Five questions we still have for “Dumbo”

In my humble opinion, Dumbo is a little bit underrated as far as Disney movies go. Sure, its main character can’t talk so the dialog leaves a little bit to be desired. Maaaybe the music isn’t as good as some of the later films. But Dumbo still has a lot going for it.

For starters, it tugs at our heartstrings just as effectively as any modern Disney movie does. And secondly, it’s chock full of lessons about appreciating family, what real friendship is about, how important it is to treat other people with respect and, quite literally, how to rise above your bullies. Plus, Dumbo himself might just be the cutest Disney animated protagonist of all time.

But almost 75 years after its release (wow), we still have a few questions for this beautiful little movie about an adorable baby elephant who just wants to be loved and accepted.

How did Timothy survive this entire movie?

Timothy Q. Mouse is an American hero. He dedicates his entire being to helping out a sweet, orphaned elephant and never asks for anything in return except friendship and loyalty.


But let’s talk physics for a minute. Mice are tiny, which means if they hang around huge animals like elephants, the chances of them being stepped on is pretty high. And that’s not to mention those stupid crows lurking around, probably ready to pounce, or the conditions when flying in one of these said elephants’ hats. The wind, man. That hat would not stay on Dumbo’s head. I’m thinking Timothy had some kind of immortality thing going on, but who can really say?

What is with the alcohol-induced hallucinations in these kids’ movies?

There’s a scene where a thirsty Timothy and hiccup-afflicted Dumbo drink out of a water-filled bucket whose contents have been tainted with spilled champagne. Consequently, they get drunk and start seeing pink elephants, because euphemisms.


I still don’t understand what this scene added to the movie, aside from the fact that the writers were maybe still really excited about prohibition being over. Which I get, but you gotta keep your personal and professional lives separate, y’all, especially for kids’ movies. The same goes for whoever thought up Heffalumps and Woozles. Sure, Pooh is just dreaming, but it was the late ’60s and we ain’t dumb.

How in the world could Dumbo fly?

I know we’re supposed to just be like, “Those huge ears!”, “That confidence!”, “That feather!”, but come on now. Elephants, even baby ones, aren’t the most aviation-prone animals. Even if a strong, hurricane-style wind came through, no way is an elephant getting off the ground.

But I guess it’s a kid’s movie and I need to suck it up or whatever, so you go, Dumbo Coco and wind-prone tiny rodent, Timothy Coco. You go.


Who signed on the dotted line to OK a character named Jim Crow?

Seriously. As a kid, I didn’t think anything of the crows in this movie except that they were kind of a nuisance that Dumbo and Timothy had to overcome, but looking back, I’m giving the go-ahead on this entire group of side characters major side-eye, for obvious reasons.


I wonder what became of the person or persons who suggested these characters. I’m sure they’re no longer alive by now, but while they were, I personally hope they learned a valuable lesson or two about history, appropriation, and respect as the years passed.

Was this movie’s sole purpose to make us miss our moms 24/7?

Between the tears we shed when Dumbo’s mom, Mrs. Jumbo, was taken away, to the part where he visits her and the song “Baby Mine” plays in the background, to their beautiful reunion (YAY), I’m still pulling myself together decades after first watching this movie.


Luckily for Disney fans in the 1940s who really loved crying, another movie about losing your mom came out less than a year later – this time with no happy ending, because apparently Dumbo was just the beginning of Disney’s no-parents thing. But more on that next week.

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