Five Disney myths: Are they true or false?

BY CHARLOTTE WYNN ’16
Contributing Writer

We’ve heard them all before: the Rugrats rumor that it was all in a mentally-damaged Angelica’s head, the rumor that Steve of Blue’s Clues fame died of a drug overdose, and all the other myths fabricated by pop culture to give childhood treasures an adult twist. Here are some fantastical rumors about Disney films, and the real-life explanations for them:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Rumor Has It…
Walt Disney, a rampant cocaine addict, included an homage to his drug of choice in one of his first productions. Each of the seven dwarfs of Snow White represents one of seven “stages” of cocaine addiction: Happy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, and Doc.

True or False?

False. First of all, however much pop culture likes to attribute salacious rumors to its icons, it has never been proven that Walt Disney ever partook in any recreational drug use. Furthermore, there are no “stages” of cocaine addiction, although there are mood swings (Happy and Grumpy), sleep issues (Sleepy), allergies (Sneezy), personality alterations (Dopey and Bashful), and ultimately a trip to the Doc.

Aladdin (1992)

Rumor Has It…
While Aladdin is trying to seduce Jasmine on the balcony Jasmine sets her pet tiger Rajah on him, and the shot flips to the Genie and the Carpet hovering just below the balcony. During the clip you can hear Aladdin in the background shooing Rajah, and if you listen hard you can hear him say, “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.”

True or False?

False. The rumor spread through the power of suggestion — once you’ve been told what to hear, you won’t hear anything but that. However, Disney released the details of the original script, where Aladdin says, “C’mon, good kitty, take off and go.”

The Rescuers (1977)

Rumor Has It…
Almost 40 minutes into The Rescuers, while Bianca and Bernard are flying on the back of Albatross Air, you can clearly see a photograph of a topless woman in the window behind them in two separate frames.

True or False?

True. There is no denying this one; Disney recalled their 1977 version of the film in 1999 due to the photograph in order to distribute an edited version. Disney claims the photo was not inserted by any of their animators and was instead slipped in by post-production staff.

The Little Mermaid (1989)

Rumor Has It…
A disgruntled Disney artist who heard of his inevitable firing slipped a new tower onto the castle on the cover of The Little Mermaid—a tower shaped like a phallus. It looks so much like one that many can’t imagine it being drawn by accident, or that no one would catch it in the editing process and remove it.

True or False?

False — sort of. The artist who created the original castle artwork didn’t work for Disney. So he wasn’t mad at Disney nor was he about to be fired. However, the tower’s resemblance cannot be denied, and Disney removed the offending tower for future releases.

The Lion King (1994)

Rumor Has It…
More than halfway through The Lion King, Simba, Timon, and Pumba are lying in a circle talking. Simba walks away, and he flops down, sending a pile of flower petals and dust flying up over the edge of the cliff. If you stare just right at the dust cloud at just the right moment, the cloud spells out the letters “S-E-X.”

Supposedly a four-year-old boy watching the movie with his aunt was the first to spot it, but why a four-year old understood the significance of the word is a whole other issue.

True or False?

True. Well, depending on how you look at it anyway. The generally accepted explanation is that a team of effects artists tried to slip in their signature “S-F-X” (for Special Effects) and the “F” just looks distorted.

Questions? Email Charlotte at cwynn@fandm.edu.

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