100 Facts About The Sword in the Stone

Aloha my wonderful merfolk.

This week, we visit a movie that isn’t as popular as other Disney movies. I enjoyed watching this movie occasionally as a child but I don’t think I have gone back and re-watched it as an adult. Perhaps I should do that so I can see it’s magic in a different way!


  1. The Sword in the Stone was released to theatres on December 25th, 1963.
  2. It was released by Buena Vista Distribution.
  3. The film is based on the novel of the same name, first published in 1938 as a single novel.
  4. It is the 18th film in the Disney animated canon.
  5. It is loosely based around the novel the Sword in the Stone by T.H. White.
  6. This was originally released as a stand-alone book in 1938.
  7. It was then released as the first part of a tetralogy.
  8. The film as first released on VHS in the UK in 1983.
  9. There was another VHS release in July 1991.
  10. The film was a financial success at the box office grossing $22, 182, 353 in North America.
  11. It became the sixth highest grossing film of 1963 in North America.
  12. The film holds a positive rating of 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.
  13. The Sword in the Stone was the last animated feature to be released when Walt Disney was alive.
  14. Walt Disney was Bill Peet’s model for Merlin.
  15. Peet gave Merlin, Walt’s nose.
  16. This was the second-time Walt had been used a model for a character in one of his movies.
  17. Arthur was voices by three different boys; Rickie Sorensen, Richard Reitherman and Robert Reitherman.
  18. This is obvious as Arthurs voice goes from broken to unbroken quite often, even sometimes during the same scene.
  19. The final battle between Merlin and mad Madame Mim is often seen as the best character information to that date.
  20. They change animal and form yet kept their distinctive colours and features.
  21. This was the final film where Bill Peet would be writer.
  22. This is the only Disney movie from the 60s to not have a Platinum DVD release, a sequel, a TV show or a live-action remake.
  23. In 2015 however, rumours circulated of a live remake with Bryan Cogman writing an Brigham Taylor producing.
  24. This is the first Disney movie to include songs written by the Sherman Brothers.
  25. A song called the Blue Oak Tree and The Magic Key were written for the movie but were scrapped.
  26. The latter was going to be Merlin’s lecture to Arthur, however it was changed to Higitus Figitus.
  27. Kay referenced the Cain and Abel story from Genesis with his ‘I am not the Wart’s keeper’ line.
  28. Not including the prologue, the Sword in the Stone does not actually appear until 71 minutes into the film.
  29. Many elements from Sleeping Beauty were recycled for The Sword in the Stone.
  30. The owl from the woods inspired Archimedes and Maleficent in Dragon form inspired Madam Mim to turn into a purple dragon.
  31. The Sword in the Stone itself features in all the Disneyland-style parks, usually located in front of their respective carousel.
  32. Merlin is a recurring character in Kingdom Hearts games.
  33. in kingdom Hearts, Merlin lives in an abandoned shack with the Fairy Godmother.
  34. The American Film Institute nominated the Sword in the Stone for its Top 10 Animated Films list.
  35. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Score – Adaption or Treatment in 1963.
  36. The film was released for a third time on BHS, alongside the first DVD release, in March 2001.
  37. A special DVD edition was released for the 45th anniversary of the film in June 2008.
  38. For the films 50th anniversary, it was released on Blu-Ray on August 6th, 2013.
  39. The Sword and the Stone was released into cinemas jointly with Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore on March 25th, 1983.
  40. The deer Kay tries to shoot is Bambi’s mother.
  41. When Sir Ector and Kay are fighting in the kitchen, their animation is the same as Jasper and Horace from 101 Dalmatians.
  42. Audio of J. Pat O’Malley who voiced Jasper, was used as Kays groan in this scene.
  43. When Arthur is being licked by the two castle dogs, this section of animation would be reused in The Jungle Book.
  44. Merlin was voiced by Karl Swenson.
  45. Martha Wentworth gave her voice to the marvellous madam Mim.
  46. She also voiced the Granny Squirrel who falls for squirrel Merlin.
  47. The three voice actors of Arthur have American accents which sharply contrasts the English setting and the accents spoken by all the other characters in the film.
  48. Merlin was animated by several of The Nine Old Men including Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.
  49. Walt obtained the rights for The Sword in the Stone by T.H White in 1939.
  50. Storyboards were first produced for the movie in 1949
  51. According to director, Wolgang Reitherman, around 70 actors read for the voice of Merlin.
  52. None of them had the type of eccentricity they were looking for.
  53. Karl Swenson was originally cast as the voice of Archimedes.
  54. Rick Sorensen who voiced Arthur reached puberty during his time recording voice work for the movie.
  55. Reitherman had to then cast his two young sons to replace him.
  56. There are five songs in The Sword and the Stone.
  57. There was a song called the Sand of Time that was cut from the movie.
  58. On March 20th 2001, the film was released onto DVD as part of the Gold Classic Collection.
  59. It included two classic short films; A Knight for a Day and the Brave Little Tailor.
  60. Several characters from this movie have made appearances in Disney’s House of Mouse,
  61. Madam Mim appears as a villain in Disneys House of Villains.
  62. Merlin is the only character from the film to appear for meet and greets at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World.
  63. He appears on the opening float of Walt Disney’s Parade of Dreams at Disneyland Park,
  64. He also appears in Disney Magic on Parade at Disneyland Paris.
  65. The budget for The Sword in the Stone was $3million.
  66. The Sword in the Stone also used to Xerox process of animation.
  67. Sebastian Cabot narrated the movie.
  68. The Sword in the Stone was the first Disney animated feature to be made under a single director.
  69. Whilst writing this film, Bill Peet wrote a screenplay first instead of the story being entirely hammered out on storyboards.
  70. Peet said he found the narrative to be complicated as the legend of Arthur was woven into other myths and legends.
  71. Thurl Ravenscroft comes back to Disney and provides the voice of Sir Bart.
  72. When the Sherman brothers were writing a song for Merlin, they wanted it to be about wizardry but not to include the stereotypical magic words like Alacazam and Abracadabra.
  73. They wanted to use words that sounded very English with a hint of Latin to show that Merlin was a learned man.
  74. British critics liked this film more than American critics.
  75. Some critics thought the film had too much humour and a ‘thing narrative’.
  76. Rotten Tomatoes critic consensus says that this movie is a decent take on the legend of King Arthur.
  77. Norman Alden provided the voice of Sir Kay.
  78. Alan Napier provided the voicework for Sir Pellinore.
  79. It has been suggested that Walt Disney saw himself in Merlin and saw that Mim represented his critics.
  80. Merlin is voiced by Hamilton Camp in House of Mouse.
  81. Madam Mim was adopted into the Duck universe where she teams with Magica De Spell and the Beagle Boys.
  82. Madam Mim also appears in the World of Illusion as the fourth boss of the game.
  83. Neil Sinyard states in his book, The Best of Disney, that ‘despite not being well know, the film has excellent animation, a complex structure and is actually more philosophical than other Disney features’.
  84. Neil Minnow of Common Sense Media gave the film four out of five stars.
  85. On receiving the first draft of the story, Walt told Peet that it needed more substance.
  86. Peets second draft lengthened the film and spent more time on the dramatic aspects of the story.
  87. Walt approved this second draft through a phone call from Palm Springs, Florida.
  88. The Sword and the Stone beat Canticleer into production after it was said that you couldn’t make a personality out of a chicken.
  89. Madam Mim was animated by Milt Kahl and Frank Thomas.
  90. Junius Matthews provides the voice of Archimedes who is the comic relief of the movie.
  91. The Sword and the Stone was edited by Donald Halliday.
  92. The Sword in the Stone is another Disney animated feature to begin with a storybook-opening.
  93. Merlins personality was based on how Walt would interact with Bill Peet.
  94. Peet and Disney had a rather bumpy relationship and so this was Peets way of poking fun at his boss.
  95. Barbara Jo Allen who gave her voice to Sleeping Beauty, lends her voice to another Disney character as she voices Sir Ector’s Scullery Maid.
  96. The Sword in the Stone at the beginning of the movie was sang by Fred Darian.
  97. The only part of the song, Blue Oak Tree to be featured in the film was the ending of the song.
  98. It is sung by Sir Ector and Sir Pellinore.
  99. Ginny Tyler gave her voice to the little girl squirrel who falls for squirrel Arthur

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