What a difference a year (or two) makes.
How many of you remember that story that I did back on December 11, 2003? The one where I talked about Buena Vista Home Entertainment was deliberately delaying the release of Wave 3 of the "Walt Disney Treasures" DVDs just so Roy E. Disney's name could be removed from all the packaging of these collectible tins.
Of course, that was back during the early-early days of the "Save Disney" campaign. And given that the order to remove Roy E.'s name from all those "Walt Disney Treasures" DVDs reportedly came from the very top of the Mouse House ... Well, that (to my way of thinking, anyway) was the first real indication of how personal & petty the battle for control of the Walt Disney Company was going to get.
Just to refresh your memory of how these "Walt Disney Treasures" collectible tins originally looked, here's a scan of the back of the "Disneyland USA" DVD.
Please note that Roy E. Disney and Leonard Maltin's signatures are both prominently displayed on the packaging.
Now compare that to the back of the "Mickey Mouse Club" DVD. Which was released back on December 7, 2004.
Please note that -- while Leonard Maltin's signature has admittedly been downsized -- this noted film historian's name is still clearly visible on the outside of this "Walt Disney Treasures" collectible tin. Whereas Roy E. Disney's name is now nowhere to be seen.
Well, that was more than a year ago. A year in which Michael Eisner finally stepped down as head of the Walt Disney Company and Walt's nephew finally agreed to abandon his "Save Disney" effort. And in the period that followed, some balance slowly began to return to the Magic Kingdom.
How do I know this? I took a close look at the back of "Disney Rarities: Celebrated Shorts, 1920s - 1960s"
This new "Walt Disney Treasures" DVD actually arrived in stores last Tuesday. And -- as you can see -- the downsized version of Leonard Maltin's signature remains just where it was on the "Mickey Mouse Club" DVD.
But what's that just about Mr. Maltin's name? Hidden away in the grey border separating those two blue blocks of text found on the back of every "Walt Disney Treasures" DVD?
Yep. That's Walt's nephew's signature. Admittedly, it's a lot smaller than it probably should be. (I'm told that the people at Buena Vista Home Entertainment deliberately made Roy's signature that tiny, then hid it away in the grey border on the back of this DVD because ... Well, because they were hoping that Disneyana fans wouldn't notice. Given the hard time that BVHE got last year for taking Walt's nephew's name off of the "Walt Disney Treasures" packaging, they were really hoping to avoid a similar wave of bad press following the return of Roy E.'s signature to the back of this particular line of DVDs.)
But -- me personally -- I'm glad to see that name back on the back on those "Walt Disney Treasures" DVDs. Yeah, I've said some pretty tough things about Roy E. Disney over the past two years. But -- that said -- there's no denying that Walt's nephew played a very crucial part in the revival of the Walt Disney Company back in the mid-1980s. Not to mention the huge role that Roy played in the resurgence of Walt Disney Feature Animation back in the late 1980s / early 1990s.
Which is why (to my way of thinking) it's just nice to see Roy E.'s name back on these collectible tins. It's little gestures like this that suggest that the person who's now in charge of the Mouse House actually has his priorities in order. That Disney's new CEO Bob Iger isn't going to let any slights or slurs that were said in the heat of corporate battle get in the way of acknowledging those people who helped make the Walt Disney Company what it is today.
But what are your thoughts? Are you happy to see Roy E.'s name on the back of the latest wave of "Walt Disney Treasures" DVDs? Or are you still waiting to see if Iger does something more substantial with Walt's nephew? Like -- say -- maybe assigning Roy to oversee the revival of WDFA's traditional animation unit?