(PCM) When it was released in 1937 no one imagined that the animated film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” would be come the biggest film of all time, at least until it was eventually dethroned with the release of “Gone With The Wind” in 1939, but a two year reign is still a pretty big deal. The folks over at the Walt Disney film company did not have any faith in the film and all and rumor has it that Walt Disney, himself, had to take out multiple loans, including mortgaging his own home to have the film made. Many of his family and friends felt the film would end up ruining his fortune and nicknamed the film, “Disney’s Folly”.
Little did they know that the film would go on to have the fantastic success that it has garnered over the years. At one point during production, Walt decided that for everyone to understand his precise vision for the film, he would have to physically show them. He gathered the artists on an empty sound stage and spent hours acting out the entire script. The entire script and film was frame by frame inside of his head!
When the film ended up smashing box office records, Disney was able to use funds brought in from the film to buy 51 acres of land in Burbank, CA to build studio space which is still currently used today!
There were so many initial budgeting problems with “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” that actress Adriana Caselotti was only paid $970 to be the voice of Snow White in the film, which would be the equivalent of about $15,000 by today’s standards. The other tragic part of Caselotti’s deal with Disney was that she was contractually prohibited from appearing in anything else, including radio show, so her career was basically ended. All of her roles in future projects were uncredited.
There was also the issue of Snow White’s age from the initial theater version of the story. She was still a teenager in the story, so Disney urged his animators to make their version of the Snow White character appear “old enough to marry”, which is kind of a disturbing thought if you really think about it for awhile.
Meanwhile, our Prince Charming is in the film for only a total of two minutes, as animators found Snow White’s love interest difficult to animate realistically!
Speaking of the original theater production of the story, did you know that Disney changed the names of the Seven Dwarfs? They weren’t always Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Doc, Sleepy, Dopey and Happy. In a 1912 Broadway play they were Blick, Flick, Glick, Plick, Quee, Snick, and Whick. Some other Disney rejected names for the Seven Dwarfs were Scrappy, Hoppy, Awful, Weepy, Gloomy, Snoopy, Silly, Gabby, Blabby, Flabby, Dizzy, and Biggy-Wiggy.
Also, Dopey was originally planned to be the overly talkative Dwarf, however they could not find a voice that they felt was fitting for the bald Dwarf, so the decided to make him silent instead.
There was almost going to be a sequel made to Snow White, which would have include scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor including a musical number called “Music In Your Soup”, but the idea was eventually scrapped. Video footage of the lost song can be seen below and the song was also included on the “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” film soundtrack. “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was also the first film to release a soundtrack.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” remains one of the most iconic animated films in pop culture history, however it is definitely not without its’ share of behind the scenes secrets and surprises.