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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: History & Pantomime Origins

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Connect Comfort and Uplift

5 min read

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is a much loved fairy tale known widely across the Western world, for Blackpool, it’s been turned into a fabulous Christmas Panto

 

What is the original story of Snow White?

The original story of Snow White is taken from a 19th-century German fairy tale or folk tale, written by the Brothers Grimm. The German brothers known for their various folk tales and stories, published ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ in 1812, which features the tale of Snow White as story number 53.  Since its publication, the book has seen several of the original stories resonate to be enjoyed in popular culture up to his very day.

Other stories written by Brothers Grimm include Cinderella, Rumplestiltskin, Sleeping Beauty and 1812.

The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales are universally acknowledged as the inspiration for the fairy tales we enjoy in book and film today. With various versions including film and pantomime, the modern day versions differ from Grimm’s tales slightly. Mainly, the modern day fairy stories are less dark then the originals, which involved more ‘grim’ themes.

 

What is Snow White Based on?

There has also been the suggestion that the story of Snow White originated from the real-life story of a countess and her alleged lover, Philip II of Spain. 

The countess, named Margarete von Waldeck (1553 – 1554) was supposedly poisoned at a young age, as politics were more important than real love at the time. Another coincidence – Margarete had a terrible relationship with her stepmother. 

Meanwhile, the town the countess grew up in, Wildungen,  was also home to a number of copper mines. The workers of whom were young children, who suffered stunted growth due to malnutrition and poor working conditions. Allegedly, they were referred to as ‘poor dwarfs’. 

These findings were published in 1994 by German Scholar Eckhard Sander, who’s book Schneewittchen: Marchen oder Wahrheit? (Snow White: Is It a Fairy Tale?) noted these comparisons. 

 

What characters were included Grimm’s, Snow White?

  • Snow White
  • The Prince
  • The Evil Queen
  • King 
  • Huntsman
  • The Seven Dwarfs

One main difference, however, was that the dwarves were not actually given names until a 1912 Broadway production. This idea seemingly inspired the one and only Walt Disney, who gave the dwarves different names in his 1937 animated feature film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’
Of course, in modern day, many of us associate these stories with either the storybooks we were read as a child or otherwise, the animated Disney classics that have stood the test of time.
Arguably the most well-known Disney animated fairy tale is Snow White.

 

When was Snow White made?

The most famous version of Snow White is arguably the 1937 Disney Animated Feature Film.

 

Snow White Disney Film
Snow White Disney Film

 

Walt Disney’s Animated Feature Film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) 

This version is universally considered Walt Disney’s most first animated feature film. Nicknames ‘Disney’s folly’, many thought the film would fail to be successful. They could not have been more wrong.

Released in 1937, it was seen as a triumph in film, cinema, and animation, taking the skills and potential of an animated film to a level never seen before. In fact, esteemed film director Sergei Eisenstien called it the best film ever made. A team of 250 animators worked on the film alone. The animation style is traditional hand-drawn animation, and the film was noted for its realistic expressions, movements and the personification of the characters. 

The Disney film premiered in Los Angeles, California in December 1937, followed by a nationwide release in early 1938. It was hailed as a critical and commercial success (international earnings of $8 million). The popularity of the film has led to its being re-released many times, its home video release was nearly 30 years ago, in the 1990s.

 

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: Fun Facts

  • In 1989, the United States Library of Congress deemed the film “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry. 
  • The AFI (American Film Institute) ranked it among the 100 greatest American films and also named the film as the greatest American animated film of all time in 2008. 
  • Disney’s take on the fairy tale has had a significant cultural impact, resulting in popular theme park attractions, a video game, and a Broadway musical. 
  • Walt Disney’s first full-length feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (USA, 1937; had subsequent re-releases in 1944, 1952, 1958, 1967, 1975, 1983, 1987 and 1993), took $184,925,486 (then £37,404,022) at the US box office, equivalent to $1.2 billion (£890 million) as of May 2018. 
  •  The film took four years to make at a cost of $1.5 million (then £303,398) equivalent to $13,252,424 (£8,282,765).

What do the 7 dwarfs symbolise?

There is speculation as to what the seven dwarfs represent, however, the number seven is often associated with ‘divine’ natural working order. Spiritually and secularly, there are Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Seven Seas to Sail – the number resonates with many in this way.

The names of the seven dwarfs appeared much later than the original Grimm fairytale.

 

Snow White 1937 Disney Trailer
Snow White 1937 Disney Trailer

 

What are the seven dwarfs called?

The names of the Seven Dwarfs  taken from the 1937 animated feature film are as follows:

  • Sleepy
  • Grumpy
  • Sneezy
  • Dopey
  • Bashful
  • Doc
  • Happy

The Seven Dwarfs were first named in a 1912 Broadway production. This idea seemingly inspired the one and only Walt Disney, who gave the dwarves different names in his 1937 animated feature film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.’ 

Their names are must contested before finally being chosen. Other names that were in the running included Nifty, Scrappy, Shifty, Snoopy, Stubby, Busy, Dumpy, Gaspy, Gloomy and Lazy, to name a few.

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Activities for Children

Need some inspiration to keep the children entertained? Check out these Snow White activity resources for children that we’ve found. Keep your children busy for hours with cooking, craft and colouring!

Snow White Cupcakes

Seven Dwarfs Craft

Snow White Film Colouring Sheets

Snow White Downloadable Colouring Sheets

The Seven Dwarfs Downloadable Colouring Sheets

 

Snow White - Blackpool Grand Pantomime
Snow White – Blackpool Grand Pantomime

 

Snow White Christmas Pantomime at Blackpool Grand Theatre

Not only that UK Productions Ltd and Blackpool Grand Theatre will present Snow White as their Christmas Panto for 2020/21.

Blackpool Panto favourite and BBC Radio Lancashire presenter Steve Royle will returns as Muddles, making this his 18th annual appearance. Joining Royle is a full star cast soon to be announced.

See the greatest magical Christmas panto ever told in true pantomime tradition… poor Snow White is doomed to live unhappily ever after with her horrid stepmother the Wicked Queen. In true rags-to-riches style Snow White manages, with the help of her madcap friend Muddles, to meet a handsome Prince, will her dreams come true…

Blackpool pantomime Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is bursting with great songs, dazzling costumes, stunning dance choreography (by Katie Hill, nominated in the UK Great British Pantomime Awards), side-splitting comedy, this truly is a magical treat for all the family!

Heigh-Ho… Heigh-Ho… off to Blackpool Grand Christmas panto we go!

Discover more shows at www.blackpoolgrand.co.uk or to buy tickets for our Snow White Christmas Pantomime at Blackpool Grand today. 

 

Looking for more ways to support us? You can donate to Blackpool Grand Theatre’s recovery fund today and help protect the future of theatre! Thank you. 

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