Disney+ Still Doesn’t Have ‘Under Wraps’

With Halloween rapidly approaching, most of us are doing all we can to squeeze in as much Halloween-centric content as possible. Given the modern age we live in, we’re using the plethora of streaming services available to scratch this spooky itch. 

On the surface, Disney+ is one of the best platforms to give us the content we crave. The streaming service from the House of Mouse has a Halloween collection that offers a wide variety to choose from. The collection includes every incarnation of “Treehouse of Horror” from The Simpsons, Halloween-themed episodes of America’s Funniest Videos and a whole host of Disney Channel shows like Big City Greens and Kim Possible. Also included are shorts and specials like Toy Story of Terror, the Donal Duck classic Trick or Treat, and Tim Burton’s original live-action short film, Frankenweenie. And then there are the movies. Hocus PocusTwitches and its sequel, every entry in the Halloweentown series, Mr. Boogedy, and more are there, waiting to be watched.

But there is one glaring admission – Under Wraps.

In the ’90s Disney launched a series of made-for-TV movies cleverly titled Disney Channel Original Movies. If you were a young, impressionable youth during this decade these movies helped raise you into the struggling thirtysomething you are today. Films like Brink!Johnny Tsunami, and Alley Cat Strike are stone-cold classics. And fortunately, they’re all available to watch. But Under Wraps is still missing, and quite frankly, that’s bullshit.

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 the 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 transitions 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.

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 Wrapsthere is no Cheetah Girls, there is no Phantom of the Megaplex. There is no nothing! And somehow this film still isn’t available on Disney+? Even though it’s in-season? How can this be?!

There are just over 100 DCOMs and nearly all of them are available to stream from Disney in-house service. But not the one that kickstarted them all. That’s sort of bonkers, no?

This blunder gets more egregious when you look at the other movies and shows available. Most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is available and that’s not even cinema, as Martin Scorsese rightfully pointed out. Do you know what Scorsese has never once decried as “not cinema?” Under Wraps. Therefore we can safely assume that Scorsese thinks 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 decades 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 than 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, but that’s hardly the point).

All joking aside, I do hope Under Wraps makes it to Disney+ soon. It is a movie I genuinely love and being the first DCOM is actually historic and something we should celebrate. And with talks of a remake in the works it would make sense to get the original to its rightful home.

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.

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