Ichabod and Mr. Toad…or is it?

            The last package film of the 1940’s is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. Thank heavens. I love Disney movies (obviously), but the package films were getting seriously old (oh, what a terrible pun. Forgive me, Walt. Forgive me). We’re back to real features from here on out.
            Different cinematic adventures have different appeal. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was enjoyable, but in a Saturday morning cartoon way, and not in a Disney feature way. Of course, had it been a Saturday morning cartoon, it would have been the most beautifully animated one. Ichabod’s story was actually second, with Mr. Toad’s short film occurring first. Because of this switcheroo from the title, I was distracted by their out-of-order-ness.
            Once again, the special features called my name. This time, I was only disappointed by the lack of more special features. The one on there, an early Mickey Mouse cartoon titled The Lonesome Ghosts, was worthy of being the only special feature (other than games). I really enjoyed this little addition for multiple reasons. For one, since it was made in 1937, Walt Disney himself voiced Mickey Mouse. Secondly, there’s a level in Epic Mickey called Lonesome Manor, and I can clearly see all the tie-ins to the animated short. And finally, it’s hilarious! The combination of Mickey, Goofy and Donald is just great one. Although I’m thankful I had two friends watching with me—I can never understand Donald Duck! Lucky for me, one of my friends could, and served as my Donald translator.
            While Mr. Toad was amusing, I was more concerned with Ichabod from the start. To begin with, the legend of Sleepy Hollow terrifies me. This is almost entirely due to that terrifying movie that came out in the early 2000’s called Sleepy Hollow, starring Christina Ricci. There are scenes from that movie that still haunt me. I have a semi-photographic memory; that is, I can’t picture blocks of text as a photograph, but images from films and life remain in my brain for pretty much ever. This can come in handy, such as when we’re at the grocery store and James asks me to list everything in our fridge. It can also bite me in the toosh though, especially when it comes to movies.
            I love movies. Long movies, short movies, animated movies, live action movies. The only movies I don’t love are scary movies. I can’t handle them even in the slightest. Most of the ones I’ve seen I can blame my parents for, because they watched them when I was little and I was there and so I watched them too. This explains my intense phobia of spiders (Arachnophobia, age 3) and why I was terrified of dark T.V. screens for years (Poltergeist, there’s really no telling as it came out before I was born yet I vividly recall certain scenes I can’t think about or else I’ll have nightmares for a month).
            So scary movies aren’t my friend. But I thought with Disney’s version of Ichabod I’d be totally fine. Well, I was, because I had two friends there with me. However, I was acutely aware that we’d turned off all the lights and it was super dark out because it’s Alaska in winter and the blinds were off the sliding door from letting the dogs in and out and so there was a reflection and suddenly I wasn’t so totally okay with watching this not-supposed-to-be-scary movie. Okay, the phrase totally fine may be overstating it slightly. But I didn’t have nightmares, so that has to count for something, right?
            Also, FYI, I thought Disney would make the movie less scary by having the headless horseman be a prank. They didn’t. He was an actual demon. It was terrifying. I was so worried for Ichabod’s horse. He looked so scared!
            This month, I’ve been distracted by a double dose of Disney (I’d say trifecta, but it’s only on stage and the big screen). Beauty and the Beast is both back in theatres and the Broadway version is currently touring with a stop in Anchorage. While it’s no secret that The Lion King is my favorite Disney film, Beauty isn’t far behind. Of course it isn’t making this double appearance during the time I need to be writing about it. And because we’re still settling into new jobs, Broadway tickets are a bit out of our range at the moment. But I loved seeing it in 3D, and will tell all about it in the Beauty chapter.
            Speaking of new jobs, January marks my first month in my new career—teaching. Between the house and the new jobs (for both James and me), I’ll admit the Disney project has gotten a little behind. I love teaching, but I’ll admit I was shocked at the amount of preparation work that goes into each and every class. I have a deeper respect for all of my teachers.
            Another factor slowing down my Disney project is Netflix’s amazing ability to send the wrong movie over and over again. The most recent issue wasn’t with this film, Ichabod, but rather with the next. The Emperor’s New Groove wasn’t available from our local shipping center, so they sent the next one after that. Unfortunately, they sent the wrong next one. Back when I first started this whole project, I went on Netflix and put the movies I didn’t own in the proper order. Dinosaur kept moving to the saved section when it was marked Blu-ray, so I changed it to DVD and put it in its proper place. Somehow—without James or me moving it—it magically moved to the wrong spot way after all the Disney movies. So instead of sending Dinosaur, they sent Alice in Wonderland. Which is 4 movies away (Emperor’s New Groove, Cinderella, Dinosaur, Alice). So I am once again frustrated with Netflix.
            Back to Ichabod. I wish I had more to say about it, but while it was enjoyable, it wasn’t anything special. And that’s okay—it was one of the last ones they were working on during the war years. The fact they produced any films—in addition to the training films for the military Walt did at cost—while there was a world war and the entire studio was being used for military purposes will never cease to amaze me. And I’m grateful for the films that did come out of that era, as they funded the Disney Golden Age of the 50’s (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc). At the same time, I’m glad to get back to the smooth flow of non-package films. And to jump into the princess films, of course.

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