Dumbo was a relatively low budget production at Disney and there are some rough edges in it. Some of the strangest things, though, are in the song, "When I See an Elephant Fly."
And they tell me that a man made a vegetable truck.For this section of the song, there are 5 or 6 voices on the soundtrack that the characters lip synch to, but there are only 3 crows on the screen! The crow with the striped shirt synchs to 2 or 3 voices, the deacon-ish crow synchs to 2 and the tubby crow synchs to one, but it's not the voice that he speaks with earlier in the film. Furthermore, when the film cuts from a long shot of the two crows to a close-up (see the top two images), the crows have reversed positions!
I didn't see that. I only heard.
Just to be sociable, I'll take your word.
I heard a fireside chat.
I saw a baseball bat.
And I just laughed till I thought I'd die.
It's hard to know what they were thinking when they did this. Did they just assume that the audience wouldn't notice? Was there a mistake identifying the voices on the sheets? Did they decide to restage this after the track was recorded?
Dumbo wasn't the only time that the studio did odd things. Take a close look at the Mushroom Dance in Fantasia. Start watching any one mushroom (except for the baby) and follow it through the whole sequence. The mushrooms morph from tall to short and vice versa. This was consciously done by animator Art Babbitt, but why? It's not instantly obvious to the audience. Did Babbitt ever go on record explaining his thinking on this?