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Help With Fantasia Original 1940 Version Reconstruction

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Hello. I am completely against censoring animation and illustrated books, so I have decided to start a rebellion where I recreate the original versions of animated works and illustrated books as a way of protest. Fantasia is my first project in this rebellion. The uncensoring process is already done. Now, I just need the audio for Deems Taylor’s narration. There’s one small problem: the VHS tape that I own doesn’t have the full narrations. So, is there any 35mm print of the movie that has the full narrations? Thank you.

UncutIsSuperior

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 (Edited)

UncutIsSuperior said:

So, is there any 35mm print of the movie that has the full narrations?

Unfortunately, no.

So much of Taylor’s original commentary was cut from 1946 onward that all that’s survived since is what’s on the optical mono and magnetic stereo soundtracks, both of which were the basis for the 50th anniversary sound mix, which you can hear on the subsequent VHS and LaserDisc releases. I’ve heard two stories that tried explaining this: that Disney either claims his complete commentary tracks didn’t survive beyond the late 40s, as the original sound stems were recorded on nitrate film (which can deteriorate fast under poor storage conditions), or they somehow did technically survive but were so far beyond repair by the time Disney started piecing together the 60th anniversary “roadshow” edition that they were declared unusable. In any case, the only feasible option left was to dub Taylor entirely using Corey Burton.

poita’s already working on preserving a 35mm Technicolor print of the 1956 SuperScope release, which contains the uncensored Pastoral scenes as well as the aforementioned magnetic stereophonic soundtrack.

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Well, then, I guess my Fantasia reconstruction is already complete, although I could try to do my own dubbing of the full narrations, trying to stay as faithful to Deems Taylor’s actual voice as possible. Thanks for your help.

UncutIsSuperior

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I read in a YouTube comment that somebody read in a forum that Disney had re-discovered the complete Deems Taylor narrations, with his actual voice, around the time Fantasia was released on Blu-Ray. However, the Blu-Ray release uses the Corey Burton audio from the 2000 DVD release. I don’t know if the “original narrations being re-discovered” thing is true or not, but I’m waiting for an answer about that on the YouTube video where I found the comment, to which I replied. I hope what the forum said is, indeed, true because I’m really wanting to completely recreate the Original Roadshow Version of Fantasia. I’m still considering making my own dubbing of the narrations as a back-up plan, but if that forum is true, then I would be super-hyped for a Disney+ release of Fantasia, complete with the original narrations.

UncutIsSuperior

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 (Edited)

It’s all wishful thinking at this point, honestly. Rumors abound on what’s in Disney’s archives and what they have at their disposal, but nobody ever really knows for certain until we see empirical evidence. If Taylor’s audio tracks did somehow survive 70 years of questionable storage conditions by the time the Blu-ray was released, I can’t imagine that they would be in great shape, but I’m open to miracles too, so hey, let’s see what’s on the next Fantasia release.

Until then, you may want to see this. I discovered a while back that, according to the studio drafts for the infamous 80 minute version, Deems Taylor was not only kept in the picture, but some of the commentary missing from subsequent “general release” versions are in this cut of the film. A 35mm print of this would be nitrate stock, not safety, so odds are that version is long gone unless Disney stored it properly for decades instead of junking it. Years ago, however, somebody on eBay sold what they claimed was an 8mm version of that very 80 minute cut, but other copies have never shown up since. I wish I had the listing page to prove it. Better still, that same 8mm print to prove what version of Fantasia was on it.