The Crows are a flock of five crows from Disney's 1941 film, Dumbo. Once Timothy and Dumbo first meet them, they are rude but when they hear Dumbo's sad story, they do everything they can to help him. They act as father figures to Dumbo. They are also notable for teaching Dumbo how to fly. The crows also sing the song "When I See an Elephant 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 site, 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 Glasses Crow. 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 Fat Crow 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, Preacher Crow and Glasses Crow 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. Their most notable role is in the episode "Donald Wants to Fly", when Jim states that he's seen nearly everything fly but he may never have seen Donald fly. Here, Jim is voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, who unlike Jim's previous actor, actually is black.
Even though Dumbo is often critizied for the inclusion of the black crows, it is notable that they are the only truly sympathetic characters in the film outside of Dumbo, his mother and Timothy. They apologize for picking on the elephant, and they are in fact the ones that help Timothy teach Dumbo to fly. The roustabout scene which features African American laborers largely in shadow and singing a working song that many find offensive has drawn similar complaints.
- In the original novel, an owl named Professor Hoot was the one that Dumbo how to fly.
Objects: The Magic Feather