On this Day Factola

June 21, 1961

 

The short film Donald and the Wheel (starring Donald Duck) was released to theaters

 

 

 

 

 

Caveman Donald dances to the music from the gramophone and jukebox, a more “practical” example of the use of wheels

Courtesy of DisneyDetail blog and Walt Disney Productions

 

The DisneyDetail blog summarizes this film and the gramophone and jukebox (my bold text) segment as follows:

This educational short begins with two “spirits of progress” watching a piece of wood rolling around like a wheel. Junior, the younger of the spirits, asks his dad why he’s so impressed with the wheel. His father claims it to be the greatest invention of all time, to which Junior scoffs. When his father challenges him to name something better than the wheel, Junior accepts the challenge, but every invention he names is only possible thanks to the wheel. The father takes his son back in history to meet the inventor of the wheel.

Back in the caveman age, we see a prehistoric Donald Duck, who, after a run-in with a tiger, is inspired to create the wheel. The spirits try to explain to Donald what a wheel is used for, but Donald seems to not be able to understand. Donald finally asks them who they are, and they explain to him that they are the “spirits of progress,” there to help him with his great invention. The first example they give him is attaching two wheels to his sled, making it easier for him to cart around.

The song at that point goes through the evolution of the wheel, with Donald also donning the attire of each time period being sung about. Steam is soon added to the idea of the wheel, with trains and automobiles lauded in song, and Donald involved in comic situations with each passing period. Finally, after a massive pile-up on the highway, Donald angrily declares he’d rather walk.

They go back to Donald’s time, trying to take another approach with how important the wheel is. When they try to explain that the world is round, Donald insists that the world is flat. Junior takes over this time, trying to explain the rotation of the Earth, the moon, and all the planets in the solar system. The demonstration continues with gears to show how wheels keep things working. For a more “practical” example, they begin with a music box, moving to the gramophone, then the jukebox, which features Donald dancing with a live-action dancer.

The spirits, however, push a little too hard with how important the wheel will be, showing wheels in everything he will use in his day. When they claim that he’s about to create a great invention, Donald tells them “Oh, no! I’m not going to be responsible for that!” The spirits are consoled with the fact that although Donald didn’t invent the wheel, someone eventually did.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caveman Donald is also shown interacting with live figures – a throw back to "The Three Caballeros" as he goes ga-ga for a miniature live action ballerina. - Text and screenshot of ballerina dancing on an LP courtesy of CartoonResearch.com

 

 

 

 

Maldives introduced a set of stamps in 1995 based on Donald and the Wheel (with this one featuring a Victor Talking Machine)

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this Day Factola - June 21, 1961