Summary: Jiminy Cricket played a guiding sidekick to Pinocchio and is synonymous with the word œconscience. He's been around for many generations and has quite the resume from starring in Disney films and other promotions.
Jiminy Cricket is one of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time. He serves as Pinocchio's conscience, helping him to make good decisions. Throughout Pinocchio, he wears a top hat and gloves and thus brings a classy presence to the scene. His most famous quote is probably œLet your conscience be your guide.
Carlo Collodi developed the original idea for the story of Pinocchio in a series of magazine articles he penned. In 1883, Collodi wrote the original novel entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio before Walt Disney created the animated movie. Collodi's version of Jiminy Cricket is a minor, nameless character and is referred to as the Talking Cricket. Unfortunately for Jiminy in Collodi's novel, he is killed in the first chapter. He appears late in the story as a ghost to guide Pinocchio. Jiminy was not originally in the script when the script for the movie Pinocchio was first written, but Walt Disney felt that the character helped make the story complete.
The name Jiminy Cricket came from an expression people said when they were surprised. The dwarves actually exclaim it in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Since Pinocchio became popular, however, the expression has become known as meaning the voice of reason or conscience.
Pinocchio was released in 1940, so Jiminy Cricket has been around for a few generations. He was originally voiced by the radio actor Cliff Edwards, who sang Jiminy's famous tune œWhen You Wish Upon a Star. This song was ranked seventh in the œTop Movie Songs of All Time list compiled by the American Film Institute. Eddie Carroll took over the role of Mr. Cricket in 1975. Other actors that gave Jiminy a voice include Carlo Romano in the Italian version of the film, and Kaneta Kimotsuki in the Japanese version. Jiminy has a tie to many famous pop stars, as well, including Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. Jiminy often appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club alongside them.
Jiminy was designed by Ward Kimball, who had worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs just before Pinocchio began production. Kimball felt disgruntled because a lot of his work had been cut from the final version of Snow White. He was about to quit working at Disney until Walt asked him to create Jiminy.
The radio version of Pinocchio was performed on December 25, 1939. It was significantly shorter than the animated film, but was performed by the same actors that voiced characters in the screenplay. Pinocchio was not originally released in Japan or Germany because of World War II. It finally hit theatres in these countries in the 1950's with unknown actors voicing the animated characters.
Throughout the years, Jiminy Cricket has proven to be quite the diverse actor. He educated children in a short film series called œI'm No Fool in the 1960's and 70's. He mainly taught kids about safety in these films. I guess Smoky the Bear was on vacation when they hired Jiminy. In 1983, he played the Ghost of Christmas Past in Mickey's Christmas Carol. Jiminy also had a small role in the film Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.
Although Pinocchio was not initially a huge success for the Disney Company, it gained in popularity as the years went by. Disney released the movie for a second time in 1945. When videotapes and DVD's became popular, Pinocchio became a movie families could enjoy from the comfort of their own homes. In fact, this movie was the very first motion picture that Disney released on DVD. It seems that with each new technology comes another generation that can appreciate Disney classics.
In 1994, the Disney Company started Jiminy Cricket's Environmental Challenge. The goal of this challenge is to get kids to help out nature and the environment. These days, Mr. Cricket spends his time at the Disney theme parks greeting children of all ages. He's sure to make œdreams come true for many more generations of kids and adults alike.