Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

fun and fancy free poster 1947 movie disney
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 7/10

Bongo is entertaining

Mickey and the Beanstalk is too common a story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Fun and Fancy Free

Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios/Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s): Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s): September 27, 1947 (Premiere)/January 22, 1948 (UK)/March 12, 1948 (US)

MPAA Rating: G

fun and fancy free jiminy cricket

I don’t need that Pinocchio dead-weight

Jiminy Cricket serves as host to a trip into adventure.  First with the help of Dinah Shore, Jiminy presents the story of Bongo and his attempts to leave captivity and find love.  Then Edgar Bergen, Charlie McCarthy, and Mortimer Sneed join Jiminy in presenting the story of Mickey and his adventures with Donald and Goofy as they travel up the beanstalk…to the joy of Luana Patten on her birthday.

Directed by Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske, and William Morgan (who is responsible for the live action sequences, Fun and Fancy Free is Walt Disney animated anthology movie.  Following Melody Time in 1948, the film is the ninth movie in the Disney Classic Animation series.

fun and fancy free bongo

Dreaming your life away

When Disney needed a bail out cartoon growing up, it felt like Mickey and the Beanstalk was their “filler” cartoon.  I didn’t see Fun and Fancy Free proper until much later.  I was familiar with Bongo due to a Walt Disney storybook, but hadn’t seen the cartoon…and Bongo ended up being the better of the two films.

The film was part of Walt Disney’s World War II movie which were package movies because they were easier to make.  Both Bongo and Mickey and the Beanstalk (originally intended to be called Legend of the Happy Valley) were planned as feature length movies, but forced to compress due to budget and time.  As a result, the movie is a big longer in sequences, but the number of stories is a bit small…which is scary if you “lose” you audience with one of the entries.

fun and fancy free bongo loves lulubelle


Bongo is the top performer at a circus but dreams of freedom.  When Bongo manages to escape into the wild, he finds the love of his life in a female bear named Lulubelle.  Lulubelle likes Bongo but discovers that another bigger bear named Lumpjaw isn’t too happy about Bongo’s arrival.  Can Bongo escape his circus past to find the life he dreams of with a wild bear?

Bongo is based on the story “Little Bear Bongo” by Lewis Sinclair originally published in Cosmopolitan (September 1930), and the story is sung by Dinah Shore.  Bongo is a likable character and the story is pretty short and sweet.  The music is pretty forgettable, but it is still the better of the two stories.  What is interesting about Bongo is that there is a very modern take on zoos and circuses in that Bongo has been taken from the wild and doesn’t understand how to fit in with the other bears and animals.  He’s lost and broken and the idea of keeping a wild animal in a prison is wrong…which seems kind of anti-Disney now since they have parks and wildlife areas with their Disney locations.

fun and fancy free mickey and the beanstalk willie the giant

“Mickey and the Beanstalk”

After the kidnapping of a magic harp, the people of Happy Valley find themselves poor and seeking food.  Mickey, Donald, and Goofy decide to trade their cherished cow for food but Mickey chooses to sell the cow for beans instead.  As Mickey, Donald, and Goofy sleep, a giant beanstalk rises and takes them to a kingdom in the clouds.  Mickey, Donald, and Goofy find themselves tasked with the challenge of rescuing the singing harp from Willie the Giant…and it could be Happy Valley’s only hope!

fun and fancy free edgar bergen mortimer sneed luana patten

Mister…why are you and your puppets having a private party for me?

Mickey and the Beanstalk is based on the old story.  It was the last time that Walt Disney himself voiced Mickey Mouse with Jimmy MacDonald taking over due to time constraints.  The story is just such a common story that it is the weaker of the two stories.  It really seems to drag as the story starts out, but once Willie is met, it picks up.  I can’t imagine this as a stand-alone full feature, but Disney was committed to do it.

Mickey and the Beanstalk is introduced and presented as a story to Disney child actor Luana Patten for her birthday.  It is kind of creepy that Edgar Bergen is having a private party for this little girl.  Though he was quite renown at the time, it also becomes apparent that Bergen really wasn’t that great of a ventriloquist since most of the time you can see his lips moving.  The oddity of the intro does add some life to the story.

Fun and Fancy Free isn’t my favorite Disney film and is one of the weaker package films.  Both stories are solid but it just doesn’t have much meat to the film.  With Mickey and the Beanstalk being overplayed and just so-so, it brings down the movie…and an anthology where you find one of the two stories “meh”, is a problem.  I can only recommend Fun and Fancy Free to real fans and completists.  Fun and Fancy Free was followed by Melody Time in 1948.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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