Fantasia: Disney’s once and future experiment in sight and sound

When Disney released Fantasia in 1940, it was so revolutionary in its scope, design, and use of technology that few knew what to make of it. Critics, often an impatient lot when confounded, mostly shunned it, as it fit no particular category. Was it a highfalutin cartoon, an animated anthology for longhairs, or a music-appreciation lesson for lovers of Mickey

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Animated Music

By Warner Brothers Pictures/Leon Schlesinger Productions (A public domain cartoon featuring this title card) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The marriage of music and animation seems apt enough, since the essence of both is movement, and animation giants like Warner Brothers and Walt Disney issued their short theatrical cartoons under the series headings of “Merry Melodies” and “Silly Symphonies.” Often the music behind the cartoons consisted of sappy pop songs of the day or

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