J. Thaddeus Toad is the main protagonist from The Wind in the Willows, which made up the first half of the 1949 feature film The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. In that film, he is only 8 inches tall, while in most of his later appearances, he is much larger.
Toad is a true friend with his heart in the right place, but his good tendencies are often over-shadowed by his conceit and craze for the latest fads and manias, such as with caravans, motorcars and airplanes.
In his featured segment, Toad is described as an "incurable adventurer" with an uncontrollable affinity for fads, such as mountain climbing, boating and horse cart-riding.
At the beginning of the story, Toad's transportation manias have racked up a large amount of debt, so while he's out on his latest fad (riding around in a gypsy cart with Cyril Proudbottom, destroying property as they go), Angus MacBadger is trying to sort out his finances. At Angus' request, Water Rat and Mole try to persuade Toad to give up his cart craze, but Toad is adamant. Suddenly, his attention is stolen away by (to him) a vision of beauty: a motorcar. Seeing what Toad's newest craze may lead to, Rat and Mole lock him in his bedroom and guard him. However, Toad sneaks out that night and gets arrested for presumably stealing a motorcar.
In court, acting as his own defense, Toad calls Cyril to testify about the events of that day. Cyril explains that Toad had met up with him after he escaped and, while they were walking, a red motorcar drove up to a tavern, instantly snatching Toad's impulses. After the car's driver and passengers (a group of shady Weasels) entered the tavern, Toad decided to barter with them. However, he didn't have any money on him (MacBadger had cut off his funds), so he and the weasels (with Winkie the barman acting as a witness) drew up a contract designating a trade: Toad gave the deed to Toad Hall in exchange for the motorcar, which, unknown to him, had been stolen. The court is unbelieving that Toad would be foolish enough to do something like that, so he calls in Winkie as a decisive witness, emphasizing his supposed "unimpeachable honesty". However, Winkie stabs him in the back by saying that Toad tried to sell him a stolen motorcar, so Toad is given a lengthy prison sentence.
On Christmas Day, a remorseful and emotionally-shattered Toad makes a solemn promise to never let his impulses get the best of him again. However, at that instant, Cyril, disguised as Toad's grandmother, comes into his cell with a disguise for him and a plan of escape. Disguised as an old woman, Toad escapes with the police hot on his trail, stealing a locomotive and then jumping off of it into the river (a foolish action, as his ball and chain kept him underwater for a long time).
A weak and exhausted Toad makes his way to Rat's house, where he and Mole are about to have Christmas dinner. At first, Toad scoffs at the idea that he would be afraid of the police, but when someone forcefully knocks at the door, Toad's confidence evaporates and he pleads for Rat and Mole to hide him. However, feeling that Toad still owes a debt to society, Rat orders a reluctant Mole to open the door. The visitor is actually MacBadger, who reveals that the weasels have overtaken Toad Hall with Winkie as their ringleader. With amends made between Toad and his friends, they concoct a plan to sneak into Toad Hall and retrieve the deed to the house from Winkie.
That night, using a secret passage, the four friends infiltrate Toad Hall while the weasels and Winkie are in a drunken sleep. However, their positions are soon compromised, resulting in a chase and dangerous game of "keep away" between Toad, his friends, Winkie and the weasels. In the end, the friends escape, with Toad holding the deed.
On New Year's Day, Rat, Mole and MacBadger gather to celebrate the new year and also to the newly-reformed Toad. Their jubilance is soon shattered, however, as they see that Toad has once again relapsed, this time into a craze for airplanes. As MacBadger faints, Toad and Cyril fly off to see the world in an old-fashioned airplane.
Toad makes appearances as a recurring guest at the House of Mouse. Sometimes, he'll been seen driving wildly in his motorcar. He can also be seen in the opening, flying through the lobby from a motorcar crash.
At the beginning of "Big Bad Wolf Daddy", Mickey shows a news clip of the police chasing after Toad, who is driving wildly. The clip ends with Toad being arrested and dragged away while he demands to be let go "merrily on [his] way to nowhere in particular."
At the beginning of "Mickey and Minnie's Big Vacation", Toad drives through the club on a motorbike.
In Mickey's Christmas Carol, Toad makes a cameo appearance as Scrooge's former boss Mr. Fezziwig. He is shown in Scrooge's past at the shop where he worked, where he is shown dressed up in his white wig and playing his violin while his guests are celebrating a wonderful Christmas.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Toad (in a cartoon firefighter hat) can briefly be spotted driving past Eddie Valiant, then driving his cartoon fire truck while saying "Tally-ho!" in front of the screen in a brief full screen view of him on the ladder and holding the steering wheel of the truck.
The inspiration for Mr. Toad was The Wind in the Willows Author Kenneth Grahame's only child, Alastair.
Mr. Toad's Wild Ride takes guests on a madcap drive through the English countryside, experiencing everything from Toad's point of view.
Toad also has his own spell card named after his attraction in Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.
|Ichabod and Mr. Toad|
Characters: J. Thaddeus Toad | Cyril Proudbottom | Ratty | Moley | Angus MacBadger | Mr. Winkie | Weasels | Judge | Prosecutor | Court Clerk | Ichabod Crane | Katrina Van Tessel | Brom Bones | Tilda | Baltus Van Tassel | Ichabod's horse | Headless Horseman
Disney Parks: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride