Disney Urban Legends
The Legend: Walt Disney was a Satan worshipper.
Behind the Legend: This is absolutely not true. Walt Disney was a Christian and a bit of a conservative one at that. In fact, when Disneyland first opened, he didn't even allow blatant Satanists into the park.
The rumor that Disney had a fondness for Satan comes from two sources. The first is the preponderance of "Satanic" images in Disney cartoons, such as the big, smelly demon Chernabog in Fantasia and the naughty little duck that befriends Donald Duck's nephews in Silly Anton LaVey. However, these were the things of folklore and storytelling popular at the time and are no more an indication of Satan worship than the magic in Cinderella was a promotion of witchcraft. In contrast, look at the currently popular Harry Potter books which, for all their supposed innocence, encourage impressionable children to carve ritualistic scars into their foreheads, rebel against their families, and go off to practice the dark arts.
The second source for the rumor that Disney loved Satan is the fact that every year Disney sent a Christmas card to the Prince of Darkness. He did this not out of devotion but because he thought it was ironic.
The Legend: Walt Disney had an enormous collection of pornography.
Behind the Legend: On the contrary, Walt Disney's pornography collection was relatively miniscule and consisted entirely of: 1) a box of Playboy magazines he'd found under his father's bed and kept only for sentimental reasons, and 2) an off-color picture of the Alice in Wonderland animated cast that was, in Disney's words, "just too damned disturbing to throw away."
The Legend: Walt Disney was able to spot a single frame of a naked woman in a cartoon.
Behind the Legend: The original story is that a group of animators inserted a single-frame picture of a naked woman into a cartoon test reel to see if their boss would notice it when he reviewed the morning rushes. Disney did indeed spot the frame and, noting in particular that it was of his wife, fired everyone.
Needless to say, this never happened. Disney's animators had too much respect for both Disney and his wife to ever do such a thing. What did happen, however, during the production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was that a single frame of Snow White running through the forest with a breast exposed due to a tear in her dress made it into a near-final print. Walt Disney himself noticed the flicker of inconsistence and asked that the film be stopped and rewound a frame at a time until the problem was pinpointed.
The film was fixed before distribution. Nobody was fired over the incident, as it was determined that the exposed breast was just an ink-and-paint malfunction.
The Legend: There are a number of bizarre coincidences between the lives of Walt Disney and John F. Kennedy.
Behind the Legend: This is true, but we aren't quite sure what the significance is supposed to be. A few of the coincidences:
The Legend: Walt Disney was an illegitimate child.
Behind the Legend: False -- for more than ten years in the early part of his life, Walt Disney was, by all accounts, legitimately a child.
The Legend: Walt Disney had a younger brother named Stu who abducted by aliens and never seen again.
Behind the Legend: Stu was actually seen once after that, in the third act of Close Encounters. He was later eaten by Bigfoot.
The Legend: Walt Disney was dishonorably discharged from the military.
Behind the Legend: On the contrary, Walt Disney's military service in World War I was quite distinguished. During one horrible battle, his lungs filled with mustard gas, Disney threw himself on a grenade that would have wiped out his buddies. The resulting explosion threw him more than 100 yards through the air to land on a German machine-gun nest, destroying it. Even as he bled profusely from a belly wound, Disney soundly whipped two enemy soldiers and commandeered the machine gun, laying down a screen of cover fire so that his platoon could take the hill. For this the government awarded him two days leave and the promise of a miniscule pension.
The Legend: Walt Disney was frozen after death.
Behind the Legend: Walt Disney was frozen just before death. Anyone with even a moderate scientific background who's seen Encino Man knows that if you wait until someone's dead to freeze them, it's too late. Disney will be thawed for a world tour on Disneyland's anniversary in 2055.
The Legend: To this day, you can't buy gum in Walt Disney's house.
Behind the Legend: True. In fact, no member of Walt Disney's entire extended family has gum for sale in their home.
The Legend: Roy Disney (Walt's nephew) was a U.S. Army sniper in Vietnam.
Behind the legend: Not true at all -- for some reason this story has become attached to Roy Disney, when in fact it was John Denver, Fred "Mr." Rogers, Jerry "The Beaver" Mathers, and that kid from the "Hey Mikey" Life cereal commercials who were quasi-robotic, government-controlled, Vietnam-era killing machines.
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