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The quest for the defining 'Wind in the Willows'

Edited by Sonious, GreenReaper as of Wed 3 Nov 2021 - 23:55
Your rating: None Average: 3.6 (16 votes)

The Wind in the Willows DVDs With many eyes trained upon stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow this weekend, I was inspired to do a small tribute piece on the B-side of Disney's version. To think; The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad mainly came to comprise this format when it was decided that making two separate features wasn't budget-savvy. It's also worth a mention that this is one of my favorite stories from childhood, and even so today.

A highly-adapted format

Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, which saw publication and release approximately 113 years ago, should definitely be a staple in furry media consumption, with record status in its sheer number of adaptations. The buddy tales of Ratty (actually a water vole), Mole, Badger, and Toad, climaxing in their joint effort to rid Toad Hall of uninvited vermin, ride the range of rework. This includes around eleven stage versions such as A.A. Milne's initial Toad Of Toad Hall, three theatrical releases to date; the Disney short, a Monty Python-friendly live action feature from 1996, and another live action offering from 2006, a veritable universe of television productions done in almost every medium, and numerous radio plays, most produced by the BBC.

As with other historically-familiar stories, it has no shortage of releases like those pictured, from Digiview Entertainment and Genius Entertainment, respectively, which are easy to overlook. Though the packaging comes across as economy, the programs themselves tend to display tighter faithfulness to the novel, surely over Disney's energetic, kid-friendly short, which shifts more focus to the impulsive Toad, discounting over half the book in the process. Admittedly, faithful versions like these will also have "slow and easy" segments, some involving "messing about in boats", and dialogue-heavy segments, giving the story variance, and likely contributing to its considerable staying power.

Like those other tales, the story continues to see reinvention to this day. One such anecdote regarding a CGI/live-action theatrical proposal from Disney that remains unproduced, involves another fan of the novel, Guillermo del Toro, whom was attached up until the time executives asked if he could give Toad a skateboard and have him say "radical dude" things. As del Toro put it, he had to reply, "It's been a pleasure."

Comments

Your rating: None Average: 5 (3 votes)

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing–absolutely nothing–half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

I've always enjoyed this work, in film, TV, especially in the beautifully illustrated book I have. As shown, the characters have a lot of potential for expanding upon the original tales. The Edwardian setting, which is a large part of its charm, should always be preserved.

Toad on a skateboard? That's just Crazy Frog.

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

I had to look closely at the "Storybook Classic" box art to make sure it wasn't a Disney release - because the graphics and overall design mightily resemble their VHS packaging.

The live-action "Monty Python-friendly" version never got a real theatrical release, while Disney released it to video renamed "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride." It's a shame, becaue it's a very funny & inventive take on the story...and supposedly a send-up of Margaret Thatcher's reign as Britain's PM!

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About the author

StratoKasta (Ganvolo Fox)read storiescontact (login required)

an arts advocacy and Arctic Fox from New Jersey - looking to base in general Colorado Springs area, interested in novels, films, music, most things that require writing and disc golf

Continuing to be an advocate for film and animation on several fronts; the furry front still proves a fruitful environment for songwriting; looking for ways to use the gifts to promote unity against the odds.