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Disney releases 3 DVDs for families

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The King Arthur legend has been told on the big screen numerous times, including in the films "Camelot" (1967), "Excalibur" (1981) and "First Knight" (1995), and — to some extent — in "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" (1949).

One of the more charming and faithful Arthurian adaptations is the animated tale "The Sword in the Stone," based on T.S. White's fantasy novel "The Once and Future King." The 1963 feature is one of Disney's most underrated cartoon classics.

"The Sword and the Stone" is now available in a 45th anniversary special edition (Walt Disney Studios, G, $29.99).

Like most of the Mouse House's cartoon features, it boasts first-rate animation, a nice balance of action, humor and drama, and has a good voice cast. Sebastian Cabot narrates.

And the final, sorcerous battle between Merlin (voiced by Karl Swenson) and the evil Madam Mim (the voice of Martha Wentworth) — in which the two combatants change into a variety of a creatures (both magical and nonmagical) — is pretty dazzling.

Bonus features: Cartoon shorts ("Knight for a Day," "The Brave Little Tailor"), interactive "Sword in the Stone Scrapbook," profile of composers the Sherman Brothers and "Merlin's Magical Academy" game.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment also recently released two other DVDs aimed at families:

"The Jungle Book 2 Special Edition" (G, $29.99).

While its voice cast does include Haley Joel Osment and John Goodman, this 2003 sequel to the beloved 1967 cartoon pales in comparison to its predecessor.

Bonus features: Deleted scenes, music videos, interactive games ("Mowgli's Story Time Adventure" and "Mowgli's Jungle Ruins Maze") and "The Legacy of the Jungle Book" documentary.

"The Suite Life of Zack and Cody: Lip Synchin' in the Rain" (TV-G, $19.99).

A compilation of episodes from the popular Disney Channel series starring Dylan and Cole Sprouse. Includes the "High School Musical" episode.

Bonus features: "Twin-tastic" documentary and gag reel, including outtakes and bloopers.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com