Disney Cartoon #28, Winnie the Pooh Week:
"Heffalumps & Woozles" (December 20, 1968) versus "Pink
Elephants on Parade" (October 23, 1941)
by Albert Gutierrez
Beware, beware! Be a very wary bear! A Heffalump or
Woozle is very confusel. The Heffalump or woozle's very
sly, sly, sly, sly! Look out, look out! Pink elephants
on parade, here they come. Hippety-hoppety! They're
here and there, pink elephants ev'rywhere! If honey is
what you covet, you'll find that they love it, because
they guzzle up the thing you prize. What'll I do?
What'll I do? What an unusual view!
Confused? You won't be after this episode of "Soap" -
er, this article of "Saturday Matinee"! Hopefully
someone in my reading audience still remembers the
sitcom "Soap," otherwise that reference is entirely
obscure. Either way, Pooh Week is nearing its close,
and so we take a look at a memorable song-and-dance
scene from "Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day." In
addition, we'll compare it to a memorable song-and-dance
scene from Dumbo. It's time for the Heffalumps,
Woozles, and Pink Elephants to all come out and enjoy
In "Heffalumps and Woozles," Winnie the Pooh has fallen
asleep after Tigger tells him of the honey-loving
Heffalumps and Woozles. He dreams - or nightmares - of
the heffalumps and woozles coming to steal his honey, as
they shapeshift into various forms while honey pots sing
to Pooh. They follow him about, constantly taking his
honey away, all the while playing with honey as well.
Among the notable heffalumps and woozles featured are a
yellow-and-green checkered heffalump, a woozle who turns
his nose into a horn, and a heffalump who plays a harp
made of honey. My favorites are the woozles in the
jack-in-the-box and the bumblebee heffalump, although
the accordion heffalumps run a close second. Whatever
their forms (and there are many), they all seem bent on
one purpose: to take honey away from Pooh Bear.
However, hallucinatory creatures didn't originate with
the heffalumps and woozles. Twenty-seven years earlier,
slightly similar pachyderms were featured in Dumbo's
"Pink Elephants on Parade." The young elephant drinks
up from his trough, not knowing there's something
special (alcohol) in the water. He and Timothy then
hallucinate a pink elephant forming from a large bubble,
with the elephant multiplying, leading into a bizarre
and strange montage of singing and dancing elephants.
They're not limited to pink elephants, as we see
checkered elephants, one made entirely of heads, and
even elephants with different patterns. There's no
rhyme or reason to their existence, they simply
transform back and forth into various things before they
all converge and split apart, morphing into the clouds
of the background, with Dumbo asleep in a tree.
The animation style of both sequences differ greatly,
whilst still sharing the same whimsical qualities that
have caused many to compare them over the years. In
"Pink Elephants on Parade," we deal more with abstract
concepts and styles of animation. It's a sharp
departure from the cartoony and traditional look of the
rest of Dumbo, making "Pink Elephants" stand out
even more. There's no rhyme or reason to the pink
elephants, they jump from plane to plane and have no set
form, with the animation transitioning from scene to
scene quickly. By the sequence's end, so many types of
pink elephants are all over the place that they seem to
explode and we return to reality, unsure of what just
In "Heffalumps and Woozles," however, we already know
we're in a dream. And Pooh's dream matches perfectly
with the world he lives in, with animation of the same
quality and style as the rest of the short. The only
thing out of the ordinary are the transforming
heffalumps and woozles, yet they still feel very much at
home within the entirety of the short. Also, unlike
"Pink Elephants on Parade," we have a firmly-established
situation going on in Pooh's mind. While we accept that
it's a dreamlike state, we still know where we are in
the story. Pooh also plays an active part in his dream,
allowing for the audience to be involved, as they can
identify with Pooh as the only sign of normalcy among
the craziness of heffalumps and woozles.
Personally, I grew up with the "Pink Elephants on
Parade," and so I often enjoy that hallucination over
"Heffalumps and Woozles." However, I think the
animators had a greater grasp on depicting imaginative
creatures with the latter. The sheer oddity of "Pink
Elephants on Parade" makes for great animation, but it
seems extraneous to the story and stands out as a
four-minute excursion from the big picture. Especially
when we consider that about a minute into the song,
Dumbo and Timothy disappear completely and we don't see
them until after the pink elephants turn into clouds.
When we look at the heffalumps and woozles within
"Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day," it is firmly
established that heffalumps and woozles are imagined
creatures, a chaos that emerges from Pooh's sanity. And
until 2005's Pooh's Heffalump Movie, the audience was
content to believe they were creations of Pooh's mind.
Thus, the "Heffalumps and Woozles" sequence feels more
accepted within the story, whereas "Pink Elephants on
Parade" serves as a welcome distraction.
"Pink Elephants on Parade"
is found in Dumbo,
obviously, which has had two
previous DVD releases
(2001's 60th Anniversary
Edition & 2006's Big Top
Edition), and will see a new
70th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray
and DVD release this coming
September. To get your fix
of "Heffalumps and Woozles,"
it's featured in "Winnie the
Pooh and the Blustery Day,"
the middle act of 1977's
The Many Adventures of
Winnie the Pooh.
"Winnie the Pooh and the
Blustery Day" was featured
as a bonus short on the 2006
Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The
Search for Christopher Robin,
while Many Adventures has had a 25th
Anniversary Edition DVD (2002) and a Friendship
Edition DVD (2007). There is no word yet on whether
we'll see another home media release of the film.
One can hope it will be released this fall in
tandem with Winnie the Pooh (2011). Until
then, have a Hundred Acre Wood Day!
to Saturday Matinee