The Great Mouse Detective was originally called Basil of Baker Street, like the book series it was based on, but execs at Disney felt the title wasn’t catchy enough and changed it to its current title.
Basil of Baker Street is named after ‘Basil Rathbone’, who played Sherlock Holmes in several films.
Production took only one year to complete thanks to the use of computers.
When this film was originally released its title was The Great Mouse Detective. When Disney re-released it years later they gave it the title of The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective. When the film was released on video a few months later, the title on the box was back to The Great Mouse Detective but the title on the film itself read The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective.
Ratigan was originally designed to look thin and weak, but when Vincent Price was chosen to play the role, his appearance was changed accordingly.
During the recording of Vincent Price’s lines, animators sketched his exaggerated Shakespearean gestures and worked them into the animated poses for Ratigan.
The clock tower scene is the first major use of computer animation (the clock’s gears) in a feature-length animated film. The same scene was also the first time traditionally-animated characters were put inside a computer-generated background.
Sherlock Holmes speaks with the voice of Basil Rathbone. Although it is often erroneously claimed that the lines are taken from one of Rathbone’s 1940s performances as Sherlock Holmes on film or radio, this is not true. The cameo is edited from Rathbone’s reading of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” for Caedmon Records in 1966, just months before his death.
When designing Fidget, the Disney animators were focused on creating a scary, yet comical and lovable character. They were looking for a raspy voice and chose Candy Candido, who had starred in voice-over roles in many previous Disney films as well as Ralph Bakshi films. His own looks were used in matching Fidget’s looks. Candido’s deep, throaty voice was sped up to avoid Fidget’s voice from becoming too low. (Candido’s original voice can be heard as the mouse shouting “Get off, you eight-legged bum!” at the juggling octopus in the pub.)
Initially, Olivia was to be an older character with the potential as a love interest for Basil or even an infatuated Dr. Dawson, before it was decided that she should be a child to better garner audience sympathy.
“Let Me Be Good To You” was originally to be sung by Madonna, but the directors decided that this was not contemporary enough for the audience to enjoy. After Liza Minnelli was briefly considered, Melissa Manchester was hired as the new singer of the song. “Let Me Be Good To You” was also once entitled, “Look At Me”.
Dumbo the elephant from Dumbo can be seen as the musical toy blowing bubbles.
The lizard in Rattigan’s gang made an earlier appearance as Bill, the “lizard with a ladder”, in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland.