Sunday, 23 May 2010

Dumbo Deleted Scenes - Part 1

(edited 4th June 2010 - see "Dumbo Deleted Scenes - Part 2")

It's a good time to be a fan of Walt Disney's Dumbo and animation history. Hans Perk has just posted up a(n almost) complete animation draft, which Mark Mayerson is currently using as a basis for one of his celebrated mosaics. Also, as in the Pinocchio craze of '07, Michael Sporn is getting into the act by posting up some production drawings (including Bill Peet's bathing storyboard briefly glimpsed in the extra features on the 101 Dalmatians DVD).

The draft Hans posted isn't a final version - some scenes are uncredited on it, and some were cut from the film. It's these "deleted scenes" which I'm going to look at over two or three posts, starting with this one. The way I will do this is by transcribing the relevant parts of the draft and putting the deleted material in italics. Once again I would like to make it clear that what a draft calls a "scene" is what most people would think of as a "shot". I'll be using "scene" and "shot" fairly interchangeably here.

Probably the first material on the draft which was deleted from the film is in seq. 6.0 "Menagerie: Mrs Jumbo Goes Berserk". The relevant portion of the draft (Draft No. 2) is as follows:

45 - EXT CU - Mrs Jumbo's back legs - Skinnay reaches in between her legs - Pulls Dumbo out by the tail - Skinnay "C'MON OUT AND PLAY, LOP-EARS" Dumbo looks at Skinnay. Kids o.s. "MAKE A SAIL-BOAT OUT OF HIM!" Skinnay blows in Dumbo's ear. Dumbo looks at his mother, o.s., for help. [i]Skinnay grabs Dumbo's ears, jumps on Dumbo's back, and starts "Roman chariot" riding act. Kids, o.s., start laughing.[/i]

46 - EXT CU - Mrs Jumbo, very alarmed at Skinnay's treatment of Dumbo.

47 - CU - Skinnay in Roman chariot act. Mrs Jumbo's trunk lifts Dumbo out from under Skinnay - Skinnay falls flat - Kids, o.s., laugh harder than ever.

48 - MCU - Mrs Jumbo puts Dumbo between her legs. Pan with Dumbo, and truck in, as he runs to camera left and peeks around Mrs Jumbo's other leg. Kids o.s. "THE BIGGEST SLING-SHOT IN THE WOILD!" Kid's hand reaches into scene - grabs Dumbo's ear - stretches it - Snaps it in Dumbo's face - Dumbo squeals, hurt.

49 - EXT CU - Mrs Jumbo, angry - reaches with trunk past camera. Kids' o.s. laughter changes to frightened yells.

50 - MCU - [Rear ends] and feet of kids scramming out of scene. Skinnay is grabbed by Mrs Jumbo's trunk, hung over rope and paddled. Skinnay: "HELP! MAMA!" Kids, o.s. "HELP! SHE'S MOIDERIN' SKINNAY!"

The main thing which didn't make it into the final cut was Skinnay's "Roman chariot act." Maybe this is an example of Walt's desire for restraint, as witnessed in his decisions for the mourning scenes in Snow White or the "Your mother can no longer be with you" scene from Bambi. Alternatively, it could be that there was no way to animate it convincingly. Perhaps most importantly, limiting Skinnay's torments to blowing into and snapping Dumbo's ears helps to keep the focus on the large ears - if he were to jump on top of the poor elephant and ride him like a chariot he'd be mocking him all right, but not mocking the size of his ears.

A few more scenes were cut from this sequence.

53 - CU - Ringmaster cracks whip - yells: "DOWN, MRS JUMBO!"

54 - EXT. CU - Mrs Jumbo dodges whip.

54.1 - CU - Ringmaster. Cracks whip again. Turns to yell: "CALL THE RIOT SQUAD!" etc.

55 - MCU - Five or six roustabouts run in thru curtains, carrying pipes, ropes, etc., shouting. Ringmaster, o.s. yells "KELLY! RIOT SQUAD!" etc.

56 - MCU - More roustabouts run into sideshow thru side-door.

57 - CU - Ringmaster yelling "GET THE CHAINS! SURROUND HER!" Cracks whip at Mrs Jumbo, o.s. Roustabouts swarm into scene, hiding Ringmaster from view.

These cuts were probably made to quicken the pace of the scene - the film no longer contains a reference to the "riot squad". Note the odd reference to "Kelly", addressed by the Ringmaster. The animator of these scenes was named Walt Kelly - was this unseen character named after the animator, or did the typist just make a mistake?

Finally, the last shot in the draft for this sequence includes an additional line for the Ringmaster.

74 - CU - Mrs Jumbo's water tub (same tub Dumbo was bathed in at start of sequence) Ringmaster is soused in tub. Stands up in tub, dripping wet, very mad. Yells: "TAKE HER AWAY! PUT HER IN JAIL!"

In the film, he just seethes. The line is unecessary as the next shot is of Mrs Jumbo in "jail", and cutting the line means that the audience experience a mood shift (from "relishing Mrs Jumbo's short-lived victory" to "sympathy for Mrs Jumbo's plight") at the start of a sequence, rather than a few seconds before the end of one.

The draft (Draft No. 4) for seq. 9.0 "Timothy befriends Dumbo" contains some missing dialogue for Timothy.

19 - CU - Dumbo looks doubtfully at one ear, wiggles it, then becomes very proud, smiles, looks at other, wiggles it. Tim, o.s.: "YA KNOW, LOTS OF PEOPLE WITH BIG EARS ARE FAMOUS." Dumbo reacts to "famous," looks down at Tim, o.s.

19.1 - CU Dumbo, draws his head back in surprise as Tim runs up Dumbo's trunk. Tim says "FAMOUS. NOW, LOOK DUMBO..." Dumbo cross-eyed as he watches Tim. Tim: "IF YOU'RE FAMOUS, THEY DON'T MAKE FUN OF YA, YOUR MA DON'T GET SORE..." Dumbo's eyes uncross as he watches Tim. Tim turns suddenly to face Dumbo. Tim: "IF SHE DON'T GET SORE..." Tim runs back up the trunk to between Dumbo's eyes... "THEY LET HER OUTA JAIL 'N EVERYTHING'S OKAY!" Tim turns and starts towards end of trunk again. Dumbo's eyes uncross again as he watches Tim. Tim: "OH BOY! ALL WE GOTTA DO IS BUILD AN ACT!" Dumbo's eyes cross again quickly as Tim rushes back, taps Dumbo on the forehead as he says "...MAKE YOU A STAR!" Tim jumps up in the air as he says "A HEADLINER!" Dumbo's crossed eyes go up and down, following Tim. Tim runs toward the end of the trunk.

It's a good thing they took out the "If you're famous, they don't make fun of ya". While I'm sure there was much less celebrity mocking in 1941 than there is now, they still made fun of famous people. Heck, Timothy's previous line about big ears just goes to show that. Unfortunately, it also means there's not much of an explanation for why Timothy tries to make Dumbo famous, or what this has to do with his earlier offer to "help get your mother outa the clink." Maybe it was cut because someone in authority thought that too much spoken dialogue (well, monologue) was "boring" or something, but Timothy's logic is a little suspect... with Mrs Jumbo chained in a wagon, would she really get much of a chance to show she isn't "getting sore" at the treatment of her son?

I'll leave it here for now... if you're interested in finding out more about these or any other scenes from the film - such as who animated them, check out Hans' posts (although you can only see as far back as the May 2nd post, most of the others can be seen by looking for April 2010 posts), or, if you feel the need for the scenes to be identified visually, just keep an eye out for Mark Mayerson's marvelous, magnificent... I think I'm turning into the Ringmaster. I give you, the mosaics.


  1. I too was surprised at the amount of missing and unused scenes and dialogue in the Dumbo drafts.

    I await your post on the Clown Act scene!

  2. A quick note on terminology: what a live action person calls a "scene" we in animation call a "sequence," what live action calls a "shot" we call a "scene." Thus, the two are as such not interchangeable without crossing over to a different medium, live action versus animation. "Silly little point, but it does seem to matter."

  3. I agree, but it's only the terms "scene" and "shot" I would use interchangeably, not "scene" and "sequence." I'd never, for example, refer to the "Roustabouts scene", it would be the "Roustabouts sequence".

    However, I might say something like "the roustabouts only appear in four shots", because if I said "four scenes", it's automatic that some people might assume something different from an animation scene.

    If you'd prefer I stuck to the term "scene", though, I'd be happy to oblige... oblige... oblige!

  4. A whole lot of Dumbo scenes missing in the picture, while I was looking through the "Pinocchio" draft, I noticed that there were only four scenes in the picture that didn't make the picture, two scenes in the "Killer Diller" sequence with Sam Cobean animation, and Pinoke by Harvey Toombs and Phil Duncan.

    In Snow White there a number of deleted scenes in the film, as well as three "deleted" sequences, and a lot of deleted material in the sequence with Snow White in the Woods.

    Look luck, John, hope to see more work, :D

  5. Yeah, the Pinocchio draft is pretty much up to date, with some of the sequences listed as "second final" or "after preview" drafts. The deleted scenes I noticed were a wide shot in seq. 1.7 (scene 61.4) and a couple of scenes near the end, yes, of the "Killer Diller" sequence - including half of Fred Moore's Jiminy animation! (you can see two animation drawings of the missing Jiminy scene on Michael Sporn's blog: - with a more reddish tint than the rest of the drawings)

    The Pinocchio draft does contain hints for other deleted scenes which are documented elsewhere - sequence 10.1 "Starving in the Belly of the Whale" contains the note "Scenes 5.5 through 77 out of the picture", and the Platinum Edition DVD includes storyboards for these missing scenes.

  6. What also is interesting in the Pinoke draft, is that the sequence numbers would come up with something like "4.9", "1.6", "10.5", etc. And some sequences jump from e.g. "4.9" to "7", and obviously there are sequences missing! I heard about Bill Peet's involvement in the deleted "Bogyland" sequence, and that could have been between the sequences.

    On the Dumbo draft we don't see much of "5.6" or "5.9", and on Snow White it would show as "3A" or "3B"