• Cecily North

I Have Questions - Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Updated: Jun 29





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 published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 to bring context.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first full-length cel animated feature film. As the storybook opens the questions begin ...

  • Where is the story from? The Grimm Brothers published in their first collection of stories.


  • When was it written? 1812 with final revisions being made in 1854

  • When and where does it take place? Inspiration may have come from Germany, early 1500's

  • What is a scullery maid? "A female domestic servant responsible for washing dishes and doing other household work".

  • Where are Snow White's parents? According to the original story, her mother dies shortly after giving birth and her father remarries. We never see either of them in the movie.

  • When were mirrors invented? Surprisingly ... earlier than I thought! Our modern mirrors were invented around 1835 but similar products had been around for over 8000 years before that!

  • There are runestones that surround the Magic Mirror. Where would they have come from? Runestones are mostly located in Scandinavia ... so the stones could have come from nearby.

  • Is the Castle inspired by a real one? It is rumored that Snow White's castle is based on Alcázar de Segovia in Spain.

  • Both Snow White and the Evil Queen wear some makeup. Most noticeably eyeshadow, eyeliner and lipstick. When was makeup invented? How Stuff Works has a very extensive article on the cosmetics industry. Most noticeable is that makeup was not in the commercial arena until the late 1800's when photography was developing (see what I did there?). That means, makeup was not used at the time of the writing of the story, but was being used when the movie is created. I then fell down a small rabbithole looking at makeup styles of the 1930's. I found this link and thought "Yep! That's the evil queen!"

  • When were the first wells in use? Considering this story is to take place in Germany, the oldest wooden well to be found in Eastern Germany was built over 7000 years ago!

  • Where are clogs from? Who invented them? Is that a regional thing or were they widely created? The oldest clogs date back to 1230 in the Netherlands. They seem to have been spread around the world but the oldest are from the Netherlands.

  • Who is the voice of the prince, he sounds much older? Harry Stockwell was in his early 30's when recording. Adriana Caselotti was 19 or 20 when recording and sounds much younger than the prince.

  • What is the average age of the actresses who voiced Disney princesses at the time of recording? From what I could gather, it looks like early to mid 30's for the. average age. The youngest being Auli’i Cravalho as Moana, and the oldest being Idina Menzel as Elsa in Frozen.

  • The Evil Queen's Throne is surrounded by Peacock feathers? Is there significance? The only thing I could find is that the Peacock can symbolize big egos or people that need to check their biases. I could not find anything significant or any reliable source.

  • If this takes place in Germany, what wildlife would have lived in the area? Animals native to Germany

  • How old is Snow White at the time of the movie? We don't really know but according to IMDb she is 14.

  • Snow White falls into an underwater cave. Are there caves in Germany? I was surprised to learn that there are several caves! I am fascinated by caves and would love to see these in person.

  • Snow White's wearing pumps (not easy to run in). When were pumps created? Pumps were created way earlier than I thought!

  • How can animals be domesticated? We have been domesticating animals for centuries.

  • How far do animals travel on a given day? I couldn't find anything specific to woodland creatures but a lot of animals do travel on any given day, some making fantastic journeys!

  • If everything is covered in dust, are they never there? Is it their busy season? Is there a busy diamond season? I didn't want to do a deep dive into blood diamonds or the history of diamond mining. Most results I found related to buying diamonds. What little I could find was that diamond mining was busiest in the fall months.

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

  • What is the copyright on "Whistle While You Work"? I could not find anything specific to this song however I did find a list of every published work that includes this song.

  • When were water pumps invented? Piston pumps have been in use since around 250 B.C.!

  • One mouse looks like Mighty Mouse. When was Mighty Mouse created? Mighty Mouse debuted October 16th, 1942 (5 years after this movie was released)

  • When were cuckoo clocks invented? Cuckoo clocks were first documented in 1629! I wonder if this was the inspiration for the clocks in "Pinocchio".

  • How often would laundry have been done? Laundry would have been done once a week on "Wash day".

  • When were washboards invented? There is some debate that washboards were invented in 1797, but it seems that it was much later than that. This makes me think that using a turtle as a washboard in the movie was based on current trends and not on historical accuracy.

  • How did the dwarfs wash stuff? I love that there is a whole webpage dedicated to the history of laundry!

  • Mining other than diamonds? Do diamonds come in different colors? Do they come from the same mine? First, diamond mining did not boom until the late 1860's. This means the dwarfs would not have been mining diamonds in the original tale. In fact, there is no mention of what they do for a living. I also found out different colored diamonds DO NOT come from the same mine. In fact, they come from all over the world!

  • How do diamonds come out of the ground? "Uncut rough diamonds resemble water-worn quartz pebbles". Diamonds in nature do not come out cut and sparkling like they do in the movie.

  • When were diamond loops created? Jewelers loupes were invented in the 1700s. Leica was founded in 1836 and still exists today.

  • Did miners live close to the site where they worked or further away? The sources I found all pointed to miners living in a community in which towns were created. They did not live right next to the site, which turns out was actually safer in most cases.

  • Why would the dwarfs have lived so far away from work? Partly for safety and partly because the most important thing in real estate is Location! Location! Location!

  • When were lanterns invented instead of just using candles? Candles were in use until the 1700s when petroleum was discovered. Lanterns had been in use in Asia B.C. but have continued to be used since their invention.

  • Can turtles go upstairs? I feel like cartoon turtles are more successful.

  • When was the term "Jiminy Cricket" created? Sometime around 1930, if not earlier. "Jiminy Cricket" is used as a way to replace saying "Jesus Christ" or similar.

  • Do you have a favorite dwarf? I do not.

  • Who voices the dwarfs? Was it all studio actors? Roy Atwell voiced Doc. Eddie Collins voiced Dopey (we share the same birthday). Pinto Colvig voiced Grumpy and Sleepy (and Dopey's hiccups). Pinto was a studio actor and voiced several characters in a variety of cartoons. Billy Gilbert voiced Sneezy. Otis Harlan voiced Happy (and was a voice in Bambi). And finally, Scotty Mattraw voiced Bashful.

  • Where is goldenrod from? Goldenrod is mainly grown in North America but a few species live in Europe and Asia. (How lucky are they to find it where they live?!)

  • The dwarfs tie Sneezy's beard around his nose. Does this work? According to this website, tying your beard around your nose is not on the list of recommended ways to stop sneezing.

  • Are Sneezy's sneezes that powerful to knock them across the room? Research states the average sneeze is about 10 mph.

  • When were glasses like Docs invented? Was that a popular style in the 30's? Although the first glasses were invented in Italy around 1290, the glasses like what Doc wears weren't invented until after the War of 1812, and were popularized in the 1920's.

  • The dwarfs have a lot of pottery. Is that still being used? Pans are also used. Pottery has been around for 10,000+ years. Pots and pans were very popular by the time Snow White was written.

  • Why is Doc called Doc? He's not a doctor?? What else would you have done to be called "Doc"? It seems you didn't necessarily have to be a Doctor to be nicknamed "Doc".

  • Where is gooseberry pie from? What is a gooseberry? The gooseberry is not native to Germany. But it can be used to make pie.

  • The dwarfs wash their hands for what seems to be the first time ... And in the days of COVID this made me laugh. But surprisingly ... soap has been around for a ridiculously long time! 2800 BC to be exact-ish!

  • When did washing your hands become a thing? Even though there was a correlation between washing your hands and staying healthy, it was not promoted until the 1980's!!!! WASH YOUR HANDS!!!


  • The wash scene, was that inspiration for the queue of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train? I believe so! [Youtube, about 3 minutes in]

  • When was perfume created? Perfume was invented over 4000 years ago!

  • Which song has been used more? I couldn't find statistics on the song use. But all three songs hit the top ten simultaneously!

  • How big is a pig heart vs human? I am squeamish when it comes to anything medical but there is no way to confuse a pig heart with a human heart according to this study.

  • Can a crow fit inside a human skull? From what I can find, no. The Carrion Crow (that you would find in Europe) can be 45-47 cm in length, while the length of the human skull is 21 - 22 cm.

  • Where did yodeling come from? It is left to the ages. Yodeling has been found in a variety of music around the world and has been around so long that no one knows the origins.

  • Is the organ based on something? Were they that intricate? I could not find anything that looked like the organ in this movie. I imagine there would be something in the real world that looks similar. The only thing I could find was that pipe organ bellows were used in ancient Egypt which is similar to what Grumpy's using.

  • Do forest animals have permanent homes that they return to? I believe wild animals stay in their homes on a permanent basis unless they migrate or are run out of their homes.

  • When were different apples created? In 1892, there were 735 varieties! Now less than 50 are mass produced. Apples are from Eastern Europe and have been around in some form since 8000 B.C.!

  • Can lightning break through rock? Yes, yes it can.

  • Snow White is moved to a glass coffin. When would glass coffins have been popular? Glass coffins were popular in Germany in the late 1800's.

  • When were fancy coffins created? Glass coffins began in the 1850's and patents were filed in 1859.

  • Were there above ground burials? Above ground burials have been around for over 12,000 years!

  • If the dwarfs think Snow White is dead, the poison must have slowed down her heart rate? The slowest resting heart rate ever recorded was 27 bpm.

  • Would Snow White start decomposing since she isn't eating/drinking? Her makeup still looks great! No, she would just lose weight and look awful.

  • How long can you go without eating/drinking and still look ok? It looks like a human, in the right conditions, can last about 100 hours without food or water.

The questions that are left unanswered...

  • Where did the prince come from? Where is he the prince of?

  • If Snow White'ss a princess, did they combine forces (kingdoms)?

  • Were there hired kingdom huntsmen?

  • Where did Snow White's dress come from if she's been wearing rags?

  • Why can't Snow White sleep on the ground?

  • How do the animals know where to find the dwarfs cottage?

  • Why are the windows on the outside dirty but not inside? And how would a raccoon know how to wipe the windows?

  • If their house is dwarf sized, how is it big enough for Snow White?

  • Why do the dwarfs keep their equipment inside? Lots of axes and shovels indoors.

  • Do they all share clothes? Shoes?

  • Are the animals multiplying? There seem to be more and more that come to help clean the cottage.

  • Are deer tails an effective way to clean?

  • Why is there a key on the ground and what does it go to?

  • Why does Snow White go to bed when the dwarfs are coming home?

  • Why do some of the dwarfs bring axes home? How many axes do they need?

  • Why does Gumpy dislike women?

  • Snow White had time to cook something. What did she make? Where did she get the ingredients? How long did it take?

  • Why do the dwarfs keep an axe in the bedroom?

  • The dwarfs know about the queen. How do they get news being isolated? How does news travel to the dwarf world?

  • How did Snow White learn to bake? She's a princess.

  • Where do the dwarfs get their food from?

  • How do you collect a hag's cackle into liquid form?

  • How do you make any sounds into a liquid?

  • How does Grumpy control the organ pedals with his butt?

  • If Grumpy doesn't like women why does he change so quick? He must be limited in his grumpiness.

  • The queen came down the stairs and then went down farther to get to the boat ... how tall is this castle?

  • Why do the dwarfs use a mine cart on the second day but not the first? I think their mining operations are questionable.

  • Why is the witch going uphill? Why wouldn't she go the way she came?

  • Why are the dwarfs chasing her with clubs? Is that the weapon of choice?

  • Prince shows up, how does he know where she is?

Other thoughts:

  • Snow White has no clue that the Huntsman and his horse are watching her walk through the forest. I did however notice that the Huntsman and horse do not move. I assume this was due to budget or time constraints.

  • No lock on the door but she knocks anyway.

  • Snow White surprisingly and easily identified each of the dwarfs after being awake for 30 seconds and having never met them before.

  • Quails are everywhere! (They are a recurring theme in early Disney movies)

  • This must take place in the spring based on baby animals and young deer with antlers.

  • The best part of Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the Mine scene in my opinion.

  • Also, the cars in Mine Train match the footboards of the dwarf beds in the movie.

  • I know in a life changing performance at my kindergarten, we had to sing "Heigh Ho" where the lyrics were changed to include going to school ...

  • Forest animals are terrible. They all leave Snow White when she goes to bed and the dwarfs come home.

  • Dopey is the only one without a beard. Doc is the only one with glasses. Happy's eyebrows are different from everyone else.

  • Even though Snow White and the animals cleaned, axes are still laying around.

  • Dopey looks like Dumbo.

  • Bashful reminds me of Tim Conway.

  • They have potatoes.

  • The Evil Queen can control the wind ...

  • The Queen has really long nails when she becomes the witch.

  • Her spell can be broken by love's first kiss. Doesn't say true love ... loophole!

  • All the other apples are yellow/green. Red = poison.

  • Instant poison!

  • Dwarfs immediately chase witch without checking on Snow White.

  • This part of the original ride is scary!

  • Vultures follow the queen.

  • Thunder storm! (Thunder storms are a recurring theme in Disney movies)

Fun links:

DisneyBound

DTV Monster Hits (26:45)

Goodreads

IMDB

Jack Benny and the 7 Gangsters

Once Upon a Time

PinPics

Colorado Historic Newspapers article about "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"

Play Disney Parks

ShopDisney

Snow White On Ice (It really did happen!)

*Disney Animators' Collection Snow White Micro Playset

*Funko Pop Disney: Snow White - Snow White Collectible Vinyl Figure

*Disney Tsum Tsum Snow White Mini Stackable

*Sally Hansen Base Coat

*Disney Villains Nail Polish

*Kokie Nail Polish in Atlantis At Last

*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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