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Villain Overview
Ladies and gentlemen! I give you.... Dumbo!
~ The Ringmaster

The Ringmaster is the main antagonist in Disney's 4th full-length animated feature film, Dumbo.

In the 1941 animated film adaptation, he was voiced by the late Herman Bing. In the 2019 live action film adaptation, he will be portrayed by the famous actor, Danny DeVito.

Personality

The Ringmaster is notable for being one of the few Disney villains who is not necessarily evil other than his arrogance and his harsh rule. The Ringmaster is otherwise considered a fairly respectable and virtuous character. However, these traits were sadly all too apparent in The Ringmaster, and he unfairly punished Dumbo's mother when she came to her son's aid when Skinny continually taunted him. He does not realize what his mother was trying to do, locking her up and labelling her a mad elephant. The Ringmaster later tries to have Dumbo join in the act with the other elephants (who disliked the young elephant), but he becomes enraged and vituperative when Dumbo (through no fault of his own) accidentally caused a temperamental riot.

Appearances

Dumbo

The Ringmaster is first seen when the train named Casey Junior is all loaded and ready to go, and shouts "All aboard!" and Casey Junior whistles back "All aboard! Let's go!". He is seen again riding on his horse and leads the circus parade.

When some mean kids start to make fun of Dumbo's big ears, Mrs. Jumbo immediately starts attacking them to protect her baby. However, the Ringmaster tries to stop her, only to be splashed into Dumbo's barrel where he takes a bath in.

Furiously, the Ringmaster has Mrs. Jumbo locked up in a cage. Later, he talks to Joe about a pachyderm pyramid, but he has no clue what his climax will be. Timothy the Mouse convinces the Ringmaster in his sleep to make Dumbo the climax, so that Mrs. Jumbo can be let out. The next day, the Ringmaster puts the act into use, but Dumbo trips over his ears and causes the pyramid to fall, setting off a destructive chain of events which leads to the tent itself falling down and leaving the pusillanimous Ringmaster at the catastrophe that resulted from his big idea.

Seeing no other use for Dumbo, he teams the little elephant with the clowns, so to give him a role without causing anything disastrous and unfortunate. During a show in which Dumbo jumps off a higher building, he sees Dumbo soar over the crowd. He amazingly points to see something that he never saw before. He is eventually humiliated in public when Dumbo learns how to fly, shoots peanuts at him, and throwing one of the clowns' elephant mask after he again falls inside a barrel. The mask then lands on his rear end.

Though he is not seen again, the Ringmaster finally makes Dumbo the main star of his circus, gives Dumbo his own train car, and best of all, lets Mrs. Jumbo out of solitary confinement.

Disney's Villains' Revenge

In the video game, the Ringmaster, and several other Disney Villains, plan on stealing the endings of their respective stories, and altering them, so that they may get the happily ever after. The Ringmaster alters the story of Dumbo and forces the baby elephant to perform nonstop. He also alters the circus' overall look, making it seem like a horror film-esque area. However, thanks to Jiminy Cricket and Mrs. Jumbo, the circus, and Dumbo, is saved. In the climax of the game, he and the other villains attempt to stop the player and Jiminy from restoring the stories by each taking one of the happy ending pages. He is defeated when the player uses the book containing the stories as a shield.

Trivia

  • The Ringmaster's real name was not told of the movie.
  • In the children's book versions of Dumbo, especially the MGM books, the Ringmaster is portrayed as a friendly and charitable person.
  • The Ringmaster is similar to Aunt Sarah from Lady and the Tramp, who are both misunderstood villains and punished the protagonists (Dumbo and Lady) when they don't realy deserve to be punished, and their reforming is not seen in the film only mentioned. However, he is not affiliated with villainous animals, the way Sarah was affiliated with her cats Si and Am and the climatic Rat.
  • The Ringmaster is also similar to Stromboli from Pinocchio, as both are short-tempered, make certain things perform and shout. However, Stromboli sought to keep Pinocchio away from his father and home, while the Ringmaster provided Dumbo with an agreed home.
  • He has similarities to Hopper from A Bug's life:
    • Both are short-tempered.
    • Both have been annoyed after minor antagonist (Skinny and P.T. Flea) made a trouble by public.
    • Both threatened to harm mother-figure character (Mrs. Jumbo and the queen).
    • Both have enemies who have many ideas (Timothy and Flik).
    • Both have been defeated by animal which fly (Dumbo and the bird).
           Disney Villains

Animated Features
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Live-Action Movies
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Other Animated Movies
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Sequels
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Disney Parks
Constance Hatchaway | Madame Leota | Hitchhiking Ghosts | Pirates