney at Home April 23, 2020

Disney At the Movies – Day 1

Snow White Movie Night

photo by Martin Blanco

Since we’re social distancing for the long haul, we thought it would be fun to watch the entire canon of Disney animated films in chronological order.  We’ll begin with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and work our way to Frozen Two.

I saw many of these films in summer re-releases.  They would often be part of a double feature which included a live action comedy or nature adventure and sometimes they would begin with a Disney cartoon.   We thought it would be fun to recreate the complete movie theatre experience, so with each Disney animated classic, we’re going to make “pairing” suggestions.  We’ll recommend a Mickey Mouse cartoon, a Silly Symphony cartoon and a live action film that we think will pair well with the animated feature.  Of course you don’t have to watch all of them (or any of them), but we’re going to have as much fun crafting the presentations as we are watching them.

Thanks to Disney+, many of you will have unprecedented access to most, if not all, of our suggestions.  So break out your popcorn maker and DVD player or streaming device and join us at the movies.

Let us know what you think.


Disney at the Movies – Day 1

  1. Cartoon Shorts    Steamboat Willie and Flowers and Trees
  2. Main Feature       Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  3. Live Action           The Absent-Minded Professor


The main feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was the first full-length animated feature film.  From the moment of its world premiere on December 21, 1937, the film was a triumph.  It established a level of excellence that changed both animated and live action motion pictures. The financial success gave the Walt Disney Company the capital, and Walt Disney himself the clout, to continue to develop projects that would forever change the world (for the better I would argue). I’ve watched this film more than a dozen times, and I never tire of the stunning artwork, the rich details, and the brilliant storytelling.

While Snow White… did not win any Academy Awards by election, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences saw fit to honor it with an award for what they called “significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field.”

But before watching Snow White…, we suggest opening the evening with the black-and-white short Steamboat Willie, another cinematic landmark. It has the distinction of being the first official Mickey Mouse cartoon, and was the first cartoon ever to employ the use of synchronized sound.  This little film is culturally important enough to be on display at the Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of American History.  You’ll meet Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and my favorite foil of all time, Pete. It premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York City on November 18, 1928.

The next short, Flowers and Trees, is part of Disney’s Silly Symphony series and another landmark cartoon.  It was the first cartoon from that series to be filmed in color.  The color process was created by a company called Technicolor and marked a great improvement on what was the current standard.  Flowers and Trees was released on July 30, 1932 and won the Academy Award for Best Cartoon.  It was a technological bridge to the more substantial Snow White…, particularly a sequence in which the frightened Princess is fleeing for her life in a dark, foreboding forest.  The animators anthropomorphized the fauna to make her escape that much more harrowing.  Similarly, Flowers and Trees anthropomorphized the plants and trees and you’ll see right away that the forest sequence in Snow White. . . owes much to its predecessor.

Finally, we suggest for our live action “pairing” The Absent-Minded Professor.  It was released on March 16, 1961 and it’s hard not to like this endearingly goofy film.  It centers around the follies of Professor Ned Brainard, a brilliant man of science, but a clumsy, naïve simpleton in every other aspect of his life. Brainard is played to perfection by Disney Legend #1, Fred MacMurray. Even though the good Professor can’t remember to attend his own wedding, he accidentally creates a substance that can defy gravity. The film was successful enough to spawn a sequel and a reboot decades later with Robin Williams playing Brainard. Serious Disney fans will appreciate that The Absent-Minded Professor features the first song written by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman for a Disney film, “The Medfield Fight Song.” While the film is no great work of art, it is as funny as it is earnest.

The corn is popped and we are ready to embark on Day 1 of Disney at the Movies.  Hope you enjoy this!

#Snowwhiteandthesevendwarfs #steamboatwillie #flowersandtrees #theabsentmindedprofessor #sillysymphony #disneymovienight



Disney A to Z The Official Encyclopedia Fourth Edition Dave Smith c. 2015 Disney Editions

The Disney Films Leonard Maltin c. 1978 Popular Library


c. Martin Blanco, Kathryn Blanco,  and Disney at Home

April 21, 2020

Today’s Disney recipe pick: Grilled Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Polenta from Chef Mickey’s Cook Book!

Restaurant: Mama Melrose

Type of Food: Italian Bistro

Location: Disney’s Hollywood Studios near Muppet Vision 3D

Cooking your favorite Disney dishes from the parks, resorts, and even cruise lines is the perfect way to keep the disney magic alive at home. Stay tuned for next weeks Disney recipe!

Grilled Chicken with Polenta

By: Matthew Blanco

Photo Credits: Matthew Blanco

The Little Mermaid Movie Night


Tonight’s movie night is The Little Mermaid, a classic Disney movie released on November 17, 1989. The plot follows a young sixteen year old mermaid named Ariel, voiced by the talented Jodi Benson, as she desperately dreams to experience life on land with the humans. When Ariel meets a human prince named Eric and falls in love with him, a love that her father king Triton forbids, she makes a deal with the evil sea witch Ursula that will change her life forever. The brilliant score composed by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman is masterful and will have the whole family singing along.

Items required for theme:

. Dinglehoopers (forks)

. Starfish

. Feathers

. Assorted jewelry (rings, necklaces, watches, cool looking rocks, fake diamonds etc.) and odds and ends (jars, candlesticks, hourglasses, ship model etc.)

. Little Mermaid DVD or movie rental

. Seashells

. Figurines (Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder)

Food required for theme:

. Gummy dolphins

. Swedish fish

. Assorted goldfish (Smore’s, cheddar, mixed)

. Oyster crackers

. Popcorn

. Clams Casino