Animation fanatics shouldn’t miss this 2-disc collection of 32 classic cartoons. That these films are considered “rarities” is relative – while not as well-known as Disney’s storied feature-length films, or shorts starring Mickey, Donald, or Goofy, viewers "of a certain age" surely have some of these cartoons burned into their brains.
Among them, 1958’s Paul Bunyan and 1953’s Ben and Me left an indelible impression on me after several screenings of 16mm prints in elementary school classrooms. The catchy renditions of nursery rhymes in 1957’s The Truth About Mother Goose and jazz interpretations of children’s stories in 1956’s Jack and Old Mac were floating around in my memory banks as well.
Still, there are quite a few surprises in store, such as Smokey Bear's cameo appearance in 1956’s In the Bag, and the stop-motion animation in 1959’s Noah’s Ark (which could be mistaken for later production work by Rankin-Bass). Throw in some shorts from the silent era (the "Alice" series, which blends animation and live action), a WWII propaganda piece (1943's Chicken Little), and a couple of Academy Award winners (1938’s Ferdinand the Bull and 1953’s Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom) - along with documentaries, audio commentaries, art galleries, and a whole lot more - and you have a winning collection which, despite its title, deserves a wide audience.