Source Material of Fun and Fancy Free

20th May, 2011 - Posted by DisAnim - Comments Off on Source Material of Fun and Fancy Free

Disney Fun and Fancy Free

When it mentioned in the credits that “Bongo” was based on a story by Sinclair Lewis, I thought that I was in store for a somber, social-injustice-type story. Instead, it was light-hearted and relatively carefree. I kept looking for symbolic implications (indeed – I found some), but ultimately I realized that the story is primarily meant for entertainment.

“Little Bear Bongo” was a short story published in Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1936. Lamentably, it is not in the public domain yet, so I wasn’t able to find a version online. And apparently it is obscure enough that I wasn’t able to find a synopsis either. And I guess I’m a bit too lazy to go to the nearest university library and look in the 1936 issues of Cosmopolitan Magazine, so I don’t have much information about the story itself.

“Mickey and the Beanstalk” is obviously based on the fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk,” which has its origins in Great Britain. Essentially the story is this: Jack wants to marry a count’s daughter, so he trades a cow for some magic beans (much to the dismay of his mother) and climbs the beanstalk that grows. He finds a giant (whose wife helps Jack hide) and steals three valuable objects on three different trips: gold coins, a golden-egg-laying Goose, and a magic harp. Since he is stealing, on the third trip he murders the giant to ensure that no one discovers his misdeeds (sounds a little like the story of David and Uriah…). The count is all happy and lets Jack marry his daughter. It’s a great ending, despite the fact that Jack has blood on his hands – literally, since giant’s blood is apparently magic and won’t wipe off.

The Disney version is obviously a lot more light-hearted. For example, the magic harp was already stolen from Happy Valley, so Mickey and friends are merely getting it back. And their attempt at annihilating the giant is based on self-defense more than anything else. Obviously a lot has changed for the Disney version, but I wouldn’t say that they are bad changes.

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