The sweetest tale of puppy love you ever did hear was inspired by a real-life Springer Spaniel named Lady Nell the Second.
The year was 1937 and Walt Disney and his team at Walt Disney Productions were off to work on their first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Character designer and story artist Joe Grant, meanwhile, was adjusting to his new role as dad, discovering along the way that his purebred pup was actually a pretty solid nanny to his non-furry child.
Inspired, the New York City native has said, "Ideas began to flow in form of drawings and story situations. One drawing in particular was especially poignant and I showed it to Walt. He gave us a big 'OK' to develop Lady's story into a feature, with the addition of Tramp to give the story a touch of romance."
Well, hot dog!
Except when Walt saw the draft—involving a visiting grandmother and her troublesome cats that attempt to frame Lady for, among other things, eating the pet canary—he wasn't convinced it was the cat's meow.
Unsatisfied, he shelved the whole thing and it was largely forgotten as the company shifted to focus on putting out propaganda films for World War II. It wasn't until 1943, when he came across Ward Greene's story in Cosmopolitan (back before the mag was largely the reading material of teen girls everywhere) about "Happy Day, the Whistling Dog", that he realized his old dog kist might have some new tricks.
The tales of a runaway purebred and the roaming street mutt were combined by Greene into a canine love story, Lady and the Tramp: The Story of Two Dogs, released in 1953 as a way to build up hype for the eventual film release.
And this dog had it's day, with the 1955 film earning $7.5 million after its June 22 release, the studio's most profitable hit since Snow White.
In the 455 dog years that followed, it was re-released five times, bringing in nearly $100 million more and inspiring generations of pasta lovers to get creative with their spaghetti consumption.
And since we can't just let sleeping dogs lie (we're like a dog with a bone, really), we're honoring the big 65th anniversary by digging up some of our favorite facts.