The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Disney Style

by Alan Rapp on October 31, 2012

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
  • IMDB: link

With a hip hip and a clippity clop, He’s out looking for a head to swap, But don’t try to figure out a plan, You can’t reason with a headless man.

adventures-of-ichabod-and-mr-toadThere are numerous holiday specials, mostly Christmas inspired, but a small collection of really good Halloween cartoons. Many fondly remember It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown from their childhood, which I’ll admit also has a fond place in my heart, but my favorite Halloween cartoon was a Disney short that was inspired by Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

As our story opens the nerdy new school teacher, Ichabod Crane, arrives in the small New England town. Although Ichabod is soon popular with the ladies for his manners, training, and knowledge of books, even catching the eye of town beauty Katrina Van Tassel, he’s far less liked by the town’s rough-and-tumble man’s man Brom Bones. 

Not willing lose a girl like Katrina to a man like Ichabod Crane, Bones decides to prove Crane’s cowardice and scare him by telling the story of the Headless Horseman who haunts the local woods looking for a new head. Ichabod is thoroughly frightened and his night horse ride home has him seeing ghosts and specters at every bend and turn.

Finally his worst nightmare comes true as he encounters the Headless Horseman himself!

The animation may be a dated in spots, but as the sleepy hollow of daytime is terrifically transformed into the creepy home of the Headless Horseman on Ichabod’s ride home. The characters, especially Ichabod and Bones are terrifically drawn to show the dichotomy between their two worlds. And who better than Bing Crosby to cast as the narrator?

This is just a wonderful little animated short, but it’s also of interest to any fan of Disney’s 1991 full feature Beauty and the Beast which steals countless scenes from this little cartoon. (Take a look at Bones telling the tale. Does it, by chance, remind you of Gaston?)

This is just a wonderful little Halloween moment from long past and one of the few things I would tear through the TV Guide every Halloween trying to find when it was showing. Normally I don’t like getting my classical literature through the lens of Mickey Mouse, but I must say in this instance the result will make you lose your head!

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