Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day

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Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byWolfgang Reitherman
Produced byWalt Disney
Story by
Based onStories written
by A. A. Milne
Starring
Narrated bySebastian Cabot
Music bySongs:
Robert & Richard Sherman
Score:
Buddy Baker
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Distribution
Release date
December 20, 1968 (1968-12-20) (with The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit)
Running time
25 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day is a 1968 animated featurette based on the third, fifth, ninth, and tenth chapters from Winnie-the-Pooh and the second, eighth, and ninth chapters from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne. The featurette was directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company on December 20, 1968 as a double feature with the live-action comedy feature The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit. This was the second of the studio's Winnie the Pooh shorts. It was later added as a segment to the 1977 film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. The music was written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.[1] It was notable for being the last animated short produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production.

It starred the voices of Sterling Holloway as Winnie the Pooh, Sebastian Cabot as the Narrator, Jon Walmsley as Christopher Robin, (replaced Bruce Reitherman), Barbara Luddy as Kanga, Clint Howard as Roo, Paul Winchell as Tigger, Ralph Wright as Eeyore, Hal Smith as Owl, Howard Morris as Gopher, and Junius Matthews as Rabbit.

Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day won the 1968 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The Academy Award was awarded posthumously to Walt Disney, who died of lung cancer two years before the film's initial release. It is also the only Winnie the Pooh production that won an Academy Award.[2] (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, which was released six years later in December 1974, was nominated for the same Academy Award, but lost to Closed Mondays.)

The animated featurette also served as an inspiration for the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride in Walt Disney World in which the rider experiences several scenes from the cartoon, including Pooh's Heffalump and Woozle dream.[3]

Sources[edit]

The film's plot is based primarily on seven A. A. Milne stories: "In which Eeyore finds the Wolery and Owl moves into it" (Chapter IX from The House at Pooh Corner) "In which Tigger comes to the forest and has breakfast" (Chapter II from The House at Pooh Corner), "In which Pooh & Piglet go hunting and nearly catch a Woozle" (Chapter III of Winnie the Pooh), "In which Piglet does a very grand thing" (Chapter VIII from The House at Pooh Corner), "In which Christopher Robin gives a Pooh Party and we say goodbye" (Chapter X of Winnie-the-Pooh) and "In which Piglet is entirely surrounded by water" (Chapter IX of Winnie-the-Pooh), with elements taken from "In which Piglet meets a Heffalump" (Chapter V from Winnie-the-Pooh: Winnie the Pooh's nightmare of Heffalumps and Woozles). In A. A. Milne's original story, Pooh shows more initiative during the flood, finding his way to Christopher Robin by riding on one of his floating honey pots, which he names The Floating Bear, then having the inspiration of using Christopher Robin's umbrella to carry them both to Piglet's house.[4]

Plot[edit]

On a very windy day, Winnie the Pooh visits his “thoughtful spot”. As Pooh sits thinking, Gopher pops out of the ground and advises him to leave as it is a "Winds-day". Misunderstanding the warning, Pooh goes across the Hundred Acre Wood to wish everyone a happy Winds-day. He arrives at the beech tree home of his friend Piglet, who is nearly blown away while trying to rake leaves, but Pooh grabs him by his scarf, like the string of a kite. They pass by Kanga and Roo; Eeyore, whose stick house Pooh breaks as he passes; and Rabbit, whose carrots Pooh inadvertently helps harvest as he slides by.

The wind blows Pooh and Piglet to Owl's treehouse, where he invites them in. Pooh wishes Owl a happy Winds-day, as he has everyone else, but Owl informs them that the wind is due to "a mild spring zephyr". As Owl recounts the adventures of various relatives, the strong wind causes his house to sway and eventually collapse, for which he initially blames Pooh. Christopher Robin and the others arrive; as the wrecked house cannot be repaired, Eeyore volunteers to seek out a new house for Owl, who proceeds to tell more stories for quite some time; talking from page 41 to page 62.

On page 62, the wind is still blowing as night falls, and Pooh is kept awake by noises outside and opens his door for a visitor: Tigger, who introduces himself with his signature song ("The Wonderful Thing About Tiggers") and informs Pooh that he has come looking for something to eat. Disgusted by the taste of Pooh's honey, Tigger tells him that there are Heffalumps and Woozles in the forest that steal honey, and departs. Frightened, Pooh stays up to guard his honey but falls asleep. After a nightmare about Heffalumps and Woozles stealing his honey and chasing him around, he wakes up in a flood-inducing rainstorm.

In the flood, Piglet is washed away from his home, writing a message in a bottle for help just before the waters carry him off in a floating chair. Pooh manages to reach higher ground with only ten honey pots, but the rising waters carry him away. Kanga, Roo, Rabbit, and Tigger gather at Christopher Robin's house on the highest ground, while Eeyore continues house hunting for Owl. Roo finds Piglet's bottle, and Owl flies off to tell Piglet that help is on the way.

Owl reaches Piglet and Pooh, but before he can inform them of the impending rescue – and tell another boring story – a waterfall threatens to carry them all over the side. Pooh switches places with Piglet as they take the plunge, and the waterfall washes them right into Christopher Robin's yard. Thinking that Pooh has rescued Piglet, Christopher Robin throws a party to celebrate Pooh's heroic deed, where Eeyore announces he has found a new home for Owl. He leads everyone to his discovery which, known to everyone except Owl and Eeyore, is Piglet's beech tree. Owl is impressed, and Piglet generously decides that Owl should have the house. Pooh invites Piglet to move into his home and, impressed by Piglet’s selflessness, asks Christopher Robin to make the party for two heroes instead of one.

Voice cast[edit]

Songs used[edit]

  • "Hip Hip Pooh-Ray!" is sung by the cast as a release from the dramatic tension of the story. The song is also incorporated into (and used as the promotional tagline for) the 1977 musical film The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh which is an amalgamation of three Winnie-the-Pooh featurettes including "Blustery Day". In the song, Pooh and Piglet are hailed as heroes (Pooh for saving Piglet's life, and Piglet for giving Owl his grand home in the beech tree). The song was written by the Sherman Brothers who have written most of the music for the Winnie-the-Pooh franchise over the years.

Production[edit]

Shortly before Walt Disney's death in December 1966, the animation department was finishing work on The Jungle Book and preparing for The Aristocats. In late summer 1967, before The Aristocats went into production, it was decided to go ahead with a featurette-length sequel to Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree.[6] Because The Honey Tree was popular with American audiences, it was decided Blustery Day would be the first animation project without Walt. Under the circumstances, "Nine Old Men" animators Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and Milt Kahl were brought onto the project. Wolfgang Reitherman remained as director, but he decided to feel more faithful to the source material.[7]

During a story meeting for the short, Walt Disney considered Wally Boag to be perfect for the role of Tigger.[8] However, after Walt's death, Boag's performance of the character was considered to be "too zany for a children's film", and he was replaced by ventriloquist Paul Winchell.[8] Following a British backlash to The Honey Tree led by film critic Felix Barker, Piglet was added to the short.[9] For the part, Walt had heard John Fiedler's voice on television and selected him to voice the character. Although Fiedler's natural speaking voice was higher than most men's, he still had to raise it considerably to achieve the character's high pitch.[10]

Home video[edit]

The film was released on VHS and Betamax in 1986. It was re-released in 1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, and was also re-released again on July 11, 2000 as part of the Storybook Classics Collection. This short also shows up as a bonus feature on the 2006 DVD release of Pooh's Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin.[11]

It was also released on the Super 8mm film format by Derann in the early 2000s, making it one of the company's final and rarest films released, with only twelve copies made.[12]

Winnie the Pooh featurettes[edit]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Finch, Christopher (2000). Disney's Winnie the Pooh: A Celebration of the Silly Old Bear. Disney Editions. ISBN 978-0786853441.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Osborne, Jerry. "Movie/TV Soundtracks and Original Cast Recordings Price and Reference Guide." Google Books. 27 January 2015.
  2. ^ Stewart, Julie (February 23, 2012). "And the Award Goes To..." The Walt Disney Family Museum. Retrieved January 27, 2015.
  3. ^ "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". Walt Disney World. January 27, 2015.
  4. ^ A. A. Milne. Winnie-the-Pooh, Chapter IX
  5. ^ a b Hischak, Thomas S.; Robinson, Mark A. (29 July 2009). The Disney Song Encyclopedia. Scarecrow Press. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-8108-6938-7.
  6. ^ Finch 2000, p. 50.
  7. ^ Finch 2000, p. 51.
  8. ^ a b Hill, Jim (April 3, 2001). "The Greatest Performances You Never Got to Hear". The Laughing Place. p. 2. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  9. ^ Milne, James. "The Page at Pooh Corner". pooh-corner.org. Archived from the original on June 11, 2007. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  10. ^ O'Donnell, Michelle (June 27, 2005). "John Fiedler, 80, Stage Actor and Film Voice of Pooh's Piglet, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved May 5, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pooh's Grand Adventure - The Search for Christopher Robin." Amazon.com. 27 January 2015.
  12. ^ Derann Film Services Catalogue 2007

External links[edit]