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 Walt Disney Classics VHS release in 1992 and had the images removed. However, the images were accidentally reinstated in a 1999 Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection VHS reissue, and Disney subsequently recalled the tapes. The re-issue (and subsequent releases) had the image cut out. According to animator Tom Sito, on his Facebook page, the image was put in by background artist Annie Guenther. He also claimed in the 2012 book "Walt's People" that the reason that the image was leaked in the 1999 VHS was due to an executive turnover inbetween releases.
  • 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.)
  • 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 (Frozen 2 and Wreck-It Ralph 2 are expected to have sequels that will be made by Disney Animation.) 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.
  • Screwed By the Studio: 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 RDU 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 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 (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 similar to Cruella, but also her car looks to be inspired by it.
      • 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.
    • Raymond Stanz, Neal Page and Jim Belushi were considered for the role of Wilbur, while Inigo Montoya was one of the original choices for McLeech.
    • Along with him, Mick "Crocodile" Dundee and Walt Kowalsky 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 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".
  • Madame Medusa's 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.
  • The Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection DVD release of The Rescuers Down Under appears to be taken from a low-quality and degraded film print. This release shows all the characteristics of old film - dust specks, fluctuating brightness, and even the slight shifting of the image are present in this print. Ironically, The Rescuers Down Under was Disney's first film to be made entirely within a computer, and since the movie is on DVD, one would expect the full digital clarity present in most DVD movies.
  • Joe Flynn died mysteriously in 1974, three years before this film was released. The voicework for the film was done around 1973.

  • The 1991 video release of Down Under starts with the 1984 white-and-red F.B.I. warnings, the 1986 Sorcerer Mickey Walt Disney Home Video logo, and then had a trailer for the Classics VHS of The Jungle Book, which is followed by a gold-lettered "Feature Presentation" screen and then the 1989 Walt Disney Classics logo and the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo. The movie became a general release until the end of The Classics due to bombing in theaters, and later printings remove The Jungle Book trailer due to it having returned to the Disney Vault; these copies only have warnings and either an off-centered 1988 Walt Disney Classics logo or the 89 logo prior to the WDP logo and the film.
  • Some of Madame Medusa's animations served as inspirations for Ursula's.
  • The Rescuers usually comes with a mouse-related short, usually a Mickey Mouse short, for both theatrical and home releases (except for its original Classics release). The Rescuers Down Under was accompanied by The Prince and the Pauper in theaters for its premiere.
  • On the original film's 1992 VHS, the program is the 1991 green F.B.I. warnings, a home video trailer for Beauty and the Beast, a home video trailer for The Great Mouse Detective, and the cursive handwriting Feature Presentation screen, which was a navy blue color instead of lilac blue. This is then followed by the distorted version of the 1992 Sorcerer Mickey Walt Disney Classics logo (the distortion was caused by a video error, but Disney wound up running with that version of jingle for the rest of the Classics line and then as part of their company theme at the turn of the century) and then the movie's Buena Vista logo, which wouldn't reappear until the later 2000's, then the film; the demo tape only has the 1988 Classics logo and a trailer for The Rescuers prior to the film.