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Ties with The Litterbug as the absolute best of the Donald Duck educational shorts. The animation is really impressive, from the vibrantly coloured backgrounds to some of the best character animation of Donald I've seen. The music is wonderfully jazzy and catchy, the orchestration has so much bite and pizazz to it and the singing is just brilliant. In particular from Thurl Ravenscroft, whose power on the basso notes of his singing is enough to make your jaw drop. The writing has a very witty rhyming structure, and the story is always interesting and educational, always moves and never stops doing so. It also makes its point about the wheel but not in an overly-didactic way. Donald is a great character to react to the educational aspect of Donald and the Wheel, and the short manages to play to his strengths as well. The voice work is impeccable. Overall, a tour-De-force of education in an animated short. 10/10 Bethany Cox
A Walt Disney Cartoon
The Spirits of Progress, father & son, fill us in on some important cultural history as they reveal the story of DONALD AND THE WHEEL.
This Disney educational two-reeler short is an excellent way to get a somewhat complicated (and potentially tedious) idea across to an audience: the overwhelming importance of the wheel and its unavoidable presence in daily life. The story is told in humorous rhyme, the animation is varied & interesting and Donald Duck is the perfect subject to be taught the valuable lessons. Look for a very brief cameo from Daisy. Donald's unique voice is supplied by Clarence "Ducky" Nash; Thurl Ravenscroft, with his basso profundo, does the honors for the Spirit of Progress, Senior.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a blizzard of doomsayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
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