Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day and the Simple Beauty of Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet

"Johnnie Fedora met
Alice Bluebonnet
in the window of
the department store.
'Twas love at first sight
and they promised one night
they'd be sweethearts forevermore."
-Make Mine Music

In honor of Valentine's Day, I'd like to share (see link below) what is probably my favorite love song, the ballad of one of my favorite movie couples. It's a Disney song from one of their most obscure movies, Make Mine Music. Released in 1946 when the Disney studio was in a state of financial uncertainty due to the war, Make Mine Music was intended to be a kind of "modern" Fantasia. Like Fantasia, it's a series of short films, each one set to a particular piece of music. Unfortunately, it's not nearly as well-remembered as Fantasia, even though it's endlessly charming and a lot of fun to watch (and listen to). Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet (or "A Love Story" as it's first introduced) is my favorite of these short films.

Sung by the Andrews Sisters, the song tells the tale of two hats who meet and fall in love in the window of a department store and are then forced to part when they are sold to different people. An odyssey ensues as Johnnie tirelessly scours the city for his beloved Alice. I first saw this at when I was eight years old, around Valentine's Day on the Disney channel and it may have singlehandedly made me a romantic. The song is heart-wrenching/warming and the vocals of the Andrews Sisters are terrific, giving voice to individual characters while also serving as joint narrators (and harmonizing like crazy). The animation is lovely as well, creating a world where every hat has life and personality. The humans are almost after-thoughts. They are seen mostly in profile, from the back, or from the eyebrows up. The emotions are so real and powerful it's easy to forget you're watching a story about a couple of hats. And because they're just a couple of hats, all this emotion has to be conveyed only through their eyes (yes, they do have eyes--don't your hats?). That's good animation.

I love Johnnie and Alice. For me, they are Valentine's Day. I can get through the whole day without watching a single romance with "real" people, but I need to watch this. It's lovely, it's nostalgic, it makes me cry in the best way, and it reminds me that "true love will come smiling through." Who doesn't like to hear that? It also makes me wish we still wore hats like these. What I wouldn't give to look out on a city street and see a great wave of fedoras...

It also shows why we never should have gotten rid of ice wagons. Practicality be damned!

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. This post, much like the song, makes me smile. Hope the past few days have been full of Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet, dragons and mooncakes and president or two!

  2. Thanks for reading, darling. I always think of you when I think of this song. Plus, mooncakes sound good. Dragons have been scarce though.