Accidentally Correct Zoology: Monstro himself is an exagerated version of the real-life sperm whale, with an gargantuan size, a broader head shape and teeth on both jaws. In 2010, paleontologists officially named Livyatan melvillei, a predatory ancestor of modern sperm whales which Monstro greatly resembles. Still, Livyatan was not as big as Monstro is, who seemingly reaches almost Kaiju-like proportions.
Charles Judels voices Stromboli and the Coachman. He even gives them different accents — Stromboli has an Italian accent and the Coachman has a British accent. This bit of voice acting also carried over into the movie-themed dark ride at Disneyland, in which both Stromboli and the Coachman are voiced by former Disneyland marching band drummer Ray Templin.
Dickie Jones voices both Pinocchio and Alexander, the boy who's still able to talk even after he's turned into a donkey.
Box Office Bomb: When it originally came out in 1940 thanks to WWII limiting its release to North and South America only. Budget, $2,289,247. Box office, $1.4-1.9 million (original theatrical release tally only).
Cross-Dressing Voices: In the original dubs for the French, Swedish, Danish and Hungarian versions, Pinocchio was voiced by grown women. In the re-dubs he's voices by boys, however, making it seen like Disney himself preferred the idea of having children voice children.
There's a handful, but "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" in particular later becomes the opening song for Fun and Fancy Free.
Another song, "Turn On the Old Music Box" was cut, but the tune remains as Pinocchio's Leitmotif.
"Three Cheers For Anything" was about the boys on the journey to Pleasure Island singing about what they're going to do once they get there.
"Honest John", which was included as a bonus feature on the 2009 Platinum Edition DVD/Blu-Ray release.
"Monstro the Whale", what remains of it in the theatrical film is a melody briefly heard in the film's underscore when Pinocchio sets off to find Monstro at the bottom of the sea.
Deleted Role: In his only work for Disney (if you don't count Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Mel Blanc originally recorded dialogue for Gideon the cat. He was cut out not because the character was taken out but because they decided to keep him silent to capitalize on the popularity of the similarly-silent Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A single hiccup is all that remains of Blanc's performance in the film.
Deleted Scene: Wolfgang Reitherman drew out a sequence showing Monstro consuming Geppetto's boat. The whale was to emerge suddenly on the otherwise serene sea scene, first looking like a large mound before revealing his teeth and swallowing the boat in one movement before disappearing underwater once more. The decision to discard this, causes a problem for a later scene where Pinocchio receives a letter from the Blue Fairy concerning his father's whereabouts.
Disowned Adaptation: Paolo Lorenzini, the nephew of Pinocchio's creator Carlo Collodi, hated the Disney adaptation for playing fast and loose with his uncle's story, and even unsuccessfully tried to sue the studio for misrepresenting his uncle's work.
Doing It for the Art: The film's production was just as ambitious, if not more so than Snow White. How much work was put into the film? To give an idea, $85,000, or a fairly large chunk of the film's $2,289,247 budget, was spent on two specialized multiplane camera shots that barely amount to a minute and 30 seconds total on screen! That's close to the budget of two Disney short cartoons!
Dueling Dubs: The film has been dubbed four times into Japanese; three times into French; and twice each into Albanian, Arabic, Brazilian Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, German, Hungarian, and Swedish. The French, Japanese and Danish dubs were also revised for later releases.
Hostility on the Set: Christian Rub (Gepetto's voice actor) was a Nazi sympathizer and frequently upset cast and crew members with his praising of Hitler. While the Holocaust was going on. The film crew showed him what they thought of him when they got to "rock" him on a boat set for the animators to use as a reference during the Monstro scenes.
The 1993 Walt Disney Classics Deluxe VHS/Laserdisc reissuenote which is billed as Walt Disney's Masterpiece was the second video release after Fantasia to have a 22-minute "Making of a Masterpiece" documentary.
The 2009 Platinum Edition 3-Disc Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, the last Platinum Edition Disney ever released, remains one of the most bonus-filled BD sets produced for a Disney Animated Canon movie (though like all Platinum Editions save Peter Pan, it replaced the Laserdisc's documentary with a longer one; in this case, No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio).
The 2017 Signature Collection Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack carries over almost all of the Platinum Edition's important bonus features including the No Strings Attached doc (despite Disney reducing the disc count to one DVD and one Blu-ray), with the losses somewhat made up for by some never-before-seen extras, and a handful of additional features taken from either the Deluxe Laserdisc or the 60th Anniversary Edition VHS.
The Other Marty: The film's lead writer, Ted Sears was initially cast as the voice of Pinocchio. Later, Walt Disney decided that the character should be voiced by an actual child actor, and so Sears' voice track was thrown out before any animation had been done, with Dickie Jones being brought in as his replacement.
Reality Subtext: Jiminy starts the movie in ratty clothes, (technically) breaks-and-enters a house with a fire because he's that desperate for warmth, and when the Blue Fairy gives him new clothes, he's genuinely overjoyed. The Great Depression had lasted for the entire previous decade in America, and a lot of Americans would recognise Jiminy as a homeless person barely managing to survive.
You know that opening multiplane camera shot on the day Pinocchio goes to school? The one that's barely on screen for a full minute? That entire shot, which used a specially constructed horizontal multiplane camera, cost $50,000 to shoot, as much as the budget of a single Disney short cartoon!
The panning multiplane crane shot during the "Hi Diddley Dee" number, which barely lasts 33 seconds on screen, cost almost as much money (around $35,000).
Stillborn Franchise: In the mid-2000s, DisneyToon Studios began development on a sequel. Robert Reece co-wrote the film's screenplay, which saw Pinocchio on a "strange journey" for the sake of something dear to him. "It's a story that leads Pinocchio to question why life appears unfair sometimes," said Reece. John Lasseter cancelled Pinocchio II soon after being named Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2006.
Foulfellow and Gideon were supposed to meet Pinocchio a third time, and be caught by the police. Cutting this effectively made them Karma Houdinis.
There was to be a Dream Sequence where Geppetto would tell Pinocchio a bedtime story about his grandfather, a mighty pine tree.
Originally, the donkey Lampwick was supposed to both keep his voice and join Pinocchio & Jiminy in their escape from Pleasure Island. However, he's captured by the Coachman's minions, and as he's being carried away he tells them to "Go on without me, it's no use I'm a goner". Some storybook adaptations keep the scene.
The movie was originally going to take place around Christmas time, which meant that it would also be snowing. Walt Disney nixed the idea because he wanted the movie to be enjoyed year-round (its original theatrical release was around Valentine's Day on top of that).
As noted under Acclaimed Flop, had World War II not broken out, the film would've been released internationally and probably would've been a box office success.
Pinocchio was originally going to be more like his literary counterpart, where he's more of mischievous, and his design more puppet-like. Walt Disney halted production after he decided the character was coming off as too unsympathetic. They restarted from scratch, making Pinocchio more naive and misguided, and they gave him a more boyish like appearance.
Pleasure Island went through several different designs with the early concept art containing more fantastical elements such as candy growing on trees and the boys drinking from taps that spewed soda rather than sap.
One alternate ending was set to have Geppetto go through a Disney Death rather than Pinocchio in the actual ending of the film.
At one point during the "I Got No Strings" sequence, there was going to be an African puppet that was depicted in extremely racist imagery (notably a Pickaninny) that was quickly cut during the film's production. Only a single animation cell of this character exists.