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Trivia / Fantasia

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  • Acclaimed Flop: Technically a flop and a success at the same time: It made a lot of money, it was one of the highest grossing films that year and was considered a masterpiece. But because production was so obscenely expensive, it still took decades of profit for it to make up for its cost.
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • Banned in China: It used to be banned in Ireland.
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  • Box Office Bomb: Sadly. Budget, $2,280,000. Box office, $361,800 (original theatrical release tally only).
  • Creator Backlash: Animator Eric Larson was extremely critical of his animation of the male centaurs in the Pastoral Symphony segment (he primarily did them in the scene where they’re carrying the baskets while Fred Moore did a lot of them in the part where they fall in love with the centaurettes) for what he felt was grotesque, clumsy and inaccurate animation. It bothered him for decades and he was still honestly upset when talking to trainees about it in 1980. 
    "They were lousy to animate because their design was completely wrong. We didn’t analyze the live action sufficiently to get a horse action in there. If you watch the front legs of these centaurs they have a certain human feeling and it shouldn’t have been that way. If I had just thought about it then it would be so much better.”
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  • Disowned Adaptation: Igor Stravinsky, the only composer who was still alive to see his music used in Fantasia, was excited by the prospect of working with Walt Disney and having animation made to his music. Unfortunately, he was upset by the edits made to his score without his permission, and came to hate the finished product.
  • Executive Meddling: One of the most infamous examples of this was the ending of the "Rite of Spring" from the original Fantasia. The segment originally would have continued into the age of mammals and end with a scene where early humans dancing as they succeed in creating fire. Disney had this ending removed out of fear it would attract controversy from creationists, but this change did not go over well with Igor Stravinsky, who wrote the number and is the sole composer of a Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 number to be alive to see the film in theaters. He was tempted to sue Disney, but decided not to; the whole thing still turned Stravinsky off of animation for the rest of his life.
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  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Fantasia's proper pronunciation is "Fantasy-ah" when referring to the form of music, But "Fan-Tay-jia" is the accepted pronunciation when referring to the films.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The unedited "Pastoral Symphony" sequence has never been released on home video, so the only way to see it is to find bootlegs of very old TV recordings of Fantasia.
    • This also applies to the documentary Fantasia: The Making of a Masterpiece, only available on VHS tapes and Laserdiscs from 1991. On the Fantasia 60th Anniversary Edition DVD, Disney replaced it with a newer documentary, The Fantasia Legacy: The Concert Feature.
    • The 1982 rendition with narration replacing Deems Taylor's live action scenes and a Dolby Stereo re-score by Irwin Kostal has also been discontinued since the 1990 remastering which reinstated the original edit. The Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection included the Irwin Kostal score on their 2015 re-release of the Fantasia soundtrack, but not the new narration.
    • The 1990 remastering was the last release of Fantasia to feature Deems Taylor's Original Voice, also, some people may prefer the shortened introductions of that version that don't spoil the segments for those watching it for the first time.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition:
    • The VHS and Laserdisc of Fantasia had an alternate box set that also contained the documentary Fantasia: The Making of a Masterpiece, and the film's soundtrack on a two-CD package among other things.
    • In 2000, Disney released a now rare DVD box set titled The Fantasia Anthology. Which contained the movie's DVD version as well as a DVD of Fantasia 2000, and an exclusive third disc titled Fantasia Legacy containing a ton of bonus features detailing the making of each individual segment in both films.
    • The soundtrack received its own special treatment in 2015, when Fantasia's 75th anniversary saw Disney add it to the Walt Disney Records Legacy Collection. The 4-CD set contains both the Stokowski and Kostal versions of each song, the music from the deleted "Clair de Lune" sequence, and Sterling Holloway-narrated read-alongs of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" and "Peter and the Wolf", all packaged inside a digibook with concept art and production notes.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: Fantasia has been described as being ahead of its time, because although Walt Disney planned for this to be his big film, it actually flopped and the relatively more "kiddy movie" Dumbo actually turned over a greater profit. In the present, Fantasia has been Vindicated by History, and is often one of the movies discussed as being the best of the Disney Animated Canon.
  • Missing Episode: Before Fantasia 2000 was released, its promos suggested that it was replacing the original cut of Fantasia. (Assuming you don't consider it already replaced because someone did their best to edit out a blackface caricature...)
  • Old Shame: Sunflower, the stereotypical black centaurette that tended to the others, edited out of post-1960 prints. You can tell which scenes she appears in by noticing the fuzziness.
  • The Other Darrin: Deems Taylor's voice is redubbed by Corey Burton in the 2000 restorations due to much of the original audio from the recovered footage being lost. Wayne Allwine also seems to dub over Walt Disney during Mickey's brief conversation with Stokowski. Stokowski also appears to have been redubbed in the same scene.
  • Reality Subtext: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" has an interesting variation: it was around the time Fantasia came out that Walt's life didn't go according to plan, much like how Mickey loses control of the brooms.
  • Saved from Development Hell: Walt Disney's original idea was to keep on adding new segments and switching the order around, such that Fantasia would be a perpetual work in progress. The idea for a Fantasia sequel eventually took almost 60 years to come to fruition, and that one went through 9 years of development, getting no help from Katzenberg before he left the studio.
  • Science Marches On: The dinosaurs in the "Rite of Spring" sequence are hopelessly inaccurate today, but were fairly in-line with scientific thinking at the time. As Roy Disney says in the film's commentary, many aspects of the sequence were cutting-edge for their time, and were 'facts' that the general public didn't even have a clue about back then.
  • Stillborn Franchise: A great version of one; Fantasia's failure to make up its original high cost, coupled with WWII cutting off the European market, led to Fantasia never getting fully followed up for the rest of the 20th century.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Walt Disney's original plan for the film, as mentioned above. Some of the segments they had considered for this were worked into the other compilation films Disney made during the '40s.
    • There was a rejected pitch for a segment that would have been a hybrid of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen and Tolkien's The Hobbit.
    • Can you imagine if the Disney execs had followed through with their original idea for Fantasia and continued to release sequels to it periodically, even yearly, with brand-new music and animation? Unfortunately, the onset of World War II and the lack of enough money made at the box office from original film (it made a lot of money, but certainly not enough to justify the cost of making a continuous series) resulted in the idea being dropped in what is considered the most haunting Disney "could of been" of all.
    • Fantasia 2006 (which was to focus on world music) was not only planned, but segments were completed for it before the plug was pulled. They subsequently became standalone shorts: "One by One" and "The Little Match Girl" are included as bonus features on the special edition DVDs of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride and The Little Mermaid, respectively; "Lorenzo" screened before Raising Helen in theaters, and "Destino" has appeared at film festivals and, curiously, cruise ship art auctions. They all appeared at a 2008 Los Angeles screening hosted by Roy Disney as well.
    • The original version of Fantasia would had included "Clair de Lune". This piece was re-edited and shown as "Blue Bayou" in Make Mine Music.
      • Speaking of which, the "Peter and the Wolf" segment was originally developed for a continuation of Fantasia.
    • Other potential pieces that were storyboarded but never completed included Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries" and Weber's "Invitation to the Dance". The latter would have starred Peter Pegasus from the "Pastoral Symphony" segment and even had some pencil tests done.
    • Earlier in production, plans for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" had either Dopey or Donald Duck as the titular Apprentice.
    • The mythological piece was originally supposed to be set to the score from Gabriel Pierné's "Cydalise et le Chèvre-pied." They had a hard time fitting the animation ideas in with the music, so they went with Beethoven's Sixth over conductor Leopold Stokowski's objections.
    • The procession in "Ave Maria" was originally supposed to enter an actual church. There was also talk of having an image of the Virgin Mary in the last shot, which could have been omitted when shown in non-Christian countries.
    • Online photos of conceptual art pieces for "The Pastoral Symphony" suggest that nymphs and nixies were intended to make an appearance, and that male zebra centaurs were considered to be boyfriends/dancing partners for the zebra centaurettes attending on Bacchus.
    • Disney toyed with the idea of pumping scents into the theater to match the segments. It was abandoned due to the logistics of clearing each scent after each sequence.
      • This concept would later be applied to the similarly themed theme park attraction Philharmagic.
    • "The Rite of Spring" originally would have ended with the Age of Man; the lack of this ending unfortunately angered composer Igor Stravinsky almost to a lawsuit level.
  • Working Title: "The Concert Feature". Many titles were suggested until "Fantasia" was chosen.

Misc. Trivia

  • Someone with a keen eye for details or a photographic memory can spot some re-used animation in The Black Cauldron from "Night on Bald Mountain". The scene? When Henwen is crying, you can spot some skeletons-on-horses from Fantasia.
  • At 2 hours and 4 minutes (124 minutes) long, this is the longest Disney animated film; the 50th anniversary edition released in theaters in 1990 and cut 4 minutes to make it 2 hours flat.
  • Fantasia had the first known use of "Surround Sound" in a theater, coined as "Fantasound."


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