Why are so many Disney parents missing or dead?
J Thoendell stashed this in Film
Disney's "motherless" plotline—recurrently used over the past 80 years—has been refuted by many experts as coincidental. But, in a 2014 interview, even Lion King producer Don Hahn attributed its use to Walt Disney's own childhood trauma. According to Hahn, Disney deliberately wrote out, killed off, or replaced maternal figures as a consequence of the guilt he carried about his own mother's death. Hot off the heels ofSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ success in 1937, Walt and his brother Roy had presented their parents Flora and Elias with their own home in North Hollywood, near the Disney studios in Burbank, California. It was in this house, one year later, that Flora lost her life.
Before Flora Disney's death in 1938, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs had been completed and released, and Bambi and Pinocchio were already in production.
"Part of Disney's reliance on single parents is simply owing to the presence of single parents in the source material, as with Pinocchio," animation historian Michael Barrier tells Hopes&Fears. "Was Geppetto a widower or a lifelong bachelor? I don't think either Collodi or Disney gives us a clue." These stories, inherited from traditional fairy tales and recycled over thousands of years, reflected the customs, norms and values of their orators.
"Historically speaking, people did not live very long from the medieval period through the early 20th century", Jack Zipes, author of Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales, Children, and the Culture Industry tells Hopes&Fears. "Women died frequently from childbirth. Therefore, there were many single parents, although men tended to marry quickly after their wives died as in Snow White and Cinderella."