Friday, June 29, 2012

Toad and Ratty

Wind in the Willows is one of the great children's novels of all time. Grayson Ponti tells story of how the Disney adaptation came into being:

“Wind and the Willows is one of the studio’s neatest cartoon efforts,” wrote Leonard Maltin in his book Of Mice and Magic. “Like all great Disney films, this one artfully built a believable set of characters and situations on a fantasy foundation. ...

The idea for making a feature out of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind and the Willows came from Jim Bodrero, a member of Joe Grant’s model department during the 1940s.

“I had read the book,” stated the artist in an interview with Milt Gray. “I wanted to do it, a long time before Walt. Walt thought it was awfully corny, but we finally got him around to it.”

[Bodrero] and fellow model department member Campbell Grant (best known for the visual development work he did for the Night on Bald Mountain segment in Fantasia) put together a Lucia reel going over the story and characters. ...

Mr. Ponti relates how WITW was conceived as a low-budget feature prior to Pearl Harbor, but ended up as a featurette in the late 1940s. (The studio was at a low financial ebb at the time; it's last full-length animated feature had been released during the war. Cinderella's debut was a year away.)

Bur read the whole post. You'll learn some interesting factoids about the film.


Chris Sobieniak said...

Just noticed another blog post about the book featuring some illustrations you might get a kick out of Steve!

Steve Hulett said...


Terrific link about the book.

Larry Clemmons once told me how the studio was in a bad way in 1948..

Larry was then writing for Bing Crosby's network radio show and came with Bing to the studio when Crosby recorded "Ichabod." He went up to the animation building, which he hadn't visited since leaving Disney's in 1941, and got surrounded by old colleagues who told him how lucky he was to be working in the main event of show biz (Bing CROSBY! Radio!) while they were tucked away at a cartoon studio that wasn't making much of a splash, or much money, and was just limping along.

Times and perceptions do change, don't they?

Floyd Norman said...

Yep, Larry loved to talk about those Bing Crosby days. Very appealing on film, Der Bingo was pretty much a jerk in real life. Then again, what else is new?

Site Meter