The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theaters on October 5, 1949 by RKO Radio Pictures. It is composed of two segments based on the stories of The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, respectively. It is the eleventh animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon as well as the last of the package films produced by Disney until The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh in 1977.
During the 1940s, much of Disney's feature output was made up of so-called \”package films\”. Beginning with Saludos Amigos in 1943, Disney ceased making feature films with a single narrative, due to the higher costs for such films, as well as the drain on the studios resources caused by World War II, even though almost all of these package films were fairly successful. Instead, Disney features would have two or more stories linked together through a variety of means. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was the last of these \”package\” films, and Disney returned to single narrative features with 1950's Cinderella.
There are two segments in the film both based upon popular works of literature:
1. The adventures of Mr. Toad, based on Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows (narrated by Basil Rathbone). In this story, the charismatic J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq., the happy-go-lucky upper class proprietor of Toad Hall who believes in fun and adventure, has built a great deal of debt from disregarding the financial responsibilities of his insatiable love for transportation vehicles, such as the newfangled motor car. His friends, Mole, Water Rat, and Angus MacBadger try to help him when his mania leads to the loss of the deed to Toad Hall and a charge of car theft. Toad is thrown in jail but Toad's loyal horse Cyril Proudbottom pays a visit and inspires him to escape, which he does, only to learn that Winkie, the tavernkeeper, and the weasels have taken over Toad Hall. With his friends, Toad redeems his good name by recovering the deed to the estate. Toad promises to reform, until he eyes a 1908 biplane.
2. The story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman, based on Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (narrated by Bing Crosby). The gangly and lanky Ichabod Crane is the new schoolmaster in Sleepy Hollow. His somewhat odd behaviors make him the ridicule of the rambunctious and robust town bully Brom Bones. Despite his unattractive appearance, he quickly proves to be a ladies man who charms the local town beauty, Katrina Van Tassel, a beautiful young daughter of a wealthy farmer, much to Brom Bones's displeasure. Ichabod has his eye on the Van Tassel wealth. His subtle rivarly decides that he is a little too successful and needs “convincing” that Katrina is not for him. After a number of unsuccessful efforts, the situation changes when Brom decides to take advantage of Ichabod's superstitions. Brom musically tells the tale of the Headless Horseman to frighten the teacher. That Halloween night, Crane's lonely ride home becomes more lively than he ever imagined as he encounters the terrifying phantom and is mysteriously missing the next morning. Later this Sleepy Hollow portion of the film was separated from the companion Mr. Toad film, and screened, aired, marketed, and sold separately as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow beginning in 1958.
Produced By: Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date October 5, 1949
Running time 68 minutes