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Director: ?
Release Date: May 27, 1948
Rating: ★

The Legend of Johnny Appleseed © Walt DisneyThe third segment of ‘Melody Time‘ tells about American folk legendary hero John Chapman (1774-1845), a.k.a. Johnny Appleseed.

In the legendary version he’s a apple tree planting youth, who’s visited by a guardian angel, who resembles a mustached pioneer and who tells him to go west. Somewhere in the west Johnny finds a spot where he plants his apple trees, befriends the local animals and facilitates the coming of more pioneers. At the end of the cartoon we watch an aged Johnny Appleseed die and following his guardian angel once more to plant apple trees in heaven.

However appealing this cartoon may be to Americans, its slow and annoyingly religious story probably fails to impress the rest of the world. Johnny Appleseed is one of the most boring characters Disney ever put to screen. His animator Milt Kahl, quoted in John Canemaker’s book ‘Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men & the Art of Animation’, sums up the character’s flaws perfectly:

“There’s nothing harder to do in animation than nothing. Appleseed was such a mild character. He never got mad. He was never elated about anything. Everything was kind of in the middle. He was a weak character. Insipid.”

The only interesting features of this feature sequence are its extraordinarily beautiful backgrounds, which are based on designs by Mary Blair, who used bright and unusual colors and designs.

Watch ‘The Legend of Johnny Appleseed’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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