On February 4, 1938 Walt Disney’s earliest animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had a nationwide release and became a smashing success. The film about a lonely princess lorded over by her wicked stepmother, also the queen of the land, remains one of the most beloved movies today. “We have to create personalities out of line drawings,” Disney said of the movie in a 1937 interview. The production process, albeit groundbreaking, was long and expensive. But the stories are legendary. We’ve collected some fun facts you might not know about the 1937 Disney classic Snow White.
Mouse House founder Walt Disney acted out Snow White for his staff at a meeting during the film’s conception. From Business Insider:
When they arrived, they found Disney standing alone in the spotlight on a dark stage. For the next several hours, they watched in awe as he acted out the story of Snow White — the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale that they would, he announced, be turning into a full-length animated feature film. In an effort to show his team exactly what would transpire on the screen, he channeled the voice and emotions of each character, from the wicked queen to the seven dwarves.
Hollywood was convinced Snow White would fail, so industry movers and shakers nicknamed it “Walt Disney’s Folly.” Ultimately, the film was a major critical and commercial success, becoming the highest grossing sound film at the time.
Some potential (unused) names for the seven dwarfs were Jumpy, Deafy, Dizzey, Hickey, Wheezy, Baldy, Gabby, Nifty, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Stuffy, Tubby, Shorty, and Burpy
The story almost included a prop from the original Brothers Grimm story — the Queen attempted to kill Snow White with a poisoned comb.
Snow White was one of the first films to sell movie merchandise during its premiere.
The film was the first American movie to have a soundtrack album, released with the feature film.
Walt Disney was inspired by the Garry Oak trees he spotted on Southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia and remembered their twisting shapes when conceiving of the forest design in the film.
There are several “hidden Mickeys” in Snow White (and a website that tracks them). Look at the wall behind the Queen when she rushes into her laboratory.
Snow White is the youngest Disney princess. She’s 14 years old.
During the making of Snow White, Walt Disney paid his staff five dollars for each successful “gag” that could be used in the film. One example is Ward Kimball’s idea that the dwarfs’ noses should pop one by one over the foot boards while peeking at Snow White.
Actress and singer Deanna Durbin almost voiced the part of Snow White, but Walt Disney felt her voice sounded “too mature,” despite the star being only 14 at the time.
Snow White was the first full-length cel-animated feature in motion picture history. “A cel is a sheet of transparent cellulose acetate used as a medium for painting animation frames. It is transparent so that it can be laid over other cels and/or a painted background, then photographed.”
DisneyToon Studios started to develop a prequel to Snow White called The Seven Dwarfs in the 2000s, but John Lasseter, DisneyToons’ new Chief Creative Officer in 2006, canceled the project. It would have explained how the seven dwarfs met and how the Queen killed Snow White’s father to take the throne. Later it was altered to focus on how Dopey lost his voice after seeing his mother die.
Walt Disney built The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank with the profits of Snow White. It cost $4.5 million and still stands to this day.
Snow White wasn’t released on home video until October 28, 1994.