In the "Pastoral Symphony" segment there was originally a scene showing stereotyped Black assistant centaurs shining the hooves of white centaurs. The chief of these was Sunflower, who had a very stereotypical look: big, red lips and wild messy hair. It was not until the 1969 re-release that this was thought to be objectionable, and all subsequent releases until 1980 had an abrupt cut at this point. Every subsequent release after 1990 includes the scene, but with the section blown up so that it only shows the faces of the white female centaurs.
June 2008 Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation".
On the 1982 digital re-recording of the soundtrack, Irwin Kostal decided to use Modest Mussorgsky's original orchestration (which was previously unpublished until 1968) of "Night on Bald Mountain," which is said to be much fiercer than the version orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski that was used on the original.
Originally, Gabriel Pierné's "Cydalise" was to have been the musical choice for the Greek mythology setting, but Walt Disney decided it wasn't expressive enough for the story, so Ludwig van Beethoven's "Pastoral Symphony" was chosen instead.
Premiered at the Broadway Theatre at 1681 Broadway at 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019.
The 1947 re-release was distributed with Peter and the Wolf, which was originally a segment in Make Mine Music, shown as a featurette, much the way the first two or three Disney "Winnie the Pooh" shorts were shown before the main feature in theaters. This was the closest Walt Disney ever got to continuously updating Fantasia with new segments, although the "Peter and the Wolf" cartoon was not actually incorporated into "Fantasia."
The 2000 restoration was the first time the longer, so-called roadshow version of the film was seen after the initial release. This version contains much longer interstitials from Deems Taylor explaining what will be seen. The picture of these segments was easy to find and was cleaned up, since most of them were used in the 1990 restoration, but the soundtrack for the segments that had not been seen since the 1940s either could not be found or was in terrible shape. After much debate, actor Corey Burton was called in to dub all of Taylor's speeches, including the "Sound Track" sequence halfway through the picture.
The animators secretly modeled elements of the Sorcerer in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" on their boss, Walt Disney. The raised eyebrow was regarded as a dead giveaway. They call the character Yen Sid, which is "Disney" spelled backwards.
The demon in "Night on Bald Mountain" is named Chernobog, after the god of evil in Slavonic mythology.
The filming of the final "Ave Maria" sequence was plagued by mishaps. To achieve the effect of moving through the scene, several panes of painted glass were used. The whole setup was over 200 feet long, and had to be redone three times. The first time the wrong lens was placed on the camera, and the subsequent film showed not only the artwork but the workers scurrying around it. The second time around, an earthquake struck the studio, and the shot was once again scrapped. The next morning, the shot was redone, the film was shipped to the lab, processed, and couriered to the premiere in New York where it was spliced into the final print with only four hours to spare.
The first American film to use stereophonic sound as well as the first and only film recorded in Fantasound.
The first feature film to be shown in multichannel sound. The original prints featured soundtracks that were recorded in a process known as Fantasound, a four-track directional stereophonic system that was invented especially to record the soundtrack for the film by RCA and the Walt Disney Studios technical team, led by William E. Garity. The Leopold Stokowski-conducted orchestra audio was recorded onto eight separate soundtracks (six channels recorded individual sections of the orchestra, the seventh recorded a mix of the first six channels and the eighth recorded a distant pickup of the entire orchestra), which were then mixed down to three tracks (left, center and right). The three music tracks were optically matted with a fourth control track (containing signal tones that varied the speaker dynamics) onto a filmstrip separate from the projector print. Over 90 speakers were used for the playback of the Fantasound audio during the premiere of the film on 12 November 1940. A more typical Fantasound setup used three speakers behind the screen and 65 others placed around the other three walls of the theater. However, Fantasound was discontinued due to the amount of sound equipment required and the time necessary to make the installation. The advent of
The first film to be presented to the general public in full digital sound. In Feb 1985, the digitally re-recorded soundtrack premiered at the Plitt Century Plaza theatre in Century City (Los Angeles). The theater was equipped with the Digital ready HPS-4000 sound system and had the acoustic power equivalent to 10 symphony orchestras.
The first major Hollywood film to be released with no written credits appearing onscreen except the intermission title card.
The images of dinosaurs from the "Rite of Spring" segment went on to inspire the "Primeval World" diorama following the "Grand Canyon" diorama on the Disneyland Railroad.
The initial wide release was a dismal box office failure. In later years, some theater chains, which would normally run any Disney release, would not book the reissues of this film. However, by the 1969 reissue, the film attracted considerable interest for its supposedly psychedelic imagery and Disney marketed the film according to take advantage of it. The reissue was successful and the film's reputation and popular appeal grew from that point to where its first home video release in 1991 broke records for sales.
The main theme in "Dance of the Hours" is adapted from the opera "La Gioconda," composed by Amilcare Ponchielli (1834-1886). This theme can also be heard in the song "Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)", sung by radio comic Allan Sherman (1924-1973).
The movie was named as one of the 20 Most Overrated Movies of All Time by Premiere Magazine.
The music for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was the only piece that was not recorded by The Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra. It was recorded by a hand-picked orchestra on a shooting stage that had been configured as a recording stage at the Pathé Studios in Culver City (later the RKO Pathé Studios, Desilu Studios, and now the Culver Studios, part of Sony Pictures Entertainment), sometime around 1938-1939. The rest of the music was recorded in Philadelphia by The Philadelphia Orchestra.
The name of the dancing hippo in the "Dance of the Hours" segment is Hyacinth, the Ostrich is Mlle. Upanova, and the alligator is Ben Ali Gator.