Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"I'll be done seen about everything, when I see an elephant fly..."


Dumbo is a 1941 animated film, the fourth in the Disney Animated Canon.

The movie opens with circus elephant Mrs. Jumbo receiving a new baby from the stork. A baby with freakishly huge ears. This causes the other elephants and circus patrons to laugh at it, giving it the derogatory name of Dumbo. This enrages Mama Jumbo who eventually lashes out and attacks a group of children, getting her caged up and separated from Dumbo. Small Mouse Timothy stands up for Dumbo, however, and tries to get Dumbo to become a big star. Unfortunately Dumbo messes up, causing him to become a clown instead, something which he does not enjoy at all. When the two accidentally become drunk, they wake up the next morning in a tree, drawing the conclusion that Dumbo must have flown with his ears. Using this information, the duo now plan to use this skill in order to make Dumbo a star.

A live-action children's show based on the movie, called Dumbo's Circus, aired on the Disney Channel in the 80's at around the same time the similar show based on Winnie the Pooh did, where Dumbo could speak

On a side note, a direct to video sequel was planned (and a preview of it can be seen on the 2001 60th Anniversary DVD, or just here) but never got off the ground, hopefully for the better.

The original movie was named to the National Film Registry in 2017.

Tropes used in Dumbo include:
  • Absurd Altitude
  • Alcohol Hic: Dumbo and Timothy become very cute versions of these.
  • Alcohol Is LSD: Pink Elephants on Parade.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:All the other elephants ostracize Dumbo on the account of his large ears.
  • All There in the Manual: The four Gossiping Elephants are unnamed in the film, but the model sheets label them as "Catty", "Giddy", "Prissy", and "Matriarch".
    • The big-eared kid who teased Dumbo was named "Skinny".
  • Animals Lack Attributes: Played straight to the point where all of the circus animals even have to rely entirely on Delivery Storks in order for them to have offspring.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Casey Jr, the train. At the end he has eyes too, moreover you can hear him talk during the mountain climbing ("I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...").
  • Animal Talk: Played straight for the most part, but Timothy Mouse is able to communicate with a human who is sleeping. And he's seen acting as Dumbo's (apparently official) manager in the end, even signing contracts for him.
  • Beef Bandage: One of the injured elephants is seen wearing one after the disastrous pyramid act.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Ms. Jumbo, but only in a brief, Off-Model moment during the "Roustabouts" sequence.
  • Blue Eyes: Dumbo has big baby-blue eyes.
  • Big Shadow, Little Creature
  • Bratty Half-Pint: The kids that mock Dumbo, pull on his ears, and taunt him repeatedly even as he tries to hide under his mother. Keep in mind that had this been real life, Dumbo's mother probably would have killed them for even getting close to Dumbo.
  • Brick Joke: The crows sing about seeing everything if they ever saw an elephant fly. When Dumbo is flying, Jim Crows comments that now he has seen everything.
  • Butt Monkey: Dumbo, big time.
  • Children Are Innocent: Dumbo to the extreme, since he's so young. He doesn't even understand when others are laughing at him.
  • Cool Train: Casey Jr.
  • Cute Mute: Dumbo never says a word in the entire film; he just looks mournful or happy when appropriate. Which is fitting, seeing as how he's, well, a baby.
  • Delivery Stork: Dumbo is delivered this way.
  • Deranged Animation: "Pink Elephants On Parade".
  • Didn't Think This Through: Timothy really didn't think through his plan to make Dumbo a star via the Pyramid act.
  • Disappeared Dad: Dumbo is originally named after him, and his mother sounds wistful when she reveals this, but that's the extent we know of him.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Dumbo does this to a gigantic tower of adult elephants which ends up collapsing the circus tent!
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Pink Elephants On Parade", marking arguably the first Disney Acid Sequence. (A case could be made for much of Fantasia, though.)
  • Drunken Song: "We're Gonna Hit the Big Boss For a Raise"
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Casey Jr. (or a prototype of him) makes an appearance in the previously released Disney film The Reluctant Dragon.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the abuse Dumbo went through, having him become a worldwide sensation after buzzing his tormenters under the big top was so sweet.
  • Ears as Hair: Before he tries to participate in the pachyderm pyramid trick, Dumbo's ears are tied above his head so he won't stumble on them. Guess what happens while he's running out to the spring board.
  • Ear Wings
  • Eek! A Mouse!: Timothy takes full advantage of this.
  • Expy: Timothy is very similar to Jiminy Cricket, but far less iconic.
  • Flanderization: The ringmaster in the movie wasn't necessarily an outright villain, just yet another human jerkass. But he's upgraded to being the main antagonist for Dumbo in Disney's Villains' Revenge.
  • Floating in A Bubble: Happens to Timothy during the drinking scene.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Timothy's initial reaction to the Pink Elephants is "That's some pretty sh... HEY!"
  • Gossipy Hens: Those other elephants.
  • G-Rated Sex: Delivery by the Stork, a persevering chap.
  • Have a Gay Old Time: "And now comes the climax!!!" The Ringmaster says this while undressing, too.[1]
  • Honorable Elephant: Dumbo is playful but never malicious. The Matriarch plays the trope more straight: "We elephants have always walked with dignity."
  • Human Ladder
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters:
    • Damn Clowns.
    • The kids that make fun of Dumbo surely fall under this.
    • The Ringmaster for putting Dumbo and other elephants in such dangerous acts.
  • Hurricane of Puns: "When I See An Elephant Fly"
  • Hypocritical Humor: A big-eared kid picks on Dumbo for having big ears.
  • I Am What I Am: Nicely put by Timothy, "The very things that kept you down are gonna carry you up and up and up!"
  • Jerkasses: The other circus elephants, the clowns, the ringmaster, the boys that make fun of Dumbo, even the crows (but they act nicer to Dumbo later on). Nearly every character besides Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo, and Timothy is one.
  • Large Ham: Timothy at times. The Ringmaster too.
  • Literal Metaphor: The pink elephant parade, given that "pink elephant" was a decades-old expression for a drunken hallucination.
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: At the very end of the film, one of the Spinning Paper newspapers announces that (the now famous) Dumbo's manager (Timothy Mouse) has struck a Hollywood deal.
  • Magic Feather: Trope Namers.
  • Magical Negro: The crows, though initially every single one of them is a Jerkass. Or maybe every one is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, really. Their song was more mocking of Timothy's notion of a flying elephant (and it's easy to see how one could be mistaken).
  • Mama Bear: Really, those kids deserved what was coming to them.
  • Meaningful Name: In a bit of Fridge Brilliance, the mute main character is nicknamed Dumbo. Dumb used to mean "unable to speak."
  • The Mountains of Florida: The movie depicts Florida as having mountains. In Real Life, Florida is one of the US states that doesn't have mountains.
  • Mushroom Samba: "Pink Elephants On Parade"
  • Mysterious Middle Initial: We never learn what the Q in Timothy's name stands for.
  • Nearly-Normal Animal: The circus animals know the routine of setting up and performing a show. The elephants even work as a team to help pitch the main tent without any obvious handling or guidance.
  • Off-Model: The "Pyramid of Pachyderms" sequence can't seem to make up it's mind how many elephants were in the room to begin with.
    • Ms. Jumbo has a moment of this during the "Roustabouts" sequence, when her eyes inexplicably became Black Bead Eyes.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Jumbo's mother only says one line "Jumbo...Junior" while giving a name to her son.
  • Only in Florida: ...would a flying elephant be born.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Dumbo
  • Papa Wolf: He may not be a dad, and he may not be a wolf (since he's a mouse), Timothy sticks up for Dumbo by scaring the elephants tormenting him and yelling at the crows for constantly laughing at him...thus making them nicer.
  • Pink Elephants: Featured in the most famous part of the film. And no, this film is not the Trope Namers—the phrase existed long before this film was conceived.
  • Protest Song: Again, "We're Gonna Hit the Big Boss For a Raise".
  • Ravens and Crows: Just the crows in this case.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Mrs. Jumbo's eyes turn red when defending Dumbo.
  • Revenge: When the elephants blame all the trouble in the circus on Dumbo (even having the nerve to say that it was HIS fault his mother was in a separate cage), Timothy the mouse, although he just knew Dumbo, decides to scare them.
    • When Dumbo reveals that he can fly, he ends up taking his own revenge by humiliating the clowns, the other elephants, and even ringmaster.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Dumbo.
  • Separated by the Wall
  • Shadow Discretion Shot
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: The short fat crow fits this trope.
  • Shout-Out: Casey Jr. says "I think I can" going up a hill, from The Little Engine that Could.
  • The Speechless: Dumbo.
  • Take That: The drunken clowns planning to hit up the boss for a raise is a dig aimed at the animators who went on strike—and succeeded in making Disney a union shop. The Disney character encyclopedia writer, John Grant, noted that the analogy doesn't make sense when you realize that the apparent leader of the circus in the film, The Ringmaster, is not depicted as being anything like Disney.
  • Totem Pole Trench: After the clowns perform their first performance with Dumbo when he was demoted to a clown, we see silhouettes of the clowns backstage getting out of their costumes. One of the clowns turns out to be two short people stacked on top of each other.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "When I See an Elephant Fly" gets two reprises, both of which celebrate Dumbo's flight.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: The Rrringmaster.
  • TV Strikes: See Take That.
  • Unfortunate Names: Dumbo Jumbo.
  • The Unintelligible: Both Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo only communicate via typical elephant sounds.
    • Also in the movie itself, Dumbo has no spoken dialogue at all, and Mrs. Jumbo only speaks once—when she says Dumbo's original name.
  • "The Villain Sucks" Song: Disney seems to consider Pink Elephants On Parade one, having included it on the Simply Sinister Songs CD.
  • Visual Pun: A "pink elephant" was, at the time of this film, a decades-old expression for a drunken hallucination. During Timothy and Dumbo's hallucination sequence, they see a parade of literal pink elephants.
  • What Song Was This Again?: The Spanish version of "Pink Elephants On Parade" isn't much like the original.
  1. "Climax" is still used to refer to the most exciting part of an entertainment today, though.