Did you ever notice that Little John and Balloo had something in common? Or how Mowgli and Christopher Robin were pretty much the same?
There are two possible reasons for why you’re here right now. It’s either because you're a hopeless Disney fan who knows everything about every movie (or so you think) and want to prove to yourself that you knew all of this already, or you’re just curious to know how on earth did Mr. Walt Disney not notice these. Let me tell you that either way, you’re very welcome, and you’ll be surprised by how often this happened, and how even though it’s the same exact sequences, it doesn' really take away from the films. On the contrary, they’re still animation gems and amazing stories that won’t die anytime soon.
So, why was this such a common practice? Unlike what many people would believe, this wasn’t really a matter of saving money nor time, nor that they were too lazy to think about something new. It all goes back to a single person, and no, it wasn’t Walt. It was actually Woolie Reitherman, one of the main animators at Disney’s origins. According to Floyd Norman (also an important part of the company), Reitherman believed that if something had worked in the past, there was no need to try something new. However, it wasn’t as simple as it might sound. They didn’t only change the characters' outfits or colors, it was actually more complicated and implied even more work. They had to dig in the archives to find the segment and sketches used, and then redraw everything to make it exactly like the other one.
According to Norman, although this was done quite often, it’s most likely that not even Disney himself noticed at the time, as he explains, “his mind was always on the story, not so much the little production things that really didn’t interest him at all that much.” At the end of the day, that’s the way we all watched (and I confess I still do quite often) these films, and the recycling didn’t really affect in any way the great storytelling the company developed. So, enough explanation, let’s take a look at this amazing list of reused scenes.
1- "Blow to the head" - 101 Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone
2- "Trumpet trunk" - Robin Hood and The Jungle Book
3- "Princesses dancing" - Snow White and Robin Hood
4- "A pretty nervous schnauzer" - 101 Dalmatians and Lady and the Tramp
5- "Swing duo"- Robin Hood and The Jungle Book
6- "A beauty waltz" - Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty
7- "Jazzy gal" - Robin Hood and the Aristocats
8- "Christopher Mowgli" - The Jungle Book and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
9- "Slimy welcome" - The Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book
10- “I'm the magnificent, marvelous, mad Louis the alligator” - The Sword in the Stone and The Princess and the Frog
As you might have noticed, in the last scene, the sequence isn’t actually the same, but rather a similarity in a still. In the 1980s and 1990s, the idea changed: they no longer recycled old scenes just because they worked and could fit in the story, this time it was more of the second generation of animators rendering homage to the fathers of Disney features, and the practice would be carried on for a while, though not as frequently as before. Not to mention that, by this time, Disney found a new gold mine with the commercialization of VHS, which meant that people would watch these movies over and over, making it more easy for them to notice the recycling. Today, thanks to the internet, hiding these things is basically impossible. If you remember another reused scene, let us know! We’d definitely love seeing how much we missed! (P.S. don't list us all the scenes taken from Goliath II, we're aware of them, but honestly, did you even know these existed?)
Here are other fun movie facts you probably didn’t know: