Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Johnny California: The Disney Movie Club

 by JB

This year The Disney Studios celebrates its 100th anniversary, and today I would like to celebrate just one little arm of this unstoppably avuncular corporate behemoth.

This column could not come at a better time because Disney has been in the news so much lately. Late last year, the company unceremoniously showed the door to its Former CEO, Snake Plissken, and welcomed Bob Iger back to the post he had occupied years before. Just six days ago as of this writing, The Disney Company closed its popular Splash Mountain flume ride at the Magic Kingdom and began re-theming it because of its potentially offensive, racist content. The new, non-controversial water adventure will premiere in 2024, re-titled “Walt Goes Off on A Feverish Rant, Railing Against All of his Animators Who Tried to Form a Union in the 1940s” Mountain.

Put THAT on a collectible pin! Imagine what happens on THAT ride after THE BIG PLUNGE.

Hey, I kid because I love. I’ve been a proud member of the Disney Movie Club for more than seven years. I can’t remember if it was our very own Patrick Bromley or friend-of-the-site Heath Holland who first introduced me to the exclusive discounts—and more importantly, exclusive releases—of the Disney Movie Club, but thanks, pal!

Sigh. Thank God for the Disney Movie Club. Thank God for pals (and parks).
I like having a “Selection of the Month” I can purchase or decline every month. (It gives me a false sense of control that I am still allowed to make my own decisions.) It reminds me of the late, lamented Columbia Record Club, of which I was also a member. I like being able to purchase obscure Disney films on Blu-ray disc that are not available anywhere else. Because of the Disney Video Club, I own a copy of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, wherein Kirk Douglas is called upon to sing (He acquits himself admirably.) The pipe organ built for Captain Nemo’s submarine was later placed inside the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland! I own a physical copy of A Goofy Movie. The Disney Movie Club makes it possible to own physical copies of the “anthology films” Disney stitched together during WWII when most of his animators had joined the armed forces and some foreign markets dried up: Saludos Amigos, Make Mine Music, Melody Time, and Fun and Fancy Free are all examples of these “Frankenstein-ed films,” and they are all delightful.

I also love The Disney Movie Club because it is fun to get things in the mail.

“Yes, JB, we understand,” I hear some of you saying. (Wait… did you speak? Did I just hear you say that or did you just think it? Have I become clairvoyant? Can I hear your thoughts now? Cool. I’m counting this as another fringe benefit of belonging to the Disney Movie Club.) “But streaming platforms have put physical media out of business, old man. Streaming is the new Spinning. All hail the New Flesh!”

My response to this is both curmudgeonly and practical: “What if your Wi-Fi is out?”

As long as there is electricity in the joint, I can watch any movie I own on physical media any time I want... SO THERE. Also, I like owning things. Also, I am very handsome!
Speaking of Disney+, in the early days of that streaming platform, while COVID still ravaged the land, I discovered that one of the classic shorts available to stream from Day One was the famous Steamboat Willie, the first animated short in history with synchronized sound. That little film made Disney’s reputation both in the industry and in the hearts of moviegoers worldwide. I watched Steamboat Willie back then a lot… at least once a day, like a vitamin. I showed it to my godchildren. They loved it! The elder godchild, Charlie, began to watch it at home. He showed it to his father. It was fun watching Steamboat Willie spread like a virus for which I desired NO vaccination.

Steamboat Willie is one of the shorts on my latest exclusive Disney Move Club acquisition, Mickey & Minnie: Ten Classic Shorts!
Apparently, the Disney+ streaming service is now hemorrhaging money because Former Disney CEO, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, approved production funds for far too many expensive series so the site could offer more premium content. However—because so many damn people subscribed to Disney+ right from the start—the pool of the unwashed and unsubscribed was small, so their paid subscriber numbers had nowhere to go... but down. I am no business expert. I possess no MBA. I have attended no Ted Talks. Yet, I do know this: former Disney CEO, Ivan Drago, didn’t realize that subscribers are NOT only there for new, exclusive content.

I may be alone in this, but I first subscribed to Disney+ for all the amazing classic content. This classic content from the vaults was also “exclusive,” already existed, and had paid for itself many times over. (Remember The Wonderful World of Disney? That was Disney’s ABC money mill, recycling vault content for a whole new television audience. It must have been a success: Disney now owns ABC!)
The Disney Company were pioneers at harnessing the true powers of its IP: merchandising, the theme parks, the television series, home video, and the vehicle I miss most of all, theatrical re-releases. The Disney Company used to have its classic animated films on a seven-year re-release schedule—i.e., every seven years, Walt reasoned, there was a new crop of kiddies who had never seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in a theater. I wish Disney would bring back those theatrical releases, not just remake those classic animated films as Uncanny Valley CGI Hybrids. The TRUE value of its classic content is something Former Disney CEO, Black Philip the Goat, never learned.

So, I have opened my very own reparatory theater in my very own home, showing Disney Classics whenever I want, using DVD’s and Blu-rays I have purchased from the Disney Movie Club. I am a happy man.

Have I mentioned that some “Selections of the Month” come with fun free prizes?


  1. I'm in canada, and the disney movie club won't ship to my province. For a while i managed to ship stuff to friends that lives to a province next to mine and they would bring me the stuff when they came visiting, but it was a hassle. I manage to get a few titles that were hard to find otherwise, but it was a pain in the but. The last nail was covid, i stopped everything then

    1. Well yeah, of course. What did you want me to do, breath covid while NOT getting any Disney discs? 🤣😎😜

  2. Disney Discs = good
    COVID = bad