Disney’s adorable, pup-filled feature film, 101 Dalmatians officially turns 55 today, and we couldn’t be more excited. In celebration of the milestone anniversary, we’ve compiled a list of surprising facts about the film. Enjoy!
1. There are 6,469,952 spots in the film.
After counting all of the spots in the film, frame by frame, it was determined that there are exactly 6,469,952 of them in the movie. While 72 belong to Pongo, and 68 to Perdita, the rest belong to the puppies. They each have 32.
2. The story is based on Dodie Smith’s own experience.
Dodie Smith, the author who wrote the book that inspired the film, actually had nine dalmatians–one of which, was named Pongo. She came up with the idea for her novel after one of her friends casually noted, “Those dogs would make a lovely fur coat.” Also, the birth of fifteen puppies seen in the film actually happened in her own life.
3. All of the dog barks were actually recorded by a human.
Much like the lion roars in The Lion King, 101 Dalmatians’ dog barks weren’t actually recorded by an animal. In fact, it was Clarence Nash, the voice actor famous for playing Donald Duck, who created them all.
5. Cruella de Vil’s live-action reference model voices another Disney character.
Mary Wickes, who provides the voice of Laverne in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, also served as the live-action reference model for Cruella de Vil. Barbara Luddy, the voice actress who plays Lady in Lady and the Tramp, and Merryweather in Sleeping Beauty, was used for Nanny.
6. 800 gallons of special paint were used for production.
Artists used over 800 gallons of special paint (weighing 5 tons) while they were producing the film’s animation cels and backgrounds. That’s enough paint to cover about 15 football fields.
7. Cruella was animated by only one artist.
Though previous Disney movies assigned a team of several artists to work on a particular character, Marc Davis was the only artist who drew and animated Cruella De Vil.
8. 101 Dalmatians was the first Disney movies to use Xerography.
To make production less time consuming, and drawings more complex, art director Ken Anderson utilized a brand new photocopying technique called xerography. He came up with the idea of overlaying cels of line drawings over painted backgrounds to match Xeroxed cels of the characters. It was used for the next 20 years in most of Disney’s animated films.
9. Cardboard cars were used during production.
To nail the cars seen in the film (Cruella’s Rolls-Royce Phantom, for example), animators created model cars out of cardboard, filmed them moving around, and used the xerox process to insert them into the backgrounds.
10. The dogs were actually black and grey.
Though real dalmatians are white with black spots, the ones in the film were actually black and grey. Animators opted for grey because white would have been too bright on the screen, and wouldn’t have looked good in the snow.
Which of these facts were you most surprised by? Let us know in the comments!