Dumbo is a lovable circus elephant with a story surrounded by themes of friendship, tolerance and family. Although he is insecure about the size of his abnormally large ears, he eventually learns to embrace his differences and be confident in who he is.
In the spirit of the live action Dumbo film hitting theatres at the end of this month, we thought you might want to study up on the original film beforehand.
Here are 10 facts on Disney’s 1941 movie, Dumbo:
- Dumbo was the fourth animated film created by Walt Disney Productions, but was the first animated feature set in the U.S.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio and Fantasia were the three films that came before it.
- Disney’s Nine Old Men played a big part in making Dumbo come to life.
Well, 5 of them, anyway. Les Clark, Eric Larson, John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman and Ward Kimball all worked on the film in some way or another.
- Democratic President Harry S. Truman saw Dumbo as much more than the fictitious, floppy eared circus animal.
When he visited Disneyland during his presidency in 1957, he refused to ride the Dumbo ride-- and it wasn’t because he had a fear of heights. He declined to ride it because he didn’t want to be seen representing the symbol of the Republican party.
- Much like many Disney animated films, it all started with a book.
This story in particular was based off of Helen Aberson’s book with the same title, and was released in 1939-- 2 years prior to the release of the Disney film.
- The carousel ride “Dumbo the Flying Elephant” can be found at five of the six Walt Disney Parks.
These parks include: Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland and Tokyo Disney.
- One of the most quoted lines of the movie comes from Timothy Q. Mouse and actually references a famous actor at the time.
“Lots of people with big ears are famous,” was a reference to Clark Gable who was also known as “The King of Hollywood" at the peak of his stardom. As you could guess, he had particularly large ears.
- Dumbo *almost* made it onto the cover of TIME Magazine.
Our favorite baby elephant was named “Mammal of the Year” as a spinoff of TIME Magazine’s usual “Person of the Year.” Dumbo was supposed to make it onto the cover, but when Pearl Harbor happened, the magazine decided to switch it to an inside feature.
- There could’ve been a Dumbo II.
As Walt Disney’s favorite movie, there was talk of creating a sequel to the beloved film. It was set to pick up right where the first one left off. But now, Dumbo and his circus friends have to navigate their way through the city after being accidentally left there by the circus train.
- In the notable movie scene pictured below, the silhouettes of the clowns were inspired to look like Disney animators.
Two of the silhouettes were created to resemble Art Babitt and Jack Kinney who both worked as animators on the film.
- Dumbo is the only lead character in a Disney film to not speak.
Wall-E gave Dumbo a run for his money, but Dumbo still holds this silent title.
Dumbo is a Disney classic that we continue to watch time and time again, for generations to come.
While Dumbo may be almost 80 years old, we’ll still always remember him as the little elephant who learned to believe in himself.