First, an observation: Can you imagine Hollywood trying to teach Sacred Geometry to children today?
And closing the cartoon with Galileo’s quotation: “Mathematics is the alphabet with which God has written the universe.” Impossible.
Donald in Mathmagic Land was produced by Walt Disney Productions in 1959. It would become Disney’s first cartoon ever televised in color, in 1961, in “The Wonderful World of Color” series on NBC. It can be bought today on DVD for less than $10.
Three errors in this short, as pointed out by IMDB:
Despite this being a mathematical education film, a character incorrectly recites the value of the mathematical constant pi. The character states, “Pi is equal to 3.141,592,653,589,747, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” The correct value of pi (to the same number of digits) is actually 3.141,592,653,589,793. (The last two digits are different.)
During the “imagination” segment toward the end, the Spirit says to put a triangle in a perfect circle, and then turn the triangle. The image that results is a straight line that reaches both the top and bottom of the circle. There is no possible orientation that the original triangle could have to reproduce this visual effect in real life.
During the “slice the cone” scene, the Spirit says, “A slice like this, and you have a searchlight. A slice like this, the mirror of a giant telescope.” The actual cut made in the cone is a hyperbola, meanwhile both a searchlight and a telescope’s mirror are both parabolas. (The difference is that a parabola is made by making an exactly vertical slice in the cone, not an angled slice as depicted.)
(Trivia: Uncle Walt was born on this date in 1901.)