AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Lady and the Tramp
Director: Hamilton Luske (Dir)
Release Date:   Jul 1955
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 Jun 1955
Duration (in mins):   75-76
Print this page
Display Movie Summary


Cast:   Peggy Lee (Voice of Darling, Peg, Si and Am)  
    Barbara Luddy (Voice of Lady)  
    Larry Roberts (Voice of Tramp)  
    Bill Thompson (Voice of Jock, Bull and Dachsie)  
    Bill Baucom (Voice of Trusty)  
    Stan Freberg (Voice of Beaver)  
    Verna Felton (Voice of Aunt Sarah)  
    Alan Reed (Voice of Boris)  
    George Givot (Voice of Tony)  
    Dallas McKennon (Voice of Toughy and Professor)  
    Lee Millar (Voice of Jim Dear)  
    The Mello Men    

Summary: In an American city during the early 1900s, Jim Dear presents his new wife Darling with a cocker spaniel puppy in a hatbox. They name her “Lady” and furnish her with a bed in the spare room, but as soon as they retire to their bedroom, the lonely puppy cries. Despite Jim Dear’s scolding and the huge staircase that she must surmount, Lady is determined to join them upstairs, and is soon allowed in their bed “just for tonight.” Six months later, Lady is still allowed in the bed, and enjoys her pampered lifestyle with her beloved owners. One day, she is given a license and collar, and rushes to display her new finery to her neighborhood friends, Scottish terrier Jock and elderly hound Trusty. Both admire her “badge of respectability,” and consider her life complete. Meanwhile, nearby a mongrel dog named Tramp enjoys a life of unfettered ease, disturbed only by the dogcatchers who impound all dogs without licenses. One day, when Tramp discovers his friends Peg, a Pekingese, and bulldog Bull in the dog wagon, he releases them and evades the dogcatcher by fleeing into Lady’s upper-class neighborhood. There, Jock and Trusty are consoling Lady, who is convinced her owners no longer love her. After she describes their symptoms, which include knitting booties and acting skittishly, the older dogs realize that Darling is expecting and try to explain “the birds and the bees” to Lady. Just then, Tramp joins them and angers Lady by declaring that her humans will have only enough room in their hearts for the baby. Months pass, during which Lady’s household readies for the baby, which arrives in April. Lady wonders what could be so special about the little boy until she sees him, after which she adores him as much as his parents do. The newly expanded family lives peacefully until one day Jim Dear and Darling decide to go away for the weekend and leave Aunt Sarah to baby-sit. Aunt Sarah, who has two wily Siamese cats, Si and Am, despises dogs and considers Lady a danger to the baby. After Si and Am wreak havoc in the living room, Lady tries to maintain order but receives only a scolding from Aunt Sarah. The next day, when Aunt Sarah brings Lady to a pet store and fits her with a muzzle, Lady recoils and races out of the shop. The muzzle and its attached leash attract the attention of three mean dogs, who chase her into an alleyway. There, Tramp spots the commotion and bravely rushes to Lady’s defense. After chasing off the dogs, Tramp brings Lady to the zoo, which does not allow dogs, in order to find someone to remove the muzzle. At the gate, he cleverly creates a hubbub that allows them to slip inside unnoticed. They soon find a beaver, and when he declares himself too busy moving logs to help, Tramp declares the muzzle a “log puller” and convinces the beaver to bite it off of Lady’s snout. Dubbing Lady “Pidge,” Tramp shows her the city, singing the praises of his “footloose and collar free” lifestyle. He brings her to Joe’s restaurant, where Joe, recognizing Lady’s pedigree, prepares a romantic meal of spaghetti and meatballs. While enjoying their dinner, Lady and Tramp unintentionally begin eating opposite ends of the same piece of pasta, realizing only after their lips meet in an impromptu kiss. Later, they walk through the park in the moonlight and sleep in the open air. In the morning, Lady wants to rush home, but Tramp urges her to see the world with him. When Lady reluctantly insists that she must watch the baby, Tramp leads her home, but along the way convinces her to stop to chase some chickens. As a result, they are shot at by a farmer and, upon escaping into the street, Lady is captured by the dogcatchers. She is brought to the pound, where the other inmates admire her license, calling it “a passage to freedom.” They are planning a prison break, hoping to avoid the fate of Nutsy, who is being put to sleep. Later, as the dogs discuss Tramp’s womanizing, Peg states that if he were tamed by a woman, he would instantly become vulnerable to the dogcatcher. Aunt Sarah soon brings Lady home but ties her up in the doghouse outside. The next day, Tramp shows up just as Jock and Trusty are each proposing to Lady in order to furnish her with a kinder family. Lady turns her back on Tramp, more angry about his long list of girl friends than about her time in the pound. As Tramp retreats, Lady spots a rat scurrying through the yard and tries to attack it. Aunt Sarah hears her barking and opens the nursery window, inadvertently letting the rat inside. Tramp returns to help, rushing into the nursery, where he topples the cradle while killing the rat behind the window drape. Lady manages to break free and rushes upstairs to check on the baby, who is unharmed. Aunt Sarah, however, rushes in and disturbs the baby, then blames his crying on the dogs. She locks up Lady and calls the dogcatcher to impound Tramp. Just as Tramp is loaded into the wagon, Jim Dear and Darling return and free Lady, who shows them the body of the rat. Realizing that Tramp was protecting the baby, they take Lady in the car and follow the dogcatchers. At the same time, Jock and Trusty comprehend that they have misjudged Tramp and set off to stop the wagon, and even though Trusty long ago lost his sense of smell, he regains it now. He heroically tracks the wagon and knocks it over just as Lady arrives, but her joy in rescuing Tramp is tempered by seeing Trusty pinned under the wagon’s wheel. Months later, Lady and Tramp are not only married but the proud parents of four puppies. They, along with Jim Dear and Darling and the baby, are thrilled to receive a visit from Jock and Trusty, who is now sporting a leg cast.  

Production Company: Walt Disney Productions  
Production Text: A Walt Disney Production
Distribution Company: Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.  
Director: Hamilton Luske (Dir)
  Clyde Geronimi (Dir)
  Wilfred Jackson (Dir)
Producer: Walt Disney (Pres)
  Erdman Penner (Assoc prod)
Writer: Erdman Penner (Story)
  Joe Rinaldi (Story)
  Ralph Wright (Story)
  Don Da Gradi (Story)
Film Editor: Don Halliday (Film ed)
Music: Oliver Wallace (Mus score)
  Edward Plumb (Orch)
  Sidney Fine (Orch)
  John Rarig (Vocal arr)
  Evelyn Kennedy (Mus ed)
Sound: C. O. Slyfield (Sd dir)
  Harold J. Steck (Sd rec)
  Robert O. Cook (Sd rec)
Special Effects: Ub Iwerks (Spec processes)
Animation: Milt Kahl (Dir anim)
  Frank Thomas (Dir anim)
  Ollie Johnston (Dir anim)
  John Lounsbery (Dir anim)
  Wolfgang Reitherman (Dir anim)
  Eric Larson (Dir anim)
  Hal King (Dir anim)
  Les Clark (Dir anim)
  Ken Anderson (Layout)
  Tom Codrick (Layout)
  McLaren Stewart (Layout)
  Al Zinnen (Layout)
  Don Griffith (Layout)
  A. Kendall O'Connor (Layout)
  Thor Putnam (Layout)
  Hugh Hennesy (Layout)
  Colin Campbell (Layout)
  Lance Nolley (Layout)
  Victor Haboush (Layout)
  Jacques Ruff (Layout)
  Bill Bosche (Layout)
  Claude Coats (Backgrounds)
  Al Dempster (Backgrounds)
  Dick Anthony (Backgrounds)
  Thelma Witmer (Backgrounds)
  Ralph Hulett (Backgrounds)
  Eyvind Earle (Backgrounds)
  Jimi Trout (Backgrounds)
  Ray Huffine (Backgrounds)
  Brice Mack (Backgrounds)
  Bruce Bushman (Backgrounds)
  George Nicholas (Character anim)
  Harvey Toombs (Character anim)
  Hal Ambro (Character anim)
  Cliff Nordberg (Character anim)
  Ken O'Brien (Character anim)
  Don Lusk (Character anim)
  Jerry Hathcock (Character anim)
  George Kreisl (Character anim)
  Eric Cleworth (Character anim)
  Hugh Fraser (Character anim)
  Marvin Woodward (Character anim)
  John Freeman (Character anim)
  Ed Aardal (Character anim)
  Jack Campbell (Character anim)
  John Sibley (Character anim)
  Bob Carlson (Character anim)
  George Rowley (Eff anim)
  Dan MacManus (Eff anim)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music: "Home Sweet Home," traditional.
Songs: "He's a Tramp," "Bella Notte," "Peace on Earth," "Siamese Cat Song" and "La La Lu," words and music by Peggy Lee and Sonny Burke.
Composer: Sonny Burke
  Peggy Lee
Source Text: Based on the book Lady and the Tramp; The Story of Two Dogs by Ward Greene (New York, 1953).
Authors: Ward Greene

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Walt Disney Productions 28/2/1955 dd/mm/yyyy LP4675

PCA NO: 17122
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound Recording
  col: Technicolor
  Widescreen/ratio: CinemaScope
  Anim:

 
Genre: Children's works
  Romantic comedy
Sub-Genre: Animation
  Animal
 
Subjects (Major): Class distinction
  Dogs
  Maturation
  Romance
 
Subjects (Minor): Aunts
  Beavers
  Cats
  Dog-catchers
  Euthanasia
  False accusations
  Freethinkers
  Friendship
  Gifts
  Infants
  Italian Americans
  Kisses
  Pregnancy
  Rats
  Rescues
  Spaghetti
  Womanizers
  Wounds and injuries
  Zoos

Note: The opening cast credits are preceded by the phrase, “With the talents of.” The story begins with the following written foreword: “‘In the whole history of the world there is but one thing money can not buy… to wit—the wag of a dog’s tail.’ –Josh Billings. So it is to all dogs—be they Ladies or Tramps that this picture is respectfully dedicated.” Billings was the pen name of nineteenth-century humorist Henry Wheeler Shaw.
       The following information is taken from studio press materials, unless otherwise noted: The inspiration for Lady and the Tramp came in 1925 when Walt Disney presented his wife with a cocker spaniel puppy in a hatbox. Although originally conceived of as a short film, by 1942, according to a 10 Apr 1942 HR news item, the studio was already working on storylines for a feature-length version of Lady and the Tramp . Modern sources state that Frank Tashlin and Sam Cobean worked on a version of the story in the early 1940s. At that point, the story centered on the character of “Lady,” but subsequent versions included a mongrel male dog character named, at different times, Homer, Rags, and Bozo. A Jun 1943 storyboard included Lady, Bozo, Siamese cats named Nip and Tuck, and a rat. Later in 1943, Disney read a story in Cosmopolitan magazine by King Features Syndicate general manger Ward Greene, entitled “Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog,” and hired Greene to write the “Dan” character into his film. As a result, Greene created “Tramp,” and published the novel on which the film was based, Lady and the Tramp; The Story of Two Dogs , in 1953.
       In the meantime, with the advent of World War II, the studio shelved all fiction films in order to focus on production of war-related films for the government, and the feature was not worked on again until 1952, at which point a 29 Jun 1952 NYT article noted that the budget was set for $2.5 million. The final cost of the film reached $4 million. More than 150 animators worked for four years on the film, creating approximately two million drawings. Artists built a complete miniature replica of Lady’s home, a Victorian Gothic mansion, furnished and decorated exactly as seen in the final drawings. With this set, animators were able to choose unusual “camera” angles and to determine the point-of-view perspective of a small dog.
       “Peg,” the Pekingese, was originally named “Mame” in reference to her prominent bangs, which reminded animators of current First Lady Mamie Eisenhower. To avoid offending Mrs. Eisenhower, Disney changed the dog’s name to honor singer Peggy Lee, who inspired the sultry character’s personality and provided her voice, as well as that of “Darling, “Si” and “Am.” The model for Lady was a cocker spaniel named Blondie that belonged to actress Verna Felton, the voice of “Aunt Sarah.” Tramp’s model was a female mutt rescued from the local pound. Felton’s son, Lee Millar, played “Jim Dear.”
       Lady and the Tramp marked Disney’s first feature cartoon based on an original story rather than a classic, as well as the first ever animated feature to be shot in CinemaScope. Disney promoted the film on his television series, Disneyland , by including footage on programs broadcast on 1 Dec 1954 and 16 Feb 1955. Although critical reception to the released film was lukewarm, audiences loved it, and Lady and the Tramp has since become one of Disney’s most beloved classics. As noted in a 1 Oct 1956 LAT article, Italy honored the film with the David di Donatello award for highest excellence in motion-picture production. Since its release, the scene in which Lady and Tramp share a plate of spaghetti has often been included in montages of great moments in American film history, as well as being parodied in various comedies.
       The picture was re-released in 1971 and again in 1980 for its twenty-fifth anniversary. In Dec 1987, Disney released the first videotape version of the picture. A 17 Nov 1988 HR article reports that by the following year it had grossed over $90 million, making it the third largest-grossing video to that time. On 16 Nov 1988, according to the HR article, Lee sued the studio for $25 million for breach of her 1952 contract, which prohibited “phonograph recordings and/or transcriptions” of the songs she wrote for the film without her permission. The lawsuit, which asked for a portion of the videotape’s profits, was considered a potential landmark ruling in the marketing of current technologies such as videotape, which had not been invented at the time of the original contract. On 11 Apr 1990, Var reported that Lee had won a summary judgment in the suit and would ask for $12.5 million. Although HR noted on 13 Mar 1991 that Disney’s lawyers asked for a mistrial after Lee’s lawyer told the jury that another star had also sued the studio over video rights, the mistrial was not allowed. The Wall Street Journal announced on 21 Mar 1991 that Lee had won the suit. According to that article, although the jury awarded cumulative damages of $3.8 million, the judge ruled that only the largest single award, that of $2.3 million, could be counted. On 17 Apr 1991, as noted in a The Wall Street Journal news item, Disney stated they would appeal the verdict, but on 8 Oct 1992, according to a LAT news item, a California Court of Appeal upheld the initial judgment.
       As noted in a 9 Jun 1997 Var article, Buena Vista reissued Lady and the Tramp in Italy on 5 Jun 1997, under the title Lillie e il vagabondo , with a completely redubbed dialogue track that featured actors Margherita Buy, Claudio Amendola, Nancy Brilli, Riccardo Garrone and Marco Columbro. On 27 Feb 2001 the studio released a straight-to-video sequel entitled Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp’s Adventures , which starred Scott Wolf and Alyssa Milano. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   23 Apr 1955.   
Daily Variety   19 Apr 55   p. 3.
Daily Variety   18 Dec 1992   p. 5.
Film Daily   19 Apr 55   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Apr 1942   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   19 Apr 55   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   27 Feb 1998.   
Hollywood Reporter   17 Nov 1988   pp. 3- 4.
Hollywood Reporter   13 Mar 1991   p. 4, 34.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Mar 1991   p. 1, 19.
Los Angeles Examiner   5 Jun 1955   sec. 1, part C, p. 6.
Los Angeles Mirror   13 Jun 1955   part II, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times   1 Oct 1959.   
Los Angeles Times   8 Oct 1992.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   23 Apr 55   p. 409.
New York Times   29 Jun 1952.   
New York Times   24 Jun 55   p. 17.
Variety   20 Apr 55   p. 6.
Variety   11 Apr 1990.   
Variety   18 Mar 1991.   
Variety   9 Jun 1997.   
Wall Street Journal   17 Apr 1991.   
Wall Street Journal   21 Mar 1991   p. B1, B7.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
Advanced Search
AFI Membership
The definitive list of classic American films

© 2014 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.