Save the Elephant Day was founded by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, based in Thailand, working together with Canadian filmmaker Patricia Sims. The launch of this international initiative in 2012 saw the release of the documentary film ‘Return to the Forest’, narrated by Star Trek legend William Shatner. How awesome is that?
I’ve loved heffalump-ellyflump-smellytrumps ever since I was a kid, most likely because of various pachyderm characters that have appeared over the years. To combine this important occasion with my own indulgent nostalgia, here are three fictional bellyplumps for your enjoyment.
The creation of French children’s author Jean de Brunhoff, Babar is a kind and fair king. There have been countless comic strips, storybooks and TV series of the Babar franchise over the decades, so there’s a chance you might not know how the chap originally gained the crown. It’s actually quite a weird story, retold in Histoire de Babar, the first Babar book from 1931. After Babar’s mother is shot by a hunter, he flees the jungle and finds his way to a city. He is befriended by The Old Lady, who buys him clothes and hires him a tutor. Babar’s cousins Celeste and Arthur arrive and help him to return home. Following the death of the King of the Elephants, who had eaten a poisonous mushroom, a council of elephants approach Babar, saying that as he has “lived among men and learned much”, he would be suitable to become the new monarch and is crowned King of the Elephants.
And then he marries his second cousin, Celeste. That’s the bit I find weird. But hey, if you’re an elephant AND a king you can do what the hell you want!
Image source: Wondrus
I seen a peanut stand, heard a rubber band,
I seen a needle that winked its eye.
But I be done seen ’bout ev’rything
When I see an elephant fly.
The grammar in that sentence is enough to give me a headache, let alone the concept of a flying elephant, yet the 1941 Disney film presented both with gusto. Dumbo is a baby elephant with HUMONGOUS ears, resulting in him being ridiculed by everyone but his own mum. You must surely know the story: finding himself alone, he’s befriended by a mouse, causes chaos when falling from the top of an elephant pyramid, accidentally gets drunk on watered down champagne, hallucinates a load of pink elephants, wakes up in a tree, discovers he can fly, which he then does with a bunch of crows, returns back to the circus, becomes a media sensation, gets his revenge on the nasty elephants, and is reunited with his mum for a happily-ever-after ending. You know, that classic story arc.
One of the interesting things about Dumbo is that he doesn’t speak throughout the entire movie, making him an entirely mute Disney hero.
Image source: Disney Wiki
Ah yes, as if often the case with Sesame Street, Mr. Snuffleupagus is on the cusp of being nightmarish. A huge, scraggly beast (technically speaking I think he’s actually a woolly mammoth, but we’ll let that slide on this occasion), what unnerves me is that for many years none of the humans on the street believed he existed. Big Bird would tell them about Snuffy all of the time but never got to see him with their own eyes.
Eventually everyone discovered that Big Bird hadn’t been telling fibs, which made everything alright and everyone returned to whatever it is they do for a living. However, my question is: where in God’s name was this monstrosity hiding?
Image source: Muppet Wiki