The general release version of the finale introduction has to be a dub. In the reinstated roadshow footage, Taylor is very clearly mouthing “world famous” instead of “immortal.” To be sure, I tried lining up the LaserDisc audio with the roadshow footage and it didn’t sync properly without constantly cutting up the audio and shifting it every which way. Might post a video of that soon.
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.
So, is there any 35mm print of the movie that has the full narrations?
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.
Thanks for the info. Do you know how many of these titles have been scanned and available?
Apologies. Just checked BATB and it looks mostly 1.78 in 3-D. Lion King is closer to 1.66 in 3-D.
Both BATB and Lion King are currently in progress. Sorry, that’s all I know.
Beauty and the Beast’s CAPS source ratio is 1.66, yes, but it was hard matted to 1.85 on 35mm as the directors intended. There’s a preservation project currently in progress for an Italian print somewhere on this site with the same ratio. The only way you can see the film as close to the original CAPS ratio as possible in HD is through the 3-D Blu-ray. Same for Lion King.
Already done. Not sure where the raw file is, though.
Does any of this match with the missing Deems narration that Corey Burton was brought in to dub?
Identically. Save for just one word in the Sorcerer’s Apprentice intro (in the draft it’s “wrote his music,” but in the dub it’s “wrote the music” instead) it’s all the same.
Somebody brought this up in a private forum and after some brief digging it turns out they weren’t kidding: according to the 1942 continuity draft, the dreadfully trimmed down RKO cut of Fantasia contains interstitial audio that isn’t even available on the longer general release prints. The first half of the Nutcracker commentary was kept (the drafts on Hans Perk’s animation blog confirm that there were more lines after the fade out present in the 2000 roadshow reconstruction), only one missing line from the Sorcerer’s Apprentice intro, a very decent portion of the Rite of Spring commentary (even the off-screen crash that interrupts Deems’ first attempt at introducing the segment was kept) and the full “Meet the Soundtrack” intro. See below…
My question now is does anybody have this version of the movie? Or at least aware of any collectors that may have it? It runs for a measly 80 minutes, and it apparently did show up once on eBay in 8mm and then never again. 35mm would be close to impossible to track down as those prints were likely nitrate and have long since deteriorated, but 8mm/16mm safety stock reprints of this thing, even if they’re faded beyond salvage, have to exist somewhere-- the main objective here is saving the sound. The missing interstitial audio isn’t substantial, but it’s still more of the original audio than we currently have access to for preservation projects, and I think it’d be really cool to restore it.
Holding out for a hero here.