Thoughtnami Classics | The Truth Hurts
Originally Posted 04/17/06 by Jeff Harris
Did you watch Saturday Night Live this past Saturday? You didn't? Wow, guess you figured that it was going to be yet another lame celebrity trying to do lame sketch comedy, which it was. However, if you did miss it, you missed one of the most scathing pieces of animation since, well, Conspiracy Rock. And if you did miss it, you're never going to see it again. Not on NBC, not on E!, not even on You Tube anymore.
This week, Robert Smigel lampooned the ridiculous practice The Walt Disney Company continues of putting films in the mythical Disney vault, a place where classics are locked away. You know, classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Bambi, The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and 101 Dalmations as well as "classics" like Cinderella 2, Bambi 2, The Lion King 2, Beauty and the Beast 2, Aladdin and the Return of Jafar, and 101 Dalmations: Patch's London Adventure all rest for a period of 10 years.
How did the guy who introduced the world to Triumph the Insult Comic Dog do this? Simple. He made two little fans of Disney films join Mickey Mouse to a journey to the Disney vault in a movie called, um, Journey to the Disney Vault. Mickey showed the two kids some of their favorite movies, including Beauty and the Beast: Hawaiian Vacation, but curiousity gets the better of them as the kids discover the frozen head of Walt Disney. It's been an urban legend for decades that Walt Disney was frozen beneath his Florida theme park. It's so in our subconscious that a network that used to be all-animation is using it as a thesis for a live-action/animated movie that's a backdoor pilot of sorts.
But wait, it gets interesting. The kids also discover the head of Vivian Leigh, whom Mickey said was going to be reanimated along with Disney so they could be married. Then, the boy found files from Disney's HUAC testimonies. He discovered that Disney ratted out numerous animators for being communists, to which Mickey, with edited out images of movies like the Ursula wedding scene from The Little Mermaid, the nude woman in the window from The Rescuers, the "pickaninny" centaur from Fantasia, and Jessica Rabbit's "Basic Instinct" pose from Who Framed Roger Rabbit behind him in frames, said that they were rabblerousers trying to unionize or something.
Then, the kids found a film they've never heard of, Song of the South. But it wasn't the original theatrical version of the film, but rather the one Disney played at personal parties, which is really racist. After seeing that, and looking at the kids' reaction to that and everything else they've witnessed, Mickey Mouse says that Walt Disney was who he was, but they have to remember all of the laughs his greatest creation, Mickey Mouse, has given to generations of kids.
The little girl asks something that is perhaps the unspoken truth in the animation industry about Mickey Mouse.
"You're supposed to be funny?"
FINALLY! Somebody said it. Mickey Mouse is the most bland cartoon character on the planet, and he has basically become a living logo rather than a character. That single question is something that many companies, not just Disney, have never admitted needed to be answered. Kids aren't as stupid or as innocent as these companies think they are. The kids, though enlighted about the truth, aren't completely ready to accept it, but they're definitely a lot smarter than they were before.
Sure, it was a short cartoon, no more than three minutes, but it definitely shed a new light on the state of the animation industry, at least from Disney's side. Perhaps it was a little too close to home as Disney (or somebody representing a part of Disney) are trying hard to make sure it'll never be seen again. If you haven't seen it, you probably never will again. Just like Conspiracy Rock before it (which mocked how media conglomorates try to hide their dirty little secrets and dealings with the government from public view by the news outlets they own), NBC, who was skewered in that segment themselves, will likely never repeat Journey to the Disney Vault, and neither will E!, who owns cable rights to SNL and, coincidently, majority owned by Disney.
Guess they can't handle the truth sometimes.
From Page One to the current Geph article. The voice of The X Bridge for many years. Still crossing bridges. More »
Nothing can compare with this in its purest form. At least, that's what the lyric said. The creative side of The X Bridge in archival form. More »
Opinions from the mind of Jeff Harris. More »
The Legacy Project's complete list of Toonami-based articles from The X Bridge (and a few not found elsewhere). More »
Have A Question?
Contact my Formspring account. More »