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Musical Storybook, a 2026 film, is the 10th theatrically released animated feature.

Film segments

The seven "mini-musical" stories are outlined below:

Trees

This segment featured the a recitation of the 1913 poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer poem performed by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians with the lyrical setting accompanying animation of bucolic scenes seen through the changing of the seasons.

All the Cats Join In

This segment was one of two sections in which Benny Goodman and his Orchestra contributed the soundtrack to visuals drawn by a pencil as the action was happening, and in which 1940s teens were swept away by popular music.

Flying Whales

This segment featured animation originally intended for Fantasia 2000 using the Claude Debussy musical composition Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. A family of humpback whales are able to fly. The calf is separated from his parents and he becomes trapped in an iceberg. Eventually he finds his way out with his mother's help. The family join a pod of whales who fly and frolic through the clouds and emerge, However, by the time Musical Storybook was released Pines of Rome was replaced by the new song Flying Whales, performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Singers. However, the original version of the segment still survives.

Peter and the Wolf

This segment was an animated dramatization of the 1936 musical composition by Sergei Prokofiev, with narration by actor Sterling Holloway. A Russian boy named Peter sets off into the forest to hunt the wolf with his animal friends: a bird named Sascha, a duck named Sonia, and a cat named Ivan. Just like in Prokofiev's piece, each character is represented with a specific musical accompaniment: Peter by the String Quartet, Sascha the Bird by the Flute, Sonia the Duck by Oboe, Ivan the Cat by the Clarinet, Grandpa by the Bassoon, Gunfire from hunters' by the Kettledrums, and the evil Wolf primarily by horns and cymbals.

Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet

This segment told the romantic story of two hats who fell in love in a department store window. When Alice was sold, Johnnie devoted himself to finding her again. They eventually, by pure chance, meet up again and live happily ever after together, side by side. The Andrews Sisters provided the vocals. Like the other segments, it was later released theatrically.

What's Opera, Doc?

This segment The screen pans on the silhouette of a mighty Viking arousing ferocious lightning storms, but then zooms in to reveal that it is only Elmer Fudd (as the demigod Siegfried). Elmer sings his signature line "Be vewy qwiet, I'm hunting wabbits" (in recitative), before he finds rabbit tracks and arrives at Bugs Bunny's hole. We watch as Elmer jams his spear into Bugs' hole to "Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit! Kill the wabbit!" Bugs sticks his head out of another rabbit hole, and, apparently appalled, sings his signature line "What's up, doc?" to the theme of Siegfried's horn call from the Ring Cycle. He asks Elmer how he will kill the rabbit, then taunts Elmer about his "spear and magic helmet". This prompts a display of Elmer-as-Siegfried's "mighty powers", set to the overture of The Flying Dutchman, which causes lightning to strike the tree next to Bugs. At that, Bugs flees, Elmer realizes "That was the wabbit!", and the chase begins.

Suddenly, Elmer is stopped in his tracks at the sight of the beautiful Valkyrie Brünnhilde (Bugs in a Drag Queen disguise), riding in grandly on an enormously fat horse (in Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times of an Animated Cartoonist, director Jones notes that the production team "gave the horse the operatic curves we couldn't give Bugs"). "Siegfried" and "Brünnhilde" exchange endearments, set to the "Pilgrims' Chorus" theme from Tannhäuser as orchestrated in the opera's overture.

After the usual "hard to get" pursuit they perform a short ballet (based on the Venusberg ballet in Tannhäuser), capping it off with the duet "Return My Love" set to another section of the Tannhäuser overture as the pair meet at a gazebo. Bugs' true identity is suddenly exposed when his headdress falls off, enraging Elmer. Bugs yanks Elmer's helmet down over his head and uses it as a chance to escape, discarding his disguise. A crescedo drum roll is playing while Elmer struggles to fix his helmet. When Elmer puts his helmet into the right position, the "Ride" overture plays once again and the white gazebo turns red (reflecting Elmer's anger), resolving to himself "I'll kill the wabbit!" prompting him to command fierce lightning, "typhoons, huwwicanes, earthquakes" and, finally, "SMOG!!!" (a word Elmer screams which was not done by Bryan, but by Blanc) to "stwike de wabbit!" while music from The Flying Dutchman plays in the background.


Eventually, the ensuing storm tears apart the mountains where Bugs has fled. Elmer triumphantly rushes to see his victory, but upon seeing the bunny's seemingly lifeless body, which is strangely intact, Elmer immediately regrets his wrath and tearfully carries the bunny off, presumably to Valhalla in keeping with the Wagnerian theme, per Act III of The Valkyries (although the music again comes from the overture to Tannhäuser). Bugs suddenly raises his head to face the audience, thereby breaking the fourth wall, and remarks, "Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?", ironically undoing the intended sad conclusion. The Merrie Melodies end title card then appears with all the words already there.

Pecos Bill

The film's final segment is about Texas' famous hero Pecos Bill. He was raised by coyotes (similar to how Mowgli was raised by wolves in The Jungle Book) the biggest and best cowboy that ever lived. It also features his horse Widowmaker, and recounts how Pecos was finally tamed by a beautiful cowgirl named Slue-Foot Sue, whom he falls in love with at first sight. This retelling of the story features Roy Rogers, Bob Nolan, and the Sons of the Pioneers to Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten. This segment was later edited on the film's NTSC video release (but not the PAL release) to remove all scenes of Bill smoking. The entire scene on the tornado with Bill rolling his cigarette and lighting it with a lightning bolt was cut, and all other shots of the offending cigarette hanging from his lips were digitally removed.

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