Disney Odyssey

Disney Odyssey #10 – Melody Time (Or, José Carioca Rides Again!)

Monday funday! (Not really.) For us, Monday means recovering from a long, hot, exhausting weekend at the renaissance faire. So we’re kicking back on the couch with some pizza from CVS and all the fans in the house blowing our way to keep us cool. So here’s package film #5 – aaaaand it’s pretty much another Fantasia sequel.

The Film: Melody Time (1948)

The Facts:

  • The working title was All In Fun.
  • This is the last Disney film that the Andrews Sisters took part in – their vocals are featured in the segment “Little Toot.”
  • The two children who appear together in the segment about Pecos Bill appear together also in Song of the South and So Dear To My Heart. The girl, Luana Patten, is the girl in the “Mickey and the Beanstalk” segment of Fun and Fancy Free.
  • This is the last feature film to include Donald Duck and José Carioca until 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? – a film which, while classic, we will not be including in the Disney Odyssey.
  • The “Pecos Bill” segment features famous cowboy Roy Rogers and his equally famous horse, Trigger.
  • The noises and whistles for “Little Toot” are provided by Mel Blanc! FINALLY!
  • Disney said in interviews that he wanted to continue the legacy of Fantasia, but with more contemporary, popular, and folk music. He essentially gave his animators and colorists free rein over this project.

The Observations:

  • “Once Upon A Wintertime”
    • What the heck are these giraffe horses?? So long and slender and poised!
    • Aw a wintertime date! All of these animal couples are clearly also on a date. Except apparently the horses have better things to do than be awkward and romantic.
    • This harkens back again to Disney’s personal nostalgia for the turn of the century, and even farther back – the lady in this sequence has a hoop skirt which is much more Civil War than 1900s.
    • The Fella: “The rabbits aren’t on a date.” Me: “No?” Him: “Nah. They’re clearly already married.”
    • Oh my gosh, this is DEFINITELY a commedia dell’arte lovers quarrel! The innamorati are alive and well!
    • Oh dangggg. The horses suddenly step up to plate and have a total contingency plan for If The Date Falls Through The Ice:
    • YOINK

      WHO RUN THE WORLD (horses)
    • Everyone’s home safe, and the couple gets some onscreen alone time by closing the portfolio their portraits are in. Aww!
  • “Bumble Boogie”
    1. Well…. whatever this bee was on is the same stuff that Dumbo accidentally drank… this is all much more Pink Elephants than Fantasia was.
Piano keys are using each other as a diving board. That's all.
Piano keys are using each other as a diving board. That’s all.
  • “The Legend of Johnny Appleseed”
    • Aww, this makes me want to watch Tall Tale!
    • Lyrics: “The Lord is good to me/And so I thank the Lord!” The Fella: “Can you imagine the uproar if this was in a Disney movie today?? People would flip out.”
    • Super obvious.
      Super obvious.
    • Oh my gosh, Johnny is literally a male Disney Princess. He sings with birds and bees and animals and goes around barefoot and works hard despite his lack of social achievement…
    • You can talk to birds?
      You can talk to birds?
    • The people going West are smiling, happy, cheerful and singing together about how amazing it is to Go West and how you’ll Totally Be Left Behind If You Don’t Go West, Losers! I’m pretty sure the actual song they sang was more like “We’re poor/We’re bankrupt/Our house fell down so we’ll go build a new one somewhere/Anywhere/And pray the railroad doesn’t come to take our land/And pray we don’t all get cholera on the way/Oh no/A snakebite/We’re goners for sure.”
    • I love the wilderness landscapes of this segment. So majestic and American!
    • CHIP! Is that you?!
      CHIP! Is that you?!
    • Me: “I wonder if he ever got tired of apples. Like, I’m sure he needed some protein.” The Fella: “Maybe every now and then an animal would offer itself as a meal?” Me: “YEAH. Like, a deer comes along and is like:
  • “Little Toot”
    • And now we’ve reached the boat version of Pedro the Plane from Saludos Amigos!
    • SCUTTLE! Is that you?!
      SCUTTLE! Is that you?!
    • Wow, Toot’s dad is really hard on him… He’s just a Little Toot! He doesn’t know any better!
    • Can we just have a moment for the fact that this segment is called LITTLE TOOT.
    • People are DEAD, Toot. NOW do you understand the way the world works?
      People are DEAD, Toot. NOW do you understand the way the world works?
    • The Fella: “Wait, he’s being tried as an adult?!” Me: “Forget a trial. They’re taking him out back to put him out of his misery.”
    • The saddest Toot.
      The saddest Toot.
    • Can we take a second to acknowledge that his dad’s name is Big Toot.
  • “Trees”
    • Oh HEY Fantasia! Missed you!
    • Isn’t this that famous poem?
    • No, it’s not that famous poem. I was hoping for Walt Whitman. This is that other poem.
    • This looks like re-vamped Bambi footage.
    • This is definitely in Bambi.
      This is definitely in Bambi.
    • Pocahontas wind sparklies!!!
      Pocahontas wind sparklies!!!
    • The Fella: “There’s always a boring one…”
    • That's no tree...that's a crucifix. #subtle
      That’s no tree…that’s a crucifix. #subtle
  • “Blame it on the Samba”
    • BROS 4 LIFE
      BROS 4 LIFE
    • And the crazy pink bird is back! Aracuan Bird is craaaazy.
    • And of course since it’s a Saludos Amigos callback, we need to have a live-action interlude with a pretty lady, boozy color swirls, and some cartoon oversized instruments that play themselves.
    • Aw. I was hoping for a slightly cooler instrument than an organ...
      Aw. I was hoping for a slightly cooler instrument than an organ…
  • “Pecos Bill”
    • Every cowboy song is about ‘blue shadows.’ Or at least that phrase appears in every cowboy song somewhere. Is that a code for something?
    • Paykiss Bill? I thought it was pronounced “pay-cose”?
    • “His horse… Widowmaker!” “Widowmaker? That’s a funny name!” Yeah, I bet those widows were laughin’ alllll the way to the funeral, kid…
    • Ooh, there’s lady cowboys in this band!
    • Lemme jes draw this here map of the Amurricas…
    • Actual Dialogue Quote: “There’s other states too, like Wyomin’… Milwaukee… and Long Island!”
    • Sure 'nuff, there's
      Sure ’nuff, there’s “Millwaki” right between Minnesota and Wis.
    • This level of Boy & Horse Friendship is continued in Hercules
    • The Fella: “Really? He took the rain from California??” Me: “It was a different time then…”
      CALIFORNIA, 2015 AD
    • Ooh that Slew Foot Sue is a babe! And Pecos Bill goes all mushy when he sees her…

    • Ohhhh no. This story is actually wicked sad! Sue was a total boss until her bustle got completely out of hand.
    • I wonder if Widowmaker ever told Bill the truth, or if he took that secret to the grave… Pretty dang selfish of him.

Commedia Bonus: 18! Less than the usual… but there’s a ton of good ones, especially the Aracuan Bird and the lovers’ spat in Wintertime.

Up Next: The final (yes FINAL) package film from the 40’s… The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad!

1 thought on “Disney Odyssey #10 – Melody Time (Or, José Carioca Rides Again!)”

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