Almost everyone has heard of the film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; but do you know the history of it and the names of the seven dwarfs?
Snow White (originally Schneewittchen) is a German fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 in their collection of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales. In 1912, the story was adapted into a Broadway play and produced by Winthrop Ames (pseudonym “Jessie Braham White”) under the name, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
This is when the 7 dwarfs received their original names: Blick (the eldest), Snick, Flick, Plick, Whick, Glick, and Quee (the youngest).
FUN FACT: Is it Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Dwarves? The correct form is dwarfs; however, J. R. R. Tolkein uses “dwarves” in his book, The Hobbit, to differentiate his characters.
The fairy tale was again adapted into a silent film entitled, Snow White, in 1916 and directed by J. Searle Dawley. This is when a young Walt Disney, at 15 years old, saw the film and was inspired to create his first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, that was released in December of 1937.
In Disney’s film, the 7 dwarfs’ names were changed to Doc, Bashful, Dopey, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, and Happy.
Who are the seven dwarfs?
In the film, the seven dwarfs are miners who mine jewels all day, then sing and dance at night. They allow Snow White to live with them after she escaped the evil Queen’s plot to kill her.
This is how the story goes:
Snow White is the subject of envy from her evil stepmother who wants to be the “fairest of them all”. Out of jealousy, the evil Queen orders the huntsman to kill Snow White and bring her the heart as proof.
Unable to do it, the huntsman spares Snow White’s life and she runs into the forest to never return. This is where she comes upon an empty house belonging to the seven dwarfs and makes herself at home.
The dwarves come back to their cottage to find her asleep in their bed. They eventually agree to let her live with them in exchange for cooking and cleaning.
FUN FACT: Dwarfs are Greek mythological creatures associated with wisdom, smithing, mining, and crafting. They resemble short humans and are usually aged and bearded.
7 Dwarfs Names and Personalities
How did the 7 dwarfs get their names? Walt Disney wanted all of the dwarfs to have individual personalities. The meaning of their names mostly describes the 7 dwarfs.
There were about 50 names that were suggested including: Jumpy, Burpy, Deafy, Baldy, Dizzey, Stuffy, Hickey, Gabby, Tubby, Sniffy, Swift, Lazy, Puffy, Shorty, Nifty, and Wheezy.
In the end, these were the names of the seven dwarfs chosen:
Doc is the glasses-wearing leader of the seven dwarfs. He is meant to be wise and self-important but stumbles over his words.
Bashful is shy, quiet, and embarrassed by any attention towards him.
Happy is the cheerful dwarf who is always laughing at something.
Grumpy is always complaining and disagreeing about something. However, he was the first to rush off to Snow White’s aid though he didn’t want her there in the beginning.
Sleepy is a dwarf of few words who is always tired.
Sneezy is named by his powerful sneezes that can even move objects in the room.
Dopey is a silly dwarf who doesn’t speak; he is also the only one without a beard.