Thumper (Bambi)

Thumper (Bambi)

Thumper is a fictional rabbit character from Disney's animated movie Bambi. He appeared again in Bambi II. He is known and named for his habit of thumping his left hind foot. Thumper also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character.

The character was an important influence upon the development of the movie Bambi which started production with an adult tone which seemed too serious and uncommercial. As voiced by the young actor, four-year-old Peter Behn, the vivacious character of Thumper was expanded from its original minor role and led to a focus upon the young animals in the story.

The visual appearance of the character was based upon Beatrix Potter's drawings of Benjamin Bunny. Unlike real rabbits, Thumper is drawn with paw pads, a feature that rabbits lack.

Film appearances

The character Thumper first appears in the film Bambi, watching as Bambi is first presented as the young prince to the creatures of the forest. He remarks that Bambi is "kinda wobbly" but is reproved by his mother who makes him repeat what his father had impressed upon him that morning, "If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all". This moral is now known by such names as the Thumperian principle, "Thumper's rule" or "Thumper's law".

A few days later a still-wobbly Bambi was out with his mother when they re-encountered Thumper, who took it upon himself to teach the fawn various tricks, notably that of speech. He succeeded in teaching Bambi a few words, notably "flower" which Bambi accidentally used to name a young skunk. Thumper tried to correct Bambi but the skunk said, "That's alright. He can call me Flower if he wants to. I don't mind". The three animals go on to become friends and this encounter provides another moral lesson in the virtues of tolerance and an easy disposition.

In Bambi II, Thumper again appears hiding from his sisters and trying to help Bambi learn to be brave in the hopes of impressing his dad. Thumper is the main protagonist in a video storybook, Thumper Goes Exploring, which was released with the Platinum Edition of Bambi on 2005.

Thumper also makes a cameo appearance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit along with Bambi. He is also mentioned as Roger Rabbit's uncle in one scene of the film.

Metaphorical usage

Thumper is used as a metaphor for a cuddly pet when referring to women. President Kennedy had two secretaries called Bambi and Thumper with whom he engaged in casual affairs.

The name was used for a project by the General Electric Company which looked at ways to defend the USA against ballistic missiles, such as the V2, which were used by Germany in World War II. This subsequently led to the United States Air Force program BAMBI – BAllistic Missile Boost Intercept.


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