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"Peter and the Wolf," 1946

Remember that animated, professionally narrated version of Peter and the Wolf you saw as a kid? Sure you do -- somewhere in the depths of your memory, you'll probably remember this fifteen-minute Disney short from 1946. It's odd to think now that this came out just a decade after Prokofiev's original composition in 1936 -- they both seem sufficiently remote to be ancient history to kids these days. In any case, "Peter and the Wolf" was written to be performed with a narrator (in Russian); Disney added animation and recruited Sterling Holloway to narrate an Americanized version. (You may recognize Holloway's voice from the Winnie the Pooh and Jungle Book films.)

Wikipedia explains some changes in the Disney version versus the original Russian version:

• During the character introduction, the pets are given names: "Sasha" the bird, "Sonia" the duck, and "Ivan" the cat.

• As the cartoon begins, Peter and his friends already know there is a wolf nearby, and are preparing to catch him.

• The hunters get names at a later point in the story: "Misha", "Yasha" and "Vladimir".

• Peter day-dreams of hunting and catching the wolf and exits the garden carrying a wooden "pop-gun" rifle with the purpose of hunting the wolf down.

• At the end, in a complete reversal of the original (and to make the story more child-friendly), it turns out that the duck has not been eaten by the wolf. (The wolf is shown chasing the duck, who hides in a tree's trunk. The wolf attacks out of view, and returns in view with some of the duck's feathers in his mouth and licking his jaws. Peter, the cat, and the bird assume the duck has been eaten. After the wolf has been caught, the bird is shown mourning the duck. The duck comes out of the tree trunk at that point and they are happily reunited).

In the original Russian version, the story ends with the line: "If you listen very carefully, you'd hear the duck quacking inside the wolf's belly, because the wolf in his hurry had swallowed her alive." Anyway, enjoy:

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MGM Home Entertainment
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entertainment
The Beatles’s Yellow Submarine Is Returning to Theaters for Its 50th Anniversary
MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment

The Beatles are coming! The Beatles are coming!

In early 1968, at the height of Beatlemania, The Fab Four lent their voices—and visages—to Yellow Submarine, a somewhat strange and slightly surreal animated film, purportedly for children, which saw the band travel to Pepperland aboard the titular watercraft in order to save the land from the music-hating Blue Meanies. (Hey, we said it was strange.)

Though it would be another year before the film’s iconic soundtrack was released, 2018 marks the film’s 50th anniversary. To celebrate the occasion, Pitchfork reports that the psychedelic cartoon will be making its way back into theaters in July with a brand-new 4K digital restoration and a surround sound remix, to have it looking—and sounding—pristine.

To find out where it will be screening near you, visit the film’s website, where you can sign up for updates.

[h/t: Pitchfork]

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DESIREE MARTIN, AFP/Getty Images
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science
Stephen Hawking's Big Ideas, Made Simple
DESIREE MARTIN, AFP/Getty Images
DESIREE MARTIN, AFP/Getty Images

On March 14, 2018, visionary physicist Stephen Hawking passed away at the age of 76. You know his name, and may have even watched a biopic or two about him. But if you've ever wondered what specifically Hawking's big contributions to science were, and you have two and a half minutes to spare, the animation below is for you. It's brief, easy to understand, and gets to the point with nice narration by Alok Jha. So here, in a very brief and simple way, are some of Stephen Hawking's big ideas:

If you have more than a few minutes, we heartily recommend Hawking's classic book A Brief History of Time. It's easy to read, and it's truly brief.

[h/t: Open Culture]

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