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Trivia / Dumbo

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  • Acting for Two: Verna Felton voiced both Mrs. Jumbo (who, granted, only has one line) and the Matriarch of the elephants.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Casey Jr. is actually voiced by a woman, but used a vocoder to alter it into a male electronic voice.
  • Cut Song: "Are You a Man or a Mouse"
  • Dueling Dubs: The film has been dubbed in Swedish a total of three times. The first dub was released in 1946 and the redubs were released in 1972 and 1997, respectively.
    • Japan has no fewer than four different dubs: two for theatrical release (1954 and 1983), a third for TV broadcast (1978 on the TBS network), and a fourth for home video release (1985). The 1983 version was also later broadcast on Japanese satellite TV, and the TBS TV dub was later rerun on Fuji TV and NHK.
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  • Development Hell: Dumbo II began concept stages in 2001 with interviews and teasers released on the 60th Anniversary rerelease of the original film. It was left on hiatus since then, and supposedly shelved with the other remaining Direct-To-Video sequels after John Lasseter's restructuring in 2007.
  • Late Export for You: The film wasn't released in Finland until 1948 (7 years after the original US release) due to the Continuation War between Finland and Soviet union in 1941-1944.
    • Japan had to wait another six years after Finland for a release of Dumbo, as the movie had not been released in Japan in 1941 due to mounting tensions between the U.S. and Japan (indeed, the attack on Pearl Harbor took place about a month and a half after the original U.S. release date).
  • Name's the Same: A meta example of this happens in the 1985 Japanese dub used for all home video releases of the film: The Preacher Crow is voiced by a much older voice actor named Yuuichi Nakamura. He's completely unrelated with the much younger one and with Yuichi Nakamura, a TV actor who played Yuto Sakurai/Kamen Rider Zeronos in Kamen Rider Den-O.
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  • Old Shame: Was this to Walt, who produced this and The Reluctant Dragon on a whim to recover money from 1940's failures, and there was also the fact that it was made during the devastating 1941 studio strike—Walt also left to travel during South America during the bulk of the movies production, giving him less hands on involvement with the movie like he had with his previous films. He sent it to television rather early, and this was why Dumbo, along with Alice In Wonderland, were the only single-story animated films to be released on video prior to the 1984 management shift that saw Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Frank Wells arrive at Disney. Ironically, Dumbo's one of the most popular Disney Animated Classics with both audiences and critics.
  • Playing Against Type: Normally Bill Tytla animated large imposing and often villainous characters, however for this film most of his animation was for the titular character a cute baby elephant, he reportedly did this to show his colleagues that he could do characters other than big scary villains
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  • Tribute to Fido: It is implied that Dumbo's father is Jumbo, a famous elephant that appeared first at the London Zoo then at the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Dumbo was supposed to be named Jumbo Junior, but ended up being known by a mocking nickname instead.
  • Troubled Production: This was Disney's first seriously problematic production. They had to make it on a lower than usual budget due to the studio's financial troubles, and then things really hit the fan when most of the studio's animation staff went on strike over atrocious working conditions, resulting in a lot of the film being completed by junior animators who weren't financially secure enough to go on strike, plus a few more experienced animators who crossed the picket lines knowing that the studio would more than likely be forced to close down if they didn't get Dumbo out on time, though even then only produced work that met the bare minimum standard that Disney would accept. The end product was the biggest critical and commercial success Disney had since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but Walt Disney himself looked back on it with disdain afterwards, and to really stick the boot in, reported all the animators who had gone on strike as potential communists, resulting in more than a few careers being put on hold, if not ended permanently.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: Being Disney's first film set in the Present Day as of its release, it's an odd mix of a contemporary piece to The '40s when it came out (1941), but also saddled with many references to the The '30s.
    • One of the biggest hints that the film is actually set in The '40s is at the end, where the Spinning Newspaper is dated "Thursday, March 13, 1941", and includes side stories titled "Britain in Greatest Offensive" and "Berlin Attacked as London Spured By Lend-Lease Bill".
    • The '30s, meanwhile, spill over into the very beginning of the next decade by way of several references, including one in the very first song, "Look Out for Mr. Stork"; the singers casually mention "those quintuplets", a reference which at the time would not be necessary to explain, because it is very clearly a reference to the Dionne Quintuplets, five identical French-Canadian girls who became enormous celebrities during the Depression years simply by virtue of being quintuplets (and even that is dated, as quintuplets would hardly impress anyone today because nonuplets have since been born). The North American media obsessively covered the Dionne story for years (partly because it gave them an excuse to avoid any controversial economic or political topics that might have offended people in what was at the time a fairly heated social climate), with the result that the girls' entire childhood and adolescence became world news. You probably only remember the Dionne Quintuplets today if you're a Thirties buff, or a student of old newsreels, or maybe if you saw that South Park episode that subtly parodied the phenomenon with a big fuss in the town over five identical Romanian girls.
    • There are also some instances that transcend any specific decade. The song "When I See an Elephant Fly" includes the line "I heard a fireside chat", referring to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his thirty-some radio broadcasts he gave from taking office in 1933 until near the end of World War II in 1944. Also, the film's traditional American-style circus setting eventually looked increasingly antiquated as the years went by, as premium human-centric circuses a la Cirque du Soleil gained popularity and animal rights groups waged war against perceived cases of animal abuse, followed by the 2017 closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. As a result, the 2019 live-action remake went the Period Piece route.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • A Direct to Video sequel began production in 2001. Dumbo II would have involved Dumbo and the other baby animals of the circus getting stranded in New York City and having to find their way back to their travelling home. The project went into Development Hell and was supposedly canned, but not before having teasers in the 60th Anniversary rerelease. There is a petition on asking for Disney to finish this sequel, and it so far has more than a hundred signatures.
    • The film was supposed to be just a short subject—but got expanded to a full movie because Disney was suffering a budget crisis and desperately needed money to stay afloat.
    • The filmmakers considered having Dumbo talk, with Dickie Jones (the voice of Pinocchio) providing his voice.
    • The ending was originally going to be longer, with Dumbo having his ears massaged by beauties as his mother knits him a sweater, Timothy sits at a big desk signing contracts for Dumbo and the train heads for Hollywood.
    • Dumbo was going to appear on the cover of TIME magazine. Unfortunately, the bombing of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese overshadowed him.
    • There was originally supposed to be a scene where Timothy spins an elaborate tale to Dumbo about why elephants are afraid of mice.
    • Storyboards exist of Dumbo and Timothy having interactions with Casey Jr, suggesting he was meant to have a larger role in the movie.
    • During production of the "Bongo" segment of Fun and Fancy Free, at one point, some characters and elements of Dumbo were to be carried over into the segment, including the gossipy elephants.
  • Write What You Know:
    • The clowns singing "Hit the Big Boss (For a Raise)" was based on the Disney Animators' Strike in 1941.
    • Bill Peet based a lot of Dumbo's characterization on his infant son. He also drew on his childhood love of the circus when helping develop the film's story.

  • At 64 minutes, this is the second shortest film period and the shortest single-story in the Disney Animated Canon.


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