Fun and Fancy Free is a 1947 American animated musical fantasy package film produced by Walt Disney and released on September 27, 1947 by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the ninth Disney animated feature film and the fourth of the package films the studio produced in the 1940s in order to save money during World War II. The Disney package films of the late 1940s helped finance Cinderella (1950), and subsequent others, such as Alice in Wonderland (1951), and Peter Pan (1953).
The film is a compilation of two stories, the first of which, Bongo, is hosted by Jiminy Cricket and narrated by Dinah Shore. Based on the tale Little Bear Bongo by Sinclair Lewis, Bongo tells the story of a circus bear cub named Bongo who longs for freedom from captivity. Bongo escapes the circus and eventually forms a romantic relationship with a female bear cub named Lulubelle in the wild, realizing that he must prove himself in order to earn Lulubelle as his mate. The second story, Mickey and the Beanstalk, is hosted by Edgar Bergen and is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy as three peasants who discover the temperamental Willie the Giant's castle in the sky through the use of some magic beans. They must battle the greedy but lovable giant in order to restore peace to their valley. Though the film is primarily animated, it also uses live-action segments to join its two stories together. Mickey and the Beanstalk was the last time Walt Disney voiced Mickey Mouse, because he was too busy on other projects to continue voicing the famous character. Disney replaced himself with sound effects artist Jimmy MacDonald.
Jiminy Cricket first appears inside a large plant in a large house, exploring and singing "I'm a Happy-go-Lucky Fellow", until he happens to stumble upon a doll, a teddy bear, and a record player with some records, one of which is Bongo, a musical romance story narrated by actress Dinah Shore. Jiminy decides to set up the record player to play the story of Bongo. The story follows the adventures of a circus bear named Bongo who wishes he could live freely in the wild. Bongo is raised in captivity and is praised for his performances, but is poorly treated once he is off stage. As such, while traveling by a circus train his natural instincts urge him to break free. As soon as he escapes and enters a forest, a day passes before his idealistic assessment of his new living situation has been emotionally shattered and he experiences some hard conditions. The next morning, however, he meets a female bear named Lulubelle. The two fall in love, until Bongo immediately faces a romantic rival in the brutish, enormously-shaped bear named Lumpjaw. Bongo fails to interpret Lulubelle slapping him as a sign of affection and when she accidentally slaps Lumpjaw, he claims her for himself, forcing all other bears into a celebration for the "happy" new couple. Bongo comes to understand the meaning of slapping one another among wild bears and returns to challenge Lumpjaw. He manages to outwit Lumpjaw for much of their fight until the two fall into a river and go over a waterfall. While Lumpjaw is swept away and never seen again, Bongo's hat saves him from falling down and he finally can claim Lulubelle as his mate.
Bongo later aired as an individual episode on a 1955 episode of Walt Disney's anthology TV series with new introductory segments, which used Jiminy Cricket's narration and singing replacing Dinah Shore's. The short was released separately in 1989 in the Walt Disney Mini-Classics line.
Mickey and the Beanstalk
This segment is narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, tells the tale to child actress Luana Patten at her birthday party, with Jiminy listening in after having read an invitation shortly after the previous story ended. In 2004, the theatrical version (Edgar Bergen narration) of Mickey and the Beanstalk was released as a bonus feature on the Walt Disney Treasures set Mickey Mouse In Living Color, Volume Two.
The short later aired as an individual episode on Walt Disney's anthology TV series twice with new introductory segments. in first 1955, replacing Bergen with narration by Sterling Holloway after being introduced by Walt Disney. Holloway's narration was released as a stand-alone short in such venues as the 1980s TV show, Good Morning, Mickey!. This version also frequently aired alongside Dumbo during the 1980s. A brief clip of this version was one of many featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday.
On a 1963 episode of Walt Disney's anthology TV series with new introductory segments. Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by Paul Frees) replaces Edgar Bergen as the narrator in the 1963 version, for which he has a Bootle-Beetle companion named Herman (replacing the sassy comments of Edgar Bergen's ventriloquist dummy Charlie McCarthy). Ludwig Von Drake was reading a book on fairy tales in which he shows four pictures and clips from Disney's latest animated features, including the Evil Queen's transformation from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The Ludwig Von Drake version of Mickey and the Beanstalk was released separately in 1988 in the Walt Disney Mini-Classics line. This version was then re-released in 1994, as part of Disney Favorite Stories collection. The Ludwig Von Drake narrating, is available as part of the Disney Animation Collection (Volume 1).
A third version of Mickey and the Beanstalk was on the Disney television show "The Mouse Factory", which aired from 1972 to 1974. This version starred Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop.
A jovial countryside land called Happy Valley, kept alive at all times by a singing harp, is suddenly plagued by a severe drought and falls into turmoil and depression after the harp is stolen from the castle by a mysterious assailant (and also nicknamed "Gruesome Gulch"). The residents are driven into poverty and forced to leave in order to avoid death by starvation. Eventually, only three residents are left: Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. The trio have but just one loaf of bread and a single solitary bean to eat. One particular night, Mickey is forced to cut the bread into slices so ridiculously paper-thin that you could see right through them. Donald then goes into a rage, complaining that he can't stand it anymore. He makes a sandwich out of plates and silverware, but Mickey and Goofy stop him. He then sees an axe and attempts to kill their cow for beef with the axe, but they stop him again and Mickey decides to trade the cow for money to buy food.
Goofy and Donald are excited about eating again and begin to sing about delicious dishes (to the tune of Funiculi Funicula) until Mickey comes back and reveals that he traded their beloved bovine for a container of beans, which he claims to be magical. An enraged Donald, thinking that Mickey had been tricked, furiously throws the beans down the floor and they fall through a hole. However, it turns out that the beans are truly magical after all as later that night, the light of a full moon causes a beanstalk to sprout from under the house and lift it far up into the sky.
The next morning, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy climb the gigantic beanstalk and enter a magical kingdom of enormous scope, where they appear to be tiny creatures compared to their surroundings. They eventually make their way to a huge castle, where they help themselves to a sumptuous feast. There they stumble across the harp locked in a small box, as she explains that she was kidnapped by a "wicked giant". Sure enough, just then, a giant named Willie emerges from the shadows, grunting angrily but then suddenly breaking into a happy song ("Fe Fi Fo Fum") and bouncing a ball about while demonstrating rather amazing powers like flight, invisibility, and shapeshifting.
As Willie prepares to eat lunch, he accidentally catches Mickey in his sandwich. Mickey sneezes when Willie pours pepper and tries to run away, but Willie catches him. Mickey plays palm reader and gains the childish giant's trust. Willie offers to show off his powers, and Mickey, spotting a nearby fly-swatter, asks him to change into a fly. However, Willie suggests turning into a pink bunny instead, and as he does he sees Mickey, Donald, and Goofy with the fly-swatter. Angry, Willie captures Mickey, Donald, and Goofy and locks them in the harp's chest so as to keep them from pulling any more tricks.
In order to escape, Mickey must find the key and rescue his friends and does so with the help of the singing golden harp, who begins singing Willie to sleep. Mickey almost alerts Willie to his presence by sneezing after falling into a box of powder in Willie's pocket, but the same powder makes Willie sneeze and he loses sight of Mickey. Mickey frees his friends and they make a break for it with the harp. However, Willie wakes up from his sleep and spots them, giving chase all the way to the beanstalk. Mickey stalls him long enough for Donald and Goofy to reach the bottom and begin sawing the beanstalk. Mickey arrives just in time to finish the job of cutting down the beanstalk, and Willie, who was climbing down, falls to his apparent death.
Back in the narrator's home, the narrator (being Edgar Bergen or Ludwig von Drake) finishes his story, saying that with the return of the harp, Happy Valley returned to prosperity. The narrator then cheers up his companion (be it Herman or Mortimer Snerd), who was crying about Willie's death, saying that Willie was a nice giant who did not deserve to die. Just as the narrator says that Willie is a fictional character and not real, Willie himself appears, alive and well, tearing the roof off the narrator's house. Willie inquires about Mickey's whereabouts, but the narrator faints in shock while the companion tells Willie goodnight. The scene closes with Willie noticing The Brown Derby restaurant and putting it on like a hat before stomping off to find Mickey, with the HOLLYWOOD lights blinking in the background.
Sound Effects Used
- Chip 'n Dale Chattering (Heard in reverse.)
- Disney Castle Thunder
- Disney Cymbal Crash Sound
- Disney Falling Whistle Sound
- Disney Poof Sound
- Disney Ricochet
- Disney - SIREN WHISTLE ZING 01
- Disney - WOOD BREAK
- FAMOUS STUDIOS CARTOON FALL SOUND
- Goofy Holler
- H-B HIT, CARTOON - QUICK WHISTLE ZIP AND BIG HIT
- Hollywoodedge, Fanfare Ta Da CRT044001 (Debut)
- Hollywoodedge, Hawaii Guitar Slide CRT046705
- Hollywoodedge, Long Crash Tire Skid CRT055201
- Hollywoodedge, Low Pitched Squeak CRT049301
- Hollywoodedge, Man Snoring Wlong Sn CRT025101
- Hollywoodedge, Metal Bonk Fall Tumb CRT033802
- Hollywoodedge, Metal Hinge Creak CRT053502
- Hollywoodedge, Plane ASleep Dive En CRT056108/Sound Ideas, Explosions - Bomb whine . . . whistle and explosion 01
- Hollywoodedge, Quick Whistle Zip By CRT057501
- Hollywoodedge, Quick Whistle Zip By CRT057504
- Hollywoodedge, Quick Whistle Zip By CRT057506 (Debut)
- Hollywoodedge, Sgl Eng Prop Pl Dives CRT056102
- Hollywoodedge, Short Bulb Horn Honk CRT020701
- Hollywoodedge, Single Classic Wolf CRT012501/Sound Ideas, COYOTE - LONG HOWL, ANIMAL (Heard once in a high pitch.)
- Hollywoodedge, Vocal Boinkie Eye Po CRT030101
- Hollywoodedge, Wet Splats Various CRT052303
- Hollywoodedge, Whistle Spins CRT058603
- Sound Ideas, ANIMAL, CAT - TOM CATS, FIGHTING, HISSING, GROWLING
- Sound Ideas, COW - SINGLE COW MOO, ANIMAL 02 (Heard once in a high pitch.)
- Sound Ideas, CRASH, WOOD - LARGE WOOD CRUNCH 01
- Sound Ideas, CRASH, WOOD - WOOD CRUNCH
- Sound Ideas, HIT, CARTOON - KABLAM
- Sound Ideas, THUNDER - THUNDER CLAP AND RUMBLE, WEATHER 01 (H-B)
- Sound Ideas, THUNDER - THUNDER ROLL AND RUMBLE, WEATHER 02 (Intl.)
- Sound Ideas, TRAIN, CARTOON - CRASHY TRAIN STOP 01