Disney's "Nature's Half-Acre"

I found the nature doc in the title on Disney+ today. It’s got some dated media quirks (there’s a slightly cringeworthy joke about women in corsets over a scene of a butterly leaving it’s chrysalis, and they scored it like an old cartoon, so the music can be a little distracting), but it’s got some nice cinematography for the time it was produced (originally released in 1951 alongside Disney’s original Alice in Wonderland). I’ve been trying to figure out where it was filmed, but haven’t had any luck searching online. I see lots of California native flora and fauna, but haven’t been able to narrow it down further. I’m guessing somewhere in the mountains near Los Angeles. On the off chance anyone else is familiar with it and can point me in the right direction, please feel free to share whatever info you have. It would be interesting to find out what the area is like today.

Give it a watch if you can, too. Even if you don’t have Disney+, you can find the whole film on YouTube. It’s worth it for the segment with the dancing woodcock alone.

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Thanks for sharing. Have no idea where this was filmed, as you suggest, probably somewhere close to the Hollywood Disney studio. I recall as a young kid in the early 1960s being enthralled by Disney nature documentaries in the cinema (No TV in outback Australia at that time). My favourite was “White Wilderness” which was filmed in the North American Artic. This film is now notorious for using fake footage of lemmings committing mass suicide. If you can ignore this faux pas however, the film is a pioneering example of nature cinematography and is well worth watching today. I can’t help wondering if David Attenborough was inspired by films such as these, (The Living Desert is another example).

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Having grown up in Orange County, California, with Disneyland as my playground and my own half-acre to wander around on, I have to admit to being very “Disney-fied”. Nature’s Half-Acre was formative in my childhood at instilling in me a fascination with the outdoors. It offered cutting edge technology (at the time) for filming the natural world. I’ve also tried to research the origins/making of that film but without success.

I wouldn’t doubt it at all that Sir David Attenborough was not only inspired by Disney’s productions, but was a correspondent/collaborator of Uncle Walt’s in that era and perhaps a personal acquaintance.

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