Justin Morgan Had a Horse

(Welcome to Out of the Disney Vault, where we explore the unsung gems and forgotten disasters currently streaming on Disney+.)

Back in October of 2019 (which, if you’re checking your calendar, feels as if it was roughly 9,000 years ago), the Disney+ Twitter account managed to dominate the social-media conversation for a full day thanks to a massive thread of more than 600 tweets, in which they announced each title that would be available to stream on the service’s first day. Most of those titles were plenty exciting to fans of one kind of intellectual property or another. There were plenty of animated features, TV shows, Marvel movies, etc. to whet fans’ appetites. But there were some titles that threw people for a loop because they sure seemed like joke titles.

Maybe the easiest title to mock — or at least one of the easiest — was Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Here was a film that few people seemed to recall or had indeed ever heard of, and with such a simple, declarative phrase as its title, too. For my own part, when I saw some folks mock titles like The Biscuit Eaters or Now You See Him, Now You Don’t, I shook my head at their inability to realize that the 1970s were a weird time for Disney live-action. But even I was fully unfamiliar with Justin Morgan Had a Horse, and I hosted a weekly podcast about all kinds of Disney movies for nearly nine years. The title was one of only a few Disney released  from before I was born that I’d genuinely never recognized, until I Googled and realized why I didn’t know it well: this 90-minute adaptation was a two-part episode of the Walt Disney anthology TV series, not a feature film.

So, for today’s Out of the Disney Vault column, I wanted to answer the obvious question: what the hell is Justin Morgan Had a Horse, and why is it on Disney+?

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