The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
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|The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad|
Original theatrical poster
|Directed by||Jack Kinney
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Story by||Erdman Penner
|Based on||The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
by Washington Irving
|Narrated by||Basil Rathbone
|Music by||Oliver Wallace|
|Studio||Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.|
|Release date(s)||October 5, 1949|
|Running time||68 minutes|
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a 1949 animated feature produced by Walt Disney Productions. It is comprised of two segments, based on the stories The Wind in the Willows and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," respectively. The film was released to theaters on October 5, 1949, by RKO Radio Pictures and is the 11th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. The film is also the finale of the six package films produced by Disney until The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977, following Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, Make Mine Music, Fun and Fancy Free, and Melody Time.
There are two segments in the film, both based upon popular works of literature:
The Wind in the Willows 
The story of Mr. Toad, based on Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows (narrated by Basil Rathbone). In 1906 the charismatic J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq., was the happy-go-lucky, wealthy proprietor of Toad Hall. Toad believed in fun, adventure and traveling to "Nowhere in Particular"; He had built a great deal of debt from disregarding the financial responsibilities of his insatiable love for fads and "manias", such as recklessly riding through the countryside on a canary-yellow gypsy cart with his loyal Lancashire horse, Cyril Proudbottom, who keeps crashing through obstacles. Angus MacBadger tells Toad's friends, Ratty (Water Rat), and Moley (Mole) to try to talk some sense into him but Toad quickly discovers two men driving a newfangled motor car and is determined to get one of his own by any means necessary. Toad is subsequently charged with car theft after trading the deed to Toad Hall for a car belonging to Mr. Winky, the tavernkeeper, and his gang of "tough-looking" weasels. Toad is thus forced to stay twenty-years in solitary confinement when Winky testifies that Toad tried to sell him a stolen car (which Winky's cronies actually stole). On Christmas Eve, Cyril, disguised as Toad's grandmother, visits the imprisoned Toad and assists him in escaping. After a grueling police chase, Toad manages to find Ratty and Moley, who are later informed by MacBadger that evil Winky and his weasels have taken over Toad Hall. With his friends' aid, Toad redeems his good name by recovering the deed to Toad Hall from the very hands of its captors in a huge brawl, which destroys most of the estate. Toad, touched by the loyalty and kindness of his friends, promises to reform. Ratty, Moley and MacBadger give a toast to the new Toad at their New Year celebrationin 1907 only to shockingly find Toad now recklessly flying a 1908 biplane with Cyril into the sunrise.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 
The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, based on Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (narrated by Bing Crosby). In 1850 The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behavior makes him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his odd behavior, Ichabod proves to be a match for Brom, not so much through direct combat but by using other fighting techniques to thwart and humiliate his rival. In spite of his lanky appearance, Ichabod also shows himself to be a ladies' man as he charms all the eligible local ladies. Finally, however, Ichabod discovers the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel. Katrina is the beautiful young daughter of Baltus Van Tassel, the wealthiest farmer in the area, and Brom's intended. Katrina is a coquette by nature, but sees Ichabod as an opportunity to break from the monotony of Brom scaring away every other potential suitor. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth, and is infatuated by Katrina's beauty and grace as well. After a number of comically unsuccessful efforts by Brom to dispose of Ichabod, the situation changes when Brom discovers to take advantage of Ichabod's strong belief in superstitions. Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane's lonely ride home becomes exceedingly frightening because of his exposure to the possibility of encountering the ghost. The atmosphere of fear increases in intensity, until it breaks the tension at a false alarm, whereupon Ichabod and his horse laugh hysterically in relief. Immediately, the Headless Horseman appears, laughing maniacally, riding a large black horse that bears a strong resemblance to the one owned by Brom. Then follows a chase scene wherein the Horseman pursues Ichabod with wild abandon, only to be deterred when Ichabod crosses a bridge near the local Dutch graveyard (the bridge being the point beyond which the horseman couldn't go, according to the tale). The Headless Horseman then hurls his own severed head (shown to actually be a fiery jack-o'-lantern), at Ichabod. The jack-o'-lantern bursts into flames as it collides, and everything fades to black. The next morning, the only things found by the bridge are a shattered pumpkin and Ichabod's hat. Brom shortly thereafter marries Katrina. It is later rumored that Ichabod married a rich, plump widow in a distant county, and had many children (all bearing a resemblance to Ichabod). But the people of Sleepy Hollow firmly deny this; they all believe that Ichabod was spirited away on Halloween Night by the ghoulish Headless Horseman.
Later, this portion of the film was separated from the companion Mr. Toad film, screened, aired, marketed, and sold separately as starting in 1958.
The Disney depiction is actually quite true to Irving's original tale, going as far to have some narrative lines taken directly from the text. The important elements of American Romanticism are all included, from the in depth description of the natural, frontierish setting of Tarry-Town, to the description of the brackish hero, Brom, and finally to the element of mystery left to the viewer at the conclusion of the tale.
- Bing Crosby - Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, Narrator ("The Legend of Sleepy Hollow")
- Eric Blore - J. Thaddeus Toad
- Basil Rathbone - Narrator ("The Wind In the Willows"), Policeman
- Pat O'Malley - Cyril Proudbottom, Policeman, Unseen Paper Boy
- Colin Campbell - Moley
- John McLeish - Prosecutor
- Campbell Grant - Angus MacBadger
- Claude Allister - Ratty
- Leslie Dennison - Judge, Weasel #1
- Edmond Stevens - Weasel #2
- Oliver Wallace - Mr. Winky (uncredited)
- Pinto Colvig - Ichabod Crane screaming (uncredited)
||This section may contain original research. (September 2011)|
In 1938 shortly after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, James Bodrero and Campbell Grant pitched to Walt Disney the idea of making a feature film of Kenneth Grahame's 1908 children's book The Wind in the Willows. Bodrero and Grant felt that Wind in the Willows with its anthropomorphised animals, could only be produced using animation. Disney was skeptical however and felt it would be "corny" however acquired the rights in June that year. The film was intended to be a single narrative feature film with the title of the same name.
By early 1941 a basic script was complete. Along with a song written by Frank Churchill called "We're Merrily on Our Way." Although it was intended to be low-budget film (much like Dumbo), Disney hired many animators from the prestigious Bambi (which was nearly complete) and production began in May that year. Within six months 33 minutes of the film had been animated. However the studio's ability to produce full-length feature films had been drastically diminished, because World War II had drafted many of their animators into the military and had cut off their foreign release market. Thus, in October 1941, Disney put the production of Wind in the Willows on hold.
Then in December 1941, the United States became embroiled in the war after Pearl Harbor was attacked. The US government then asked the Disney studio to produce several propaganda films to help rally support for the war effort. During this time, much of Disney's feature output was made up of so-called "package films". Beginning with Saludos Amigos in 1942, Disney ceased making feature films with a single narrative due to the higher costs of such films, as well as the drain on the studio's resources caused by the war.
Walt Disney and his artists felt that the animation of the cartoony anthropomorphized animals in Wind in the Willows was far below the standards of a Disney animated feature. They then decided that Wind in the Willows would be better off being part of a package film.
Walt Disney started up production again in 1945. Many scenes in Wind in the Willows such as Toad buying several cars before his allowance is cut off, Rat and Mole visiting McBadger in a Sanatorium, Toad making an elaborate escape from his bedroom and Toad tricking a washer woman into helping him escape from prison had not yet been animated. Therefore, in order to condense the story for the package film, Disney cut these scenes and completed the remaining animation.
Under the title Three Fabulous Characters they tried to pair it up with Mickey and the Beanstalk and The Gremlins. However, after The Gremlins failed to materialize the title was changed to Two Fabulous Characters. Then Mickey and the Beanstalk was cut from Fabulous Characters in favour of pairing it with Bongo under the title Fun and Fancy Free which was eventually released in 1947.
Meanwhile, in December 1946, Disney started production on an new animated feature film, an adaptation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. However, the filmmakers found that the running time for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was not long enough to be a feature film and was more suited to be a package film.
Finally, in 1947, Walt Disney decided to pair The Wind in the Willows with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow under the new working title The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Well-known celebrities Basil Rathbone and Bing Crosby were cast as narrators in order to provide mass audience appeal.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was the last of the "package" films, and Disney returned to single-narrative features with 1950's Cinderella, and Disney would continue, despite the package feature, to produce independent shorts on a regular basis until the mid-1950s.
The film has received positive reviews, garnering a 91% "Certified Fresh" score among critics on Rotten Tomatoes. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow segment has received particular praise for being both effectively scary but still suitable for children and families. The film has gained quite a large fanbase, mostly people who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s when the film was shown on television during the autumn months.
Subsequent usage and home video release 
For many years following its original release, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was not available for viewing in its original form. The two segments had been split up by Disney in the 1950s and were usually seen as individual items. When first released on home video, the Ichabod segment was released as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the Toad segment as The Wind in the Willows, taking their names from the original stories.
Some of the scenes were cut when the segments were split up. For example:
- The Wind in the Willows
- Part of the introduction was cut because of the new music added.
- The Scene where MacBadger confronts the angry townspeople who are suing Toad.
- The Scene where MacBadger, Rat and Mole are reopening Toad's case.
- The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
- The only thing that was cut was the introduction in the bookcases.
In 1978, The Wind in the Willows segment was re-released to theaters under the new title The Madcap Adventures of Mr. Toad to accompany Disney's feature film Hot Lead and Cold Feet. The Headless Horseman sequence from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, meanwhile, was featured in the 1982 television special Disney's Halloween Treat.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad received its first complete home video release in 1992 and in the UK in 1993, when it was released by Walt Disney Home Video on laserdisc. A subsequent complete release on VHS followed on October 28, 1994 in the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection line, then in 1999 as the last title in the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection line, before they were replaced with the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection line appeared in 2000. The Wind and the Willows segment was issued on DVD again in 2009, in the fifth volume of the Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films series.
Mr. Toad, the Weasels, Ichabod, Katrina, the Headless Horseman and Tilda were featured as guests in House of Mouse, as audience members/attendees and in various spots. Here, Mr. Toad was voiced by Jeff Bennett. Toad, Ratty, Moley, Mac Badger, Cyril and two of the weasels also made an appearance in the Christmas featurette Mickey's Christmas Carol, as Scrooge's old employer Fezziwig, the two Charitable Gentlemen asking for donations for the poor, an attendee of Fezziwig's party, Donald Duck's horse and two grave diggers, respectively. Mr. Toad and Cyril Proudbottom also made cameo appearances in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, while the Toon Patrol's designs were based on the weasels from the film.
In 2000 the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection, which is a collection of officially released Disney statue and pin merchandise (not to be confused with the Walt Disney Classics Collection, which was a video series of Disney animated features in the 1980s and early 1990s), released 3,500 limited edition statue sets of the two main Sleepy Hollow characters Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman. The figures were originally sold for $695 together as a set. The pair have since been retired from the collection and its value has risen dramatically each year.
On 8/29/10, Mr. Toad was released as an annual passholder vinylmation. On 1/13/12, The Headless Horseman was the chaser in the Animation 2 vinylmation set.
Directing animators 
- Frank Thomas (Mr. Toad, Rat, Mole, Cyril, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, Katrina Van Tassel )
- Ollie Johnston (Mr. Toad, Rat, Mole, Cyril, Ichabod Crane, Brom Bones, Katrina Van Tassel, Trial Scene)
- John Lounsbery (Ichabod Crane)
- Wolfgang Reitherman ( The Weasels and Headless Horseman)
- Milt Kahl (Macbadger, Brom Bones)
- Ward Kimball (Mr. Toad's escape from prison, Katrina Van Tassel and Baltus Van Tassel)
- Eric Larson (Mr. Toad, Ichabod Crane)
See also 
- Wind in the Willows, Michael Barrier-comment
- Barrier, Michael (1999) Hollywood Cartoons, Oxford University Press, UK
- "The American Film Institute, catalog of motion pictures, Volume 1, Part 1, Feature films 1941-1950, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad"
- Gabler, Neal-(2006), Walt Disney: The Triumph of American Imagination, Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York City
- Gabler, Neal-(2006), Walt Disney: The Triumph of American Imagination, Alfred .A Knopf Inc, New York City
- M. Faust. "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad - Movie Review". Commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved May 27, 2012.
- Golden Globe Awards http://www.goldenglobes.org/browse/film/25083
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad at the Internet Movie Database
- The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad at the Big Cartoon DataBase