Tom the Piper's Son is about to marry Mary Quite Contrary. On the eve of their wedding, evil miser Barnaby hires two henchmen to drown Tom and steal Mary's sheep, cared for by Little Bo Peep, thus depriving Mary and the children she lives with of their livelihood, forcing her to marry Barnaby. The sheep are stolen, but Gonzorgo and Roderigo, Barnaby's henchmen, double-cross him by selling Tom to a band of gypsies instead, leaving Tom with the opportunity to escape and make his way with Mary, Bo-Peep, and other Mother Goose characters to Toyland.
Ray Bolger (Barnaby), Tommy Sands (Tom Piper), Annette Funicello (Mary Contrary (as Annette)), Ed Wynn (Toymaker), Tommy Kirk (Grumio), Kevin Corcoran (Boy Blue), Henry Calvin (Gonzorgo), Gene Sheldon (Roderigo), Mary McCarty (Mother Goose), Ann Jillian (Bo Peep), Brian Corcoran (Willie Winkie), Don Anderson (Villager (uncredited)), Marilee Arnold (Twin (uncredited)), Melanie Arnold (Twin (uncredited)), Robert Banas (Russian Dancer (uncredited)), Candy Candido (Trees (singing voice) (uncredited)), Eileen Diamond (Dancer (uncredited)), Jack Donohue (Sylvester J. Goose (uncredited)), Ilana Dowding (Jill (uncredited)), Bess Flowers (Villager (uncredited)), Jerry Glenn (Simple Simon (uncredited)), James Gonzalez (Villager (uncredited)), James Martin (Jack (uncredited)), William Meader (Villager (uncredited)), John Perri (Jack-be-Nimble (uncredited))...
Walt Disney (producer (uncredited))
It was sixty years since Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough's magical musical for kids premiered on Broadway when this version came out and now it's nearly 50 years since the film was in theaters. It doesn't rank up with the one that Laurel&Hardy did in the Thirties. For one thing the Victor Herbert score was cut, but not added to. Secondly Stan and Ollie were the center of things even though they are supporting characters. That in itself made their March Of The Wooden Soldiers memorable.
Still this version that Disney did featured several of his stable of young stars like Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands as the young lovers of Toyland who want to wed. But evil Barnaby reprised in this version by Ray Bolger is going to put a stop to that. He's got designs on Annette's virtue and more important on the inheritance he knows she will get upon her wedding day. Bolger is having a great old time hamming it up as Barnaby.
Stan and Ollie are saluted by Disney with Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin, fresh from the Zorro series. They're funny, but are clearly relegated to supporting players as Bolger's inept stooges. As Stan Laurel was still alive when Babes In Toyland was in the theaters, I've often wondered what he thought of Sheldon and Calvin.
Tommy Kirk who was barely out of his teens got a real treat to work with one of the great funny men of all time. Babes In Toyland is a great example for those of us to see the zany humor in the character of Ed Wynn as the Toymaker with Kirk as his assistant. The two of them work very well together.
Even Tommy Sands gets into the humor of things when he dons an outrageous gypsy drag persona to foil one of Bolger's schemes. A scheme that goes awry when Calvin and Sheldon don't precisely obey orders. You just can't get good help, even in Toyland.
I even think Victor Herbert would have approved of the way his numbers were done though he probably would not like the Disney interpolations that were made. He was a stickler for such things in his life.
Viewing March Of The Wooden Soldiers back to back with Babes In Toyland doesn't make this version look inferior by any means.
Carnaval en el bosque (Argentina; Mexico) • O Mundo Encantado dos Brinquedos (Brazil) • Aufruhr im Spielzeugland (Germany (TV title)) • El Bosque sin Retorno (Spain (video title)) • Babes Leikkikalumaassa (Finland) • Sti hora ton paihnidion (Greece (TV title)) • Στη Χώρα των Παιχνιδιών (Greece) • Irány Játékország (Hungary) • W krainie zabawek (Poland) • No Reino das Maravilhas (Portugal)
sheep, gypsy, mother goose, goose, wedding, fiance fiancee relationship, old woman, lifting a male into the air, lifting a female into the air, mirror, march, sword, wall clock, disguise, accordion, crook, wagon, donkey, tambourine, acrobat, lust, oil lamp, upskirt, castle, boy, panties, top hat, native dress, pantaloon, horse...
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