Walt Disney's

The idea for Fantasia made its way to Walt Disney when he had a chance meeting with the legendary composer, Leopold Stokowski. Stokowski had heard that Disney was preparing an animated short of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", which was to feature Disney's first star, Mickey Mouse, who had begun to decline in popularity. Stokowski offered to conduct the piece for free.

The Sorcerer's Apprentice" went extremely well, and as costs soared to $125,000, Disney realized that the studio would not recover this much money from a short. Then the idea came. Combining animation and classical music pieces to form a full-length feature had never been tried before, but with Stokowski's musical knowledge and The Disney Studio's animation, it was successfully accomplished.

Seven more pieces* were chosen to be added to "The Sorcerer's Apprentice", forming a 116 minute feature. Disney had his animators listen to these seven pieces and what they saw in their heads is what was animated. When he heard the muffled recording of the music, Disney ordered a new means of sound, which became known as Fantasound.

Released in 1940, Fantasia, like Pinocchio, lost money. This was mainly because theaters resented having to put in expensive new sound systems, and that distributors cut the film in half. The astonishing loss cut all plans for the making of Fantasia II.

Igor Stravinsky, the composer of "Rite of Spring", scorned Disney's adaptation of his piece, although it had gained praise from critics. Disney had made a few changes in the score, and depicted it as a prehistoric dinosaur scene.

Even though Fantasia was at first a major loss for the Disney Company, fifty-eight years later, many proclaim it to be Walt Disney's finest achievement.

*The pieces chosen were: "Night on Bald Mountain/ Ave Maria" (Moussogorsky/ Schubert), "Rite of Spring" (Stravinsky), "Toccata and Fugue in D minor" (Bach), "The Nutcracker Suite" (Tchaikovsky), "Dance of the Hours" (Ponchielli), and "Pastoral Symphony" (Beethoven)

Fantasia Pictures

The Sorcerer's Apprentice (1)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (2)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice (3)

Fantasia Links

Several Fantasia Pictures and Text Files
Holly's Fantasia Page

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