Thursday, May 20, 2010

1959 = DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND, Walt Disney educator whether you want it or not

Not content to just produce animated films and lame live action comedy's which usually starred Fred MacMurray or later on Kurt Russell, a part of Walt Disney always wanted to educate the public.  A typical result in 1959 was something like this Donald in Mathmagic Land.

During World War II, Disney made a lot of money making training films for the armed forces.  Walt Disney also always had a need to enrich and enlighten the general public.  So it was not unusual to end up with a film like this.  A mishmash of animation and education with the unsubtle message in this case that "math is fun."

This isn't a bad short film.  Donald in Mathmagic Land is well made with some interesting animation and kind of cool looking surrealistic backgrounds. 

I remember being paraded into our grade school gymnasium, where we were subjected to a 16mm film of this short.  I didn't remember a thing about it at the time. What I do remember was that it got me out of class for about an hour or so.

I doubt the message that "math is fun and interesting," made much of an impression on a bunch of unruly grade school children back in the 1960's.  But it killed an hour or so on a Friday afternoon while kids and teachers were waiting for the weekend to begin.

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