Since its release 60 years ago this week (on June 22, 1955), "Lady and the Tramp" has been not just one of the most beloved Disney animated features ever made, but also one of the great romances in screen history.
Still, as often as you've seen it, there's still plenty you may not know about how the canine classic came to be, So grab a plate of spaghetti and meatballs and chow down on 19 of "Lady"'s behind-the-scenes dish.
1. It took nearly 20 years to get the film made. The main character originated in sketches made by Disney animator Joe Grant in 1937, based on his own spaniel, whose name was Lady. Grant envisioned a short cartoon about a dog who's puzzled by the arrival of his masters' newborn baby.
2. By 1940, Walt Disney had imagined expanding the short into a feature and adding a dog-hating housesitter, two mischievous Siamese cats (then named Nip and Tuck), and a suitor for Lady, a mongrel who might be named Homer or Rags or Bozo. Unable to settle on a name for the wandering, homeless pooch, Walt decided to just go with Tramp.
3. In 1943, Walt read Ward Greene's short story "Happy Dan: The Cynical Dog" in Cosmopolitan magazine, the tale of a stray who revels in his ability to manipulate humans all over town into giving him free meals. Disney bought the film rights, but it took another eight years to merge the dog tales into the "Lady and the Tramp" screenplay.
4. In 1953, two years before the film's release, Walt had Greene expand his story into a novel, so that moviegoers would be familiar with the tale by the time the movie came out.
5. The scene where Darling opens a gift-wrapped hat box to find the puppy Lady inside is based on an incident from Walt Disney's own life, in which he presented his wife Lillian with the Christmas gift of a Chow puppy in a hat box.
6. Peggy Lee was perhaps the first major star to sign on as a voice actor in a Disney cartoon. The torch singer voiced the roles of Darling, pound hound Peg, and cats Si and Am. She also co-wrote all the songs (with Sonny Burke) and sang four of them ("What Is a Baby," "La La Lu," "The Siamese Cat Song," and "He's a Tramp").
7. In 1988, Lee sued Disney over music royalties from the successful video release. It took three years, but she won $2.3 million.
8. Barbara Luddy was 46 when she voiced the youthful Lady. She would go on to perform the voices of the fairy Merryweather in Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" and Kanga in several of Disney's "Winnie the Pooh" shorts.
9. Lee Millar, who voiced Lady's master, Jim Dear, was the son of Verna Felton, who voiced the part of cat-loving visitor Aunt Sarah. She had earlier played the Fairy Godmother in Disney's "Cinderella" and the Queen of Hearts in the studio's "Alice in Wonderland."
10. Larry Roberts, who voiced Tramp, was a stage actor and stand-up comic. "Lady and the Tramp" was his only film role.
11. Other veteran voice artists were brought in from outside the studio. Alan Reed (later the voice of Fred Flintstone) was Boris, the Russian wolfhound. Comic Stan Freberg was the whistling beaver who frees Lady from her muzzle.
12. The iconic spaghetti scene almost didn't happen. Walt nixed the idea, assuming that the spectacle of two animals scarfing down pasta in tomato sauce would be messy and awkward. But animator Frank Thomas worked up a rough version of the scene that changed Disney's mind.
13. The model for Tramp was actually a female mutt that co-screenwriter Erdman "Ed" Penner spotted on the street. The dog vanished into the bushes, but Disney staffers ultimately found her again in the pound, where she was just four hours away from being put down. Once rescued, she lived happily ever after at the Disneyland pony farm.
14. Disney employees brought their dogs to the studios as models for the animators. One of the models for Lady was Felton's own Spaniel, Hildegarde.The other was Blondie, the spaniel of co-director Hamilton Luske.
15. "Lady and the Tramp" was the first animated feature shot in the widescreen CinemaScope format. It's still the widest cartoon Disney ever released in theaters.
16. The CinemaScope process meant that the film was essentially made twice: Once in the standard, nearly square aspect ratio, and once in widescreen, after Walt decided to try the new format that was expected to lure people away from those new square boxes in their living rooms. But Walt learned that many theaters were still not equipped to project CinemaScope movies, so he released both versions.
17. The movie cost $4 million to make. During its initial run, it earned $7.5 million. It was the studio's biggest hit since "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" 18 years earlier.
18. Since 1955, Disney has re-released "Lady" into theaters five times. Over the years, it's earned back $93.6 million in theaters
19. Lady and Tramp can both be spotted on a shadowy London street during the twilight-bark sequence in "101 Dalmatians."