Walt Disney Treasures almost strikes gold with another release. This time it’s The Mickey Mouse Club Presents: Annette 1957-1958 Season. This set contains the 20-episode serial called Annette, starring the most famous Mouseketeer of all, Annette Funicello.
This set gives the viewer a look back at the Golden Age of TV when shows were so wholesome and sweet that you could get a cavity just by watching. But, Annette Funicello never ceases to bring a bright smile and sunny disposition to the screen. She’s a pleasure to watch, and it’s fun to reminisce about a TV era gone by.
There are 20 episodes, with two full episodes of The Mickey Mouse Club that began and ended the Annette series.
The show Annette is about a small town girl who moves to a big city to live with her aunt and uncle. She’s like a fish out of water, and the show gives us some insight into the trials she had to go through. Annette is sent from her hometown of Beaver Junction to Ashford, Nebraska by her adopted mother. Annette’s birth mother died a while back. Annette arrives at her aunt and uncle’s house the same day the letter, describing the situation, from the adoptive mother does.
Annette’s uncle, Archie McCleod, is a snooty professor who is working on a new thesis for his research. He’s unsympathetic towards his niece and would rather she not stay. But Aunt Lila takes pity on Annette and takes her in.
After much discussion, and resistance from Lila, Archie decides not to ship Annette off to boarding school. Instead she is enrolled at the local high school. Annette befriends everyone. Her personality makes her irresistible. But having friends from both the rich and poor parts of town causes controversy. Throw in a dash of the teenage dating scene and you have yourself an early version of One Tree Hill.
It’s an interesting and fun look back at yesteryear. Annette is a joy to watch and can be fun for the whole family.
The black and white picture looks very well preserved. The grayscale is nice and smooth. I didn’t notice any large picture defects or things that would detract from the viewing experience. Disney keeps these old films in amazing condition; you can tell from the transfer that they have taken great care of their old reels.
Each of the bonus features has a varying quality, which depends on how old they are.
The audio is a mono track that accurately portrays the sound quality which was used when it originally aired. There is some noticeable hissing and crackling, but that is to be expected with such an old feature. The audio anomalies are kept to a minimum though, and don’t detract much at all from viewing. Subtitles are available for each of the main features, but are not available for the bonus features.
The Special Features
Compared to other Walt Disney Treasures, Annette is a bit scarce when it comes to bonus features. Disc one has the entire episode of The Mickey Mouse Club that debuted the Annette series. It also has a short featurette made in 1993 that chronicles and celebrates Annette’s recording career. The featurette was mildly interesting, but I thought misplaced. This set really isn’t about Annette Funicello as an actor/singer, but about Annette, the character and her series.
Disc two has the concluding Mickey Mouse Club episode that showed the series finale of Annette. It also contains another short featurette, just under 20 minutes long, about the life of Annette Funicello. This is another misplaced feature. While watching the Annette series you become so engrossed in the characters and series it would’ve been nice to have more information on it, rather than Funicello herself. Again, this is not a set completely about the person; rather it is about the series and the character. Those should have been more prevalent in the special features.
This set is worth it just so you can own an iconic Disney TV series. But, other Walt Disney Treasure sets have set the bar so high with in-depth special features that this one comes off a bit flat. You’ll love watching the series, but the special features can be skipped. I guess with all of the other amazing additions to the Treasures library there had to be a so-so one just so we all know that Disney can’t make everything as perfect as we’d like them to.