What was Mr. Toad Convicted to Serve Hell Sentence for?

Blogger’s Note: Yes, this is indeed well off the beaten path of our usual topics, something I’ve researched on my own time. But I will ponder it anyway as a rather imaginative crime and justice issue.

Comes now Mr. Toad — AKA J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. — whose reckless and felonious conduct brings him before the Crown, and whose criminal conduct is punishable only by an eternity in the heavy heat of hell.

At least, that’s how I now understand the twists and turns of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, one of my favorite attractions at Disneyland as a kid.

Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride is one of the few attractions left at Disneyland that opened when the park did in 1955, according to Wikipedia. When I rode it, I was clearly too young to follow its rather law-and-orderish story line. But some close friends of mine visited the Anaheim park last weekend, and reported back to me the outrageous acts that led to his fate: don’t pass go, don’t collect $200, go directly to hell, Mr. Toad.

Long story short: Toad has a need for speed. Whether it’s horse-drawn buggies, motorcars or even planes, he drives fast and furiously. Hit and runs. Eluding police. Grand theft buggy. He racks up felonies like no amphibian ever has. And to top it off, he even breaks out of jail and is immediately putting his lead foot forward once more.

The park’s ride’s story was a far cry from The Wind in the Willows — a story upon which the ride is based — that ended happily ever after. (Even more paradoxical, then, that Walt Disney chose to send Mr. Toad to Hades inside the so-called happiest place on Earth.)

In the original tale, Toad’s good friends Badger, Rat and Mole perform an intervention on the crazy, yet wealthy Toad. They help him get back his home, Toad Hall, which had been taken over by weasels while he was in county. And realizing what good friends he has in saving him, Toad confronts all his victims, and apologizes.

The Disney ride, however, is more tough on crime, though his offenses may have been greater. He drives you around all crazy like, then stops in at Winky’s Pub for some beer offered by a bartender. From the way he drives thereon, it seems as though Toad’s BAC is well above the .08 legal limit.

There’s a big crash, and then Toad appears before the court, where he’s sentenced to you-know-where. The final scene before the end of the ride is hell itself.

But what exactly did Toad do to warrant such a sentence? Vehicular homicide? Or perhaps just one too many joy rides?

I am admittedly reading into this way too much. But feel free to partake in such thinking as well.

Take a ride on the Disney attraction yourself, courtesy of YouTube, here.

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