- “Dumbo” was originally based off a children’s book and the animated film was released in 1941.
- “Dumbo” has won multiple awards including an Oscar.
- It’s one of Disney’s shortest feature films of all time.
- There are also numerous parts of the movie that are now considered racist.
Almost 80 years after Disney released the animated film “Dumbo,” the mega-giant studios will bring the beloved big-eared elephant back to life with a live-action remake. The film, which is set to debut in late March, will feature a star-studded cast, including Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell, and Michael Keaton, among many others.
Although the original 1941 film had a lighthearted story about a baby elephant who learned to fly, the new movie is rumoured to be a bit darker, with Dumbo and his friends learning dark secrets about the circus and those within it. Directed by Tim Burton, the movie is sure to introduce new characters and revive old ones.
Ahead of the new film, here are 10 things you might not have known about the original “Dumbo” film.
Before it was a movie, “Dumbo” was a children’s book.
Originally published in 1938, “Dumbo” was a children’s picture book written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl. The film rights would later be purchased by Disney, who entrusted the script to Joe Grant and Dick Huemer.
There are amusement park rides inspired by “Dumbo” around the globe.
Inspired by the 1941 film, the Disney ride is oftentimes called “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” and riders can control the altitude of their flying elephant. Variations of the “Dumbo” ride can be found in Disney parks around the globe under different names.
It was Disney’s fourth animated film.
“Dumbo” was only Disney’s fourth ever animated film. Released in October 1941, “Dumbo” was preceded by “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio,” and “Fantasia.”
Dumbo was almost a magazine cover star as Time’s “Mammal of the Year.”
Dumbo was almost named Time’s “Mammal of the Year,” a play on the magazine’s “Person of the Year.” Just before the historic portrait cover was released, there was an attack on Pearl Harbour. The magazine pulled the Dumbo cover and replaced December 1941’s cover with a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur.
The original “Dumbo” cover story still ran in the magazine and Dumbo was still “Mammal of the Year,” just with an updated introduction paragraph and no official cover.
It’s one of Disney’s shortest feature films ever.
The film has been called racist.
Parts of the movie, like the inclusion of crows as stereotypically black characters with a stereotyped vernacular, have been lambasted since the film’s debut, according to Mic. The leading crow is even named Jim Crow, an overt allusion to discriminatory Jim Crow laws.
The scene involving“Song of the Roustabouts” has also been heavily criticised as it depicts faceless black characters that sing objectionable lyrics about slavery, including “We slave until we’re almost dead” and “Keep on working/ Stop that shirking/ Pull that rope, you hairy ape.”
The film won an Oscar.
The circus has a familiar name.
If you look carefully as Casey Jr.’s huffing and puffing through the circus, you’ll notice that the name of the circus where “Dumbo” takes place is called “WDP Circus.” This is likely a nod to Walt Disney Productions, the studio responsible for the film.
You might recognise Mr. Stork’s voice.
Although uncredited, Mr. Stork’s voice in the film was recorded by Sterling Holloway. Over the years, Holloway would make a name for himself voicing several Disney characters, including a flower in “Bambi,” the narrator in “Mickey and the Beanstalk,” Cheshire Cat in “Alice in Wonderland,” Winnie the Pooh in “Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree,” the snake Kaa in “The Jungle Book,” and Roquefort in “The Aristocats.”
The Disney animator strike took place during the movie’s production.
In May of 1941, during the production of “Dumbo,” Disney animators went on strike. After a few weeks, Disney animators were unionized and “Dumbo” was finished and released later that same year.
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