Sunday, October 14, 2007

Beware the Headless Horseman!

"When thundering hoofs echo through the darkness in the tiny valley of Sleepy Hollow, fearful farmers pull the covers over their heads.

The only man foolish enough to be on the roads on such a night is Ichabod Crane. But is that ghastly figure bearing down on the teacher a wrathful spirit -- or just a jealous prankster?"

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on October 05, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures. Recreating the story of the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, this is the eleventh animated feature released as well as the final of the package films that Disney made during the 1940's. The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, from Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is narrated by Bing Crosby.

The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behaviors make him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his unattractive appearance, he quickly proves to be a ladies man who charms the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel, a beautiful young daughter of a wealthy farmer, much to Brom Bones' displeasure. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth. His subtle rivarly decides that he is a little too successful and needs "convincing" that Katrina is not for him. After a number of unsuccessful efforts, the situation changes when Brom decides to take advantage of Ichabod's belief in superstitions. Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane's lonely ride home becomes more lively than he ever imagined as he encounters the terrifying phantom and is mysteriously missing the next morning.

Later this Sleepy Hollow portion of the film was separated from the companion Mr. Toad film, and screened, aired, marketed, and sold separately as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow beginning in 1958.

The Headless Horseman ("Haunting Horseman") and Ichabod and his Horse ("Terrified Teacher"), a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) set of only 3,500, was released in Fall, 2000.
The Headless Horseman is plussed with a stainless steel sword. There is no Opening Title available. The matched, numbered set was sculpted by Kent Melton.


  • During the Ichabod tale, the title character is frightened by some reeds whistling in the wind. The same drawings were first used in the Disney short The Old Mill (1937).

  • To save money on animation, Katrina was modeled closely after Grace Martin from "Make Mine Music".

Next Installment: Every good film needs a great villain and the next installment we meet the Villain who heralded in a new era of Disney villians!

1 comment:

cuatrecess said...

I wish I had these pieces, that's for sure!