Pink Elephants on Parade
is a segment from the Disney
animated movie Dumbo
in which Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, after becoming accidentally drunk, see pink elephants sing, dance, and play trumpets. This famous song was written by Oliver Wallace
and Ned Washington
and sung by the Sportsmen.
The song along with the segment itself has been ingrained in pop culture as an infamous allusion to intoxication. The scene is also notorious as being quite scary for some children and one of the classic "scary scenes" in Disney films most adults still remember from their childhood. For this reason it has been included at nr. 90 in retrocrush's "100 Scariest Movie Scenes" in 2004 (http://retrocrush.buzznet.com/scary/90.html) and in a list compiled by filmsite (http://www.filmsite.org/scariestscenes6.html). It is indeed quite understandable that the surreal, nightmarish choreography of the scene, along with the high-pitched music and hypnotic motions and colors, would produce anxiety among children, reminding them of their bad dreams or even febrile delirium. It has also been said that most children who see the film don't understand that Dumbo is drunk and therefore are confused by the hallucination.
- The song was covered by Sun Ra. A recording of this arrangement is available on Stay Awake, a tribute album of Disney tunes played by various artists, and produced by Hal Willner.
- In Disney's House of Mouse, pink elephants appear and Timon says the line "What an unusual view", but in a very flat and dull tone, showing he found the elephants annoying. Timothy Mouse then holds a sign that says "Boo!", causing them to disappear.
- The song and bits of animation are featured in Disneyland's version of Fantasmic!.
- An allusion to the scene appears in the film Fritz the Cat (1972), where Fritz talks about seeing the world instead of studying and has sex with a large pink, big breasted woman.
- Barney Gumble hallucinates a pink elephant very similar to the ones in Dumbo in The Simpsons episode D'oh-in' in the Wind.
- An excerpt is played in Walt Disney World's HalloWishes Halloween-themed fireworks display as part of "Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party".
- In Tiny Toon Adventures, in an episode where Plucky wants to channel Albert Einstein in order to pass a math exam, this scene is spoofed with little Einsteins replacing the pink elephants.
- In the MMORPG World of Warcraft "Pink Elekks on Parade" is a seasonal quest during the "Brewfest" event. Elekks are a fictional creature quite similar to elephants. The quest objective is to go around and drive away the pink Elekks with a zapper - but to be able to see them the player character has to be drunk.
- Part of the song can be heard in the 2007 Disney film Enchanted.
- The Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland was originally going to be based on this scene, but the idea was scrapped and the ride creators changed it to the friendlier titular elephant from the movie.
- It has also been compared to the similar "Heffalumps and Woozles" scene from Winnie the Pooh, which includes several references to Pink Elephants On Parade.