Disney Odyssey, Non-Fiction

Disney Odyssey #15 – Canine Social Castes are as Confusing as Human Ones

This is the night, ladies and gentlemen, and what a beautiful night it is… a quiet Sunday evening where the Husband-Fella has made delicious apple cider spaghetti and — wait. Spaghetti? You’ve got to be kidding me. We made spaghetti for Lady and the Tramp night?

No, seriously. It was complete coincidence.

At any rate, just to get it out of the way, here’s us re-enacting That Scene for you:

Ugh. I’m so sorry. I know it’s horrible. It had to be done.



The Film: Lady and the Tramp (1955)

The Facts:

  • The story originated with a concept by Disney writer Joe Grant in 1937 who had ideas about a spaniel named Lady, inspired by his own family’s dog. Walt liked the idea, but put it on hold because he felt it wasn’t quite enough. Then, in the early 1940s, Walt read a short story in Cosmopolitan magazine called “Happy Dan the Whistling Dog.” He had Grant take a look at it and try to come up with something combining the Lady story and “Happy Dan,” a romance between a high-class spaniel and a lowly mutt.
  • The opening sequence with the puppy in the hatbox came from real life – Walt gifted his wife Lillian a Chow puppy in a hatbox one Christmas. Lillian was at first upset because she preferred to buy her own hats, but then quickly melted when she realized it was a puppy. She named him Sunnee and the two were inseparable for many years.
  • Studio folks were hesitant to let Walt name the male dog Tramp, as the word had some slightly sexual connotations and the title’s similarity to popular song  “The Lady is a Tramp.” But Walt was confident that there would be no problems with it, and the name stuck.
  • A lot of live dogs were brought to the studios for the animators to study during the production.
  • The iconic scene where Lady and Tramp share spaghetti (and an accidental kiss) almost didn’t make the cut. Walt thought it was too unrealistic – anyone who has seen dogs fight over food would see how silly the scene was. But animators fought for it and it stayed – and now is considered one of the most famous and most parodied scenes in film history.
  • 2-o7fr5k
  • The film was ranked #95 in the 100 Most Romantic Films of All Time by AFI.
  • In 1988, singer, actress and songwriter Peggy Lee sued the Walt Disney Company for breach of contract. Her original contract stated she would be reimbursed for transcriptions of the music, and she was not being paid for VHS sales. After a legal battle, she was awarded $2.3 million by the courts in 1991.
  • It was the first animated film to be made in CinemaScope!

The Observations:

  • Awww Christmas! Those people in the carriage are totally the couple from “Once Upon A Wintertime” in Melody Time!
  • My goodness, Jim Dear and Darling are sleeping in the same bed! The Fella: “Yeah, this movie came out in 1955… Disney knew what was up.”
  • These houses though…. they’re huge.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.56.03 PM
    The Fella: “We will never live in a house like this. We will always be poor. Always.”
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.56.15 PM.png
    The caterpillar that appears while Trusty is telling the story of how he tracked some criminals through a swamp happens to be wearing black and white stripes…like a prisoner or escaped convict, perhaps?
  • The dogcatcher is whistling “Where Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone” – I wonder how many modern audience members lose that joke.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.56.25 PM.png
    Well whaddaya know…. Tramp really IS from the Other Side of the Tracks.
  • Wait, is Tramp literate? He can read the dogcatcher’s posters… that’s actually impressive.
  • So the wince-o-meter for Politically Correctness is buzzing with the entrance of the Siamese cats, Si and Am. I read somewhere that they were originally going to be called Nip and Tuck for some reason… but they changed it. Sighhhhhh.
  • I wonder if this part (where Tramp tricks the Stereotypical Irish Policeman into thinking that he belongs to the Befuddled Nerdy Gentleman via whistling) is a reference to the source material “Happy Dan the Whistling Dog”. It’s commedia gold, regardless.
  • Tramp evolves into Harold Hill as he sells the muzzle to the beaver as a log puller. This is some epic level of flim-flammery, people.
  • A-ha! The Italian guys at the restaurant are this film’s Classic Comedic Duo (thin/fat, smart/dumb, leader/follower).
  • Joe, the sidekick, plays the mandolin on the doggy date – and earlier in the film we spot a mandolin in Darling and Jim Dear’s parlor.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 10.59.58 PM.png
    Mandolin Conspiracyyyyyyy
  • I’m getting a huuuuge parallel here between Lady/Tramp and Sarah Brown/Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls… which means there’s trouble a-brewin’…
  • First of all, the dogs at the pound, you guys. Such an international array of canines you never dreamed of before.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 11.00.21 PM.png
    British, American, Mexican, Russian… and not pictured is the German Dachschund (obviously)
  • And Boris. BORIS. He’s such a philosopher! (I also read that in one version of the script, there was a Love Triangle between Lady, Tramp and Boris.)
  • Llllllllllaaaadies and gentlemen: Peggy Lee.
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 11.01.30 PM.png
  • Oh, man. I completely forgot about That Evil Rat…and the huge conflict at the end with Aunt Sarah locking Lady up… and the tracking of the dogcatcher truck, and racing against time and the elements to get to Tramp in time… and oh my gosh the stakes are so high!!!!
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 11.01.58 PM.png
    Terrifying Epic Rat Fight
  • Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 11.03.33 PM.png

    And yes, there’s a sequel… but no, we won’t be covering it. Delve into that at your own risk. You know how Disney sequels usually are…


Up Next: It’s a pajama party….. with Sleeping Beauty!


Hey! Pssst. You there!

Did you like the audio commentary we did here and in the last Disney Odyssey post for Peter Pan? We like ’em too…and we’ll keep making them, but this might be the last time we post it in this location.

Stay tuned here and on my Facebook page for information on how to get in on that magical, weird, hilarious audio commentary as things move forward… Tally-ho!

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