Disney: weirder than you thought

This evening I came across a film of Walt Disney in 1957 explaining his new invention, the multiplane camera. This camera allowed studios to animate on several layers at a time, giving the impression of depth and changes in the field of vision beyond what was possible. It was fascinating, but had nothing on the related videos in the side bar.

It appears that as a relatively established American studio in the 1940s, Disney did what any good patriotic film studio would do: they taught people to hate Nazis. There’s a range of brilliant (and terrifying!) anti-Nazi propaganda videos from Disney that you can see on Youtube, including my favourite one below, which squeezes in four ‘negative’ stereotypes in the 6 seconds from 1:02. The Nazis shown are a range of gay, Asian (which references yellow fever and divided loyalties), fat and stupid.

Stunning stuff, Disney.

After the war, it looks like Disney had to diversify to survive a post-war slump in the entertainment industry, taking contracts from companies like Kotex. This video has far less propaganda (though I wouldn’t go so far as to say no propaganda – apparently good girls play with blocks, dolls and books as they grow up), but is equally fascinating for its insight into a rarer side of Disney.

Drop me a link to other great old Disney pieces in the comments – I’d love to see how much wider this goes.


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