On This Date In 1949, The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad Is Released


Today in 1949, Disney’s 11th animated feature film “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” was released.  The film is composed of 2 segments based on the stories “The Wind in the Willows” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.  

For those that don’t know the story, “The Wind in the Willows” is the story of Mr. Toad.  In 1906 the charismatic J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq., was the wealthy proprietor of Toad Hall. Toad believed in fun, adventure and traveling to “Nowhere in Particular”.  Due to his disregard for financial responsibility and his love for the latest fad, Mr. Toad built a large debt.  One thing he did was he would recklessly ride through the country on a canary-yellow gypsy cart with his loyal Lancashire horse, Cyril Proudbottom.  Cyril would keep crashing through obstacles along the way.  Angus MacBadger tells 2 of Toad’s friends (Ratty and Moley) to talk some sense into their friend.  Soon Mr. Toad sees two men driving a car and is determined to get his own by any means.   Mr. Toad trades the deed to Toad Hall for a car.  Mr. Toad ends up getting in more trouble as Toad is accused of stealing the car and he is sentenced to twenty years in solitary confinement at the Tower of London.   Eventually Cyril helps Mr. Toad escape and eventually redeems his good name and recovers the dead to Toad Hall.  Toad feeling great about his friends and how they helped him along the way promises to change his ways.  Just how long will this last?

Most people know the story or the premise of “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”.  This story is narrated by Bing Crosby.  The story takes place in 1790 when Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow.  Ichabod is strange and awkward and becomes the target of ridicule.  He is very superstitious and on Halloween night hears the tale of the Headless Horseman.  On his way home that evening Ichabod has a run in with the Horseman himself.  Riding his large black horse brandishing a long sword and a flaming skull, laughing in a evil way he chases after Ichabod.  Ichabod crosses a bridge near the local Dutch graveyard and the Horseman, who is not able to cross, hurls his own head at Ichabod.  The head is actually a fiery jack-O’-lantern that bursts into flames as it collides and all fades to black.  The next morning all that is found is pieces of the pumpkin, Ichabod’s hat and horse tracks.

Later, the two segments were separated, screened, televised, marketed and sold separately in 1955.  When Disneyland opened, one of the rides was Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride based on the story.  There was also a version of the ride in the Magic Kingdom but after much protest, the ride was closed in 1998.  In memory of the ride, you will see a small statue in the Pet Cemetery outside the Haunted Mansion.

Also, during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, one of the many highlights of the event is seeing the Headless Horseman ride down the streets searching for his head.


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