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May 28

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May 28, 1953 – The Special Short Film Adventures in Music: Melody is Released to Theaters

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“Today’s lesson will be about something we really can’t do without.”

On May 28, 1953, the special short film Adventures in Music: Melody was released to theaters. This was to be the first in a series featuring the character Professor Owl teaching his students about principles of music, but only one other short was made (Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom); the character would become best known for beginning the Disney Sing-A-Long videos. Melody was also the first cartoon filmed in 3D, and was shown in Disneyland’s Fantasyland Theater as a part of the 3D Jamboree, an attraction that remained fairly popular at the park, although 3D films didn’t really catch on in regular theaters. The short was directed by C. August Nichols and Ward Kimball, with story by Dick Huemer.

All the young birds gather at the school birdhouse, where Professor Owl is waiting to take attendance. He then declares that the lesson for the day will be “melody,” much to the enjoyment of the students. He directs them to the melody of nature, including the bird, the cricket, and the willow tree. He also says that there are only two creatures on earth that can sing: birds, and humans. Using a chart, Professor Owl points out the melodies in each stage of a person’s life. He changes the topic soon after to inspiration, with Suzy Sparrow drawing inspiration from love. Penelope Pinfeather sings her song, inspired by the ocean. Another student sings about trains, while another one sings about cowboys. The Canary Sisters sing a song about motherhood, before the class sings a song all about their inspirations. In conclusion, Professor Owl points out that “beautiful symphonies are often created from simple melodies,” and the short ends with an experimental look at music, featuring the beginning piece, “The Bird and the Cricket and the Willow Tree.”

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