Melody (1953 film)
|Directed by||Ward Kimball|
Charles A. Nichols
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Story by||Dick Huemer|
|Starring||Bill Thompson |
Loulie Jean Norman
|Music by||Joseph Dubin (music) |
Paul Webster (songs)
|Animation by||Ward Kimball |
|Distributed by||RKO Radio Pictures|
|May 28, 1953|
|10 mins (one reel)|
Melody is a 1953 Walt Disney short cartoon film, originally released on May 28, 1953. It was the first cartoon filmed in 3D. It was shown at Disneyland in the Fantasyland Theater as part of the 3D Jamboree. This film was the first in a proposed series of shorts teaching the principles of music, called Adventures in Music. Only one other film in the series was made, Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom. The characters would go on to feature in Disney Sing-Along Songs.
Walt Disney was always a fan of music, and it shows in all of his movies and short films. He said: "There's a terrific power to music. You can run any of these pictures and they'd be dragging and boring, but the minute you put music behind them, they have life and validity they don't get any other way."
The short film shows Professor Owl instructing his class of birds on how to find melody around them.
Then there is a scene that shows the "Steps of life", demonstrating how melody is evident throughout the life of an average man. As we go through time, the overall colors shown for each step changes subtlety, as warm ochre, yellows and reds, suggesting growth and vitality, are for his childhood and school years, up until his marriage. When he gets older, the color scheme subtlety changes from reds to purples to blues, depicting maturity and loss of vitality. There is a quick survey of the stages of life, as captured by songs: the Alphabet Song for primary school, "Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes" for the 'mating season', "Here Comes the Bride" and there goes the groom for their Wedding Day, "Home! Sweet Home" on the man's 'prime of life' at the top before the descending begins, "Happy Birthday" for the middle aged man who is beginning to regret getting older, "Silver Threads Among The Gold" for getting the first gray hair, "The Old Gray Mare" when the man's body begins to feel his age as he falls down hard on the stairs, "Auld Lang Syne" for the decrepit old man before he gets his 'reward' (while being kicked off by the baby New Year's), and "Oh, Dem Golden Slippers" finishes it off with the man who gave up his ghost and gleefully became one more angel for the Heavenly Band while wearing the Golden Slippers.
Some inspirations for song are outlined in song (such as love), but a pinfeather of the class named "Penelope" states that they never, ever sing about brains.
Finally, an example is shown of how a simple melody can be expanded into a symphony: an elaborate version of the simple tune which opened the lesson.
- Bill Thompson - Professor Owl / Bertie Birdbrain
- Gloria Wood - Suzy Sparrow
- Harry Stanton - Bass Singer in Canoe and Ship
- Loulie Jean Norman - Penelope Pinfeather
Home video releases
Melody was released in the year 1953, some songs of the official soundtrack are "The Bird and the Cricket and the Willow Tree" by Sonny Burke. It was sung by the Disney Studio Chorus over a sequence showing animated birds chirping, crickets rubbing their legs together, and wind blowing through a willow tree. The song has a pleasant tune and lyrics that are simply a list of these musical nature sounds.
- Ward-O-Matic - Melody
- Ward-O-Matic - Melody
- Hischack, Thomas. The Disney Song Encyclopedia, Preface
- Hischack, Thomas. The Disney Song Encyclopedia, page 20