Language Arts Through Imagination (found series of Disney educational short films; 1988-1989)
Language Arts Through Imagination is a series of 11 educational short films released between 1988 and 1989 by Disney Educational Media under the Epcot Educational Media label. The series is a live-action and animation hybrid that stars Figment, a purple dragon character from the Epcot attraction Journey Into Imagination. Each episode featured a boy and girl actors interacting with Figment on a variety of topics, often solving a problem using imagination and reading skills.
As part of the Epcot Education Media line, the series was released on VHS tapes to be distributed only for supplemental instruction for schools, costing a premium of up to $350 per tape. This made the series relatively obscure and elusive to find. Only the majority of one episode and a poor film reel of another was publically available until March 2018, when 9 of the 11 known episodes were uncovered from an unlisted playlist from May 2017. The final two episodes were uploaded by another user between April and May 2018. 
The original Journey Into Imagination debuted as an attraction at Walt Disney World’s Epcot on March 5th, 1983. The characters of Figment and Dreamfinder evolved from a concept for the proposed, and unproduced land of Disneyland called Discovery Bay, where Dreamfinder was named Professor Marvel and Figment was an unnamed green dragon that was his companion. The original attraction was closed in 1998 to revamp the ride as Journey Into Your Imagination. With Dreamfinder dropped and Figment only appearing in a few cameos, the ride was heavily panned and was retooled a few years later into the current Journey into Imagination with Figment.
In the 1980s, Disney began producing low-budget educational series based on their properties. One particular aspect that defined these shorts was its use of American outsourced animation,  a practice Disney had not done since the 1938 Silly Symphony short Merbabies. The trend started with the 1981 short Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons, which culminated in the outsourcing of the 1983 animated featurette Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore. Despite heavy criticism, Disney was satisfied with the results and expanded its use of outsourced animation.
In 1988, Disney contracted Chicago-based Cioni Artworks to animate a series of educational shorts based on Figment. Animators Ray Cioni and Jon McClenahan were credited as the animation directors. Billy Barty, the voice of Figment for the Epcot attraction, resumed his role for the series. The shorts were directed by various individuals, including Robin Allinson Smalley, Mark Mathis, and Mark Jean. Jamie Simons wrote most of the shorts, while Bill Scollon produced many of them.
Unlike the previously unproduced series Dreamfinders, Language Arts Through Imagination had very little relation to the Journey Into Imagination ride, with Figment being one of the few aspects retained. Instead, Figment was said to live in a land called Figonia; a live-action set said to be created by Figment’s imagination. In each episode, two kids would be transported to Figonia by Figment, who would often have a problem that would need to be solved. Figment would encourage the use of imagination through various words, which would be evaluated and eventually help solve the problem. Storytelling was another key component that tied in with the learning of words.
Occasionally various Disney characters would guest star in the shorts. For example, Writing Magic with Figment and Alice in Wonderland featured a live-action version of Alice. In What’s an Abra Without a Cadabra?, an animated version of Merlin from The Sword in the Stone helped out.
The series made frequent use of stock footage obtained through various Disney films. These films were used to both covers for the lower animation budget the series had and better explained the topic that was being discussed. For example, footage from the movie Fantasia would be used to demonstrate the variation of colour or show an example of flying.
The series was only available on various Disney Educational Media VHS tapes. In particular, many of these tapes were only meant to be sold to schools that would use the tapes as additional tools used by teachers in various lessons. The tapes could either be traded back or bought by an educational institution for a premium price known to reach $350. Because of this, very few tapes of this series are known to exist, making the series relatively obscure and difficult to find.
For an extended period of time, the only episode of the series that was circulating online was Would You Eat A Blue Potato?. The episode was courtesy of Figment’s Imagination, a fansite which shut down in 2012. While the theme song was recorded in its proper 4:3 ratio by some users, the lone circulating recording of the episode itself was in an improper ratio. In addition, the episode was missing its final scene and ending credits. In 2017, the episode Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan was uploaded to YouTube in its entirety. However, the recording is a transfer from a poor-quality film reel where much of the dialogue could not be distinguished.
On March 25th, 2018, a thread was made on the WDWMagic forums about the series, with a user bringing to light a YouTube playlist that was created by TTJohn12 in May of 2017 containing 9 of the 11 full episodes. The episodes were unlisted until April 2018, making their existence unknown before the thread. According to TTJohn12, the episodes were obtained through loan of two VHS tapes through a local university, and the episodes were kept unlisted due to DMCA concerns.
On April 22nd, 2018, YouTuber dragonroboto uploaded a higher quality recording of Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan. After sharing the video to the WaltDisneyWorld subreddit under the name anjack9, the user mentioned that the video came from a VHS tape that also contained Writing Magic with Figment and Alice in Wonderland, the final lost episode of the series. The user uploaded the episode on May 20th, which completed the series.
|1||Would You Eat a Blue Potato?||1988||Found|
|2||What Can You See by Looking?||1988||Found|
|3||Do Dragons Dream?||1988||Found|
|4||How Does It Feel to Be an Elephant?||1988||Found|
|5||How Does It Feel to Fly?||1988||Found|
|6||How Does Sound Sound?||1988||Found|
|7||Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan||1989||Found|
|8||Writing Magic with Figment and Alice in Wonderland||1989||Found|
|9||What's an Abra Without A Cadabra?||1989||Found|
|10||Where Does Time Fly?||1989||Found|
|11||The Case of the Missing Space||1989||Found|
- The Incredibles (found full version of McDonald's Happy Meal commercial for Pixar animated film; 2004)
- The Incredibles (found online promotional trailers for Pixar animated film; 2004)
- Pixar (partially lost early CGI animated commercials from animation studio; 1989-1998)
- Alice in Wonderland (partially lost original draft of Disney animated film; 1939)
- Aladdin (found Howard Ashman treatment of Disney animated film; 1988)
- American Dog (partially found original version of "Bolt" Disney animated film; 2007-2008)
- The Black Cauldron (partially found deleted scenes of Disney animated film; 1985)
- Chanticleer (partially found production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 1940s-mid 1960s)
- Chicken Little 2 (partially found production material of cancelled sequel to Disney animated comedy film; 2006)
- Disney Circle Seven Animation (partially lost production material of cancelled Pixar sequel films; 2004-2006)
- Dumbo II (partially found production material from cancelled Disney animated sequel film; 2000s)
- Fantasia 2006 (partially lost production material for cancelled Disney animated sequel film; 2002-2004)
- Fraidy Cat (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 2004-2005)
- Frozen (partially found early drafts of Disney animated film; 1937-2012)
- Gigantic (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 2013-2017)
- The Jungle Book (lost Bill Peet version of Disney animated film; 1963-1964)
- Kingdom of the Sun (partially found original version of "The Emperor's New Groove" Disney animated film; late 1990s)
- The Lion King II: Simba's Pride (partially found production material and deleted scenes of Disney animated sequel film; 1995-1998)
- Maleficent (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 2003-2005)
- Music Land (lost Disney animated anthology film; 1955)
- My Peoples (partially found production material of cancelled Disney animated film; late 1990s-early 2000s)
- Phineas and Ferb (lost production material of cancelled theatrical film of Disney Channel animated series; 2010s)
- The Search for Mickey Mouse (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated film; 2002)
- The Seven Dwarfs (partially found production material of cancelled direct-to-video prequel to "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" Disney animated film; 2000s)
- Tangled (partially found early drafts of Disney animated film; 2001-2010)
- Tinker Bell (partially found first draft of Disney animated film; 2007)
- Treasure Planet II (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated sequel film; 2002)
- Wild Life (lost production material for cancelled Disney animated film; late 1990s-2000)
- Zootopia (partially found pre-rewrite version of Disney animated film; early 2010s)
- A Tin Toy Christmas (lost production material of cancelled Pixar animated Christmas TV special; early 1990s)
- Cars 3 (lost deleted scene of Pixar animated sequel film; 2017)
- The Good Dinosaur (lost original version of Pixar animated film; 2011-2013)
- Inside Out (lost original Bing Bong death scene of Pixar animated film; 2015)
- Made in Point Richmond (found miscellaneous content from Pixar DVD; 1986-2000)
- Newt (partially found production material of cancelled Pixar animated film; early 2010s)
- Toy Story (partially found early test footage of Pixar animated film; 1992)
- Toy Story 4 (found original script of Pixar animated sequel film; 2013-2017)
- Toy Story & Toy Story 2 (partially found intermissions for 3D double feature re-release of Pixar animated films; 2009)
- Toy Story "Black Friday Reel" (partially found rough cut of Pixar animated film; 1993)
- Toy Story "Jessie" (found Patsy Montana Award acceptance speech animation of Pixar character; 2000)
- WALL·E (partially found original treatments of Pixar animated film; 1994-2008)
- Enchanted (lost deleted song from Disney live-action/animated fantasy comedy film; 2007)
- Fantasia (partially lost original audio of Disney animated film; 1940)
- Jack Wagner (partially lost Disney Park background music collection from American actor; 1970s-2001)
- Mars Needs Moms (found Seth Green vocal performance of Disney motion-capture animated film; 2011)
- The Nightmare Before Christmas (lost original Vincent Price audio of Disney stop-motion animated film; early 1990s)
- Pinocchio (lost Mel Blanc's "Gideon the Cat" dialogue from Disney animated film; 1940)
- Toy Story 2 (partially found Bullseye dialogue test footage from Pixar animated sequel film; late 1990s)
- 101 Dalmatians (found "Spotted Landmarks" teaser trailer of Disney live-action film; 1995-1996)
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (found deleted scenes from Disney live-action film; 1993)
- Sleeping Beauty (partially found live action reference material for Disney animated film; 1959)
- Something Wicked This Way Comes (lost original cut of Disney dark fantasy film; 1982)
- Walt Disney (lost physical Mickey Mouse animation reference footage of animator; late 1930s)
- Alice Comedies (partially lost series of Walt Disney animated short films; 1920s)
- Blowin' in the Wind (found Pixar animated short film; 1985)
- Lafflets (lost series of Walt Disney animated short films; 1922-1923)
- Mickey and Minnie Mouse (lost unauthorized pornographic animated short film; existence unconfirmed; 1936)
- Mickey's Man Friday (partially found production material of unproduced remake of Disney animated short film; 1939-1941)
- Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (partially lost series of Walt Disney animated short films; 1927-1928)
- Poor Papa (found "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" Walt Disney animated short film; 1927)
- The Princess Academy (lost production material of cancelled Disney animated short film; 2009)
- Short Subject aka "Mickey Mouse in Vietnam" (found unofficial animated short film; 1968)
- Tales from Radiator Springs "To Protect and Serve" (lost episode of "Cars" animated miniseries; 2015)
- Totally Twisted Fairy Tales (partially found Disney animated short series; 1997)
- Uncle Walt (lost unauthorized Disney short film; 1964)
- Disney Wiki article on Language Arts Through Imagination.
- The YouTube playlist most of the full series was found on.
- D23 listing on Do Dragons Dream. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- The webpage for the Journey Into Imagination ride. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Mouseplanet article on the series. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- WDWMagic thread on the found episodes. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- VHS tape transfer of Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan. Retrieved 21 May '18
- VHS tape transfer of Writing Magic With Figment And Alice in Wonderland. Retrieved 21 May '18
- Official Disney Blog post on the attraction. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Disney article on the origins of Figment and Dreamfinder. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Demystifying Disney: A History of Disney Feature Animation. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Cartoon Research article on the series. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Resume of Ray Cioni, including mentions of work for the series under Cioni Artworks. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- D23 listing of What's an Abra Without A Cadabra?. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- Web Archive link to the former Figment's Imagination fansite. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- YouTube link to the only copy of Would You Eat A Blue Potato? circulating for years. Retrieved 21 Apr '18
- YouTube link to the original found film reel of Reading Magic with Figment and Peter Pan. Retrieved 22 Apr '18
- Reddit post where user anjack9 mentions that he obtained Writing Magic with Figment and Alice in Wonderland. Retrieved 21 May '18