We are now well into the second half of the 1940s… Walt Disney and his crew still can’t afford to do a single-story animated feature. They pressed on, doing more anthologies, more short cartoons, and then… Live-action pictures, from hybrid films (Song of the South) to short nature documentaries (the True-Life Adventures)… Three more post-war package features were released…
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio
- Dumbo and Bambi
- Saludos Amigos, The Three Caballeros, and Make Mine Music
- Fun & Fancy Free, Melody Time, and The Adventures of the Ichabod and Mr. Toad
- Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan
- Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, and The Sword in the Stone
- The Jungle Book, The Aristocats, and Robin Hood
- The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, The Rescuers, and The Fox and the Hound
- The Black Cauldron, The Great Mouse Detective, and Oliver & Company
- From The Little Mermaid to Aladdin
- From The Lion King to Hercules
- From Tarzan to Atlantis: The Lost Empire
- From Lilo & Stitch to Chicken Little
- From Meet The Robinsons to Now…
FUN & FANCY FREE
The Film Proper and the Posters…
Really not much to this logo, other than the colors. Let’s have a look at the posters…
Also not much to write home about here. I find it interesting the promo materials often dub the film “Fun and Fancy Free,” while the movie’s title card uses an ampersand. Like the previous package feature, Fun & Fancy Free was never theatrically re-released in its complete form. The two segments that make up the picture were retooled into short films, shown on television and in theaters.
Fun & Fancy Free was among the first of the Disney animated features to be released on home video. November 1982. My copy is pictured below…
Now the letter forms here are great, but you can’t really see them from a distance! Instead, the package designers at Walt Disney Home Video in 1982 decided to emphasize the ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’ segment. In big, bold, uninteresting letter forms. It’s no surprise, for ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’ not only stars the classic Mickey & Friends gang, but it is the best of the film’s two segments. The other, ‘Bongo,’ is fine, but not exactly a selling point.
Fun & Fancy Free didn’t get a second video in the late 1980s, unlike The Three Caballeros. Not even a LaserDisc release. ‘Bongo’ and ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’ were released in their revised forms on video in the late 80s/early 90s, and were – like many other package feature segments – part of the Walt Disney Mini-Classics line.
Finally, in 1997, in time for the film’s 50th anniversary, Disney released it on home video for the second time. Part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection, the release coasted a nice cover and an alright font for the movie’s title. The tall letter forms give me a 40s vibe, but on the whole it’s just… Fine. Not bad, not great, fits the cover and the movie. Poor Bongo, though. Got the shaft again.
Three years later, Fun & Fancy Free became a Gold Classic Collection edition.
This font is a little more fantasy-like, and one of the better GCC edition title fonts. No Bongo, again. (He’s on the back cover, but still!)
This cover was re-used for the film’s 2014 Blu-ray release, which was two-movie pack with The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. The cover for Ichabod is that film’s GCC release cover, too.
Works in both colors, I say. It’s the best one for this movie yet. It definitely does capture the ‘Beanstalk’ side of the movie, though. I wonder if a font that ties in both ‘Bongo’ and ‘Beanstalk’ can be achieved…
The Film Proper and the Posters…
Definitely a little less… Exciting. Right in line with Fun & Fancy Free‘s in-movie title card. I feel some of the posters have stronger logos.
I think the one on the left is definitely the winner. Popping and appealing, though there’s little else to it. I think with some of those package features, we get logos that aren’t quite as… Interesting. Maybe it’s because the films themselves were really made to keep the studio and the feature-length animated film afloat, even in a time where Walt couldn’t do a film like Snow White or even Dumbo.
When it comes to home video, package features often got the shaft. We saw that, big time, with some of the home video covers for Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. Even worse, Saludos and Make Mine Music were censored when they hit DVD. You can find Saludos uncut on the Walt & El Grupo DVD, but Make Mine Music? Better get a LaserDisc and a copy of the 1985 Japanese LaserDisc, or buy a multi-region VCR and get the 1980s PAL VHS, or find someone who taped it off the Disney Channel in the early 90s!
Melody Time was also a victim of this pointless soccer mom-chasing editing. Its first video release was in 1998, for its 50th anniversary. It was part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection, unsurprisingly.
Not much done here, once again, even the little music note in place of “i” dot isn’t really enough. Nice enough cover, though.
2000. It got the Gold Classic Collection treatment. This was its last video release in North America.
Not much here, either.
Hopefully one day, Make Mine Music and Melody Time return to home media in their uncensored forms. They had an opportunity to put them in the Walt Disney Treasures stash, but they never went through with that. Like I said in the previous part, Disney’s been weird with physical media these days. They’ve scaled back in terms of Blu-ray releases for older material, aren’t ready to embrace 4K, and they haven’t really embraced digital, either. Melody Time, like Make Mine Music, isn’t available to purchase or rent on any digital platforms. A shame.
THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD
The Film Proper and the Posters…
Now THAT’S more like it. Spooky, Halloween-like, dark forest tree letter forms for “Ichabod”, and a classic and formal British style for “Mr. Toad.” I love it.
The poster preserves the Ichabod part, not so much the Mr. Toad part.
In many of the marketing materials, Ichy gets the top billing. Mr. Toad thankfully didn’t go the fate of Bongo, for his segment is equally good. I always found it weird that the title put ‘Ichabod’ first, when the ‘Mr. Toad’ segment (The Wind in the Willows) comes first. Maybe it’s because The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is an American classic, while Wind in the Willows is British? I don’t know.
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad‘s first home video release was in 1992. On LaserDisc only. The cover cheaply uses the VHS covers of the Mini-Classics releases of the separate segments, and the font is nothing special. The capitalized “And” is also bugging me. Kind of a tossaway release.
The film was then released on home video again in 1999 (again, for a 50th anniversary release), as the final title in the Masterpiece Collection. Getting a much nicer cover, the font is alright. Doesn’t quite capture the tones of both stories, but it’s serviceable.
The same font is used on the 2000 Gold Classic Collection edition. Mr. Toad gets the shaft here, unfortunately.
Decent cover, nice spooky colors and atmosphere, though you don’t quite get that sense of terror! The artwork used on the 1992 LaserDisc, which comes from the Mini-Classics VHS of the Sleepy Hollow segment, works better.
The GCC artwork was used for the 2014 Blu-ray, as you saw in the Fun & Fancy Free section. Now that font is a bit of alright.
It’s not as consistent, but I think it suits the cover image a little better than the other one. Anyways, the clear winner is obvious…
The package feature era is now over…