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[Editor’s note: A previous version of this story was published on Oct. 14]
In case you still need a reason to subscribe to Walt Disney’s streaming service, the Mouse House has literally hundreds of them. After months of hype, Disney+ officially launched on Nov. 12, with a line-up of new shows like the hugely anticipated Star Wars series The Mandalorian, original reality programs like Encore!, as well as original movies like a live-action version of Lady and the Tramp. But the real jewel in the Disney+ crown has to be access to the studio’s enormous library of classic and cult titles dating all the way back to the very first Micke Mouse cartoon, “Steamboat Willie.” Instead of waiting for releases from the infamous Disney Vault, you’ll have movies and TV shows like Ice Princess, That’s So Raven and That Darn Cat — the 1965 and 1997 versions—instantly available at the click of a button.
But That Darn Cat just scratches the surface of the deep cut titles that are available to subscribers now. Disney fans on Twitter have combed through the selections, marveling at what will be freshly available — and which are still hidden from public viewing for now. Here’s a round-up of the weirdest Disney movies you can watch now, and the ones you’ll have to experience again... or for the first time.
Must-Watch: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969)
Before he was Jack Burton or Snake Plissken, Kurt Russell was Dexter Riley, a college student who gets a serious upgrade into a human computer courtesy of a short, sharp electrical shock. Probably the pinnacle of the actor’s Disney years, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes is the kind of nutty retro-futurism we love about the ’60s.
Most-Wanted: Condorman (1981)
Michael Crawford may have won a Tony for playing the Phantom of the Opera, but in our hearts, he deserves an Oscar for suiting up as Condorman. Made in that odd era after Richard Donner’s Superman: The Movie, but before Tim Burton’s Batman, Condorman was Disney’s attempt to launch an original square-jawed superhero in a suit that has to be seen to be believed. So it would be great if we could actually, you know, see it.
Must-See: The Cat From Outer Space (1978)
Keep your shaggy D.A.’s: we’ll stick with this intergalactic feline. Disney’s attempt to update its tried-and-true animal movie formula for the Star Wars era is a furry favorite of cat lovers around the globe.
Most-Wanted: The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Disney cartoons have their fair share of scary moments, but The Watcher in the Woods remains the studio’s most famous dip into full-fledged horror. The movie was famously pulled from theaters days after its initial premiere to tone down the scares. Even in its neutered form, though, The Watcher in the Woods remained a formative scary movie experience for an entire generation. Too bad they won’t be able to scare their own kids by “accidentally” playing it on Disney+
Must-See: Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968)
Never let it be said that the dread pirate Blackbeard never did anything nice for a landlubber. In this oddball comedy, Blackbeard (played by Oscar-winner Peter Ustinov) is brought back to ghostly life to help Steve Walker (Dean Jones) coach a collegiate track team to victory and woo the lovely Jo Anne (Suzanne Pleshette). Hijinks ensue without any high-seas pillaging.
Most-Wanted: The Mighty Ducks movies
Ducks fly together...except, apparently, on Disney+. To the shock and dismay of ‘90s kids eveywhere, all three Mighty Ducks movies—aka The Bad News Bears on ice—won’t be streamable at launch. the animated series starring actual ducks (from another planet, no less) is available to binge, though. If you ask us, leaving out Emilio Estevez is a pretty fowl joke.
Must-See: Gus (1976)
Move over, Air Bud: the original sports-playing animal is back to score some touchdowns. Don Knotts made better movies during his long tenure at Disney, but none are as weird as the one where a professional football team fields a donkey as its place kicker and everyone is just OK with it.
Most-Wanted? Song of the South (1946)
It’s been known for a while now that Song of the South was never going to be part of the Disney+ lineup. But the debate over where when and how the controversial film should emerge from the Disney vault — or if it ever should — flared up again today. Those who are advocating for the film’s release argue that it’s better for Disney to examine its history rather than ignore it, and point to Warner Bros.’s Looney Tunes collections as an example for how to contextualize older cartoons that are deeply offensive today. On the other hand, there’s a strong case to be made that no good can come from making a movie with such a troubled legacy, and painful portrayals, on a streaming service aimed at children.
Disney+ launches on Nov. 12.
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