“Dumbo” was so popular that Time Magazine wanted to feature the adorable little circus star on the cover of its next issue as “Mammal of the Year.” However, less than two months after the film's premiere, the Japanese military attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, prompting the United States to enter World War II. Because the cheerful figure of a flying baby elephant who defied the odds would no longer be appropriate for the cover, it was changed to a portrait of General Douglas MacArthur – a powerful military leader who would embody the spirit of America fighting back.
Time magazine even included a 1,400-word story about “Dumbo”, a fascinating piece that captures the country's attitudes at the time. The author (uncredited) explains how, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Dumbo became a poignant American icon:
“The advent of war has made him, more than ever, a superb expression of the democratic way of life. It could only have happened here. Among all the dark and threatening countenances of 1941 AD, his innocent and homely face is the face of a A true man of goodwill. The most compelling new character of this war year, he will almost certainly end up in the exclusive realm of children's classics. He may not become an American folk hero, but he is certainly Mammal-of-the-Year. “
Through the story of a young elephant who defies his opponents, finds his mother and gains fame and fortune in the process, “Dumbo” emerges as a symbol of hope and resilience. Audiences can find solace and inspiration in the sweet, vibrantly colored film, with a simple story that touches your heart. “Dumbo” offered a glimmer of optimism during a harrowing time when the world was filled with conflict and danger.