“Let’s see what’s upstairs.
Oh, what adorable little beds.
And look, they have their names carved on them.
Tubby, Sniffy, Gabby, Baldy —
What funny names for children.
Puffy, Tubby and Burpy.”
This is obviously not how the scene ended up in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but what if those had been some of the chosen dwarf names from the original fifty potential suggestions? Would the movie have still been so popular? I can’t imagine my favorite dwarfs by these names. Dopey might actually have been Baldy and what a sure miss that would have been.
All along when planning this movie, Walt Disney wanted the dwarfs to have names and personalities all their own; unlike the original story in which they were nameless. Walt had stated at the very beginning of the project that he wanted the story to focus on the dwarfs in order to give lots of opportunities for gags and funny situations in the story. Out of all the originally suggested names, and their respective personalities, this movie could have been very different indeed. I mean, if Grumpy hadn’t been in the picture, whose heart would Snow have softened?
Out of all the choices he had, how did Walt know what would work? How did he ever know? His genius wasn’t something that could be pinpointed. The story revolving around Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy worked very well. In fact, against the advice of many of Walt’s closest friends including his wife, Lillian, and big brother, Roy, he made a movie about seven little guys full of personality and fun. These chosen seven earned Walt numerous accolades.
The enormous success of Snow White led to Walt being able to purchase the property for his Burbank Studio and to produce many more successful movies. Did you know that it also sparked an idea in the mind of MGM’s Louis B. Mayer to produce his own feature film from a children’s book in 1939? His movie was another well-known success called The Wizard of Oz.
Walt didn’t cater to children nor adults when making his films. When people would ask him how he knew what would work, he would simply say “I just go with what I like” and being that he wasn’t very different from most of us, we all liked it too! Ted Thomas, the son of animator Frank Thomas, said “Walt was a hundred percent in sync with what his audiences wanted. If it felt right to Walt, he knew it would feel right to the audience.” The knack for choosing the perfect seven dwarfs was just one example of Walt’s gift. This line from the Magic Mirror could have easily been Walt’s, “Prepare to be amazed beyond all expectations. After all it is what I do.”
- Wednesday with Walt: Yep, That’s What It’s All About (chipandco.com)
- Wednesday with Walt: The Gift That Keeps Giving (chipandco.com)