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  1. #1

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    Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    DR. SYN: THE SCARECROW OF ROMNEY MARSH (1964)
    Starring Patrick McGoohan, George Cole, Tony Britton, Michael Hordern and Geoffrey Keen
    Directed by James Neilson
    Not Rated

    Wave VIII of the Walt Disney Treasures collector DVD's comes out this week with a ripping yarn originally broadcast in three parts on Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. "The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" tells the tale of Dr. Christopher Syn (McGoohan), an 18th century English vicar tending to his flock in the town of Dymchurch. Unbeknownst to his parish, the respected parson is by night the mysterious and feared Scarecrow, leader of a gang of smugglers on the Dover Coast. Donning a burlap mask and tattered garb to hide his identity, the Scarecrow and his "gentlemen" pillage and plunder for the benefit of the citizenry oppressed by the excessive taxes of King George. In doing so, Dr. Syn must match wits with the tenacious General Pugh, tasked by the King to capture the Scarecrow gang and bring them to justice.


    Dr. Syn, respected vicar by day . . .

    Originally produced for American television, "Scarecrow" holds its own among the best of the live action adventure films Disney produced in England following WWII (it was later re-edited and released theatrically in Great Britain as Dr. Syn, Alias the Scarecrow). It boasts a talented cast led by McGoohan, then on the verge of stardom as TV's Secret Agent and later The Prisoner. His Dr. Syn is both gracious and cunning, always staying one step ahead of the King's army, while his Scarecrow is menacing and forceful, but still mindful of what's right for the people of Dymchurch. McGoohan maintains a delicate balance between the perceived hero and villain personas he plays without once teetering into caricature. It would be 40 years before another actor (Christian Bale) would pull this trick off as well (but McGoohan still has a better "Dark Knight" voice).


    . . . feared Scarecrow by night.

    Other noteworthy performance come from Cole as Dr. Syn's scoundrel of a sexton, Mr. Mipps, and Keen as General Pugh, who easily could've become another buffoonish bad guy of the Disney canon. Instead, Keen plays him as a dignified and duty-bound career soldier, even when embarrassed in defeat at the hands of Dr. Syn.

    This two-DVD set comes with the three original World of Color episodes (complete with Walt's introductions) and the feature film edit of "Dr. Syn" shown abroad. All have been fully restored with the TV episodes shown as they were originally shot (but never broadcast) in widescreen. Also included are the bonus feature docs "Dr. Syn: The History of the Legend," which explores Dr. Syn's literary origins (Despite what Walt says in the intros, Dr. Syn was an entirely fictional character), and "Walt Disney: From Burbank to London," which looks at the movies Disney produced on the other side of the Atlantic during the 1950s and 60s.

    "Dr. Syn: The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh" is available in stores Tuesday along with Walt Disney Treasures "The Mickey Mouse Club Presents: Annette" (the original television serial starring everyone's favorite Mousketeer) and "The Chronological Donald, Volume Four" (the last collection of cartoon shorts featuring the irascible duck).


    Disney. All Rights Reserved.

  2. #2

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    How is that I have never heard of this? It may be worth checking out!

    Will trade husband for Disneyland and DCA Pins!

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    its amazing the amount of material that used to be on Disney Channel that you could watch during the 80s... that you take for granted now
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    I had a chnce to see Scarecrow on TV twice in the 80s when I was a kid. I even went as the Scarecrow for Halloween. I'm definitely going to hunt this down today and add it to my Treasures collection. Finally Scarecrow made it to DVD.

    I can't believe that this year's Treasures run is small. Only 39,500 copies per set.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbossa View Post
    I can't believe that this year's Treasures run is small. Only 39,500 copies per set.
    It's not surprising considering Wave VIII is mostly going to be picked up by hardcore Disney fans and completists. As Disney has continued to mine the vault for Treasures, the titles have become more and more obscure. It was a lot easier to sell Mickey Mouse than Elfego Baca and the Hardy Boys. Even with a wealth of unreleased TV material, I can't see the Walt Disney Treasures collections continuing much longer, if at all.

  6. #6

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    >>Even with a wealth of unreleased TV material, I can't see the Walt Disney Treasures collections continuing much longer, if at all.<<

    I disagree. There are plenty of recognizable, marketable Walt Disney characters and material for Treasures sets if they use their imaginations and get rid of preconceived notions:

    Ludwig VonDrake (18 TV hours and a featurette)
    Jiminy Cricket (all of his TV hosted hours and educational shorts)
    Chip n Dale (all of their shorts and TV hour)
    Ranger Woodlore & Humphrey Bear (all of their shorts plus 4 TV hours)
    The Magic Mirror (all of his TV hosted hours)
    Zorro (78 half hours, 4 hour shows and 2 features)
    Disneyland (still many more shows unseen on DVD)
    ...(plus more assorted animation like Scrooge Mc Duck 7 Money, It's Tough to be a Bird, Dad Can I Borrow the Car, Moby Duck, etc etc)

    Not to mention themed compilations --

    A Walt Disney Christmas
    A Walt Disney Halloween

    There are many possibilities.
    Last edited by merlinjones; 11-11-2008 at 09:55 AM.

  7. #7

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones View Post
    >>Even with a wealth of unreleased TV material, I can't see the Walt Disney Treasures collections continuing much longer, if at all.<<

    I disagree. There are plenty of recognizable, marketable Walt Disney characters and material for Treasures sets if they use their imaginations and get rid of preconceived notions:

    Ludwig VonDrake (18 TV hours and a featurette)
    Jiminy Cricket (all of his TV hosted hours and educational shorts)
    Chip n Dale (all of their shorts and TV hour)
    Ranger Woodlore & Humphrey Bear (all of their shorts plus 4 TV hours)
    The Magic Mirror (all of his TV hosted hours)
    Zorro (78 half hours, 4 hour shows and 2 features)
    Disneyland (still many more shows unseen on DVD)
    ...(plus more assorted animation like Scrooge Mc Duck 7 Money, It's Tough to be a Bird, Dad Can I Borrow the Car, Moby Duck, etc etc)
    And don't forget Song of the South. I'd love to see Ludwig VonDrake get a release.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    Thank you Tim, wonderful review. McGoohan was such the perfect actor for that era.

    'The Lone Ranger' TV series DVDs were just released as well. Would have to believe Disney will be keeping an eye on their sales and rentals numbers.
    "If you don't know how to draw, you don't belong in this building" - John Lasseter 2006

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    I picked up all three Wave 8 sets today.

    After attending the Remembrance Day ceremony, I rushed down to Future Shop and was surprised that there were only two copies of Dr. Syn still on the shelf. Must be the best seller in wave 8.

    There were still a number of copies of Donald and lots of copies of Annette.

    So if you are pondering whether to get it, I suggest you do because there is only 39,500 of each set.

  10. #10

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    Thinking about picking up all three later today.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    Quote Originally Posted by merlinjones View Post
    >>Even with a wealth of unreleased TV material, I can't see the Walt Disney Treasures collections continuing much longer, if at all.<<

    I disagree. There are plenty of recognizable, marketable Walt Disney characters and material for Treasures sets if they use their imaginations and get rid of preconceived notions:

    Ludwig VonDrake (18 TV hours and a featurette)
    Jiminy Cricket (all of his TV hosted hours and educational shorts)
    Chip n Dale (all of their shorts and TV hour)
    Ranger Woodlore & Humphrey Bear (all of their shorts plus 4 TV hours)
    The Magic Mirror (all of his TV hosted hours)
    Zorro (78 half hours, 4 hour shows and 2 features)
    Disneyland (still many more shows unseen on DVD)
    ...(plus more assorted animation like Scrooge Mc Duck 7 Money, It's Tough to be a Bird, Dad Can I Borrow the Car, Moby Duck, etc etc)

    Not to mention themed compilations --

    A Walt Disney Christmas
    A Walt Disney Halloween

    There are many possibilities.
    I agree there are many possibilities. As a Disney collector I'd love to own many of the titles you suggested. But again, is there a large enough market for these programs for Disney to justify releasing them on DVD? Don't forget, Disney almost discontinued Treasures after Wave 6. Hopefully, sales of Wave 8 will be brisk enough to warrant a Wave 9 next year. I also would love to see "Song of the South" given the Treasures treatment, although Bob Iger has previously said there was no plan to release it.

  12. #12

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    OOOO... a Ludwig von Drake set would make me happy!


    Tim, thanks for your insightful review. I'm really looking forward to seeing this now.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    I remember watching Scarecrow when it would appear on Walt Disney Presents during Vault Disney's run on the Disney Channel. It's an interesting story. However, I bought the Annette set for my mom because she loves Annette. She had absolutely no clue the serial was even seeing a release.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    "Dr Syn" looks great - - they really did it right. And with the correct 60's live-action aspect ratio of 1:66! Yay!

    "The Prince and the Pauper" is another of Walt's tv/features that deserves such good treatment! It's desperate for restoration.

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    Re: Syn-fully Good: 'Scarecrow of Romney Marsh' on Disney Treasures DVD

    My Donald showed up today courtesy of Amazon... weeeee
    Check out my blog - Coreplex: Rambling from inside the Grid


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