Figaro was Walt Disney's favorite character. Disney pushed for the kitten to appear in the film as much as possible. After the film, Disney swapped Minnie Mouse's little cocker spaniel with Figaro.
Working models for all of Geppetto's cuckoo clocks were built as guides for the animators.
Originally budgeted at $500,000, the development of the film caused it to go way over budget and ultimately cost $2.5 million, one of the most expensive films produced at the time.
According to sequence director Jack Kinney, Christian Rub (the voice of Geppetto) was a Nazi sympathizer who drove the animation crew crazy with his ramblings about the glories of Adolf Hitler. They eventually got even with him when they did the live-action shooting for the scene with Geppetto fishing from inside Monstro the whale. They put Rub on a makeshift stage where he pretended to fish while the stage was jostled by some grips who "rocked the boat" to give the desired effect and effectively giving Rub a ride he never forgot.
Evelyn Venable, who was the physical model and voice of The Blue Fairy, was the model for the original Columbia Studios logo.
During the musical number "When You Wish Upon a Star", when a spotlight is seen on Jiminy Cricket, one is able to see two books to the left of the screen, which are "Peter Pan" and "Alice in Wonderland". Walt Disney started developing these two stories for the big screen at the time of this film's release, and they would be released respectively in 1953 and 1951.
When Foulfellow attempts to coax Pinocchio to go to Pleasure Island, he gives him a card with an Ace of Spades on it, calling it his "ticket". In popular myth and folklore, the Ace of Spades is referred to as "The Death Card".
The first time famous voices were used to provide the voices of cartoon characters. Cliff Edwards, who voiced Jiminy Cricket, was a popular personality at the time.
The theme song from Pinocchio, "When You Wish upon a Star", was ranked #7 in the 2004 American Film Institute's List of the Top Movie Songs of All Time, the highest-ranking song on the list among Disney animated films.
The character of Jiminy Cricket wasn't introduced into the story until nine months into production. In an early chapter the 1883 novel, Pinocchio killed Jiminy Cricket, who was known only as Talking Cricket, by throwing a mallet at him. However, the Cricket shows up alive in a later chapter with little explanation given.
Amongst the nipping and tucking, there were two longer scenes taken out. One included an extended scene of Pleasure Island. The other is of Geppetto telling Pinocchio of his grandfather, a pine tree.
The task of creating Jiminy Cricket was given to legendary Disney animator Ward Kimball, his first assignment as an animation director. He originally designed the character to look more like a real cricket, but Walt Disney found the result "too gross" and demanded he be made cute. Kimball ultimately removed all the insect-like features and turned Jiminy into a little green man with an oversized head, wearing a gentlemanly outfit the animator "borrowed" from the logo of Johnnie Walker scotch whiskey. Disney was pleased, even though the character no longer resembled a bug. In later years Kimball expressed unhappiness with the compromises in Jiminy's design, saying, "The audience accepts him as a cricket because the other characters say he is."
Honest John's "real" name is given in promotional materials as J. Worthington Foulfellow, but this name is never mentioned in the film itself.
The first animated film to win an Academy Award in a competitive category. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) had won a Special Academy Award two years earlier.
Foulfellow and Gideon were supposed to meet Pinocchio a third time and be caught by the police after he rejects them.
After a year of meticulous restoration, which included cleaning and removing scratches from the original negatives frame by frame, eliminating age-old distortions on the soundtrack, and revitalizing the color, the now-pristine film was reissued in 1992.
The Blue Fairy in Pinocchio (as well as the prince in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)) was created using the rotoscope technique.
Award-winning children's-book illustrator Gustaf Tenggren helped create the European-storybook conceptual design, rendering town streets and the undersea landscapes. His design sketches ultimately influenced design work for Disneyland. Although Tenggren heavily influenced the overall look of the film, he left the Disney studios before the film was completed, and received no credit.
John Musker and Ron Clements would consult on how Pinocchio (1940) achieved its underwater effects when they were in the process of developing The Little Mermaid (1989).
In the Dutch dub, the Dutch marionettes sing the line "i bring you with me to Volendam". Volendam is a city in the Netherlands known for their traditional Dutch clothes.
When Walt Disney picked up his honorary Oscar statuettes for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), he told the Academy Award audience about Pinocchio, which was still in production, holding their attention for a full twenty-five minutes.
Carlo Collodi was really Carlo Lorenzini, a journalist and rabble-rouser who settled down to write children's stories. He took his pen name from the town of his mother's birth, Collodi. When he originally published "Pinocchio" in the form of a magazine serial, Lorenzini's intention was to kill Pinocchio by having him hang himself. At the suggestion of his editor, Lorenzini added chapters sixteen to thirty-two, giving the story a happy ending and creating the character of the Blue Fairy.
The animators had a difficult time choosing how to animate Geppetto- early models looked too much like Doc from 'Snow White'- so eventually decided to model him after his voice actor, Christian Rub.
Walt Disney wasn't happy with progress on the film so halted it halfway through production to rethink the story and redesign the characters.
The August 1993 issue of Playboy cited 43 instances of violence and other unfavorable behavior in this film, including 23 instances of battery, nine acts of property damage, three slang uses of the word "jackass", three acts of violence involving animals, two shots of male nudity, and one instance of implied death.
Due to the war, the movie was not released in either Germany or Japan before the 1950s. In 1951, when the movie was released in Germany, it was dubbed with rather unknown actors. Only Horst Buchholz, as the voice of Lampwick, was to become famous in later years. In 1971, the movie was re-dubbed along with other Disney classics such as Dumbo (1941) and Bambi (1942). The original dub is now unknown in Germany.
Stromboli's wagon was a filmed model printed on cels and painted. A similar technique was used 21 years later in One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).
The first time that a film won the Academy Award for both its score and one of its songs. The next time this happened for Disney Studios was in 1964 when Mary Poppins (1964) triumphed in both categories.
On Pleasure Island, the painting Lampwick scratches his cigar on is Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa".
In 1940, Victor Young conducted a four-record 78-RPM Decca album of the songs from "Pinocchio". The album featured three songs eventually deleted from the film before its release: "Jiminy Cricket"; "Turn on the Old Music Box" and "Three Cheers for Anything". Cliff Edwards, who did the voice of Jiminy Cricket in the film, was the only actor from the movie who appeared on the album. Also featured were Julietta Novis (who sang the "Ave Maria" in Disney's Fantasia (1940)), The King's Men and The Ken Darby Singers. It is also claimed that around this time, RCA Victor released an album that was supposedly the actual film soundtrack of "Pinocchio", but whether or not it really was the soundtrack has never been confirmed.
Lux Radio Theatre on the CBS network, with Cecil B. DeMille as the presenter, broadcast a condensed version of "Pinocchio" on Christmas Day, 1939. The program featured the performers who did the voices in the film.
The pool hall at Pleasure Island is in the shape of a giant eight ball with a tall cue-shaped structure standing nearby. This is a neat takeoff on the Trylon and the Perisphere at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
In the midst of production, the entire Disney animation branch was also in the process of moving from its old home on Hyperion Avenue into new premises in Burbank.
This is one of, if not the only, Disney film to feature multiple main villains. The first villain(s) Pinocchio encounters is Honest John and his assistant Gideon. The second main villain is Stromboli, the third (Although Pinocchio has never met him personally) was The Coachman who took the children to Pleasure Island and the final one was Monstro.
This was originally intended to be the studio's third film, after Bambi (1942), but given the long, tedious process for that film, it eventually got bumped down in favor of this one.
The film's international grosses were disastrously affected by the outbreak of war in Europe and Asia.
The animation of the sparkles produced by the Blue Fairy's magic were designed by abstract animator Oskar Fischinger, who was working on the "Toccata and Fugue" sequence of Fantasia (1940).
In the 1883 novel Pinocchio killed Jiminy Cricket, who was known only as Talking Cricket, by throwing a mallet at him.
Ranked #38 on the American Film Institute's list of The 100 Most Inspiring Films of All Time and is the only animated film to appear on the list.
In 1937, when the studio was still in the midst of producing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), animator Norman Ferguson brought a translated version of Carlo Collidi's story to Walt Disney's attention. After reading the book, "Walt was busting his guts with enthusiasm," said Ferguson.
It is commonly perceived that Pinocchio (1940) was the first Disney animated feature to be released on video, in 1985. In reality, that honor goes to Dumbo (1941) in 1980. There are three possible reasons for this misconception. For one, home video was in its infancy in 1980, but was taking off by 1985. Another reason was the strength of the advertising campaign for "Pinocchio's" video debut, which was the largest campaign for a single title at the time. Finally, the Disney studio had made past statements that none of their animated films would be released on video. Nevertheless, the success of "Pinocchio" on video was a breakthrough moment in the history of Walt Disney Home Video.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
[June 2008] Ranked #2 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation".
On its first release, this movie was billed on posters as being filmed in multiplane Technicolor.
The character Honest John is pictured on one of ten USA nondenominated commemorative postage stamps celebrating "Disney Villains", issued as a pane of 20 stamps on 15 July 2017. The set was issued in a single sheet of 20 stamps. The price of each stamp on day of issue was 49¢. The other villains depicted in this issue are: The Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Lady Tremaine (Cinderella (1950)), The Queen of Hearts (Alice in Wonderland (1951)), Captain Hook (Peter Pan (1953)), Maleficient (Sleeping Beauty (1959)), Cruella De Ville (One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)), Ursula (The Little Mermaid (1989)), Gaston (Beauty and the Beast (1991)), and Scar (The Lion King (1994)).
The flower that Jiminy Cricket is in when talking to Pinocchio is called a jack-in-the-pulpit.
Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the 400 movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
According to the book, "Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life," Geppetto was originally drawn in early test models to resemble Doc from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) in appearance, but had the personality of Grumpy - a crotchety old man with a heart of gold. Character actor Spencer Charters was cast in the role, and his voice had the qualities that the Disney animators were looking for, but initial test animation showed that Geppetto's character wasn't working as planned. He was coming across as too abrasive and unlikable. The animators recast the role with Christian Rub providing the voice, and redesigned Geppetto as a befuddled but lovable toy maker, giving his face an "Old World" look that resembled Rub's appearance.
Mel Blanc provided the voice of Gideon the Cat, and recorded several scenes of dialogue. However, the Disney animators later decided to make Gideon a mute character, a la Dopey in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Gideon's three hiccups, plus some gurgling noises for Cleo the goldfish, are all that remains of Blanc's vocal performance in the film. Although Blanc provided some character voices for the "Carousel of Progress" animatronic stage show at Disneyland, this would be his only vocal performance in a Disney film until Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988).