Last week Disney released the new Walt Disney Treasures DVDs, tin-cased limited edition DVD collections featuring rare, classic cartoons and TV programs. One of this year’s four new volumes is More Silly Symphonies, featuring 38 of Disney’s vintage musical cartoons as well as their assorted spin-offs.
These spin-offs, of course, included a very famous print series: the monthly Disney feature in Good Housekeeping magazine. Appearing from 1934 to 1944, these one-page tales were retold in rhyme from their screen source material — then masterfully illustrated in watercolor by Tom Wood and Hank Porter. Long unavailable, the entire series got its first-ever reprint in Gemstone’s 2005 compendium Mickey and the Gang: Classic Stories in Verse.
And now they’re on DVD, too! Look closely, and you’ll find that Mickey and the Gang cover art and page spreads appear prominently among More Silly Symphonies’ still-frame galleries. You can sing along with Disney’s classic Symphony shorts — then enjoy a new look at these great Good Housekeeping promotional pages. They’re even better when you have the actual cartoons to compare them with.
Gemstone Archival Editor David Gerstein, author of Mickey and the Gang, is himself on board with More Silly Symphonies, offering audio commentary on select shorts. The DVD set, a true labor of love, also features commentary from noted Disney scholars like Jerry Beck, J. B. Kaufman, Ross Care, and Daniel Goldmark.