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Western Animation / Donald in Mathmagic Land

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"What kind of a crazy place is this?"
Donald in Mathmagic Land is a 1959 animated cartoon short by the Walt Disney Studios, starring Donald Duck. It initially premiered paired with the feature film Darby O'Gill and the Little People. The film was made available to schools and became one of the most popular educational films ever made by Disney.

This cartoon provides examples of:

  • Adventurer Outfit: Donald wears a safari shirt and pith helmet when he first enters Mathmagic Land, complete with rifle. The VHS release Bowdlerized it with a magnifying glass on the cover.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Pretty much the whole short, save for the scenes devoted to the games. The best examples are the opening scene in the forest and Donald's mental exercises.
  • Droste Image: The pentagram-within-a-pentagram, which transforms into the Doors of the Future.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Endless Corridor: The Doors of the Future.
  • Everybody Hates Mathematics: Donald initially insists math is for "eggheads". The Spirit of Adventure manages to convince him otherwise... by showing him how it can be used in music.
    Spirit: You like music, don't you?
    Donald: Yeah?
    Spirit: Well, without "eggheads", there would be no music.
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  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: The Spirit enters and tidies up Donald's Extremely Dusty Home of a brain, sweeping away all the superstitions and outmoded ideas.
  • Mouthful of Pi: A bird in Mathmagic Land (incorrectly) counts the value of pi instead of chirping.
  • Pals with Jesus: Donald ends up taking a liking to the Spirit.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: In the billiards scene, Donald plays with a live-action player, and at one point is seen making a shot with a real cue.
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: At the end, the pentagram turns into a long hallway of doors, which Donald runs through, entering one door at one wall and coming out another at the other wall. And stopped at the "Doors of the Future".
  • Shout-Out:
    • During the chess game sequence, Donald is dressed in an all-too-familiar blue dress, with blond hair.
    • The chess game itself is also a shout-out to Alice Through the Looking Glass.
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    • The walking pencil is also from the Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
  • Visual Pun: In the opening scene, set in the forest, the trees all have square roots.


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