Maine Played a Big Role in Disney’s ‘Bambi’
Editor's note: This article was written by a Townsquare Media Northern New England contributor and may contain the individual's views, opinions or personal experiences.
Did you know that one Mainer had a big impact on Disney's movie "Bambi"? Mainer, Jake Day, practically told Walt Disney off and even proved his point.
We all know the story of "Bambi," a story about a baby deer that lost his mother at a young age and his struggles as he grew up. "Bambi" is a coming-of-age story, just about a baby deer.
Before we get into how this Mainer helped Walt Disney, let us look at some of the history. According to the New England Historical Society, Disney obtained the film rights to make this movie. Originally, it was a novel, written in 1923 by Viennese author Felix Salten, named Bambi, A Life in the Woods. New England Historical Society writes that Jake Day was one of Disney's "earliest and best known animators," so it came as no surprise when he was asked to help work on "Bambi."
In the novel, Bambi was a roe deer from the European Forest. Unfortunately, there are no roe deers in North America, so Disney was forced to find another type of deer to play Bambi. According to the New England Historical Society, Disney chose to use a mule deer from Arrowhead, California.
Jake Day did not agree with this. Day told Disney that he would have to go to Maine to find a white-tailed deer and the right forest. Day went back to Maine to prove to Disney that Maine was the perfect location for him to set the scene and base the main character of the film on.
According to the New England Historical Society, Day spent months with his friend, Lester Hall, taking pictures in the Mount Katahdin region. Day had received a list of things that Disney wanted to be photographed including pine cones, marsh grass, low and high bush blueberries, and hazel nuts.
Of course, Day was able to find two white-tailed deer and arranged for them to get from Maine to Hollywood. The New England Historical Society writes that the deers were only four months old at the time and were set to play Bambi and Faline.
On August 8, 1942, "Bambi" premiered in London, then New York and its first public showing came back to where the film was partly inspired, Maine.