Disney is one of the most popular companies in the world, known for its iconic characters, movies, and theme parks. However, there is a lot more to Disney's history than what meets the eye. In this article, we'll explore ten shocking facts about Disney's past that you may not have known about before.
1. Walt Disney Was Anti-Semitic
Walt Disney, the founder of Disney, was known to have made several anti-Semitic remarks in the past. He was a member of several anti-Semitic organizations and even attended meetings of the German American Bund.
2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Almost Bankrupted the StudioSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney's first full-length animated feature film, and it was a massive risk for the studio. The film ended up costing $1.5 million to produce, which was unheard of at the time, and almost bankrupted the studio. Fortunately, the film was a massive success, and it saved the company from financial ruin.
3. The FBI Investigated Disney
During the height of the Red Scare in the 1950s, the FBI investigated Disney for allegedly being a communist sympathizer. The FBI alleged that several of Disney's employees were members of the Communist Party, and they believed that Disney himself may have had ties to the party. However, the investigation yielded no evidence to support these claims.
4. Disneyland Had Its Own Private Police Force
Disneyland in Anaheim, California, had its own private police force called the Disneyland Security Department. The officers were allowed to carry weapons and had the power to make arrests. The department was eventually disbanded and replaced with the Anaheim Police Department.
5. Disney Was Involved in a Lawsuit Over Winnie the Pooh
In the 1990s, Disney became involved in a lawsuit over the rights to Winnie the Pooh. The original illustrator of the books, E.H. Shepard, had sold the rights to Disney, but his heirs wanted the rights back. The case was eventually settled out of court, and Disney retained the rights to Winnie the Pooh.
6. Walt Disney Was Cryogenically Frozen
One of the most persistent rumors about Walt Disney is that his body was cryogenically frozen after he passed away in 1966. However, this is not true. Disney was cremated, and his ashes were interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
7. Walt Disney Created Propaganda Films for the U.S. Government
During World War II, Walt Disney created several propaganda films for the U.S. government. The films were designed to boost morale and encourage support for the war effort. Disney also allowed the government to use his studio facilities for military training films.
8. Disney Had to Apologize to the Chinese Government
In 1998, Disney released a film called Mulan that included a song called "Reflection." In the Mandarin version of the song, the lyrics referred to China as "barbaric." The Chinese government was offended by the lyrics, and Disney had to issue an apology.
9. Walt Disney Was a Heavy Smoker
Walt Disney was a heavy smoker for most of his life, and he was rarely seen without a cigarette in hand. He even smoked during interviews and television appearances. Disney passed away from lung cancer in 1966.
10. Disney Offered to Build a Ski Resort in Mineral King, California
In the 1960s, Disney offered to build a ski resort in Mineral King, California. The project was controversial, with environmental activists arguing that it would destroy the natural beauty of the area. Ultimately, the project was never built, and the area became part of Sequoia National Park.
In conclusion, Disney's history is full of surprises and controversies. While the company has created some of the most beloved characters and stories of all time, its past is far from perfect. As Disney continues to evolve and grow, it's important to remember its history and learn from both its successes and failures.
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