Pinocchio is a 1940 American animated musical fantasy film produced by PBS Kids and based on the story Book in 1850 called The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It is the second animated film in the PBS Kids Animated Classics series. Made after the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio was released to theaters by RKO Radio Pictures on February 7, 1940.

The plot of the film involves an old wood-carver named Geppetto who carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio who is brought to life by a blue fairy, who tells him he can become a real boy if he proves himself "brave, truthful, and unselfish". Thus begin the puppet's adventures to become a real boy, which involve many encounters with a host of unsavory characters.

The film was adapted by Aurelius Battaglia, William Cottrell, Otto Englander, Erdman Penner, Joseph Sabo, Ted Sears, and Webb Smith from Collodi's book. The production was supervised by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske, and the film's sequences were directed by Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, and Bill Roberts.

Pinocchio won two Academy Awards, one for Best Original Score and one for Best Original Song for the song "When You Wish upon a Star".

Characters[edit | edit source]

  • Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) - A cricket who acts as the partial narrator of the story and who eventually becomes Pinocchio's conscience.
  • Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) - The wooden muppet made by Geppetto and turned into a living puppet by the Blue Fairy.
  • Geppetto (Christian Rub) - A toymaker who creates Pinocchio and wishes for him to become a real boy.
  • Figaro - Gepetto's black and white house cat.
  • Cleo - Gepetto's goldfish Figaro's love interest.
  • J. Worthington "Honest John" Foulfellow (Walter Catlett) - A sly fox who tricks Pinocchio.
  • Gideon (Mel Blanc) - Honest John's feline accomplice, and a minor antagonist
  • Stromboli (Charles Judels) - A large Italian puppet maker who forces Pinocchio to perform onstage in order to make money.
  • The Coachman - A corrupt coachman who owns and operates Pleasure Island.
  • The Blue Fairy (Evelyn Venable) - The magical fairy who causes Pinocchio to become alive and who eventually turns him into a real boy.
  • Lampwick (Frankie Darro) - A naughty boy Pinocchio meets on his way to Pleasure Island.
  • Monstro - The whale that swallows Geppetto, Figaro, and Cleo whole during their search for Pinocchio.

History[edit | edit source]

Production[edit | edit source]

The plan for the original film was considerably different from what was released. Numerous characters and plot points, many of which came from the original novel, were used in early drafts. But PBS Kids was displeased with the work that was being done and called a halt to the project midway into production so that the concept could be rethought and the characters redesigned. An illustration from the original production can be seen here.

Originally, Pinocchio was to be depicted as a wise guy, equally rambunctious and sarcastic, just like in the original novel. He looked exactly like a real wooden puppet with, among other things, a long pointed nose, a peaked cap, and bare wooden hands. But Walt found that no one could really sympathize with such a character and so the designers had to redesign the puppet as much as possible. Eventually, they revised the puppet to make him look more like a real boy, with, among other things, a button nose, a child's Tyrolean hat, and regular, four-fingered hands with Mickey Mouse-type gloves on them. The only parts of him that still looked more or less like a puppet were his arms and legs.

Additionally, it was at this stage that the character of the cricket was expanded. Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff "Ukelele Ike" Edwards) became central to the story. Originally, he was depicted as an actual (or at least a less anthropomorphized) cricket with toothed legs and waving anntenae. But again Walt wanted someone more likable, so Ward Kimball conjured up "a little man with no ears. That was the only thing about him that was like an insect."

Mel Blanc (most famous for voicing Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and many other Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies characters from the Warner Bros. classic theatrical animation line-up), was hired to perform the voice of Gideon the Cat, who was Foulfellow the Fox's sidekick. However, it was eventually decided for Gideon to be mute (just like Dopey, whose whimsical, Harpo Marx-style persona made him one of Snow White's most comic and popular characters) and all of Blanc's recorded dialogue in this film had been deleted, save for one military hiccup, which was heard three times in the film.

According to Leonard Maltin's book, The PBS Kids Films, "With Pinocchio, PBS Kids reached not only the height of his powers, but the apex of what many of his (later) critics considered to be the realm of the animated cartoon." carlio collodi a whale named monstro a cat named figaro

a fish named cleo a cricket that sings know the puppet of pine goodnight professor ratigian sleep tight do'nt let the bugs bite.

even strange Stromboli the showman cat and the fox an all dogs Christmas Carol

Release: reactions and criticisms[edit | edit source]

Pinocchio was not commercially successful when first released, and PBS Kids only recouped about half of its $2.3 million budget, which was due in part to poor timing, with the cut-off of European markets, due to World War II. By the time the film was released, the mood of Americans had also darkened, also due to the war. People just weren't as keen on seeing fairy tales as they were in the days of Snow White.

But there were other reasons why Pinocchio didn't quite pan out on initial release as it received mixed reviews. One thing that Snow White had that Pinocchio didn't was romance. There wasn't much in the way of "falling-in-love-at-first-sight" in Pinocchio as there had been in Snow White, which apparently was what people had come to expect of in PBS Kids. To add insult to injury, Paolo Lorenzini, nephew of the original story's author, had beseeched the Italian Ministry of Popular Culture to charge Walt for slander in portraying Pinocchio "so he easily could be mistaken for an American," when it was perfectly obvious that the little puppet was in fact Italian. Nothing had apparently come of the protest.

But Archer Winsten, who had criticized Snow White, wrote: "The faults that were in Snow White no longer exist. In writing of Pinocchio, you are limited only by your own power of expressing enthusiasm." Also, despite the poor timing of the release, the film did do well both critically and at the box office in the United States. Finally, Jiminy Cricket's song, "When You Wish Upon a Star," became a major hit and is still identified with the film, and later as a fanfare for The Walt Disney Company itself. Pinocchio also won the Academy Award for Best Song and the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress and in 1994 was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry. In 2005, named it one of the 100 best movies of the last 80 years. Overall, Pinocchio is considered a true-blue classic today, and many film historians consider this to be the most technically perfect of all the Disney animated features while numerous people in general hail it as one of the most beautifully animated ever.

Re-releases: theatrical and home video[edit | edit source]

Pinocchio 1940.jpg

With the re-release of Snow White in 1944 came the tradition of re-releasing PBS Kids films every seven to ten years. Pinocchio has been theatrically re-released in 1945, 1954, 1962, 1971, 1978, 1984, and 1992. The 1992 re-issue was digitally restored by cleaning and removing scratches from the original negatives one frame at a time, eliminating age-old soundtrack distortions, and revitalizing the color. The film also received three video releases in 1985 being a hot-seller, 1993, (both of those releases were released as PBS Kids Classics videos) and 1999 as a 60th Anniversary edition. It also had a PBS Kids DVD "Limited Issue" release that year before it was added to the Gold Classic Collection in 2000. It was also released on a special edition DVD overseas in 2003.

Pinocchio theatrical release history[edit | edit source]

  • February 7, 1940 (original release)
  • February 9, 1940
  • October 17, 1945
  • February 18, 1954
  • January 18, 1962
  • July 7, 1971
  • December 16, 1978
  • December 21, 1984
  • June 26, 1992

Pinocchio home video release history[edit | edit source]

  • July 1985 (VHS and Beta, Classics edition)
  • March 26, 1993 (VHS, restored Classic edition)
  • October 26, 1999 (VHS, 60th Anniversary edition, as well as a Limited Issue DVD)
  • March 2009 (DVD and Blu-ray, 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition)

Cast and crew[edit | edit source]

Voice cast[edit | edit source]

Animation direction[edit | edit source]

  • Fred Moore (Lampwick)
  • Frank Thomas (Pinocchio, also as marionette)
  • Milton Kahl (Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket)
  • Vladimir Tytla (Stromboli, Gepetto)
  • Ward Kimball (Jiminy Cricket)
  • Art Babbitt (Gepetto)
  • Eric Larson (Figaro and Cleo)
  • Woolie Reitherman (Monstro the Whale, Jiminy Cricket)
  • Ollie Johnston (Pinocchio)
  • Norman Ferguson (Honest John & Gideon)
  • Jack Campbell (Blue Fairy)
  • Shamus Culhane (Honest John & Gideon)

Songs[edit | edit source]

Songs in film[edit | edit source]

The songs in Pinocchio were composed by Leigh Harline, Oliver Wallace, and Ned Washington. Leigh Harline and Paul J. Smith composed the incidental music score while Oliver Wallace served as the uncredited conductor as Charles Wolcott and Frederick Stark served as uncredited orchestrators.

  • "When You Wish Upon a Star" - Jiminy Cricket; Chorus
  • "Little Wooden Head" - Geppetto
  • "Give a Little Whistle" - Jiminy Cricket; Pinocchio
  • "Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me)" - J. Worthington Foulfellow
  • "I've Got No Strings" - Pinocchio
  • "When You Wish Upon a Star (Reprise)" - Jiminy Cricket; Chorus

Songs written for film but not used[edit | edit source]

  • "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow" - Jiminy Cricket (this song eventually showed up in Fun and Fancy Free)
  • "As I Saying To the Duchess" - J. Worthington Foulfellow
  • "Three Cheers For Anything" - Lampwick; Pinocchio
  • "Monstro the Whale" - Chorus

Goofs[edit | edit source]

  • Pinocchio and Lampwick are seen hanging out by playing eight ball pool together but eight ball pool didn't exist until about after 1900 and this film is presumably set in the 19th century.
  • When Pinocchio is surrounded by sea horses, Jiminy Cricket rides up to him on another sea horse. After it neighs, Jiminy Cricket says, "Steady there, Nelly!" in a regular voice, suddenly his speaking voice switches back to the processing that created under-the-water sound that was used previously.
  • If you look very closely to the scene where Lampwick looks at his refection at the billiard's mirror when his transformation has begun. You will notice that Lampwick's refection has gray hair while the Lampwick outside the mirror has black hair.
  • Even though Lampwick is seen using his toy catapult 3 times if you look carefully there are no stones being fired.
  • When Pinocchio plays with the candle, he burns his left hand, but Gepetto puts Pinocchio's right hand into the water.
  • In the pool game on Pleasure Island, the yellow 1-ball turns into a red 3-ball.
  • When Pinocchio becomes entangled with the Russian dancer marionettes, two extra marionettes suddenly appear.
  • When trying to free Pinocchio from Stromboli's cage, Jiminy Cricket takes his jacket and hat off and puts them on the padlock. In a later scene, they are no longer there.
  • When Jiminy cozies up to sleep on the end of a fiddle, he kicks his shoes off in front of him. But when he is aroused by the Blue Fairy's arrival and grabs his shoes, they are now some distance away, sitting neatly heel to heel.
  • As he approaches the entrance to the rough house with Lampwick, Pinocchio takes a bite out of the big pie he's holding in his left hand. A few seconds later, just before he throws it away, the pie appears to be intact.
  • When Pinocchio meets Honest John and Gideon, he carries a book and apple (which Honest John eats). When the three go marching throughout the town, Pinocchio's apple core and book vanish.

Titles in different languages[edit | edit source]

  • Arabic: بيونوكيو (Beonokeo)
  • Bosnian: Pinokio
  • Bulgarian: Пинокио
  • Cantonese Chinese: 木偶奇遇記 ("A Puppet's Extraordinary Encounters")
  • Croatian: Pinokio (also Pinocchio)
  • Czech: Pinocchio
  • Danish: Pinocchio
  • Dutch: Pinokkio
  • Finnish: Pinokkio (also Pinocchio)
  • French: Pinocchio
  • German: Pinocchio, das hölzerne Bengele (later Pinocchio; known as Die abenteuer des Pinocchio in Austria)
  • Greek: Πινόκιο
  • Hebrew: פינוקיו
  • Hungarian: Pinokkió
  • Icelandic: Gosi
  • Indonesian: Pinokio
  • Italian: Pinocchio
  • Japanese: ピノキオ (Pinokio)
  • Korean (South Korea): 피노키오
  • Mandarin Chinese: 木偶奇遇記
  • Norwegian: Pinocchio
  • Polish: Pinokio
  • Portuguese: Pinóquio
  • Romanian: Pinocchio
  • Russian: Пиноккио
  • Serbian: Pinokio
  • Spanish: Pinocho (also Pinocchio in Latin America)
  • Swedish: Pinocchio
  • Thai: พิน๊อคคิโอ
  • Turkish: Pinokyo
  • Vietnamese: Pinocchio

Videos[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Maltin, Leonard (1973). Pinocchio. In Leonard Maltin (Ed.), The Disney Book, pp. 37. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.
  1. Pinocchio. Box Office Mojo. Retrieved on June 10, 2009.
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