Additional Information about the Feature Film Dumbo

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Dumbo (1941) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film Dumbo

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  • Walt Disney Studios
  • Animated Characters: Dumbo, Timothy Q. Mouse, Casey Jr., Stork, Mrs. Jumbo, Prissy, Matriarch, Giggles, Catty, Joe, Skinny, Fat Crow, Jim Dandy Crow, Glasses Crow, Preacher Crow, Straw Hat Crow, Jim Crow.
  • Awards: Academy Award Winner, Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture), Frank Churchill, Oliver Wallace, 1941.
    Academy Award Nominee, Best Music (Song), "Baby Mine" (Music: Frank Churchill.
    Lyrics: Ned Washington), 1941
  • Originally Released in 1941.
  • Production Number: 2006
  • Running Time: 64 minutes.
  • TechniColor
  • U.S.A.  U.S.A.

Release Dates:

  • Oct 23, 1941- Theatrical Re-release
  • 1949- Theatrical Re-release
  • 1959- Theatrical Re-release
  • 1976- Theatrical Re-release
  • Jun 26, 1981- VHS Release (Rental)
  • Jun, 1982- Laserdisk & VHS (Sales) Release
  • Dec 3, 1985- Walt Disney Classics Video Collection Release
  • Jul 12, 1991- 50th Anniversary Edition
  • Oct 28, 1994- Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection (VHS/LaserDisk)
  • 2001- 60th Anniversary Special Edition (VHS/DVD)
  • 2006- Big Top Edition (DVD)
  • 2007- UK Special Edition
  • Sep 20, 2011- 70th Anniversary Edition (DVD/Blu-Ray)

Cartoon Production Information:

Sometimes the simplest stories resound the most in people's hearts. After the expensive box-office failures of "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia," Disney Studios made sure to keep Dumbo's production costs low (at $813,000, it's the least expensive Disney animated feature), and audiences demonstrated that a well-told story doesn't need a big budget: "Dumbo" grossed over $2.5 million in its original release (more than "Pinocchio" and "Fantasia" combined). Dumbo and Snow White were the only two pre-1943 Disney features to turn a profit for Disney.

"Dumbo" is beloved by many, but perhaps no endorsement is stronger than this: it was Walt Disney's own favorite among films made by his studio.

"Dumbo" was re-released theatrically in 1949, 1959, 1972 and 1976. Dumbo, along with Alice in Wonderland, was the first of Disney's canon of animated films to be released on home video. It was released to video in 1982, 1985, 1991, 1998 and 2000. Dumbo was one of the first of Disney's animated films to be broadcast, albeit severely edited, on television, as part of Disney's anthology series.

Estimated budget of $950,000.
This film made $1.6 million in it's initial theatrical release.
Traditional, Hand-drawn Animation.


After the artistic triumphs and labor-intensive efforts of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), and Fantasia (1940), the simple and succinct Dumbo was a departure for the Disney Studio.

At 64 minutes, Dumbo is one of the shortest Disney animated features. Many feel that its brevity and concisely rendered characters and story set it apart from its predecessors.

Disney animator Ward Kimball felt that, "Disney cartoon reached its zenith with Dumbo. Every story element meshes into place, held together with the great fantasy of a flying elephant."

The feature originated with the galleys of a story by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl, adapted for the screen by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer. Production of the feature took just a year and a half. Although the three preceding features had cost in excess of two million dollars each, Dumbo cost just $812,000.

Its low cost and popular appeal made Dumbo a much-needed financial success for the Disney Studio. The critical reaction was positive too, since many critics of the day felt that Dumbo was a return to roots for Disney after growing increasingly "arty" with Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. "Dumbo's the most enchanting and endearing of their output," wrote Cecilia Ager in PM, "because it's the least pretentious of their works, the least self-conscious."

Dumbo had been scheduled as the cover story for Time magazine at the time of its general release in December, 1941, but a more momentous story-the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor-supplanted Dumbo with Japanese general Yamamoto.

Dumbo has remained a favorite over the years and was the first Disney animated feature shown on television (in 1955), as well as one of the first released to home video, where it has remained in release since 1981.

In Dumbo, the fantasy of talking animals is played out against the backdrop of a circus. The human characters are marginalized, for the most part, to lend greater credibility to the animal characters. Circus workmen are kept in shadow, and the clowns are seen in silhouette. The spare story and concise characters inspired a style in Dumbo that is predominantly visual. Dumbo never speaks, nor does his mother. Leonard Maltin has noted "as delightful as the sound track is, especially with Timothy's dialog, one could turn it off and still follow every scene."

The musical score of Dumbo also gained much attention, garnering the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Motion Picture and a nomination for Best Song ("Baby Mine"). One song in particular, "Pink Elephants on Parade," inspired some of the most creative and outrageous animation ever created by Disney The surreal, dreamlike qualities of the sequence evoked a wacky quality unlike the work considered "typically Disney."

Joe Grant, co-writer of the Dumbo screen story, returned to Disney in the late 1980's, and was integral in the story development of Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), The Lion King (1994), Pocahontas (1995) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996).

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Cartoon Comments:

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Still too long at 64 minutes

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This is a good movie in a lot of ways, but the plot is too simplistic to sustain it for its full length. I got bored with Dumbo's drunken stupor and fast-forwarded through the last half. Lots of people claim that is a wonderful segment. It just felt...  (read more)

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Today, many people may just assume that Dumbo is just a children’s movie. Well, it is…but isn’t at the same time. Dumbo was made near the end of the Depression, when people still needed help taking their minds off of economical troubles. The movie has...  (read more)

4 of 76 people found this comment useful
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This one gives you everything from comedy (the clowns figures as the get out of costume in silhouette through the circus tent) to true, unforced, "REAL" pathos (anyone who doesn't tear up or at least sniffle a little at Mrs. Jumbo rocking her...  (read more)

4 of 40 people found this comment useful
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