80 Years of Dumbo. The Story About Being Yourself.


On October 31st, 1941, Disney released Dumbo, the story of a baby elephant born with large ears and was made fun of for being different. On his journey he makes friends with a small mouse, and through their friendship he finds courage and with his large ears is able to fly like a bird and become one of the Circus’s top stars.

The film began back in 1939 when Disney acquired the rights to a short story called Dumbo. The story was originally meant to be a short film, but was instead made into a feature length movie because both Pinocchio and Fantasia did poorly in Europe due to World War II. The film was meant to have a very cheap budget and would be one of Disney’s shortest films ever, being only 64 minutes, all to try and maximize profits and make up for the previous two films.

The film officially began production in early 1940, but halfway through production both Dumbo and Bambi would be affected by the 1941 Disney Animator’s Strike, causing both projects to be delayed. The film was given only a $950,000 budget, significantly lower than the previous films, again to compensate for the loss of revenue from Europe.

The animation and character designs were made to be simple and grounded, more cartoonish than some of Disney’s other films at the time. This can be seen as many of the human characters appear less realistic and more cartoonish.

The film is a wild ride, giving us a story about motherly love where Dumbo’s mother defends her baby from attackers. A story about courage, when Dumbo is by himself. And a story about being true to yourself, when he embraces his large ears and becomes a star.

Many memorable songs and scenes such as Baby Mine, Pink Elephants on Parade and When I see an Elephant Fly. Yes, some elements of the film are outdated, but most likely were not intended to do harm 80 years ago.

The film premiered in New York on October 23rd 1941 but would receive a nationwide release on October 31st, Halloween. The film made $1.3 Million, so not much more than the film’s budget. Due to not making much profit Disney would make compilation films until 1950.

Despite this the film received much praise from critics and since then Dumbo has been a huge seller of merchandise and also has one of the most popular Disney Park rides.

I myself grew up different and I was made fun of for being different, like how Dumbo was. But when I see Dumbo conquer his fears and soar through the sky that gives me inspiration and hope so that I can keep going. It’s a fun family film that is always fun to watch. If you want to watch this on Disney Plus though you have to be an adult due to certain restrictions.

What was your favorite part about Dumbo?

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