Trivia / The Rescuers

  • Actor Allusion: Eva Gabor is from Hungary, which happens to be the country Bianca represents at the Rescue Aid Society.
  • Bowdlerization: In two frames of the movie in its theatrical release, when Bernard and Bianca are riding Orville, going down from the building they were on, one building next to them has an image of a live-action naked woman in one of the windows. Disney found this out prior to the film's initial VHS release and had the images removed (all subsequent home video releases, except the early prints of the 1998 VHS and Laserdisc, feature the edited version). According to animator Tom Sito, on his Facebook page, the image was put in by background artist Annie Guenther.
  • Box Office Bomb: The second movie only grossed $5 million in its opening weekend due to Fox's Home Alone opening the same day, which led Jeffrey Katzenberg to believe the film was going to bomb. Katzenberg promptly ended all advertising for the movie, but reassured the producers to try again. The movie fell $10 million short of its $38 million budget.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Frank Welker voices the female eagle Marahute and McLeach's lizard, Joanna. (It's less surprising that the actor is a man than it is that the actor is human.)
  • Creator Backlash: Animator Don Bluth was said to have finally had enough of Disney repeatedly falling short of their reputation with this film and, shortly thereafter, lead an infamous mass exodus of animators to his garage-based studio. He later said that he was especially livid about the main characters' eyes not being colored in.
  • Dueling Movies: The Rescuers Down Under dueled Home Alone, and lost, thwarting an attempt at a Disney action film for years, guaranteeing Disney would go the musical route with their films (which became a problem when Shrek opened), and also allowing the "smart child" trend to continue (this was the second "smart child" film in 1990 that Disney lost to, the other being Problem Child, which defeated Ducktales The Movie Treasure Of The Lost Lamp in spite of being critically reviled.)
  • Fake Nationality: Norwegian child actor Adam Ryen was the voice of Cody in both the Norwegian and English versions.
  • Follow the Leader: McLeach's role led to a further increase of the Evil Hunter archetype, such as Gaston, Clayton, Lord Victor Quartermaine, and Rookery. The last two are especially notable as the films they're from aren't even made by Disney.
  • Genre-Killer: It would take another quarter-century past The Rescuers Down Under for Disney to even announce another sequel that would be a Disney Animated Classic rather than a Disney Television Animation or DisneyToon project (Wreck-It Ralph was formally announced to have a sequel that will be made by Disney Animation on the back of the box office and Blu-ray release of Wreck-It Ralph's director Rich Moore's Zootopia; the follow-up to Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, is also expected to have a sequel). They also waited until 2000 before doing any more Disney Animated Classics that have no singing (Dinosaur was the next film to have no songs, and it was followed by Atlantis: The Lost Empire).
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Percival McLeach is a ruthless poacher who was willing to add a young boy to his collection in order to track down the golden eagle and her eggs. In real life, his actor, George C. Scott, was an animal lover.
  • Old Shame: Outside of releasing the film to video and TV, and considering it as part of the Disney Animated Canon, the studio practically refused to acknowledge Down Under's existence for years to come after the movie bombed at the box office. You'd be forgiven if you didn't know that Disney did an animated film inbetween The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
  • Screwed by the Network: When the opening box office weekend of The Rescuers Down Under didn't live up to expectations, studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg pulled the plug on the promotional campaign. It also didn't help that the movie competed against Home Alone (that said, Katzenberg did have a Pet the Dog moment with that movie's producer over the phone, and Rescuers Down Under got better reviews than Home Alone).
  • Shown Their Work: The final scene in Down Under. Despite Wilbur, concentrate on the screen; the animators put the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross Constellation in the sky.
  • Stillborn Franchise: The second film underperforming in theaters, combined with Eva Gabor's death, put the kibosh on any additional Rescuers sequels; The Rescuers Down Under is still the only sequel to be part of the Disney Animated Canon for several decades (compared to the other departments of Disney; it's also one of two sequels produced under Jeffrey Katzenberg's watch, the other being The Return of Jafar, and both of these were better received than the Sequelitis prone movies that followed his exit)
  • What Could Have Been: The first movie was originally a very different movie than what was released. It was going to be a vehicle for Louis Prima (King Louis of The Jungle Book), playing Louie the Bear, and, according to the video in the link, to be about a Bear using a pair of mice to help him escape from the zoo and to save his friends at the North Pole. This version was scrapped shortly before Prima lapsed into a coma and it was Retooled into the movie we know today.note 
    • Also, before it was completely retooled, the movie's antagonist and villain was originally going to be Cruella DeVille. In fact there is a bit of a Development Gag there - Madame Medusa not only drives very similarly to Cruella, but also her jet ski looks to be inspired by Cruella's car.
      • Less a development gag and more the result of one animator's insane jealousy. Milt Kahl, one of Disney's Nine Old Men, had been insanely jealous of his colleague Marc Davis's animation of Cruella and Medusa was his attempt to finally "outdo" him.
    • In the planning phase of The Rescuers, Orville the albatross was originally a pigeon.
    • Dan Aykroyd, Steve Martin and James Belushi were considered for the role of Wilbur, while Mandy Patinkin was one of the original choices for McLeech.
    • Along with him, Paul Hogan and Clint Eastwood were considered to voice McLeech. If the former would have accepted it would have been an Actor Allusion to his famous character while in the latter's case, well, it would have been a massive Playing Against Type case.
    • There were tentative plans for a third movie but they were scrapped after the death of Eva Gabor, Bianca's voice actress.
    • Early drafts of the original movie involve saving a polar bear from a tyrant penguin. Not sure how the finished product would have been.
    • Yet another draft would have been rescuing a depressed poet from a prison, which follows the book "The Rescuers", but in the end they followed the sequel "Miss Bianca" more closely.
    • Originally, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers was supposed to be a Rescuers TV series. Consider the expies:
      Chip + Dale = Bernard
      Gadget = Bianca
      Monterey Jack = Jake
      Zipper = Evinrude the dragonfly
    • Had Penny not been replaced with Jenny, Oliver & Company would have instead been Disney's first sequel/spin-off in the canon, preceding Down Under by two years.
    • The producers intended for the popular 1970s pop duo Carpenters to do the movie's music, but scheduling conflicts forced them to reluctantly decline. Having to turn it down was especially hard for Karen Carpenter to do, as she was a big fan of Disney.
    • Judging from early storyboard sketches, Wilber was originally going to wear a jacket, instead of a scarf.
    • According to this article, Cody was originally meant to be Aboriginal Australian, but Katzenberg insisted Cody be a white kid to make the film more "commercial".
    • Even after it was Re Tooled away from being a vehicle for him, Louis Prima was still going to be in the movie with his intended character reworked. In the original draft, Bernard and Bianca were going to talk to Louis the Bear about Penny where he revealed she came to the zoo often. He also sang a song called "Peoplitis". It may have been cut for time as Prima did record the song and, presumably, his lines.
  • Madame Medusa's jet ski, or "swampmobile", appears to be powered by a jet engine. This is evidenced by the jet engine-like rear exhaust and the distinctive jet noises the vehicle makes. However, in a later scene in the film, a normal four-stroke engine is shown to lurk under the hood at the front.
  • Joe Flynn died unexpectedly in 1974, three years before this film was released. The voicework for the film was done around 1973.

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