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Disney's 1963 film The Sword in the Stone famously used three boys to voice "Wart" (Arthur), leading to some obvious continuity errors as his voice keeps breaking and unbreaking. Why did they do this? An answer will clearly have two parts: what went wrong with the original casting to necessitate a recast, and why didn't they re-record the lines? Even if none of the old audio could be salvaged in such an effort, one would think re-recording well under 2 hours of dialogue would be a trivial effort compared to the scale of the project.

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The budget is to blame:

Part of the problem stemmed from a simple lack of money. Despite the success of One Hundred and One Dalmatians, Disney did not want to risk that much money on the film, and severely trimmed the film’s budget. It shows. If, for instance, you’re watching the film in a casual sort of way and just happen to think, huh, that shot of Kay eating a big leg of meat looks suspiciously familiar, that’s because it is suspiciously familiar: it appears in the film three times. Other bits were traced from earlier animation work, setting an unfortunate precedent.

This impacted the voicing:

The budget cuts also show in the voicing. This is arguably the weakest vocal film of any of the Disney films done under Walt Disney’s direct supervision (we will encounter a couple of upcoming films that are worse), a particular disappointment after the spectacular voice work for Cruella de Vil in the previous films. Most notable: the voicing of the film’s supposed protagonist, Wart, who was voiced by three different child actors. Two were brothers, and sound somewhat similar; the third was not, and sounds distinctly different. Given that the film is about growing up, this problem might have been overcome—except that the director inexplicably chose to leave all three voices in for some scenes, drawing attention to the problem that they were not the same actor.

  • Is (was) it cheaper to hire three people (albeit two were brothers) over just one? I was thinking it would be due to working hour constraints (like how twins are commonly used for TV shows, so they can film more hours without breaking child labor laws). Considering it costs time and money to cast, get and fill out contracts, get time in the booth to record, I would have thought that it would have been cheaper to use just one kid over a few days. – BruceWayne Mar 28 '17 at 1:05

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