Thumper from Bambi: Peter Behn Q & A

Bambi and Thumper in Bambi. Courtesy Walt Disney Home Video.

Peter Behn was only 4 years old when he got offered the chance to voice the adorable rabbit Thumper in Walt Disney’s Bambi. By the time he was done his recording duties two years later, Behn and his family had moved away from Hollywood, and his ambitions to continue acting were gone. As he got older he rarely talked about portraying the iconic character, and only on occasion did it come up amongst friends and loved ones. With Bambi celebrating its 78th anniversary this year, Behn, opened up about his part in Disney history and how it all came to be.

Bamcat.com spoke with Behn during his press tour in Toronto. Read our Q&A below.

Bamcat.com: Do you remember how you got the role of Thumper?

Peter Behn: My father was a screenwriter in Hollywood working for Howard Hughes. He wrote the screenplay for Hell’s Angels and heard that Disney was having a major production forthcoming, and that they were auditioning for the part of Bambi. He took me over to audition, but my voice was not great for Bambi. The animators heard it and felt my voice would be perfect for the rabbit.

Bamcat: You were quite young at the time, were you a fan of Disney films?

PB: I was 4 to 6 during the making of the movie. I was just a kid and didn’t really know about them at the time. I had seen Mickey Mouse.

Basmcat: How was the experience for you at the time?

PB: I just know that when I was in the recording studio with the director, who was reading the lines with me, I was sort of copying them back at him and we made a game out of everything. The whole experience was like play and fun instead of work. I was a perky kid I guess and that’s what made my voice so good for Thumper.

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Bamcat: Did your friends at the time know you were working on an animated film?

PB: Most of my friends didn’t know about it. It wasn’t something that was a subject that came up much and I didn’t talk about it. It was only later in life that I’ve been willing to talk about it. My friends now think it’s kind of cool, but not much is made of it.

Bamcat: What was your reaction to the film when you first saw it?

PB: I was pretty young and even though it was my voice I was hearing, I thought the movie was pretty exciting and scary at the end.

Bamcat: Does it surprise you the movie has lived on over the course of 70 years?

PB: In retrospect, it’s not so surprising. It really does have an enduring quality to it that seems to work for each generation of kids that comes along. And this latest version on Blu-ray, particularly if you compare it to the previous DVD or VHS releases, they were able to bring the quality of the movie up to current standards. Considering its 78 years old it’s pretty amazing. There is something captivating about the way it was drawn and scripted, and the voices, it has all held together and is very rewarding for me to be part of that legacy.

Bamcat: Thumper became an iconic character after the film came out, why did you not stick with voice work or acting?

PB: My father had decided to leave Hollywood. He was disenchanted with what he felt was the direction of Hollywood’s life and he didn’t want me to become a Hollywood brat. So he went back to academia. He was a college professor at the University of Arizona in Tuscan for a number of years after we left and then we moved East and he became a writer again. He took me away from it so there was no temptation for me to continue and I never went back to it.

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Bamcat: If someone offered you a role now would you take it?

PB: At my age? I don’t think so. I would do a voice thing happily.

Bamcat: How has doing the voice of Thumper changed your life, if at all?

PB: Actually, until recently it really hasn’t. I no longer hide my existence as Thumper, but I don’t go around bragging about it. If people talk about it or want to talk about it, I will. And it does bring some joy to people who feel they have “met Thumper”. But really it has not changed my life.

Bambi is now available on Blu-ray in Bambi I and Bambi II. Please enjoy the trailer below:

The Force is strong at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Disney Hollywood Studios

Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios is getting its ‘Star Wars’ on.

When Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas we all knew it wasn’t just to make more movies. Disney wanted the brand so they could incorporate it into their TV shows, video games and theme parks. And it appears fans have been pleased with how Disney has handled their purchase of Star Wars so far.

The Force Awakens is still earning gobs of money and rave reviews at the box office and Disney Infinity 3.0, the latest installment in their video game series, is one of the best games the house of mouse has ever released. But what about the theme parks?

RELATED: Thinking about booking a family trip to Disney World? Check out this hot deal

The Star Wars Launch Bay opened at Walt Disney World’s Disney Hollywood Studios in December and has become a popular spot among guests. It features galleries, props from the movies and photo ops with Star Wars characters, including newest villain Kylo Ren.

Other recent additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios include a revamped Star Tours attraction, First Order stormtrooper patrols, a re-imagined Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Star Wars-themed food and drinks and the cinematic experience Star Wars: Path of the Jedi.

On top of all that the company announced last week a few more reasons for Star Wars fans to visit the Florida park this year.

The live stage show Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away opens on April 4 and will run multiple times a day. It features classic moments from the Star Wars movies with characters like Chewbacca, Darth Vader and Darth Maul making appearances.

Along with the live show comes the Stormtroopers march, which sees a squad of First Order stormtroopers march in formation from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the Center Stage area. It will happen at various times a day with Captain Phasma leading the march.

And beginning this summer is the next generation fireworks display, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. This nightly show, which Disney says is “unprecedented in Disney’s Hollywood Studios history” combines Star Wars-themed music and characters with fireworks, lasers, light projections and other special effects. Disney knows how to do fireworks and from the official description this sounds amazing.

About Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular:

Through these state-of-the-art special effects that project onto the nearby Chinese Theatre and other surrounding buildings, guests will gaze at the twin suns of Tatooine, push through a field of battle droids, navigate through an asteroid field, soar down the trench of the Death Star and deliver the final blow to destroy Starkiller Base. The show, which will unfold through a series of acts, will be punctuated by a tower of fire as well as powerful spotlight beams that create lightsabers in the sky.

Check out some concept art below of more Star Wars-themed attractions planned for both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California.

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Disney's Star Wars land concept art

Are you excited for all the Star Wars-themed attractions coming to Walt Disney World and Disneyland? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.