101 Dalmatians (1961)
Cut toxic people out of your life
A That's Not Canon Productions podcast
Hi there and welcome back to Oof! Right in the Childhood, a podcast where we discuss the history and social implications of the Disney animated feature films. I’m Jen, and each week, I tell you the history of a Disney film and then I watch the movie and provide you a synopsis that includes modern sociological observations. This week, I’ll be talking about 1961s One Hundred and One Dalmatians, the reason you should cut toxic people out of your life.
This will also be the last episode in the main feed for the rest of 2020. In the past weeks, I’ve been really squeezed for time due to life and medical stuff, and it’s getting to a point where I always feel like I’m rushing to get an episode written and recorded in time for my amazing volunteer editor Anastasia to edit before I post, and I don’t see next month’s holidays improving on that. When I can’t put my best effort forward, that’s not fair to any of us.
So, for December, there will be a bonus episode available on Patreon. Because it comes out tomorrow, I’m going to spoil it for you. Tomorrow, you can tune into the Patreon feed at the $5 Fairy Godmother level to get the history and my reactions to the first time ever watching the Star Wars Holiday Special.
There will also be a bonus episode on Patreon on January 1, and Oof! Right in the Childhood will return to all your podcatchers with The Sword in the Stone on January 11, 2021. I have plenty of guests booked for the new year, and I have some wishlist requests I’m reaching out to for the future. In the meantime, this is a great time to recommend the podcast to someone who’s never heard it before. Get them all caught up over the next 5 weeks because we’re about to hit the Disney Bronze era, and that’s where the real Disney turmoil starts.
Anyway, enough for podcast news, let’s talk about One Hundred and One Dalmatians. The history on this one’s a little sparse, so we’ll get to the sponsor break a little faster this week. But the movie’s packed with story, so I hope to make up for it.
The Hundred and One Dalmatians was a book published by Dodie Smith in 1956. Ironically, my mother-in-law’s nickname is Dodie, and I had no idea that was a real name until just now. Smith’s book isn’t that different from the movie, except the couple is married from the beginning, the husband is some kind of financial genius who’s been exempt from taxes for his whole life, and there are two female dogs, one is Missis and I think she’s the biological mother of the puppies, and the other, Perdita, is like an adopted mom. Again, I haven’t read the book, I’m summing it up from sources around the internet. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same.
Walt Disney read the book in 1957 and immediately inquired upon the rights. It’s really funny. When I was a kid, I knew Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella were fairy tales from long ago, but if you’d asked me about movies like One Hundred and One Dalmatians or Dumbo, I would have told you I thought that they were unique stories that the Disney writers made up.
Once Walt had the rights, he handed them over to Bill Peet to write the script. Two things here: first, no Disney animated film had every been written by one person, and Bill Peet had no idea how to use a typewriter. So Bill wrote the entire screenplay by hand, combining some of the characters to minimize their need for actors. It only took two months before he handed a stack of yellow legal pads over to a typist. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a hilariously terribly moment for that poor typist.
The animation didn’t start until 1959, and by that time, Sleeping Beauty had fallen flat on its face and Walt was beginning to feel like his beloved animation was failing him. He’d been fully dedicated to Sleeping Beauty, and the studio had lost money a ton of on it. He told Eric Larson that he was considering shutting down the animation department altogether, but because he’d built the company on animation, he didn’t want to.
During Sleeping Beauty, one of the animators named Ub Iwerks had developed a method using the Xerox camera to transfer drawings directly onto animation cels which allowed the animators to skip the inking process. Ken Anderson suggested that they utilize this technique for 101 Dalmatians, and Walt, whom I can only suppose was just completely dejected at this point replied, "Ah, yeah, yeah, you can fool around all you want to".
The animators went into full swing using the Xerography technique, and it worked wonders! Using Xerography, they were able to easily replicate each of the Dalmatians and their spot patterns without spending hours to replicate them manually. The film was finished for less than half of its budget, but Walt wasn’t thrilled with the final project. When he watched it, he felt like the literal copy-pasting took some of the fantasy out from the picture.
He swore to never use Xerography again and joked that “Ken will never be an art director again.”
Anderson was pretty hurt by this statement, but he tells a story of seeing Walt in 1966 and having Walt say that “that thing you did on Dalmatians wasn’t so bad,” and then finding that Walt had died a few weeks later.
The Xerography did its job, though. In the end, 101 Dalmatians only cost Walt Disney Productions $3.6 million or $31.3 million when adjusted for inflation. When you consider that the movie would have cost twice that much, I can’t imagine how happy Roy Disney must have been for that. However, the real test was yet to come. The movie was released into theatres around the world in January of 1961. That’s right, for the first time since World War II, we finally have an international box office to discuss. I still don’t know if movies just weren’t released internationally or if no one recorded international box offices until the 1960s.
The movie brought in $14 million, or $121.9 million today, from domestic box offices in the U.S. and Canada, but it wasn’t done. The total amount earned from the world was $85 million, or $739.9 million today. It was the highest grossing movie for the year as well as the most popular movie in France for 1961. In fact, it’s still the 10th most popular movie of all time for France.
The reviews were pretty good. Even the New York Times liked it stating, “While the story moves steadily toward a stark, melodramatic ‘chase’ climax, it remains enclosed in a typical Disney frame of warm family love, human and canine,” and said it was the best Disney movie since Snow White.
And like all the rest, it was rereleased in 1969, 79, 85, and 91 with a total lifetime box office of $303 million which, when adjusted for inflation, brings it to just over $900 million and makes it the 12th highest grossing film according to Box Office Mojo. Incidentally, on that list, fourteen out of the top one hundred highest grossing movies are Disney animated feature films. That’s certainly nothing to sneeze at.
So, did the Xerography pay off? Was this movie as good as it was cheap, or did Disney actually get what they paid for, but audiences still loved it? I’ll be back after this short sponsor break to discuss my feelings on watching this movie for the first time in a couple of decades.
I want to take a moment to thank my supporters on Patreon. Supporters on Patreon help me cover hosting fees and upgrade my equipment while being able to choose to promote small businesses. There are a few changes this month. As of now, all supporters, starting at the Whistle While I Work level, or $1 a month get an ad free version of every episode one day early. Fairy Godmothers like Jason and Mixie at the $5 level still get a bonus episode on the first of every month. This month, I explore Mary Poppins in depth. From Walt badgering a woman for the rights she didn’t want to give to possible rape culture moments, Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way, so come over to hear everything you didn’t want to know about Mary Poppins. If you'd like to become a patron, you can search the show over at Patreon, or you can follow the link in the show notes or on my website.
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Mixie: Welcome to Live Long and ProspHER. In space, women are queens. Hey, Jen, who is this podcast for?
Jen: Mixie, it's for anyone. Whether they've watched every episode or none at all, we're here to talk about the history and social implications of Star Trek from a feminist point of view. The Federation is female, after all.
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Zane: A That's Not Canon Productions podcast.
The movie starts out with spots drawing Dalmatians. I didn’t realize that the Lady and the Tramp “dog running” music was repeated for this movie, but now I do. In fact, as we go on, we'll find out a lot of things from Lady and the Tramp made it into this movie. There’s a lot more jazz in this title sequence than in any other theme. The spots form a musical score, and it seems like a much more involved title than the rest of the movies up to this point. In fact, I kind of remember this, now that I’m watching it again.
A narrator starts telling the story, and I’d forgotten they were British. Interesting.
Pongo’s “pet” is Roger the human picking out songs on the piano. Roger’s flat is filthy. Oh my.
Pongo has decided that his pet needs a mate, and is using magazines to determine what they like. He disapproves of photoshopped magazine models. Same, Pongo, same.
He then looks out the window, and of all the weird little unimportant scenes in Disney, this has to be one of my favourites, if not my actual favourite. The dogs and humans walking by look exactly alike. We have an artist with an Afghan hound, a pug with a short lady, a fashion magnate with a poodle, an elderly lady with a cocker spaniel, a kid with a puppy, and a Dalmatian!
Oh yeah, she has a pretty lady too. Now to get Roger to meet them!
Pongo changes the clock, and I always wondered about how Roger’s days went after this incident where he adjusted his whole life by 45 minutes. Was he seriously early for things? Was I a concerned anxious child?
Pongo is dragging Roger through the park like a bloodhound looking for a scent. This dog really wants his pet to get married. They pass all the women on the way. There they are!
Now to walk past them like he didn’t drag Roger into the park to look for them. So he steals Roger’s hat, which oh, by the way, is the same hat the woman is wearing without a flower. And then the women leave. So what does Pongo do? He forces them into close quarters and throws them into the river.
She gets mad for a bit, but then they realize the whole thing is hilarious.
Roger and his wife get married in a church with absolutely no friends or family around them. That’s actually super sad. There’s a whole scene in the book where the dogs repeat the wedding vows, but that was removed because censors thought it would offend religious audiences.
Time passes; they zoom in and Perdita sighs happily which worries Pongo. I guess that, in this day and age, every sound a pregnant woman was the beginning of the end? Nanny has always looked a little like Angela Lansbury to me. Dunno why, but she does. And yes, before you think it’s the hat, I thought that before Beauty and the Beast.
A horn sounds in the street, and Perdita says, “It’s that devil woman.”
Roger doesn’t like Cruella. He writes what might be the greatest song about a terrible person ever. “If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will. To see her is to take a sudden chill.”
We all have those old school friends who are — something to behold.
Cruella storms in screaming, “Where are they?”
She’s looking for puppies. And Anita’s such a good person telling her to be patient for the puppies who aren’t hers. And then Cruella goes off on how amazing fur is and that Anita is trash because she doesn’t have any. Again, things that bothered me about this as a child. Why are they friends? Like, get rid of the negative people in your life. You don’t need a Cruella. I don’t care how long you’ve known them.
Like seriously, this woman put a cigarette out in a cupcake and trash talked Anita’s husband. Like yeet her immediately. And that’s before she starts getting weird about how pretty the dogs’ coats are.
Roger’s best and only villain song until now continues. And I love it.
Back to Pongo and Perdita. Perdy knows Cruella wants the puppies, and I don’t think I noticed until just now that they worked really hard to not draw her pregnant. Back to that whole pregnancy censor thing. I wonder when that ended. I’ve been trying to Google that, but can’t seem to find an answer. Feel free to at me, if you know!
Bless Perdita. She’s afraid her puppies will be taken from her. I tell you, these movies really hit you in the pregnancy and infertility feels. I would like them to not.
3 months later, Roger and Pongo are sitting in the kitchen waiting for babies to be born like every expectant father before they were allowed in the delivery room. That means Anita gave Perdita the living room to give birth, and everything that Lady’s owners lacked, these people have. These people are definitely worthy of having dogs.
Everyone’s a wreck. Roger looks like he’s going to have a stroke. Also, why is this clock going at twice the speed of every other pendulum clock ever?
The puppies are here! It startles them. There are 8. That tracks. Wikipedia says that Dalmatians normally have 6 to 9 puppies, but in 2011, a Dalmatian in a small town in Wales had a litter of 15. Fifteen puppies! More on that in a second.
Oh, but back at the movie, we now have ten puppies.
Fifteen! Oh wait, that’s interesting. Disney predicted the largest litter of Dalmatian puppies.
Okay, but what are they going to do with 17 dogs? That’s a lot of dog. I mean, there’s that chance that they’re selling purebred Dalmatians, but they seem thrilled to keep them. How?
Then Nanny brings in a little bundle wrapped in cloth and says, “Fourteen,” with a deep and abiding sadness. One of the puppies has been stillborn, and a child has just learned that babies can be born dead. Oof! Right in the childhood.
Roger does do a really good empathy moment with Pongo right before he starts to rub the little puppy corpse in time to the really fast clock as the lightning strikes outside. I remember my dad trying to tell me what was going on here as Roger rubs the life back into the puppy, and in fact, I found a news article from 2012 where a Scottish Dalmatian wouldn’t stop licking his stillborn pup, and the vigorous licking did revive the little one. So hey, we’re officially in the most realistic Disney movie yet. Well, so far.
Roger says, “He’s just as good as new,” and literally, that puppy could not get newer.
But then the thunder crashes and Cruella is here. Like seriously, I think she’s the best Silver Era villain. Fight me.
But she’s disgusted because the pup doesn’t have spots. In fact, Dalmatian puppies don’t get spots for three or four months. That’s a lot longer than I was expecting. Y’know, if Nanny had kept her dang mouth shut here, they could just have been done with Cruella forever. But no, “They’ll get their spots, just wait and see.” I'm bad at English accents, I'm sorry.
Yep, these people were planning to keep 17 dogs in their tiny house. Okie dokie. Please explain.
I don’t think I noticed how much Cruella’s coat is, well sketchy, in this scene. It looks like a storyboard sketch. Hmm, now that I look around a lot of this looks like a storyboard sketch.
Cruella’s gonna buy these puppies though. She shakes her fountain pen and all of its ink all over Roger and Pongo. You can’t tell on Pongo though.
“When can the puppies leave their mother. Two weeks? Three weeks?”
Puppies should not leave their moms before seven to eight weeks. Some breeders prefer 12. It gives them ample time to socialize with their moms before heading home. Oh, what am I saying, spoiler alert, she’s gonna kill these puppies, and it won’t matter. I’m going to point out that plot hole in a bit.
Roger stands up to her, though. They are not selling the puppies. I mean, he stutters through it like she’s going to skin him, but he does stand up to her!
And then Cruella makes the best promise I mean threat ever. She’s done with them! Um, well darn. I’m supes sad to hear it, worst human I know. Please, don’t let the door hit you where the good Lord split ya.
And then she breaks their window because they can afford to fix that.
Like, okay, let’s assume that Roger and Anita have no idea what Cruella’s plans are here. Let’s go through what's happened from their perspective. A friend from Anita’s school days shows up and is absolutely the worst to the both of them, but is fascinated by the puppies they haven’t had yet. She shows up the night the puppies are born, offers to pay twice what they’re worth, and when they’re like, “Um no, we want them,” she calls them fools and idiots and storms off. I mean, from their perspective, this cannot have made any sense.
But in the real story, we have everyone celebrating Roger who seems to have entered a catatonic state, so that’s great for him. And Pongo tells Perdita that Roger told Cruella where to shove it.
So many puppies!
Segue to three to four months later. We know, because the puppies have their spots. They’re watching a Dog Western on TV.
So, fun fact that I know because I’m me, dogs and cats couldn’t actually see the old types of TVs because the refresh rate was slower than their eyes worked. Basically, until plasma screens, the picture on a TV was actually created by a rapidly scrolling line of pixels that our slow human eyes detected as creating a whole picture. But to dogs and cats, it was just a line on the screen.
It doesn’t matter, this is a fantasy land where dogs can tell time.
The boy dogs wear red collars and the girl dogs wear blue. I guess because we need to know the sex of the puppy to appreciate them. Lucky won’t get out from in front of the TV. Rolly is always hungry. Okay, these people live in a townhouse with people on either side. They have fifteen puppies that bark at the TV. This sounds great for their neighbours.
Why do I know all the lyrics to the Kanine Krunchies jingle, but I can’t remember the quadratic equation?
“Kanine Krunchies can’t be beat, they make each meal a special treat, Happy dogs are those who eat nutritious Kanine Krunchies.”
Pongo tells Perdy to get the kids to bed so they can have a walk, and you know, that’s a great call, mom and dad. Take a moment to appreciate your time together so you can catch up without the kids. Lucky’s still watching the TV.
“So do what all the smart dogs do and you’ll feel great the whole day through. You can be a champion too if you eat Kanine Krunchies.”
Kanine Krunchies is like the dog equivalent of sugary cereal, isn’t it?
The couples go for a walk and pass some skeevy looking characters reading papers in a car. You know what? Disney got way better at storytelling as they went. I mean, with Cinderella, we’d be like halfway through and 3 things would have happened, but we’re like a third of the way through, and we’ve already gotten two couples together, had 15 puppies, broken up a toxic friendship, and had two very catchy songs, one of which is a jingle for an imaginary dog food.
Jasper and Horace discuss illegalities in ambiguity then drive like 300 meters up the street in a very loud car instead of, I don’t know, walking silently?
Jasper’s pants are too short.
Nanny’s putting the puppies down when the doorbell rings. It's two men in the middle of the night to inspect the wiring and the switches. They even have a misspelled bag from the Gas, I mean Electric company. Seems legit.
I do like that Nanny’s like, “Nope, not happening.” They barge in anyway. Jasper locks Nanny in the upstairs room while Horace somehow gets fifteen puppies into one bag in like 2 minutes. I mean, have you ever tried to get two puppies to do one thing? It’s impossible. I am now imagining this process and it had to have been hilarious.
Jasper lets go of the doorknob and Nanny destroys the double bass and piano. Okay, let’s review. According to peteducate.com, a purebred Dalmatian puppy can cost anywhere between $300 and $3000. Even if these are the cheap versions of Dalmatians, that’s $4,500 worth of dogs that have just been stolen, and then there’s about $2,000 for a double bass and like $3,000 for a piano. And this couple just lost so much money, and that doesn’t account for the heartbreak, which cannot be measured in dollars.
As Nanny calls for the puppies, I just realized I only know the boy puppies’ names in this movie. Excellent.
“They took the puppies, whatever shall I do?” Um, call the police with an excellent description of them? That’s a good place to start.
They had a phone in one scene, but Nanny’s running up and down the streets screaming “Police!” like okay, there’s got to be a way better way to handle this.
Okay, we’ve got the press involved. That’s good. Cruella makes fun of the headlines. Y’know what? As a kid it didn’t bother me when evil people didn’t have motivation, but now I want to know what is up with Cruella. Like what makes her this way? I guess that’s why we’re getting villain movies?
Jasper and Horace are calling Cruella demanding their pay. Look, if there’s one thing every movie has taught me, it’s pay your minions up front. They get you in way less trouble that way.
Cruella sitting in a giant pink bed with curlers in her hair and possibly fur-lined wings? It's a sight to behold, though.
So now, Cruella calls to gloat? Okay, villain lesson number two. Don’t call to gloat. It’s dumb. Take the win and walk away.
Scotland Yard has already investigated Cruella. That’s interesting. I want to hear that interview of a Scotland Yard detective interrogating someone over the theft of a bunch of puppies.
Pongo decides that humans are useless. They’re going to use the Twilight Bark to look for the puppies. Perdita seems concerned. “That’s just a gossip chain.” Yeah, but what travels faster than gossip? Only bad news, and even Douglas Adams knew that was a problematic form of propulsion.
Luckily the dogs’ pets are totes cool with them barking at nothing at twilight in the park. Perhaps they’re too distracted by their grief. Oh, spoke too soon.
Marmaduke is receiving the message though. His best friend is a yorkie. And people with one giant dog and one tiny dog crack me up. There’s a couple with a husky and pomeranian that I see walking at all hours near my daughter’s school, and they must have a time with it.
So those dogs tell Jock from Lady and the Tramp. Jock tells the Afghan hound whose name is Prissy. It gives me warm fuzzies to see how invested all these dogs are in finding puppies they’ve never met. Y’all, if for a moment we could all come together to care about people we don’t know, imagine what we could do!
The pet shop window has Peg and Bull from Lady & the Tramp. I don’t know how all these dogs from Missouri got to London, but okay. Oh! And as the car with the poodle drives through the city, you can see a silhouette of Tramp on top of another car and one of Lady in the street. This is a fun activity!
Soon enough, the entirety of London is barking, but it fades as we pan to the countryside.
Oh look, it’s Trusty! No wait, his name is Towser here. Towser is willing to bark all night if it saves these puppies. This is so sweet.
There’s a whole military regiment in this barn. There’s a living haystack of a dog named the Colonel. As a kid, whenever I’d hear the dogs go up around nightfall, I would imagine what they were passing along.
The Colonel listens and hears that fifteen spotted puddles have been stolen from London. Of course that’s balderdash. Wonder what they’re on about. Sergeant Tibs is like, um, that makes no sense try again.
There have been puppies barking over at Hell Hall. The old DeVil Place. In other words, the Devil place is Hell Hall. They’d better investigate.
Tibbs sneaks into the manor, and immediately sees a Dalmatian puppy. He inquires as to their provenance, and the puppy says there are 99 puppies, bought and paid for.
Okay, so here’s where the plot starts to break down for me as a child. Cruella could buy and pay for 84 puppies, but she had to steal 15 from an old schoolmate? Like why? Regardless, this room is a dream of a puppy pile.
There are 15 quote “little ones” over by the television with collars and names, so the rest of these puppies have been here a while. More plot holes in a second.
This cat’s trying to count the 15 and not be seen by “the baddies”. This leads to my favourite moment where Jasper tries to drink Tibbs and he flips out, because cats.
Lucky couldn’t give two figs about the commotion. He just wants to watch TV.
Jasper then threatens to eat the cat because that’s a logical threat to a random animal wandering into a broken down old house. Meanwhile, after what we can assume was about 2 quiet hours, the dogs of London have broken out barking again, and their poor owners must be beside themselves trying to figure out what the heck is happening at 10 pm.
The great dane runs the pair through London and buries the lede by waiting til the very end to tell them they’re headed to the DeVil place.
And, like, Anita and Roger are about to wake up to their two grown dogs missing. This is almost like their children just disappearing into the night after their grandchildren have gone missing. I hope they’re ok.
Holy crap, y’all, I just Google mapsed this, and Suffolk is a helluva long way from London! Assuming that both residences are in the middle of each city, it’s 95.7 miles or 154 kilometres. It takes almost two hours to drive it now! And I used that neat little “If I walked it” option and it takes 25 hours to walk. In the winter! Oh god!
The Colonel and Sergeant Tibbs are waiting for Pongo and Perdy to get there when Cruella’s car swerves its way up to the gate. Cruella’s screaming at her pair of dolts that “it” must be done tonight. Horace explains that they aren’t big enough, and he’s got a point that I’m going to get to when we find out what “it” is.
Horace explains that they aren’t big enough, and he’s got a point. They’re going to make coats out of the puppies! Dogskin coats. They won’t get half a dozen.
Okay, so let’s talk about this. Again, Cruella bought 84 puppies with no one being at all concerned about this. No one cared because she bought them outright. She owns them. And bless the subreddit “theydidthemath” because someone has asked the question about how many puppies it would take to make a coat. If you don’t like thinking about living things being made into coats, why are you listening to this podcast about a children’s cartoon about it? But also, skip forward a few seconds. I’ll make it brief.
Okay, so according to this subreddit, a website that no longer exists said it takes about 30-70 minks to make a coat because they’re about 24 inches or 61 cm long.That’s about the size of a small Dalmatian puppy. So, given conservative estimates, Cruella can make 3 coats out of these 99 puppies. For what it’s worth, conquermaths.com has also done this math, and they agree she could have made 3 fabric lined coats or 1 fully lined fur coat and a muff.
But, you know what’s bigger than puppies? Full grown dogs!
So, if these puppies are about 4 months old, that makes them 65 lbs, which is about half of their final size. And that means that, if she had just kept the 84 and raised them until they were grown, that’s, divide by two, carry the one, double the coats!
So, why did she steal the fifteen? Like if you want to be evil, sure, but don’t pretend you have a real goal while you do it. And yes, I asked my parents why they didn’t just wait for the puppies to grow up when I was a kid because I was a very strange child.
Anyway, the police are after Cruella because she’s dumb and stole beloved puppies. And she hasn’t decided how to kill the puppies. She’s left these dolts to decide. Like Cruella’s just been a poor planner all the way.
Jasper and Horace proceed to watch “What’s my Crime” while Tibbs proceeds to shoo each of the puppies out of a hole in the wall. The premise of this show is that contestants ask ten yes or no questions to determine a person’s crime, and if they don’t guess it, the criminal gets a 2 week paid vacation after they’re done in prison.
It is when this program ends that the duo realize that they have lost 99 puppies. Tibbs is trying so hard to save all these puppies and it’s like, well, it’s like herding puppies.
And as Pongo and Perdita run to the rescue, we have this adorable scene of Tibbs blocking all these puppies with his arms. And you know, after the last two depictions of cats, Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp, it’s really nice to see Disney give us a nice, brave cat.
There’s the comedic fight with really hefty consequences as the bad guys hurt each other while fighting dogs.
The Pongos are reunited with their babies in the barn in an adorable scene. They realize there are 99 puppies, and they discover that Cruella was going to kill all these puppies for the potential of a coat. And the solution is to trek 99 puppies back across the English countryside. Again, it takes an adult human 25 hours to walk it. I have no idea how long it takes an adult dog to run it, but I can’t imagine trudging 99 puppies through the snow can be any faster than a human walking on the road.
And puppies don’t have the temperature regulation like adult dogs.
There’s a heartbreaking scene as the puppies trudge through the snowstorm. Lucky’s at the back because he’s the runt and almost died when he was born. And he talks about cold the way I do. "My ears are froze, and my nose is froze, and my tail is froze." I feel you, Lucky.
A collie’s been waiting for them. They have shelter at the dairy barn. And honestly, this whole community of dogs coming together to take care of all these puppies is the sweetest thing.
These babies are hungry, so the cows provide them milk directly from the udder. I kind of wonder about their human the next morning wondering why their milk was light, but oh well. The collie has scraps to make it to the next stop. A Labrador in Dinsford has a pet that’s a grocer. I can’t find Dinsford through Google Maps. Oh well. The point is that these dogs have set up a network of secret locations for them to stop at.
And the Labrador has a van that’s going to London! But blast, Cruella has tracked them to this town that doesn’t exist. They have to get into the van without her seeing them. Everyone roll in the soot so they look like Labradors. Um, is this the dog version of blackface? I’m trying not to think about it.
Okay, so like, okay, they don’t look like Dalmatians, but there are 101 of them. That feels like it’d draw some attention. And as the sooted up puppies run in front of Cruella’s car, dripping water makes them photo negative Dalmatians — black dogs with white spots! Oh no!
A falling pile of snow cleans a puppy so thoroughly that soap and water isn’t ever needed, and the chase is on!
Cruella tries to run a moving truck off the road, and there’s some casual misogyny thrown around there. She drives off a cliff and safely lands in snowdrift then proceeds to get out of the gulley in a Mad Max level of driving. She rams the truck again, getting her headlights stuck on his axle, and let’s for a moment, spare a thought for this poor lori driver who does not know what the hell is going on.
Jasper and Horace lose control of their van and plow into Cruella, and despite destroying both their cars, land safe and sound on the snow. Despite Cruella calling them idiots.
Meanwhile, back in London, the Radcliffes are listening to a jazz singer sing Roger’s song on the radio! Hey, he’s a successful song writer! Anita’s decorating a Christmas tree and is congratulating him on his first hit song. She says, “It’s made more money than we ever dreamed of,” and that really gives me the answer to another question I’ve asked my whole life, but more on that in a moment.
Roger’s upset that Pongo and Perdy have run away, and yeah, those dogs have had to have been gone for about 4 days. A year ago, my Gandalf disappeared for 6 days and I was so distraught, you could have made tea from my stress. He’s okay though. He just didn’t bring back any dragon gold that we can find.
Nanny’s a wreck. She can’t stop thinking about all those puppies. Poor Nanny.
As she says she dreams about the dogs barking, there’s barking at the door, and she scurries to answer it. And...Labradors burst into the house! Nanny sees the soot, though! They’re home just in time for Christmas! It’s strongly implied in the film proper, but deleted scenes explicitly reveal that the day that dogs make it back to London is in fact supposed to be Christmas Eve.
And there are puppies and soot everywhere! Nanny starts counting, and these dogs are kind enough to stand still while being dusted. There are 101! Anita’s like, “Where’d they all come from?” And Roger insinuates that Pongo’s been up and down the United Kingdom impregnating dogs and collecting puppies because, okay.
We’ll have a Dalmatian plantation. Um, eugh, no thank you. But Roger writes a new jazz song about it, so okay. In the meantime, these poor next door neighbours have 99 Dalmatian puppies barking. Yay! And that brings us back to the money he made on the song which answers the question I had as a child which was, "How are they going to feed 101 Dalmatians and buy a farm in the country." Well, because he made a whole bunch of money off the song. I wasn't paying attention to that part when I was a kid.
I mean, we got pretty far into this movie before we got into potential dog blackface with a reference to the Underground Railroad which led them to a plantation, but you know what, it’s still a beautiful and wholesome movie that, now that I see it, is made all the more endearing by the sketch lines you can see as they move. It might not have been something that Walt Disney loved, but I feel like it makes it more way organic and thoughtful. And it really highlights the dilapidated locations that the movie focuses on.
But I want to know what you think of 101 Dalmatians. What do you remember from this movie as a kid? Is this where you learned that, sometimes babies can be born dead and that women like to skin small, furry animals for coats or did it teach you the importance of family and what parents will do for their kids? Both? It could do both! Let me know on my social media. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram under oofmychildhood. Pop on there and tell me about your 101 Dalmatians memories.
This episode’s cover art was created by Alexander Pick. He has some amazing art on his instagram. I’ve linked to that in the show notes. Go check it out, y’all!
If you’d like to provide fan art for a future episode, you can drop me a message on my social media or fill out the form on my website oofmychildhood.com
My theme music was composed and played by Shawn Rudolph of Let Music Be. For more information on that studio, you can visit their website at letmusic.be or check the show notes for an easy link
You can find transcripts for each episode on my website, and if you check out my YouTube Channel, I have captioned video versions of each episode as they’re published. I do my best to provide YouTube videos and transcripts at the same time as each podcast episode is released, but if this one isn’t up yet, you can always check on my website for an update and a link to the appropriate video.
Thank you so much for joining me today. I hope you come back on January 11 to discuss Disney through modern eyes. In the meantime, this is a great time to let your friends know about the podcast. They have time to get caught up and ready for the rest of the Disney canon. I’d also appreciate you taking the time to give the podcast a rating and review on Apple Podcasts, Podchaser, or wherever you’re listening to the show. That helps new people find the show.
This podcast is written and recorded me. This episode was edited by Anastasia Saff. I release a new episode every Monday through Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and many, many other podcatchers.
So, until next time, keep the magic alive.