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  1. #1

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    Fixin' the disney channel

    Howdy Pards,

    Those of us who grew up in the days of Walt Disney remember the wonderful variety of Television Programing he presented...the adventures of Davy Crocket, King of the Wild Frontier, Man in Space, Professor Ludwig Von Drake, updates on this wonderful place he was dreamin' about...a place called Disneyland.

    Well, back in those days families would gather in front of the TV set to watch Uncle Walt come into their living rooms...eager to see what he had planned for that particular week...the adventures of Zorro? The latest Animated Film he was gonna release... or just some fun ol' things from the Disney vaults... It was wonderful. And, ya know, one thing that Walt never did was talk down to his audience...so the whole family looked forward to those Sunday nights back then...

    Well, not too long ago the Company invented a thing called The Disney Channel...and it sure looked for a while like it was gonna be a wonderful way to continue that magical variety of programming...after Walt. And, it started out that way...but, then, something seems to have gone horribly wrong...

    It seems like some young whippersnappers who had no idea whatsoever what Disney was all about started making programing decisions and things went downhill fast. Today...well it's about lip-gloss and mindless, wide eyed, over the top "comedy"...and overly
    simplified cartooning that does indeed "talk down" to the audience...

    Now, this kinda saddens those of us old enough to remember what Disney once was... We loved those old shows Walt presented...because he presented QUALITY entertainment. Even his show promoting 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea won an Emmy.

    Today there is nothing on the Disney Channel of the quality of The Swamp Fox, or Johnny Tremain, or Toby Tyler...nothing. Only mindless comedies, bubblegum and plastic.

    So...I'll be honest I find it downright impossible to set through...although I'm an absolutely rabid Disney fan from way, way back.
    The truth is...they have wandered away from what Disney...the old fashioned, beloved, respected Disney...once was. And that comes from puttin' young whippersnappers in charge...those who know nothing but their own warped perceptions of the here and now.

    You wanna see what quality Disney programming is all about...well, take a look at those early Disneyland Shows...or even the
    1950's Original Mickey Mouse Club. Jimmy Dodd never talked down to us Mouseketeers...he did share words of wisdom though...and Jiminy Cricket was always taking us on adventures in the E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A... there were stories like Spin and Marty and
    the Hardy Boys...and Annette. Yes...there was a lot of singing and dancing...but my gosh it wasn't a Britney Spears sex show...it was much, much classier than that.

    So, I'm wondering...is there anyone around these parts who remembers those "Good Ol' Days" I've been talkin' about? Anyone who misses the "format" Walt used to follow...the variety of programming designed for the whole family? Anyone who remembers the thrill when "Out of the night, when the full moon is bright, comes the horseman known as Zorro" started to play?

    I think the folks at Disney need to rethink what they have been doin' with the Disney Channel...and, as usual, it may just be wise to go back and take a serious look at what Walt did.

    What do you folks think? Am I just a dinosaur in today's modern world...or should we go back and revisit some of those fond memories of the past... should we gradually get back to what we never shoulda left? It would be fun to gather the whole family in front of that TV screen again...

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan

  2. #2

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    Growing up as a Disney fan in the same period as Ol' Dan, I remember well when Disneyland was on Wednesday nights, and later Walt Disney Presents on Friday nights. Like the Sunday night Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color that followed, they were family events.

    I remember, too, the early years of the Disney Channel -- back when it was truly a DISNEY channel.

    I'm afraid, though, that outside of revisiting them via our personal home libraries of discs and tapes, those days are gone. There is no company (least of all Disney itself) in the business of creating that sort of general-audience entertainment. These days it's all about manufacturing entertainment product for specifically targed demographics, and marketing it "by the numbers."

    The Disney Channel is the perfect expression of the marketing-driven mentality that dominates today's Disney Corporation -- slick, self-aware and in-your-face. There's no way to fix it, because to Disney it isn't broken. It dominates its target demographics (primarily tween & teen girls) with humongous ratings. To Disney, the Disney Channel is just what the doctor ordered -- so much so that Bob Iger promoted the Channel's head honcho to head up Disney Studios.

    More's the pity.

    Last edited by Mr Wiggins; 04-12-2012 at 08:42 PM.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    Howdy Pards,

    Yep, no doubt about it, to Walt Disney the whole family was the thing. The way he said it was:
    "The important thing is the family. If you can keep the family together--and that's the backbone of our whole business, catering to families--that's what we hope to do."

    He also said: "People are always analyzing our approach to entertainment. Some reporters have called it the "special secret" of Disney entertainment. Well, we like a little mystery in our films, but there's really no secret about our approach. We're interested in doing things that are fun--in bringing pleasure and especially laughter to people. And we have never lost our faith in family entertainment--stories that make people laugh, stories about warm and human things, stories about historic characters and events, and stories about animals."

    Now, Walt, obviously had nothing against tween or teen girls, of course. He had two of his own...but in his films and TV shows he didn't focus in on one little group of people...no, his focus was on the whole family Mom, Dad, Gramma, Grampa, and the kids...both boys and girls.

    Perhaps Mr. Iger needs to understand that those chart numbers back in Walt Disney's day were huge too. Off the charts you might say...because the programming was focussed on providing something for everyone...variety...action...fantasy...adventure. ..nostalgia...and optimism about the exciting things to come in the future.

    That of course is what Disneyland is all about. The park and the show was specifically designed to provide something the whole family could enjoy together.

    To my way of thinkin', Walt's idea surely wasn't broken...it was wise...and people appreciated the focus he put on the American family, the whole family, in just about everything he did.

    And, maybe Walt's focus on the family provided a wonderful service to our country...people of all ages.
    We laughed, and played, and learned together...you might say.

    Those are the things missing on today's Disney Channel...and while every tween and teenage girl in the world may be watching, totally focussed on lip-gloss and cell phones and such...there's other folks around the family table too...and it is truly the whole family that is important. Bring back stories of adventure, nostalgia, history, the ol' Frontier, the challenge and promise of tomorrow...bring back the spirit of Walt Disney...that may just be the medicine not only the Walt Disney Company but the whole country...the whole world needs.

    Walt once said, "A family picture is one the kids can take their parents to see and not be embarassed."

    And he also said, "We try it in everything we do here, you know...for the family. We don't actually make films for children. But we make films children can enjoy along with their parents."

    Seems to me there was a great deal of wisdom in "Walt's way"...

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan

  4. #4

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    Howdy Pards,

    Now, one solution to this whole mess with the Disney Channel would be for the Walt Disney Company to create an all "new" thing called the "Vault Disney Channel". A commercial free thing that would do nuthin' but celebrate those wonderful stories, programs, and features from the past. There's a lotta stuff in that Disney vault...good stuff...timeless stories the whole family would enjoy...and it's about time they be shown once again. We're talkin' about Zorro, the Ol' Mickey Mouse Club (the Original with Jimmy Dodd), and those shows Walt Disney himself introduced, along with True-Life Adventures, cartoons, and
    animated classics, and live action classics like Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller...the list goes on and on...

    And by mixin' things up...providing a variety of shows...focussed on the whole family...I think the
    "Disney Channel" would be lost in the dust by the true Disney Channel which would be "Vault Disney."

    Then, they could sell all the lip gloss, bubblegum, and cheap plastic toys they wanted to on their
    channel for tweens and pre-teen and teenage girls...call it the pink and blue plastic Disney Channel...

    The rest of us would be savoring the real magic while watchin' Uncle Walt...

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan

  5. #5

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    Man I miss the old Disney cartoons with Donald, mikey, goofy, and chip and dale that were short cartoons. They were only like 5 minutes long, but they would be on for hours when I was a kid. Im definitely tired of the miley cirus type shows. Not worth paying for that channel anymore.

  6. #6

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    Howdy Pards,

    Yep, to my way of thinkin' you could take all the wide, bright-eyed, over the top kids on the Disney Channel today and send 'em home...then head back out to the Triple R and bring back real kids like Spin and Marty. Bring back some class...like the original Mickey Mouse Club...where people talked like real people and we actually learned some things. And, yes, those Mousecartoons of old were fun. Somebody oughta bring 'em out of the vault, dust 'em off, and show'em once again... Now I'm well into my sixties...and I still remember..."Meeska, Mooska, Mouseketeer...Mouse Cartoontime now is here." And, thanks to Jiminy Cricket, I still sing when I spell E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A. Seems we learned things back then...things that have kinda stuck with us all these years. Back then, "Forever let us hold our banner high" meant somethin' down deep in our hearts...still does for that matter...

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan

  7. #7

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    The Vault Disney idea is not going to happen. Most Cable and Satellite companies are not going to add any new channels. Disney is already have issues getting them to carry DisneyXD and DisneyJr. Although I think that the Vault Disney idea could work on the existing Disney Channel. With 24 hours of programming to fill, I don't see why they can't devote a few hours to a Vault Disney concept.

    As to the existing Disney channel, it is one of the most popular channels on cable and wins KEY demographics. It might not be "your thing", but it is VERY popular. Also, since you CLEARLY don't watch it, you don't know that in place of commercials, they do show a few of the older Mickey and friends cartoons. Mostly recut or with added music. Not ideal, but a way to introduce a new audience.

    The TV landscape is HUGELY different than when Walt was alive. Even IF he was still alive, I'm not sure that his shows would be as popular as they were 50 years ago. Eisner was doing something similar on ABC with the Sunday night Disney show and it barely survived the few seasons it was on. The TV landscape has changed and Disney has changed with it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    "The TV landscape is HUGELY different than when Walt was alive."

    Howdy Jedited,

    True. True.

    "Even IF he was still alive, I'm not sure that his shows would be as popular as they were 50 years ago."

    Well...now...I'm not entirely sure I agree with ya there...

    "Eisner was doing something similar on ABC with the Sunday night Disney show and it barely survived the few seasons it was on."

    Mr. Eisner remembered the magic of Walt's approach...but he wasn't presenting a variety of original programming...his lead ins were mostly for Sunday night movies...

    "The TV landscape has changed and Disney has changed with it."

    Well, there's just no denyin' that...in fact, I'd say that's the very reason many of us grizzled ol' timers long for the good ol' days. Walt left us over 45 years ago now...and, well, I know it's hard for most of the young folks around today to understand what it was like back then...but, those of us who did live during those years...well...we "remember the magic" you might say...and we miss it. Reckon we always
    will...

    Adios for now. Talk to ya on down the trail.

    Wild Ol' Dan

  9. #9

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    If getting cable/sat to carry a station is hard... then skip them all together and make a IPTV station.

    Disney can take all the marketing they create for the parks and Disney channel.. and pump that as the advertising on the channel.

    But I imagine a network carrying classic TV has got to be more attractive then the 83rd variation of reality TV channels. The channel doesn't even need to be HD.. since 99.9% of the content wouldn't be HD anyways.

    For the cost of creating some new TV series.. I bet Disney could get such a station off the ground. Take some of that ESPN money and make it happen Iger!
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  10. #10

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    I really wouldn't mind the Disney channel if they did some sort of *nighttime programming. Sort of like Nickelodeon with Nick-At-Nite. Im 25 now and I remember as a kid being introduced to Walt Disney Presents, and the Wonderful World of Color. My favorites were specials on Disneyland I sometimes try to find them on youtube and watch them. I hope someday they might do something like this for their older fans. I do have to say that I have a secret crush on Selena Gomez. I know she's a little young. I Just think she's a talented actor/singer. I also do love the Jonas Brothers newer music. They also used to air Disney Classic animated features like Alice in Wonderland and Robin Hood. Now its all that sugar coated, overacting, poor writing, low budget shows that fill up the airtime. Sometimes they are so dumb that you can't stop watching them if that makes any sense. Its almost like so bad that it's good, but terrible at the same time.

  11. #11

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    I for one would love to see the old stuff make a comeback as well as the not so old stuff - Ducktales, Tailspin, Chip and Dale's Rescue Rangers, Gummi Bears, Gargoyles - those were all great shows ahead of the curve that reintroduced some older characters in new ways but were also very well written for adults and kids - our daughter is 14 turning 15 this year and still loves all of those shows.

    I think something like that could also bring some new life into Toon Town.

    But yeah, real life adventures, Goofy on - Sports, Camping, Etc. There is more of a market out there for this stuff than they realize - not only for parents nostalgia, but for their kids as well.

  12. #12

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    I'd be game for an IPTV version of The Vault Disney Channel (accessible online or via Roku, Apple TV, Google TV, iTunes, Hulu Plus, Netflix, etc.). Nostalgia programming is a niche programming segment, but a popular one (TCM & Boomerang have helped prove this in the cable arena), so a Disney channel that targets this market demographic is not a bad idea. Plus, production costs would be extremely low, since most of the programming is pre-existing, so that makes the profit margin potential sufficiently large and sustainable enough to warrant introduction of such a channel to the public.

    To me, it's a no-brainer, because there's not only demand for it, but it's a built-in market, it's cheap, and it can create new revenue streams.

  13. #13

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    a webtv setup would probably be the better way to go and it'd be more forward thinking too. But I don't actually anticipate Disney or any real modern entertainment giant to be on the edge of streaming entertainment since the goal is obviously to fight against it as it damages the currently established ratings system.


    I don't see there being any fixing of the Disney channel. I often view them as the people who couldn't do Power Rangers right because well... they couldn't lol (except RPM).


    They kinda try to mix and match all these genres and facites and it just sorta collapses under its weight to me. I guess there are a decent number of kids that like it though.

    I remember when Vault Disney was their nighttime thing. Its kinda funny that the creation of Toon Disney really was the nail in the coffin for the classic Disney channel as it meant that the main channel would be consumed with origional entertainment as the toons were pushed over and then once the toons were gone it made the theme park and classic Disney elements feel redundant so those went too... Throw in the original movies that got lazier and lazier and lazier...

    Then you get the buyout of Foxfamily which integrated Saban entertainment programming into Toon Disney and Jetix/DisneyXD

    We should all just create a timeline of the plummet of mediocrity.

    I actually don't my Phineous and Ferb though... I hate rumors that Disney might cancel the superb Avengers cartoon and revamp it into something like their terrible talking down to the audience Spiderman show. But it really fits in with their nice even level of pastiness.



    BTW does Disney channel do ANYTHING with imagineering anymore? I kinda can't bear to face the channel... If not then a webcast type show could integrate elements of the Imagineering updates from the Disneyblog into it. I can see them viewing streaming ventures as a threat to their DVD sales. Maybe they could use some lesser franchises at first. Bonkers, Gummi Bears and Dinosaur (remember that sitcom? I probably watched the more moderated times of Disney channel but Vault Disney was still around too).
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  14. #14

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    When did the Disney channel stop being a "premium" channel? I remember as a kid in the late 1980's, we had basic cable, but my family couldn't afford the premium channels such as HBO, Showtime and Disney. The few "free preview" weekends of the Disney channel made me so happy! I would watch the new Mickey Mouse club and many of the old programs that showed Walt at Disney World as well as a Winnie the Pooh show and cartoons. I also recall watching a lot of specials about the New Kids on the Block and the Making of Sgt. Pepper.

    When I became an adult and order cable for myself, I was surprised to see that Disney channel was included and had commericals. Would going back to a premium channel make a difference?
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  15. #15

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    Re: Fixin' the disney channel

    I'm not sure, it might. If Disney were to offer a premium channel, I would think it would offer certain exclusives, like being the ONLY place on TV where you can see Disney animated films, both feature-length & short, classic & new. Add to that some classic stuff that's not available anywhere else, and perhaps some more Disney-centric original programming (lots of behind the scenes stuff at the parks and the studio would be cool), and you might have a winner.

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