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Dumbo

Original 1941 release poster
Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Novel
Helen Aberson
Harold Pearl
Story
Otto Englander
Joe Grant
Dick Huemer
Narrated by John McLeish
Starring Edward Brophy
Herman Bing
Margaret Wright
Sterling Holloway
Cliff Edwards
Music by Frank Churchill
Lance Husher
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) October 23, 1941
Running time 64 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $813,000
Gross revenue $1,600,000

Dumbo is a 1941 American animated film produced by Walt Disney and released on October 23, 1941, by RKO Radio Pictures.

The fourth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, Dumbo is based upon the storyline written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl for the prototype of a novelty toy ("Roll-a-Book").[1] The main character is Jumbo Jr., a semi-anthropomorphic elephant who is cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy — a relationship parodying the stereotypical animosity between mice and elephants.

Dumbo was made to recoup the financial losses of Fantasia. It is considered to be one of Disney's finest films. It was a deliberate pursuit of simplicity and economy for the Disney studio, and is now generally regarded as a classic of animation. At 64 minutes, it is one of Disney's shortest animated features.

Contents

Plot

While circus animals are being transported, Mrs. Jumbo, one of the elephants, receives her baby from a stork. The baby elephant is quickly taunted by the other elephants because of his large ears, and they nickname him "Dumbo".

Once the circus is set up, Mrs. Jumbo loses her temper at a group of boys for making fun of her son, and she is locked up and deemed mad. Dumbo is shunned by the other elephants and with no mother to care for him, he is now alone, except for a self-appointed mentor and protector, Timothy Q. Mouse, who feels sympathy for Dumbo and becomes determined to make him happy again.

The circus director makes Dumbo the top of an elephant pyramid stunt, but Dumbo causes the stunt to go wrong, injuring the other elephants and bringing down the big top. Dumbo is made a clown as a result, and plays the main role in an act that involves him falling into a vat of pie filling. Despite his newfound popularity and fame, Dumbo hates this job and is now more miserable than ever.

To cheer Dumbo up, Timothy takes him to visit his mother. On the way back Dumbo cries and then starts to hiccup so Timothy decides to take him for a drink of water from a bucket which, unknown to him, has accidentally had a bottle of champagne knocked into it. As a result, Dumbo and Timothy both become drunk and see hallucinations of pink elephants.

The next morning, Dumbo and Timothy wake up in a tree. Timothy wonders how they got up in the tree, and concludes that Dumbo flew up there using his large ears as wings. With the help of a group of crows, Timothy is able to get Dumbo to fly again, using a psychological trick of a "magic feather" to boost his confidence.

Back at the circus, Dumbo must perform his stunt of jumping from a high building, this time from a much higher platform. On the way down, Dumbo loses the feather and Timothy tells him that the feather was never magical, and that he is still able to fly. Dumbo is able to pull out of the dive and flies around the circus.

After this performance, Dumbo becomes a media sensation, Timothy becomes his manager, and Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo are given a private car on the circus train.

Production

The film was designed as an economical feature to help generate income for the Disney studio after the financial failures of both Pinocchio and Fantasia in 1940. The studio's income had also been negatively impacted due to the war in Europe.[2] Storymen Dick Huemer and Joe Grant were the primary figures in developing the plot, based upon the story written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Pearl (the only involvement the authors had with the cartoon industry) that was prepared to demonstrate the prototype of a toy storytelling display device similar in principle to a panorama. It involved only 8 drawings and just a few lines of text. John Clarke Rose, Story Research Director at the Disney Studio during this period, told animation historian Michael Barrier the story was brought to his attention by Disney's head of mechandise licensening Kay Kamen, who had been shown the prototype that included Dumbo to illustrate the device. Rose passed along the storyline to Walt Disney who immediately grasped its possiblities.[3]

When the film went into production in early 1941, supervising director Ben Sharpsteen was given orders to keep the film simple and inexpensive. As a result, Dumbo lacks the lavish detail of the previous three Disney animated features (Fantasia, Pinocchio, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs): character designs are simpler, background paintings are less detailed, and a number of held cels (or frames) were used in the character animation.

Watercolor paint was used to render the backgrounds. Dumbo and Snow White are the only two classic Disney features to use the technique,[citation needed] which was regularly employed for the various Disney cartoon shorts. The other Disney features used oil paint and gouache.[citation needed] 2002's Lilo & Stitch, which drew influences from Dumbo, also made use of watercolor backgrounds.

The simplicity freed the animators from being overly concerned with detail, and allowed them to focus on the most important element of character animation: acting. Bill Tytla's animation of Dumbo is today considered one of the greatest accomplishments in American traditional animation. The critical reactions were positive, as many critics of the day felt that Dumbo was a return to roots for Disney after growing increasingly "arty" with its predecessors.[citation needed]

On May 29, 1941, during production of Dumbo, much of the Disney studio staff went on the Disney animators' strike. A number of strikers are caricatured in the feature as clowns who go to "hit the big boss for a raise." The strike lasted five weeks, and ended the "family" atmosphere and camaraderie at the studio.

None of the voice actors for Dumbo received screen credit[4], but Timothy Mouse, who befriended Dumbo even in his darkest days and was instrumental in helping him find greatness within himself, was voiced by Edward Brophy, a character actor known for portraying gangsters. He has no other known animation voice credits. The pompous matriarch of the elephants was voiced by Verna Felton, who also played the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella, the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, and Flora of the Three Good Fairies in Sleeping Beauty. Other voice actors include the perennial Sterling Holloway in a cameo role as Mr. Stork, and Cliff Edwards, better known as the voice of Jiminy Cricket, as Jim Crow, the leader of the crows.

Completed in fall 1941, Disney's distributor RKO Radio Pictures initially balked at the film's 64 minute length and wanted Disney to either make it longer, edit it down to a short subject length, or allow them to release it as a b-movie. Disney refused all three options, and RKO reluctantly issued Dumbo, unaltered, as an A-film.

Music

  • Baby Mine (Betty Noyes)
  • Casey Junior (The Sportsmen)
  • Look Out for Mr. Stork (The Sportsmen)
  • Song of the Roustabouts (The King's Men)
  • The Clown Song (A.K.A."We're gonna hit the big boss for a rise") (Billy Bletcher,Eddie Holden,and Billy Sheets)
  • Pink Elephants on Parade (The Sportsmen)
  • When I See an Elephant Fly (Cliff Edwards and the Hall Johnson Choir)
  • When I See an Elephant Fly (Reprise)

On Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic, Pink Elephants on Parade is included on the green disc, Baby Mine is on the purple disc, and When I See an Elephant Fly is on the orange disc. On Disney's Greatest Hits, Pink Elephants on Parade is on the red disc.

Cast

  • Dumbo is the titular character in the Disney film Dumbo. He is an elephant who has huge ears and is able to use them to fly, carrying what he thinks of as a magic feather. Much like Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo has no spoken dialogue. However, in the live-action/puppet television series Dumbo's Circus, Dumbo was voiced by Katie Leigh.
  • Edward Brophy as Timothy Q. Mouse, an anthropomorphic mouse who becomes the only friend of Dumbo and his mother Mrs. Jumbo. He teaches Dumbo how to become the "ninth wonder of the universe", and the only flying elephant in the whole world. He is never mentioned by name in the film, but his signature can be read on the contract in a newspaper photograph at the finale.
  • Verna Felton (uncredited) as Mrs. Jumbo, Dumbo's mother, who speaks only once, when she says Dumbo's original name, "Jumbo, Jr."; also as the Elephant Matriarch, the female leader of the circus elephants
  • Herman Bing as The Ringmaster, the main antagonist of the film who also appears in the video game Disney's Villains' Revenge
  • Margaret Wright as Casey Junior, the tender engine hauling the circus train. Casey Junior has a 2-4-0 wheel arrangement, a small four-wheeled tender at the back, a big tall funnel, a little lamp hat, a short stumpy boiler, a short stumpy dome with a whistle on the top and a small cowcatcher at his front.
  • Sterling Holloway as Mr. Stork
  • Cliff Edwards as Jim Crow
  • Hall Johnson Choir as Crow Chorus
  • Noreen Gammill as Elephant Catty
  • Dorothy Scott as Elephant Giddy
  • Sarah Selby as Elephant Prissy
  • Billy Bletcher as Clown #1
  • Eddie Holden as Clown #2
  • Billy Sheets as Clown #3, Joe
  • Malcolm Hutton as Skinny
  • Harold Manley as Boy #1
  • Tony Neil as Boy #2
  • Chuck Stubbs as Boy #3
  • John McLeish as the narrator

Release

Despite the advent of World War II, Dumbo was still the most financially successful Disney film of the 1940s. This was one of the first of Disney's animated films to be broadcast, albeit severely edited, on television, as part of Disney's anthology series. The film then received another distinction of note in 1981, when it was the first of Disney's canon of animated films to be released on home video.

Reception

After its October 23 release, Dumbo proved to be a financial miracle compared to other Disney films. The simple film only cost $813,000 to produce, half the cost of Snow White, less than a third of the cost of Pinocchio, and certainly less than the expensive Fantasia. Dumbo eventually grossed $1.6 million during its original release; it and Snow White were the only two pre-1943 Disney features to turn a profit [5]. It was intended for Dumbo to be on the cover of the December 1941 issue of Time, but the idea was dropped when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, resulting in the United States entering World War II and reducing the box office draw of the film.

Dumbo won the 1941 Academy Award for Original Music Score, awarded to musical directors Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace. Churchill and lyricist Ned Washington were also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song for "Baby Mine" (the song that plays during Dumbo's visit to his mother's cell), but did not win for this category.[6] The film also won Best Animation Design at the 1947 Cannes Film Festival.[7] Reviews for the film were generally positive and the film did well at the box office despite being released less than two months before the US entered World War II.

Now considered a Disney classic (movie critic Leonard Maltin described it as "One of Walt Disney's most charming animated films"),[8] it has received a Special Edition 60th Anniversary Disney DVD on October 23, 2001, exactly 60 years after its first release. That release featured a sneak peek of a direct-to-video sequel, Dumbo II. The preview showed sketches and storyboard ideas. The main story has to do with Dumbo and his new friends getting separated from the rest of the circus as they wander into the big city. Dumbo's new friends are Claude and Lolly the twin bears who leave chaos everywhere they go, Dot the curious zebra, Godfrey the hippo who is older and wants to do things for himself, and Penny the adventurous ostrich. Timothy returns as well. The story was supposed to be set on the day immediately following the end of the first Dumbo story. [9] However, no further announcements have been made since. The project seems to have been canceled, as the The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Tinker Bell, and its sequels were the last projects for DisneyToon Studios. However, some of the backgrounds for the canceled sequel were recycled for The Fox and the Hound 2.

Allegations of racial stereotyping

The crow characters in the film are seen as African-American stereotypes. The leader crow was originally named "Jim Crow" for script purposes, and the name stuck. The other crows are all voiced by African-American actors, all members of the Hall Johnson Choir. Despite suggestions of racism by critics such as Richard Schickel[citation needed], many historians such as Zoe Pritchard reject these claims[citation needed]. For instance, the crows are noted as forming the majority of the characters in the movie who are sympathetic to Dumbo's plight (the others are Timothy Q. Mouse and Mrs. Jumbo), are free spirits who serve nobody, and intelligent characters aware of the power of self-confidence, unlike the Stepin Fetchit stereotype common at that time. Furthermore, their song "When I See An Elephant Fly," which uses intricate wordplay in the lyrics, is more oriented to mocking Timothy Mouse than Dumbo's large ears.

Home video release

Dumbo was the first of Disney's canon of animated films to be released on home video and also was released in the Walt Disney Classics Video Collection in 1985. That release was followed by remastered versions in: 1986, 1989, 1991 (Classics), and 1994 (Masterpiece). In 2001, a 60th Anniversary Special Edition was released. In 2006, a "Big Top Edition" of the film was released on DVD. A UK Special Edition was released in May 2007.

Media and merchandise

Dumbo's Circus

Dumbo's Circus was a live-action/puppet television series for preschool audiences that aired on The Disney Channel in the 1980s. Unlike in the film, Dumbo spoke on the show. Each character would perform a special act, which ranged from dancing and singing to telling knock knock jokes.

Books

  • Walt Disney's Dumbo: Happy to Help: (ISBN 0-7364-1129-1) A picture book Disney Press by Random House Disney, written by Liane Onish, illustrated by Peter Emslie. It was published January 23, 2001, this paperback is for children age 4-8. Twenty-four pages long, its 0.08 inches thick, and with cover dimensions of 7.88 x 7.88 inches.
  • Walt Disney's Dumbo Book of Opposites: (ISBN 0-307-06149-3) A book published in August 1997 by Golden Books under the Golden Board Book brand. It was written by Alan Benjamin, illustrated by Peter Emslie, and edited by Heather Lowenberg. Twelve pages long and a quarter of an inch thick, this board edition book had dimensions of 7.25 x 6.00 inches.
  • Walt Disney's Dumbo the Circus Baby: (ISBN 0-307-12397-9) A book published in September 1993 by Golden Press under the A Golden Sturdy Shape Book brand. Illustrated by Peter Emslie and written by Diane Muldrow, this book is meant for babies and preschoolers. Twelve pages long and half an inch thick, this book's cover size is 9.75 x 6.25 inches.

Theme parks

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a popular ride that appears in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom,[11] Disneyland,[12] Tokyo Disneyland,[13] Disneyland Park (Paris), and Hong Kong Disneyland.[14]

The Casey Jr. Circus Train is an attraction found at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.

In June 2009, Disneyland introduced a flying Dumbo to their nighttime fireworks show, in which the elephant flies around Sleeping Beauty Castle while fireworks synched to music go off.[15]

Casey Junior is the second float in the Main Street Electrical Parade and its versions. Casey, driven by Goofy, pulls a drum with the parade logo and Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Video games

Dumbo appears in the popular PlayStation 2 game Kingdom Hearts in the form of a summon that the player can call upon in battle for aid. Sora, the protagonist, flies on him and Dumbo splashes enemies with water from his trunk.[16]

The Ringmaster is one of the four villains that appear in Disney's Villains' Revenge. In the game, the Disney Villains alter the happy endings from Jiminy Cricket's book; in particular, the Ringmaster forces Dumbo to endlessly perform humiliating stunts in his circus. In the end, the Ringmaster is defeated when he is knocked unconscious by a well aimed custard pie.

See also

References

  1. ^ Obituary: Helen Aberson Mayer. www.independent.co.uk. April 12, 1999. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  2. ^ Holleran, Scott (June 1, 2006). "TCM's Leading Ladies, 'Dumbo' at the El Capitan". www.boxofficemojo.com. http://boxofficemojo.com/features/?id=2077&p=.htm. Retrieved March 3, 2010. 
  3. ^ The Mysterious Dumbo Roll-A-Book
  4. ^ Voice actors listed as uncredited on IMDB
  5. ^ Barrier, 318
  6. ^ "Animated films are unwelcome outside designated categories, as "WALL-E" and "Waltz" shutouts remind us". latimesblogs.latimes.com. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/files/2009/02/snow-white-and.html. Retrieved September 30, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Dumbo". festival-cannes.com. http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/archives/1947/awardCompetition.html. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  8. ^ Maltin, Leonard. (2008). "Leonard Maltin's 2009 Movie Guide", p390. Plume.
  9. ^ "Dumbo II". http://www.geocities.com/jmraises/other/otherdumboII.html. 
  10. ^ "Ultimatedisney.com-coming soon". http://www.ultimatedisney.com/comingsoon.html/. 
  11. ^ "Disney World's Dumbo the Flying Elephant Page". http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/wdw/parks/attractionDetail?id=DumbotheFlyingElephantAttractionPage. 
  12. ^ "Disneyland California's Dumbo the Flying Elephant Page". http://disneyland.disney.go.com/disneyland/en_US/parks/attractions/detail?name=DumboTheFlyingElephantAttractionPage. 
  13. ^ "Tokyo Disney's Dumbo the Flying Elephant Page". http://www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp/tdl/english/7land/fantasy/atrc_dumbo.html. 
  14. ^ "Hong Kong Disneyland's Fantasyland Attractions Page". http://park.hongkongdisneyland.com/hkdl/en_US/parks/listing?name=FantasylandAttractionListingPage. 
  15. ^ "Flying Dumbo to star in new Disneyland fireworks show". Los Angeles Times. June 3, 2009.
  16. ^ "Official Kingdom Hearts Page". http://na.square-enix.com/games/kingdomhearts/. 

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Dumbo is an animated 1941 film about an elephant Dumbo and his mouse friend Timothy. Dumbo is known for his large ears which he uses as wings to fly. It is the fourth feature film released by Walt Disney Productions.

The One... The Only... The FABULOUS... taglines

Contents

Dialogue

Stork: (Landing on a cloud carrying a sack, places the sack down on the cloud and sits down.) Oh, my my! Now let me see. Must be right around here somewhere...I hope. (Sack begins to fall through cloud.) Oh, watch it there. (Pulls sack back up onto cloud then pulls out a map and begins humming "Rock-a-bye Baby.") ...on the tree to-op. (the sack begins to fall again; he pulls it back up.) Where are we here? Oh here! (singing) Highway 61, four miles to the gas station, turn left. La da dee dah dah dee... (train whisle sounds) Ah! That must be it! Well, little fella, let's get going.

Stork: Oh dear me what's his name?
Mrs. Jumbo: Jumbo... Jr.

Timothy Q. Mouse: So, you like to pick on little guys, huh? Well, why don't you pick on me?!
Elephant Matriarch: [backs away in fear] No!

Timothy Q. Mouse: All we gotta do is build an act! Make ya a star! A headliner! Dumbo the great!
[Fanfare plays as Dumbo hoists Timothy with his trunk.]
Timothy Q. Mouse: Uh-oh. The great what?
[Faltering fanfare as Dumbo lowers his trunk.]

Timothy Q. Mouse: I am the voice of your subconscious mind. Your inspiration. Now, concentrate!
Ringmaster: [loud snore]
Timothy Q. Mouse: Remember? Your pyramid of elephants are standing in the ring, waitin' for a climax!
Ringmaster: [in his sleep] Climax...
Timothy Q. Mouse: You are now getting that climax.
Ringmaster: Climax...
Timothy Q. Mouse: How's the reception? Comin' through okay?
Ringmaster: [snore]
Timothy Q. Mouse: Good. Suddenly, from the sidelines, comes your climax.
Ringmaster: Climax...
Timothy Q. Mouse: Gallopin' across the arena.
Ringmaster: Arena...
Timothy Q. Mouse: He jumps from a springboard, to a platform. At the very pinnacle of your pyramid, he waves a flag, for a glorious finish!
Ringmaster: Finish...
Timothy Q. Mouse: And who is your climax? The little elephant with the big ears! The world's mightiest midget mastodon! DUMBO!!!
Ringmaster: [snore] What?
Timothy Q. Mouse: Dumbo...
Ringmaster: Dumbo...
Timothy Q. Mouse: [softer] Dumbo.
Ringmaster: Dumbo.
Timothy Q. Mouse: [almost inaudible] Dumbo.
Ringmaster: [awake] Dumbo! I got it! I got it!

[In the elephant car, all the elephants were bandaged.]
Elephant Matriarch: Oh, I never thought I'd live to see the Big Top fall.
Elephant 1: Because of that Dumbo, I never can show my face there, again.
Giddy: Oh, look at my beautiful tail!
Elephant Matriarch: I'll just spank the daylights out of him! [groans]
Elephant 2: Oh, that won't be necessary, deary. They fixed him, good.
Elephant Matriarch: What do you mean?
Elephant 1: What did they do?
Giddy: Did they beat him?
Elephant 1: What is it, darling?
Giddy: Tell us.
Elephant Matriarch: Come, I demand to know!
Elephant 2: Oh, well, they've gone and made him....oh, dear, I just can't say it.
Elephant Matriarch: Out with it!
Elephant 2: Made him a clown.
Giddy: A clown?
Elephant 3: No.
Elephant 2: Yes.
Elephant Matriarch: Oh, the shame of it. Let us take the solemm vow. From now on, he is no longer an elephant.

Timothy Q. Mouse: [to Dumbo, who's crying] Remember, you come of a proud race. Why, you're a...a pachyderm, and pachyderms don't cry.

Timothy Q. Mouse: [completely drunk while looking at the bubbles] Balloonies. [he notices a bubble with his reflection] Hiya, George! [he hugs the bubble]

[A group of crows finds Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse asleep in a tree.]
Spectacled crow: Well, looky here, looky here!
Tall crow: My, my! Why, this is most irregular!
Hat-wearing crow: I just can't believe my eyes!
Spectacled crow: They ain't dead, is they?
Plump crow: [smirks] No. Dead people don't snore... [looks unsure] Or do they?

[Jim Crow wakes Timothy, who's in a tree with a sleeping Dumbo.]
Timothy Q. Mouse: Oh, those pink elephants.
Jim Crow: Oh! Pink elephans!
[Other crows laugh.]
Timothy Q. Mouse: [sees the crows] What's so funny? What are you boys doin' down here, anyway?
Jim Crow: What are we doin' down here?! Well, hear him talk!
[The crows laugh again.]
Timothy Q. Mouse: [yawning] Oh, go fly up in a tree where you belong. [goes back to sleep]
Jim Crow: Now, look here, Brother Rat...
Timothy Q. Mouse: [suddenly wide awake] "BROTHER RAT"?! Now listen! I ain't your brother and I ain't no rat!
Jim Crow: And I suppose you and no elephant ain't up in no tree either!

Timothy Q. Mouse: But I wonder how we ever got up in that tree, anyway. Now, let's see. Elephants can't climb trees, can they? Nah, nah, that's ridiculous. Could've jumped up. Mm-mmm, it's too high.
Jim Crow: Hey there, son! Maybe y'all flew up!
Timothy Q. Mouse: Maybe we flew up. Yeah, maybe we— [has a revelation] That's it! Dumbo! You flew! Boy, am I stupid! Why didn't I think of this before?! Your ears, just look at 'em, Dumbo! Why, they're perfect wings! The very things that held ya down are gonna carry you up and up and up! I can see it all now: "Dumbo! The ninth wonder of the universe! The world's only flyin' elephant!"

Spectacled crow: Did you ever see an elephant fly?
Tall crow: Well, I've seen a horse fly...
Plump crow: Ah, I've seen a dragon fly...
Hatted crow: [snickers] I've seen a house fly!

Timothy Q. Mouse: [as Dumbo falls off the platform after the "magic" feather falls off] Dumbo! C'mon, fly! Open them ears! The magic feather was just a gag! You can fly! Honest, you can! Hurry, open them up! HURRY!
[At the last moment, Dumbo opens his ears and soars over the crowd.]
Timothy Q. Mouse: Whee! We did it! We did it!

Taglines

  • Walt Disney's Latest... Most Lovable... Funable Characters!
  • The One... The Only... The FABULOUS...

Cast

External link

Wikipedia
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Simple English

Dumbo
Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Helen Aberson (book)
Harold Perl (book)
Otto Englander (story direction)
Joe Grant
Dick Huemer
Starring Edward Brophy
Herman Bing
Margaret Wright
Sterling Holloway
Cliff Edwards
Music by Frank Churchill
Lance Husher
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
Release date(s) October 23, 1941
Running time 64 minutes
Language English
Budget $813,000 USD
Gross revenue $1.6,000,000
Allmovie profile
IMDb profile

Dumbo is a 1941 animated movie produced by Walt Disney and first released on October 23, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures. The fourth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics, Dumbo is based upon a child's book of the same name by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Perl. The main character is Jumbo Jr., a baby elephant who is cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using them as wings. Throughout most of the movie, his only true friend aside from his mother is the mouse Timothy, making fun of the stereotype between mice and elephants. Dumbo was made to make up for the damages of Pinocchio and Fantasia. The movie has been criticized as being racist (the leader crow in the movie was named "Jim Crow" and the name stuck), yet is also considered to be one of Disney's best movies. It was an attempt to be simple and make profits for the Disney studio, is now generally regarded as a classic of animation. At 64 minutes, it is one of Disney's shortest animated features.

Contents

The story

Mrs. Jumbo sadly looks on how babies are delivered by the stork to other circus animals. As even a baby elephant makes a pretty heavy package, hers is the last to arrive, but soon becomes the laughing stock of the others because of his big ears, getting meanly named "Dumbo" by the others. When Mrs. Jumbo can not take the public making fun of her son, she is locked up as "mad elephant", and Dumbo finds himself all alone. A mouse named Timothy comes and scares the mean herd. He encourages Dumbo and tells the circus director to make Dumbo the top (literally) of an elephant pyramid stunt which ends up literally bringing the house down, and Dumbo is given the job of clown. To cheer Dumbo up, Timothy brings him to go see his mother. The next day, they find themselves in a tree with a bunch of crows, who discover that Dumbo can fly.

Cast

  • Edward Brophy: Timothy Q. Mouse
  • Herman Bing: The Ringmaster
  • Margaret Wright: Casey Junior
  • Sterling Holloway: Mr. Stork
  • Cliff Edwards: Jim Crow
  • Hall Johnson Choir: Crow Chorus
  • Verna Felton: Elephant Matriarch, Mrs. Jumbo (uncredited)
  • Noreen Gammill: Elephant Catty
  • Dorothy Scott: Elephant Giddy
  • Sarah Selby: Elephant Prissy
  • Billy Bletcher: Clown #1
  • Eddie Holden: Clown #2
  • Billy Sheets: Clown #3, Joe
  • Malcolm Hutton: Skinny
  • Harold Manley: Boy #1
  • Tony Neil: Boy #2
  • Chuck Stubbs: Boy #3
  • John McLeish: Narrator
  • The Sportsmen: Themselves
  • Note: These actors were not credited in the opening credits of the film.

Crew

  • Based on the Book by: Helen Aberson & Harold Pearl
  • Supervising Director: Ben Sharpsteen
  • Screen Story by: Joe Grant & Dick Huemer
  • Story Direction: Otto Englander
  • Sequence Directors: Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Jack Kinney, Sam Armstrong
  • Animation Directors: Vladimir Tytla, Fred Moore, Ward Kimball, John Lounsbery, Art Babbitt, Woolie Reitherman
  • Story Development: Bill Peet, Aurie Battaglia, Joe Rinaldi, George Stallings, Webb Smith
  • Character Designs: John P. Miller, Martin Provenson, John Walbridge, James Bodrero, Maurice Noble, Elmer Plummer
  • Music: Oliver Wallace and Frank Churchill
  • Lyrics: Ned Washington
  • Orchestration: Edward Plumb
  • Art Direction: Herb Ryman, Ken O'Conner, Terrell Stapp, Don Da Gradi, Al Zinnen, Ernest Nordli, Dick Kelsey, Charles Payzant
  • Backgrounds: Claude Coats, Al Dempster, John Hench, Gerald Nevius, Ray Lockrem, Joe Stahley
  • Animation: Hugh Fraiser, Harvey Toombs, Milt Neil, Hicks Lokey, Howard Swift, Don Towsley, Les Clark, Claude Smith, Berny Wolf, Jack Campbell, Walt Kelly, Don Patterson, Cy Young, Ray Patterson, Grant Simmons, Josh Meador, Bill Shull, Art Palmer

Uncredited:

  • Story: Vernon Stallings
  • Art Direction: John Hubley
  • Animation Director: Frank Thomas
  • Cel Painter: Phyllis Bounds Detiege
  • Animators: Eric Larson, Retta Scott
  • Singing Voice for "Look Out for Mr. Stork": Thurl Ravenscroft

Characters

Dumbo the Flying Elephant

Dumbo is the main character in the movie. He is a fictional anthropomorphic elephant who has huge ears and is able to fly, using his magic feather. Much like Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dumbo has no spoken dialogue. However, in the live-action/puppet television series Dumbo's Circus, Dumbo was voiced by Katie Leigh.

In the movie, Dumbo is delivered by Mr. Stork, and is made fun of for the strange size of his ears. As his mother, Mrs. Jumbo, beats up the bullies who pick on her baby, the ringmaster has his helpers chain her up and lock her up in a trailer, which says: "MAD ELEPHANT". It is then that Timothy Q. Mouse looks after Dumbo. The two of them try to make Dumbo famous and get his mother free. Thanks to the help of a "magic feather" from some Crows, Dumbo flies to fame, and gets his mother free.

Timothy the Mouse

Timothy Q. Mouse is a mouse who became the only friend of elephants Dumbo and his mother Mrs. Jumbo. He teaches Dumbo how to become the ninth wonder of the universe, and the only flying elephant in the whole world.

Mrs. Jumbo

Mrs. Jumbo is Dumbo's mother. Deeply depressed at not having her baby delivered, she loves her son more than anything. She becomes angry when the boys pick on him.

Other characters include the other elephants who also make fun of Dumbo, the Ringmaster, Mr. Stork and the crows.

Release

Even though World War II was going on, Dumbo was still the most financially successful Disney movie of the 1940s. This was one of the first of Disney's animated films to be broadcast, albeit severely edited, on television, as part of Disney's anthology series. The film then received another distinction of note in 1981, when it was the first of Disney's canon of animated films to be released on home video and also was released in the Walt Disney Classics Video Collection in 1985. That release was followed by remastered versions in: 1986, 1989, 1991 (Classics), and 1994 (Masterpiece). In 2001, a 60th Anniversary Special Edition was released that has original RKO titles. In 2006, a "Big Top Edition" of the film was released on DVD that also has original RKO titles. A UK Special Edition was released in May 2007 and was a successful Disney release.

Theatrical release history

United States

Worldwide

Home video release history

Reception

The movie received good reviews and did well at the box office despite being released less then 2 months before World War II.

It also has been known as both classic and a masterpiece,and has received a Special Edition 60th Anniversary Disney DVD on October 23, 2001, exatly 60 years after its first release. That release featured a sneak peak of a direct-to-video sequel called Dumbo II.The preview showed a lot of sketches and storyboard ideas. The main story has to do with Dumbo and his new friends getting separated from the rest of the circus as they wonder into the big city. Dumbo's new friends are Claude and Lolly the twin bears who leave chaos everywhere they go, Dot the curious zebra, Godfrey the hippo who is older and wants to do things for himself, and Penny the adventurous ostrich. Timothy returns as well. The story was supposed to be as if the first Dumbo ended and this one started the next day. The project seems to have been canceled,as no further announcements have been made since, plus the fact that the The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning, Tinker Bell, and its sequels, were to be the last projests for DisneyToon Studios.

The crow characters in the movie are seen as African-American stereotypes. The leader crow was originally named "Jim Crow" for script purposes, and the name stuck. The other crows are all voiced by African-American actors, all members of the Hall Johnson Choir. Despite suggestions of racism by some, many historians such as Zoe Pritchard reject these claims. For instance, the crows are noted as forming the majority of the characters in the movie who are sympathetic to Dumbo's plight (the others are Timothy Q. Mouse and Mrs Jumbo), are free spirits who serve nobody, and intelligent characters aware of the power of self-confidence, unlike the Stepin Fetchit stereotype common at that time. Furthermore, their song "When I See An Elephant Fly" is more orientated to mocking Timothy Mouse than Dumbo's large ears.

Soundtrack listing

  1. Main Title (01:47)
  2. Look Out For Mister Stork (02:16)
  3. Loading The Train / Casey Junior / Stork On A Cloud / Straight From Heaven / Mother And Baby (04:58)
  4. Song Of The Roustabouts (02:38)
  5. Circus Parade (01:28)
  6. Bathtime / Hide And Seek (01:31)
  7. Ain't That The Funniest Thing / Berserk / Dumbo Shunned / A Mouse! / Dumbo And Timothy (03:23)
  8. The Pyramid Of Pachyderms (01:58)
  9. No Longer An Elephant / Dumbo's Sadness / A Visit In The Night / Baby Mine (03:34)
  10. Clown Song (01:00)
  11. Hiccups / Firewater / Bubbles / Did You See That? / Pink Elephants On Parade (06:07)
  12. Up A Tree / The Fall / Timothy's Theory (01:32)
  13. When I See An Elephant Fly (01:48)
  14. You Oughta Be Ashamed (01:10)
  15. The Flight Test / When I See An Elephant Fly (Reprise) (00:57)
  16. Save My Child / The Threshold Of Success / Dumbo's Triumph / Making History / Finale (02:14)
  17. Spread Your Wing (Demo Recording) (01:08)

Songs

  • Baby Mine (Betty Noyes)
  • Casey Junior (The Sportsmen)
  • Look Out for Mr. Stork (The Sportsmen)
  • Song of the Roustabouts (The King's Men)
  • The Clown Song (A.K.A."We're gonna hit the big boss for a rise") (Billy Bletcher,Eddie Holden,and Billy Sheets)
  • Pink Elephants on Parade (The Sportsmen)
  • When I See an Elephant Fly (Cliff Edwards and the Hall Johnson Choir)
  • When I See an Elephant Fly (Reprise)

Media and marketing

Dumbo's Circus

Dumbo's Circus was a live-action puppet television programme for preschool audiences that aired on The Disney Channel in the 1980s. Unlike in the movie, Dumbo spoke on the show. Each character would perform a special act, which ranged from dancing and singing to telling knock knock jokes.

Books

Walt Disney's Dumbo
Happy to Help: (ISBN 0-7364-1129-1) A picture book Disney Press by Random House Disney, written by Liane Onish, illustrated by Peter Emslie. It was published January 23, 2001, this paperback is for children age 4-8. Twenty-four pages long, its 0.08 inches thick, and with cover dimensions of 7.88 x 7.88 inches.
Walt Disney's Dumbo Book of Opposites
(ISBN 0-307-06149-3) A book published in August of 1997 by Golden Books under the Golden Board Book brand. It was written by Alan Benjamin, illustrated by Peter Emslie, and edited by Heather Lowenberg. Twelve pages long and a quarter of an inch thick, this board edition book had dimensions of 7.25 x 6.00 inches.
Walt Disney's Dumbo the Circus Baby
(ISBN 0-307-12397-9) A book published in September of 1993 by Golden Press under the A Golden Sturdy Shape Book brand. Illustrated by Peter Emslie and written by Diane Muldrow, this book is meant for babies and preschoolers. Twelve pages long and half an inch thick, this book's cover size is 9.75 x 6.25 inches.
  • Walt Disney's Dumbo
  • Dumbo (My First Disney Story)
  • Fly, Dumbo, Fly!
  • I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem

Theme parks

Dumbo the Flying Elephant is a popular ride that appears in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom,[1] Disneyland,[2] Tokyo Disneyland,[3] Disneyland Park (Paris), and Hong Kong Disneyland.[4]

Video games

Dumbo appears as a hero in the game Kingdom Hearts. Sora, the main character, flies on him and Dumbo splashes enemies with water from his trunk.[5]

Titles in other languages

(NOTE: Most of the above titles were later renamed simply Dumbo.)

Directing animators

  • Art Babbitt (Mr. Stork, Clowns)
  • Ward Kimball (The Crows)
  • John Lounsbery (Timothy Mouse and Dumbo)
  • Wolfgang Reitherman (Timothy Mouse)
  • Vladimir Tytla (Dumbo, the elephants)
  • Fred Moore (Timothy Mouse)
  • Frank Thomas (Pink Elephants)
  • Note:All directing animators were credited on supervising these characters except Frank Thomas.

Sequence directors

  • Wilfred Jackson (Dumbo)
  • Jack Kinney (The Crows)
  • Sam Armstrong (Casey Junior, Mr. Stork)
  • Bill Roberts (Timothy Mouse, Clowns)
  • Norman Ferguson (Pink Elephants, Circus animals)

References

Other websites

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