Jiminy Cricket is the Walt Disney version of "The Talking Cricket" (Italian: Il Grillo Parlante), a fictional character created by Carlo Collodi for his children's book Pinocchio, which was adapted into an animated film by Disney in 1940. Originally an unnamed, minor character in Collodi's novel, he was transformed in the Disney version into a comical and wise partner who accompanies Pinocchio on his adventures, having been appointed by the Blue Fairy to serve as the official conscience for Pinocchio. Since his debut in Pinocchio, he has become a recurring iconic Disney character and has made numerous other appearances.
"Jiminy Cricket!" – sometimes rendered as "Jiminy Christmas!" – was originally a minced oath for Jesus Christ. The name of the character is a play on the exclamation – which itself was uttered in Pinocchio's immediate Disney predecessor, 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Another example occurs in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, where Dorothy (Judy Garland) cries, "Oh! Oh! Jiminy Crickets!" when she is startled by the Wizard's pyrotechnics. Garland also used the expression in her 1938 film Listen, Darling. It was also used several times in the 1930 movie Anna Christie, and in the 1938 cartoon The Brave Little Tailor, starring Mickey Mouse .
The character was designed by Ward Kimball, who had been very disappointed and was about to leave the Disney studio when much of the work he did for Snow White was cut from the final version of that film. However, Walt Disney persuaded him to stay by giving him the assignment of designing Jiminy.
Jiminy Cricket's voice was originally performed by singer Cliff Edwards, who voiced the character for Disney through the 1960s. Jiminy's most famous song, When You Wish Upon a Star, was sung by Edwards. After Edwards's death, Eddie Carroll replaced him as the voice actor for Jiminy. Carroll died in 2010, and the third voice actor for Jiminy, Phil Snyder, began voicing him on May 19, 2010 in the Kingdom Hearts video game series. In his Italian adaptation, Jiminy is voiced by Carlo Romano, who also dubbed for Fernandel in the Don Camillo series, and in French, he is voiced by Roger Carel, also the voice of Asterix.
After Pinocchio, Jiminy appeared in Fun and Fancy Free as the host of the cartoon segments. The character also hosted a one-hour segment 1947 ABC Radio special, improbably concerning the year 1960. He also hosted many Disney television specials. In a recurring segment of the children's television series Mickey Mouse Club, he taught a generation how to spell "encyclopedia". He also appears at the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts as a meetable character, and also in Pinocchio's Daring Journey, a dark ride themed to the movie from whence he originated, found at three of the Disney parks worldwide (specifically in California, Japan and France).