Paul Bunyan (film)

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Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan (Disney film).jpg
Directed byLes Clark
Produced byWalt Disney
Written byLance Nolley
Ted Berman
StarringThurl Ravenscroft
Dal McKennon
Narrated byParley Baer
Music byGeorge Bruns
The Mellomen
Animation byJohn Sibley
George Nicholas
Bob Youngouist
George Goepper
Fred Kopietz
Ken Hultgren
Jerry Hatcock
Jack Parr
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
August 1, 1958
Running time
17 minutes
CountryUnited States

Paul Bunyan is a 1958 animated musical short film released by Walt Disney Studios[1] It was based on the North American folk hero and lumberjack Paul Bunyan and was inspired after meeting with Les Kangas of Paul Bunyan Productions, who gave Mr. Disney the idea for the film. The film was directed by Les Clark, a member of Disney's Nine Old Men of core animators.[1] Thurl Ravenscroft starred as the voice of Paul Bunyan. Supporting animators on the project included Lee Hartman.[1]

Paul Bunyan received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short in 1959, but lost to Warner Bros. Cartoons' Looney Tunes cartoon Knighty Knight Bugs.[2] It was also included on the 2002 DVD release Disney's American Legends

DTV set clips of the short to Annette Funicello's Tall Paul and was featured in an episode of Sing Me a Story with Belle.


Following a violent windstorm on the coast of Maine, lumberjack Cal McNab spots a giant cradle on the beach containing a giant baby boy. The lumbering-town adopts and raises the boy, giving him the name Paul Bunyan. One Christmas, the town gives Paul a double-bladed axe to help chop down timber. Paul's work clears open land and allows for the town's expansion of buildings. Unfortunately, Paul is too big for it and decides to move out west.

Paul continues to help clear land for farmers in the midwest. During a cold blizzard, Paul rescues a giant ox that has instantly become frozen, turning blue from the cold. Paul adopts the ox and names him Babe. During the following spring, Paul and Babe's footprints through the snow filled up with water and became known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes." Paul eventually clears the trees from North Dakota and South Dakota, digs the Missouri River to flow the logs downstream to the sawmills, and builds Pike's Peak as a lookout. He creates the Grand Tetons while playing rough with Babe, and makes Yellowstone Falls as a shower bath.

Paul's work opens up the American west to trade; and soon a slick-talking salesman named Joe Muffaw encourages the loggers to "get with the times and become modern" by using steam-powered chainsaws to cut trees, and a steam train to transport the timber (up until this point Babe would haul the timber to the river on a wooden sled). Paul protests that nothing can replace the heart and soul of himself and Babe, while Joe counters that his steam-saw and engine can cut and haul more timber than any man or ox, and the two men decide to host a tournament with only one rule, that whomever creates the highest pile of lumber at the end of the contest will be declared the superior way. Paul and Joe work tirelessly throughout the tournament cutting down trees, with Babe furiously racing against the steam train. When time is up, the referee measures Paul Bunyan's pile as 240 feet, and the men cheer. The referee then measures Joe's pile as 240 feet...and one quarter inch, thus Joe wins. Paul and Babe despondently walk off into the sunset, never to return, but one of the men decides to record the legend of Paul Bunyan and Babe for posterity's sake. Some say they went up to Alaska, and that the Aurora Borealis is really just Paul and Babe playfully wrestling in the snow.

Cast and crew[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Wolfe, Jennifer (2012-12-31). "Animator Lee Hartman Dies at 82". Animation World Network. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  2. ^ "1958 academy awards". Retrieved 2007-09-20.

External links[edit]