Not So Vaulty Now Are You Disney?
If there is one vault that people never stop talking about it’s the Disney Vault. I mean really, think about all those years you would hear “(insert classic Disney film here) is coming out of the vault! Don’t miss your chance to get the VHS.” Ahh, how lovely the days of VHS were. Manipulating the damn tracking and having to patiently wait as the tape glided from one side to the next because some jackass missed the meaning of “Be Kind Rewind.”
Growing up in the 90s was a thing of beauty. But whether you grew up in the 90s or not the classic Disney films of that era were something to behold. I remember a time when all the adults in my life could not stop jabbering about Dancing with Wolves.Everybody ran to the theater because let’s face it, Kevin Costner is super dreamy and has some of the best looking hands in the business, but I digress. The youthful equivalent to the effect of Wolves could be found in a number of Disney classics such as Pocahontas, The Lion King and Aladdin.
As a child my father had a multitude of shelves housing his VHS tapes with a specific section devoted to Disney. He had them all, even a beat up copy of Dumbo that looked as sad as Bambi when his mother died. To have a copy of Disney movies was something held so precious in ones heart. And when Disney opened their vault you didn’t hesitate for a second. As years went on the same idea trickled over to DVDs and with the transfer of technology some movies were inevitably forgotten. It’s hard to realize the scope of what a transfer such as VHS to DVD truly meant.
Sure, it meant better quality, a smaller product that was easy to collect and no more kindness to be found in rewinding. However, it also meant a farewell to two things, one being the countless movies that did not make the transfer due to lack of demand or availability. The second being the thrill and desire that comes of patiently waiting for a movie to be available or working extra hard to find a copy. Whether it be checking every shop you pass by that sells even the smallest quantity of DVDs or scouring the internet for a $100 copy of an obscure title, you’re on a mission.
The announcement which is a tad historic is that a company like Netflix has never been given such rights (this sort of thing is reserved for the more uppity HBO type groups) isn’t a bad thing by any means but more a change. It’s a shift that I’ve been trying to cope with for a few years which I don’t think I’ll ever be completely comfortable with. I like streaming just as much as the next guy and yes, you will find a Roku box in my room. I streamed the shit out of Netflix waiting in between classes on two hour breaks in college and it didn’t stop when I got home either. Instant queues are my jam. But just like anything in life there is always a down side.
It really began when Netflix made a push into streaming television shows that had long been off the air. Classics such as Frasier, Cheers and My So Called Life now swoop by as you filter through the piles of entertainment Netflix has to offer. I remember talking to a friend about Party Down. I was at Target and found the entire series (yes, season one AND two) for $15. In my mind I felt like the alarms would go off as I passed through the detectors because this was as close to stealing as I’ve ever gotten. Knowing what a fan he was I immediately texted him to get on that, his text back you ask? “Meh, I don’t really need to, it’s streaming anyway.” Blind rage set in.
Okay, so it’s streaming but what about when the internet goes down or when Netflix decides to do their fix at 3 am and you’re still up because you’ve been puttering around since 8 pm and still can’t go to sleep? In those cases you’re screwed. So, even with the rise of streaming options I refused to suspend my DVD purchasing because Netflix’s selection grew everyday. With streaming becoming a more viable option for any old Joe the wonder and joy found in owning a box set or complete series collection isn’t quite as special anymore.
I thought I could withstand it and hold my ground, but then something happened. Dawson’s Creek the complete series began streaming. And while you’re judging me keep in my that Dawson’s Creek had some pretty serious cultural impact, seriously go look it up on Wikipedia. I had season one and two for about two years and had wish listed the rest. I continually checked my wish list and would wonder if today would be the day I snatch them up. However once I saw it on Netflix that pining for what once defined my Wednesday nights was gone, just lost.
There is an entire generation being groomed right now that will never know the feeling of waiting an entire year for something to come out on any format that can be viewed from the comfort of your own bed. They will never know talking with your friends about a show that you used to watch religiously every week that just can’t be found. How much better is a DVD or Blu-Ray purchase when you’ve been waiting to watch it for years? Patience pays off. But this is now a thing of the past. Which brings me to the Netflix/Disney announcement.
It will be great to have my nephew be able to experience Disney classics but a part of me wants to pull a Grandma Ortiz move and lecture him on how lucky he is. It makes you realize this is how people must have felt when T.V. began to over shadow the radio. Again, magic lost. There is something so fascinating about my age group in that we were caught in the middle of some huge transitions in technology and ultimately culture. Whether it be VHS to DVD, film to digital or cassette tape to CD we knew the wonder of both. It’s an appreciation that can’t be taught or even described.
Remember blowing through a throw-away camera eagerly waiting to see what the hell you even took a picture of? You don’t even find those cameras or a cassette of Wham! in the bargain bins these days. Nobody except a handful of people still have VCRs or a Walkman sitting around their house. I’m ready just like everybody else to enjoy some Cruella de Vil and Newsies…wait, wait I take back that last part. Although a fresh faced Christian Bale singing and dancing is a sight to behold. With that being said I can’t help but wonder what monumental changes such as this have in store for us. The cultural impact of streaming content has only just begun and I’m just stuck waiting for the day somebody gives me a WTF face upon seeing a DVD player in my room, the same way they do with my VCR today. Don’t judge, how else am I supposed to watch Wizard until I get it on DVD?