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Eddie Collins performed live-action reference with vocal work by Jimmy MacDonald, needed for the character. Dopey does not speak because, according to Happy, he has never tried to.
In the very early stages of pre-production for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Dopey was simply called 'The Seventh'. An armature of each dwarf was constructed as reference for the animators. Perce Pierce, one of the storymen working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was particularly active in creating the characters of the dwarfs. Dopey's personality and role were finalized quite late in the process. After someone suggested that Dopey should move like burlesque comedian Eddie Collins, Collins himself was filmed performing actions for Dopey. This helped to define the character's personality. Mel Blanc, known for his voice work in Looney Tunes was hired to voice Dopey, but he was dropped when Dopey was decided to be mute. A similar event would happen with Gideon from Pinocchio.
Though designing the dwarfs was relatively easy, animating them proved to be difficult, as the animators, already finding human figures difficult to animate, now had to animate "ill-formed" human figures. Vladimir Tytla noted that the dwarfs should walk with a swing to their hips, and Fred Moore commented that the dwarfs had to move a little more quickly to keep up with the human characters.
In order to establish Dopey's character during the march home in "Heigh-Ho", George Stalling noted traits specific to the character, to be taken into account in the animation: An armature of each dwarf was constructed as reference for the animators.
Dopey is often the butt of the other dwarfs' jokes and his silly, playful actions often annoy the pompous Doc and the short-tempered Grumpy. Not entirely dim-witted, Dopey simply acts in the vein of a toddler or a dog, which explains why his shenanigans are met with little to no punishment or confrontation, aside from a soft clunk on the head, or something along those harmless lines. The dwarfs are apparently used to his goofy actions and simply ignore them, generally.
Perhaps Dopey's most notable trait is his lack of speech. As mentioned above, Happy states Dopey is simply unaware whether or not he can speak, as he has simply never tried. In spite of this, he can occasionally be heard making various vocals, such as whimpers, hiccups, and a one-shot yell. Interestingly, his lack of speech does not seem to trouble the rest of the dwarfs, as they are shown to understand his other forms of communication just fine. Doc, specifically, was able to easily translate Dopey's blathering into a cohesive sentence prior to their first meeting with Snow White.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
In the 1937 film, Dopey is a short and slender dwarf. Unlike his companions, he has no beard and is completely bald. He has pale skin, baby blue eyes, giant ears, thick black eyebrows, and a small pink cherry nose. He dons a loose olive drab turtleneck tunic with a couple of gold buttons vertically on his chest and sienna patches on his elbows stitched in black thread, a black belt with gold rectangular outlined buckle, blue leggings, a pair of sienna medieval-style shoes, and a purple stocking cap. He is also mute, according to Happy as he tells Snow White that he does not talk and never tries.
In the 2014 Disney XD television series, he is a short and slender dwarf. He carries white skin, a pink cherry nose, wavy brown hair, matching eyebrows, cream freckles, pink ear innards, and white eyes with very small black pupils. He sports a teal turtleneck with a flower on his left chest consisting of five red petals around its yellow center, purple pants, a pair of crimson shoes, a long red stocking cap with multi-colored polka dots on it, and a brown pom-pom on its tip.
Dopey is first introduced, along with his six companions, at the Dwarfs' Mine. His job is to sweep up the diamonds thrown away by Doc. At one point, Dopey pretends that two diamonds are his eyes, much to Doc's disapproval. Dopey is the last dwarf to leave the mine and walks at the back of the line as they sing "Heigh-Ho" on the way home, attempting to keep in step, but failing.
When the seven dwarfs reach their cottage, they think that some creature has taken up residence in their house. They sneak into the cottage and search the room. They quickly note that the cottage has been cleaned considerably. At one point, Dopey and Happy see something cooking on the fire. Happy is about to try it when Grumpy stops him, suspecting that it is "witch's brew". They decide that whatever is in the cottage is upstairs, and Doc declares that one of them must go upstairs to chase it out of the house.
Dopey is elected, and Doc, his hand shaking, gives Dopey the candle. Dopey is so terrified upon entering the bedroom that, when he hears a noise coming from the beds, he screams, drops the candle, and rushes downstairs.
The other dwarfs think that a monster is after them and rush outside, locking the door behind them. Dopey falls into the kitchen and emerges from the cottage covered in pots and pans. The other dwarfs, waiting in the trees outside, think Dopey is the monster and ambush him, beating away all the kitchenware. When they realize that it is only Dopey, they decide that they must get rid of the monster once and for all, and enter the bedroom. They are about to strike whatever is sleeping in their beds when they realize that it is the princess, Snow White. Grumpy begins to complain, and Doc attempts to silence him, but Snow White is woken up. She manages to match the name at the foot of each bed to the correct dwarf. Dopey is the sixth dwarf identified; he is introduced by Happy.
Eventually, it is agreed that Snow White will clean and cook for the dwarfs if she is allowed to stay. She prepares soup for them but demands that they wash first. The dwarfs reluctantly march outside; first, Dopey goes in the wrong direction; then, he bumps into the door. Eventually, he goes to the trough. Here, the dwarfs, led by Doc, wash. When Sneezy dips his finger in the water, he blubbers, shocking Dopey and the other dwarfs except for Grumpy, while singing "Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum (The Dwarfs' Washing Song)". Grumpy refuses to wash, but the other dwarfs, led by Doc, manage to drag him to the water and wash him thoroughly. As they are doing this, Dopey attempts to get the soap; it keeps slipping out of his hands, and eventually, he swallows it by mistake.
Later that evening, after supper, the seven dwarfs entertain Snow White with "The Silly Song"; to begin with, Dopey plays the drums, and then later tries to get on top of Sneezy's shoulders, almost causing him to sneeze. Dopey prevents this, and they both go dancing with the princess. Dopey bows to Snow White and nearly loses his balance, but Sneezy drags him back up by his rear end, and both maintain their composure. At the song's apex, Sneezy starts jittering, and just before he sneezes, Dopey, being a good friend, puts his finger in front of his own nose, but to no avail. Dopey is burst up onto one of the rafters. The dwarfs listen to Snow White sing "Some Day My Prince Will Come", which sends every dwarf, except the stubborn Grumpy, into a dream-like state. Doc declares that Snow White will sleep in the bedroom upstairs, and the dwarfs must sleep downstairs. Dopey leans his head on a single feather to sleep, while Sneezy uses his bum as a pillow. During the night, Dopey starts whimpering in his sleep and kicking his legs, but a few jabs from Sneezy on the bottom makes him settle.
The next morning, as each dwarf leaves, he is kissed by Snow White. When it is Dopey's turn, he is blown back inside by one of Sneezy's sneezes, but this does not stop him running back out to get kissed. He eagerly darts around the back and through the house to receive another. While the dwarfs head to the mine, the Queen, as the Witch, makes her way to the cottage, knowing that only Snow White will be at home. Upon her arrival at the cottage, the animals sense danger and, after attempting to drive her away, rush to the mine to fetch the dwarfs. When they discover that the Queen has found Snow White, the dwarfs rush home to find that the Witch has succeeded in poisoning the princess and is about to leave. The dwarfs chase the Witch into the mountains, and she reaches a cliff. She attempts to crush the dwarfs with a boulder, but a flash of lightning causes her to fall from the cliff and be crushed by the boulder herself.
The seven dwarfs mourn Snow White's death; Dopey is seen sobbing on Doc's shoulder. The dwarfs find her to be so beautiful, even in death, that they fashion a coffin from glass and place her inside. The Prince arrives, and the dwarfs part so that he can approach Snow White. He kisses her, breaking the spell of the Sleeping Death, and the dwarfs cheer. Before Snow White leaves with the Prince, she kisses each dwarf on the forehead (Dopey, who was sixth, tried to receive a kiss from Snow White on the lips like that morning).
In the 1943 educational short, Dopey and the dwarfs are enlisted in helping rid their forest and cottage home of deadly mosquitoes that can spread the harmful disease malaria. Throughout the animated short, the dwarfs give examples of the precautions necessary to keep people safe from the spreading crises and ensure safety.
In the animated series, Dopey is a major character, though he usually makes minor appearances in the background. Like the film, he is a pantomime character and mostly communicates through whistling. He also serves as Doc's science assistant and lab rat.
Another noble aspect to this incarnation of Dopey's character is his love of animals. He is shown to be fluent in several animal languages and has a habit of adopting animals, as seen in the episode The 8th D, where Dopey adopted a baby elephant and disguised it as a dwarf in an attempt to keep him in the cottage. However, he eventually comes to terms with the rules of keeping wild animals where they belong and sets his newfound companion free.
In the animated series, Mickey Mouse, Dopey made an appearance in the episode "Wish Upon a Coin". He and the other dwarfs are first seen depositing coins into a wishing well, which are soon stolen by Pete, causing Dopey and the other dwarfs to fall into panic. Mickey Mouse heads after Pete and manages to retrieve the coins, settling Dopey and the other dwarfs and fulfilling their wishes (which is revealed to be a wish to have a head of hair, though Dopey, instead, wished for a beard).
Dopey is a minor character in the ABC television series, Once Upon a Time; portrayed by Jeffrey Kaiser. Generally, Dopey has made only a few cameos. Similarly to the movie, Dopey is mute.
Like all dwarves, Dopey hatched from an egg. Dopey and his brothers met Snow White while fleeing from King George, who imprisoned Grumpy for purchasing a supposedly stolen diamond. Eventually, Dopey and Snow's other allies are able to bring herself and Prince Charming to the throne. At their wedding, Dopey witnesses the Evil Queen threaten the entire Enchanted Forest with a Dark Curse. When the Curse is cast, Dopey and most who reside in the Enchanted Forest as well other worlds are sent to Storybrooke where time is frozen, they have false memories of who they are, live miserable lives, and are trapped.
During the First Curse, Dopey owns an Ice Cream Shop named Any Given Sundae, however, when Ingrid the Snow Queen arrives in Storybrooke to find Emma, she takes over the shop from him and erases his memories of the event with her Rock Troll magic.
28 years after the Curse is cast, Emma Swan arrives in Storybrooke. After finding out that magic is real and the citizens of Storybrooke are fictional characters, she is able to break the curse, which gives Dopey and everyone else their memories back.
Shortly after the curse breaks, the dwarves, lead by Grumpy, find out that they cannot leave Storybrooke without having their cursed memories returned to them.
After Pan resets, the Dark Curse, Dopey, along with the other resident of the Enchanted Forest, are sent back. While in the Enchanted Forest, they find that the Wicked Witch of the West has taken over. Snow and Charming enact the Dark Curse so that they can get Emmas help in defeating, but the Wicked Witch interferes with the curse in the last minute which erases their memories of the time they spent in the Enchanted Forest and sends them back to Storybrooke.
After Regina kisses Henry, she breaks the Curse and Dopey and everyone else's memories are restored of the time they spent in the Enchanted Forest.
Once Elsa arrives in Storybrooke, Ingrid makes her presence known to the citizens. Elsa creates a wall of ice so no one in Storybrooke can leave and Ingrid casts a spell so that if you do leave, you can't return without a magical scroll. Ingrid eventually casts the Spell of Shattered Sight which makes the citizens of the town turn into their worst selves. When the Snow Queen dies, the spell is broken and Dopey and everyone else returns to their former selves.
After Maleficent is resurrected by Cruella, Ursula, and Mr. Gold, she briefly puts a Sleeping Curse on the town which puts Dopey to sleep as well as those who haven't been under the Curse before.
After Emma is able to free the Author, he writes everyone into an alternate universe. In this world, the characters have switched sides. Dopey and his brothers are the evil. dwarves who are allies with the Evil Queen, Snow White. Henry is then able to write everyone out of the alternate universe and everyone returns from the alternate universe to Storybrooke.
In the season five episode, "The Price", Dopey played a fairly crucial role echoing his scene in the film where he was unwillingly volunteered to uncover the identity of the intruder within the dwarfs' cottage. After the townsfolk returned from their adventures in Camelot, albeit with their memories lost and another curse drenched over the town, the dwarfs journeyed to the town line to see what fate would befall whoever tried to cross, in an attempt to leave the town. Most of the dwarfs voiced their reluctance to do so, eventually volunteering Dopey as the pawn. The line is crossed by the silent dwarf, and although all seemed well for a while, Dopey's form was eventually transformed into that of a tree.
Dopey appears along with the other Dwarfs in the series, where their first appearance was in a glass podium with Snow White during the first game's Dive to the Heart. Unlike the Beast's servants, they are depicted as awake, meaning either their homeworld was not devoured by the Heartless, or that the Dwarfs were able to get to safety beforehand.
Prior to the events of Kingdom Hearts, the Dwarfs' appearances in Birth by Sleep reveals their lives working in the mines for jewels until the arrival of the Keyblade wielders in their world. The Dwarfs encounter the first of these warriors, Ventus, although Dopey shows the least hostility towards the newcomer than the other dwarfs. After returning to their cottage, the dwarfs meet Snow White for the first time and take her in after she claimed she was attacked by an Unversed. Unfortunately, Snow White falls into a deep slumber after taking a bite from the Queen's poisoned apple, and the Dwarfs place her in a glass coffin to mourn her. However, thanks to assistance from Aqua and the Prince, Snow White is able to awaken, and the Dwarfs celebrate.
Dopey was featured in Snow White's world shown helping the heroine save the forest. He was the first dwarf to be greeted in the game and was shown to be locked out of the grounds leading to the dwarfs' cottage due to dark magic created by creatures known as the imps. With the help of the heroine, Dopey is able to pass, and leads her to Snow White, believing she will be able to assist the friends in saving the forest.
Later on, Dopey leads her to the mines, where the dwarfs are having difficulties in working together, though they are able to pull through due to the heroine's guidance. She is also forced to help guide Dopey numerous times as his bumbling ways prevents him from completing tasks swiftly and efficiently, much to Doc's frustration.
In Snow White's Scary Adventures, Dopey appears as animatronics, performing "The Silly Song", in the dark ride attraction, as well as in a few other scenes with the rest of the dwarfs, reenacting scenes from the film.
An animatronic Dopey is featured working in the mines alongside the other dwarfs in Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. He was also, notably, seen riding the attraction for promotional material before the opening.
In Festival of Fantasy, Dopey can be spotted in the parade in an exclusive costume, donning a waistcoat and sitting atop Sneezy.
Despite being conceived late in production, Dopey proved to be the most endearing of the dwarfs. Dopey's appeal proved the success of silent characters in feature films and prompted the studio to make Gideon from Pinocchio silent. At one point, Dopey was even considered for the title role in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in Fantasia before Mickey Mouse was chosen. However, many of Dopey's traits remain, including the long, floppy sleeves and playful attitude.
Although Dopey has a very childlike appearance and mentality, his low-pitched vocal effects suggest that he is actually an adult.
In Seven Wise Dwarfs, a Disney-produced cartoon promoting the purchase of war bonds, it is revealed that each dwarf receives a share of the jewels dug from their mine. Dopey keeps all of the rejected jewels as his share.
Walt Disney was often asked to make a cartoon series starring Dopey.
Dopey is the only dwarf not to have a beard.
Dopey is also the only dwarf not to have any dialogue.
Even though he is unable to talk, he screams after he sees Snow White stretching thinking she was a monster. He also hiccups after accidentally swallowing a bar soap, whimpers in his sleep while Sneezy uses his rump as a pillow, and cries upon Snow White's sleeping death.
In the 1979 stage musical adaptation for Radio City Music Hall, Dopey finally musters up the courage to speak (unlike the original film) at the end when Snow White bids the Dwarfs goodbye. His first words are "Goodbye, Snow White!" and he later has another line when he and the Dwarfs decide to plan a wedding for Snow White and the Prince ("Ready!").