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  • Cecily North

I Have Questions - Pinocchio

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I would like to acknowledge that I will not be reviewing the history of animation or the technology associated. I am going to do my best to focus on the story and its components. I am also relying on the original story "The Adventures of Pinocchio" written by Carlo Collodi.

Pinocchio is next in our series. As the storybook opens the questions begin ...

  • Where does "Pinocchio" take place? The original story takes place in Tuscany and was originally published in 1881.

  • Who wrote Pinocchio? It was a series written by Carlo Lorenzini under the pen name Carlo Collodi. An interesting note, "The Adventures of Pinocchio" is the second most widely read book, following the Bible (in 1972).

  • Jiminy Cricket is in everything. Where did he come from? Jiminy himself is an invention of Disney. However, the original story does include a talking cricket who faces a very tragic end.

  • Gepetto has a lot of cuckoo clocks. When were these invented? Origins are unknown but it is believed they were started in the 17th century in Germany. From what I could find cuckoo clocks were never made in Italy.

  • As we descend on the town where Gepetto lives there are mountains. Which mountains are depicted in the movie? I'm going to assume it's the Apuan Alps.

  • Jiminy Cricket is a hobo. I don't understand his qualifications for his role as Pinocchio's conscience. In the original book, he gives good advice that Pinocchio flat out ignores.

  • When were music boxes invented? About 1770 in Switzerland.

  • Are there still carving companies? I feel like I found the present day wood shop of Gepetto!

  • When were marionettes invented? The oldest known marionettes go back to 2000 B.C.!

  • How far can crickets jump? Up to 3 feet!

  • The angry queen looks like Alice in Wonderlands Queen of Hearts ... when did they start production on that movie? According to Wikipedia, Disney had started development on Alice in Wonderland by 1938. I would not be surprised if the Queen of Hearts was placed on purpose.

  • How popular is the name Pinocchio? Is that a common name? From all that I could find, it is not a popular name and no one of any importance has been named Pinocchio.

  • Where are marionettes from? There are stories that say they were in India but documentation shows they were most likely used in Egypt first.

  • Has the creation of marionettes changed over the years? It seems that only materials may have changed over time. But puppetry is alive and well around the world!

  • Most intricate cuckoo clocks? There are so many!

  • When were smoking pipes invented? Smoking pipes have been around since 500 B.C.

  • When were the churchwarden pipes popular? Churchwarden pipes were of Oriental origin before coming to Europe in the 17th century.

  • When were candles invented? Candles have been in use since 3000 B.C.

  • When was stained glass invented? The earliest stained glass windows were noted in 1120.

  • When were violins invented? The violin was created in Italy between 1520 and 1550.

  • When were hourglasses invented? The first one is said to have been invented in the 8th century but the first documented hourglass was from the 14th century.

  • When does annoying noise become white noise? I couldn't find anything specific to adjusting to loud noises but I did find plenty of articles about Misophonia.

  • How different is this than the original storyline? Quite! I really think there are very few similarities between the original story and the Disney version.

  • How does one learn to whistle? Instructions are right here!

  • When were bells invented? Bells have been around in China since around 2000 B.C.

  • How old is the voice actor of Pinocchio at time of recording? Dickie Jones voiced Pinocchio and he would have been around 11 or 12 when recording.

  • When were fish bowls invented? The first aquarium was invented in 1832.

  • When did fish become pets? As early as 500 B.C.!

  • When were glasses invented? Glasses were invented in Italy around 1290.

  • What wood was Pinocchio made out of? Apparently this is a huge controversy. It is mentioned he is made of oak in several versions but the Blue Fairy says he is made of pine.

  • What kind of cricket is Jiminy? I think I found the best article ever written about Jiminy Cricket. Tldr; he isn't really a cricket at all.

  • When did we stop sleeping in nightcaps? Nightcaps or sleeping caps were fashionable around the turn of the 20th century but had fallen out of favor by the 1930's.

  • There are lots of kids in this city going to school. Were schools co-ed at that time? By 1859, it was mandated four years of free, compulsory elementary education. I assume schools were co-ed at this time.

  • When were bookstraps popular? Bookstraps weren't invented until 1900 and quickly went out of style after "Pinocchio" was released!

  • Was Stromboli a real person? No, Stromboli was not a real person.

  • Where does this name come from? The name comes from an Italian volcano.

  • School seems to be far away. Where were schools located in a town at this time? I couldn't find anything specific about school locations at the time but I would imagine they were centrally located in the town.

  • When were theater lights invented? Were they candles or gas lights? It looks like the lights Stromboli are using are candle footlights but calcium light (or limelight!) became popular in the 1870s.

  • Honest John, Gideon, Jiminy and Pinocchio are all wearing gloves. Is that part of the costume back then? Apparently gloves were very popular in the 1880s.

  • Were traveling performances held in squares often? Shows like Punch and Judy had been around for hundreds of years by the 1880s, so a show like Stromboli's could have been common at the time.

  • When did Cancan girls become a thing? The first Cancan girls were performing in 1830!

  • When was cake invented? Cake as we know it has been around since the 17th century. The earliest cake was made in the 13th century.

  • When were birdcages invented? Birdcages have been around since the 5th century B.C.!

  • When were locks with keys invented? The lock and key evolved over time in the 1st century A.D.!

  • When did Constantinople exist? Constantinople was officially adopted as Istanbul in 1930. So it would make sense for Stromboli to still talk mention Constantinople as a destination.

  • When was Monte Carlo founded? Monte Carlo as a casino was founded in 1861. Five years later it was established as a district.

  • How would they have gotten to London, or from London to Paris at the time? In 1880, it seems one would have had to take a train to a port. Take a boat to France and then take a train to Paris. This would have meant a lot of money to pay to ship all that Stromboli was traveling with. The idea for the Chunnel was first proposed in 1802! That would have made things much easier.

  • How many traveling shows traveled that far? I couldn't find anything specific to Italy and Europe, but in the 1880s traveling shows were quite popular in the United States.

  • Do locks have a spring mechanism? They sure do!

  • There are street lights in this movie? Would this have been candles or gas lamps? Gas lamps would have been more likely at this time.

  • When were cigars created? The first mention of cigars is in 1730.

  • Who's the worst villain in this movie? I think the Coachman, Stromboli and Honest John are way worse than Monstro.

  • When were salt mines around? Salt mining became popular in the US around 1800.

  • Are there still salt mines? There are still active salt mines in Italy.

  • When were notepads and pencils invented? Notepads that we would recognize today were invented in the 1880s. The modern pencil was invented in 1795.

  • When were slingshots invented? Variations of the slingshot has been around for centuries, possibly originating in Russia. The more modern slingshot was created around 1888.

  • When were playing cards invented? Playing cards have been around since 1000 A.D.

  • When were carnivals started? The first carnival in Italy began in 1162!

  • When were helium balloons invented? The modern balloon was discovered in 1824. They were first filled with hydrogen but in the 1920s were filled with helium because it was safer.

  • When were ferris wheels invented? The first ferris wheel didn't open until 1893. More than ten years after the publication of Pinocchio.

  • When were roller coasters invented? The first coaster that we would consider a roller coaster opened on Coney Island in 1884. (Side note, when immigrants were coming to New York, eventually heading to Ellis Island, they would actually see the roller coaster at Coney Island before seeing the Statue of Liberty)

  • When were fireworks invented? Around 200 B.C.! (Side note, Disney is the largest consumer of fireworks in the world)

  • What is the ideal way to smoke a cigar? I assume not all at once. Here are some tips.

  • When was pool (billiards if you're fancy) invented? How long have pool tables been around? Pool was invented in the 15th century. It moved to a table game shortly thereafter.

  • They could use the term "jackass" in 1940. When was censorship a thing? I assumed that term would be part of the Hays code but apparently it is not.

  • Where did donkeys come from? When were they domesticated? Donkeys were originally domesticated around 2800 B.C. in Egypt and western Asia.

  • When were doorbells invented? The electric doorbell was invented in 1831. Other versions had been around for several years before that.

  • Gepetto has only been gone a night. How are there cobwebs and dust already? Dust can settle as soon as you finish cleaning. Cobwebs may take a little while longer.

  • Is it possible to be swallowed by a whale? It is highly unlikely that you would be swallowed by a whale but technically it could happen.

  • Can you live inside a whale? Short answer, no.

  • Can you fit inside a whale? Humans can fit inside a sperm whale.

  • What kind of whale is Monstro? Monstro seems to be a hybrid of a Blue Whale and a Sperm Whale.

  • Pinocchio can go underwater because he's made of wood. But are crickets waterproof? Can they breathe underwater? Apparently there is at least one type of cricket that can swim.

  • Would a whale be off the coast of Italy? They certainly could be!

  • How close do they get to the mainland? They will come close if they feel safe.

  • Gepetto is wearing lederhosen, is there an Italian version of that? It would have been quite possible that Gepetto is wearing lederhosen as would have been the trend in the area.

  • He has buckles on his shoes, when were those invented? Buckles have been in use since around 450 B.C.

  • When was fishing invented? Fishing with tools was invented around 3500 B.C.

  • Do whales have teeth like sharks? Apparently there are toothed whale and baleen whale subcategories. The two do not cross. Monstro seems to be a mix of the two since he has both teeth and baleen.

  • When were glass bottles invented? Glass was being created in Italy around 1100 A.D. This was soon created into hand blown bottles and other products.

  • Do seagulls rest on whales? It seems seagulls don't rest on whales. But will wait for the castoffs from the whale eating. And in some cases, they attack whales.

  • How fast do whales travel? There's no way he could turn like that. The blue whale can travel up to 31 mph in short bursts.

The questions that are left unanswered...

  • The introduction starts with a bookshelf, showing both "Peter Pan" and "Alice in Wonderland". Is this foreshadowing for future films in the next decade or so?

  • Why did they choose Figaro as Minnie's cat in recent cartoons?

  • Immediately Pinocchio has to go to school? Doesn't he have to register? You can't send your fake kid to school immediately. Gepetto should be chaperoning him on the first day. How would he know where to go?

  • How does Pinocchio know the entire English language already?

  • It's dark, wouldn't Gepetto be concerned already?

  • How does Pinocchio know "I've Got No Strings" and the dance so quickly?

  • How much would a show like that cost back then?

  • Lots of comments about acting, what it's like to be a celebrity, actors don't need a conscience - is that a critique of the time?

  • How did they get cake into the fishbowl (and not have it disintegrate)?

  • How does Pinocchio know what an actor is? He's just become conscious.

  • Is Stromboli speaking gibberish or is he actually saying something?

  • The Blue Fairy comes from a star. Is it the North Star? Does she have her own star?

  • Even though magic is involved, it's a big effort to grow your nose long enough to grow a birds nest with birds. Where do they go when his nose shrinks?

  • Where are they finding all these boys from?

  • How is Pleasure Island kept up? They destroy it constantly. How does it constantly look new for them to destroy with the new shipment of boys?

  • How easy is it to scratch up the felt on a pool table?

  • What are the weird beasts? They look like Bigfoot.

  • How long does it take for the transformation to donkey?

  • What turns them into donkeys? Do you have to drink or smoke the cigars? Or is it because you're acting like a jackass, that turns you into a jackass? The worse you are the quicker it happens?

  • Since Pinocchio isn't real, how does Pleasure Island have the same effect on him?

  • Where would you find seagulls, whales, seahorses and other fish in one place?

  • If Monstro is on fire on the inside, wouldn't he just catch on fire?

  • Why didn't the Blue Fairy come back at the end? She was busy?

Other thoughts:

  • There are A LOT of cuckoo clocks.

  • Jiminy Cricket is a hobo. I don't understand his qualifications for his role as Pinocchio's conscience. In the original book, he gives good advice that Pinocchio flat out ignores.

  • I enjoy the music in this movie. (My original note was "Music is fun.")

  • Figaro! The best Disney cat.

  • I love that the cuckoo clocks in the movie are replicated in Pinocchio's Daring Journey at Disneyland.

  • The pocket watch of the men clinking glasses was always a favorite of mine.

  • The Blue Fairy is my favorite of the Disney fairies. She is the best dressed. Side note, I dressed as the Blue Fairy for Halloween in 4th grade and I won the school's costume contest. I got to wear a tiara and everything!

  • Interesting note, the original Blue Fairy is actually a blue-haired fairy!

  • The Blue Fairy upgrades Jiminy. He gets an upgraded outfit. At the end of the movie he receives his "Official Conscience" badge. I have a pin version of his badge and it is one of my favorite pins.

  • You can tell the animators didn't spend time or effort on group scenes.

  • Every other character in this is human except for Honest John and Gideon. And Monstro, I guess.

  • Honest John isn't surprised by a wooden boy.

  • Jiminy is already late on his first day and he's surprised that Pinocchio is already swayed by Honest John.

  • Honest John, Gideon and Jiminy are all wearing top hats.

  • Jiminy is a horrible conscience. Pinocchio has already left and been humiliated on his first day.

  • Stromboli has anger management issues.

  • Again, Jiminy is a bad conscience.

  • I think Pinocchio could have climbed out of that bird cage.

  • It's a very big lock if Jiminy can fit in there.

  • Thunderstorm!

  • The Blue Fairy is awfully forgiving.

  • Interesting business proposition to steal bad kids and make them work in salt mines.

  • Yet again, Jiminy is a horrible conscious. Honest John convinces Pinocchio to leave again.

  • Pleasure Island is the scariest part - turning into donkeys is terrifying!

  • People dressed all in black look like Heartless from Kingdom Hearts.

  • Pleasure Island is not a great business model.

  • Jiminy has an anger management problem.

  • Some boys go to the circus. Some go to the salt mines.

  • The Blue Fairy said she wouldn't help them again, but yet she sends them a letter telling them were Gepetto is.

  • Seahorses look like donkeys.

  • Figaro fishes with his tail. Adorable!

  • Monstro can eat Gepetto and the whole ship and still have room left over.

  • The fire is drawn well. I appreciate the art.

  • Gepetto on the beach reminds me of Eric washed up in "The Little Mermaid".

  • Pinocchio is facedown in the water, implying he's dead. He's made of wood so he should be able to breathe.


Fun links:




Once Upon a Time (I linked to Jiminy Cricket because he's more prevalent in the show)


Colorado Historic Newspapers article about "Pinocchio"

Disney Screen Saver (10:30 in)

Play Disney Parks

TravelMan in Brussels, they visit the Theatre Royal de Toone (about 3:30 in)

Stuff You Missed in History Class episode about Balloonomania

~ Sally Hansen Base Coat

~ NYC Nail Polish in Lexington Yellow

~ Minnie Mouse Nail Polish in My Skirt is So Cute

~ Jamberry Nail Polish in Not So Innocent

~ Seche Vite Top Coat


Pictures from my Collection


Pictures from the Parks

*Remember: This project is just for fun. Your experience may vary.

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