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Cinderella is the heroine of a widely spread folk tale about a young girl who is treated harshly by her stepmother and haughty stepsisters and is forced to work as a maid for them. She is relegated to the kitchen but ultimately wins the love of a prince through her beauty, virtue, and some elements of enchantment.

Most people believe that Disney is the creator behind the story of Cinderella, but in reality, the tale is over 2,000 years old. However, it was Disney who first adapted the story into a film, which quickly became a huge success — and still is to this day! Here are ten facts about Cinderella that will probably make you raise an eyebrow!

Disney wasn’t the first with the story…

The motif of the tale can be found as early as the first century BC in a story by the Greek writer Strabo. The girl in that story is named Rhodopis and lives in Pharaoh Amasis’ Egypt. A similar tale also exists in a story by the Chinese writer Tuan Cheng-Shih from the 9th century AD. They all share a remarkable shoe or sandal that ends up with the king, pharaoh, or emperor, who then begins to search for the owner of the shoe. [source]

Saved Disney’s entire company…

Before Walt Disney Company released the film, the company was on the verge of permanently shutting down its film production due to a financial crisis. But the animated film from 1950 saved the company’s continued operations, allowing for further film adaptations to continue. [source]

Before Walt Disney Company released the film, the company was on the verge of permanently shutting down its film production due to a financial crisis. But the animated film from 1950 saved the company’s continued operations, allowing for further film adaptations to continue.

Also available in a Nordic edition…

In older Nordic folk variants, Cinderella is often portrayed as a boy instead and is called “Askeladden“, “Askepjäsken“, “Askefisen” or “Askepåten“. These variants often have a more comical motif, and Askepåten usually outsmarts his stepbrothers. Askepåten versions of the tale have been published by, among others, Nils Gabriel Djurklou. [source]

Auditioned without her knowledge…

Ilene Woods (picture below) got to do the voice acting for Cinderella without even knowing that she had auditioned. Her friends, songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston (part of the trio, along with Al Hoffman, who wrote all the songs for the film), convinced her to record demo recordings for the film’s songs without her even knowing what she was singing for. They then submitted her demos to Walt Disney, who liked her voice so much that they chose Ilene Woods for the lead role without giving her a formal audition. [source]

Ilene Woods got to do the voice acting for Cinderella without even knowing that she had auditioned. Her friends, songwriters Mack David and Jerry Livingston (part of the trio, along with Al Hoffman, who wrote all the songs for the film), convinced her to record demo recordings for the film’s songs without her even knowing what she was singing for. They then submitted her demos to Walt Disney, who liked her voice so much that they chose Ilene Woods for the lead role without giving her a formal audition.

The voice actor for Prince Charming never sang…

William Phipps provided the voice for Prince Charming. However, his singing voice came from Mike Douglas, who later became the host of a televised talk show. [source]

A true veteran voiced Jaq, Gus, and Bruno…

Veteran voice actor Jimmy MacDonald, known for his skills in sound effects, also did the voices for Mickey Mouse for over 30 years (besides Walt Disney himself, MacDonald was the first to voice Mickey Mouse). He also contributed to Cinderella by voicing the mice Jaq and Gus, as well as the dog Bruno. [source]

Several sequences were scrapped…

Several sequences were included in an early version of the film but didn’t make it into the final version. In one sequence, Cinderella imagines herself as an army of identical young women trying to finish their chores so that she can attend the ball. In the scene, she would sing “Cinderella Work Song“. Both the sequence and the song were scrapped, but the title was changed to “The Work Song“, which you’re probably familiar with, when the mice and other animals help create her dress. [source]

Several sequences were included in an early version of the film but didn’t make it into the final version. In one sequence, Cinderella imagines herself as an army of identical young women trying to finish their chores so that she can attend the ball. In the scene, she would sing "Cinderella Work Song". Both the sequence and the song were scrapped, but the title was changed to "The Work Song", which you’re probably familiar with, when the mice and other animals help create her dress.

Was supposed to have a completely different ending…

The ending was originally intended to be different in the film. At first, it was planned that the Grand Duke would take her to the castle after trying the shoe on her and lead her to the prince. There, the prince would be surprised but not disappointed to find out that she was actually a maid and not a princess. The Fairy Godmother would then appear and restore Cinderella to the same appearance she had during the ball night. However, Walt Disney ultimately chose to go with the ending we know, as this was considered too drawn out. [source]

First time professional songwriters were hired…

When Disney hired David, Livingston, and Hoffman as songwriters, it was the first time in history that the company hired professional songwriters who were not already employed by the studio. [source]

When Disney hired David, Livingston, and Hoffman as songwriters, it was the first time in history that the company hired professional songwriters who were not already employed by the studio.

A successful deal for Disney…

The film cost over three million dollars to make, which was an enormous amount in the 1950s. Over the years, the film has grossed over 85,000,000 dollars, not accounting for inflation. [source]


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