During its nearly 100-year-old history, Disney created countless universally-acclaimed and beloved animations, cartoons, and films. Some of these immortal classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Bambi, and Lion King became an indispensable part of cinema history. And how could we forget about such iconic films as Herbie: The Love Bug and Mary Poppins?!
We all grew up watching Mickey Mouse and his many friends, and they’re so close to us that it sometimes seems like we know everything about Disney films and animations. If you think that you know everything one could possibly know about these classics, we’re here to surprise you with 7 little-known Disney facts!
1. In the first cartoons, Mickey Mouse doesn’t wear gloves
One of the biggest distinguishing features of famous Disney cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse and Goofy are their gloves. Few people know, however, that the gloves were a later addition to Mickey's image. They were only added in 1929, which means that Mickey Mouse didn't wear any gloves in the first cartoons, such as Plane Crazy (1928) and Steamboat Willie (1928).
2. Walt Disney got a special Oscar for Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
This special Oscar was awarded to Walt Disney at the 10th Academy Awards in 1938. As the award itself hints, the award was granted for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the world's first full-length Technicolor animated feature film with a soundtrack. Widely-recognized as one of the greatest motion pictures of all time, the iconic picture was proclaimed "a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon".
3. Walt Disney’s favorite animated scene
The scene in which the Fairy Godmother magically transforms Cinderella’s torn dress into a beautiful gown is said to be Walt Disney’s favorite animated scene. The iconic transformation was created by Marc Davis, who was one of the core animators for Disney, the so-called “Nine Old Men.”
4. The phrase “Hakuna Matata” wasn’t in the original script for the Lion King
The Lion King was Disney's first full-length feature with an original storyline, not an adaptation of an existing fairytale or book. Little did we all know, one of the most iconic phrases in the story wasn't pre-planned. As co-director Rob Minkoff stated, "We couldn’t convince everybody that making the entire song about eating bugs was a good idea. Soon after, the research team came back from their trip to Africa with the phrase ‘Hakuna Matata’. We talked about it in a meeting with Tim Rice — and that’s when the idea struck. I remember Tim saying, ‘Hmmm… Hakuna Matata. It’s a bit like Bibbidi-bobbidi-boo.’ A song was born!”
5. The first Mary Poppins movie was filmed entirely in-studio
Although Pamela Lyndon Travers, the author of the Marry Poppins books lived in London, and the story is also set in Edwardian London, the 1964 Mary Poppins movie was filmed indoors and in the United States - at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California. You can see a photo of the intricate movie set in the image above.
6. Lady and the Tramp is based on a real story
The adorable love story of two dogs with very different backgrounds made all of us fall in love. Few people know that it all started with a sketch of a real Springer Spaniel whose name was really Lady. In 1937, one of the Disney writers, Joe Grant, showed the sketches of the adorable dog to Walt Disney. Like the fictional Lady, the real dog was struggling to get along with the new baby in the house, which became the inspiration for the story. Walt was pleasantly surprised, but the story was ultimately shelved for a few years until they finished the plot in the late 1940s.
7. The man who voiced Bambi is a war hero
Donnie Dunagan is a decorated Vietnam War veteran and a former US Marine, the youngest drill instructor to be awarded the Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts. Today, Dunagan is 86 years old, and surely, he looks back at his life with pride, as apart from serving and defending the country, he also had quite a prolific career as a child actor. In fact, you can hear his voice in Bambi - the then 8-year-old marine-to-be voiced the little lost fawn.
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