• David Rooslet III

Have Communists Influenced Disney Pictures Since the 1930's?



Almost every child in the United States grew up watching Disney movies and can name several of them without even trying. Most kids even watch the same movies over and over to the tune of hundreds of times each during their childhood. Why not, these are good lessons that teach about overcoming difficult situations, right? What if there was something more sinister at work, that subconsciously programs your child into seeing the world in a particular way? Well, let's take a closer look at some of the things that helped shape Disney over the years.

Disney began its journey almost a hundred years ago in 1923 with 2 brothers, Walt and Roy, making short animated cartoon series. It was five years later that the icon Mickey Mouse was born at a studio in Hollywood, California where they employed many artists to accomplish their visions.

Disney enjoyed success right up to WWII where their international market was hindered by the war. Disney started to make propaganda cartoons and training films for the military during the war, as they were contracted to so by the state department. After the war, Disney was brought before the House un-American Activities Committee, as it was believed that Hollywood films contained communist ideas and overtones that were sympathetic to the Soviet Union. It wasn't until 1954 that Washington outlawed the Communist Party USA (CPUSA).

In the 1947 hearing, Walt Disney, an anti communist informant for the FBI, admitted that his artists had been infiltrated by communist groups that wanted to use his studio for propaganda. When he refused, they smeared Disney and there was a strike of the artists. Disney stated that the communists had been attempting to get control of the movie industry and that they embedded themselves into the labor unions.

So what exactly were the communists trying to do with the Hollywood studios? They wanted to implant communist ideologies into the programming, such as Marxist ideologies that were born from Frederich Engel’s The Origin of The Family, where Engels suggests that the family is designed to control women and protect property. The destruction of the nuclear family became the goal and the mother figure seemed to be the target.

Disney producers seemed to have destroyed the nuclear family in almost every one of their animations, where the mother figure seems to be non-existant or quickly killed off in the films. Lets take a look at how Disney artists and producers have portrayed the nuclear family in their productions...




Aladdin

In this tale, Aladdin has no parents as his mother died when he was a child. Princess Jasmine has just a father.


Bambi

Bambi is born in the beginning of the movie and shortly thereafter his mother is killed. Sadly, Bambi’s mom is also killed by a hunter in the original novel “Bambi, A Life in the Woods”, by Felix Salten


Beauty and the Beast

Bell lives with her father and no mother is ever mentioned. The Disney film is based on the book “a Belle et la Bete”, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve. It was published in France in 1740, and indeed, Belle’s mom is not living in the book either (but she has 3 brothers in the book)


Big Hero 6

Hiro and his brother Tadashi (who dies mid-film) are raised by their Aunt Cass following the death of their parents when Hiro was 3


Chicken Little

Chicken Little has a father and and his mother was deceased.


Cinderella

Cinderella's mother was deceased and after her father remarried, he dies unexpectedly in the beginning of the movie and she is left in the care of an evil step-mother. To be fair, Disney did kill off Cinderella’s dad who lives in the original book. But her mom dying and her dad marrying the evil step-mother is all in the original novel “Cindrillon” by French author Charles Perrault


Dinosaur

In this story, the dinosaur egg is stolen from its nest in the beginning of the movie and he grows up without his father and mother.


Dumbo

Dumbo the elephant has a mother but no father.


Epic

She has a father but no mother


Finding Nemo

Nemo's mother dies in the beginning of the movie


Frozen

The parents of Elsa and Ana die in the beginning of the movie.


Home

The girl in this has just a mother.


Lilo and Stitch

Lilo lives with her sister Nani after both parents died in a car crash.


Peter Pan

Peter Pan has no parents as it is told that he ran away when he was a child.


Pinocchio

The story of a wooden puppet who becomes a real boy, with a father named Geppetto, but with no mother figure.


Pocahontas

Her mother is dead by the start of the film


Princess and the Frog

Tiana's father dies in WWI in the beginning of the movie.


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

In the popular Disney production Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Snow White does not have a nuclear family, but has an evil stepmother who hates how beautiful Snow White is and wants to kill her. Snow White, Walt Disney’s first animated film made in 1937, is based on a Grimm Fairy Tale where, living up to their name, the Brother’s Grimm did indeed have her mom die after giving birth to Snow White


Sword in the Stone

Arthur (before he was King Arthur) is shown to be an orphan. But then to be fair, this one too is based on a book, The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White


Tarzan

A boy raised in the jungle by animals.


The Aristocats

Berlioz, Marie, and Toulouse live with their mom Dutchess with no mention of dad


The Hunchback of Notre Dame

At the beginning of the film, Quasimodo's parents (who were gypsies) tried to enter the city of Notre Dame with fellow gypsies, but they are discovered by Judge Claude Frollo and his soldiers when they realize they have been double-crossed. The man puts a protective arm around his wife and son but is pulled away from them by a soldier and handcuffed. While his wife manages to escape, it is unknown what happens to him afterward exactly, but it is most likely the man and the other gypsies are taken to the Palace of Justice to be executed.


The Jungle Book

Mowgli’s parents were separated from Mowgli during a tiger attack, and are presumed dead in the original Rudyard Kipling novel. But their fate is unclear in the 1967 Disney film. In the 2016 film, however, the story was changed to where Shere Khan, the main tiger in the story, killed Mowgli’s father.


The Lion King

In this popular Disney tale, Simba's father, Mufasa, is killed off in the beginning of the movie.


The Little Mermaid

Ariel has just a father but has no mother. Hans Christian Andersen killed off her mom in the original book


Up

This kid in this one has no father and the wife of the main character dies in the beginning.


Walt Disney testifying at a hearing about communist activity in Hollywood.

Investigator: “Mr Disney, will you state your full name and present address, please.”

Disney: “Walter E. Disney, Los Angeles, California”…

Investigator: “What is your occupation?”

Disney: “Well, I am a producer of motion picture cartoons”…

Investigator: “Where are [your] films distributed?”

Disney: “All over the world.”

Investigator: “In all countries of the world?”

Disney: “Well, except the Russian countries.”

Investigator: “Why aren’t they distributed in Russia, Mr Disney?”

Disney: “Well, we can’t do business with them.”

Investigator: “What do you mean by that?”

Disney: “Well, we have sold them some films a good many years ago. They bought the Three Little Pigs [1933] and used it through Russia. And they looked at a lot of our pictures, and I think they ran a lot of them in Russia, but then turned them back to us and said they didn’t want them, they didn’t suit their purposes”…

Investigator: “Have you ever made any pictures in your studio that contained propaganda and that were propaganda films?

Disney: “Well, during the war we did. We made quite a few, working with different government agencies. We did one for the Treasury on taxes and I did four anti-Hitler films. And I did one on my own for air power”…

Investigator: “Aside from those pictures you made during the war, have you made any other pictures, or do you permit pictures to be made at your studio containing propaganda?”

Disney: “No; we never have. During the war, we thought it was a different thing. It was the first time we ever allowed anything like that to go in the films. We watch so that nothing gets into the films that would be harmful in any way to any group or any country. We have large audiences of children and different groups, and we try to keep them as free from anything that would offend anybody as possible. We work hard to see that nothing of that sort creeps in.”

Investigator: “Do you have any people in your studio at the present time that you believe are Communist or Fascist, employed there?”

Disney: “No, at the present time I feel that everybody in my studio is 100 percent American.”

Investigator: “Have you had at any time, in your opinion, in the past, have you at any time in the past had any Communists employed at your studio?”

Disney: “Yes, in the past I had some people that I definitely feel were Communists.”

Investigator: “As a matter of fact, Mr Disney, you experienced a strike at your studio, did you not?”

Disney: “Yes.”

Investigator: “And is it your opinion that that strike was instituted by members of the Communist Party to serve their purposes?”

Disney: “Well, it proved itself so with time, and I definitely feel it was a Communist group trying to take over my artists and they did take them over.”

Investigator: “Do you say they did take them over?”

Disney: “They did take them over”…

Investigator: “In other words, Mr Disney, Communists out there smeared you because you wouldn’t knuckle under?”

Disney: “I wouldn’t go along with their way of operating. I insisted on it going through the National Labor Relations Board. And he told me outright that he used them as it suited his purposes”…

Investigator: “What is your personal opinion of the Communist Party, Mr Disney, as to whether or not it is a political party?”

Disney: “Well, I don’t believe it is a political party. I believe it is an un-American thing. The thing that I resent the most is that they are able to get into these unions, take them over, and represent to the world that a group of people that are in my plant, that I know are good, 100 per cent Americans, are trapped by this group, and they are represented to the world as supporting all of those ideologies, and it is not so, and I feel that they really ought to be smoked out and shown up for what they are, so that all of the good, free causes in this country, all the liberalisms that really are American, can go out without the taint of communism. That is my sincere feeling on it.”

Investigator: “Do you feel that there is a threat of Communism in the motion picture industry?”

Disney: “Yes there is, and there are many reasons why they would like to take it over or get in and control it or disrupt it, but I don’t think they have gotten very far, and I think the industry is made up of good Americans, just like in my plant, good, solid Americans. My boys have been fighting it longer than I have. They are trying to get out from under it and they will in time if we can just show them up.”

Investigator: “There are presently pending before this committee two bills relative to outlawing the Communist Party. What thoughts have you as to whether or not those bills should be passed?”

Disney: “Well I don’t know if I qualify to speak on that. I feel if the thing can be proven un-American that it ought to be outlawed. I think in some way it should be done without interfering with the rights of the people. I think that will be done. I have that faith. Without interfering, I mean, with the good, American rights that we all have now, and we want to preserve.”

Investigator: “Have you any suggestions to offer as to how the industry can be helped in fighting this menace?”

Disney: “Well, I think there is a good start toward it. I know that I have been handicapped out there in fighting it because they have been hiding behind this labour setup, they get themselves closely tied up in the labour thing, so that if you try to get rid of them they make a labour case out of it. We must keep the American labour unions clean. We have got to fight for them”…

Investigator: “Mr Disney, you are the fourth producer we have had as a witness, and each one of those four producers said, generally speaking, the same thing – and that is that the Communists have made inroads, have attempted inroads. I just want to point that out because there seems to be a very strong unanimity among the producers that have testified before us. In addition to producers, we have had actors and writers testify to the same. There is no doubt but what the movies are probably the greatest medium for entertainment in the United States and in the world. I think you, as a creator of entertainment, probably are one of the greatest examples in the profession. I want to congratulate you on the form of entertainment which you have given the American people and given the world and congratulate you for taking time out to come here and testify before this committee. He has been very helpful”…


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