The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

disney cartoon dragon“By jove…jam.”

 

Man, I love this cartoon.

This was the first of Disney’s “mini-classics” that fell into the awkward category of not being a full-length animated feature, but also not as brief as the Mickey Mouse shorts. (Note: that was “brief Mickey Mouse shorts” not “short Mickey Mouse briefs” — either way I’m starting to feel uncomfortable so let’s forget I even brought it up.)

I grew up watching The Reluctant Dragon on a VHS that packaged it with a great little short (again, the kind of little shorts that are great) called Morris the Midget Moose. The Reluctant Dragon itself is only 20 minutes.

What makes this cartoon even more unique is that it was originally released as part of a longer live-action film that takes the audience on a tour of the then-new Walt Disney Studios in Burbank. This full version is on Netflix right now, by the way, but if you just want the 20-minute cartoon you can skip to about 53:30.

the reluctant dragon 1941If you do want to sit through the full version, you’ll get to see the first of the Goofy “how-to” cartoons called How to Ride a Horse, and other cool things like Clarence Nash performing the voice of Donald Duck plus a fascinating glimpse on the sound stage for an unused portion of the “Casey Junior” song from Dumbo. Walt Disney himself also makes a brief showing. (Yet again, that’s “brief showing” not…ah, nevermind.)

While you may or may not appreciate the studio tour, The Reluctant Dragon cartoon itself is just a fun, happy, ridiculous cartoon. Nobody famous provides the voices, but Claud Allister (who plays Sir Giles) would later play Rat in another beloved mini-classic called The Wind in the Willows.

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: I once met two short boxers who had a brief skiff.

And now today’s lesson: Enemies don’t have to be enemies. Just as the dragon and Sir Giles found common ground in poetry, so we can build bridges on the commonalities we share with others. This bridge building requires greater civility than is currently displayed—in person and online.

The human race wouldn’t last long if we sought to destroy everyone who held different beliefs from ourselves. Anybody can love those who love them — the real hallmark of a charitable person is learning to do good to them which hate you.

“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?” — Matthew 5:46

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