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20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Melody Time’

Melody Time is a continuation of Walt’s 7th animated film, Make Mine Music. They are both made up of segments, some being detailed stories and some being images set to music. Like that film, Melody Time follows in the tradition of Fantasia. Walt Disney was interested in keeping that concept alive and though this never reaches the heights of Fantasia, it tries to capture some of that magic. Unfortunately, it rarely does. There is only one segment in the whole film that caught my attention, which was The Legend of Johnny Appleseed. Everything about it works: the music, the story, and the animation. I would suggest seeking out this segment by itself if you don’t want to watch the whole film.

Read: 20 Weeks of Disney Animation: ‘Make Mine Music’

The other segments range in quality and I will not be discussing them all at length. However, there are a few that are a bit more interesting than others. Once Upon a Wintertime opens the film and is a harmless little segment perfect for Christmastime. The following segment, Bumble Boogie, is a much more upbeat piece, with a jazzy tune and almost manic visuals. Interestingly, this segment is seemingly inspired by one that was intended for Fantasia, but never finished: Flight of the Bumblebee. One of the later segments, Blame It on the Samba, features the welcome return of Jose Carioca, a character created for the Latin America films. Finally, the film concludes with Pecos Bill. This segment was edited for home video release for many years, removing the cigarette that Pecos Bill smokes. Finally, the uncensored version was released in 2019, courtesy of Disney+.

The film as a whole is arguably the weakest in the Disney canon up to this point. With few standout segments, this doesn’t have the rewatchability that most Disney films share.

Live-action remake: There is no live-action remake in the works for Melody Time.

Melody Time in the theme parks: In general, the package films get little love at the Disney theme parks. In the case of Melody Time, there is a restaurant called Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe that serves guests both at Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland. Inspired by the Pecos Bill segment, this cafe is modeled after the saloons of the Old West.

Melody Time is available for streaming on Disney+.

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