It was recently announced that this year’s iteration of the Walt Disney Treasures line of DVDs – the ninth wave of these titles – will be released on November 3rd, 2009. This year’s release is unlike those of years prior, as it focuses only on a single title. Comprising two six-disc sets, Wave Nine brings at last the long-awaited release of Walt Disney’s Zorro television show. The half-hour show ran for two seasons on ABC from 1957-59, with four hour-long specials later airing on Disney’s anthology program from 1960-61.
The show has remained unreleased in its original form; earlier member-only exclusive releases for the Disney Movie Club consisted of the ghastly colorized version of the show and were massively overpriced. The season one and season two sets will both contain 39 half-hour episodes in glorious, remastered black and white. Each set will also contain two of the hour-long anthology episodes that are occasionally referred to as the show’s third season. They will also contain as-yet-unspecified bonus features.
I’m so glad to see these shows released at last, and in a complete and reasonably-priced format. Those who bought the previous “exclusive” versions through the Disney Movie Club are reasonably upset; I certainly don’t blame them, as there have been many frustrating turns over the years from the poorly-coordinated Disney home video apparatus. Just last year we thought we’d seen the last of the Walt Disney Treasures line; thankfully, it was snatched from the jaws of death and can now bring us this very entertaining series that hasn’t been seen since the Disney Channel stopped showing actual Disney-created content nearly a decade ago.
We can only hope the line continues next year; there are many, many important titles from the vault that have yet to see release, and hopefully we’ll see those original and long sold-out Treasures waves re-released on Blu-Ray. This would be an opportunity to fix errors from earlier releases, such as the blatantly and embarrassingly edited Disneyland After Dark, and other titles that did not receive quality remastering or featured scant bonus material. It would also allow these titles to stay on the market, which is impossible now given the frustratingly small press runs of the individual titles. Last year’s release of Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh sold out so quickly that I’m still trying to get a copy for less than top-gouge prices.