When Disney made a cartoon about an opera-singing whale

When Disney made a cartoon about an opera-singing whale

Jenna Simeonov

So, in 1946 Walt Disney produced an anthology of animated short films, called Make Mine Music. There are ten film segments, almost all of them set to music; there’s an animation of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, and the artists involved include Benny Goodman and the Andrews Sisters. But Make Mine Music caught my attention because of the last film segment, called The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met. It’s about a whale who… yeah. Opera lovers will enjoy Willy the Whale’s rendition of “Largo al factotum”, Canio’s aria from Pagliacci, and his Lucia Sextet, the parts sung by individual bits of Willy’s uvulae. It’s narrated by Nelson Eddy, and he’s also the sole voice behind all the singing (including a wicked falsetto for the ladies). It’s delightful, and you can watch it here.

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