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Film ► What are the most obscure Disney facts you know?



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WaltK

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I could be here all day with the amount of Disney shit I know, some of which may be more obscure than others. I'll try to do one fact per movie (not for every movie though).

Snow White was Adrianna Caselotti's only acting role, because Disney trademarked her voice, disallowing her from doing anything else.

Walt Disney threw out the first six months of development on Pinocchio because he did not like how the titular character was turning out: Pinocchio was originally just as edgy and unlikeable as the character in the original novel, and the animators made him look as wooden as possible. When they started over, the animators instead chose to draw and animate him like a human boy, adding in puppet features like leg and elbow joints after the fact.

Disney originally wanted Fantasia to be a movie that would be rereleased every year or so with new segments added each time.

In Cinderella, there was originally a scene after the ball where Cindy would overhear her stepfamily talking about the "mysterious girl" who danced with the Prince, which Cindy would laugh at. This was nixed because they thought it made Cindy too mean-spirited.

For a two-in-one: the opening credits song from Peter Pan, "The Second Star to the Right", used a melody that was originally written for a scrapped song from Alice in Wonderland, called "Beyond the Laughing Sky" (the final movie used "A World of My Own" in its place).

The opening scene of Lady and the Tramp, where Darling is given Lady in a hat box, was based on something from Walt Disney's own life: he also gave his wife, Lillian, a puppy in the same way, to make up for missing a dinner date with her.

Arthur/Wart from Sword in the Stone was voiced by no less than three different actors throughout the film's duration. It's very noticeable.

The Fox and the Hound was essentially an "in-name-only" adaptation of the 1967 novel. The original story was basically Moby Dick but with a hunter and a fox.

The Black Cauldron was beaten at the box office by the Care Bears Movie, of all things, when it was originally released.

Oliver & Company originally opened with a scene of Sykes' two dobermans killing Oliver's parents.

"Part of Your World" was nearly cut from The Little Mermaid by Jeffrey Katzenberg because he thought children would find it boring. It's pretty safe to say thank God Howard Ashman successfully fought tooth and nail to keep it in.

In Beauty and the Beast, "Be Our Guest" was originally supposed to be sung to Maurice when he first arrived at the castle. It was decided relatively late that the song should be sung to Belle instead. The already mostly animated scene was scrapped and certain parts of the song had to be rerecorded.

Aladdin was originally a bit younger, and way shorter and scrawnier than in the final movie. Jeffrey Katzenburg ordered the filmmakers to make him older because he found it hard to believe that a character like that could realistically end up with the princess. Some bits of "Friend Like Me" had already been animated with the original design by the time the decision was made, and these bits can still be kinda-sorta seen in the final movie.

The Lion King was originally called "King of the Jungle". The title was changed when the filmmakers realised that lions aren't actually found in the jungle.

Before Meeko the raccoon, Pocahontas' main animal sidekick was a talking turkey called Redfeather, voiced by John Candy. Voiced animation tests of the character exist.

Tarzan's final battle with Clayton originally took place on his ship. Clayton would have originally been blown up along with the ship.

The "evil genetic experiment" storyline in Lilo & Stitch was devised halfway through the film's development, when the original story, of Stitch being the leader of a criminal gang (of whom Jumba was a member), did poorly with test audiences.

In Brother Bear, Kenai was originally going to be the "younger" brother bear to a larger bear called Grizz, voiced by Michael Clarke Duncan. When Grizz was changed into the cub Koda, Duncan was recast as Tug, the bear leader at the salmon run, because of how much the filmmakers liked his vocal performance.

Chicken Little was originally a female character voiced by Holly Hunter. Yes, that Holly Hunter.

Meet the Robinsons was originally going to end with Lewis giving Goob/Bowler hat guy the chance to change his own future, by taking him back to the moment he lost the baseball game.

Bolt was originally a more surreal movie called "American Dog", directed by Lilo & Stitch creator Chris Sanders.

In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana was originally called "Maddy" and worked as a chambermaid. Both the name and occupation were changed following complaints for… obvious reasons.

Big Hero 6’s San Fransokyo is, according to the director, a literal alternate timeline version of San Francisco that was rebuilt by Japanese immigrants after the 1906 earthquake.
 

BufferAqua

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The Little Mermaid was the last Disney film to use xerox. Rescuers Down Under was the first to use CAPS.
 

PikaPal

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We all know that Disney owns the likes of the Fox film library and Marvel and all that jazz but do you know that they also hold the rights to a lot of the old Saban/Fox Kids shows (including Power Rangers before they sold it back to Haim Saban) and a lot of the TVS (Television South, former ITV franchise holder in the UK) library featuring shows such as the first season of Art Attack, a few for Catchphrase and the shortlived UK version of Jeopardy?

No? Well neither do they because for the most part they haven't ever seen the light of day after they were acquired.
The Black Cauldron was beaten at the box office by the Care Bears Movie, of all things, when it was originally released.
The movie also took a very long time to come out on home media with it not seeing a release on VHS until 1998. It came out a year earlier over here in the UK in 1997.
 

Sonofjafar

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Oswald the Lucky Rabbit was not Disney’s first named cartoon character. That title belongs to Julius the Cat, a character created to be a sidekick for a live action girl named Alice in the Alice Comedies
 

Elysium

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A lot of little things are plugged away somewhere in my head, I imagine. Mostly things will get triggered when I'm having discussions about other things, I sort of forget about them and so it's harder to think of things at random. Here's some things that come to mind right now though:

I know Madame Mim's design when she turns into a pretty, young woman was directly inspired by a layout artist at the time (I believe the animator may have had a crush on her...). Mim was actually once a much more serious character, like Maleficent, only they could never get the story to work. (Same thing with Yzma.)

In one of the early versions of TLM's script, Ursula's poor souls were tied to her own soul literally, as in they would die if she died and perhaps she derived power from them (similar to the way Maleficent attempts to use Belle's heart for that purpose in Chain of Memories). Naturally, they had to change that for Triton to survive the climax. Ariel used to have more sidekicks, one of which was a dolphin. A lot of people were cycled through as possibilities for Ursula--they wanted Bea Arthur, but I don't think they were ever able to get in touch with her for her to accept or decline. Let's see, Elaine Stritch (she was too difficult, didn't want to sing it the way Ashman wanted), Roseanne Barr, Joan Collins (Ursula was slightly based on her role on Dynasty, in combination with several other things like Ashman's aunt, Divine, etc.), Charlotte Rae (couldn't sing quite well enough), etc. I believe Pat Carroll is in A Goofy Movie uncredited (as the woman who sings at the concert at the end?).

"Poor Unfortunate Souls" has the same basic melody as "A Whole New World," just in a different key or whatever. "I can show you the world...." / "Poor, unfortunate souls...."

Nell Carter almost played one of the Muses in Hercules. A shame, since I loved her growing up on Gimme a Break! Cyndi Lauper was almost on The Hunchback of Notre Dame as one of the gargoyles, and wanted very bad to be in a Disney film.

Apparently Angela Lansbury was very insecure about her voice being right for "Beauty and the Beast"; I believe she thought her voice only good for upbeat, chorus-type songs like "Be Our Guest." Jodi Benson was originally planned to be Belle's voice actress, only Howard Ashman ultimately decided he wanted someone more European or something along those lines? Interestingly, Orbach and Lansbury were both on Murder, She Wrote (Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, respectively), and the sheriff from that series (in the early seasons) played Maurice in the Broadway show. Susan Egan (Megara's voice actress, Hercules) played Belle on Broadway.

Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) was originally going to have a love interest, I forget what the character was called. A knight or knave? The Prince in Snow White was originally going to have a larger role (some scene in the Queen's dungeon, I think), but they had difficulty animating the character.

Treasure Planet was a film Disney didn't really want to make, but was a 'reward' for Musker & Clements after pulling off several hits. TP was the film M&C wanted to make after they'd finished Aladdin (TLM and TGMD were their films before that). Disney put them off by asking them to make Hercules first instead. A sequel and TV series were well into development for Treasure Planet; unfortunately, they weren't far enough along that they would've had to finish, since they were scrapped as soon as the film flopped.

The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast were both stories Walt Disney had briefly considered or toyed with. Concept art for TLM from Walt's day was used partly as inspiration for the shipwreck where Ariel rescues Eric from drowning in the finished film in the '90s. I think there is some concept art for B&tB from that era, too.

Harrison Ford was originally intended to play Kerchak in Tarzan. They wanted Whitney Houston to sing "Colors of the Wind"'s End Credit version, but she turned it down. Stephen Schwartz, who did the music with Hunchback along with Menken, was going to be part of the music for Mulan as well, only Disney gave him an ultimatum about working for Disney or Dreamworks (he was working on The Prince of Egypt at the time). And, well, he chose TPoE...

Cruella was originally going to be the villain of The Rescuers, wearing leather instead of fur. Speaking of Cruella--her voice actress is the opening narrator to Cinderella.

Mulan's design actually is different when she's pretending to be a man versus when she's openly a woman. I mean, as far as the dimensions / shape of her face are different altogether ("Ping"'s jaw is more angular, Mulan's face is more rounded). Sort of a cheat for them, lol.
 

Sonofjafar

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Alice (as in Alice in Wonderland) was originally going to have a love interest, I forget what the character was called. A knight or knave?
That had to be REALLY early in development considering Alice was going to be played by Mary Pickford in the oldest draft when it was meant to be a live action/animation hybrid
 

BufferAqua

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Not really too obscure, but Part of Your World can be interpreted as an allegory for being LGBTQ+ and has some queer subtext. This is because the writer of the son Howard Ashman was a gay man. I honestly didn't realize how much queer subtext was in the songs he wrote until I became way older. And it makes sense too because many Disney Renaissance films have hit personally close to home to many people in the LGBTQ+ community, myself included. You could also say these songs have influenced other future Disney songs as well, such as Let it Go. I know many other people identified that song as somewhat of an LGBTQ+ allegory (and Elsa is 100% queer, fight me).

You can see this in some of the characters as well. Belle struggling to be accepted into a traditionalist, toxic masculine, and misogynistic society, Ariel wanting to be something her family doesn't approve of, and Aladdin's earlier scripts where he felt like he has failed his mother. I think these are many characters people can relate to (well maybe not Aladdin since his mother got removed, but I'm sure there's plenty of other reason to relate to his current version).
 

WaltK

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The Black Cauldron actually had a couple of cinema rereleases in some territories, during which it was retitled "Taran and the Magic Cauldron".

Paul Winchell and John Fiedler, the original voices of Tigger and Piglet, died just a day apart from each other; the 24th and 25th of June, 2005.

One of Winchell's three children is voice actress April Winchell, known for such roles as Miss Finster on Recess, Cruella De Vil in the 101 Dalmations TV series, and as the current voice of Clarabelle Cow.

Gay Disney animator icon Andreas Deja was the original supervising animator of Yzma back when the movie was still Kingdom of the Sun.

During Monsters Inc, the sushi restaurant Harryhausen's (named after legendary animator and special effects creator Ray Harryhausen) was originally supposed to blow up during the decontamination following Boo's arrival. After 9/11, it was changed to be engulfed in a plasma dome.

@BufferAqua indeed, a lot of people have speculated that "The Mob Song" from Beauty and the Beast was an allegory for the AIDS crisis (which Ashman was dying from).
 
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