Ref NoBG/JU elephant you'll never forget
DescriptionContains scripts and story development, pre-production, and production records, for an animated musical feature film about an elephant that was never realised. It includes scripts, correspondence, Production meetings, sound sheets, timing, sequences, animation cels, and storyboards

Synopsis, as quoted from Bob Godfrey Films Limited headed paper

'A small baby African male elephant arrives at Regent's Park Zoo from Paris in 1865. He is given the name Jumbo by A.D. Bartlett , Superindentant of the Noah's Art Society. He grows up to be the most largest and famous animal in the world. His job is to give rides to children with whom he becomes a great favourite until he is suddenly plagued by 'Tusk Ache'. Bartlett and the Noah's Ark Society fail to understand the nature of Jumbo's complaint and think he is just bad tempered. They sell him to Barnam, the Great American Showman.

Jumbomania breaks out in Britain. The country is up in arms. Jumbo won't go to the United States without Scott his keeper. He lays down and will not budge until Scott is allowed to go with him. Jumbo is towed across London in a huge crate by nine dray horses and then shipped across the Atlantic. Halfway across the ocean he realises in the Land of Opportunity he could possibly realise his ambition to be "A Star". Unfortunately Barnam doesn't see things the same way and Jumbo is put amongst the "freaks" dressed as Uncle Sam. The circus tours America. General Tom Thumb, the star of the circus, stirs up feelings amongst the "freaks". They see Jumbo as a threat to their livelihood.

Jumbo leaves the circus and walks the line with Tiny Tim, his small elephant chum. Jumbo is hit by the express train and killed. He sees his life as being unfufilled. The children he has given so much pleasure sing the final song telling him he is the greatest.'


Extent2 boxes
AdminHistoryThe script was by Barry Took, based on the book Jumbo, by W.P. Jolly, with lyrics by Colin Pearson. Copyright Bob Godfrey Films limited

The draft script, storyboard and lyrics financed by the National Film Development fund

Short synposis/press release as quoted from the draft script:

'The period is between 1865-1885, set mainly in the London Zoological Gardens and at Barnum and Bailey's Mammoth Circus in the states.

The story of Jumbo is basically true, and at the time commanded front press coverage in the Press throughout the world. Music-hall songs were even written about him and the feverant interest in his welfare became known as "Jumbomania"

He was the largest and first African elephant to be kept in captivity at the London zoo, where he spent some fifteen contented years, giving rides to hundreds of scared but happy children until a severe attack of tusk-ache made him short tempered and difficult to handle. The Noah's Ark Society, the name given to the Zoological Committee, was most concerned that the children should not be put in any danger, so when Phineas T. Barnum made an offer to buy Jumbo, for his greatest show on earth, it was readily accepted. There was an immediate outcry from the public, especially the children, that their favourite pet was being sent over seas to America, and it was not until Scott his keeper was asked to accompany the elephant that Jumbo showed willingness to go inside his crate that was to take him across the Atlantic

Oscar-winning Bob Godfrey has turned Jumbo into an endearing animal whose one ambition was to prove he was more than just big - he wanted to be a star. Here is an elephant the whole family will take to their hearts, while the lively musical number will give it pace and exuberence.'

Show related Persons records.

DS/UK/21Godfrey; Bob (1921-2013); Animator1921-2013
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