Poll: How old are your children? (select as many as apply)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Movie #18: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

"I'm telling you, brother, it's a frightful sight for what goes on Halloween night."

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on October 5, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures. There are two segments in the film, both based upon popular works of literature: The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

According to Wikipedia, during the 1940s, much of Disney's feature output was made up of so-called "package films." Beginning with Saludos Amigos in 1942, Disney ceased making feature films with a single narrative, due to the higher costs for such films, as well as the drain on the studios resources caused by World War II, even though almost all of these package films were fairly successful. Instead, Disney features would have two or more stories linked together through a variety of means. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was the last of these "package" films, and Disney returned to single narrative features with 1950's Cinderella.

Of course, while the Mr. Toad segment is enjoyable, we're really only concerned here with the Ichabod segment.


  • Rating: G

  • Minimum Recommended Age: 5.5 (Common Sense Media: "On for ages 6 and up", Kaboose: Ages 5 and up)

  • Quality Rating: 85% (Common Sense Media: 5 stars, Rotten Tomatoes rating: 7)

  • Number of Lists Recommend: 4

  • Sex/Violence/Profanity: Common Sense Media says, "the Headless Horseman attempts to behead Ichabod Crane with a sword multiple times. The horseman is never actually revealed to be the town bully in disguise, so some kids may find him quite terrifying."

  • Running Time: 68 minutes

  • What does it have to do with Halloween? In this version of Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman pursues Ichabod Crane as he travels home from a party on Halloween night


Basil Rathbone narrates the story of J. Thaddeus Toad, owner of Toad Hall and a rambunctious sort prone to the newest fads (like the new-fangled motor car). This lands him in trouble with the wrong crowd, and it’s up to pals Mole, Rat and Badger to save him. "Hollow" is the retelling of Washington Irving's story set in a tiny New England town. Ichabod Crane is a stuffy schoolmaster intent on winning the love of the fair Katrina from the brutish Brom Van Brunt. Bing Crosby narrates, voices, and sings his way through this crisp and colorful story.

Watch Out For

Common Sense Media:
Parents need to know that there is some slapstick violence in the two tales on this video. More extreme is the Headless Horseman's multiple attempts to behead Ichabod Crane with a sword. The horseman is never actually revealed to be the town bully in disguise, so some kids may find him quite terrifying.

Talk About It

Common Sense Media:
* Families can talk about the dated stereotypes of the "coquettish" woman and strutting men who compete to "win" her.
* Families may also wish to read and discuss the book The Wind in the Willows, from which Mr. Toad's story is drawn, and Washington Irving's classic tale The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. How do the stories change between the book and the screen?
* The bullying that Ichabod receives because of his appearance.

Also See

The Black Cauldron

Of Note

  • Won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography - Color in 1950
  • Disney's original title for the movie was, "Two Fabulous Characters." Apparently, the only reason these two stories are linked together is the fact that their main characters are "prone to disaster".
  • To save money on animation, Katrina was modeled closely after Grace Martin from Make Mine Music (1946). She also greatly resembles Slue Foot Sue from the "Pecos Bill" segment of "Melody Time."
  • Thurl Ravenscroft was originally going to sing "The Headless Horseman"
  • It is the eleventh animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series

Watch It

(Ichabod starts at Part 5)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1955)

According to ultimatedisney.com, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow was originally released as part of the 1949 feature film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. In this episode of the anthology series (first aired October 26, 1955), Walt Disney introduces us to the life of Washington Irving, the author of the Sleepy Hollow tale. "Most of us are well acquainted with Ichabod Crane and the legend of Sleepy Hollow," Walt says, "a story which has entertained and delighted readers for a century and a half. But some of us may be less familiar with the man who created the legend of Sleepy Hollow and whose literary genius brought him international recognition as America's first professional man of letters." So before hearing Bing Crosby narrate for us the story of Sleepy Hollow, we are given a brief biography of Washington Irving.

Both the Irving biography and the Sleepy Hollow short are vintage Disney at its wholesome best. Simultaneously entertaining and educational, this program would be aired several times throughout the following decades on the anthology series and would also air on The Disney Channel for several years around the Halloween season."


Blogger Templates by Wishafriend.com