Ten Things You May Not Know About Dumbo

by | Jul 15, 2018 | Lists and Trivia

  1. The illustrator of the original book, Helen R. Durney, was a native of Syracuse, New York. Her original drawings are maintained in a collection in the Syracuse University Libraries.
  2. Though an animators’ strike (profiled in the January/February 2013 issue of Celebrations) would shutter Disney Studios for more than a month in the spring of 1941, work on Dumbo was completed mere days before the strike occurred, so the film was not affected.
  3. Like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, watercolor paint was used to create the backgrounds. Though the technique was regularly used in Disney cartoon shorts, Dumbo and Snow White are the only two classic Disney features to use the technique. (Lilo & Stitch, released in 2002, also made use of watercolor backgrounds, as well as oil paint and gouache.)
  4. The joking wordplay of the crows is based on the banter heard among band members on old jazz recordings such as those by Cab Calloway and Louis Armstrong.
  5. With a setting in Florida, Dumbo was the first Disney film to take place in the United States.
  6. Walt Disney often mentioned that Dumbo was among his favorites of the movies he made. John Lasseter, CEO of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, has also cited Dumbo as his favorite movie.
  7. Dumbo is the only Disney film in which the title character never speaks. (An argument could be made for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, because Dopey, one of the titled “Seven Dwarfs” does not speak either!)
  8. Rereleased in 1981, Dumbo was Disney’s first animated film to be offered on videocassette.
  9. When former president Harry S. Truman visited Disneyland in 1957, he politely declined riding the Dumbo attraction, because the elephant is a symbol of the Republican Party, and Truman was a Democrat!
  10. A live-action version of Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton, is currently in production, scheduled for release in March 2019. The story is loosely inspired by the animated classic, and will star Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin.

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