Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Disney's "The Adventures Of Mr. Toad and Ichabod" DVD Soundtrack Rip

Sleepy Hollow is the Washington Irving story of a stuffy schoolmaster and his ability to win the love of the fair Katrina from the brutish Brom Van Brunt. Many fans will see a resemblance to Disney's masterpiece created some 40 years later, Beauty and the Beast, in style and story. The end is still scary enough to send youngsters under the table. Bing Crosby supplies the narration, character voices, and songs. The exaggeration of Ichabod's skinny frame and his slumping horse is a glorious example of the Disney style.
The Ichabod half of this DVD narrated by Bing Crosby includes the songs "Ichabod", "Katrina", and "The Headless Horseman" - performed by Bing Crosby and the Rhythmaires.
EDIT: The Decca Records 78RPM version of Ichabod can be found at Kiddie Records Weekly 2005/Week 42.

The "Mr. Toad" recording can be found in 78RPM version at that same website HERE.
This is a very faithful audio rendition of the probably NOT so faithful (but exceedingly charming) Disney animated film version of Kenneth Graham's "The Wind and the Willows". The recording features most of the original cast including the wonderfully "fruity" (as very accurately described on the Weekly Recordings 2006 Message Board by member "Crispin"), Eric Blore as eccentric Mr. Toad and J. Pat O' Malley (a familiar character actor with an appearance like Alfred Hitchcock that has been seen and heard in hundreds of cartoons, movies and television shows), as Cyril the horse. Their performance of "No Where In Particular" has always been one of my favorites of the more obscure numbers in the Disney musical stable. The story is told quickly and adeptly though, curiously, sometimes in rhyming verse and other times not. The "action" is nicely realized, orchestrally, by the VERY facile Billy May and the story comes to a satisfying conclusion with the requisite (in children's programming), but vague moral about learning something, as Toad did. I also would like to note that the album art on this particular recording is made up of excellent 4 color illustrations of key moments in the story, very nicely rendered by the Disney studio for this recording. All in all a very nice package of a great little story, sure to appeal to adults as well as kiddies.

The film opens on a library scene and Basil Rathbone narrates the tale of "The Wind in the Willows" (from the book by Kenneth Grahame), about Mr. Toad, Squire of Toad Hall, whose love for transportation vehicles is insatiable. His friends, Rat, Mole, and MacBadger, try to help him when his mania leads to the loss of the deed to Toad Hall and a charge of car theft. Toad is thrown in jail but escapes only to learn that Winkie, the tavern-keeper, and the weasels have taken over Toad Hall. With his friends, Toad redeems his good name by recovering the deed to the estate. Toad promises to reform, until he eyes a 1908 biplane.

Back in the library, Bing Crosby continues the narration with "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (by Washington Irving), in which Ichabod Crane, a new schoolteacher, arrives in Sleepy Hollow and captures every lady's heart except for that of Katrina Van Tassel, daughter of a wealthy farmer. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth, but his attempts to woo Katrina disturb her bold suitor, Brom Bones, who tries to scare Ichabod away with the tale of the Headless Horseman. As Ichabod rides home that Halloween evening, he encounters the terrifying phantom and is mysteriously missing the next morning. While the townspeople spread rumors of Ichabod's whereabouts, Katrina weds Brom.

This was the last of the several package pictures of the 1940s, during which the Disney Studio had deep economic problems. Expenses were lowered by reusing animation cycles from "The Old Mill" (1937) and by patterning Katrina closely on Grace Martin from "The Martins and the Coys." Henceforth, Walt Disney would be able to finance the production of regular, one-story, animated features, beginning the next year with "Cinderella." Its success ensured the continuation of animation at the Disney Studio.

Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, and James Algar. Animators: Franklin Thomas, John Lounsbery, Oliver Johnston Jr., John Sibley, Hal King, Wolfgang Reitherman, Hugh Fraser, Harvey Toombs, Marvin Woodward, Les Clark, and Hal Ambro. Starring: the voices of Eric Blore (Toad), J. Pat O'Malley (Cyril, his horse), and Claud Allister and Collin Campbell (Rat and Mole). 68 min. Disney composer and this film's music director, Oliver Wallace, himself took the role of Winkie. Songs include "Ichabod," "Katrina," "The Headless Horseman," and "The Merrily Song."

Mr. Toad DVD Audio Rip Download Link

Ichabod DVD Audio Rip Download Link

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