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Trivia / Dumbo

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  • 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 1942 and the redubs were released in 1972 and 1997, respectively.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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.
  • Short Run in Peru: 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.
  • 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.
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  • Unintentional Period Piece: Disney's first film set in the Present Day, Dumbo contains some generally subtle references to the contemporary 1940s, such as the line "I heard a fireside chat". The Spinning Paper at the end has a side story titled "Britain in Greatest Offensive" (with a smaller headline below reading, "Berlin Attacked as London Spurred By Lend-Lease Bill"). The newspaper itself is dated "Thursday, March 13, 1941", placing the events of the film in early 1941. However, following the 2017 closing of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the film's biggest example of this trope may be its setting in a traditional American-style circus, a setting which promises to look increasingly antiquated as the years go by due to the rising popularity of computer gaming and animal rights groups going on the warpath. Notably, 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.
    • 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.
  • 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 third shortest film period and the shortest single-story in the Disney Animated Canon.


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