Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

DailyView: Day 203, Movie 289

Tonight’s DailyView is taking us into the world of Disney + for a 1947 package film from Disney that featured two animated films. During the forties (in particular during the war), Disney produced these package films to save money. Fun and Fancy Free included two animated shorts connected by Pinocchio’s Jiminy Cricket.

Film number one in the package was entitled “Bongo” and it included the narration of Dinah Shore. Bongo, based on a tale by Sinclair Lewis, tells the story of a circus bear cub who wanted to be free from his situation. Escaping from the train, Bongo found himself in the wilderness, facing the dangers and uncertainty of a bear cub who had never been outside the circus.

Bongo meets a female bear cub named Lulubelle and instantly fall in love. However, with Bongo unable to understand a custom of bears in the wild, loses her to a brutish rival. Thankfully, Bongo comes across a song and dance routine that explained the very confusing ritual, whihc was when bears are in love, they express it with a slap.

Who knew?

Bongo was unremarkable. The Dinah Shore narration and songs felt lacking and there was just not the energy one would expect in a Disney animation.

Film number two is much more classic Disney fare than Bongo. “Mickey and the Beanstalk” placed Disney’s three main characters: Mickey Mouse (voiced by Walt Disney, himself), Donald Duck and Goofy in the iconic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.

This version was narrated by Edgar Bergen with his ventriloquist dummies, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd in a live action section mixed with the animated tale. Jiminy Cricket was involved in this as well. Bergen was telling the story to child actress Luana Patten’s birthday party.

Seeing Mickey, Goofy and Donald together in the classic fairy tale is fun and certainly has more going for it than Bongo did.

Kids might enjoy Bongo more than I did, but you can’t go wrong with the Disney triumphant trio.

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