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The Fire-Fighting Clowns

The Clowns are the secondary antagonists in the 1941 film, Dumbo. The Ringmaster is their leader. When Dumbo is made a clown for ruining the elephants' act, they tease and taunt him relentlessly and make him the fool of all of their acts.

When Dumbo learns to fly, he zooms down, scaring the clown right out of the clowns, and making them run away. They promised themselves they would never try and tease the poor elephant again. The Clowns work for the Ringmaster for a circus. They are first seen in the parade on the circus' opening day, doing various goofy acts.



The clowns are mute during their act, but seem to be generally loud-mouthed otherwise. It is unknown what they look like without their costumes, as they are only seen as shadows.



The clowns first appear during the circus parade, and start a fireman act as Dumbo's first performance as a clown. During the act, one of the clowns wears an elephant mask and a dress pretending to be Dumbo's mother shouting "save my child!", and the other clowns appear dressed as firemen, with one wearing the uniform of a fire chief. The only clown that talks during 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, or throwing water on a flowerbed instead of the fire. For the climax, Dumbo, who is dressed like a baby and wearing clown makeup, is made to jump from the building, where he is to land in a gigantic pie. He resists, but one clown sneaks up from behind him and whips him with a wood board. He ends up landing in the pie, much to everyone's amusement. 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, the shadows of the clowns are shown in their tent changing into casual 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 dumber but more sympathetic clowns comments "Careful, you'll hurt the little guy", only to be brushed off by the clown leader saying that "elephants don't have feelings" and that they are "made of rubber". As they leave to tell their boss, their champagne bottle is knocked into Dumbo's water bucket, resulting in Dumbo and Timothy Mouse getting drunk.

The clowns ultimately get their comeuppance (along with the Ringmaster) when Dumbo flies off a thousand-foot-tall cardboard 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 film. What happens to the clowns after the circus is renamed "Dumbo's Flying Circus" is unknown, although it is assumed that they got fired or quit their jobs.

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