Monday, November 17, 2008

MOTHERLESS: Disney background is a sadder tale than Cinderella or Snow White!

Did Walt Disney leave mothers out of the scripts of his feature length cartoons due to his mother's death? Truth, in this case was sadder than fiction ...
Motherless?Walt Disney risked virtually everything he had in order to produce Snow White, his first feature-length animated film (a format many people at the time felt was not commercially viable). Released in 1938, Snow White proved to be one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments of all time: Not only did Disney's gamble garner effusive critical acclaim, but it also became the highest-grossing movie of its era (and thus provided the financial wellspring from which subsequent Disney projects flowed).

The economic rewards that
Snow White brought to the Disney organization allowed Walt and his brother Roy not only to finance a new studio, but also to purchase a brand new North Hollywood home for their parents, who had been living in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately, the move soon indirectly led to the death of Walt and Roy's mother, Flora Disney, a misfortune that reportedly haunted Walt for many years to come:
The elder Disneys had been in their new home less than a month when tragedy struck. A defective furnace caused Flora's death by asphyxiation [from carbon monoxide poisoning] on the night of November 26, 1938. Walt and Roy were devastated, blaming themselves because their mother's death had happened in the house they had bought. Walt was sensitive about the tragedy until the end of his life.

[His mother's death] may have been the most shattering moment of Walt Disney's life. Though he seldom exhibited emotion outside the studio, he was inconsolable; a misery deepened no doubt by the fact that she had died in the new home Walt had given her, and by the culpability of his own workmen. (A report on the furnace ordered by Roy determined that the "installation of the furnace showed either a complete lack of knowledge of the requirements of the furnace or a flagrant disregard of these conditions if they were known.") ...

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