There's seemingly no end of curious things on the American Council for the Blind's old-time radio station. This week's surprise is a Lux Radio Theater from Christmas 1939, adapting Walt Disney's Pinocchio. I heard the Lux Snow White and the Seven Dwarves a few weeks ago, but the adaptation of other Disney movies hadn't occurred to me. Pinoccho adapts surprisingly well to having no pictures. In only a few spots they have to fall back on ``Look at that!'' dialogue (``Look at that, Pinocchio, your nose is growing out like -- like a tree!'') when all other methods of describing action fail. If you lose Pinocchio tripping at the start of ``I Got No Strings,'' most of it's still lovely, and certainly the movie adapts better than Bambi would (if it did).
A lot of movies got adapted this way, from Alibi Ike to It Happened One Night to The Wizard of Oz, usually playing quite well in one hour less Lux soap commercials and the actors praising Cecil B DeMille for his achievement. What startles me is basically the entire movie -- dialogue, songs, jokes, everything but the animation, and all the sound by the movie performers -- was effectively released two months ahead of the actual movie. That'd be like finding Revenge of the Sith novelizations in the bookstores last weekend. I suppose it's effective ``teaser'' marketing, but I'm surprised Disney was confident enough the animation would so awe people they'd pay to see a story they already heard.
Trivia: Disney studios made a five-foot flexible skeleton model of Monstro the Whale. Source: Of Mice and Magic, Leonard Maltin.
Currently Reading: Don't You Know There's A War On? The American Home Front 1941-1945, Richard Lingeman.