Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

On his Sunday evening Chase and Sanborn Hour radio program, September 21, 1947, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy took advantage of the airwaves to plug their new film. The above graphic is a magazine ad for “Fun and Fancy Free,” which was a feature comprised of one animated short called “Bongo,” sung and narrated by Dinah Shore, and another short which combined animation and live action called “Mickey and the Beanstalk.”

Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd appeared in this one, as hosts of a party for a little girl. They narrate the story, which features Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. Our old pal Jiminy Cricket tied both stories together, and “Fun and Fancy Free” is the only time all four characters appeared in the same feature. It was also the last time Walt Disney gave voice to Mickey.

Mr. Disney also appeared as a guest on Mr. Bergen’s radio show that evening to help promote the film. Edgar Bergen had a resilient career, crossing over from vaudeville, to an immensely successful radio program, to film, and eventually to television guest parts. His telling of “Mickey and the Beanstalk” is constantly punctuated by Charlie McCarthy’s funny remarks. Combined with the detailed, almost oil painting quality of the landscapes in “Bongo,” the circus bear who escapes to the wild, make “Fun and Fancy Free” a delightful escape from the everyday gloomy headlines Jiminy Cricket tisks over as he encourages us to take things easy. It’s a sweet film.

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