Friday, April 4, 2008

American Folk Heroes Series Returns with Johnny Appleseed!

Many books and films have been based on the life of Johnny Appleseed. One of the more successful films was Melody Time, the animated 1948 film from Walt Disney Studios featuring Dennis Day.
The Legend of Johnny Appleseed, a 19-minute segment, tells the story of an apple farmer who sees others going west, wistfully wishing he was not tied down by his orchard, until an angel appears, singing an apple song, setting Johnny on a mission. When he treats a skunk kindly, all animals everywhere thereafter trust him. The cartoon features lively tunes, and a childlike simplicity of message, offering a bright, well-groomed park environment instead of a dark and rugged malarial swamp, friendly, pet-like creatures instead of dangerous animals, and a lack of hunger, loneliness, disease, and extremes of temperature. Uniquely for a cartoon of its period, it shows Johnny at the moment of his death, followed by his resurrection in heaven and the commitment to sow the clouds with apple trees.

Johnny Appleseed, sculpted by Dusty Horner makes his WDCC debut as part of the American Folk Heroes Series. The American Folk Heroes Series was first introduced in 1994 with the release of Pecos Bill (also from Melody Time), a Walt Disney Collectors Society Commission Only release. The series would continue until 1996 before going on hiatus. Pecos Bill was followed by Sue Foot Slue (Melody Time) and Casey (Make Mine Music).

For those wondering what happened to the video clip. Unfortunately, YouTube has removed the video clip from their website, so I removed the link :(


Timon said...

Glad to see a return to this series, and they really captured the spirit of Johnny! (We wouldn't expect anything less with Dusty's skills!)

I'm taking this as a good sign, and perhaps we'll see Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in the future? As a Minnesotan resident, I'm required by law to ask that. ;-)

Duckman said...

Even though I didn't participate in the Series during its initial run, it's nice to see the return of the American Folk Heroes Series.

Let me second the great job Dusty did in capturing the spirit of Johnny Appleseed.

I do plan to participate this time around and agree (even though not a Minnesotan), Paul Bunyon and Babe would make a great addition to this series.

Hopefully the series will do good the second time around and possibly next year we'll be discussing Paul & Babe. :)

Kushal Ruia said...

i wonder if a stylized ,John Henry would fit in this series!
It was a short film done by animator, Mark Henn (released on a dvd called American Legends)

That could be the first piece i buy in this series!


Matthew said...

I'm so happy with this piece. I can hear Dennis Day singing "The Lord's been good to me, and so I thank the Lord"!

Thank you Dusty for such a good job and to the WDCC for bringing this series back!

Duckman said...

John Henry would be a good candidate for this series. I recall when Disney's American Legends was released. A great compilation.

Duckman said...

Hey Matthew,

Even though I didn't participate in the initial run of the series, rumored then, future releases could include Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyon and Babe, the Blue Ox and was looking forward to these releases, so am glad to see with the rebirth of this series, we may see them all yet, including John Henry that Kushal suggested.

Herc said...

Johnny is starting to grow on me. I'll have to watch the short again. But you know me, I'll want him to keep up with the series.

Jason S. said...

Like Don, didn't participate in this series the first time around although I keep thinking about revisiting Pecos and Sue now. But Dusty really did do an excellent job in capturing Johnny, and I have fond memories of watching this short featurette on an old-fashioned movie projector in my church's meeting hall. So, I think I'll jump into the series this time around.

Hope, as others have commented, that the series does continue, and we see Paul & Babe in the future.

steven said...

What do people think of also including Casey Jones, Im a train fan so I htink it would be cool

Duckman said...

Hi Steven,

Came across Casey Jones name when checking out the Disney American Legends DVD. Unfamiliar with him but feel all the American Legends should be contenders for this series, as they are all American Folk Heroes!

Would be very cool if Johnny Appleseed breathed new life into this series!

Behr said...

I'm glad to see this series revivied and Dusty did an awesome job as usual. It brings hope back that maybe they will revive the Tribute Series. It was great to get a new piece for each new movie in the year that they came out and was really sad to see it stop.

Timon said...

I love that American Legends DVD, Kushal, so any of those characters would be great for this series.

And Steven, Casey Jones would be a great piece, especially if they put him in the train!

steven said...

Yes it would, they could even make it a scene by adding the damsel in distress, the villain and maybe a few of the train robbers. Its one of my favorite shorts. At church camps Ive helped out at they always sing the song from the movie "The Lords been good to me" I bet none of the know where it actually came from.