Saturday, 6 December 2014
28 Disney Time
First watched : Uncertain
The only thing I was likely to have watched on Christmas Day 1969 was this perennial of the holiday schedules in the seventies although the whole concept now seems quaintly antiquated.
In Ye Olden Days, Disney closely guarded their successful feature films for repeat business in the cinema . Only the turkeys were released to television which otherwise had to make do with authorised clips with a well known name ( in this case Julie Andrews ) doing the links in an extended advert for the Corporation's wares. You might well think that this was better suited to ITV but the Beeb sealed the deal. Once the home video market took off Disney Time's days were numbered and it slipped off the schedules unnoticed some time in the nineties. Like Top Of The Pops the following decade it no longer served any useful purpose. You could probably pick up every film featured on the Christmas 69 episode ( which included The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh and 101 Dalmatians ) from your local charity shop for little more than a tenner.
I loved it ; I don't think I'd actually been to the cinema at this point but the wonderful cartoons worked their magic and of course there were magazines promoting the brand as well. For years Disney represented everything that was wonderful and larger than life to me.
But it's also linked to my life's first great disappointment. Disney features in the only concrete memory I have of the girl next door Gillian Fearnley ( or perhaps it was Fernley ) , my soulmate , whose family moved away in the early summer of 1970. I don't have a photo just a vague image of straight mousey-coloured hair and friendly features. Around Easter time I was in her house and she let me have a go on her Viewfinder toy , a mini slide projector that clicked its way through a carousel of transparencies. If memory serves the one we used showed scenes from Donald Duck . I thought it was utterly wonderful and hoped they might leave it behind in the house when they left. Otherwise I just remember a great gaping hole when she left. The family moving in had a lad just a year younger than me and we knocked around together for the next decade but it was always a rather prickly relationship and on my part I think that was due to instantly deciding that he was an inadequate replacement . That feeling of disappointment lingered even after its cause had been largely forgotten.