One can argue that there are three Golden Eras of Disney Channel programming; the High School Musical era (mid-2000’s), the Zoog Period (late 1990’s), and the Disney Afternoon era (1990-1993). From the onset, Disney Channel aimed to reel in families with programs that not only entertained, but educated with specials like Disney Channel Discovery. Facing competition from channels appealing to adult audiences past bedtime, Disney aired movies and specials that attracted adults looking for “cleaner” nighttime entertainment. Classic Films, History Specials, and Concerts sought to ensure Disney’s domination of the viewing experience 24/7. 1983-1992 represents an area of Disney Channel’s history that is often forgotten. An odd mix of Animation, Black-and-White Films, and Science Specials all displayed in the same place. While Disney Animation wasn’t in its prime during the mid-1980’s, the historic cartoons of the past, still fresh in the minds of Children and Adults, had found a new home.
Taking inspiration from the Wonderful World Of Color specials from the 1950’s and 60’s, were television specials that showcased Disney cartoons in a sort of video Mixtape. One such special, Let’s Get Away From It All was aired on Disney Channel in 1984. The compilation was hosted by Space Ghost veteran, and popular Disney personality (World of Motion, Wonderful World, Of Color) Gary Owens. Owens plays a Travel Agent assisting you in booking your ticket to “get away from it all”. Several classic Disney animated shorts are shown with Owens introducing each one. The cartoons revolve around Mickey, Goofy, and Donald, with a variety of eras displayed by each.
The animated shorts shown are as followed:
- Californy’er Or Bust (1945)
- African Diary (1945)
- Mickey’s Trailer (1938)
- Mickey Down Under (1948)
- Lake Titicaca (1943)
- Aquamania (1961)
- Bee At The Beach (1950)
- Donald Duck’s Vacation (1940)
- Mr. Mouse Takes A Trip (1940)
- Grand Canyonscope (1954)
There are no Home Video Releases or Videos of the special Online, or at least any that have surfaced. The special aired over several years on the Disney Channel, up to around the early 1990’s. Below is an assortment of Gary Owens’ segments during the special transferred off of a VHS recording of the Disney Channel in 1991. The quality of the tape is not great, the tracking and static are evidence of its age and constant use. We left out the animated shorts because they are available on YouTube and Home Video releases. Quality aside, this is a rare look at a 1980’s Disney Channel special and its brand of humor courtesy of Mr. Owens.