Synopsis by Hal Erickson
This classic Disneyland episode is essentially Walt Disney's tribute to the brilliance of the artists in his employ. Inspired by The Art Spirit, a book by Robert Henri, four of Disney's artist created their own interpretations of the same tree, an old oak that once stood on Barham Boulevard in Burbank. Once the results have been shown and discussed, the episode segues into excerpts from Disney's animated features, each of which illustrates the power of imagination in bringing imagery to life. These cartoon sequence include the "Two Silhouettes" number from Make Mine Music (1946), sung by Dinah Shore with live appearances by dancers Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine of the Ballet Russe; the impressionistic "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" segment from Fantasia (1940), conducted by Leopold Stokowski; and, appropriately enough, "Trees", a visualization of Joyce Kilmer's famous poem, sung by the Fred Waring Glee Club, originally seen in Melody Time (1948). Minus the aforementioned feature-film excerpts, much of An Adventure in Art was later released as the educational short subject 4 Artists Paint 1 Tree.