Fun and Fancy Free
(first released on September 27
) is a feature film
produced by Walt Disney
and released by RKO Radio Pictures
. It was one of the "package films
" (feature-length compilations of shorter segments) that the studio produced in the 1940s. It is the ninth animated feature
in the Disney animated features canon
. As with the two segments in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
, the featurettes were originally planned to be made as full-length features, but because of the studio's circumstances at the time, they ended up becoming a part of the package films instead.
This film features two stories:
- Bongo: The story of a circus bear cub, who runs away from the circus to the wild and the adventures there that follow. This was based on the original story.
- Mickey and the Beanstalk: An adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk with Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as peasants who discover temperamental Willie the Giant's castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans.
Jiminy Cricket of Pinocchio first appears inside a large house, exploring it and singing "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" (originally written for the 1940 classic), until he happens upon a record player and some records, and sets it up to play the story of "Bongo", as told by Dinah Shore.
In the second featurette, the story of "Mickey and the Beanstalk" is narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist's puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, tells the tale to child actress Luana Patten at her birthday party.
Mickey, Donald and Goofy live in a place called "Happy Valley" which is plagued by a severe drought, and they have nothing to eat except one loaf of bread; in a memorable scene the bread is cut into paper-thin slices. After Donald attempts to kill their cow with an axe, Mickey trades in their beloved animal for magic beans. Donald throws the beans in a fit of rage, and they fall through a hole in the floor. That night, the beanstalk sprouts and it carries their house upward as it grows. Climbing the gigantic beanstalk they enter a magical kingdom of equal scope, and entering the castle, Mickey, Donald and Goofy help themselves to a sumptuous feast. This rouses the ire of the giant named "Willy", who captures Donald and Goofy and locks them in a box. It's up to Mickey to find the keys and rescue them, with the help of a singing golden harp. The harp, in happier times, played a song that kept the land prosperous and fertile – until the giant stole her. Once freed, the hapless heroes return the golden harp to her rightful place and Happy Valley to its former glory.
Worldwide release dates
- September 27, 1947 USA
- October 17, 1947 Brazil
- December 25, 1947 Argentina
- January 22, 1948 U.K.
- May 27, 1948 Australia
- December 16, 1948 Mexico
- May 14, 1949 Denmark
- March 29, 1950 France
- May 15, 1950 Sweden
- June 14, 1951 Hong Kong
- February 22, 1952 Italy
- December 19, 1952 Finland
- May 22, 1953 Austria
- August 9, 1954 Japan
TV broadcast and home video release
Although they were not made into individual full-length features, they did air as individual episodes on the anthology TV series
in the 1950s and 60s. "Mickey and the Beanstalk" in particular aired on a 1963 episode with new introductory segments, and Ludwig Von Drake
's narration replacing Edgar Bergen (and the sassy comments of his ventriloquist dummy, Charlie McCarthy). Another version of "Beanstalk" replaced Bergen with narration by Sterling Holloway
, which was used as a stand-alone short in such venues as the 1980s TV show, Good Morning, Mickey!
. They were also released on VHS cassettes, individually as well as together, and in 2000 Fun and Fancy Free
was released on DVD. In 2004, "Mickey and the Beanstalk" was released on the Walt Disney Treasures
line as a bonus feature for "Mickey Mouse In Living Color, Volume Two".
The video release of Mickey and the Beanstalk was edited in many parts:
The dragonfly scene was shorted to the fish eating it. The reason is not known, but probably due to WWII references.
The clip of Goofy diving into the Gelatin, trying to retrieve his hat was shorted to him diving to the walnut bowl.
This short was one of the many featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday.
In a deleted scene, it was revealed that Mickey went to Queen Minnie to sell the cow. Minnie is the one who gives him the magic beans. In the original story, Gideon and Foulfellow from Pinocchio were the ones who swindled Mickey.
Billy Gilbert, who played Sneezy in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, played Willie the Giant (if you listen, their sneezes are very similar).