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- “Dumbo, the 9th wonder of the 'universe'! The 'world's' only flying elephant!”
- ―Timothy Q. Mouse
Dumbo is the protagonist of Disney's 1941 film of the same name. He is a small elephant and the son of Mrs. Jumbo. Dumbo is most famous for his giant floppy ears, which give him the ability to glide in the air.
Dumbo has the personality of a small child. He is playful, innocent and very fun. He loves being around his mother and hates being alone. He is somewhat naïve, as he did not realize Smitty and his gang were taunting him or that the "magic feather" was simply a way of thinking. Dumbo is also very easily scared, evidenced by his encounters with the clowns, the pink elephants, and, like all elephants, Timothy Mouse. However, he is also very open-hearted, such as with Timothy and Jim Crow and his brothers, and never seemed to express any true anger or resentment toward those who tease him.
As he is only a baby in his first appearance, he does not talk during the film, save for some quick squeaks. However, in Dumbo's Circus, he does talk when he's a teenager.
Dumbo is a little Asian elephant, his skin is gray and his eyes are blue, his tail is very small but his ears are huge, which the other elephants don't like, but with his ears he can fly, he has a small proboscis with two large nostrils at the end of it.
In his debut, after being delivered by Mr. Stork, he is named "Jumbo, Jr." by his mother, Mrs. Jumbo and all the other female elephants remark on his cute looks. Dumbo then sneezes after the Elephant Matriarch tickles him on his trunk and reveals that his ears are much larger than average. As soon as his big ears are revealed, he is teased with the other female elephants, who call him "Dumbo". After Dumbo's mother closes the door to their stalls, she and Dumbo rest peacefully. Dumbo later takes part in setting up the circus tent with his mother and the other elephants and circus animals at night as they arrive to their destination.
The next day, Dumbo takes part in the opening parade for the circus with his mother and the other elephants, but trips on his ears and falls in a mud puddle, thus, causing everyone to laugh at him. A few moments later, Dumbo is given a bath by his mother and they spent time playing with one another. Once people come into the circus for a tour to see the circus animals, Dumbo gets laughed at by some boy bullies and his ears are pulled by a boy who wanted to tease him, thus, considered a laughingstock to them. When his mother tries to protect him, she is believed to be mad, and is captured and imprisoned by the Ringmaster and his guards. Dumbo is left by himself feeling sad, while the other elephants laugh at him and regard him a disgrace. When Dumbo tries to have a hay meal with the other female elephants, they give him the cold shoulder and he walks away without a friend in the world until he meets his soon-to-be best friend, Timothy, whom he was afraid of at first when Timothy scared all the elephants for picking on Dumbo, but then, Dumbo and Timothy become friends when Timothy offers to help him get his mother out of the clink.
Timothy, having overheard the teasing Dumbo endures earlier, decides to help Dumbo become a circus star. The first attempt ends in failure, as Dumbo once again trips on his ears while attempting to jump to the top of a "Pyramid of Pachyderms" as the climax resulting collapsing the big top and all of the elephants injured, he then emerges his trunk through a hole on the big top swinging his flag, but it break in half due to the collapse of the big top leaving him swinging what's left of his flag. The failure results in the circus making Dumbo into a clown, which depresses Dumbo and makes him a real laughingstock to the circus, the people, the clowns, and the other elephants. To cheer him up, Timothy takes Dumbo to visit his mother, but the visit ends too soon.
Later, Dumbo and Timothy accidentally become drunk when they drink water that has been accidentally mixed with alcohol due to the clowns' clumsiness. Both begin hallucinating; seeing Pink Elephants. When they awaken, they somehow end up in a tree after meeting some crows, who are amused by an elephant being in a tree and tell them about their situation. After getting back down to the ground while falling from the tree, Timothy wonders if Dumbo either jumped or climbed up to the tree until he finally comes to believe that Dumbo flew (due to one of the crows' ironic suggestion), thus, amusing the crows and making them sing "When I See an Elephant Fly". But after Timothy tells them Dumbo's sad story, they feel sad and bad about their earlier action and decide to help Dumbo use his ears as wings to fly and to use the "magic feather" as a token to encourage and increase Dumbo's confidence. Dumbo is finally seen flying in the air, much to Timothy and the crows' amazement and delight.
At the circus' next stop, during the act, Dumbo is able to fly without the help of the magic feather after accidentally losing it and after Timothy begs him to open his ears, therefore, impressing the crowd and allowing Dumbo to get some payback on those who teased him by taking off a clown's mask resembling Dumbo's mother, throwing it on the Ringmaster's buttocks who ends up getting his head dunked into a bucket of water, causing the clowns to accidentally burn themselves on their buttocks, then he decides to vacuum up some peanuts with his proboscis from a peanut seller's stand, and spray those peanuts on his rude aunts and Mrs. Jumbo's "sisters". Dumbo becomes the greatest star in America with Timothy as his manager.
At the end of the film, it is shown that Dumbo's mother has been released and the two share their own private coach, they then wave goodbye to the crows who are standing in an electric pole.
During the launch of the Disney Channel in 1983, Dumbo's Circus premiered. It is a live-action/full-body puppet show that aired the same time as Welcome to Pooh Corner. Dumbo, now a teenager, is able to talk. Dumbo also has new friends, such as Lionel the Sideshow Lion (and his Chief Lieutenant), Q.T. the Calliope-Playing Orangutan, Fair Dinkum the Ringmaster Koala (and his sergeant), Sebastian the Ventriloquist Alley Cat, Lilli the Detective/High-Wire Cat, Barnaby the Magician/Clown Dog, and others as well.
Dumbo has made several cameo appearances in the television series House of Mouse. In the series premiere, he flew in front of the spotlight projector, causing Mickey Mouse's spotlight to disappear. In "Super Goof", Mickey mistakenly believed Dumbo to be Super Goof's secret identity. In "Donald Wants to Fly", he and Timothy advise Donald to use the magic feather but it backfires. In "The Mouse Who Came to Dinner" Dumbo was annoyed when Mortimer Mouse mocked him. He also appears in Mickey's House of Villains and along with the other guests locked in the club's kitchen and held captive as the villains take over.
In the 1950s, Dumbo and Timothy made an appearance in the animated opening of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Dumbo makes two brief cameos in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. His first cameo is at the beginning of the film, where he flies in front of R.K. Maroon's office, much to Eddie Valiant's shock. Mr. Maroon mentions that he has rented Dumbo from Disney along with half the cast of Fantasia, and the best part of it is that they work for peanuts. His second cameo is at the end of the film, during the final scene where he is seen shaking Eddie's hand as he flies back to Toontown along with the rest of the Toons.
Dumbo made a brief cameo appearance in Bonkers, episode "Of Mice and Menace", which introduced the villain Flaps the Elephant. He is shown crying at the police station because Flaps had stolen his flag.
In Lilo & Stitch, Dumbo made a brief cameo as a toy on Lilo's easel.
Dumbo make a cameo in the forms of silhouette at the end of The Lion King 1½.
In the game, Disney villains have taken control over their stories and altered the endings so that they can have the "happy endings". For Dumbo, the Ringmaster made it so Dumbo must endless perform humiliating stunts at his circus, as his slave. Fortunately, the player, as well as Jiminy Cricket, are able to save the briefly fallen heroes.
In Kingdom Hearts, he was apparently the sole survivor of the destruction of his world Like several other Summon characters, Dumbo's spirit survived in the form of the Watergleam Gem, which Sora discovered while trapped inside Monstro. Upon giving it to the Fairy Godmother, she restores Dumbo's spirit and Dumbo becomes a spirit for Sora.
In Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, Dumbo is recreated from Sora's memories, in Castle Oblivion, and returns as a summon.
Dumbo appears as his Disneyland attraction Dumbo the Flying Elephant.
In the 1955 opening of Disneyland, Dumbo was a character that met guests. Over the years, Dumbo was seen in pictures, ads and merchandise only. He notably has his own attraction known as Dumbo the Flying Elephant, one of the most popular attractions in the parks.
Dumbo can be seen in Flights of Fantasy parade as the first character atop a float as fully working audio-animatronic with the parade's logo.
Dumbo is seen riding Casey, Jr. in the opening unit of Mickey's Storybook Express.
Dumbo represents the Disney Fantasy ship; a statue of Dumbo and Timothy can be seen on an outer display.
Dumbo was one of the original characters and this marks one of his few live appearances in the parade. Dumbo has since been removed, but in the Tokyo Disneyland version, Dumbo is present as a part of the parade float.
- Dumbo was a character which inspired people to create another elephant character almost like him and based on him named Goliath II in Goliath II.
- The animation of Dumbo getting caressed by his mother during "Baby Mine" was recycled for use in Goliath II for the scene with Goliath II getting caressed by his mother.
- Dumbo's trumpet squealing was later reused on Goliath II from Goliath II.
- Dumbo is the first protagonist of a Disney animated film to have blue eyes―all his predecessors had either black or brown eyes.
- Even though the guessed inspiration of all the elephants including Dumbo were Asian elephants, Dumbo looks in many features like an African elephant.
- Dumbo is the name of a district from New York City.
- He is the only character that doesn't speak in the movie.
- A species of octopus nick named Dumbo octopuses was named after this character for its large protruding ears.