National Library of Norway
National Library of Norway

Missing Disney Christmas Short from 1927 Discovered in Norway

National Library of Norway
National Library of Norway

We've lost a number of classic films—even some Oscar-nominated ones. But occasionally, lost films will pop up in places where you least expect them. Such was the case with Walt Disney's first Christmas short, Empty Socks, which was rediscovered at The National Library of Norway in 2008. A restored version of the film was shown at the library earlier this week.

The silent film—which stars Mickey's predecessor, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit—was originally released in 1927. It was found by two employees while they were taking inventory at the library's nitrate film archive. “At the beginning, we didn’t know it was a lost cinematographic treasure,” Kvale Sørenssen, an archivist at the library, said. “The film was in two reels which weren’t clearly labelled.” In fact, they first thought the film might feature Felix the Cat. The reels had belonged to Norwegian collector Tor Eide. Eide gave them to the Norwegian Film Institute, which gave its collection of nitrate films to the National Library in 2007. The film was authenticated by former Disney archivist David Gerstein.

Martin Weiss / National Library

Empty Socks features Oswald dressing up and playing Santa to some mischievous orphans, who end up setting a chair—and eventually, the house—on fire. (Disney would reuse this general idea with Mickey Mouse in the 1931 short Mickey's Orphans.) Previously, only 25 seconds of the short was known to exist; that clip is held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. The full short was 5.5 minutes long, and the reels found in the National Library's archives are nearly complete—around a minute of the middle section of the movie, where Oswald distributes gifts to the orphans and the chair catches on fire, is missing. 

Restoration experts at the library painstakingly restored Empty Socks and digitized it. Restoring silver nitrate movies is a dangerous process because the film is highly flammable. According to the History BlogA little warmth or pressure and [the nitrocellulose compound used to make the film] explodes with more force than gunpowder. It doesn’t even need oxygen to burn because it produces its own oxygen during combustion. It also burns under water.” To keep both people and the films safe, The National Library of Norway's silver nitrate films are stored in a secure climate- and moisture-controlled bunker in Mo i Rana, near the Arctic circle. The facility is partitioned into sections with fireproof walls to minimize damage and danger in the event of a fire.

A digital copy of Empty Socks has been sent to Disney, and the original will remain in the National Library's bunker.

[via The History Blog]

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Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images
The Fascinating Reason Why There Are No Mosquitoes at Disney World
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images
Jacqueline Nell/Disneyland Resort, Getty Images

There are no mosquitoes in The Most Magical Place on Earth. That's right, Disney World is so dedicated to making sure you have the time of your life that they've made the bugs practically disappear. How do they pull that off? No, the answer isn't magic. Vlogger Rob Plays delved into the answer in a video spotted by Neatorama.

It would be a feat to get rid of pesky mosquitoes anywhere, but Disney World is in Florida, a.k.a. swamp territory, where insects are more abundant than other places. Bugs are annoying, but they're also dangerous if they're carrying diseases like Zika, and Disney has a responsibility to protect its guests. In short, Disney gets rid of the pests by employing a comprehensive program that includes spraying insecticides and maintaining natural predators, and they do all of this with a level of vigilance that's fearsome to behold.

The park has something called the Mosquito Surveillance Program to manage it all. There are carbon dioxide traps everywhere, and once they catch bugs, the team at Disney freezes and analyzes the population to determine how best to eradicate them. Interestingly enough, they also employ the use of chickens. These sentinel chickens, as they're called, live in coops all over Disney World. While these feathered employees are going about their daily life, their blood is being monitored for mosquito-borne diseases like West Nile virus. Lucky for the chickens, they don't get sick from the virus—but if they do pick it up, the Disney team knows where in the park they got it from so they can deliver a swift blow to the mosquitoes in that area.

You may also notice that the video is populated by clips of the Seven Dwarfs spraying insecticides. If you're wondering how you missed a lengthy sequence in which Happy, Grumpy, and co. did battle with the local insect population in 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, you didn't. The clips come from a separate propaganda film that Disney made during World War II called The Winged Scourge, all about the dangers of malaria and the insects that carry it. The disease caused major casualties for the Allies while fighting in the Pacific Ocean theater of World War II.

Next time you're visiting Disney World, be sure to appreciate the relatively insect-free utopia before returning to the real world.

[h/t Neatorama]

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Disney
Disney World is Giving Away a Glamping Trip in Pandora
Disney
Disney

Short of booking a trip to Zhangjiajie, China—to see the surreal landscape that inspired the floating mountains in Avatar, James Cameron's epic fantasy film—Disney World is the only place on Earth that comes close to recreating the wondrous world of Pandora.

As spotted by Travel + Leisure, the Florida-based theme park is hosting a contest to send one winner and a guest on an overnight "glamping" trip inside Pandora—The World of Avatar, a section of the Animal Kingdom theme park that opened last spring.

For one night only, guests will get to sleep in a luxury tent against a bioluminescent backdrop in the park's Valley of Mo'ara. This will be the first time anyone has had the chance to stay overnight in the Pandora park. Accommodations will be arranged for the other two nights, and the trip also comes with round-trip airfare and specially curated experiences like a drum ceremony, night hike, and a visit from "surprise guests." (Sigourney Weaver, could it be you?)

Don't forget the rides, either. Guests will get a private ride on the 3D attraction "Flight of Passage" as well as the "Na'vi River Journey." A writer for Insider called "Flight of Passage" the "best Disney ride yet," and a writer for Travel + Leisure said it made her cry "literal tears of joy." The lucky winner will also receive a $250 Disney gift card and a photography package and, best of all, guests will get access to any of Disney's theme parks for four days.

To apply for the contest, make a short video explaining why you deserve a getaway and click the link here to submit it. The deadline for entries is June 21, and the trip will take place from July 28 to July 31, 2018.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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