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November 10

November 10, 1953 – The Special Short Film Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom is Released to Theaters


“The study of musical instruments is the subject for today.”

On November 10, 1953, the special short film Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom premiered in theaters. The short would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Short Film. The art is also notable for being the work of Eyvind Earle, who would go on to create the stylized look for Sleeping Beauty. Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom was directed by Charles Nichols and Ward Kimball, with story by Dick Huemer.

The short begins with Professor Owl running to his class to teach them about musical instruments. He explains that the music comes from a “toot, and a whistle, and a plunk, and a boom,” no matter from where the music comes. He then goes back to the dawn of history to where the music started. Starting with the “toot,” he moves from the caveman to Ancient Egypt, to the Romans, where they created a curved horn. The next aspect is the “whistle,” which began with a tube of grass, which then led to the creation of the clarinet and the saxophone. This is then followed with a look at the “plunk” of a bow, and the creation of what would eventually become a harp, and the violin. There are several variations of string instruments shown, unfortunately with all of them snapping a string. The last caveman shows the “boom” of how percussion instruments were born. The short ends at the symphony, where the cavemen have joined the orchestra.


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