The Unicorn in the Garden

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
"I'm absolutely certain you're going to need a strait-jacket."

"The unicorn is a mythical beast."


"The Unicorn in the Garden" is a 1953 animated short directed by William T. Hurtz, produced by UPA, and released through Columbia Pictures. The short is based directly on James Thurber's short story of the same name, originally published in The New Yorker magazine on October 21, 1939, and later collected in Fables For Our Time and Famous Poems Illustrated (1940). The short closely imitates the style of the author's own illustrations and cartoons. Like many of Thurber's fictions, "The Unicorn in the Garden" deals with the fundamental conflict between men and women, and the romantic vs. practical mindset represented by each, respectively.

This short occupies the 48th place on the list of The 50 Greatest Cartoons.

The Unicorn in the Garden is the Trope Namer for:
Tropes used in The Unicorn in the Garden include:
  • Aside Glance
  • Cassandra Truth: What the wife tells the psychiatrist and the police.
  • Catch Phrase: The unicorn is a mythical beast.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: Some younger viewers may not realize that "booby" here has nothing to do with breasts, but refers to the mentally ill: the "booby-hatch" is an insane asylum.
  • Henpecked Husband
  • Limited Animation: The 'toon is extremely sylized, as was typical of all UPA animation. In this particular case, this may be because the style is that of the original story's author.
  • Lohengrin and Mendelssohn: Felix Mendelssohn's Wedding March plays -- as the wife is being carried off to the asylum, no less!
  • Spoof Aesop: Don't count your boobies until they are hatched.
  • Unicorn: Which is, of course, a mythical beast.
  • What Could Have Been: UPA planned to adapt more of Thurber's stories, including a feature film of The White Deer. Sadly, it was not to be.