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The cartoon begins with Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Spring, seated on a throne, while animals and flowers dance happily around her, and birds place a floral coronet on her head. At this point, Pluto, the God of the Underworld (not to be confused with Pluto, Mickey's dog, or Hades, God of the Underworld in Hercules), ascends from beneath the earth on a rotating platform and, as his demons chase away Persephone's friends, declares that he will make her his wife. He takes her to the Underworld, where the demons celebrate; some dance around fires while another plays a hellish organ. Though she is given gold and jewels, Persephone is (understandably) depressed, causing the world above to become an icy wasteland. This upsets Pluto for being unable to make her happy and he asks her what he can do. She pleads to return to the earth, and is allowed to do so, provided she returns for six months. This differentiates the seasons, spring and summer taking place while Persephone is on the surface.
The cartoon was the first attempt by Disney animators to animate 'realistic' human figures, in preparation for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The characters were designed by Albert Hurter, who suggested certain poses and gestures that the animators were not yet skilled enough to emulate. After realising that a greater knowledge of anatomy was required in order to produce believable human animation, Disney hired Don Graham, who held anatomy classes in order to prepare the animators for their first feature.
The short is based on the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone.
Home video releases
- Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Diamond Edition