Original Production Animation Cel of Clowns & Fire Truck from "Dumbo," 1941
Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Eleven Clowns & Fire Truck set over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Dumbo," 1941, Walt Disney Studios; WDP stamp lower right; With original Courvoisier Galleries certificate; Partial Courvoisier label and Copyright Walt Disney Productions stamp verso; Size - Eleven Clowns & Fire Truck: 5 x 9 3/4", Image 8 x 11"; Unframed.
(As Dumbo falls from his platform after the "magic" feather falls away)
"Dumbo, C'mon, fly! Open them ears! The magic feather was just a gag! You can fly! Honest, you can! Hey, open 'em up! Hurryyyyyyy!" - Timothy Q. Mouse
(At the last moment, Dumbo opens his ears and soars over the crowd)
"Whee! We did it! Let's show 'em, Dumbo! Power dive!" - Timothy Q. Mouse
The Walt Disney full length feature film "Dumbo," released in 1940, introduced to the world one of the greatest characters in the Disney pantheon, Dumbo the flying elephant! Dumbo was the only character in the film who never uttered a single word, and yet he is one of the most remembered Disney stars. All of his feelings were conveyed through body movements and facial expressions. The extraordinary animation skill needed in order to do this with a human, but in this case a baby elephant, can not be underestimated.
The Disney Studio animation artists were still fairly new to feature animation, having only started in 1937 with "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." The film prior to "Dumbo" was "Fantasia," with one of the most successful sequences being "Night on Bald Mountain." Here again, the main character Chernabog, a huge winged devil, sitting on top of a mountain, commanding the undead below, and never uttering a single word; made a huge impression on the viewing public.
The Disney animator Vladimir "Bill" Tytla created the devil-giant for "Fantasia's" "Night on Bald Mountain," and for the next film he was given the task of animated the film's star, Dumbo. He said:
"I gave him everything I thought he should have," said Tytla. "It just happened. I don't know a damn thing about elephants. It wasn't that. I was thinking in terms of humans, and I saw a chance to do a chracter without using any cheap theatrics. Most of the expressions and mannerisms I got from my own kid. There's nothing theatrical about a two-year-old kid. They're real and sincere- like when they damn near wet their pants from excitement when you come home at night. I've bawled my kid out for pestering me when I'm reading or something, and he doesn't know what to make of it. He'll just stand there and maybe grab my hand and cry... I tried to put all those things in Dumbo."
Certainly the greatest theme of "Dumbo" was the wonderful friendship between the mute baby elephant Dumbo and his unlikely friend, a mouse name Timothy. Various Disney animators were involved with the creation and animation of Timothy Q. Mouse including Fred Moore, Wolfgang Reitherman, and Ward Kimball. Edward S. Brophy was an American character actor, voice artist, and comedian; and he provided the voice for Timothy Mouse even though he was not credited in the film for the role.
The Circus Clowns are mostly quiet and primarily shown in pantomime. What few voices that do emerge were provide by veteran voice actors Billy Bletcher and Eddie Holden. For the scene in which the Clowns ask for a raise from their boss the Ringmaster; this is a reference to the Walt Disney animators that went on strike in 1941 (during the animation of Dumbo) demanding higher pay. Some of the Clowns in the film are actual caricatures of those striking animators.
This is a fantastic image of a group of eleven Clowns hanging onto their Fire Truck as Dumbo power dives down towards them from high above the big top! This is an action packed image centered in a very rare Courvoisier cel, and would make a standout addition to any animation collection!
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