Dumbo is released
Dumbo is a 1941 American animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released on October 23, 1941 by RKO Radio Pictures.
The fourth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, Dumbo is based upon a child's book of the same name by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Perl. The main character is Jumbo Jr., a semi-anthropomorphic elephant who is cruelly nicknamed Dumbo. He is ridiculed for his big ears, but in fact he is capable of flying by using his ears as wings. Throughout most of the film, his only true friend, aside from his mother, is the mouse, Timothy — a relationship parodying the stereotypical animosity between mice and elephants.
Dumbo was made to recoup the financial losses of Fantasia. The film has been criticized as being racist (the leader crow in the film is named "Jim Crow"), yet is also considered to be one of Disney's finest films. It was a deliberate pursuit of simplicity and economy for the Disney studio, and is now generally regarded as a classic of animation. At 64 minutes, it is one of Disney's shortest animated features.
The film was designed as an economical feature to help generate income for the Disney studio after the financial failures of both Pinocchio and Fantasia in 1940. Storymen Dick Huemer and Joe Grant were the primary figures in developing the plot, based upon a children's book written by Helen Aberson and illustrated by Harold Perl (the only involvement the authors had with the cartoon industry). Their book was made of only 8 drawings and just a few lines of text. When it was published in 1939, the edition was so small and obscure that nobody knows how Disney got his hands on it. He gave it to his lead animators and told them to see what they could get out of it.