Don Bluth has come a long way in the decade since he defected from Walt Disney Productions to follow his own creative vision.

In the early going, at least, the director-animator's vision seemed a bit blurred, most notably a foray into interactive video games with Dragonslayer - an arcade machine that debuted amid a ton of hype, then quickly faded into the realm of has-been technology.But the man who lamented the lack of "quality" in such Disney releases during the 1970s as "The Black Cauldron" and "The Fox and the Hound," soon bounced back.

With "All Dogs Go To Heaven" now out on video, Bluth has hit his stride.

Pre-orders for the video, which were being sold for $19.95 after rebate, came to more than 3 million copies, making it the biggest sell-through title in the history of MGM/UA Home Video.

By going head to head with Disney's "The Little Mermaid" in theatrical release, Bluth proved to himself and the movie industry that a little competition keeps everyone on their toes.

"All Dogs' was a book that was read to me many, many years ago, when I was in fourth grade," Bluth said. "All I remember about the book is its name. But having grown up in the country, I had many dogs and they were always my friends. As I buried each dog, I was always troubled by where they went.

"I found out that other people also had that same experience, and one day we all got together and started to talk. As we did we said, `What if we made up a story that is kind of comforting about the fact that you're not going to miss your dogs because they are all in heaven, and if there is such a place, we'll all go there?'

"We started with that premise. We thought it sounded kind of silly, so we decided to make it fun, too. So we came up with this dog named Charlie who is a rogue and who by all rights should not go to heaven.