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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Dumbo and Timothy Mouse Over An Original Production Background from "Dumbo," 1941


Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Dumbo and Timothy Mouse over an original production background from "Dumbo," 1941; Size - Dumbo & Timothy Mouse: 6 x 8 1/4", Image 8 1/4 x 11", Frame 18 1/2 x 21 1/2"; Framed using a grey wood frame, three colored mats, and plexiglass.


“Dumbo, the 9th wonder of the 'univoise'! The 'woild's' only flying elephant!”
―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.


Framed animation cel of Dumbo and Timothy Mouse over an original production background.

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.

This fantastic cel and background setup is from a critical part in the film. Once the big top circus tent has been assembled, Mrs. Jumbo loses her temper at a group of boys for tormenting and teasing Dumbo because of his large ears. When the Ringmaster and crew breakup the fight, this original hand painted production background of a circus tent can be seen behind Dumbo as he is dragged away from his mother. Dumbo's mother is locked up and deemed mad and poor Dumbo is shunned by the other elephants, and with no mother to care for him; he is now terribly alone. "How do ya like that, givin' him the cold shoulder. Poor li'l guy. There he goes, without a friend in the woild. Nobody to turn to. Ahh, I'll do somethin' 'bout this!" says Timothy Mouse. Timothy feels sympathy for Dumbo and becomes determined to make him happy again. This large and wonderful cel occurs in the film just after Timothy Mouse gives Dumbo a circus peanut in order to cheer him up. Dumbo is eyes and mouth open, smiling, and is full figure. Timothy is also eyes open, full figure, and smiling; and he then appoints himself as Dumbo's mentor and protector.