Finally, I've reached the point where these reviews are gonna be a bit easier. We're still going through some anthology stuff, but this time, instead of reviewing 6 or 7 short segments, I'm reviewing 2. It's a breath of fresh air, really - a somewhat back-to-normal. In this case, the self-contained reviews will be a touch longer, as there's slightly more to cover than just a musical number with visuals.
The film opens with our kindly little host, Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards), singing a song about living "fun and fancy free", as he goes around telling different animals how they worry too damn much. He sets the mood for what you're about to see, with his upbeat attitude, and it's enough to pull you in. Speaking for myself, it was nice to see a song about all the worries people have, in regards to society right now with a world-wide pandemic. All Jiminy wants you to do now is join him in a fun, fable-telling film, all starting with the lovely voice of Dinah Shore as she narrates and sings the first of two stories.
'Bongo': Based on the Sinclair Lewis story, 'Little Bear', the story tells of a circus bear cub named Bongo. He's amazing at what he does, but he's treated poorly and wants his freedom. He eventually escapes, and just when he thinks things aren't going the way he imagined, he falls for a female cub named Lulubelle. But he must prove himself against a big brute of a bear named Lumpjaw, if he wants a shot at being with her. It's the classic David vs Goliath/Nerd vs Jock love story.
All and all, it's a pretty solid musical, rhyming number for the little ones. It's honestly pretty cute, and even got a few laughs from me. However it should probably be mentioned that bears show their affection in this by slapping each other, so just be sure to remind your kids that humans aren't like that. 3/5
'Mickey and the Beanstalk': With narration by Edgar Bergan, this one's a retalling of 'Jack and the Beanstalk', replacing Jack with Mickey Mouse (Walt Disney), Donald Duck (Clarence Nash) and Goofy (Pinto Colvig). Mickey sells their cow for magic beans, which lead to the beanstalk, which lead to them discovering Willie the Giant's (Billy Gilbert) castle. There, they must retrieve a singing harp (Anita Gordon), and defeat the giant, to restore peace to their village.
The animated segment is just classic. If I mention 'Fun and Fancy Free', many don't seem to know what I'm talking about, but if I mention 'Mickey and the Beanstalk', everyone seems familiar. I remember it being pretty popular, growing up,and it was likely featured on Disney's Sunday evening. But there was something about it I never caught on to until this watch.
Segment narrator, Edgar Bergan, was a ventriloquist, and the segment is him telling the story to a young Luana Patten, with the help of two dummies named Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. It delivers some laughs, but a lot of it is just because of how incredibly creepy it all is. It looks like a scene from 'Goosebumps', and I can't imagine that girl being so comfortable through the whole thing. One of them even offers her a cigar. With that said, though, it just added to the fascination of the segment. But that's honestly just me. It's so weird and creepy that it's funny. 4/5
In short, this is just a feel-good film, and that's all it's meant to be. The only things I found potentially dated here was how creepy the dummies were, and the idea of slapping someone to show them you like them, but if you can just get around those things, it's totally enjoyable, and worth gathering the family around for a few laughs.