Hattie Noel as Hyacinth Hippo

Hattie Noel

This post got deleted during our troublesome server upgrade last week so I’ll try it again. As a followup to a post earlier this month, above are two more photos which have appeared on eBay of actress Hattie Noel from her posing sessions as the model for Hyacinth Hippo in Disney’s Fantasia.

Alex Rannie writes that Hattie Noel’s live-action work can also be found on YouTube. This clip is a cameo in The Women (Hattie appears as the maid on the train at 00:24). Even more interesting is the clip posted below about which Rannie writes:

This is a specialty dance sequence, “Alice Blue Gown,” from Irene (1940) which features Hattie Noel dancing up a storm (Hattie enters at 03:47 and jitterbugs at 04:32). Hattie’s part is all too brief, but if you keep an eye peeled you can get a sense of how she helped to inspire the animators to great heights in Fantasia’s “Dance of the Hours.”

One more note: Disney Editions will be publishing a book later this year by dance historian Mindy Aloff entitled Hippo in a Tutu: Dancing in Disney Animation. This would be the ideal platform to officially acknowledge Noel’s heretofore unacknowledged contributions to the Disney canon. Alex Rannie, who has been helping out with the research for that book, says that because of our post earlier this month, there is indeed a chance that Noel’s work on the film will be included in the book, which is wonderful news to hear.

(Thanks to the indispensable Disney History blog for pointing out the new photos)


  • Chuck R.

    Sounds like a fascinating read, and I’m glad that Hattie Noel’s work will be recognized. I hope Ms. Aloff and Mr. Rannie can give us more backstory on how Noel was selected and how she was approached for the role. There isn’t much about the book on Amazon. Hopefully, someone involved can give us more details about the book when they’re available.

    Thanks, Amid and DHB for the original posting and the follow-up!

  • Atlanta

    She looks degraded and terribly unhappy.