Going Way Back with Donald in Mathmagic Land

I’ll be the first to admit I was a nerdy kid. And I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Since the beginning, (according to my baby book), I always preferred toys, activities, and movies with a more educational theme.

We had a video rental store right down the street from our home that had the coolest section of kids videos, and you could rent them for $1 per week, per tape. Whether it was my future frugality brewing, or just that I liked them that much, I’d watch the videos over and over again in the course of the week. My favorites were often Disney, like DTV, the collections of classic cartoons set to “oldies” music. (One of those videos was the last thing I purchased on eBay!) But, the number one tape I’d watch so much that I am surprised that they just didn’t give me the tape was Donald in Mathmagic Land!

Short movies like Donald in Mathmagic Land helped grow the popularity and reach of the Disney brand and the recently opened Disneyland in a un-digital, not-so-connected world. Disney was one of the first to embrace the newer television medium, and the Oscar-nominated film from 1959 became one of its most popular educational programs.

Just a couple weeks ago, I watched Donald in Mathmagic Land via three parts on YouTube. And wow, having not seen it for many years, it really all came back to me! I hadn’t realized how much some of the imagery, songs, and other content had stuck with me all this time. And frankly, nothing on television since compares. They could probably show this video in high school or college math courses!

At just short of a half hour in length, several elements of math, including “real world” applications are explored in the “featurette”. Probably the most memorable is the musical scene with Pythagoras where Donald learns about octaves and how math relates to music. The common theme of the “golden rectangle” is also featured throughout the film.

Thankfully, Donald in Mathmagic Land is now available on DVD for current and future generations to enjoy!

The scene from the film is from the D23 Disney Community (and a nice page of Disney history). Also see Donald in Mathmagic Land on Wikipedia.

Take a look back at our blog for more reflective posts on favorites from our youth.


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