The Crows are a flock of five crows from Disney's 1941 film, Dumbo. Once Timothy and Dumbo first meet them, they are rude. When they hear Dumbo's sad story, however, they do everything they can to help him. They act as father figures to Dumbo, and are also notable for teaching Dumbo how to fly.
Jim Crow refers to the other crows as brothers. There is no evidence given that the crows are related, so it is quite likely he means 'soul brothers', at the time, a term for close, lifelong friends.
The crows are generally good-natured, albeit with tendencies towards jokes and teasing. As a group they are fairly easy-going and friendly towards each other. Jim Crow acts as the unofficial leader of the group, and is among the first to apologize to Dumbo after hearing the young elephant's sad story. The group then proves themselves to be excellent mentors in helping Dumbo to fly, and are excited at the prospect of Dumbo returning to the circus with his new talent.
The crows first appear in the woods where they spot Dumbo and Timothy sleeping in a tree. The crows are utterly confused at the sight, and so their leader, Jim Crow, flies down to investigate. Jim Crow wakes up Timothy with his smoking. The minute Timothy mentions pink elephants, Jim and the crows begin to laugh about this; even when Timothy asks them "what they're doing down here" and "to fly back up a tree where they belong." When Jim says: "Hey, look here there, Brother Rat...", Timothy gets up angry and quotes he ain't his brother and no rat to which Jim replies: "Oh. And I suppose you and no elephant ain't up in no tree either?" Timothy replies that him and no tree... until he finds out the truth for himself. Timothy and Dumbo awaken, and Dumbo's panic at being in the tree causes the two to fall out of the tree, landing in a puddle. The crows laugh as Timothy and Dumbo walk away. As Timothy, thinking out loud, wonders how they ended up in the tree, Jim Crow then playfully suggest they flew.
After a moment of thought, Timothy believes it and realizes that Dumbo's ears were perfect for flight. The crows laugh at this and start to sing the show stopper, "When I See an Elephant Fly". After the musical number and continuous laughter, Timothy gets angered and decides to give them a lecture of Dumbo's background and sad story.
The crows immediately start crying, regret their mockery, start to have sympathy for the two, and apologize to them; explaining that they had seen the light. Jim Crow then explains that they will help Dumbo learn how to fly. Jim whispers to Timothy that the plan involves psychology. Gathering with the crows, Jim and Timothy form a plan that involves Timothy being given a feather from Specks. Timothy gives the feather to Dumbo, calling it a "magic feather" that will allow Dumbo to fly; in reality, it is merely a token to encourage and increase Dumbo's confidence.
The crows take Dumbo to a nearby cliff, where he attempts to take off. After the dust clears, the crows realize that Dumbo is actually flying and excitedly proclaim that they've seen everything, thus, singing a reprise of their song, When I See an Elephant Fly. The crows see Dumbo back to the circus and talk about how surprised the people will be to see Dumbo.
Afterwards, Dumbo becomes famous as a result of his flying skills. The crows are later seen singing a final reprise of "When I See an Elephant Fly" and flying with Dumbo, who is flying to a private train car that houses him and his mother (who was in solitary confinement earlier in the film and is now free after Dumbo's fame). The crows wave good-bye to Dumbo and wish him the best; with Jim Crow remarking that he never got his autograph until Fats assures him that he himself got his autograph to which Jim joyfully replies to Dumbo: "Well, so long glamour boy!"
The crows make a cameo appearance in the film. They are seen playing the background music of Jessica Rabbit's song "Why Don't You Do Right?". Jim Crow, Deacon and Specks can also be spotted during the final scenes, hidden amongst the crowd of toons.
In the animated series, the crows appeared as recurring guests, usually seen flying with Dumbo in crowd shots.
Their most notable role is in the episode "Donald Wants to Fly", where Donald Duck tries to fly. Upon seeing this, Jim jokes with the other crows that he's seen nearly everything fly, but he may never see Donald fly.
Dumbo is often criticized as racist for the inclusion of the black crows as African-American stereotypes. The name of one Crow, Jim, is a reference to the infamous Jim Crow Laws, which has brought strong criticism over the portrayal. However, some have pointed out that they were portrayed by African American actors (except for the lead crow, Cliff Edwards who was white) and such stereotypes were common at the time. It is noteworthy that they are some of the few characters who are sympathetic towards Dumbo; they apologize for picking on the elephant, and they help Timothy teach Dumbo to fly.
- In the original novel, an owl named Professor Hoot was the one that taught Dumbo how to fly.
- None of the crows' names were given in the film, though their names can be seen on model sheets by the animators.
- Jim's name was changed to "Dandy Crow" in later years in attempt to avoid controversy. However, the name never caught on, and thus "Jim" remained as is.
- Jim's voice actor, Cliff Edwards, was also the voice of Jiminy Cricket in one of Walt Disney's earlier features, Pinocchio.