Hey guys. I'm afraid I've been under some "Disney stress" again these past couple days. I'm afraid the idea of Ichabod and Mr. Toad being combined in 1 movie has been driving me crazy...again! I've talked about it before in my package film blog, but I often feel like this is the only package film that really sticks to my mind. It's quite an example that Walt Disney did NOT think these combinations through, he was just combined random shorts in movies to stay afloat. The fact that they are all about different things is why I never consider them "real" movies. Now there are enjoyable segments here and there, but it's a lot easier for me to just think of each as their own individual cartoon. I mean, compiliation videos are one thing, but a compilation collection thought of as a whole movie?! This is really weird! SO why is is it this one boggles my mind a lot? Well, I'll explain in a few different categories.
First, let's dive into my history and I'll explain how this started. I had seen this Masterpiece cover before in ads. Then I actually saw it in fall 2003 when my Dad had rented it from his new program of Netflix. I thought maybe it was a new movie in which Ichabod and Mr. Toad were best friends going on adventures together, maybe like a Wind In Willows and Legend of Sleepy Hollow crossover...it wasn't. It was just 2 cartoons that I have already known (and one I've seen) already. At first, I was delighted to see my childhood Mr. Toad cartoon which I haven't seen in like...forever! But once the Ichabod segment came up, I was groaning and on the inside, since it dragged. Ever since then, I have been trying to get this combination out of my head. But I'll explain the reasons for why this bothers me a little later.
Now let's talk about the segments themselves. The first entry is Mr. Toad's The Wind In The Willows. This has always been one of my iconic favorite childhood Disney cartoons. It had cute animals, it felt like a real mini movie, I loved the characters, and most importantly it was a lot of fun. Mr. Toad was a really fun and funny character, with his cute design, silly voice, and his jolly attitude. Ok sure, he causes a lot of destruction with his manias, but other silly characters have done that too, like maybe Spongebob Squarepants. There were a lot of moments I loved (and still love) watching like the Merrily Song, listening to Basil Rathbone's narration, Toad's prison escape, and of course the paper chase. There were also a few low key dark-ish moments like when Toad was struggling in the water or when he and his friends were sneaking into Toad Hall. It did feel slightly creepy, but not enough to be terrifying. So in that sense, it was balanced. Sure, Toad goes to a new mania, but hey! It's kind of the classic "Here we go again" sort of thing in cartoons. Besides, Toad wasn't "Ebeneezer Scrooge" or "Beast selfish", more like "little kid impulsive" like a child who gets obsessed in a fad. Besides, everything else about The Wind In The Willows was just too darn good for me.
Ichabod's Legend of Sleepy Hollow on the other hand...*sigh*, well, if you are familiar with a lot of my past comments and opinions, there's only one adjective I tend to describe it-boring! Most of it is just Ichabod doing whatever around the town with Bing Crosby's dreamy narration, and.....I just don't find it charming! I give a tiny bit of credit that Ichabod wasn't a brutal abusive schoolmaster that I've learned about in history classes, but that's about it. It's just Ichabod acting dreamy about Katrina listening to Bing Crosby talk or sing AT us. But more importantly, it didn't have any impact on the Headless Horseman stuff until the segment was almost over. Brom Bones sings that Headless Horseman song and then there's the Headless Horseman scene itself, but that's it relating to the topic. That scene is pretty scary I admit, which is why it gets attention around Halloween. But the question I keep asking is...why did I have to go through all that other boring stuff? Personally, I'd say it feels more like the Halloween spirit if I just watch this clip itself on YouTube. Besides, that's what most people tend to focus on about this story anyway. So yeah, unfortunately, this is one of those "boring filler" movies (The Sword In The Stone, The Jim Carrey Grinch movie, and sadly Sponge Out Of Water are a few other examples).
Why This Combination Bothers Me
Now I'm ready to talk about WHY this whole combination bothers me. Is it because Ichabod's portion bored me? Well, yes, but there's another major reason. At first, I thought I could just put whole mess behind me and just enjoy the Mr. Toad segment on it's own. And technically, I still somehow manage thanks to the Animation Short Film Collection lineup. But here's the thing; this was the ORIGINAL way it was made to watch! So every time I try to look up The Wind In The Willows on the Internet, I can't go anywhere without someone saying "The Wind In The Willows segment of The Adventures of Ichabod And Mr. Toad, or just The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. I originally viewed it as it's own cartoon, not like this! A lot of combinations I found ridiculous like some of Toon Disney's double features or some of the Spongebob videos I've been able to put behind me much easier, since those were temporary things, but this Ichabod and Mr. Toad combination is pretty much...permanent. So it's like I'm "forbidden" to put my disappointment of this in the past. If they were going to combine these two, at least switch the order around. That way I'd be able to get the Ichabod portion overwith so I can focus on having fun with Mr. Toad. Or if they were going to be part of package films, I wish Disney at least combined them with more appropriate pairings. Like maybe combine the Ichabod segment with another American folktale or another Horror story. Or hey, maybe make it a lot shorter and focus ONLY on the Headless Horseman chase scene! I'd be a little more open to that. As for Mr. Toad, I personally wish it was combined with maybe a Mickey Mouse featurette. Hey, I once heard that Walt Disney was going to combine it with Mickey and the Beanstalk. That would have been a more suitable combination! *Sigh* But as it is, I personally prefer to watch the Mr. Toad segment as it's own cartoon on my Walt Disney Animation Collection Classic Short Films DVD. I suppose that's as good a solution as I'm ever going to get. As for the Ichabod portion, if you enjoy it, great, I'm not trying to ruin it for you or anything-it's just hard for me to understand how anyone can sit through the pre-Headless Horseman filler.
Woof! Glad I got that off my chest! I know listening to someone complain isn't fun, but this is something I just had to get off my chest. It was bugging me like mosquitos in summer.