Monday, September 09, 2002

Disney's Dirt

I was reading some stuff on a website earlier tonight about Disney and some of the claims made were so strange I decided to go looking around and see if they were true. A couple checked out on Urban Legends' site...for instance: when making the Disney movie White Wilderness, released in 1958, Disney's nature photographers - who, incidentally, were filming in Alberta, Canada, which is neither a native habitat for lemmings or possesses an outlet to the sea - staged a bogus "lemmings marching to their death into the sea" sequence by placing the rodents on a snow-covered turntable for a migration sequence and then transported them to a cliff overlooking a river, where they were herded off the edge and into the water. Apparently lemmings don't actually kill themselves, this is either a myth started by or at least enforced by the movie.

Other interesting tidbits: the film Song of the South has never been released on home video in the United States, ostensibly due to the laughably wonderful depictions of slaves' lives in the movie and in a related note, the film's star, Uncle Remus - played by James Baskett, who was a black man and the very first live-action actor hired by the studio and won a special Oscar for his efforts - was unable to attend the premiere of the movie, as he was unable to find a hotel in Atlanta that would put him up.

Now all this was a long time ago, obviously and although it's kind of messed up, it's kid's stuff compared to some of the stuff alleged on the site that got me started on this little tangent. Urban Legends has always seemed pretty reputable, though and they backed up his claims about the lemming story, which was the thing that got me started on this, as I'd never heard of it before. However, I can't vouch for the rest of the claims made here, which include deaths, perverts running wild at the Magic Kingdom while management looked the other way and other mind-blowing atrocities, so I'll let you do your own investigation on the matter. I say this, of course, because I'm afraid of Disney's behometh legal dept. and don't want to be sued, unlike the site's author, who says:

This is a preface to the section accusing the entertainment company of engaging in child labor practices:If I may, I'd like to preface this little page by telling the Nice Lawyer who sent me letters threatening to "pursue legal action" if I put this up that he can kiss my lilly white ass for two reasons : 1} this is all documented in the public domain and 2} I basically own a 12 year old car, a computer and a semi-respectable collection of Plasticware from Boston Market.

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