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This cartoon was originally part of Melody Time. It's the longest cartoon in that movie and probably the best. It tells the story of Pecos Bill, a cowboy raised by wolves and capable of amazing feats. He meets the love of his life, Slue Foot Sue, and plans to marry her. But his jealous horse Widowmaker isn't happy about it. Great harmonies from Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, who appear in live-action mixed with the animation. Disney's child stars of the time, Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten, also appear. Indian part and cigarette smoking will no doubt ruffle politically correct feathers. It's harmless unless you insist on making it otherwise. It's a fun, cute cartoon.
This is a short that was used to make up the full-length film from
Disney, "Melody Time". Following WWII, Disney Studio was a mess--a
terrible strike and the war (where many of the workers were drafted and
many more were assigned to wartime animation work) decimated the studio
and many of the old animators were gone. As a result, Disney did not
get back to making traditional animated feature films for several
years. In the meantime, their 'full-length' films were really odd
compilations of shorts--and of a rather lackluster quality compared to
earlier and later work.
"Pecos Bill" is a cartoon that is narrated and sung by Roy Rogers and his regular backup group, The Sons of the Pioneers. It's a country western style cartoon about Pecos Bill--a kid abandoned (accidentally) in the desert and is raised by wolves--much like Mowgli from "The Jungle Book". Once he grows up, Bill has a lot of adventures--all set to country western music and narrated in a pretty funny manner. What I particularly liked was the animation--not the greatest Disney ever did, but better than anything else in "Melody Time"--even a bit better than "Little Toot". Enjoyable throughout, the only reservation I have is for younger audiences--I just can't see little kids enjoying this.
My only complaints are the rather tedious beginning(of the animated
sequences that is, the live-action sequences were charming and very
nicely shot) and there are one or two scenes when the animation is not
always as good as it could've been, one or two of the characters looked
a tad deflated. Still there is a lot to enjoy, especially the fast pace
of the well thought out story and the rousing songs. The animation in
general was nice to look at, and the characters were engaging enough. A
huge part of what made the cartoon so enjoyable to watch was the voice
of Roy Rogers, he was fantastic here, what a voice and the male singing
was top notch as well. Overall, has its minor flaws but it is jolly
8/10 Bethany Cox
This short subject was originally part of Melody Time, but it got the
best reviews by far of any of the segments of that feature length film.
So Walt Disney decided to release it as a short subject in a stand
alone feature. I think he was wise to do so.
Roy Rogers and the Sons Of The Pioneers came over from Republic Pictures to do this feature. Disney must have forked over some big bucks to Herbert J. Yates for their services. They are in a scene with his two child stars from So Dear To My Heart, Luana Patten and Bobby Driscoll with them dressed up like future Mouseketeers on talent roundup day.
Roy tells the tale and sings with the help of The Sons Of The Pioneers the story of legendary cowboy Pecos Bill, his horse Widowmaker, and the girl of his dreams, Sluefoot Sue. Let's just say this was a triangular situation with Pecos Bill at the apex and only one of the other two could put a claim on him.
Roy and the Pioneers sing Blue Shadows On The Trail, a favorite cowboy ballad of mine since I got a Bing Crosby record of it. I'm partial to Bing, but Roy and the Pioneers do a grand job.
It's a great song and a fine short subject from The Magic Kingdom.
'Pecos Bill' is one of the segments from Disney's 'Melody Time'. In my
opinion, it is a cartoon with very little to offer and limited appeal.
It is basically just another cartoon. And one that isn't particularly
interesting, with a bland plot, poor artwork, characters incapable of
captivating the public and literally no charm.
The only thing I really liked in this was the live-action sequences, with actors Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten. The actors don't portray any characters, they portray themselves (which is fun). Bob Nolan, besides himself, is also cast as The Sons of the Pioneers. And I really like that horse, it's beautiful. These live-action sequences, while not the best Disney has ever made, are nevertheless interesting, charming and fun.
If this was an entirely live-action short and these actors portrayed the animated characters (not by voicing them but as live-action) I'm sure it would have been a lot better. Unfortunately the live-action bits are short, way too short.
By giving this a 5 rating I am being generous. The 5 is because of the live-action sequences. If I only considered the live-action sequences, I'd rate it much higher than 5. But the animated parts clearly deserve a far lower rating than 5.
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