The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) is one of those early Disney films that has sadly fallen by the wayside. It came about in the years immediately after World War II when Disney found themselves with a pile of animated segments that were too long to be theatrical shorts but too short to be full length features. As a result, Disney created a series of “package films,” films that consisted of two or more animated segments. Previous installments included: Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947), Melody Time (1948) and also The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977).
The first segment in this package film adapts Kenneth Grahame’s classic story “The Wind in the Willows” and is narrated by Basil Rathbone. The story follows the misadventures of one J. Thaddeus Toad (Eric Blore), a country squire who is spending his fortune on every fad he comes across. When we first meet him, he’s engaged in his latest mania: driving a gypsy cart across the countryside with his new friend, a Cockney-speaking horse named Cyril Proudbottom (J. Pat O’Malley) and together they are singing the insane “Merrily Song.”
Mr. Toad: Tally Ho! Tally Ho! Tally Ho!
Are we on our way to Nottingham, to Brittingham; to Buckingham
Or any hammy hamlet by the sea? NO!
Cyril: Are we on our way to Devonshire; to Lancashire or Worcestershire?
I’m not so sure, we’ll have to wait and see!
Mr. Toad: NO! Are we on our way to Dover or going merrily over
The jolly road that goes to Plymouth, ho!
Mr. Toad and Cyril: NO! We’re merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily on our way to nowhere in particular.
We’re merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily on our way where the roads are perpendicular.
Cyril: We’re always in a hurry.
Mr. Toad: We have no time to stall.
Mr. Toad and Cyril: We’ve got to be there, we’ve got to be there,
but where we can’t recall.
Whoo! We’re merrily, merrily, merrily,
merrily, merrily on our way, and we may
be going to Devonshire to Lancashire to Worcestershire.
We’re not so sure, but what do we care, we’re only sure we got to be THERE!
We’re merrily on our way to nowhere at all!
Mr. Toad’s enthusiasm is infectious, or at least it is to me, because every time I watch this scene I’ve got a big grin on my face by the end. And it’s easy to understand why Mr. Toad is so happy: who wouldn’t be excited getting to ramble about the countryside in any direction they wished to go? Never mind all the chaos and destruction he’s leaving in his wake, Mr. Toad can’t help but pursue his mad adventures.
I hope you enjoyed reading about and listening to “The Merrily Song” from The Wind in the Willows. Let me know what you thought about this scene in the comments below and have a great day 🙂
See also: Disney Soundtracks A-Z