Monday, October 12, 2015

Wee Seven

Many people watched the recent PBS Walt Disney biography, and can appreciate how groundbreaking the first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, really was. Disney’s dwarfs were completely different from Tolkien’s dwarves, sharing only diminutive stature and a penchant for mining and singing and other subterranean occupations.

But the real inside story of Disney’s film goes much deeper than that. In fact, although the final cast featured only seven dwarfs, hundreds auditioned. Many were distinctly inappropriate for cohabiting with a young woman: Sleazy, Creepy, Gropey, Horney and Anthony Wiener.

Still others, including Stretchy and Cloudy, were not height-challenged enough for the roles.

Ms. White, having far more movie industry experience than Disney himself, was able to negotiate final say over the dwarf roster. It is widely believed that she relied on the time-honored Hollywood tradition of the casting catafalque, though White never had the promiscuous reputation of Sleeping Beauty.

All this had to be covered up, of course, so the dwarfs could maintain their squeaky clean public image throughout the inevitable publicity tours and press conferences.

In fact, Snow White tried to upstage Sleeping Beauty by falling comatose in order to lure one of the wandering princes who were habitually kissing unconscious strangers in the woods back then. Of course, Prince Charming later dumped her for Cinderella, so her machinations were for naught.