Donald in Mathmagic Land

1959 animated short film

Donald in Mathmagic Land is an Academy Award nominated Donald Duck featurette, released on June 26, 1959 in which Donald goes on an adventure in which it is explained how mathematics can be useful in real life. Through this journey it is shown how numbers are more than graphs and charts, they are geometry, music and magical living things.

Directed by Hamilton Luske. Written by Milt Banta, Bill Berg, and Heinz Haber.

The True Spirit of Adventure

  • The profusion of mathematical forms brings to mind the words of Pythagoras: "Everything is arranged according to number and mathematical shapes". Yes, there's mathematics in music, in art, in just about everything. And as the Greeks have guessed, the rules are always the same.


Donald Duck: [calling out] Hello!
The True Spirit of Adventure: Hello Donald.
Donald Duck: That's me! Where am I?
The True Spirit of Adventure: Mathmagic Land.
Donald Duck: Mathmagic Land? Never heard of it.
The True Spirit of Adventure: It's the land of great adventure.
Donald Duck: Well, who are you?
The True Spirit of Adventure: I'm a spirit. The True Spirit of Adventure.
Donald Duck: That's for me! What's next?
The True Spirit of Adventure: A journey through the wonderlands of Mathematics.
Donald Duck: Mathematics! That's for EGGHEADS!
The True Spirit of Adventure: Eggheads? Now hold on Donald. You like music, don't you?
Donald Duck: Yeah.
The True Spirit of Adventure: Well, without eggheads, there would be no music.

The True Spirit of Adventure: The mind knows no limits when used properly. Think of a pentagram, Donald. Now put another inside, a third, and a fourth. No pencil is sharp enough to draw as fine as you can think, and no paper large enough to hold your imagination. In fact, it is only in the mind that we can conceive infinity. [the infinite progression of pentagrams turns into a hallway of doors] Mathematical thinking has opened the doors to the exciting adventures of science.
Donald Duck: I'll be doggone! I've never seen so many doors before.
[Runs back and forth from one door to another]
The True Spirit of Adventure: Each discovery leads to many others. An endless chain.
Donald Duck: Hey, hey! What's the matter with these doors? Hey! These doors won't open! They're locked!
The True Spirit of Adventure: Of course they are locked. These are the doors of the future, and the key is...
Donald Duck: Mathematics!
The True Spirit of Adventure: Right. Mathematics. The boundless treasures of science are locked behind those doors. In time, they will be opened by the curious and inquiring minds of future generations. In the words of Galileo, "Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe".


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