Earlier today Disney launched their highly anticipated streaming service, Disney+. Despite the fact that many view Disney as an evil conglomerate hell-bent on taking over the world — in fact their motto for 2020 is “Disney: we’re an evil conglomerate hell-bent on taking over the world.” — we still quickly subscribed. See, evil as they may be — and don’t be confused, they are evil, almost as evil as all these em dashes I’m throwing at you — they are responsible for creating a lot of the movies and television shows so many of us have grown to love over the years. And thanks to their recent acquisition of another evil company, thereby forming a super-evil company, they now own the rights to things we love that they didn’t even create. It’s a bit of a pickle.
We bit into the pickle and we found a lot of juicy goodies. Disney+ has your Gargoyles and your Spider-Man and a million other things that Nat Brehmer will likely write about, many of which will probably post as I continue to write this. There’s also the more popular stuff like Star Wars and most of the MCU. Not to mention plenty of new original content like that High School Musical series that has been in high demand.
Personally, I was eager to get into the Disney Channel Original Movies. This is Disney’s run of made-for-TV movies that launched in the ’90s as a follow up to their Disney Channel Premiere Films. Browsing through the Disney+ catalogue I was able to find a lot of good stuff from this collection. Bona fide classics like Brink!, Johnny Tsunami, Alley Cat Strike and The Even Stevens Movie are there, available for your viewing pleasure. Unfortunately, the one movie I wanted to watch on Disney+ more than anything else is missing. Of course, I’m talking about Under Wraps.
Under Wraps is the story of a trio of 12-year-old kids that find a mummy in a dead man’s basement. After initial reservations — it is a mummy — the kids befriend their discovery and quickly do some research to learn more. With the help of a horror-loving friend, they find out that if the mummy isn’t put back in sarcophagus by midnight on Halloween he will cease to exist. Being the good friends that they are, these kids go to great lengths to help the mummy.
This is a great kid-friendly horror film. It’s not scary, but it respects the genre. And the mummy looks terrific. I’ve said this before and I’ll continue to say it, but the mummy from Under Wraps is one of the best onscreen mummies I have ever seen. It’s good, fun, light-hearted Halloween fare that will help kids around the age of 10 transition into the harder horror. I can say this with absolute certainty because I was 11 when the film premiered and it did just that for me.
Speaking of which, Under Wraps premiered on October 25, 1997. That’s significant. You know why? Because that means it was the first ever Disney Channel Original Movie! This is the film that kicked off all those others. Without Under Wraps there is no Cheetah Girls, there is no Phantom of the Megaplex. There is no nothing! And somehow this film doesn’t make the Disney+ launch date? Are you shitting me?!
There are 117 Disney Channel Original Movies. Of those 117, only 4 are currently unavailable on Disney+. And one of those 4 is the Descendants 3 which barely premiered on the Disney Channel back in August.
96.58% of the DCOM made the cut, but not the first one? Something isn’t right here and I don’t like it.
This blunder gets more egregious when you look at the other movies and shows available. As I mentioned up top, most of the MCU is available and that’s not even cinema, as Martin Scorsese rightfully pointed out. You know what Scorsese has never once decried as not cinema? Under Wraps. Therefore we can safely assume that Scorsese things Under Wraps rules.
I have a theory. Scorsese not only loves Under Wraps, but he absolutely adores it and considers it one of the greatest mummy movies of all time. You may think it’s crazy that Scorsese would ever watch a Disney Channel Original Movie. And under normal circumstances that would be true. But this isn’t a normal circumstance. The film was recommended to him by his good friend Francis Ford Coppola.
Undoubtedly I’ve lost you at this point. Why in the world would Francis Ford Coppola ever recommend a Disney Channel Original Movie to Martin Scorsese? Surely that makes no sense, but I implore you to stick with me. Why? Well, because this DCOM just so happens to star Mario Yedidia. And Yedidia also starred in Jack which was directed by Coppola. BOOM!
We can safely assume that on or around October 24, 1997, Coppola placed a call to Scorsese that probably went something like this: “Hey Marty, it’s Frank. Yeah, Frank Coppola. Yes, the one that directed Tucker: A Man and His Dream. I wanted to tell you about this mummy movie playing on Disney Channel this week. Stars that Yedidia kid I was telling you about. You’ll love it.”
Flash forward some 22 years later and both Scorsese and Coppola make some fairly innocent, but true remarks about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This upset Disney CEO Bob Iger. In fact, it upset him so much that he vowed to get his revenge on Scorsese and Coppola and what better way to get revenge then by withholding Under Wraps. As a result of Iger’s pettiness we’re all paying the ultimate price — the ultimate price being denied the capability to watch Under Wraps via Disney+ (it is available on other streaming platforms).
All joking aside, I do hope Under Wraps makes it to Disney+ soon. It is a movie I really love and being the first DCOM is actually historic and something we should celebrate.
Also, major shout outs to Mario Yedidia who has stepped away from the world of acting to do more important things. These days Yedidia is working with Unite Here, a labor union fighting for the rights of workers. Unite Here focuses on many industries, including airports, food service, gaming, hotels, transportation and textile manufacturing and distribution. It’s a good group doing great work. If you have a moment check them out and if you can spare a few bucks make a donation their way.