He flew into our hearts in 1941. Now, more than 75 years later, he's landing again.
"I saw it as a little kid, but that was a while ago," said Andrew Benincasa, a student at Manlius Pebble Hill School.
"I saw the Dumbo trailer. I was like, 'Oh my God, they’re coming out with a new movie about this this year," said Grace Zhang, another student at Manlius Pebble Hill School.
Few know Dumbo got his wings, or should we say ears, right here in Syracuse.
"I always thought Dumbo was from Dr. Suess. I had no idea that it was from Syracuse," said Manlius Pebble Hill student Ahmad El-Hindi.
"Helen Aberson was a Syracuse girl, actually went on to Syracuse University and with her first husband, Harold Pearl, wrote the story for the flying elephant Dumbo," said Gregg Tripoli, Onondaga Historical Association Executive Director.
The duo became a trio after teaming up with Syracuse illustrator, Helen Durny and the first image of Dumbo was born.
"In 1939, they actually wanted to make a book out of that story and they were talking to a local publisher to do that. He actually suggested that they send the story to Disney and see if Walt maybe wanted to make a movie of it. The Disney studios were really in tough shape at the time because they had just suffered to major losses with big flops," said Tripoli.
Dumbo ended up being just what Disney needed.
"Low and behold, Dumbo was actually the most successful film of the entire decade of the 40's for Disney. It really got them in back up and running condition," said Tripoli.
"It's really cool that something that came out of Syracuse saved such a large corporation and something that's like impactful on many kids' lives," said Benincasa.
Dumbo won the Academy Award for best score in 1941 and most recently...
"Selected by the Library of Congress to be immortalized and to be restored because of its historical and aesthetic significance....Our local history is really amazing and the impact and the influence that it's had on our national American way of life is astounding. Dumbo is really just one tiny example that I mean this character has launched on merchandise, on rides on attractions form Disney and attractions all over the world," said Tripoli.
Students visiting the Onondaga Historical Association were here to research how to start their own school museum. After seeing the exhibit, they were inspired to see how their school might have impacted the entire nation.
"It just makes you think that if such a big city could sort of forget that someone from that city had such a big impact, maybe our school has had alumni who hasn't had as big an impact, but has done important things that weren't recognized that could be recognized," said El-Hindi.