Saturday, 10 August 2013

Man, Monsters and Mysteries (Disney Film)

I added this video as an afterthought to the recent post on a new Tim Dinsdale book but I add it again in case anyone missed it. I originally posted my own version three years ago but removed it because of copyright reasons. Someone else has now posted it on YouTube, so the copyright issue now belongs to them.

The documentary was a bonus feature to the VHS version of the 1977 film "Pete's Dragon". It also appeared on DVD but seems to have dropped out of the feature list on later releases. However, the documentary pre-dates "Pete's Dragon" and was actually released on US educational TV around 1972 and appeared in British cinemas in 1974 (presumably as a second feature to a main Disney film).

This is a review of the film (original link) for the 2001 DVD release but it appears to have gone from the 2009 release.

"Man, Monsters, and Mysteries" is a fairly fascinating 25-minute piece which again analyses fantastical mysteries and myths on animals. The majority of the program focuses on the 'elusive' Loch Ness monster, who appears in animated form, voiced by Disney veteran Sterling Holloway (the original Winnie the Pooh among others). The interaction between Holloway and Winnie the Pooh narrator Sebastian Cabot is a lot of fun, as the monster explains individuals who have been trying to track him and how he's teased those in search of him by allowing a mystery to prevail. Pristine live action sequences contain comments from folks who claim to have seen Nessie. While this isn't directly related to the movie, other than in theme, it's an awesome and quite entertaining inclusion.

To this I can add that you will see various personalities from the search for Nessie such as Tim Dinsdale, members of the Loch Ness Investigation Bureau, Roy Mackal and so on. You can also read about the visit of the producer, Ken Peterson, to Loch Ness in 1969 in "Project Water Horse" by Tim Dinsdale.

Tim tells us Ken arrived with his wife Harriet with a film crew in August 1969 for a two week stint. It seems their arrival drew practically all those involved in the hunt to offer their services. Well, apart from one. Frank Searle had arrived just eight weeks previously to start his 15 year watch of the loch.

Not surprisingly, there was footage shot which did not make it into the final release. I would have been particularly fascinated to see the footage of the monster hunters resorting to their watering hole at the "Lodge" for a bit of R&R. 

Overall, the film rightly takes its place in the history of the Loch Ness Mystery.


  1. I have this documentary in my "Pete's dragon" DVD which I bought several years ago.
    What is said in this 1973 documentary was true then and is still true today.

  2. A fascinating period piece, and very "Disney" in style. Lovely to see the clear footage of the loch, and the witnesses. I had to laugh when Dinsdale was outlining his idea of the monster. He says something like "forty to fifty feet in length, which seems incredible, but that is what the evidence suggests." It is this very loose use of the word "evidence" which has prolonged the mystery for so long!

  3. Sometimes I wish I had been born 10 or 20 years earlier ... less sceptics to put up with!

  4. This was great fun to watch, with as others have noted great footage of the loch itself. Just before they part of the Dinsdale film there is about 2 seconds of some other footage - is this the first "monster" Dinsdale thought he filmed? I've always wanted to see that footage, and if it was the same reel maybe someone just did a sloppy edit somewhere along the way. And if that is not what those few seconds are, what are they?

  5. As a snippet of Disney trivia, Sebastian Cabot, who narrated this mini-movie, was also the voice of the black panther Bagheera in Disney's classic 1967 animated movie 'The Jungle Book'.

  6. As a snippet of Disney trivia, Sebastian Cabot, who narrated this mini-movie, was also the voice of the black panther Bagheera in Disney's classic 1967 animated movie 'The Jungle Book'.