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Disney Films

Snow White: Release and Aftermath

1937

Because theaters really didn't know how to classify a feature-length cartoon, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was advertised as a cartoon short playing before the now-forgotten feature Big Town Girl. Audiences were charmed, if a bit confused. Fortunately, word of mouth was good, and a protest from Little People of America had the film making headlines from coast to coast. In no time at all, Snow White was a blockbusting hit.

Disney lost no time in marketing his masterpiece. Dime stores were flooded with dolls, figurines, dress-up outfits, and "poison" candy apples. Lucille Ball appeared in advertisements for Snow White scarves. Every kid wanted as a birthday present, and an Official Seven Dwarfs Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Bowling Set for Christmas. School children put aside Little Women and Tom Sawyer for junior novelizations, coloring books, and comics. By the end of the summer, everyone had tasted a Snow White snow cone or had a Chocolate Dwarfbar in their lunch sack, and half the country was eating Wicked Queen breakfast cereal ("Coated with licorice sugar, it'll turn your milk black!") for breakfast.

Financial advisors urged Disney to create a string of sequels. He could have them animated by barely talented, out-of-work illustrators in some foreign country, release them straight to the home movie market, and make millions. Although the prospect of filling company coffers with Snow White Two: Return of the Queen or Dopey -- Back in Action might have seemed tempting, Disney didn't bat an eye before rejecting the suggestion.

The characters from the film endorsed many products from shortening to toilet paper. And who can forget, "Magic mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" "You, if you use Oxydol!"

Oddly enough, Snow White ran into some problems as it was made ready for foreign markets. Several countries gave the film the equivalent of an R or X rating. Several film boards cited the frightening run through the forest, the Queen's graphic instructions to the hunter about how to bludgeon and carve up Snow White, and the scene where the princess does a little spin during a dance, and her dress flies up so you can see her underthings. But what led to the rating of the film as inappropriate for children was the fact that the prince kisses Snow White before they are married and without asking her permission first.

Snow White won eight Academy Awards (one big one and seven little ones) for outstanding achievement in animation and decent achievement in seven other categories. It has its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (between Dan Rather and William Bendix, in front of an adult book store). In 2003, it was inducted into the Little People's Hall of Fame, along with The Wizard of Oz and everything with Mickey Rooney in it.

Attraction Connection: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was condensed, rethought, and painted on cardboard to create Disneyland's Snow White's Scary Adventures.

Snow White
Home | Production | Naming the Dwarfs
Release and Aftermath | Original Story


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