#11 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

#11 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Two Not-So-Fabulous (actually kind of jerks?) Characters

Well, it has been a long journey through the first decade of Disney movies. Getting through the last ten years felt nearly as long as getting through March 2020! But, huzzah! We have reached the end! The final package film AND the final film of the 1940’s is here! Celebrate in the way of your choosing. I’ll be celebrating along with you…but first I gotta write this blog post, so let’s get that done.

Today’s film is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad which is about…and stay with me now…the adventures that are had by Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad. Of all the package films, this has the most on the nose title. Maybe the production team was also tired of these silly movies by the end of the decade. I can imagine them sitting around like “So, what should we name this one?” and some guy in the back like “eh, the Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. There. Done. Let’s move on we have CLASSICS to make!” But who are the titular Ichabod and Mr. Toad you may ask? Ichabod is Ichabod Crane from the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, aka the Headless Horseman story. Mr. Toad is from the story The Wind in the Willows. Their positions in the title are actually the opposite from their positions in the narrative of the film, which grinds my gears quite a bit, but what can ya do?

After Snow White came out, Walt Disney was pitched the idea of turning Wind in the Willows into an animated film, and even though he wasn’t too fond of the idea, he purchased the rights to the story in 1938. When Disney had to start refocusing on shorts and package films, they shelved the work they had done on Willows as it wasn’t up to their standard. Eventually, the team started working on adapting The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Meanwhile, Walt ordered Willows to be turned from a feature length film to a short, and they began trying to pair it with other shorts in development. At one point, it was paired with The Legend of Happy Valley-you know, the one with the grown man and his puppets and the child alone with him (and Mickey and the beanstalk and stuff). But, Happy Valley was ultimately paired with Bongo and made into Fun and Fancy Free. And so it was decided that The Sleepy Hollow project and The Wind in the Willows project would be combined together, creating The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.

The film was well received and praised for it’s action, it’s whimsical characters, and the fact that Disney was able to get such notable actors to provide voice work, including Bing Crosby! The Wind in the Willows segment was adapted into Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, one of the original rides Disneyland had when it opened, and it’s still operating today! Now, let’s start our ride through this film!

My thoughts on The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

  • Okay one more anthology movie and then ONTO THE GOOD STUFF!!
  • BING CROSBY?
  • They got THE Bing Crosby for this?!!
  • There are LOTS of books for this book opening
  • No one knows who this toad is he is NOT the “most fabulous” character in English literature
  • *Emma Woodhouse has entered the chat*
  • You’re telling me this toad is a lawyer?
  • I actually have NO idea what the Wind in the Willows is about
  • This narrator is talking a bit fast
  • Does this rat live in a human-sized house? Why?
  • So people just write into this badger about all the property damage toad does
  • Dang that’s a lot of people
  • If Toad is bankrupt, how is he going to pay for all this damage??
  • So Toad just rides through the countryside destroying things?
  • Where are the police on their horses to put a stop to him? Where’s that mob of angry villagers?
  • Also, why does he need that big carriage? He’s such a small toad. What does he keep in there? Is that like his house on the go?
  • “I’ll show you the world” boy England is an island you’re not getting to the rest of the world with a horse
  • “This is my career” riding around? How does that make you money?!
  • Mr. Toad is every rich young person who has used their money to get away with things and has never dealt with consequences
  • The Mr. Toad segment of this movie is actually a commentary on class relations and divisions, and how money enables people to avoid the law and consequences and in this essay I’ll-
  • Oh geez he saw a car
  • Mr. Toad is beatboxing
  • His new mania – so he just gets hyperfixed on things and there’s nothing to stop him? Hmmm…maybe there’s a bigger issue here. Maybe they should consult a doctor. He clearly has an obsessive personality
  • The Mr. Toad segment of this movie is actually a commentary on how mental illness is treated and ignored and written off for bad behavior and in this essay I’ll-
  • Hahaha how did this tiny toad steal a whole ass car
  • At least he’s finally facing some consequences
  • I’ll never get over the fact that the British wear those wigs. I’d just be laughing on the stand
  • Can you bring 2 people up at once in a court room?
  • This lawyer is HYPE!
  • He must have been taught by Annalise Keating
  • Allowance? I guess that’s like a trust fund thing
  • Whoa whoa whoa lawyer, Toad was questioning the witness, you have to wait until he says “no further questions your honor”
  • Law and Order!
  • “The honest way? And what is the honest way?” “Thought you wouldn’t know that” oooohhhh this horse is clowning him in front of the whole courtroom
  • That’s a nice car
  • This horse is being very prejudice towards weasels
  • He traded his HOUSE for the car?
  • He’ll be living in the car I guess
  • Poor Badger, he’s so tired of Toad’s crap
  • How come there are no animals in the audience? We’ve established that animals are anthropomorphic and in society…
  • Is toad trying to leave? The police are right there
  • “You tried to sell me a stolen motor car” *gasp*
  • This IS like an episode of Law and Order
  • Wow they turned on him fast!
  • But what was the proof? Did the bartender continue? Or was that claim just enough?
  • I need Elle Woods up in here
  • However, it does make sense that no other courts want to help him as he’s made a reputation of causing chaos and doing bad things
  • At least Toad is realizing the error of his ways
  • Did the guard really think a person that big was somehow related to a toad? How would that even work…scratch that, I don’t want to think about it
  • Why doesn’t Cyril just put Toad in his sleeve or something?
  • Here he goes, back on his bs
  • Hahaha imagine this irl ….all these humans going on a wild search for a toad
  • “Begging your pardon my lady..” but what? There’s a chain coming out from under your dress?
  • Wow the London train system is so quick and efficient, gotta love that Tube
  • OMG it’s a shootout

The Fast and the Furious: London Drift

  • None of them saw him jump?
  • And WHY would he jump into water with a heavy ball attached to him?!
  • This is dark
  • I know he’s NOT going to die because no one ever does, but man showing him struggle is rough for kids
  • Aww these are good friends
  • Hahaha they actually think he’ll behave
  • How did he get out?!
  • “woop, woop, that’s the sound of the police”
  • Good for the rat for holding firm
  • So no one checked if the weasels had taken over the house?!
  • See, this is what i was saying before, Winky can’t just make claims without proof!
  • Chutney had the perm still intact! There needs to be proof!
  • Winky didn’t seem super trustworthy at at all
  • TBH Toad shouldn’t have trusted him
  • And this kids is why you should have a lawyer present before signing away your house in a trade with some weasels for a car
  • Man, they should at least be hiding Toad
  • Toad is the WORST he nearly got them killed, how is he fabulous?
  • Poor Mole is a true ride or die friend, too a fault, but still
  • Did Winky really need to check his pockets? He saw Mole grab the deed?
  • What a thrilling chase – I do like that trope where the object everyone’s fighting for is going back and forth
  • Toad has secret passages in his house?
  • Ok they got the deed
  • So thats it? Just cuz he didn’t lie doesn’t mean he isn’t a menace and should at least be on house arrest or something
  • HOW did he pay for the property damage? Isn’t he still in debt?
  • How has no one pressed charges on him for the damage?
  • Free and causing trouble AGAIN!
  • Look, that was fun and whimsical and definitely seems more aligned with classic Disney than any of the package films, but Toad is not a good person…er Toad
  • Narrator I don’t trust your judgement
  • All these stories he listed, we don’t have ANY other good stories? 
  • “One might mistake him for some scarecrow eloped from a cornfield” hahaha what a shady description
  • He doesn’t look like johnny depp
  • He also doesn’t look melancholy
  • OMG this narrator is roasting Ichabod’s entire existence
  • “A group of rustic lads known as the Sleepy Hollow Boys” what a sentence
  • Idk what I want my band name to be “The Rustic Lads” or “The Sleepy Hollow Boys” or just “The Sleepy Boys”
  • So Brom is OG Gaston?
  • “Are they shovels or are they feet” wow RUDE song
  • So, they’re saying he’s weird looking but still debonair?
  • Wow he was ready to beat the child until he saw he had food
  • What schoolteacher eats dinner at his students house?
  • If he’s so strange looking to them how is he a ladies man? This song is giving me mixed messages
  • “Gets around like nobody can” WHAT
  • Are they allowed to say that in a kids movie?!
  • Why do they let him go to all the ladies events?
  • She doesn’t look like Christina Ricci
  • “you can do more with Margaret or Helena” WHAT are these songs?!
  • Bing Crosby what are you saying?
  • So he likes the girl for her looks and her money, great
  • Where’s the horseman?
  • Not exactly a heroic lad is he?
  • Brom is a jerk
  • Katrina isn’t innocent either, she’s playing games with the two guys, she likes that they’re competing over her
  • There’s a lot of love triangle nonsense, not a lot of beheading
  • I also don’t like any of the three love triangle members
  • How did she not notice he gave her flowers out of her own vase?
  • Katrina likes to stir the pot
  • I guess you need some entertainment in a small town
  • “What is this strange power you have over women” I don’t even know
  • Does he live in the school house?
  • YES scary stories here we go
  • Ichabod is a beauty guru, using chalk for foundation, wow, his mind
  • This guy is ALWAYS eating
  • Like I relate but his entire character is just skinny dude who likes to eat and hit on women
  • This dance scene isn’t fun for me – I don’t like Ichabod nor Brom, and I feel bad for the poor lady Brom is trying to get rid of
  • They really need a song for EVERYTHING, every title
  • At least we’re finally getting some spooky in this movie
  • We watched this song bit in sophomore year English
  • I don’t even think we read the actual story….
  • This guy couldn’t ride home with someone?
  • I thought the horseman was an ACTUAL legend in Sleepyhollow
  • This is true though, when you’re walking somewhere on edge and EVERY sound is creepy
  • Still this is dragging is he gonna be beheaded or not?
  • Here he is!!!
  • Yes finally!!
  • However, he doesn’t look like Christopher Walken

Ichabod staring down The Horseman after laughing at the thought of him existing

  • Is it bad a part of me is rooting for the horseman?
  • You know not really disappointed Ichabod didn’t get the girl
  • So, did he die or just leave town?
  • Wow his poor kids all got his face
  • Well, at least that’s done
  • DONE WITH THE 40’s!!!

So, that movie definitely felt more like the old-school Disney films I’m more familiar with. It was also pretty fun, and had a good amount of action! However, they were hard for me to really enjoy because the characters were not that great and hard to root for. I prefer the film version of Sleepy Hollow, and honestly, Mr. Toad makes me never want to read The Wind in the Willows. Oh well, it’s over, which means…

I did it!! Now, I never have to watch another package film again if I don’t want to! Farewell package films, you will not be missed! Oh my gosh, can you imagine if Disney decides to do something “retro” and puts together a modern package film? That would be such a trying time for me, I’d have to ignore it. ANYWAY, the ’40’s were certainly a turbulent time for the studio: they were trying to build off the successes of their early films while still pioneering animated features, World War 2 meant a loss of workers to the draft as well as a loss of money due to the economy, and also the studio saw strikes because of the poor treatment of their workers, so even more workers left. Yet, they powered through, and turned their struggles into a Silver Age, if you will.

And we’ll kick off this new era of Disney movies next week with Cinderella!

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