Thursday, September 27, 2007

'Fun and Fancy Free' Celebrates 60 Years!

Fun and Fancy Free (first released on September 27, 1947) is a feature film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It was one of the "package films" (feature-length compilations of shorter segments) that the studio produced in the 1940s. It is the ninth animated feature in the Disney animated canon. As with the two segments in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the featurettes were originally planned to be made as full-length features, but because of the studio's circumstances at the time, they ended up becoming a part of the package films instead.

This film features two stories:
  • "Bongo," the story of a circus bear cub, who runs away from the circus to the wild and the adventures there that follow.
  • "Mickey and the Beanstalk," a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk
with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as peasants who discover temperamental Willie the Giant's castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans.

Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio first appears inside a large house, exploring it and singing "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" (originally written for the 1940 classic), until he happens upon a record player and some records, and sets it up to play the story of "Bongo", as told by Dinah Shore.

In the second featurette, the story of "Mickey and the Beanstalk" is narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist
's puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, tells the tale to child actress, Luana Patten at her birthday party.

Mickey, Donald and Goofy live in a place called "Happy Valley" which is plagued by a severe drought, and they have nothing to eat except one loaf of bread. In a memorable scene the bread is cut into paper-thin slices. After Donald attempts to kill their cow with an axe, Mickey trades in their beloved animal for the magic beans. Donald throws the beans out the window in a fit of rage, and the beanstalk sprouts.

Climbing the gigantic beanstalk they enter a magical kingdom of equal scope, and entering the castle, Mickey, Donald and Goofy help themselves to a sumptuous feast. This rouses the ire of the giant named "Willy", who captures Donald and Goofy and locks them in a box with a Singing Golden Harp, and it's up to Mickey to find the keys and rescue them.

The harp, in happier times, played a song that kept the land prosperous and fertile – until the giant stole her. Once freed, the hapless heroes return the golden harp to her rightful place and Happy Valley to its former glory.

In honor of this milestone anniversary, the Walt Disney Classics Collection released this new scene capturing the moment when Mickey Mouse frees Goofy, Donald and the Singing Harp who were locked in a box by Willie the Giant, owner of the Castle. This 5-piece Open Edition release features Goofy: "Tread Lightly" (8-1/4"), Donald Duck: "Not a Peep" (5"), Mickey Mouse: "Shhh!" (4-3/4"), the Singing Harp: "Beautiful Diversion" (8") and Willie's Chest Accessory (Height TBD). All pieces sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales. In the most recent Sketches (currently mailing) is a great article on both the Mickey and the Beanstalk Scene and Jacqueline.

Special Note: The Mickey and the Beanstalk scene are all prototypes. In particular the Singing Harp is a first porcelain prototype and the colors will be adjusted slightly including on her face. Willie's Chest will also change colors slightly, the spool of thread coloration is not correct, etc.

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