Today I take a look at two short features by Disney, “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” and “The Wind and the Willows”. Read on for my thoughts…
Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983)
First up is a holiday themed short which has been a favorite of mine since childhood. “Scrooged” (1988) is my favorite telling of the Dickens story but the Disney version was probably my first encounter with it (and my second favorite telling, Mr. Magoo’s version being the third).
I’ve revisited this short several times as an adult and I haven’t changed my mind on it, I think it’s great. I may be totally blinded by nostalgia but seeing all those Disney characters commingle in one story is very fun. It reminds of a series of children’s books I had as a kid which had all the Disney characters in one Universe, I loved that. This movie is the closest I’ve come to capturing the magic of those books.
I also can’t help but be reminded of the cassette the movie was recorded on. I vaguely remember a McDonald’s commercial from the 80’s that played during the recording. I like that feeling of visiting a time before Youtube when you’d just catch glimpses of the past instead of having them at your disposal.
Anyway, going back to the short, I really love it. Alan Young’s work as Scrooge is great, foreshadowing what would become his legendary run on “Ducktales”. In doing research I found that this short was originally released theatrically in the 80’s alongside of a re-issue of “The Rescuers” (1977) and was even nominated for an Oscar. I recommend this as a must watch for the holidays, especially for kids and Disney fans.
“The Wind in the Willows” (1949)
Now this one wasn’t a short I remember fondly or really at all. The short was part of a “package film” from Disney called “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad” (1949), but never watched them together. In fact the “Sleepy Hollow” segment was repackaged into a Halloween special that I always watched so that’s the story I knew best.
The story of Mr. Toad I knew mostly from the theme park ride. The movie helps explain the story but boy is it weird. It is of course based on a classic children’s book but that doesn’t excuse how messed up it is. I decided to watch it because many of the characters in “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” are from this short so I wanted to make this a companion piece. They don’t really mix. It’s not a bad short, it has some adult and dark humor but a very odd story for kids overall. I should also note that I watched this on Netflix and once again the quality was very poor as noted here and here.
Let me know what you think! Did you enjoy the “Wild Ride”?