The story of Toad's run-in with the law due to his mania for motor cars was adapted for the stage by A.A. Milne in 1929 as Toad of Toad Hall. This was the first of many adaptations on stage and screen, both big and small to this day.
The Disney Studio released the compilation film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad in 1949. Since that initial theatrical release, the two segments have often been shown or released as separate shorts. "Ichabod" refers to Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow narrated by Bing Crosby. Basil Rathbone narrated The Wind in the Willows having chosen Toad as "the greatest character in British literature" over Sherlock Holmes.
When motorcars enter his life, Toad becomes completely unhinged and is jailed as a car thief. Toad's escape and his reclaiming of his ancestral home from the true villains give the artists and animators an opportunity to cut loose with a rollicking slapstick finale. The backgrounds and the character design are exquisitely done and the colours a mix of the subdued and the vibrant to compliment the story. Imprudent he may be, but Toad in a Disney movie is no thief.
The voice cast adds immeasurably to the story. Eric Blore (Top Hat) as Toad is just as one would imagine him. Claud Alister, who was a perfect Algy Longworth to Ralph Richardson's Bulldog Drummond was born to play the Water Rat, as well as Sir Giles in Disney's The Reluctant Dragon.
Disney put two characters of their own in the story. First, Toad's companion in trouble, a horse named Cyril Proudbottom voiced by J. Pat O'Malley (The Jungle Book) who is a hoot, then a barman named Winkie voiced by the Oscar-winning composer of Dumbo, Oliver Wallace.