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The Clowns

The Clowns are the tertiary antagonists in Disney's 1941 animated film, Dumbo. The Clowns work for the Ringmaster for a circus. They are first seen in the circus parade on the circus's opening day. One plays a trombone while on a unicycle, one is dressed like a woman who mimes screams, and one gives another a red bomb.


The clowns start a new act a few days later. They create this new act after Dumbo causes a mishap. One of the clowns wears an elephant mask and a dress pretending to be Dumbo's mother, whose baby is at the top of a burning building, running in circles, shouting "save my baby!", and the other clowns are dressed as firemen, with one wearing the uniform of a fire chief. The only clown that talks in the act is the "mother". The clowns perform goofy acts such as dousing a fire with gasoline, roasting hot dogs in front of a burning building, and throwing water on a flowerbed or each other instead of the fire. For the climax, Dumbo is made to jump from the burning building, which he refuses. One of the clowns sneaks up behind him at the back of the cardboard cutout building and hitting him off of the platform, where he lands in a gigantic pie. The other animals consider Dumbo to be a disgrace to the circus animals (despite Dumbo had no choice in the matter and was doing the job as best he could).

Following the act, shadows of the clowns are shown in their tent changing into street clothes and celebrating with a bottle of champagne over a popular act. They believe they will earn a lot of money by making the height greater and thus more death-defying. One of the dumb, but more sympathetic, clowns comments "Careful, you'll hurt the little guy", only to be brushed off by the clown leader that "elephants ain't got no feelings" and that they were "made of rubber". As they run off to tell the ringmaster their idea, one of them bumps into the table which has a bottle of champagne on it, and the bottle is knocked into a tub of water, which Dumbo later drinks.

The clowns ultimately get their comeuppance (along with the Ringmaster) when Dumbo flies off a makeshift high rise building instead of landing in the pie. This scares the clowns, who drive their fire engine into the burning building and run away with scathed rear ends screaming. They are not seen for the rest of the movie.

What happens to the clowns after the circus is renamed "Dumbo's Flying Circus" is unknown, although it is assumed they were fired after the incident or quit the job.


  • While the clowns are mute during their act, after the act they yell very loud and get drunk on champagne.
  • It is unknown what they look like without their makeup, as they are only seen as shadows.