Hi guys. I have been thinking about the package films these past couple of hours, and sometimes they tend to bug me. They are good for cartoon shorts, I admit but other times when I have to hear the "Peter and the Wolf" segment of Make Mine Music, it's too much of a mouthful. Besides, most of these package film shorts I originally viewed as individual cartoons on the Walt Disney Mini Classics vhs series. Now Sauldos Amigos and Melody Time I will have to skip because I have not seen enough of either to give thoughts on them (though I did once see the Johnny Appleseed short once and it was pretty good), so let's get on with this.
The Three Calberros
My dad rented this from Netflix 10 years ago. I gave it a try, and well...it wasn't awful but it was kind of boring. It wasn't mean to be a structured film back when this came out, it was just trying to do whatever it wanted. It was nice to celebrate Donald Duck's birthday, and I did like that short about the penguin heading for the tropics. But then most of the films was about Donald Duck learning about South America and Mexico. It's nice that Disney was trying to let the audience have fun and educate us, but it just wasn't my cup of tea.
Make Mine Music
I have only seen 2 segments of Make Mine Music, which is a good enough amount for me to discuss. I watched Peter and the Wolf at my Grandma's house when I was a little kid. I didn't think it was the best cartoon I'd ever seen, but it was fairly entertaining. Having Sterling Holloway narrate the whole thing without the characters speaking was pretty impressive and the musical instruments representing the characters worked well. The wolf was slightly freaky at times, but it didn't bother me too much. The other segment I saw was the one about the singing whale. I thought it was pretty sad. The professor guy believes that the giant whale ate three opera singers and that he is a dangerous beast (maybe Monstro set a bad example of sperm whales) and then you imagine him singing in an opera. Then poor Willie is killed by a harpoon! That really is a shame because Willie was a gentle creature who had special talent, and now he is dead. But at least his spirit sang concerts in heaven.
Fun and Fancy Free
As package films go, this combination is okay. It was nice to see Jiminy Cricket hosting them, though I think he works better as a puppet conscience or a Sing Along Song Video Host. The first cartoon segment is Bongo, about that little unicycle bear who escapes the circus and falls in love. There's not too much to say about it, other than it is cute enough. I will say that Lumpjaw guy roaring in the camera's face did freak me out a little. And I found it odd how slapping really meant love in bear culture. But this couple was pretty sweet. The transitioning with the puppeteer at the little girl's birthday party I admit was kind of weird too. I don't how he could manage all three of those creepy dummies at once. But the better part is the Mickey and the Beanstalk segment. I was scared of it as a kid, but ten years ago I actually enjoyed it. I still watch it as a separate cartoon on my Animation Classic Short Film Collection DVD. Seeing Mickey, Donald, and Goofy together as a trio was good as well as seeing them in a Jack and the Beanstalk adaptation. Willie the Giant was not as scary as I thought, but his magic powers were not exactly a necessary addition. He could have changed into all kinds of things to help him, but I guess Disney kept forgetting that. Neverhtheless, I still enjoy watching it occasionally. I'd say Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk work fairly okay together, though I still prefer the MATB cartoon separately, just because the title works better there.
Ichabod and Mr. Toad
OMG, I have a lot to say about this one. Out of all the package films of the 1940's this one is the best and the worst at the same time. How? Well, I like the library where the segments transition and I love one of the segments, but because I despise the other, the combination is just so poor! The first cartoon is The Wind In The Willows, which is the cartoon I love and my favorite package film short. Like Mickey and the Beanstalk, I originally viewed this as a separate cartoon and I still watch it individually on my Animation Classic Short Film Collection DVD. Mr. Toad was delightfully crazy as well as Moley and Rat. The Merrily Song was also very enjoyable and the plot itself was pretty structured and memorable. Mr. Toad gets framed for stealing a motorcar and his name has to be cleared. The rest of it is fun too, with the escape and the weasel chase. Though Toad kinda went back to having manias, it was still a pretty happy ending. It just goes to show that even through manias, Mr. Toad is delightful. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on the other hand, is SO dang boring! When I first saw this cartoon being combined with TWITW, I was outraged! The entire short is just Ichabod interacting with the town and trying to woo a rich gal. Even Bing Crosby's voice was dull and mediocre! I admit Ichabod was a nice schoolteacher, but there was nothing about him that made him interesting. Ichabod doesn't even want to marry her for her looks or inside, he want her fortune! Even the Headless Horseman scene at the end is pointless! It's just that thing chasing Ichabod around the spooky woods and when it throws the pumpkin at Ichabod, it does not state clearly if Ichabod survived or married a far off widow! Ugh! I was begging for this short to be over when I first saw it! The more it dragged, the more I hated it! People only consider it classic on Halloween time, only because of that one Headless Horseman scene! Like I said, the worst thing about this is the combination! I keep asking myself, what do these two stories have to do with each other? They should have at least made the LOSH segment over-with first and then have the WITW! Or they could have paired TLOSH with American folks tale cartoon shorts and TWITW with something better like a Mickey Mouse cartoon! I don't know what the heck Walt was thinking at the time! I'd definitely say these cartoons are better off watched separately.
The Many Adventures of Winnie The Pooh
This is a little more what Ichabod and Mr. Toad should have been like. These three shorts had one thing in common; these were the life and times of Winnie the Pooh and his pals. It' nice that this film didn't need an actual plot or villain or suspenseful climax. It was just a gang of cute imaginative animals just hanging out and doing whatever. We all remember these sweet delightful characters, and my favorite was Tigger. And I have to admit, some of the fourth wall jokes with the book and the narrator interactions. The Honey Tree segment was cute, It showed Pooh desperately trying to get more honey, and learns the consequence of over eating in someone else's house. I'd certainly feel uncomfortable if I were stuck there for so long. The Blustery Day segment was even better! It was where Tigger first came in, and of course my favorite part-The Heffalumps and Woozles song! I love it! It was also very nice of Piglet to give up his house for Owl, that must have been hard. As for the Tigger too segment, I had mixed thoughts about that one. The cartoon seemed a little sketchy and the "getting lost in the fog" part was creepy as well as Rabbit getting scared by all those wood noises. Rabbit was also a real jerk when he made sure Tigger could never bounce again, but luckily, it didn't last too long. These Winnie the Pooh stories were really fun and sweet. They helped me take a break from the classic traditional Disney story telling. Winnie the Pooh is more famous for its characters than it is as a movie. And technically, the characters are all the Winnie the Pooh franchise is; just doing anything they want. I wish Disney would make more Winnie the Pooh productions like this.
And that is all I have to say about these package films.