Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Original Production Animation Cel of Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo from "Dumbo," 1941

Original hand painted and hand inked production animation cel of Dumbo in his mother's (Mrs. Jumbo) trunk over a Courvoisier air brush background from "Dumbo," 1941, Walt Disney Studios; WDP stamp lower right; With original Courvoisier Galleries label; Size - Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo's Trunk: 6 3/4 x 4 1/4", Image 9 1/4 x 7 1/2"; Unframed.

"Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part
Baby of mine"

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.

Close up of the Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo original production animation cel.

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.

Close up of the WDP stamp.

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."

Rare original Courvoisier Gallery Label.

"Baby Mine" is a song that is performed in the film "Dumbo," and has come to be the most recognized scene in the film. The music for the song was composed by Frank Churchill and the lyrics were written by Ned Washington. Betty Noyes recorded the vocals and the song is a beautiful lullaby that is sung as Dumbo's mother (Mrs. Jumbo), who is locked in a circus wagon, cradles her baby Dumbo in her trunk. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song in the 1941 Oscars and is listed on AFI's "100 Years... 100 Songs" as one of America's greatest songs! 

This is an exception cel of Dumbo cradled in his mother's trunk, from the most recognized scene in the film. Dumbo is eyes and mouth open, and the cel is placed on it's original Courvoisier airbrushed background. In addition, the original Courvoisier label is included with states that only 33 of these "Baby Mine" setups were ever created. This is a rare and beautiful cel from the greatest scene in the film!

To see the cel in the film, just click on the short video below: