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Lambert the Sheepish Lion

The fun thing about this marathon of Disney movies and attractions is that it has lead to me discovering all sorts of odd little pieces of ephemera I had no idea about - the Seven Wise Dwarves war cartoon; the Figaro spin-offs and now this, a 'spiritual sequel' to Dumbo featuring the character of Mr Stork.

Why 'spiritual sequel'?  Lambert, the Sheepish Lion is a Disney short about Mr Stork accidentally delivering a lion cub to a flock of sheep.  The cub grows up, mocked by the other lambs only to prove himself worthy of their respect when he grows up.

The parallels with Dumbo are plain.  First of all is the arrival of Mr Stork, voiced again by Sterling Holloway.  He arrives with a bag of lambs instructing them to each find a ewe to be their mother.  One ewe, though, is left without a lamb; just like Mrs Jumbo in Dumbo being without her baby when Mr Stork arrives later than the other storks at the beginning of the film.  Mr Stork then finds Lambert, the lion cub, at the bottom of the bag and despite wanting to take him to his proper home in South Africa, the lamb-less ewe decides, quite violently, to take the cub as her own child (who knows what happened to the poor lioness in South Africa who never received her baby...).

Lambert is mocked by the other lambs in the same way Dumbo is mocked by the other elephants.

Eventually, though, when it matters, Lambert - like Dumbo - finds courage and shows what he is capable of; rescuing his mother from a wolf.  All ends happily.

Intriguingly, just like with Dumbo, Lambert never speaks and the story is narrated by Mr Stork/Sterling Holloway.  

This is a fun short not dissimilar to the tale of the Ugly Duckling - indeed the parallels with the Ugly Duckling are something I failed to point out when reviewing Dumbo.  They are even more obvious in Lambert with the idea of a lion cub mistakenly delivered to sheep in the same way the cygnet is accidentally mixed up with the duckling eggs in The Ugly Duckling.  A Disney twist on a familiar story and interesting to see another minor character from a Disney feature film be given further life outside of their origins.


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