Who run the world? GIRLS! Every Friday I’ll be highlighting a female in the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, or Studio Ghibli Universe. To make it even more fun, we are going to highlight everyone from characters to cast to chairpersons. I can’t wait to not only explore new characters but learn about the influential women in the industry! Let’s get started.
#FemaleFriday: Clarabelle Cow
Jasmine: [to Clarabelle] Looks like a cow.
Clarabelle Cow: And proud of it!
Ms. Clarabelle Cow, she is beauty and she is grace; in her way. When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the leading ladies of the Mouse House. Sure, I wanted to be a Princess but in reality I wanted the closet of either Minnie Mouse, Daisy Duck, or … Clarabelle Cow. I thought when I got older all of my clothes, shoes, and accessories would look like theirs; that I would wear poofy bows and chunky shoes. Mainly, I wanted the huge poofy, plush bows. Clarabelle is a part of the Disney fashion trifecta that I looked up to, and I’m pretty excited to tell you more about her!
Clarabelle is a good time. Clarabelle is the friend at brunch who knows everything about everyone. You aren’t even sure HOW she heard that info about you, but she did. Clarabelle is a gossipy gal, but her friends know that she means well. Although well-meaning, her gossiping has been known to get her into trouble with Mickey and the gang. Clarabelle has been described as sarcastic and self-righteous. Regardless, her speech often mimics that of a business woman yet she is also PUNNY (get it?). If any word that can incorporate ‘moo’ she will be all over it. On the whole, Clarabelle is a lady with an entrepreneurial spirit. I like her; she’s sassy! If you’re scratching your head wondering where I’ve deducted this…it’s from loads of reading and Clarabelle watching. And I’ve conclude it’s true. Moo-ving along.
Hobbies: wearing a bell as a necklace, shopping, start-up’s (she owns a Moo-Mart!), hanging out with the girls, being a social butterfly, romance (Horace, Goofy, Clark Gable), and adventure.
A Bit of History
Clarabelle Cow was formerly Caroline Cow. We’ll never know why she decided to change her name. Maybe she got sick of being the unnamed farm cow until the animation short “The Shindig” (1930). Clarabelle’s first real speaking part was in “The Prince and the Pauper” (1990), but her larger role in the Disney Universe didn’t begin until the 2000’s where she started to appear in television shows, movies, games, comics, and within the parks. [ Fun tidbit….in Disney’s “The Three Musketeers” (2004) our friend here plays a VILLAIN. WHAT. Yeah, it doesn’t last long. ]
1928 PLANE CRAZY (farm cow) <— Caroline Cow. Or, a Cow Has No Name.
1929 THE PLOW BOY (farm cow)
1929 MICKEY’S CHOO-CHOO (farm cow)
1930 THE BARNYARD CONCERT ( playing flute )
1930 THE SHINDIG (1st time named) <— Clarabelle Cow.
MORE MICKEY CARTOONS. COMICS. 60 years. Sixty.
1990 THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER <—SHE SPEAKS.
2000’s The world is finally coming up Clarabelle (Now she’s getting jobs!)
Voice Actresses: Elvia Allman (pre-2000) and April Winchelle (post 2000)
Horace and Goofy
Our girl CC (new nickname) is a romantic. Clarabelle met Mickey’s friend and her first beau, Horace Horsecollar, in 1930. CC has been engaged to Horace, attended numerous parties with him, and rekindled their relationship in games such as Kingdom Hearts and Epic Mickey. You could say that that Clarabelle and Horace were high school sweethearts for give or take sixty years. In recent years, CC has fallen for another by the name of Goofy. They mesh well, he loves the way she sings and her witty puns. CC is head over heels for Goofy. This has been a stable relationship for her since the 90’s. Although more popularly known in TV and movies to spend time with Goofy, she will always be seen waltzing the parks with Horace. There was a scandal in 1936 where she kissed Clark Gable, but Olivia Pope has since covered that up. Kidding, it wasn’t a scandal and Oliva Pope was booked at the time. One of the coolest things about CC is that she is one of the classic characters that has kept her options open!
The Udder Dilemma
During my research on CC, I kept finding information about a time in the film industry when udders were being displayed and then censored in animation. I’m talking about cow udders here. In”The Shindig” (1930), Clarabelle is lounging on her bed on all fours reading and then gets up to cover herself up with a skirt. It’s the last time she ever appears without a skirt or dress for her career. It points to the anthropomorphic nature of Clarabelle in comparison to a regular barn cow, but…she is still a cow. This awesome blog post by Maren Williams articulates the censorship to a T. It’s linked in my references below but I’m going to add it here if you’d like to learn more:
“Although other studios also used cows in their cartoons, the udder restrictions are most easily traced via Disney’s Clarabelle Cow.” -Maren Williams
That’s our first #FemaleFriday! Clarabelle Cow isn’t completely forgotten but she can become background noise among characters that we consider heavy hitters. I like her backstory, history, and who she is as a character. She isn’t shiny or perfect, but she voices her opinion and is sassy. Thanks for joining me and feel free to comment, fact check, or share!
See ya’ real soon!
[ Post-Script: Hey, Disney people! Sorry for the second lapse in updates. I said this very briefly before, but I’m a migraine sufferer. For the past month and change, I’ve been having on/off again pain and pressure that I’ve been combating with diet and self-care. Overall, my focus has been on just being able to feel good. I promise I am back for real! … hang on, let me knock on wood.]