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12 Black-and-White Facts About 101 Dalmatians

Disney Wikia
Disney Wikia

101 Dalmatians turns 55 years old today. Grab a bag of Kanine Krunchies and celebrate more than a half-century of spots with 12 facts about Disney's classic canine caper.

1. ROGER AND ANITA'S LAST NAME WAS "DEARLY."

In the original novel by Dodie Smith (also famous for I Capture the Castle), Roger and Anita’s last name was Dearly, not Radcliffe. Presumably, Disney changed it since they already had two similarly named couples: Jim Dear and Darling from Lady and the Tramp, and George and Mary Darling from Peter Pan. Also, in the book, Roger is a “financial wizard”—not a struggling musician.

2. DODIE SMITH HAD A DALMATIAN NAMED PONGO.

Dodie Smith named her main male canine after a Dalmatian puppy her husband bought her as a gift in 1934: Pongo.

Disney

3. THERE ARE MORE THAN SIX MILLION SPOTS IN THE MOVIE.

Of course you’re seeing spots—there are a lot of them in this movie: 6,469,952 over 113,760 frames, to be exact. Pongo has 72 spots, while Perdita has just 68. The rest belong to the puppies.

4. IT WAS THE FIRST FILM TO USE XEROX TECHNOLOGY.

You don’t have to worry that the animators all developed carpal tunnel after the movie was inked:101 Dalmatians was the first feature to use Xerox technology to transfer drawings to cels, saving a lot of time, money, and hands.

Disney

5. WALT DISNEY DIDN'T LIKE THE VISUAL EFFECT OF THAT XEROX TECHNOLOGY.

The Xerox style is what gives the film that sketched look as opposed to the crisp lines seen in earlier Disney features. Walt Disney reportedly disliked the scratchy aesthetic.

6. CRUELLA DE VIL NARRATED CINDERELLA.

Although she’s known as one of the most evil villains in Disney history, Cruella De Vil shares her voice with a much more benign character: the narrator of Cinderella. Radio star Betty Lou Gerson was the actress behind both.

7. THE DOGS ARE GREY, NOT WHITE.

The dogs aren’t actually white—they’re very light grey. White would have been too bright on screen, and wouldn’t have worked well in the snowy scenes.

8. LADY AND THE TRAMP MAKE A CAMEO.

If you look closely during the Twilight Bark scene, you’ll spot a few canines from Lady and the Tramp: Jock, Peg, Bull, Lady, and the Tramp (in silhouette).

9. "THE TWILIGHT BARK" BECAME THE COMPANY'S NEWSLETTER.

Disney Feature Animation later adopted “The Twilight Bark” as the name of their internal newsletter.

10. THE MOVIE WAS INTENDED TO BE MORE MUSICAL.

There are only three songs in the entire movie—but more were written, including a cockney chant called “Don’t Buy a Parrot from a Sailor,” set to be performed by Horace and Jasper. You can check the words out here.

11. ZSA ZSA GABOR INSPIRED CRUELLA DE VIL'S LOOK.

According to voice actress Lisa Davis, Walt Disney took Cruella’s look from a certain famous Hungarian. “Zsa Zsa Gabor was very popular at the time and famous for loving fur coats and wearing fur, he thought that maybe he might give her a Zsa Zsa Gabor touch,” Davis said. Though Davis made use of her exceptional Zsa Zsa impression to read for Cruella, she felt that she was better suited to the role of Anita. Walt listened to her read some of Anita’s lines and ultimately agreed that it was a perfect fit.

12. THERE'S A NOD TO DISNEY'S "SILLY SYMPHONIES."

There’s a little nod to an early “Silly Symphony” cartoon called “Springtime.” You’ll find it on the TV when Jasper and Horace are pupysitting.

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Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
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You Can Still Visit This Forgotten Flintstones Theme Park in Arizona
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Like many pop culture institutions of the 20th century, Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones hasn’t been relegated to just one medium. The animated cast of America's favorite modern Stone Age family sold cigarettes, starred in a live-action 1994 film, and inspired all sorts of merchandise, including video games and lunchboxes. In 1972, it also got the theme park treatment.

Bedrock City, located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona, was the brainchild of Linda and Francis Speckels, a married couple who bought the property and turned it into a 6-acre tourist attraction. Concrete houses were built to resemble the Flintstone and Rubble residences and are furnished with props; a large metal slide resembles a brontosaurus, so kids can mimic the show’s famous title credits sequence; and statues of the characters are spread all over the premises. The site also doubles as an RV campground and parking site.

A Flintstones theme park house
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Bam-Bam at the Flintstones park in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Wilma Flintstone at Bedrock City in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When it first opened, Bedrock City employed actors to stay in character, but the remote location proved challenging to retain both employees and visitors. Over the past four decades, it's had a steady stream of tourists, but not enough to turn a huge profit. Atlas Obscura reports the attractions are in various stages of disrepair.

Linda Speckels put the property up for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $2 million, but it has yet to sell. One possible hold-up: The new owner would have to negotiate a fresh licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. for the right to continue using the show’s trademarks. (A separate Flintstones park in South Dakota, owned by another member of the Speckels family, was sold and closed in 2015.) With its proximity to the Canyon, the 30 total acres could be converted into almost anything, from a mall to a golf course. For Flintstones enthusiasts, the hope is that the park’s unique attractions won’t be reduced to rubble.

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Watch Terry Gilliam's 1968 Animated Christmas Card
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

In 1968, future Monty Python member Terry Gilliam was kicking around London, working as an animator. He was asked to put together an animated segment for a Christmas show, so he hopped over to the Tate and photocopied a bunch of Victorian Christmas cards for inspiration. The resulting film, The Christmas Card, is brilliant, bizarre, and delightful. Enjoy some pre-Python madness from the master:

If you liked that, check out Terry Gilliam explaining his animation technique in 1974.

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