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.            

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