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DUMBO author dies

Helen Aberson Mayer, co-author with Harold Perl of "Dumbo, the FlyingElephant," the children's book that inspired the 1941 Walt Disney animatedfeature, DUMBO, died April 3, 1999 in her Manhattan home. She was 92. Bornin Syracuse, New York in 1907, Mayer, who was known as Helen Aberson whenshe wrote "Dumbo," moved from Syracuse, to Los Angeles, California in 1939at the request of the Walt Disney Company.

In her story, Dumbo the baby elephant is teased for his oversized ears, buteventually becomes a circus star when he learns that his ears allow him tofly. Helen Mayer's son, Andrew Mayer, said his mother liked to createanimal characters and stories that represented people she knew orsituations she had been in, and to some degree the story of Dumbo, in whicha character perseveres against obstacles before finally achieving success,represented her own struggles. Mayer continued to write into the 1960s, buther later stories remain unpublished.