The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) Script

Ichabod and Mr Toad


Ichabod and Mr Toad

Ichabod, Ichabod and Mr Toad...

If you were asked to chose the most fabulous character in English literature, who would it be?

Robin Hood? King Arthur?

Becky Sharp?

Sherlock Holmes? Oliver Twist, perhaps?

Any one of them would be an excellent choice.

But as the most fabulous character of all, I nominate a toad.

J Thaddeus Toad, Esquire. Have you never met him?

You'll find his story in "The Wind in the Willows".

Toad was the one disturbing element.

Incurable adventurer, mad, reckless, tried everything.

A positive mania for fads, and he never counted the cost.

He had a host of fair-weather friends.

But there were only three who had his best interests at heart.

One was a badger. MacBadger.

And then there was a water rat.

A bit stuffy, perhaps, but really a fine fellow. And a mole.

A gentle creature, kind and sympathetic.

They all made their homes in a quaint community along a riverbank.

On that particular day, Mole was in a hurry because...

because he was late for tea.

A regrettable habit, but Rat had learned to put up with it.

Sorry, says Mole. Quite alright, says Rat. Two lumps?

Then, just as they were getting settled...

Special Delivery, Mr Rat. Thank you, Postman.

How's everything on the river, sir?

Dashed quiet, as usual, thank you.

Mole, listen.

"Dear Rat: You and Mole must come to Toad Hall at once."

"Urgent!! A MacBadger."

Rat was certain Toad was making trouble again.

The answer to that lay just around the bend at Toad Hall, the ancestral home of J Thaddeus himself.

This impressive structure was the finest home on the river.

The animals were tremendously proud of it.

They felt it gave the whole community an air of respectability.

To lose Toad Hall was, of course, unthinkable, and yet it was no secret that Toad's follies had brought him to the brink of bankruptcy.

So, MacBadger had volunteered to put Toad's house in order.

Smashed fence. Two guineas.

Damage, lamp post. Four pound six.

Destruction of hen house...

How can a man figure with all this hubbub?

I'll not be put off! Pay my bill!

I want my money! Silence!

You'll get your money in due course.

Now, go along with you. I'll pay no more today.

Why did I assume the responsibility of looking after...

Didn't I tell you...?

It's you, Rat. And Mole, too. Thank goodness, lads.

You've come at last.

Poor MacBadger. He'd reached the end of his rope.

As he said himself...

I'm practically a nervous wreck.

I say! What seems to be the trouble?

Summat's got to be done about Toad! This time he's gone too far!

But he promised us...

Promises? What good are promises when wild manias take him?

Now, look, you're his closest friends, are you not?

Yes. Very dear friends.

Then you must find Toad and stop him!

What's he doing? He's got a new mania.

He's rampaging about the county in a canary-yellow gypsy cart.

With a horse named Cyril.


Are we on our way to Nottingham, to Brittingham, to Buckingham Or any hammy hamlet by the sea? No!

Are we on our way to Devonshire, to Lancashire or Worcestershire?

I'm not so sure We'll have to wait and see Are we on our way to Dover? Or going merrily over The jolly old road that goes to Plymouth Ho?

No! We're merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily On our way to nowhere in particular We're merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on our way Though the roads are perpendicular

- We're always in a hurry We have no time to stall We've gotta be there We've gotta be there But where, we can't recall We're merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily on our way And we may be going to Devonshire, to Lancashire, to Worcestershire We're not so sure, but what do we care?

We're only sure we've got to be there We're merrily on our way to nowhere at all

Hello, you fellows!

You're the very animals I was coming to see!

Come along! Hop up! We'll go for a jolly ride!

The open road, the dusty highway. Come!

I'll show you the world.

Travel, change, excitement...

How stupid of me! I want you fellows to meet my noble steed Cyril.

Aye, that's me.

A bit of a trotter, a bit of a rotter.

How do you do, how do you do, how do you do?

How do you do?

Say, guv'nor, your friends seem a bit on the stuffy side.

Toad, we want to have a talk with you.

A visit! Splendid!

This is serious. You must give up that horse and cart.

Give up my... But my dear Ratty, this is my career!

You can't mean... I do!

You must stop this foolishness! No.

You must! No. I won't do it.

Your reckless behaviour is giving animals a bad name!

You're becoming a menace to society.

At least think of poor MacBadger!

And as for that horse, no good will come of gadding about with such a fast and irresponsible beast!

Get him, Mole! Come down, Toady.

Stop it! Let me go! Giddy up, Cyril! Giddy up!

It's no use. You'll never get me to give this up!

Tally-ho! Yikes!


Gad! What is it?

Lummy, guv'nor, it's a motorcar. Motorcar?

A motorcar... Gad! What have I been missing?

Ratty, it isn't... He hasn't... It is, and he has.

A new mania. Motor mania.


That's it. That's what it was. A positive mania.

No telling where it would end. Might linger for months.

And with Toad Hall at stake, Rat and Mole had no choice.

Only one thing to do.

Lock the poor chap up until the poison worked out of his system.

Hold him, Moley!

That's better. And you can't escape.

Simply no use trying.

Let me out! Open up, I say! Please!

Open the door!

Playing jailer to one's dearest friend wasn't pleasant.

In fact, Moley immediately wanted to call it quits, but Ratty said no.

This time they must be firm.

It wasn't just a matter of saving Toad from himself.

There was MacBadger to consider, and Toad Hall and all it stood for.

There was only one thing wrong with Ratty's cure for motor mania.

It didn't work. You see, Toad was far too clever.

And, at the moment, completely mad. He was determined to get a motorcar, even if he had to beg, borrow or...

Toad arrested! Extra!

His Majesty versus J Thaddeus Toad, Toad Hall, Riverbank, Doodle-Bunton- Maxon-Morton, Surrey.

24th day of August, set forth in the following brief.

Accused is J Thaddeus Toad, of stealing a motorcar, and with it, endangering sundry subjects of His Majesty, their life and limbs. Counsel for the Crown, proceed with the case.

My lord, I call, as first Crown witnesses, Mr Rat and Mr Mole!

Is it true that you had the accused locked in his own house because he had threatened to get a motorcar?

Did you, or did you not, have him locked up?

We did. Thank you! That is all!

Next witness. Mr Angus MacBadger!

As trustee of the Toad estate, you knew of the prisoner's mania for motorcars?

And due to his extravagance, you cut off his allowance?

Then he was, to the best of your knowledge, without funds?

That is all! Thank you!

Gentlemen of the jury, the Crown rests.

Counsel for the defence will present his case.

My lord, with the court's indulgence, I rise prepared to plead my own defence.

Stop it.

Gentlemen of the jury...

I call, as my first witness, Cyril Proudbottom.

Are you acquainted with the defendant, J Thaddeus Toad?

Lord love a duck, yes! He's one of the jolliest chaps I've run across.

And simply tons of money.

Good fellow? Throws it away.

But he wasn't throwing it away that day!

You heard Mr MacBadger testify that his allowance was cut off.

Then how did he get a motorcar?

The only way a gentleman gets anything.

The honest way. And what is the honest way?

I thought you wouldn't know!

Your Lordship, I...

The witness may testify in his own words.

Righto, guv'nor. I'll just give you the facts.

When Toady escaped from his boudoir he headed straight for my place.

Soon we was off down the highway, but we hadn't gone far, I confess, when, with a rush and a roar...

something passed like the London Express.

It was big, it was red, it was beautiful.

A motorcar, a bit of alright.

Toady was transfixed with... rapture.

You could tell it was love at first sight.

The motor pulled up to a tavern, wherein was located a bar.

And we watched while some tough-looking weasels got out of that lovely red car.

Now, weasels, I know, are deceitful.

And not to be trusted, at all.

But how could I know they'd stolen that car?

I didn't have no crystal ball.

The guv'nor is not one to dally.

He made up his mind like a flash. He says...

Try it for size, my good Cyril, while I see what they'll take for it, cash.

Into the tavern he saunters, where the barman was back of the bar.

And he said, Cheerio, tavern keeper. Who's the owner of that... hot-looking car?

The barman, a codger named Winky, leaned over the bar and said, Why? - The guv'nor answered, That car must be mine!

Whatever the price is, I'll buy.

But Toad found he hadn't no money. So, he promptly offered a trade.

The weasels appeared to be willing. In a moment, the bargain was made.

Toady drawed up a paper, with almost incredible speed.

He called on old Winky the barman to... pop over and witness the deed.

Now, the guv'nor is not a bit stingy. He never does anything small.

The weasels gave him the red motorcar, and he gave the weasels Toad Hall.

Traded Toad Hall? An estate worth 100,000 for a motorcar?

You expect me to believe that?

I don't expect you to believe anything.

Fortunately, I can produce a witness. Call Mr Winky!

My lord, gentlemen, facing you in the witness box is a citizen of substance and standing.

A man of unimpeachable honesty.

Now, Mr Winky, do you recall an incident that took place in your... establishment last August 12th, that I was a party to?

Yes, sir, that I do.

Well, then... just tell the court what actually happened.

Well, guv'nor, you tried to sell me a stolen motorcar.

That's a deliberate lie, you monkey-faced rum pot!

I've been framed! Let me go! Help!

Toad guilty!

Toad's disgrace rocked the nation.

The court was determined to make an example of him.

Toad's friends tried to help him, but were always blocked.

They must've reopened the case a dozen times.

Appeals to this court, that court any court. But the decision stood.

The case of J Thaddeus Toad was closed.

Merry, merry Christmas time Bind every heart with happiness Let everyone...

Yes, once again, it was a white Christmas.

Melodies of Yuletide hung sweet upon the winter's air.

Hearts were gay and spirits high.

Indeed, in all the city, only one spot was untouched by the warmth of Christmas cheer.

The Tower, grim monument to despair. Cold, cruel, forbidding, and the abode of Toad for a good many Christmases to come.

Poor Toad. Alone with memories of his wasted life.

What a fool he'd been!

With many a pang he recalled the kindly face of Angus MacBadger, and his sage advice, so often scorned.

A tear for Moley, too, for his loyalty, sympathy, understanding.

Toad wept for Rat, and all those little lectures so often laughed at.

Yes, within the dark confines of his miserable cell, a new Toad was born. A reformed Toad, a repentant Toad.

In a flood of remorse, he vowed to forsake the follies of the Primrose path.

Never again would he give way to those mad, foolish manias that had brought him to this sorry end.

As it's Christmas, you're allowed a visitor.

Your grandma's here. Grandma?

Merry Christmas, sonny!

Granny wouldn't forget her little Toady boy!

Look, Christmas gift.

What is it? Don't you get it?

A disguise.

All you've got to do is put on this natty little costume and...

Alas for good intentions. Toad was incurable.

One whispered word and all his high resolve vanished in the mad whirl of this new adventure.

This new mania! Escape!

Toad's escaped!


Good evening, ma'am.

Good evening to you, Officer.

We're merrily, merrily, merrily...

Begging your pardon, but you...

You fellows, do you see him?

Gad, what perfectly ripping luck!

Trap Toad, would they?


There he goes! Where?

Over there!

Blockheads! Let them scour the countryside.

Once more, J Thaddeus Toad had the last laugh.

That Christmas Eve, along the riverbank, the name of Toad was banned from conversation, lest the memory of his disgrace becloud the merriment of the season.

Yet there was one home, at least, in which two loyal hearts still held the warmth of Christian charity.

Bless this good food we are about to enjoy.

Bless us, every one.

And... bless poor Toad.

And may he get time off for good behaviour.

Why, it's a poor old lady.

Let's take her over by the fire.

What are you doing here?

I was just sort of...

Well, this is a merry Christmas!

But... aren't you afraid of the police?

Afraid of the police?

I, Toad, afraid of the police?

Open up, I say! The police!

Hide me, Ratty!

Sorry, but you owe a debt to society.

And you've got to pay.

Mole, let them in.

But, Ratty, don't you think, maybe...

Open the door!

MacBadger! Hi, lads!

I've just made a very important discovery.

Toad Hall is ablaze with lights and in possession of a pack of weasels.

And the leader of the gang is none other than Mr...


Hip, hip...


And so, you see, he did trade Toad Hall for the motorcar!

Toad was innocent all the time. Aye, lads.

And if he were only here right now...

Toad! Angus!

Sorry, Toad, I misjudged you.

I hope, someday, you'll find it in your heart...

Not another word.

To err is human, to forgive...

Not so fast!

You're still guilty in the eyes of the law.

To prove your innocence, we've got to get that paper away from Winky!

Now, I have a plan.

We'll sneak in through the secret tunnel.

It was an expert plan, cunningly contrived but extremely dangerous.

It would work only if each did his part. There was no margin for error.

The odds against them were tremendous, but the stakes were high.

But now, steady's the word...

One false move and four lives hang in the balance.

Careful, lads. There is a guard.

I'll pop him off! Don't shoot!

Who goes there?

That was a close one.

Trust Toad to start things off on the wrong foot.

No turning back now. Nothing for it but to push on.

What new and greater perils lay ahead, no one could say.

Toad had already got out of hand, so anything could happen.

Look. They're all asleep.

Lads, they're drunk. They've been hitting the bottle.

But where is Winky?

There he is!

He's got the paper on him!

We'll have to climb up on the balcony.

The paper! It's gone!

Get him, you blokes!

I beg your pardon!

Over here!

After it!

Just one more! There he is! Get him!

Where's Moley?

Well, laddies, we saved our skins, but we didn't get the deed.

Well done!

Hip, hip, hooray!

So, it was a happy ending, after all.

Toad's friends were dreadfully proud of him. And why not?

He was a new Toad, completely reformed, through with gypsy carts and motorcars for ever.

And so, on this happiest of New Years, a toast was in order.

To the New Year and... To the new Toad!

Hello, you fellows!

Come! I'll show you the world.

Travel, change, excitement...

That was the fabulous Thaddeus Toad.

But let's weigh our judgement carefully, we Moles and Rats and Badgers. Don't we envy him a bit?

I know I do.

When we speak of fabulous characters, the most fabulous will always be, to me, the master of Toad Hall.

Yes! J Thad was quite a lad!

Speaking of fabulous characters, England has produced a bumper crop.

But here in the colonies, we have a few of our own.

Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, Black Bart, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone.

And, of course, the one and only Ichabod Crane.

Ichy was the country schoolmaster dreamed up by Washington Irving.

He had a way with a yarn did Mr Irving.

If we could journey back to that period in history when Manhattan was but a market town, we would discover, in one of the coves which indent the shores of the Hudson, the little village of Tarry Town.

And just beyond, nestled deep in the low rolling hills, a sequestered glen.

It's a quiet, peaceful place, and yet, somehow... foreboding.

It abounds in haunted spots, twilight tales and local superstitions.

The best-known story concerns an itinerant schoolmaster who once frequented these parts.

Some say his melancholy spirit still haunts the vicinity.

The pedagogue was described as a most unusual man.

To see him striding along, one might mistake him for a scarecrow eloped from a cornfield.

He was tall, but exceedingly lank.

His head was small and flat on top, with a long, snipe nose.

It looked like a weathercock perched upon his spindle neck.

Altogether, he was an apparition seldom to be seen in broad daylight.

Late one drowsy autumn afternoon, this strange figure first approached Sleepy Hollow.

As usual, there had gathered at Ye Olde Schnooker and Schnapps Shoppe a group of rustic lads, the Sleepy Hollow boys.

Their self-appointed leader, Brom Bones, was a burly, roistering blade, always ready for a fight or a frolic.

Though Brom was given to madcap pranks and practical jokes, there was no malice in his mischief.

With his waggish humour and prodigious strength, Brom Bones was quite the hero, all the country round.

Odds bodkins! Gadzooks!

Look at that old spook of spooks.

Who's that coming down the street?

Are they shovels or are they feet?

Lean and lanky Skin and bone With clothes a scarecrow would hate to own Yet, he has a certain air Debonair and devil-may-care It's the new schoolmaster What's his name?

Ichabod Ichabod Crane What a name!

Kind of odd But nice just the same Funny pan, funny frame

Ichabod may be quaint May be odd, and maybe he ain't Anyway, there's no complaint From Ichabod, Ichabod Crane...

Though the arrival of the pedagogue gave rise to mixed emotions, the townspeople all agreed they'd never seen anyone...

Like Ichabod, Ichabod Crane

The schoolroom became Ichabod's empire, over which, with lordly dignity, he held absolute sway.

Truth to say, Ichabod was a conscientious man, and ever bore in mind the maxim spare the rod and spoil the child.

Still, he was careful to administer justice with discrimination.

For it behoved him to keep on good terms with his pupils.

Especially if their mothers happened to be good cooks.

Who's the town's ladies' man?

Gets around like nobody can Has to be none other than...

As time went by, it may be seen that the pedagogue got on tolerably enough.

Moreover, Ichabod found ways to increase his slender income and, at the same time, awaken the cultural interests of the sleepy little village.

It was inevitable that a man like Ichabod would become an object of ridicule to Brom Bones and his gang.

Yet, to Ichabod, these were small matters.

He possessed a remarkable equanimity which remained quite undisturbed until that fateful day, when his path was crossed by a woman.

A certain woman.

Katrina Van Tassel, only child of Baltus Van Tassel, the richest farmer in the county.

She was a blooming lass, plump as a partridge.

Ripe, melting and rosy-cheeked.

Once you have met that little coquette Katrina You won't forget Katrina But nobody yet has ever upset Katrina That cute coquette Katrina You can do more with Margaret or Helena Or Anne or Angelina But Katrina will kiss and run To her, a romance is fun With always another one to start And yet when you've met that little coquette Katrina You've lost your heart

There was no doubt the fair Katrina was the richest prize in the countryside.

The schoolmaster, being an ambitious man, began to fill his mind with many sugared thoughts and hopeful suppositions.

Katrina, my love.

Who can resist your grace? Your charm?

And who can resist your father's farm?

Boy, what a set-up!

There's gold in them acres, and that ain't hay.

Not to mention that lovely green stuff.

Katrina, my sweet. My treasure.


That barn's a gold mine.

How I'd love to hit the jackpot.

Dear Katrina. Papa's only child.


The old goat can't take it with him.

When he cuts out, that's where I cut in.

Sweet Katrina, poor little rich girl.

But don't worry, Katie, Ichabod will protect you.

Yes, Katrina, you've won me.

I surrender.

And yet when you've met that little coquette Katrina You've lost your heart Every portal to Katrina's heart was jealously guarded by a host of rustic admirers.

But Ichabod was confident he'd soon ride roughshod over these simple country bumpkins.

But the most formidable obstacle he had failed to reckon with.

That was the redoubtable Brom Bones.

The ease with which Brom cleared the field of rivals both piqued and provoked the fair Katrina.

She often wished that some champion would appear and take the field openly against the boisterous Brom.

A wiser man would have shrunk from the competition, but love is blind.

Ichabod was aware only that Dame Fortune was at last thundering at his door.

It's true that Brom liked a joke as well as the next, but enough was too much.

It was time for open warfare.

He'd double that schoolmaster up and lay him on a shelf in his schoolhouse!

But this was easier said than done.

No doubt of it, this was Ichabod's lucky day.

The schoolmaster was a man of hidden talents, a rival to be reckoned with.

Still, wars are neither won nor lost at the first encounter.

The high-flyer might yet be brought to earth.

For Brom Bones was never a man to cry quits.

On the occasion of her father's annual Halloween frolic, Katrina chose to stir the embers of the smouldering rivalry.

One invitation in particular carried a most personal summons.

The worthy schoolmaster was in a transport of joy.

To him, this could mean but one thing.

Ichy, you sly old dog, you!

What is this strange power you have over women?

Well, tonight's the night, boy!

Just turn on the old charm.

The fair Katrina is yours for the asking.

Gaily bedecked and nobly mounted on a horse he had borrowed, Ichabod issued forth like a knight errant of old to keep a tryst with his lady fair.

There was nothing to equal the merrymaking at Mynheer Van Tassel's farm.

To Ichabod, here was a perfect field for his endeavours.

How would he put his best foot forward!

Beyond all his other talents, he prided himself upon his dancing.

Unhappy Brom, already bested at every turn, saw himself once more outmatched.

For as he watched the posturing pedagogue, he had to admit that here was a flawless picture of ease and grace.

There was no doubt that Ichabod was the man of the hour.

Brom had to concede his rival another victory.

Yet, there was still a chance his time would come.

For when the hour grew late, Van Tassel would call on his guests to tell him ghostly tales of Halloween.

Brom knew there was no more potent believer in spooks and goblins than Ichabod Crane.

Just gather round and I'll elucidate what goes on outside, when it gets late.

Around about midnight, the ghosts and banshees get together for nightly jamborees.

Things with horns and saucer eyes, and some with fangs about this size!

Some are fat. And some are thin!

And some don't even wear their skin!

I'm telling you, brother, it's a frightful sight what goes on, Halloween night.

When spooks have a midnight jamboree They break it up with fiendish glee Ghosts are bad, but the one that's cursed Is the Headless Horseman, he's the worst That's right, he's a fright on Halloween night When he goes a-joggin' across the land Holdin' his noggin in his hand Demons take one look and groan And hit the road for parts unknown Beware, take care, he rides alone And there's no spook like a spook who's spurned They don't like him and he's really burned He swears to the longest day he's dead He'll show them that he can get ahead They say he's tired of his flamin' top He's got a yen to make a swap So he rides one night each year To find a head in the hollow here Now, he likes them little, he likes them big Part in the middle, or a wig Black or white, or even red The Headless Horseman needs a head With a hip-hip and a clippity-clop He's out lookin' for a top to chop So don't stop to figure out a plan You can't reason with a headless man Now, if you doubt this tale is so, I met that spook just a year ago.

Now, I didn't stop for a second look, but made for the bridge that spans the brook.

For once you cross that bridge, my friends The ghost is through, his power ends So, when you're riding home tonight Make for the bridge with all your might He'll be down in the hollow there He needs your head Look out! Beware!

With a hip-hip and a clippity-clop He's out lookin' for a head to swap So don't try to figure out a plan You can't reason with a headless man

It was the witching hour of night as Ichabod pursued his travel home.

The sky grew darker.

One by one, the stars winked out their lights.

Driving clouds obscured the moon from sight.

Never had the schoolmaster felt so melancholy, so utterly alone.

The nearer he approached the hollow, the more dismal he became.

Once inside the murky glen, Ichabod's anxiety increased one-hundredfold.

The forest seemed to close in behind him.

Every small detail of Brom's awful story returned to haunt his recollection.

Headless Horseman.


Once you cross that bridge, my friends, the ghost is through, his power ends.

Next morning, Ichabod's hat was found.

And close beside it, a shattered pumpkin.

But there was no trace of the schoolmaster.

Shortly thereafter, Brom Bones led the fair Katrina to the altar.

Rumours persisted that Ichabod was still alive, married to a wealthy widow in a distant county.

But the good Dutch settlers refused to believe such nonsense.

They knew the schoolmaster had been spirited away by the Headless Horseman.

With a hip-hip and a clippity-clop He's out looking for a head to swap But don't try to figure out a plan You can't reason with a headless man