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Babes in Toyland (1961)

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Babes in Toyland is a 1961 Christmas musical film in Technicolor, directed by Jack Donohue, produced by Walt Disney, and distributed to theaters by Buena Vista Distribution. It is based on Victor Herbert's popular 1903 operetta of the same name. There had been a well-remembered film version of the operetta in 1934 with Laurel and Hardy, and three television adaptations prior to the Disney film, but Disney's was only the second film adaptation of the operetta released to movie theaters, the first in Technicolor, and the most elaborate by far. However, the plot, and in some cases, the music, bear little resemblance to the 1903 show (Disney had most of the lyrics rewritten and some of the song tempos drastically changed). Both the 1934 film and the 1960 television adaptation (with a grown-up Shirley Temple) use the songs as originally written for the stage.

Synopsis

The film begins as if it were a stage play presented by Mother Goose (and her wise-cracking, talking goose companion, Sylvester J. Goose), about two nursery rhyme characters, Mary Contrary and Tom Piper, who are about to be married. At the same time Barnaby, a miser, is hiring two crooks to throw Tom into the sea, forcing Mary to marry him instead. (Mary has just come into a huge inheritance of which she is obviously unaware, but somehow–it is never explained how–Barnaby knows about it and intends to get it for himself.) After smashing Tom on the head with a hammer and tying him in a bag, the two henchmen, Gonzorgo and the silent Roderigo, pass by a gypsy camp. They decide to sell Tom to the Gypsies instead of drowning him in order to collect a double payment.

Gonzorgo and Roderigo return and tell Mary, Barnaby, and the citizens of Mother Goose Land that Tom has accidentally drowned. They show Mary a phony letter in which Tom tells her that he is abandoning her for her own good and that she would be better off marrying Barnaby. The grief-stricken Mary is still able to earn a living off her sheep to avoid marrying him, but Barnaby, knowing this would happen, also has told his henchmen to steal the sheep. Mary, believing she is destitute, reluctantly accepts the proposal from Barnaby. Barnaby unknowingly arranges for the same gypsies that have Tom to provide entertainment for the marriage. Tom, disguised in drag as the gypsy Floretta, reveals himself and Barnaby pursues the frightened Gonzorgo and Roderigo, furious at their deception. One of the children informs Mary of some sheep tracks leading into the Forest of No Return.

The children, still eager to find their sheep, sneak away into the forest to search for the missing sheep. The trees of the forest come to life and capture them. Tom and Mary follow and find the children in the forest telling stories about the live trees, which, at the moment, seem like ordinary ones. They camp out for the night, and in the morning the trees once again come to life and inform the family that they are now in custody of the Toymaker in Toyland. Excited by this, the group happily continues on, escorted part of the way by the trees.

Through the windows of The Toymaker's house they watch the Toymaker's rather incompetent apprentice, Grumio, present a new machine that makes toys without any manual labor. Overjoyed, the Toymaker speeds up the machine to such a high rate that it explodes, destroying every toy in the factory. The family comes in and offers to help make more toys in time for Christmas. Grumio also presents another invention, one that shrinks things down to toy size, and if it were used on anything more than once, they would disappear completely. Barnaby, who had been spying on everyone, shrinks down the Toymaker and Tom. When Barnaby's henchmen see him threatening to give Tom two servings of the shrinking formula, they abandon Barnaby and run. They, too, are shrunken to toy size and locked up with Tom in a birdcage. Barnaby awakens Mary and starts a marriage ceremony threatening to destroy Tom if she resists, and to destroy the Toymaker if he refuses to marry the couple. While the Toymaker delays the marriage Tom sneaks away with the help of Gonzorgo and Roderigo, and returns with an army of toy soldiers to fight Barnaby. Barnaby easily demolishes the toy soldiers, and is about to obliterate Tom with another dose from the shrink gun, but Mary destroys it with a toy cannon. The liquid splatters all over Barnaby, and shrinks him to Tom's new size. He is challenged to and engages in a sword duel with Tom which he loses, but in the film as released, it is unclear whether or not he is actually killed, although he does appear to have been stabbed. (Pre-release publicity stills and a comic book adaptation of the story had him locked up in the birdcage right at film's end, but in the actual movie, he falls into a toy box with a scream at the end of the duel and is never shown again.) After the fight is over, Grumio once again presents a new invention, this time returning people to their original size. It is promptly used on Tom, the Toymaker, Gonzorgo and Roderigo–but not on Barnaby. Tom and Mary are married and they live happily ever after.

Songs

  • Overture
  • Mother Goose Village & Lemonade
  • We Won't Be Happy Till We Get It
  • Just A Whisper Away
  • Slowly, He Sank To The Bottom of the Sea
  • Castles in Spain
  • Never Mind, Bo-Peep
  • I Can't Do the Sum
  • Gyspy Dance & Floretta
  • The Forest of No Return
  • Go To Sleep
  • Toyland
  • Workshop Song
  • Just a Toy
  • March of the Toys
  • Finale

Home video releases

Cast

Actor Character
Ray Bolger Barnaby
Tommy Sands Tom Piper
Annette Funicello Mary Contrary
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

Gallery

External links

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The Walt Disney Company
Animated shorts
Empty SocksMickey's OrphansSanta's WorkshopMickey's Good DeedThe Night Before ChristmasToy TinkersPluto's Christmas TreeThe Small OneMickey's Christmas Carol • "Jingle Bells, Something Smells" • "The Nutcracker" • "Mickey's Mixed Nuts" • "Mickey's Christmas Chaos" • Operation: Secret Santa • "Oh, Christmas Tree!"
Movies
Animated The Nightmare Before ChristmasBeauty and the Beast: The Enchanted ChristmasMickey's Once Upon a ChristmasWinnie the Pooh: Seasons of GivingMickey's Magical Christmas: Snowed in at the House of MouseRecess Christmas: Miracle on Third StreetA Very Merry Pooh YearMickey's Twice Upon a ChristmasMy Friends Tigger & Pooh: Super Sleuth Christmas MovieA Christmas Carol
Live-action Babes in ToylandOne Magic ChristmasThe Christmas StarErnest Saves ChristmasA Mom For ChristmasIn the Nick of TimeThe Muppet Christmas CarolThe Santa ClauseThe Christmas TreeI'll Be Home For ChristmasSanta Who?The Ultimate Christmas Present 'Twas the NightThe Santa Clause 2Eloise at ChristmastimeThe Santa Clause 3: The Escape ClauseSanta BuddiesThe Search for Santa PawsGood Luck Charlie, It's Christmas!Santa Paws 2: The Santa Pups
Television specials and episodes
Animated
Television specials From All of Us to All of YouA Disney Christmas GiftA Disney Channel ChristmasWinnie the Pooh and Christmas TooA Goof Troop ChristmasPhineas and Ferb Christmas Vacation!Prep & LandingMickey's Christmas SpecialPrep & Landing: Naughty vs. NiceToy Story That Time ForgotFrozen holiday special
Television episodes Disney Television Animation "Jolly Molly Christmas" • "It's a Wonderful Leaf" • "Miracle at the 34th Precinct" • "Doug's Secret Christmas" • "A Christmas Cruella" • "Yes, Mikey, Santa Does Shave" • "Don't Be Elfish" • "A Kosher Christmas" • "A Dog For All Seasons" • "The Worst Holiday Ever" • "Holiday Time" • "Seven Days of Kwanzaa" • "The Blight Before Christmas" • "Cheery Theerlap, Lloyd" • "Pete's Christmas Caper" • "Clarabelle's Christmas List" • "Happy Holidays, Mr. Gruff!" • "A Very Possible Christmas" • "Topper" • "On Whiskers, On Lola, On Cheryl and Meryl" • "Hairy Christmas" • "A Giftmas Story" • "Season's Beatings" • "Dick Daring's All-Star Holiday Stunt Spectacular V" • "Stitch and Santa" • "A Phineas and Ferb Family Christmas" • "A Cousin Kyle Christmas" • "Merry Fishmas, Milo" • "The Gift" • "Gingersnaps and Grumpy Snaps / Jollybells"
Playhouse Disney / Disney Junior "A Circus Town Christmas" • "Twinkle's Wish" • "The Christmas Wish " • "The Wind-Up Toy Prince" • "Mickey Saves Santa" • "The Night Before Zipsmas / A Gift For Zooter" • "Flicker Saves Christmas" • "The Ayalas' Christmas Extravaganza" • "The Living Holiday Lights" • "It's a Winter Never Land!" • "A Very McStuffins Christmas" • "Holiday in Enchancia" • "Captain Scrooge" • "Winter's Gift" • "Toby's Christmas Critter / A Very Tricky Christmas"
Live-action
Television specials The Walt Disney Christmas ShowChristmas at Pooh CornerA Magic Kingdom Yuletide SpecialThe Disney Christmas SpecialMickey's NutcrackerDisney's Christmas Fantasy on IceA Muppets Christmas: Letters to SantaGood Luck Jessie: NYC ChristmasJessie's Aloha Holidays with Parker & JoeyDisney Channel Fa-La-La-Lidays Celebrates a Radio Disney Family Holiday
Television episodes Walt Disney Television "Christmas at the Circus" • "Christmas in Wonderland" • "Refrigerator Day" • "A Roman Holiday" • "Fountain" • "Happy Holidays" • "Heck of a Hanukkah" • "Xtreme Xmas" • "Escape Claus" • "Christmas at the Tipton" • "Christmas Break" • "Killing Me Softly With His Height" • "Present Problem" • "Happy Ha-Ha Holidays" • "A So Random! Holiday Special" • "A London Carol" • "Bro Ho Ho" • "So Random! Episode 18" • "Pair of Santas" • "sANTa's Little Helpers" • "Christmas Story" • "Jingle It Up" • "A Little Elf Esteem" • "A Duncan Christmas" • "Bark! The Herald Angels Sing" • "Merry Merry It Up" • "Oh, Christmas Nuts!" • "Big Dreams & Big Apples" • "Nanny in Miami" • "Fa La La La-A-Rooney" • "Mix-Ups & Mistletoes" • "Twas the Mission Before Christmas" • "silANT night" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "Girl Meets Home for the Holidays" • "Stan Steals Christmas" • "Merry Miss Sis" • "Secret Santa" • "Twas the Fight Before Christmas" • "The Girls of Christmas Past" • "Santas & Surprises" • "Joy-to-a-Rooney" • "Single All the Way"
Touchstone / ABC Studios "It's a Marginal Life" • "Yule Better Watch Out" • "I'm Scheming of a White Christmas" • "Santa's Little Helper" • "'Twas the Blight Before Christmas" • "Some Like It Hot Rod" • "'Twas the Night Before Chaos" • "'Twas the Flight Before Christmas" • "Easy Street" • "Bright Christmas" • "A Very Topanga Christmas" • "Home for the Holidays" • "An According to Jiminy Christmas" • "One Office Party Too Many" • "The Christmas Party" • "Secret Santa" • "Silent Night, Opening Night" • "Stalking Santa" • "Aru-Bah Humbug" • "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" • "The Gift of Maggie" • "Christmas Time" • "Light the Lights" • "The Miracle Song" • "Fake Plastic Snow" • "The Nutcracker" • "Two for the Money" • "Holidaze" • "Boom Crunch" • "Cold Turkey" • "How the 'A' Stole Christmas"
Albums
A Family ChristmasDisney's Merry Christmas CarolsA Pooh ChristmasDisney's Christmas CollectionDisney's Christmas Collection IIDisney's Family Christmas CollectionDisney's Snowy ChristmasDisney's Princess Christmas AlbumDisney's Merry Little ChristmasA Green and Red ChristmasDisney's Holiday Celebration 2007Disney Channel HolidayDisney Holiday Magic 2009Disney Winter Wonderland 2010Phineas and Ferb Holiday FavoritesMickey's Magical Holiday 2011Disney Channel Holiday Playlist
Other
Disney Parks Christmas Day ParadeThe Magic of Christmas at DisneylandThe Magic of Christmas at Walt Disney WorldFa-La-La-Lidays

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