Minnie and I

Minnie and I

Friday, September 4, 2015

Who Wears It Best? Clarabelle Vs Winnie

While doing photo research, I came across a picture of Winnie Woodpecker, from Universal Studios. I noticed something curious about Winnie, her shoes. I looked at her shoes and something inside of me said "I have seen those shoes before." A quick thought later and I realized that Clarabelle Cow, from Disneyland, has similar shoes. After comparing pictures of Clarabelle's and Winnie's shoes, I came to the conclusion that both shoes are based from the same mold.

Clarabelle Cow, credit

Winnie Woodpecker, credit

Comparison between Winnie and Clarabelle
Winnie's image credit: Flickr User: Loren Javier
Clarabelle's image credit: Flickr User: Carlos

How did Universal Studios manage to pull this off? To use a mold created by Disney. Something to keep in mind, that Universal Studios is known for using outside companies to build some of their character costume mascots; while Disney build their costumes in house. I find it bizarre that a costume mold created by and for Disney would end up on other property. Let's me just say that the shoes are not 100% identical. The only difference is that Winnie's shoe's topline is very closed (like Minnie's shoes) and Clarabelle's shoe's topline is narrower. This difference can be fix in the molding process. 

Also, the shoes are not only Clarabelle's. In the costume world lingo, especially the Disney costume department, the shoes worn by Clarabelle are considered large pumps or large cartoon heels and are used for whom ever needs them. In Tokyo Disneyland's 2003 Mardi Gras, female stage dancers were using that particular shoe. This classification is like Mickey's gloves; they are not only used by Mickey but by other characters that require them.

The shoes were created around 1992 for Claracbelle and I'm still trying to pin-point the date where Winnie started to wear them. I think is around mid 2000's. The logical explanations for Winnie using these shoes are that somehow Universal (or the company hired to create the costume) got a hold of the mold and used it for Winnie. Or its just a bizarre coincidence. Finally, who wears them better? Clarabelle or Winnie?