Sunday, March 8, 2020

A Classic Reborn: The Disney Sunday Movie (1986)

32 years after Walt Disney Presents first debuted, the Disney brand returned to ABC in February 1986. Disney had ended its assocation with NBC after the 1980-1 season, and shifted to CBS for two seasons.

The second time around at ABC was only a wee bit better. Three seasons, the last of which saw The Disney Sunday Movie shrunken to the more traditional hour-long format of its forebears. Disney CEO Michael Eisner was the series host, usually doing skits at the start of the broadcast with Mickey Mouse.

However, CBS had 60 Minutes and a relatively new series at the time, Murder, She Wrote, airing opposite the Disney package. While the kids watched, adults usually voted with their remotes. The Disney package moved back to NBC, under the title, The Magical World of Disney, still hosted by Eisner, in 1988.

Following is a sample open, previewing the first half of a pair of hour-long films, "The Last Electric Knight", a pilot for the subsequent Sidekicks. "Knight" introduced real-life karate ace Ernie Reyes, Jr. to audiences, but folks still remember him more for being associated with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film franchise.

We'll look at Sidekicks, which also starred Gil Gerard, Nancy Stafford, & Keye Luke, another time.

Rating for The Disney Sunday Movie: None. I didn't watch. I usually went to another room after the Eisner-Mickey skits.

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