Thursday, 8 December 2011

That Prince! Where Have I Seen Him Before?

Walt Disney greedy? Walt Disney gouging theme park patrons? Walt Disney not a union member?

No, none of this describes Walt Disney. It describes the prince in the Fractured Fairy Tale ‘Sleeping Beauty’ (1960), part of the Rocky and Bullwinkle show. And the prince just happens to look like, well...

While Bob Clampett’s ‘Beanyland’ episode a few years later settled for puns (“Darn Old Duck Pond”) and parody (an ersatz version of “Wish Upon a Star”), ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is almost The Revenge of the Jay Ward Employees. They’re commenting on, if not attacking, Uncle Walt and his “child” in Anaheim.

It’s significant Sleeping Beauty was picked as the subject of the cartoon for Disney had completed his ‘Sleeping Beauty’ not many months earlier—then promptly fired a whole bunch of employees, some of whom had been at the studio for a number of years and were no doubt close friends of their union brothers and sisters at the Ward studio. In another shot, the Fractured Fairy Tale is drawn in a minimalist style. It couldn’t be more opposite of the “Illusion of Life” animation that became the hallmark and mantra of the Disney films.

Probably the biggest blast at Uncle Walt’s Disneyland was Sleeping Beautyland’s admission fee for every one of what are pretty banal attractions—“Stair Land” and “Entrance Hall Land” among them (the attractions being a hall and a flight of stairs). The Walt stand-in is seen counting his money over and over which, according to historian Keith Scott, made the sponsor nervous that Disney might sue (Jay Ward would have responded “Please sue us. We love the publicity!”). To add to the shysterness, the voice Daws Butler gives the prince is the same as Hokey Wolf, his variation on the scheming Sgt. Ernie Bilko played by Phil Silvers.

The Fractured Fairy Tales are, well, just about everything on ‘The Bullwinkle Show’ (nĂ© ‘Rocky and his Friends’), still funny, despite some crude drawing. Take a look at ‘Sleeping Beauty’, with the correct opening and closing music, though the sound only comes through one channel.


  1. My favorite of all the Fractured Fairy Tales (with Hansel & Gretel in second). As a kid my brother told me this guy was supposed to be Walt Disney, but I thought he was lying and just being mean.

  2. There's also the original NBC ending to one episode of The Bullwinkle Show (unfortunately not one I can find on YouTube) that featured the Bullwinkle hand puppet noting that they had to end the show because "We've run out of material. And besides, Mr. Disney just walked into the studio with a baseball bat," referring to the fact that Ward's show had been paired on Sunday nights with Walt's "Wonderful World of Color".

  3. Hi, basically, I find the images brilliant! I tried to to print the pics but they were blur. :(