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Ten Things You Didn't Know About Pinocchio
Some little-known facts about Disney's film and the original character
Walt Disney's is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Pinocchio by re-releasing the classic animated tale on DVD and Blu-ray, so what better time to tell you a few things you never knew about Walt Disney's second film ever, and one of the most enduringly popular titles in the Disney canon. Did you know it might never have happened if a newspaper journalist in 19th century Florence had had a bit more luck at cards? It's true, kids - so when his creation advised against gambling, he knew what he was talking about. Read on for more on Pinocchio...

Pinocchio creator Carlo Collodi's real name was Carlo Lorenzini. He was a heavy drinking, gambling Florentine journalist in the 19th century who was virtually forced to write the Pinocchio stories in payment of a debt he owed the paper.

Mel Blanc was called in to record a voice for Figaro, Geppetto's cat, but Disney decided that the character should be mute, so the only sound of Blanc left in the film is a single sneeze. It may not be coincidence that Blanc only ever worked for Disney again once, voicing Warners characters in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

When Collodi tried to kill Pinocchio off in the newspaper series by hanging him, it prompted a flood of reader complaints from children desperate to see a happy ending. Finally Collodi's editor managed to convince him that a wooden puppet couldn't possibly suffocate, so Pinocchio escaped.

Pinocchio was only the second film that Disney made, and work started on it even before Snow White and the Seven Dwarves hit cinemas. Although critics loved it on release, it took years for it to make a profit for the studio.

Collodi based many of the places in the novel on real places. The Red Lobster Inn, or Osteria Gambero Roso, still exists, as does the house that served as the model for Geppetto's carpentry shop.

The Blue Fairy was based on a real neighbourhood girl, who lived until the 1970s. Funnily enough, while Collodi's Blue Fairy had blue hair, his model was blonde and blue-eyed, like the Disney fairy (Disney changed the hair colour to keep things more believeable, believe it or not)

The Pinocchio puppet built for the film was lost for over 50 years, except for a publicity photo of Walt Disney playing with it. Eventually it was rediscovered in the Disney basement, stuffed in a cabinet, when the phone company removed a bunch of wires.

When Jiminy Cricket opens a book to tell the story of Pinocchio at the beginning of the film, two other books on the shelf - Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan - perhaps give a clue about other Disney adaptations already being talked about.

It took 750 artists to make Pinocchio, and the film used an innovative "multi-plane" camera to get the underwater sequences to look watery. Disney won a special achievement Oscar for that technology.

Disney used to offer his artists a $5 bonus if they came up with a joke that got used in the film. In Pinocchio, most of the jokes are in the collection of Geppetto's cuckoo clocks, which see such untraditional scenes as ducks in a pond and a mother spanking a naughty child. Geppetto's pocket watch, incidentally, signals when it's beer o'clock.
Pinocchio 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition is out on Disney Blu-ray and DVD now.
© Disney


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