Jiminy Cricket: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Jiminy Cricket

Jiminy Cricket has become one of the most everlasting symbols of The Walt Disney Company. His signature song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” is so iconic, so legendary that it accompanies the Walt Disney Pictures logo at the start of each and every Disney animated film, and the ships of the Disney Cruise Line play the first seven notes of the familiar melody as their horn signals. In this article, we take a look at some interesting facts about Jiminy Cricket. 

Jiminy Cricket: 10 Facts Most People Don’t Know

1. Jiminy Cricket, written in 1883, was first called Talking Cricket: 

The film Pinocchio was based on the children’s novel: The Adventures of Pinocchio, which was written by Carlo Collodi. Published in 1883, in the book, the character is simply known as the Talking Cricket, who had been living in Geppetto’s house for more than 100 years. 

Early in the story itself, the cricket tells Pinocchio, “You are a puppet, and what’s worse is that you have a head of wood.” Pinocchio’s response was rather harsh as he hurled a mallet at the cricket, killing it. 

The Talking Cricket’s tale does have a happy ending of a sort when his ghost is given a house by the Fairy with the Turquoise Hair (as the Blue Fairy was known in the book.)

2. Jiminy Cricket was written to improve character development: 

When Disney was re-inventing Pinocchio for the big screen, one of the problems they faced was the characterization of Pinocchio himself. Early drafts of the script portrayed the puppet as being harsh or mean at times, much as he was in the book. As Walt Disney himself said, “One difficulty…is that people know the story, but they don’t like the character.” Walt Disney eventually solved the problem by taking the minor cricket character, calling him Jiminy, and using him to develop the heart of the story: which was the friendship between him and Pinocchio.

3. Jiminy Cricket was developed just in time:

Using a supporting character for such an important message was a rather late development in the story treatment, even by Disney standards. The character of Jiminy Cricket wasn’t developed until nine months into production.

4. Jiminy Cricket went solo:

Jiminy Cricket was the first sidekick to have a starring role in another Disney animated feature film (without his main protagonist). JC appeared in 1947’s Fun and Fancy Free.

5. Jiminy Cricket initially used to look like a cricket: 

Jiminy was animated by one of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men, Ward Kimball. 

The character was designed by him when he was very disappointed and was about to leave the Disney studio when much of the work he did for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was cut from the final version of that film. However, Walt Disney persuaded him to stay by giving him the assignment of supervising the animation of Jiminy Cricket.

In early concept sketches, Jiminy was drawn in a realistic style. Kimball thought that the look was “disgusting,” so he took a different approach and made him much more cartoonish (so much so that the only reason we know he’s a cricket is because of his name!). Animators used 27 different colors to bring Jiminy Cricket to life.

6. Jiminy Cricket meant Jesus Christ at one point: 

Speaking of his name, Jiminy wasn’t invented by Disney. At the time, “Jiminy Cricket” was a polite euphemism for Jesus Christ. The expression was actually used (as an exclamation) in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the 1938 Mickey Mouse short, The Brave Little Tailor.

Most interestingly in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy (Judy Garland) cries, “Oh! Oh! Jiminy Crickets!” when she is startled by the Wizard’s pyrotechnics; likewise, Judy Garland also uses the expression in the 1938 film Listen, Darling. 

7. His autograph is something worth keeping in today’s selfie world:

Jiminy Cricket also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character, and in Pinocchio’s Daring Journey, a dark ride themed to the movie from which he originated, found at three of the Disney parks worldwide (i.e. in California, Japan and France).

A minuscule version of him can also be spotted on the It’s a Small World ride in Disneyland California.

If you meet Jiminy in theme parks and get his autograph, you’ll often find that the initial “J” is drawn as an umbrella, Jiminy’s signature prop!

8. Jiminy Cricket was educational:

In the 1950s–’70s, the talking cricket appeared in four series of educational films aimed at grade-school audiences. In the I’m No Fool series, JC advised children how to steer clear of dangerous traffic, sharp objects, strangers, exposed electrical lines, and so forth. Several of those series were first shown on The Mickey Mouse Club from 1955 through 1959.

The second series called You, teaches about the human body with the refrain “You are a human animal…”. This, too, was originally shown on the “Mickey Mouse Club.” The third series, “The Nature Of Things”, combined live-action and animation, and the fourth series was called “Encyclopedia”. In the 1950s, on The Mickey Mouse Club, the lovable talking cricket also sang two related songs related to safety: “Stop, Look, And Listen”, and “Safety First”.

9. There might be a new Jiminy Cricket: 

On October 25, 2019, it was reported that Disney is developing an undetermined animated project focused on Jiminy Cricket for its upcoming streaming service, Disney+.

10. Jiminy Cricket has been featured in many forms of entertainment: 

Disney Children’s Records

Cliff Edwards (who was the first ever Jiminy voice actor) performed the narration for several 78 RPM children’s records. Two of them were Bongo (originally part of the animated feature Fun and Fancy Free) and The Littlest Outlaw. He also made some children’s records simply as Cliff Edwards, including “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”.

Disney Sing-Along Songs

Jiminy Cricket hosted these five sing-along videos:

  • The Bare Necessities (October 13, 1987)
  • Very Merry Christmas Songs (November 15, 1988, transition cards only, before all songs)
  • Be Our Guest (June 19, 1992)
  • Friend Like Me (April 30, 1993)
  • Circle of Life (March 13, 1994; VHS version only)

Disney’s House of Mouse

Jiminy Cricket is among the various Disney characters who appear in the television series House of Mouse; he also appears in the movie. He most often sat on a table with Cri-Kee from Mulan. A running gag in the series involves Timon from The Lion King trying to eat him (cos he’s a bug lover who teaches Simba how to munch on bugs), and his rescue by Pumbaa.

Comics

Jiminy appears in several comics, (first appearance in Mickey Mouse Magazine Vol. 5 No. 3 in 1939), such as various issues of Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, and he is featured on the covers of Four Color # 701, 795, 897 and 989.

Kingdom Hearts

The talking cricket also appears in the Kingdom Hearts video game series as the chronicler of Sora’s travels, writing journals and keeping a cast list of the figures they meet, friend or foe. In the original Kingdom Hearts, Jiminy has some direct involvement with characters and elements based on the film Pinocchio. He has a substantially bigger part in the sequel, Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, frequently talking to Sora and offering advice. 

The loveable cricket’s role in Kingdom Hearts II is smaller than in the first game; he only appears in one cutscene. In Kingdom Hearts Coded, he finds a message in his journal he didn’t write back at Disney Castle; to solve this, he and King Mickey digitize the contents of the note, awakening a virtual Sora. He is transported into the Data world halfway through the game but presumably sent back to the real world along with the others at the end. A dream world version of Jiminy Cricket appears in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance; as it is a dream, those who are no longer in their world appear, either via travel or death. He returned in Kingdom Hearts III.

In the English releases he is voiced by Eddie Carroll for Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, and Kingdom Hearts Re:Chain of Memories, Phil Snyder for Kingdom Hearts Re:Coded and Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance (following Carroll’s death in 2010), and Joe Ochman for the HD Cinematics of Re:Coded for Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix and Kingdom Hearts III (following Snyder’s retirement in 2014). In the Japanese version, Jiminy was voiced by Kaneta Kimotsuki until his death in 2016 and by Yōhei Tadano in Kingdom Hearts III.

Disney’s Villains’ Revenge

He is a main character in the game Disney’s Villains’ Revenge, wherein he must help the player save the stories of Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs from the Ringmaster, The Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook and the Queen.

Once Upon a Time

Jiminy (both in fairy-tale cricket form and as his “real world” human alias, Archie Hopper) is a core character on the Disney-owned ABC television series Once Upon a Time, played by Raphael Sbarge. In the series, which finds cursed fairy tale characters living in present-day Maine without memory of their true origins, Jiminy/Archie serves as the town counselor and “conscience”. He also has a dalmatian named Pongo. The series adds additional backstory for the character, portraying his life as the human son of con artists, who inadvertently causes the death of a couple after striking a deal with Rumplestiltskin; Rumplestiltskin gave Jiminy a potion to give to his parents to get them out of his life, but his parents realized what he had planned and switched the potion with an identical bottle that was given to the couple that his parents had targeted for their latest con. He is eventually turned into the ethical cricket from previous portrayals by the Blue Fairy. In his cricket form, he is charged to look after and guide the dead couple’s son, Geppetto, as long as he lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did Jiminy Cricket die?

In the Original Story, Pinocchio kills Jiminy Cricket, Got His Feet Burnt Off, and was Hanged and Left for Dead. You probably already knew that Disney has a habit of taking dark, twisted children’s fairy tales and turning them into sickeningly sweet happily-ever-afters

What is Jiminy Cricket known for?

Jiminy Cricket is the second main character of the 1940 Disney animated feature film, Pinocchio. This talking cricket was Pinocchio’s official conscience appointed by the Blue Fairy, in hopes that Jiminy can guide Pinocchio on his journey to become a real boy.

Is Jiminy Cricket Pinocchio conscience?

Jiminy Cricket is the loveable cricket who indirectly plays the part of Pinocchio’s conscience. The initial story had a very different plot for example, in the fourth chapter of Collodi’s book, the Talking Cricket (JC’s original name) was a philosopher who attempted to advise Pinocchio, but the puppet got mad and smashed the cricket.

Is Jiminy Cricket black?

Jiminy Cricket is the name of a jive-talking minstrel stereotype of a black man. 

Interestingly, the character and voice of Jiminy Cricket was provided by Cliff Edwards – a white actor. The voice actor Cliff Edwards also played the part of the head crow in Dumbo (1941) and sang “When I See An Elephant Fly.” The circus workers are all black and faceless, which makes this sting, even deeper. 

But coming to the question of is Jiminy Cricket black? The character has been voiced 6 times so it’s a bit hard to say. 

Jiminy Cricket has been voiced originally by singer Cliff Edwards ( a white man), who voiced the character for Disney through the 1960s and sang Jiminy’s most famous song, “When You Wish Upon a Star”. 

After Edwards’ death, Clarence Nash (another white man) voiced him for a brief period of time,until 1973, when Eddie Carroll (another white man) took over the role as Jiminy’s voice actor. Carroll played the role for 37 years, until his death in 2010. Actor Hal Smith (a white man) voiced Jiminy in the Pinocchio Read-Along Storybook in 1992. 

Actor Phil Snyder ( a white male) next voiced Jiminy for the Kingdom Hearts video game series. In 2014, Phil announced his retirement from voice acting to concentrate on his career teaching. Actor Joe Ochman ( another white voice actor) took over the role at that time, beginning with Kingdom Hearts HD 2.5 Remix’s installment of Kingdom Hearts: Recoded, and he has been the voice of Jiminy since 2014.

Raphael Sbarge ( a white voice actor) voices Jiminy in Once Upon a Time where he portrays him in human form as well. In the Italian dub of the Disney adaptation, Jiminy Cricket was voiced by Carlo Romano (who is not a black voice actor), who also dubbed for Fernandel in the Don Camillo series. In French he is voiced by Roger Carel, (again not a black voice actor) who is also the voice of Asterix and the French dub voices of Kaa from The Jungle Book and its sequel; Basil of Baker Street from The Great Mouse Detective; Winnie the Pooh; and Boomer the woodpecker from The Fox and the Hound.

In conclusion, there is no evidence that Jiminy Cricket was ever black because firstly, he was created in Italy as a Talking Cricket.  Secondly, when Walt Disney reimagined the character, the creator wanted him to look as cartoonish as possible so much so that he represents nothing cricket like. A neutral as the figure is, the voicing has always been done by white men, which answers the question without much confusion. 

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