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  • Adaptation Displacement: Though it's not entirely Disney's fault. The movie was based on an extremely obscure and unnoticed children's book that was only in print for a very brief time, which Walt just happened to stumble upon at a bookstore and cost him only a couple bucks. In fact, if Disney hadn't made an adaptation of it, chances are Dumbo would literally have been almost completely unheard of today.
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  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": Dumbo can fly.
  • Awesome Music:
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The infamous "Pink Elephants On Parade". Acknowledged as confusing or outright Nightmare Fuel to younger or more vulnerable viewers, especially those not understanding Dumbo and Timothy are supposed to be drunk.
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  • Base-Breaking Character: The crows. Some viewers claim that they are a racist portrayal of African Americans and that they are portrayed as unemployed layabouts. Others point out that while dressed stereotypically so that the audience knows they are 'black', they are the sole characters aside from Timothy who are sympathetic to Dumbo and readily help him. They additionally point out that it is Timothy they initially mock for his ridiculous idea of an elephant flying, ergo standing up to his 'authority'. They are also portrayed as being very clever, a trait not previously shown in stereotypical African American characters. Jim Crow, leader of the crows, is never named on screen and it was just a pun around the studio, this being a nickname for a black man.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: The belly-dancing pink elephant during the infamous sequence has gotten a lot of fan art.
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  • Creepy Awesome: The Pink Elephants on Parade.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • Ethnic Scrappy: The crows, whom the protagonist meets after his infamous Big-Lipped Alligator Moment nightmare. Though stereotypically "black" and led by a crow named Jim, they're glad to take a fellow outcast under their wing and help him to get back at his oppressors. With the exception of Cliff Edwards, the voice actors were also black singers, the Hall Johnson Choir. All of them did a fantastic job on their song. When asked about it, Floyd Norman, one of Disney's first Black animators, defended the characters as saying that they were never conceived as flat racist stereotypes so much as a spoof on popular Black entertainers from the era, and that he personally never saw them as offensive.
  • Fair for Its Day
    • Consider that the crows are among the limited number of characters who are at least half-decent to Dumbo, and prove to easily be the most clever creatures in the movie. For obvious reasons, this is subverted in foreign translations, due to the fact the visual pun is lost for non-English speaking audiences. We like them and more importantly are encouraged to like them.
    • "Song of the Roustabouts" portrays black laborers putting up the circus tent. But the lyrics "We're happy-hearted roustabouts", given the downbeat tone of the song, is appropriately passive-aggressive and invites sympathy from the viewer.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: While the crows are rather divisive and polarizing characters in the American audience, they're very popular in foreign audiences, especially in the Latin American audience, mainly because the visual pun is lost for non-English speaking audiences and, in the case of the Latin American public, because the traslation imits a lot of localisms and regional accents in a very clever way. For instance, Jim Crow has an Andalusian accent, courtesy of the memorable Florencio Castelló. Similarly, the rest speak in Mexican and Caribbean accents.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight
    • One of the crows declaring, "I've seen a house fly!"
    • The circus starting out in Florida can be seen as this now that Disney World is there.
    • At one point, one of the circus gorillas roars like Tarzan.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Zigzagged; Dumbo's actual name is Jumbo Jr., while Dumbo was meant to be a cruel nickname. However, it's clear the name stuck, since he is always referred to by Dumbo by just about everyone, in the film or in real life, with its callous background lost on his sympathisers, Timothy and the crows.
  • It Was His Sled: Dumbo can fly. It's not revealed until late in the film, but the covers feature him flying front and centre.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Seeing the pink elephants" has been a popular way to describe someone on drugs ever since.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Many of the Crows' defenders consist of actual African-Americans such as Whoopi Goldberg and the aforementioned Floyd Norman.
  • Moe: The innocent baby elephant Dumbo, despite being mocked for his appearance in-universe, has a blatant Ridiculously Cute Critter design and his large ears only make him cuter (and not in an Ugly Cute way). Being also the Disney Trope Codifier for The Woobie adds to this trope.
  • Narm: If you pay close attention during the scene when Timothy washes Dumbo's clown makeup (before "Baby Mine"), a few of Dumbo's offscreen sobs clearly sound like that of an adult.
  • Never Live It Down: The debate over the allegedly racist portrayal of the crows has remained a major sticking point in an otherwise fondly-regarded movie. People most commonly complain about the lead crow being named Jim, despite this name never appearing onscreen and only appearing in production notes, along with the fact that Disney has officially referred to the character as "Dandy Crow" in later years.
  • Nightmare Retardant: The skating parts in the "Pink Elephants on Parade" sequence which have calming music and a beautifully animated ice-skating elephant duo.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Jumbo's mother only says one line "Jumbo...Junior" while giving a name to her son. Also the Stork, who delivers Dumbo to her. The Disney crew quickly grew to love Sterling Holloway's voice and he became a regular staple of the studio's work, most notably as Winnie the Pooh.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: A very downplayed example on this blatantly iconic Disney film, but in later years, the film became infamous for its portrayal of the crows, and at one point when Disney+ was in development it was rumored that their scenes would be removed from the Disney+ print or that the film would be banned from the service altogether—and given the importance of the crows to the plot, the latter would've been the more plausible option, especially given that their scenes were already removed from recent book adaptations of the original film (which were released in light of the 2019 remake). Thankfully, the film did end up being presented uncensored after all, albeit with a content warning in its description regarding "outdated cultural depictions".
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • Signature Scene:
    • Dumbo’s birth.
    • “Baby Mine”.
    • “Pink Elephants on Parade”, shortly after the previous.
    • Dumbo flying, and by extension “When I See an Elephant” as well as its reprise.
  • Uncanny Valley: Intentionally invoked with the disturbingly realistic Horus/Illuminati-like eye that appears during the “Pink Elephants on Parade” segment when the belly dancing elephant dissolves, making this an ironic, nearly-full inverting of the film’s cartoony style compared to most Disney animated features. Made especially jarring when comparing this to anything else in the film.
  • Values Dissonance: "Song of the Roustabouts" portrays black labourers putting up the circus tents with lyrics like "we work all day, we work all night, we never learned to read or write" - and a later line "grab that rope, you hairy ape".
  • What an Idiot!: Really? The bratty kid with the big ears sees Mrs. Jumbo hiding her son, and he decides to go past the rope and tug on his ears. Something like that would have gotten him killed in real life.
  • The Woobie
    • Dumbo is openly mocked and given a horrifically insulting nickname from mean lady elephants about four minutes after being born, gets the same treatment from some bratty kids, his mother gets sent to jail for justifiably attacking said kids (not to mention how much worse the attack from a fully grown elephant could have been), he gets relegated to clown duty after getting stage fright on his first big act (which the other elephants denounce him for), and becomes accidentally drunk. He only has one friend in Timothy Mouse to help him get through this, and said friend can't make everything better. When does all this happen? Over the expanse of probably about a week, starting from the day he's born. Dumbo just may be Disney's biggest woobie ever, and you know that's saying enough.
    • Mrs. Jumbo, whose sufferings we don't get to see, is kept in solitary confinement, unable to defend or even comfort her son through all these degradations, with the heavy implication that she's going to be destroyed at the end of the tour.
    • A far more minor and mundane example compared to the above examples are the roustabouts, judging the lyrics from their song.

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