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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Melody Time" (1948) [1/16] - Introduction To Series

[Poster image from Nordic Posters]

OK. Now, let me try another approach to a series of images from a film...

Background to "Melody Time"

Let's see what the Internet has to say about this film...

Jeff Pepper's "2719 Hyperion" has two good postings on the film. To start with, Jeff has a good overview of the film and its segments that was written May 27, 2008. In addition, there is another great look into the character of Pecos Bill -- and some good examples of how Bill's cigarette was removed to make the film more Politically Correct.

Here's Wikipedia's entry on "Melody Time"...
Melody Time (first released on May 27, 1948) is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures. Made up of several sequences set to popular music and folk music, the film is, like Make Mine Music before it, the contemporary version of Fantasia, an ambitious film that proved to be a commercial disappointment upon its original theatrical release. Melody Time, while not meeting the artistic accomplishments of Fantasia, was a mildly successful film in its own right. It is the tenth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon.

Film segments

This particular film has seven segments:

1 "Once Upon a Wintertime" features Frances Langford singing the title song about two romantic young lovers in December. The boy shows off for his girl, and near-tragedy and a timely rescue ensue. This short was also featured in a Disney Sing-Along video as a background movie for the song Jingle Bells.

2 "Bumble Boogie" is a surrealistic nightmare for a solitary bee trying to escape from a visual and musical frenzy. The music is courtesy of Freddy Martin and his orchestra (with Jack Fina playing the piano) and is a swing-jazz variation of Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee, which was one of the many pieces considered for inclusion in Fantasia.

3 "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed" is a retelling of the story of John Chapman, who spent most of his life roaming America and planting apple trees, thus earning his famous nickname. Dennis Day narrates and provides all the voices.

4 "Little Toot" is based on the poem by Hardie Gramatky, in which the title protagonist, a small tugboat, wants to be just like his father but can't seem to stay out of trouble. The Andrews Sisters provide the vocals. Out of all the musical segments, this one is the most famous.

5 "Trees" is a reciting of the famous Alfred Joyce Kilmer poem by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians with the lyrical setting seen through the seasons.

6 "Blame It On the Samba" has Donald Duck and José Carioca meeting with the Aracuan Bird who introduces them to the pleasures of the samba. The Dinning Sisters provide the vocals while organist Ethel Smith plays the organ.

7 "Pecos Bill" is the finale about the famous hero from Texas, the biggest and best cowboy that ever lived, his horse Widowmaker, and how he was brought back down to earth by a woman named Slue-Foot Sue. This retelling of the story is courtesy of Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, and the Sons of the Pioneers to Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten. This segment was later edited on the film's NTSC video release [2000] (but not the PAL release) to remove all scenes of Bill smoking a cigarette. The entire scene with Bill rolling the smoke and lighting it with a lightning bolt was cut and all other shots of the offending cigarette hanging from his lips were digitally removed.

There are a couple of items I'd like to point out in the following postings...

Mary Blair pastels. A nice set of pastel concepts attributed to Mary Blair.

Scrapbook items. Some time ago, I picked up a scrapbook that was compiled by an unknown Disney employee. The cels were just taped into the book and a brief description was written. I've included a shot of the original and shots of the same cel but with a background added.

Pecos Bill. A number of folks like Pecos Bill himself. But I happen to like Slue Foot Sue... I thought she was a fairly independent and self-reliant character for the late 1940's -- much as Ariel and the other current female leads in Disney films.

Hope you enjoy them...


  1. The pastels are really real winter! Very interesting posts!

  2. aren't there storyboard concepts of Pecos Bill?

  3. Dear JC... Yep, there are concepts... but I don't have any in my collection. Wish I did!

    bob ;D

  4. well.. ¿any idea where can I find them?

  5. JC: Sorry, I don't have any ideas....