Dumbo the psychedelic elephant

1 Jun

This famous excerpt from Disney’s Dumbo (1941) is arguably one of the first psychedelic scenes  ever.

The relations between Disney and psychedelics are not clear. According to Peter Stafford’s “Psychedelic Encyclopedia” the chief visualist for Disney’s Fantasia (1940)  participated  in the mescaline experiments conducted in Germany by Kurt Beringer in the 1920’s.  Artist Paul Laffoley claims that Disney himself experimented with Mescaline “On a regular basis” during his stay in Germany in the 1930’s. Many other theories regarding the relations between Disney and psychedelics exist, and you can find out about some of them here in this fascinating article.

In this particular scene, Dumbo drinks from a bucket and slowly begins hallucinating. He sees pink elephants which appear before him out of thin air, and start dancing and singing (This sequence starts around the 3rd minute). By the fifth minute Dumbo’s fantasy world becomes increasingly psychedelic as the pink elephants change shape and colors. It seems the bucket has been spiked.

3 Responses to “Dumbo the psychedelic elephant”

  1. Thiago Fernandes June 21, 2010 at 4:52 am #

    Recently saw this again… what a trip for just a cup of wine!
    Disney’s Alice is another psy champ. And what about Disney Fantasia???
    very nice blog, by the way


  1. On Psychedelic Aesthetics « Psychedelic Cultures - June 27, 2012

    […] in this short silent animation film from 1926 as well on Disney’s 1940s films Fantasia and Dumbo the Flying Elephant, which both contained elaborate psychedelic sequences, and whose chief visualist is reputed to […]

  2. 2012 in Psychedelic Video – The Best Psychedelic Videos of 2012 « The Daily Psychedelic Video - December 31, 2012

    […] psychedelic qualities which can be seen in Disney movies such as Dumbo the Flying Elephant,  Fantasia or Alice in Wonderland was already discussed here on the DPV, however the cheerful […]

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