Walt Disney had originally hoped to rerelease Fantasia, his blending of animation and classical music, every few years, adding and subtracting material each time. Abysmal box office receipts and the outbreak of World War II put an abrupt end to that plan. Disney still had stacks of unused concept art both for the original film and for some proposed new pieces, however, and the two package films released after Walt Disney’s goodwill tour to South America—Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros—if not quite box office hits, had done better than Fantasia—suggesting that Disney could find a market for another collection of cartoon shorts.
With the income from World War II training films and propaganda shorts about to come to an end, and still lacking the funds for a full length feature, Disney ordered the shorts put into production towards the end of World War II, to create a third anthology film, Make Mine Music. It wouldn’t be quite the same as Fantasia—the shorts would focus less on classical numbers and more on contemporary music, including some big names—Nelson Eddy, the Andrews Sisters, and Dinah Shore—that Disney hoped would be box office draws. At the least, it would allow the studio to release a film. At best, it could justify Fantasia.