Eight Things You May Not Know About Lady and the Tramp

by | Nov 18, 2018 | Disney Entertainment, Lists and Trivia

1. Humble Beginnings
Lady and the Tramp was Disney’s 15th animated film, released in 1955. The roots of this timeless classic go back to 1937, the same year as the release of Walt Disney’s first full-length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

2. Lady’s Inspiration
The title character, Lady, a pedigreed cocker spaniel, was named by writer Joe Grant, who also created the Evil Queen from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The name came to him as he sketched out an idea based on the antics of his pet springer spaniel…you guessed it, Lady!

3. Bozo the…Dog?
The eventual choice of the name for the other title character, Tramp, wasn’t as simple however. Tramp, a street-smart pooch without prospects, ended up with his name only after going through a series of rejects, including Homer, Rags, Bozo, and even Mutt! Walt Disney himself gave Tramp his final name. There was some trepidation among the studio workers that Tramp might have a less-than-wholesome connotation, but because the name received Walt’s blessing, is was decided that all was well.

4. Mischievous Kitties
The Siamese cats were originally named Nip and Tuck before gaining their more familiar monikers, Si and Am.

5. The Dog Days of Story Development
Although Walt was intrigued by Joe Grant’s concept and gave him the go ahead to further develop the story, the results were deemed too unexciting. The concept bounced around the studio for many years, until Walt came upon a short story written by Ward Greene titled “Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog.” The story featured a cynical mongrel mutt, and Walt realized that this was just the ingredient that Grant’s concept needed.

6. A Disney Animation First
A major change to the film occurred partway through production when the decision was made to release it in CinemaScope. Just a year before, Disney had released the classic film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in the new format, providing audiences with a thrilling wrap-around experience. Lady and the Tramp was the first animated feature to use the new technology. The new format provided viewers with a much wider screen, but unfortunately, it meant that many of the backgrounds already made had to be repainted. Additionally, many scenes had to be recomposed to make proper use of the additional screen space. As beautiful as the new format turned out, it was realized right before the film’s release that many theaters weren’t equipped to project the film in CinemaScope, so a second version was quickly assembled for distribution to conventional theaters.

7. A Dog’s View
Because Lady and the Tramp is shown from the point of view of its canine characters, it features some unique curiosities that separate it from other Disney films. For one, the faces of the adult characters are rarely shown, and the selection of the owners’ names (Jim Dear and Darling) was based on Lady’s perception of them. Models were built and used as a reference for the interior shots, with photographs taken at “dog-level” to get the right perspective.

8. Wait, No Spaghetti? Almost…!
One of the most endearing scenes in the film, and indeed one of the most famous scenes in animation history, nearly found its way to the cutting room floor. Walt Disney initially rejected the famous spaghetti dinner scene as being more silly than romantic. Thankfully, Frank Thomas animated the scene beautifully, and the results won Walt over.

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