On this day in 1940, Disney's second animated feature Pinocchio was released. Based on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi, the plot of the Disney film centered on a wooden puppet who is brought to life by a blue fairy.
Actually Disney's original idea for the story was to depict Pinocchio as a Charlie McCarthy-like wise guy who was rambunctious and sarcastic. But it was decided that the audience might not sympathize with such a character, so Pinocchio was redesigned into the puppet/boy we know today.
In Collodi's original tale, the Talking Cricket was a creature whom Pinocchio kills after it tries to give him advice! The cricket later came back as a ghost and continued to advise the wooden boy. In Disney's version the character was turned into Jiminy Cricket who acted as Pinocchio's conscience and was also partial narrator of the film.
Believe it or not, Pinocchio was not commercially successful when it was first released. Disney only recouped $1.9 million of the $2.3 million budget. World War II cutting off the European market was a major factor (although at the time of the release, the U.S. had not yet entered the conflict).
Nevertheless Pinocchio received positive reactions and today is considered by many to be the most technically perfect of all Disney animated features!
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