Johnny Appleseed (film)

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The Legend of Johnny Appleseed
Directed byWilfred Jackson
Story byWinston Hibler
Joe Rinaldi
Erdman Penner
Jesse Marsh
Produced byWalt Disney
StarringDennis Day
Music byPaul J. Smith
Joseph Dubin (orchestration)
Animation byMilt Kahl
Eric Larson
Don Lusk
Ollie Johnston
Hal Ambro
Harvey Toombs
George Rowley (effects)
Layouts byMcLaren Stewart
Don DaGradi
Thor Putnam
Backgrounds byClaude Coats
Brice Mack
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • May 27, 1948 (1948-05-27)
(original, as a segment of Melody Time)
  • December 25, 1955 (1955-12-25)
(re-released, as a stand-alone short film)
Running time
17/19 minutes
CountryUnited States

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed is an animated short musical segment from Walt Disney's 1948 film Melody Time. It is narrated by Dennis Day and is based on the American frontiersman John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed. It is also included on the 2001 direct to video, VHS, and DVD release Disney's American Legends.


In 1806, Pittsburgh farmer Johnny Appleseed watches as pioneers depart out west and wishes that he could follow, but doesn't know how to survive in the unknown wild. Johnny is inspired by an angel to abandon his farm, go west, and plant apple seeds everywhere he goes so that settlers will always have something to eat during their travels. The angel tells Johnny that he has all that he needs to go out West: a bag of apple seeds for planting, a holy book known as the Bible, and a tin pot he can use for a hat. In one of his travels, Johnny befriends a skunk, and thereafter, all animals instinctively trust him. As Johnny travels, he uses his pot to fry in, and sings a tune "The Lord Is Good to Me."

In the end, after walking hundreds of miles and planting apple trees all along the way, Johnny finally rests for the last time under a tree; his angel appears before him, and tells Johnny that it's time to go. Johnny's spirit gets up, scared at first upon realizing he's dead and is reluctant to go to his final resting place, believing that his work is not done yet. However, the angel tells him that, where they're headed, they're low on apple trees, so Johnny picks up his seed bag and happily agrees to go with him.

The narrator finishes by saying that he always thinks of Johnny Appleseed whenever he looks up because the clouds in the sky aren't really clouds at all: "they're apple blossoms in Johnny's heavenly orchard."


  • The Lord is Good to Me
  • Get on the Wagon Rolling West (Pioneers song)
  • There's a Lot of Work To Do
  • Apple Feast



Theatrical release[edit]

The film was originally a sequence in Melody Time, released May 27, 1948, then reissued as a stand-alone short on Christmas of 1955 and later reissued again by Buena Vista Distribution in 1967 as part of Disney's Cartoon Special.

Home media[edit]

It was included on the DVD releases of Disney's American Legends, on February 12, 2001; Volume 3 of Walt Disney's It's a Small World of Fun! In February 2007; and Volume 6 of Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films on May 12, 2009.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Brode, Douglas (1 June 2004). From Walt to Woodstock: how Disney created the counterculture. University of Texas Press. p. 199ff. ISBN 978-0-292-70273-8. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
  • Brode, Douglas (2005). Multiculturalism and the Mouse: race and sex in Disney entertainment. University of Texas Press. p. 201ff. ISBN 978-0-292-70960-7. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  • Means, Howard (12 April 2011). Johnny Appleseed: The Man, the Myth, the American Story. Simon and Schuster. p. 255ff. ISBN 978-1-4391-7825-6. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  • Pinsky, Mark I. (July 2004). The Gospel according to Disney: faith, trust, and pixie dust. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 113ff. ISBN 978-0-664-22591-9. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  • Price, Nelson (1 March 2001). Legendary Hoosiers: Famous Folks from the State of Indiana. Emmis Books. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-57860-097-7. Retrieved 24 September 2011.
  • Watts, Steven (27 June 2002). The Magic Kingdom: Walt Disney and the American Way of Life. University of Missouri Press. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-8262-1379-2. Retrieved 25 September 2011.

External links[edit]