101 Dalmatians Trivia

101 Dalmatians. Let’s get this out of our system. Referring to the original 101 Dalmatians from 1961,  and in no particular order:

  • ‘101 Dalmatians’ was released on Jan. 25, 1961.
  • Technically, the official title is ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians,’ but it often gets shortened to ‘101 Dalmatians.’
  • Getting ‘101 Dalmatians’ made into a movie wasn’t easy as Disney was undergoing a budget crisis after ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ had been deemed a commercial failure;
  • Prior to the production of “101 Dalmatians,” Disney’s animation staff had been cut from over 500 to less than 100 animators, and yet in the USA, 101 Dalmatians was the highest grossing movie of 1961 earning $6,400,000 domestically; Adjusted for inflation, “101 Dalmatians” roughly $145 million domestic draw equates to $794 million, good for 11th on the all-time list, according to Box Office Mojo;
  • It was the first Disney animated feature to be credited to one writer, Bill Peet, who also helped write: ‘The Jungle Book,’ ‘The Sword in the Stone,’ ‘Sleeping Beauty,’ ‘Peter Pan,’ ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk,’ ‘Song of the South,’ ‘The Three Caballeros,’ ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Fantasia’ and ‘Pinocchio;’
  • On previous Disney animated features, the top animators were assigned a character and drew the bulk (if not all) of that particular character’s scenes individually. Animation on this film was far more of a “team effort” – for example, seven of the famed “Nine Old Men” worked on Perdita. There was one notable exception: Marc Davis drew Cruella De Vil entirely on his own;
  • It was the final film for animator Marc Davis. After animating Cruella De Vil, he went to work for WED Enterprises, designing for such Disneyland rides as the Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean;
  • Xerox was a crucial help in the animation of hundreds of spotted dogs in 101 Dalmatians which allowed Disney to bring the movie in for about half the cost thanks to this process;
  • Animators painted all the Dalmatian spots by treating them as constellations, forming a fixed pattern design;
  • Art director Ken Anderson came up with the idea of overlaying cels of line drawings over the painted backgrounds to match the Xeroxed cels of the characters. For the next twenty years, all Disney features – with the exception of The Jungle Book (1967) and the animated segments in Mary Poppins (1964) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) – would use this technique for their backgrounds. With The Fox and the Hound (1981), Disney returned to fully painted backgrounds, with a brief reprise of the cel overlay for Oliver & Company (1988);
  • Lisa Davis only provided about a third of Perdita’s voicework in 101 Dalmatians. Halfway through the movie’s lengthy production, she got married and moved to New York City so Cate Bauer completed the vocal performance;
  • Dodie Smith, the author of the book on which 101 Dalamatians was based, was a successful playwright and novelist who had nine Dalmatians of her own, including one named Pongo. She got the idea for the book when a friend who was at her house saw all the dogs together and remarked, “Those dogs would make a lovely fur coat;”
  • The birth of the puppies in 101 Dalmatians actually happened to the Smith. Her Dalmatian had 15 puppies, one was born lifeless and her husband revived it. However, they sold most of them, and kept only a small number;
  • When Walt Disney read Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians in 1956, he immediately snapped up the film rights. Smith had always secretly hoped that Disney would do just that;
  • Smith noted that her favorite cel in the movie, 101 Dalmatians, was the one where Pongo stretches while lying on a window sill near the beginning;
  • 101 Dalmatians was first serialized in ‘Ladies’ Home Journal’ as ‘The Great Dog Robbery;’
  • During the first VHS release of “101 Dalmatians”, a large number of tie-in merchandise was sold to the public with the misspelling “Dalmations;”
  • The final tally of Dalmatian spots in 113,760 frames of film in the original ‘101 Dalmatians” was 6,469,952;
  • Pongo had 72 spots, Perdita had 68, and each of the 99 puppies had exactly 32 spot;.
  • For the movement of dogs in background shots, 101 Dalmatians animators created a handful of animation loops & Xeroxed them in differing sizes and directions;
  • There are 10 music cues in the opening sequence of the original 101 Dalmatians;
  • Walt Disney hired actors to perform live-action scenes of all the human characters in 101 Dalmatians to serve as a reference for the animators and to find out if those scenes were feasible to animate;
  • Helene Stanley acted as the live-action reference model for Anita in the original 101 Dalmatians as she had done for the title character of Cinderella (1950) and Princess Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (1959);
  • Rod Taylor was one of the first voices cast for the original 101 Dalmatians;
  • Due to a continuity goof, the final scene of 101 Dalmatians features more than 101 Dalmatians; there’s at least 150 animated spotted dogs in the background;
  • Cruella DeVil was ranked 31st on the American Film Institute’s List of 100 Greatest On-Screen Heroes and Villains. In Italy, she is known as “Crudelia De Mon” — a play off the word “demon.” In France, she is known as “Cruella D’Enfer” — meaning “From Hell.”
  • The thunder that claps when Cruella DiVil first appeared was a sound effect from the movie, ‘Bambi;’
  • Lady, the Tramp, Jock, Peg and Bull from 1955’s ‘Lady and the Tramp’ all made cameos during the “Twilight Bark” sequence in “101 Dalmatians;”
  • In the scene in 101 Dalmatians where the puppies are watching TV, one can see that the spots on Lucky’s back form a horseshoe – a symbol of good luck;
  • Contrary to popular belief, the cartoons that the puppies watch on the TV in Hell Hall is not Flowers and Trees (1932). It is actually Springtime (1929);
  • The scene in 101 Dalmatians where the puppies suckle from some friendly cows attracted a lot of criticism at the time of release as it was deemed to be inappropriate for a children’s film;
  • The boy puppies wore red collars and the girls wear blue ones, as indeed do Pongo and Perdita;
  • 800 gallons of special paint weighing nearly 5 tons were used in producing the animation cells and backgrounds of 101 Dalmatians, enough to cover 15 football fields or the outsides of 135 average homes.
  • Nearly 1,000 different shades of color were created in the making of the movie;
  • Clarence Nash who famously voiced Donald Duck provided all the dog barks used in “101 Dalmatians;”
  • In the original 101 Dalmatians is a scene in which the Colonel and Jasper come face to face. They are both voiced by the same actor;
  • Barbara Luddy, the voice of Merriwether in Sleeping Beauty (1959) was also the voice of Lady in Lady and the Tramp (1955);
  • ”101 Dalmatians’” Cruella De Vil was voiced by actress Betty Lou Gerson who was honored as a “Disney Legend” in 1996.
  • Lucille Bliss, the voice of Anastasia in “Cinderella”, sings the Kanine Krunchies theme song in the original 101 Dalmatians. She was also (the voice of Lady in Lady and the Tramp and provided the live action footage of Nanny in 101 Dalmatians;
  • 101 Dalmatians’ had the distinction of being the first animated Disney film to take place in a contemporary setting;
  • In 1967, 101 Dalmatians author, Dodie Smith, published ‘The Starlight Brigade,’ a sequel to her earlier hit;
  • There are 113,760 frames of film in the original ‘101 Dalmatians;’
  • ”101 Dalmatians” was different from previous Disney films in that it featured only 3 songs, just one of which, Cruella’s theme song, was performed in its entirety;

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