- "I feel that the film didn't move into the production stage because its story centered on a small child. The audience for Disney films became more and more adult, especially after the war, so we made an effort to avoid kiddie-material."
- —Joe Grant's reasoning on why the short was never made
Penelope and the Twelve Months was an unproduced Disney animated short film for which two different story treatments were drafted during the 1940s.
Joe Grant and Dick Huemer
In the early 1940s, Joe Grant and Dick Huemer developed an idea for a short based on a poem of the same name that they had previously written. It involved a little girl named Penelope who travelled through time with the aid of a magic grandfather clock. While doing so, she would have encountered various supernatural beings, including a leprechaun, personifications of the months of the year and Mother Nature and her attendants who each controlled one of the Earth's elements. Prelimanary sketches for the short were done by Mary Blair.
Shortly after WWII, Mary Blair reworked the story into what was essentially a Russian retelling of Mark Twain's "The Prince and the Pauper". In it, Penelope was a palace kitchen-maid who happened to look identical to the bratty and spoiled princess. Although she lived a cruel life, having been mistreated at home by her stepmother and stepsister, Penelope was able to find happiness on account of the special treasure she had: a magic ring that granted wishes.
Near the end of December, the Princess demanded that someone bring her a bouquet of snow-flowers, stating that she would not allow the New Year to happen until she got them. Upon hearing this, Penelope would've used her magic ring to conjure up what the Princess had asked for. Unfortunately, her step-family would've caught wind of this and subsquently stolen the precious object. Luckily, Penelope eventually would've successfully re-obtained her ring and presented the snow-flowers to the Princess who then became her friend.