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Donald Duck Cartoon Shorts on DVD - The Chronological Donald: Volume One Volume Two Volume Three Volume Four

The Chronological Donald Volume 2 DVD Review

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Disc 1: 15 Donald Duck Shorts: (Click title to view that portion of the review)
1942: Bellboy Donald, The Village Smithy, Donald's Snow Fight, Donald's Garden, Donald's Gold Mine;
1943: Donald's Tire Trouble, Flying Jalopy;
From the Vault
1942: Donald Gets Drafted, The Vanishing Private, Sky Trooper;
1943: Der Fuehrer's Face, Fall Out - Fall In, The Old Army Game, Home Defense;
1944: Commando Duck

Disc 2: 17 Donald Duck Shorts: (Click title to view that portion of the review)
1944: Trombone Trouble, The Plastics Inventor, Donald's Off Day, Donald Duck and the Gorilla, Contrary Condor;
1945: The Eyes Have It, Donald's Crime, Duck Pimples, No Sail, Cured Duck, The Clock Watcher, Old Sequoia;
1946: Donald's Double Trouble, Wet Paint, Dumb Bell of the Yukon, Lighthouse Keeping, Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive

Video and Audio
Bonus Material: "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck", "Drawing and Talking 'Duck' with Tony Anselmo", "The Art and Animation of Carl Barks", "Timeline: The War Years 1941-1945", "The Volunteer Worker", Galleries
Closing Thoughts
Running Time: 230 Minutes (3 hours, 50 minutes) / Rating: Not Rated
1.33:1 Fullscreen (Original Aspect Ratio) / Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
Originally Released between 1942 and 1946
Subtitles: English; Closed Captioned / DVD Release Date: December 6, 2005
Two single-sided, dual-layered discs (DVD-9); Suggested Retail Price: $32.99

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REVIEW CONTENTS

Page 1: Set Overview and Disc 1 Shorts
Page 2: Disc 2 Shorts, Video & Audio, Bonus Features, and Closing Thoughts

DISC 2

Like the first disc, Leonard Maltin's introduction here starts automatically, but can be skipped and then later re-accessed from the main menu. Here he talks about his favorite Donald shorts from the era and about the bonus features found on the disc.

Pete's trombone playing is so loud that it annoys not only Donald, but the gods! Donald gives himself a plastic makeover. There's a monkey on the loose in "Donald Duck and the Gorilla!" I wonder where he is?

THE SHORTS

Trombone Trouble (1944) (7:05)
Pete's learning to play the trombone but the noise is so unbearable
that the gods empower Donald, Pete's equally annoyed neighbor, with the ability to force him to stop.

The Plastics Inventor (1944) (7:08)
Donald follows a radio how-to guide to constructing his own airplane out of plastics but it isn't the sturdiest creation.

Donald's Off Day (1944) (7:32)
Reading too many medical journals might make you paranoid, as Donald proves in this short, in which the Duck falls victim to hypochondria of the worst kind.

Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944) (6:56)
Donald has two gorillas after him: the costume worn by his nephews who know their uncle to be worried about the recently escaped gorilla... and the escapee himself!

Donald in "Contrary Condor." Donald deals with guilt in "Donald's Crime." A story comes to life with Donald in the middle in "Duck Pimples."

Contrary Condor (1944 (8:04))
A mother bird mistakenly assumes that Donald is one of her babies, much to Donald's displeasure.

The Eyes Have It (1945) (7:22)
Donald learns hypnosis and tries it on an unassuming Pluto.

Donald's Crime (1945) (8:01)
Nominated for an Academy Award, this short is a little reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe, in that it deals with Donald's guilt after he steals money from his nephews in order to afford a date with Daisy.

Duck Pimples (1945) (7:44)
Radio dramas come to life and Donald's imagination runs amuck in this comical cartoon.

No Sail (1945) (7:30)
Donald joins his pal Goofy in a pay-as-you-go boat but run into trouble when they run out of coins!

Donald suffers through a long day at work in "The Clock Watcher." There's that classic Donald tantrum. Daisy's seeing double as Donald recruits a look-alike to stand in for him on a date.

Cured Duck (1945) (6:50)
At Daisy's request (more like demand, actually) Donald looks to cure himself of his trademark anger problem once and for all and finds a machine that pledges to do the trick.

The Clock Watcher (1945) (7:35)
Donald takes a factory job that doesn't interest him but some invasive monitoring keeps him on his toes.

Old Sequoia (1945) (6:45)
Donald is a park ranger charged with protecting a tree from two destructive beavers who are extremely similar to Chip and Dale.

Donald's Double Trouble (1946) (6:48)
Daisy insists that Donald clean up his act with some sophistication before they date again, so when Donald meets a duck who looks just like him but boasts a more civilized persona, he seizes the opportunity and invites him to take his place on a date with Daisy while Donald, who grows increasingly jealous, watches from the sidelines.

Donald's efforts to retouch his car are foiled by a pesky bird in "Wet Paint." Donald looks villainous in "Dumb Bell of the Yukon." Donald meets a savage Goofy in "Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive."

Wet Paint (1946) (6:39)
Donald takes on another smaller animal when a bird takes delight in ruining his new paint job for his car.

Dumb Bell of the Yukon (1946) (6:34)
The ever-demanding Daisy wants a fur coat so Donald travels to the Yukon to get her a fresh one.

Lighthouse Keeping (1946) (6:39)
Donald tries to keep a lighthouse running while he enjoys some reading but a pesky pelican would rather have the lights out for a good night's sleep.

Frank Duck Brings 'Em Back Alive (1946) (7:09)
Donald is a hunter in the wild... his target: a savage, jungle-dwelling Goofy.

The lines running through "Donald's Crime" are especially annoying on this quality Oscar nominee. "No Sail" boasts the worst transfer on the entire set.

VIDEO & AUDIO

The Treasures line has a reputation for the highest video quality when it comes to remastered vintage animation. This set mostly upholds that, especially on the first disc, where the shorts look vibrant, colorful, and fresh, aside from the occasional artifacts that are expected from something of this age. On the second disc, that quality is sometimes matched but other shorts falter with grain and inadequate levels of sharpness, as well as an excess of artifacts. "Donald's Crime" is marked by not very visible but still detectable lines but far worse is "No Sail," which sizzles with grain and artifacts the likes of which aren't found anywhere else on the set. As it seems odd that this one short would be bypassed in the restoration department, I assume it has more to do with an inferior source of transfer, presumably for all the cartoons that haven't already appeared on the Treasures line via On the Front Lines.

The 2.0 Dolby Mono audio is predictably adequate as the sound is clean and clear and music and dialogue are always understandable (well, as understandable as anything Donald says can be). In all, the presentation remains applaudable.

"A Day in the Life of Donald Duck" Tony Anselmo, voice of Donald Duck since 1987. Carl Barks, the man you can thank for "DuckTales."

BONUS FEATURES

The first disc offers only one bonus feature, though it's a substantial one: an episode of "Disneyland," the anthology series that helped fund the theme park that is its namesake and marked Walt Disney's capitalization of the fresh TV market. This episode is titled "A Day in the Life of Donald Duck" (49:03), and it delivers exactly what is promised. From his cartoon home to his office in the Disney studios in Burbank and back again, the special shows the trials and tribulations of an animated star at the height of his game.


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The "Mickey Mouse Club" gang even shows up and usher in more than one of the several Donald cartoon shorts that are presented within the episode. It's presented in its original black and white and offerings from "Disneyland" are always appreciated.

Quite a bit more comes on the second disc, including three concise but invaluable featurettes. The first of those is "Drawing and Talking 'Duck' with Tony Anselmo" (11:53). Anselmo took over as the voice of Donald Duck in the 1980s and is as true to the character as his predecessors were. Here, Leonard Maltin sits down for a face-to-face interview in which Anselmo talks about how he emerged as the man behind the quack and his tremendous respect for the Disney legacy. The interview is at least tied with the "Disneyland" episode as the best supplementary offering on the set.

"The Art and Animation of Carl Barks" (9:37) is a piece on the man who was responsible for, among other things, the Donald Duck comic craze. A host of relevant individuals show up to give their thoughts on the man and his work and some time is spent emphasizing his influence on "DuckTales" and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Donald in "The Volunteer Worker." The gallery for "Fall Out - Fall In" Leonard Maltin gives one apologetic introduction for all the shorts instead of many individual ones at the beginning of "From the Vault."

The "Timeline" is something that has shown up on the occasional Disney DVD in the past and would be a welcome inclusion on even more. It's never especially long, but it uses clips and captions to provide an overview of just about everything that came out of Disney in a given year. "The War Years 1941-1945" (4:14) is bumped one year earlier than the included shorts on this set but is still highly relevant and brings this chronological collection into the context of what else was going on at Disney and even in the world.

Leonard Maltin appears at the beginning of "The Volunteer Worker" (3:11 with the brief intro), a bonus short, to explain that the studio often produced promotional cartoons for businesses or organizations, and that this is one of those. In it, Donald is trying to gain support for an unnamed charitable cause by going door-to-door, only to have those doors promptly closed in his face. His frustrations lead
him to the personal testimony of a man he meets on the street who had once benefited from charities himself. The cartoon is as pleasing as any other Donald subject and hopefully all other cartoons of this nature, if still in existence, can make it to DVD someday as well.

Finally, fourteen art galleries are housed on the disc, each offering concept art from one of the set's cartoons. Some of the galleries have over ten pieces of art inside them, though most stick to around five, all adding up to 78 graphics.

The menu screens all match those that have been seen on past Treasures releases. There's a lot to put onto these menus and the simple but nicely done screens do a good job of making those accessible. The shorts can be viewed in chronological or alphabetical order, the latter of which seems useful only for finding a short quickly (as if it would take that long otherwise), and a "Play All" option is made available in both, though no run times appear next to any of the cartoons or featurettes. The vintage wartime shorts work the same way within their own sub-menu. Those who want to ignore the shorts they already have on Behind the Front Lines may find appeasement in having a separate section for those, but it does detract from the chronology of it all. Leonard Maltin's overarching disc introductions are accessible for replay from each disc's main menu as well.

Donald in "Lighthouse Keeping." They don't make books like they used to.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Donald Duck is as relatable a character as any, whether it's his classic temper tantrums or more rarely seen softer side that ultimately wins fans over. His shorts are funny and solidly entertaining. The cleverness of the gags are consistently impressive and there are few who are likely to not be entertained by the cartoons included on this set, even if viewing them all at once might be a little more Donald than most will want to take in one sitting. The war shorts are an added bonus, as they're not only as entertaining as all the rest, but are historically fascinating as well. Though video quality occasionally errs where perhaps it didn't need to, the treatment given Donald in his second Treasures installment is quite pleasing. The bonus features alone would be justify a purchase, as would a presentation of cartoons only. Put the two together and it's a no-brainer for Disney fans and family entertainment-seekers alike.

More on the DVD / Buy from Amazon.com

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Other Walt Disney Treasures and Cartoon Compilations Reviewed
The Chronological Donald: Volume 1 The Chronological Donald: Volume 3 The Chronological Donald: Volume 4
Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s-1960s Walt Disney Treasures: Disneyland - Secrets, Stories & Magic
Mickey Mouse in Living Color: Volume 2 Mickey Mouse in Black & White: Volume 2
Walt Disney on the Front Lines The Complete Pluto: Volume 1
Timeless Tales: Volume Two Timeless Tales: Volume One Funny Factory with Donald
Classic Cartoon Favorites:
Volume 2 - Starring Donald Volume 4 - Starring Chip 'n Dale
Volume 8 - Holiday Celebration with Mickey & Pals Volume 11 - Best Pals: Donald & Daisy

Related Interview
UltimateDisney.com Presents An Interview with Leonard Maltin (December 2005)

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REVIEW CONTENTS

Page 1: Set Overview and Disc 1 Shorts
Page 2: Disc 2 Shorts, Video & Audio, Bonus Features, and Closing Thoughts

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Donald Duck Cartoon Shorts on DVD - The Chronological Donald: Volume One Volume Two Volume Three Volume Four

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Review posted December 12, 2005.