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Fridge Brilliance

  • Look at all of the elephants carefully, primarily their head shape, ear shape, and the slope of their backs. We all believe that Dumbo is ostracized for the nonsensically large ears. The truth is a bit deeper. After studying the varying elephant designs in the movie (particularly the back hump and slope and the shape as well as size of the ears, and resulting proportions of the legs and feet), go look up the difference in shape between an Asian elephant and an African elephant. The adult women, including Mom, are all Asian elephants, and Dumbo looks like an African elephant. Dumbo's Disappeared Dad must have been an African elephant. Dumbo is not ostracised for his big ears, but because he is the child of a interracial couple.
    • Since in early art Dumbo's father was indeed an African elephant, throughout the movie this bullying is treated as... well, just generally an awful thing to do to an innocent child, until he is separated from his loving mother, who is herself punished because her child is 'different'. It's all just another nail in the coffin of why the film isn't anything like as racist as some critics claim.
  • How are Dumbo and Timothy able to get drunk off of watered-down alcohol so quickly, and why is just being drunk enough to make them see Pink Elephants? While most of their reaction clearly stems from Artistic License, it is plausible that they'd at least have an incredibly strong reaction to the stuff. They're both animals. Not only that, Timothy is incredibly small and Dumbo is a baby. Whatever amount of alcohol that bottle contained, it was certainly not made with their biology in mind.
    • Even better, from the alcohol's green colour, a lot of people have theorised that it may have been absinthe. To put this in perspective, absinthe is one of the most potent of alcoholic beverages, even when distilled, and was widely believed to be a powerful hallucinagenic (though that has been since proven false). If they were drinking distilled absinthe, it's really no wonder they saw Pink Elephants and managed to fly up into a tree...
  • "Pink Elephants on Parade" segment isn't entirely random. In a way, it's a distorted version of what little experience Dumbo has gathered.
    • Scary elephants are basically the caricatures of those snobbish elephants. The one smaller elephant that briefly got abused at one point but managed to get back at it's tormentors is clearly Dumbo himself.
    • The appearance of the snake is a representation of the instinctive fear that elephants have when meeting such dangerous species as the rather large King Cobra. Especially considering Dumbo is only a baby who was practically just born, who would have less defenses against venom.
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    • The gigantic eye is Dumbo's fear of attention toward him which he perceives as negative. He's not entirely wrong.
    • Elephant heads make up a human body, because due to the cruel boy and clowns, Dumbo (and Timothy too, to an extent) feel mistrust towards humans. This is also why the above giant eye is a human eye, a very detailed one at that. Also, it's elephant heads, because the mean elephants did mostly look at Dumbo with their heads and Dumbo, like any baby elephant, seeked comfort by his mother's side of the body. Or under her stomach where he couldn't be easily reached. Or by the backside, where there's mother's tail which he can hold for comfort.
    • Timothy sees this segment too, because, deep inside, he can't be entirely sure, that snobbish elephants will always be afraid of him. He might accidentaly make a fool of himself. What's really notable is that Timothy sees the little abused elephant too, because he worries that Dumbo might get hurt eventually. Also, well, snakes eat mice and aren't easily to scare as with the elephants.
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    • Pink elephants are acting like humans and play trumpets, because Dumbo is growing up with the circus elephants. He doesn't really like to do human-like tricks himself and would rather make everyone happy with something that's miraculous to both animals and humans. As for, why the elephants are pink and have solid black eyes, it's an exaggerated representation of powder and make-up clowns put on the elephants.
  • While we of course hate the ringmaster and the circus staff for taking Dumbo away and locking up his mother, what they do is essentially what many would do when in that situation with a captive elephant, namely subduing it. Even taking Dumbo was an intelligent thing to do, as when an elephant is rampaging, and not fully paying attention to its surroundings, it is fully possible, if not likely, for it to injure its child.
  • Thirteen species are seen at the circus: bears, hippos, giraffes, zebras, tigers, camels, lions, kangaroos, gorillas, monkeys, hyenas, ostriches, and of course elephants. At the beginning of the movie, thirteen storks are seen delivering babies. Dumbo was delivered later and sometimes more than one baby was delivered to a mother, but still.

Fridge Horror

  • Elephants that attack humans don't tend to live very long, especially during the film's time period. Since Mrs. Jumbo was considered a "mad elephant" worthy of chains and warning signs, it's likely they were keeping her locked away until she could be executed.
    • Then what is she doing in the back of the train at the end of the movie?
      • Simple; Dumbo is a star by then, and publicity is everything. They're not going to do anything bad to the famous flying elephant's mother, let alone kill her.
      • In Real Life, they probably wouldn't consider the relationship between Dumbo and his mom worth bothering to preserve, but then, this is a Disney movie, and this ending seems happier than the alternative.
      • Of course Dumbo, being able to fly, could've threatened them to let her go, or perhaps even freed her himself.
      • Timothy was clearly capable to communicate with humans, and at the end of the movie he was acting like Dumbo's representative and signing contracts for him. It is reasonable to assume one of the first pre-contractual conditions he demanded was Dumbo's mother was released and treated well.
      • They want to breed her back to Mr. Jumbo to have more flying elephants/more profit. If daddy's still alive that is - I always thought he was and they simply don't take a bull elephant with them on tour.
  • What'll happen to Dumbo when he grows too big for his ears to carry?
    • He won't. Haven't you ever read The Far Side?
    • Maybe he'll merely be a retired Former Child Star, and perhaps be able to whip up strong winds with his ears instead?
    • It's possible that Dumbo's ears would grow in proportion to his body as he gets older. So his ears would still be massive compared to his body as an adult.
      • The square-cube law would mean that wouldn't really do much unless they grew REALLY big.
      • The square-cube law most certainly wouldn't allow for a flying elephant to begin with. I doubt it's in effect here.
  • Another relatively mild example. The skit Dumbo plays in with the clowns makes fun of a mother going hysterical because her child is in peril, while those around her are either indifferent or making things worse. It is an almost direct parody of the situation that led to Dumbo being separated from his mother in the first place. Not only has Dumbo lost his mother and been branded a clown, he is being forced to mock his own tragedy.
  • Imagine what would have happened if Dumbo hadn't been able to fly when he lost that feather. Yeah... let's just say it wouldn't have been pretty... (And for added horror, if he had missed the tarp below when they forced him out that one time. Sure, he might not have died, but injuries would be inevitable.)

Fridge Logic

  • The only reason Dumbo discovers his hidden ability (flight) is because he gets wasted.
    • Fridge Humor: The train says "I thought I could" after scaling back down the hill!
  • So all baby animals came from storks here. Does this mean the whole circus animal, Mrs Jumbo included... are actually infertile? That they must depend on storks to get children!?
    • More likely, the film is just using an old myth to introduce Dumbo's "birth" in a way that would have seemed appropriate for children at the time (and by many folks today) - often, the only other method typically used is to just show the mother and baby lying together after a fade-in or similar transition. Helps that having the stork make a literal delivery added an opportunity for a little humor.
  • Wouldn't a talking mouse that was intelligent enough to negotiate contracts be more impressive than a flying elephant?
    • That might already be commonplace. This is Disney.
  • Why do the crows all have black stereotypes? Because it's the what society saw and treated them as. Think about it. If you are seen and treated as black stereotype, eventually, you would start to be a black stereotype.
    • This particular troper was surprised to hear that it was supposedly a 'black stereotype' as if this was a bad thing, because what I got out of it was that blacks were friendly, intelligent problem-solvers. (Come to think of it, crows definitely fit that description.)


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