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Recent Losses of Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine, Disney’s Original Hardy Boys, Highlight Disappointing Absence of Classic Catalog On Disney+
Open Letter to Disney+ Content Team and CEO Bob Chapek

Disney Legend Tommy Kirk appeared in almost 15 classic films and serials. Fans looking to mourn him via Disney+ were severely disappointed.

ATTN: Bob Chapek, Disney CEO; Kareem Daniel, Chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution; Michael Paull, President of Disney Streaming; Rebecca Campbell, Chairman of International Content & Operations; and Disney+ Content Team

On September 29th, 2021, Disney legend Tommy Kirk left this plane of existence. Across social media netizens spread eulogies and posted fond memories of his films and work. The official Disney Twitter account mentioned some of his biggest contributions to Disney history including Old Yeller and The Misadventures of Merlin Jones.

Fans running to Disney+ to stream that film were met with the sad realization that the film is not and has never been available to stream. The same could be said for its sequel, The Monkey’s Uncle. This writer has fond memories from his own childhood of grooving to the Beach Boys theme song and enjoying the classic 1960s style antics.

On March 3rd, news broke that another Disney Legend, Tim Considine, had joined Tommy Kirk on the next plane of existence. Sadly, Disney did not post an in memoriam tweet for Mr. Considine. Tim and Tommy were actually costars, playing the titular characters in 1956’s Hardy Boys series. Like with Tommy, fans rushing to Disney+ in hopes of mourning Tim would find their options quite limited. Despite appearing in 3 series of Spin & Marty, Disney+ only ever added the first. That was way back at launch. Tim’s other work included appearances in Walt Disney Presents: Annette, The Swamp Fox, and a role in the original Shaggy Dog, where he again co-starred with Tommy Kirk.

Tommy Kirk (1941-2021); Tim Considine (1940-2022)

The loss of both Tommy and Tim were particularly difficult by the realization that they are practically invisible on the Disney+ service. During Tommy’s time working for Disney, he had lead roles in more than 10 series and serials, the majority of which are only available via VOD rentals on YouTube or Prime Video. With a brand new take on The Hardy Boys premiering its 2nd season April 6th, it’s even more disappointing that the original series is unavailable.

At launch, Disney+ infamously used the slogan “All your favorites in one place” – a phrase that has since become twisted by current and former subscribers to draw attention to the GAPING holes in Disney’s available library and Disney’s asinine desire to forcefully split their library between multiple streaming services in Latin America and USA ONLY.

The Disney Vault Lives

It’s exceedingly difficult to mask our extreme frustration and disappointment at the unfathomable fact that after launching with only half of their classic film library, the 2 years that followed have only seen 8 films added!! Total. After launch in November 2019, Disney waited until May 2020 before adding Hayley Mills classic The Moon-Spinners (1964). After this, another 11 months went by with subscribers disappointed every month by Disney’s inability to live up to the quote at the top of their Archives page – “Try to think of a company that looks to its past more than The Walt Disney Company.”

The Vault Cracks Opens, Seals Again

On April 2nd, 2021, the clouds finally cleared and it appeared a bright new era of the service had arrived. Disney added 2 vintage titles – Third Man on the Mountain (1959) and The Island at the Top of the World (1974).

Then, in June, they added The Happiest Millionaire (1967).

These efforts were short-lived. Accounting for the April content list, by May 1st Disney will not have added a film older than 1990 in 11 months, completely shunning 75% of their history.

Disney+ Misses The Point, Always

Losses like these really make it clear that Disney wasn’t prepared for the pressures and duty of a streaming service oriented towards their own library. We’ve shown time and time again through our monthly library breakdowns and on Twitter prior to launching this website that in 28 months Disney has adds next to nothing older than the past few years.

As older Disney Legends pass, passionate fans look to Disney+ to honor them and mourn them. This is not the first time this has happened and will be far from the last. We recently wrote a similar piece following the loss of comedians Bob Saget and Louie Anderson. This will never stop happening until the Disney+ content team learns to prioritize more than just originals.

It’s not just when we lose our legends either. Hayley Mills birthday tweet last year was met by requests for Parent Trap 2-4 and Summer Magic, requests that the social media manager could do nothing with. Annette Funicello, a frequent Tommy Kirk and Tim Considine costar, is barely represented on the service with her two films present (Babes in Toyland and The Shaggy Dog) being some of the only Tommy Kirk films streaming too. You won’t find any sign of her serial Walt Disney Presents: Annette (1957-1958) or other collaborations with Tommy Kirk – Escapade in Florence (1962) and The Monkey’s Uncle (1965).

Disney has continued to reject the opportunity to announce any form of roadmap for adding older titles, institute monthly quotas, or announce goals for rectifying the gaping holes in their classic library. There have been no campaigns oriented towards older titles or decades. The Star Wars Vintage collection (very weirdly, the titles within this collection have been re-titled to include this phrase as a prefix in addition to being placed within a collection bearing the name) is the closest Disney has ever gotten to this, but it wasn’t a structured change. There has been no similar Marvel efforts despite the numerous cartoons from the 60s-90s still missing. The “Twitter trending” addition of Pepper Ann in September was not part of any campaign to add the shockingly many missing One Saturday Morning or late ’90s and early ’00s cartoons.

Tommy Kirk’s Disney Catalog

Bold denotes available on Disney+


Tim Considine’s Missing Content

Bold denotes available on Disney+

We are far from the only people who would have expected legendary films like Tommy and Tim’s to be steaming. When Disney doesn’t have them it doesn’t just make the service look bad, it causes people to lose faith its in its ability to provide. Disney+ has the smallest library of any major streaming service. Disney’s film assets and library were so small that they purchased 20th Century Fox to bulk up. Yet, as we’ve covered, Disney has almost zero control or access to the Fox library with Starz, Epix, and HBO dominating. Many would have expected until that… sorted itself out… that they’d be digging more into their actual Disney library.

Besides that, people would prefer first and foremost Disney place significantly more effort into adding the DISNEY library that does exist. Journalist Josh Spiegel is one of the most passionate and loud journalists sharing his disappoint on a monthly basis. There are MANY, but we single him out because he has the most tweet history.

When only half of an already small library is added, it’s not much. With next to zero Touchstone or Hollywood Pictures films, barely any made-for-TV films, and legitimately 50 percent of their 50s-90s films streaming, Disney+ is far more like Disney Minus. Especially when what does get added is recent Disney Junior and National Geographic content. We’ve shown statistically that more than 60 percent of the library added since launch belongs to those 2 categories which is beyond ridiculous.

Journalist Josh Spiegel is one of the greatest advocates for Disney’s ignored library since day 1.

Tommy Kirk, Tim Considine, thank you for your gifts to us. Hopefully someday Disney+ will add your missing titles and new generations can enjoy them without using old fashioned things like DVDs, YouTube rentals, or worse – pirating.

YouTube should NOT have more Disney films than Disney+. We cannot reiterate that more.

Sincerely,

Drew Ryan

Founder / Editor-in-Chief

Gregory Betrand

Data Director

Josh M. Shepherd

Freelance Journalist / Leader of Open the Vault campaign

Ethan Holloway

Freelance Journalist

Website | + posts

Drew Ryan is a film, TV, and Disney geek. He has degrees in English, Student Personnel Administration, and Library & Information Science from Lawrence University, Concordia University-Wisconsin, and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Interested in the minutia and licensing of streaming service content, he is always publishing lists, suggestions, and advocating for Disney’s missing library to be added to Disney+. Drew subscribes to Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, HBO Max, and Paramount+. You can find him waxing nostalgic over classic Disney Channel or geeking out over Marvel, CW shows, & Disney on Twitter.

Assistant Editor | + posts

Gregory Bertrand is a film and television enthusiast. His degree in Early Childhood Education is from Saint Cloud State University and he’s currently teaching in a school. When he isn’t shaping young minds, he spends his time researching, analyzing, and documenting Walt Disney contractual obligations while streaming a slew of old and original content.

Josh M. Shepherd
Freelance Writer | + posts

Freelance journalist Josh M. Shepherd writes about culture, faith, and public policy issues. His work has been published by outlets including What’s On NetflixThe FederalistFamily Theater Productions, and Faithfully Magazine. A graduate of the University of Colorado, Josh and his wife live in the Washington, D.C. area with their two children.

Ethan Holloway
Ethan Holloway
Freelance Writer | Website | + posts

An Autistic Disney, Marvel and Star Wars fan from England. Ethan is an advocate for equal representation in media for people of colour, LGBTQ+, women and people with disabilities. One day he'll be a published author mark his words, but for now, he covers Disney stuff.

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