On This Day In 1941 - Dumbo, Disney's 4th Feature, Was Released In Theatres

75 years ago today, Dumbo flew into our lives, and charmed its way into our hearts. The beautiful animation and touching story made the adorable elephant an iconic Disney character. In celebration of the milestone anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of fun facts that you might not have known about the Disney classic. Fly through the list below and enjoy!

1. It’s really short.

Dumbo’s runtime clocks in at around sixty four minutes, making it one of Disney’s shortest feature length films! It was also turned around rather quickly during production. The film rights were bought in 1939 and the possibility of it being a short was proposed in June of that year. It released on October 23, 1941.

2. Dumbo was inspired by a book.

Like many other Disney movies, Dumbo was inspired by an existing story. Before the elephant made his debut on the big screen, he was the protagonist of Helen Aberson’s story by the same name. It first appeared as a Roll-a-Book–which was a format that featured several illustrations on a short scroll that was packed into a box. It was later republished as a regular book.

3. Casey Jr.’s voice was produced by an actress.

Margaret Wright, who also provided the character’s voice in Walt Disney’s World of Color, used a device called a sonobox to give her voice that train-like flair. To use it, she held the mic next to her throat, and whispered the lines. The process was pure magic, especially in 1941!

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

4. The name of the circus is actually an Easter egg.

WDP Circus is a direct reference to Walt Disney Productions, the name of the studio. It’s always a delight when animators decide to slip in a nod to the company, or other works it has produced. Hunting for Disney easter eggs happens to be one of our favorite past times.

5. The cast lent their voice to many Disney movies.

Mr. Stork was voiced by Sterling Holloway, who was famous for voicing Winnie the Pooh, Kaa (The Jungle Book), Cheshire Cat (Alice in Wonderland), and Roquefort (The Aristocats). The main crow’s voice was provided by Cliff Edwards, who later voiced Jiminy Cricket (Pinocchio). Dumbo’s mother was voiced by Verna Felton, who later played Flora (Sleeping Beauty), Aunt Sarah (Lady and the Tramp), The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland), and the Fairy Godmother (Cinderella).

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

6. One of Timothy Q. Mouse’s lines is a reference to a famous actor.

When Timothy tries to make Dumbo feel better by telling him that “Lots of people with big ears are famous”, he’s directly referencing Clark Gable, who was known for having rather large ears.

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

7. Several of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked on the movie.

Les Clark, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang “Woolie” Reitherman, and Ward Kimball all worked on the film in some capacity. Reitherman and Kimball in particular were given special sequences including: Timothy Q. Mouse’s opening scenes (Reitherman), and the “When I See An Elephant Fly” scene with the crows.

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

8. The clown designs in a famous scene took inspiration from Disney animators.

Two of the shadows in the image above were actually caricatures of Art Babitt and Jack Kinney—who both worked on Dumbo.

9. The “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence was a speedy production.

Howard Swift lived up to his last name when he animated 100 feet of the sequence in just one week. At the time, the weekly average was only 20 feet. To keep things going, he would put his ideas down on paper and continue to his next move.

10. A popular band was cast in the movie.

Cliff Edwards (who voiced the main crow) was famously joined by members of the Hall Johnson Choir for the song, “When I See an Elephant Fly”.

Which fact was your favorite about Dumbo?

Source: Oh My Disney

Banner Photo Credit: Disney