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Donald and the Wheel (1961)

Approved | | Animation, Short, Comedy | 21 June 1961 (USA)
A father tells his son the invention of the wheel was most important; to prove it, the two hipsters visit the inventor caveman Donald Duck. There follows a survey of the progress of ... See full summary »


(as Hamilton S. Luske)




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Credited cast:
Bill Cole ...
(voice) (as The Mellomen)
Bill Lee ...
(voice) (as The Mellomen)
Thurl Ravenscroft ...
Spirit of Progress, Senior (voice) (as The Mellomen)
Max Smith ...
Spirit of Progress, Junior (voice) (as The Mellomen)


A father tells his son the invention of the wheel was most important; to prove it, the two hipsters visit the inventor caveman Donald Duck. There follows a survey of the progress of transportation, a digression into the basics of gear ratios, a series of live-action dancers to various styles of music inside a giant jukebox, an illustration of the use of wheels in power generation and space satellites, etc. Ultimately, Donald decides he doesn't want the responsibility, but certainly someone else would take on the task. Written by Jon Reeves <jreeves@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 June 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aku Ankka ja pyörä  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)


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User Reviews

a true collectible of a Walt Disney run Sci-Fi piece
14 November 2015 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

Not having seen my father for over 5 years, this Walt Disney production reminded me too much of him, and gave me some clues to "What on Earth ever happened to movies?" and "Why don't they make it like they used to any more?".

The answer was simple, and came naturally: When young producers grow old, if they are recognized enough, they desist taking part of turning raw ideas into stories, for if they don't... Then they face the risk of losing their reputation over a silly money-making mechanism employee(I am not offending no one), but then(who did this mistake? Nikola Tesla did and Howard Hughes did), hence movies without them are not made fully but came to a senseless conclusion by losing the original idea in an effort to keep the story interesting and the mandatory rules applying.

Whereas Donald And The Wheel is a single executive run Walt Disney studio production, it is only one man's self-inspired work, and it is way ahead of its time. For he is the Walt Disney himself who that one man is, produced the entire footage, wrote most parts, plotted the entire production design, drew sketches on a blackboard with a piece of chalk, just like you've seen today on the animation, and ultimately he invented the first-seen-on-movies 3D human-cartoon match-up visual effect, dated 1961 the same year Walt presented the first full-color TV-programming via his co-production "Wonderful World of Color(**)", 27 years before Who Framed Roger Rabbit(Robert Zemeckis of BackToTheFuture).

But that's not it. The gem in this short animation is that Walt tells the history of world science, from the wheel-invention perspective. If you imagine another world, without no other discovery than the wheel, this is what you get. If you don't believe me, for I don't have a Nobel award, I remind you that in 1904 Einstein has said that "If you take any true scientific discovery and add it to a non-working mechanism, not only will it work the mechanism, but it will operate it solely by itself(*)". Do you think Walt didn't know that?

What goes on the story is that a father and his son sing together a Orson Welles kind of duet, telling the history of science, from the very date of the invention of the wheel in BC.3500, its many uses in carriage, in military defense, in agriculture, in forestry, in ancient metropolis constructions, in Ancient Egypt BC.2000 which the history has more records than the other civilizations as being used for the first type of ground transportation, then in Philosophical Ancient Greece BC.400 when Hippocrates and Aristocrates designed the first horse carriage(via stealing the secret of How to train horses from Persia) and starting from BC.200 Romans how the horse carriages developed in time until AD.1820, when the locomotive and the railroad systems were invented. All displayed within perfect illustrations, like a hands-on science class taught by a never- understood mad professor wearing suede shoes dancing waltz to himself and speaking to himself with a unique jargon you never want to miss.

The professor's illustrations goes on until the automobiles are used in travel to long ground distances(1920s), and the first space satellites(1950s). Meanwhile the father and the son singing duets and dancing, go back in time to BC.3500 to inspire the caveman in motivating him to invent the first wheel. The caveman finds the father and the son too crazy to believe in, and quits his silly idea of inventing something that rolls on its own unstoppably.

-------------------------------------------------------------------- References and bibliography used in this review follows:

Live Science - Invention of the wheel 180008 (**) D23 - about Walt Disney (*) einstein-website.de/z_biography

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