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Trivia / The Fox and the Hound

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From the Disney movie:

  • Billing Displacement: The voices for Tod and Copper as adults were billed first, despite not aging until a half hour into the movie.
  • Blooper:
    • When Tod is being chased by Chief a second time (as an adult), there are several shots where his collar is missing.
    • During the first chase, Chief goes after Tod while dragging his doghouse barrel behind him. When Amos runs out after them in the next scene, however, there are still two barrels: one with Copper tied to it and an empty one that should still be attached to Chief.
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    • At the beginning of the film, just before we see Tod's mother, the camera zooms through a spider's web, however the shot is very blurry and out of focus. According to some of the animators who worked on the film, the camera operator for that scene was new and didn't know how to properly film the animation of the spider web before the shot of Tod and his mother.
  • Creator Backlash: Several notable animators, including John Lasseter, Don Bluth and Tim Burton, rarely speak kindly of this film, citing its tight-budgeted animation, which all but did away with the innovative technology the company had invented, as the final sign that Disney had become a shell of its former self.
    • Don Bluth was famously so unimpressed with the film he'd been assigned to co-direct, calling it a "churn 'em out," that he quit early in production, taking most of the animation staff with him to work on The Secret of NIMH. It would be the beginning of a long and bitter rivalry between him and the studio for the rest of the decade.
    • According to animator Tom Sito, Vance Gerry was vocally against the decision not to kill Chief. When then-studio head Ron Miller told the story department "This is Disney! We can't kill a character!", Gerry countered with "But he gets hit in the kisser with a freight train!"
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    • Similar to Bluth, Brad Bird was deeply unsatisfied with the nature of the production and felt that Disney wasn't living up to their legacy. Unlike Bluth, however, he was not afraid to tell the higher-ups what he thought to their faces. See Hostility on the Set below.
  • Creator Breakdown: Tim Burton literally went insane trying and failing to replicate the Disney style. Highlights from his tenure include locking himself in his closet, biting people who came near his desk and wandering the halls after having his wisdom teeth pulled and letting his mouth bleed all over the floor. He kicked around the studio for two years, doing odd jobs for them until he was fired for "wasting" the studio's money on his live-action short Frankenweenie. They eventually made up, though.
    Tim Burton: I worked for a great animator, Glen Keane. He was nice, he was really good to me, he's a really strong animator and he helped me. But he also tortured me because I got all the cute fox scenes to draw, and I couldn't draw all those four-legged Disney foxes. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't even fake the Disney style. Mine looked like road kills...imagine drawing a cute fox with Sandy Duncan's voice for three years. It's not something that you can relate to very much.
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  • Creator Couple: Jeanette Nolan (Mrs. Tweed) was married to John McIntire (the badger) at the time of the film's release. They have since died.
  • Dueling Movies: An unintentional example: the movie was released in the USA the same year when Vuk the Little Fox was released in Hungary. Both movies star a fox, who is pursued by a hunter and his dogs. Since very little information went through the Iron Curtain about animated films in production, it is unlikely that the creators of either movie heard of the other project.
  • Hostility on the Set: Brad Bird, who was vocally dissatisfied with the production throughout his time on it, once related a story about being confronted by the studio heads, production manager and one of the film's directors for "being difficult," which resulted in some brutally honest words being exchanged and Bird's immediate firing right after.
    I was standing up for the principals that the old Disney masters had taught me. The leaders didn't like that and they wanted me to shut up, and one of the directors said, "Why are you so vocal??" And I said, "Well, I don't think this is being very well run, and if you feel that I'm standing between you and doing your job, it is your job to fire me". And the production manager actually mimed ripping off my stripes, like "You were a golden boy and you are now disgraced!" Then they kinda looked at me and I realized "Well, this is it, this is the end of a long thing that started when I was a kid", so I said, "Well, it's been..." and I stopped, and I couldn't think of how to finish the sentence 'cause it hadn't really been thought. The pause was filled by the director who said "...a disappointment!" And I went, "Yeah, a disappointment."
  • Life Imitates Art: Meet Sniffer the fox and Tinni the Hound.
  • Posthumous Credit:
    • Animator Cliff Nordberg died in 1979. This film, which was his last project for Disney, was released two years later.
    • Jack Albertson, who voiced Amos Slade, lost his battle with colorectal cancer four months before the film's release.
  • Real-Life Relative: In the Latin American Spanish dub, the voices for adult Tod and Copper, Juan Antonio Edwards and Arturo Mercado respectively, were brothers-in-law at the time through their then-wives who are sisters. Additionally and...ironically, Mercado and the voice for Vixey, Diana Santos, are now in-laws.
  • Recursive Adaptation: The Disney books were inspired by the movie, which was inspired by the original novel.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: As children, Tod and Copper were voiced by Keith Mitchell and Corey Feldman, respectively.
  • Troubled Production: The film had many troubles going on with the production. Several veteran animators either retired or died early in production. Batches of animation drawings were stolen, leaving several scenes to be rotoscoped from pencil tests. Many of the studio's new young animators clashed with original director Wolfgang Reitherman's tough style, and while co-director Art Stevens usually sided with the younger animators, even he was adamantly against their insistence that the character of Chief should die in the film (Chief survives with a broken leg). These clashes drove Don Bluth to lead an exodus of practically half the animation team, delaying its release by six months and turning him into Disney's Arch-Enemy for a long while. Clashes still occurred between Rietherman, Stevens and Disney CEO Ron Miller, particularly with Stevens scrapping a planned song for the film performed by Phil Harris and Charo that Reitherman claimed was needed, believing the film did not have a strong second act; this ultimately led to Reitherman, who had directed nearly all of Disney's animated films since the 1960s and produced them since Walt Disney's death, to be Kicked Upstairs. The film would still turn a profit, but the after effects of its production would carry over to The Black Cauldron.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Don Bluth was assigned to co-direct the film until he and his colleagues departed from the studio in 1979. Scenes he worked on were the scenes of Widow Tweed milking the cow and her grabbing Slade's gun and shooting it.
    • Originally, Chief was going to die, thus making Copper's revenge against Tod much more extreme, but the idea was discarded for being too dark and was rewritten so Chief would get injured instead.
    • A pair of cranes voiced by Phil Harris and Charo were originally planned as minor characters, but were cut for not contributing anything.
    • Wallace Shawn was originally going to voice Boomer, but dropped out and was replaced by Paul Winchell.

From the novel

  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: It's pretty hard to come across a copy of the book, which has been out of print for decades. If you want to buy one be prepared to spare $200 to $300.
    • While a physical copy might bankrupt you, there is now an e-book version available.
  • Science Marches On: Canines like dogs and foxes are not, as it turns out, completely colourblind, only red-green colourblind as compared to the average human.

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