The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Promotional Art Always Lies: No scene like this takes place in the film, much as one might wish it had...

Released in 1949, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is the 11th film in the Disney Animated Canon, and the last of the six "package films" created by the studio in the '40s. Like Fun and Fancy Free, it is a collection of two short movies, bundled together to make one feature length movie. Despite the name, the two title characters' stories are actually presented in the reverse order:

  • The Adventures of Mr. Toad or The Wind in the Willows: Narrated by Basil Rathbone, it stars J. Thaddeus Toad (voiced by Eric Blore), owner of the fabulous Toad Hall. His various obsessions combined with his reckless personality causes a large amount of damage to the town, and thus has acquired a large amount of debt. His latest obsession, motor cars, gets him into trouble with the law. Sent to jail for stealing a car, he breaks free and sets out to clear his name
  • The Story of Ichabod Crane or The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Narrated by Bing Crosby, it stars the lanky Ichabod Crane (also voiced, like most of the male characters, by Crosby), a newcomer to the small town of Sleepy Hollow as their new schoolmaster. He becomes smitten with the richest woman in town, and competes with the local men for her affections, but soon finds himself facing off with the Headless Horseman one Halloween night.

The two shorts are seen apart in individual collections more often than they are together in their original package film form.

Tropes used in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad include:
  • Actor Allusion: The narrator of the Mr. Toad segment, Basil Rathbone, mentions Sherlock Holmes as one of many possible nominees for the most fascinating characters in the history of literature. The deerstalker cap worn by Ratty also references Mr. Holmes.
  • Anthropomorphic Zig-Zag: Cyril Proudbottom.
  • Anti-Villain: Sleepy Hollow goes out of its way to prove that Brom Bones, while he's not above terrorizing the local schoolmaster to drive him out of town or bullying Katrina's other suitors, isn't really bad (just a bit of a Jerkass), and may in fact be a better husband for Katrina (unlike Ichabod, he appears to care more about her than her money.)
  • Ascended Extra: Cyril Proudbottom. Toad did have a horse in the original book, but he was an extremely minor character and only appeared briefly. Here, Cyril is Toad's loyal Sidekick.
  • Asshole Victim: Regardless of his fate, Ichabod Crane kind of deserved his encounter with the Headless Horseman. It's made abundantly clear that despite the girls (especially the main rich girl) fixating on him, all he's really after is money. He even has a fantasy about marrying the rich girl and waiting for her old man to croke so he can inherit his vast fortune. With that in mind, do you really feel sorry for him by the end?
  • Badass Cape: The Headless Horseman.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Possibly; see the "Downer Ending" spoiler below.
  • Big Eater: Despite being so thin, Ichabod certainly loves to eat.
  • Butt Monkey: Brom Bones. The man would honestly not be all that out of place as the bad guy in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
  • Catch Phrase: Toad gets one: "Travel! Change! Excitement!"
  • Cat Scare
  • Chick Magnet: The ladies quickly take to Ichabod because of his fascinating lanky appearance. Ichabod notices their food.
  • Clear My Name: Mr. Toad has to get the Deed he signed in order to prove he bought the stolen car not knowing it was stolen.
  • Deadly Dodging: While being accosted by Brom, Ichabod spends most of it either reacting too quickly to touch or not even noticing the attempts to sock him in the face.
  • Disguised in Drag: Mr. Toad disguises himself as a woman to get out of prison.
    • Don't forget Cyril, whose idea it was in the first place, who also dressed up as Mr. Toad's grandmother.
  • Downer Ending: Sort of. The Story of Ichabod Crane lets the viewer decide if Ichabod simply moved away from Sleepy Hollow or was actually "spirited away" by the Headless Horseman. Averted by The Adventures of Mr. Toad, which has a happy ending.
    • It's very much a YMMV kind of ending, regardless whether or not Ichabod actually dies or just gets scared out of town. For some, mostly kids, Ichabod comes across as an innocent victim who's just trying to get the girl. But for others, he's a selfish bastard trying to get the money from a rich girl's father through marriage, which is in fact very accurate to the actual story.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Ichabod's is when he opens a gate for a woman balancing a heavy load of pies -- and then reveals he snuck a pie away for himself (as well as his ability to avoid all superstitious items without once looking up from his book.) Brom Bones, on the other hand, carries in a big barrel of beer on his shoulders, pops it open to share with the buddies -- then smashes open the top so the horses and dogs can drink too.
  • Evil Laugh: The Headless Horseman has one of the best ones in Disney history.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. In the Toad segment, the weasels and Winky are clearly stated to be drunk, and in the Ichabod segment, Brom Bones and his friends (as well as the horse and dogs!) are shown drinking beer.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Listen to what Cyril Proudbottom said when he was called up by Mr. Toad in court.

Cyril Proudbottom: Oh, love a duck yes.  He's one of the jolliest japs I've ever run across.  Has simply tons of money.

  • Gold Digger: Ichabod seems to be more interested in the food of the women he courts than the women themselves. It's also directly stated that he only wants to marry Katrina for the money.
  • Headless Horseman
  • Hellish Horse: The Headless Horseman gets one.
  • Karma Houdini: The Headless Horseman.
  • Kavorka Man: Ichabod.
  • Keep-Away: A huge scuffle for the The Deed to Toad Hall, and proof of Mr. Toad's innocence. Mr. Toad complicates things by throwing out dozens of decoy deeds.
  • Kick the Dog: Brom Bones and Ichabod have their moments.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: Brom Bones
  • Man Child: Moley is very innocent and childlike at times.
  • Mood Whiplash: "The Headless Horseman" starts off as a comedy...and leads to one of the most terrifying sequences in Disney movie history.
  • Owl Be Damned: During Ichabod's journey in the dark forest, there's a sinister - looking one perched on a tree.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Very much so in the Mr. Toad segment. It does avoid being an In Name Only adaptation by keeping Toad's personality pretty much the same as in the book (even if other characters are very different) and staying true to the basic story structure of the Toad parts of The Wind in the Willows, but it does change a few things up, attempting to turn Toad more sympathetic by having him actually innocent of the crime he's imprisoned for.
  • Rich in Dollars, Poor In Sense: Mr. Toad.
  • Scooby-Doo Hoax: An example of one done right. Implied in the film, and more so in the original short story, Brom Bones apparently tells the story of the Headless Horseman, then dresses up as him to use Ichabod's established superstitious nature and the cover of night to scare the schoolmaster away.
  • Spinning Paper: Used to indicate Mr. Toad's legal proceedings.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Despite charming suitors she has little interest in to do favors for her, Katrina is not without her kindness and does does not take well to Brom's bullying of her suitors. When Ichabod is knocked into a puddle he tried to help her cross, she throws her hankerchief at him.
  • Stock Footage: The tussle for the deed to Toad Hall is the first use of the chase scene that was later seen in The Jungle Book, with Baloo as Mole and Mowgli as the deed, and Robin Hood, with the hen as Mole and a football as the deed.
  • Stuffy Brit: Ratty, of all animals, as a stark contrast to his more laid-back and easygoing book counterpart.
  • Surprise Witness: Subverted with Winky at Mr. Toad's trial.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: A townsman becomes red-faced when Katrina Van Tassel flirts with him.
    • Ichabod turns red from heat while eating some extremely hot food and smoke comes out of his ears towards the end of Brom Bones' song.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: The Headless Horseman sung by Brom Bones.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Breaks out of Jail? Evades arrest? Steals a train? Apparently none of that matters because he didn't steal the car! Admittedly, it's one step up from the book where he actually did steal the car and still escaped with no repercussions, but stil...