Please send any suggestions and comments.
The Association for Youth, Children and Natural Psychology operates as a 501 c(3) non-profit, and is a New Jersey non-profit corporation.
WALT DISNEY: AN AMERICAN ORIGINAL by Bob Thomas
Complete and interesting biography of Walt Disney, albeit a book that projections adulation on the persona of Disney at times.
The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney Richard Schickel
Interesting biography of Walt Disney, unique in its scope, not a glossy version, but real life--behind the scenes at Disney studios.
Team Rodent: How Disney Devours the World, by Carl Hiaasen
Disney is not without its share of critics. This is one example of a Florida resident journalist who rakes a bit of muck against the Disney corporation, which he obviously dislikes.
The Mouse that Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence
Henry A. Giroux (Author), Grace Pollock
This is a more serious analysis and criticism of Disney culture, written from an academic perspective.
To many people, the name Disney has become synonymous with childhood innocence and squeaky-clean fantasy. But in this polemical, didactic work, Penn State education professor Giroux (Channel Surfing) charges that Disney is in fact a powerful corporation whose ideology is largely predicated on getting the consumer to buy Disney products, is far from innocent.
Giroux tackles Disney's theme parks, its recent forays into education and its movies in an attempt to expose how Uncle Walt's legacy is eroding democracy and endangering our nation's youth. He disparages Disneyland and Disney World for whitewashing history and casting America's past in a nostalgic light, excluding any mention of slavery, civil unrest, racial tension or war.
Disney's movies, argues Giroux, promote sexism and racism ("bad" characters speak with thick foreign accents, or in inner-city jive; female characters, however strong, depend on the men around them for identity) and encourage massive consumer spending while assuming the guise of innocuous family fun.
From Booklist: *Starred Review*
Giroux is an author of many books and articles on education, politics, and corporate influence. This highly critical examination of the Disney corporation explores the scope of influence that Disney has over the developing minds (and bodies) of children as it uses the facade of innocence and nostalgia marketing to promote consumerism over values such as reading and creative play, which are known to stimulate intelligence and social interaction better than the passive viewing of television and movies.
Giroux asks us to reevaluate the seemingly innocuous animated Disney productions and theme parks, which focus on a safe, sanitized, middle-class white depiction of the American ideal, while promoting racial and sexual stereotypes in films such as Aladdin and The Little Mermaid.
This updated and expanded edition (with the help of coauthor Pollock) includes a discussion on Disney's focus on marketing toward the lucrative “tween” segment, as well as two new chapters, "Globalizing the Disney Empire" and "Disney, Militarization, and the National Security State after 9/11." Well researched and well written, despite the academic jargon. --David Siegfried
Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child : Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries , by Robert J. MacKenzie Ed.D.
Some school psychologists believe that parents need to set firm limits for children in today's permissive society, for children to be able to behave and perform well in school. This book helps parents to set appropriate but reasonable limits for difficult children.
The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind,
by Daniel J. Siegel, Tina Payne Bryson
"Siegel and Bryson reveal that an integrated brain with parts that cooperate in a coordinated and balanced manner creates a better understanding of self, stronger relationships, and success in school, among other benefits. With illustrations, charts, and even a handy 'Refrigerator Sheet,' the authors have made every effort to make brain science parent-friendly." —Publishers Weekly
Artist to Artist: 23 Major Illustrators Talk to Children About Their Art
Anthology featuring Maurice Sendak, Robert Sabuda, Rosemary Wells, and Eric Carle, twenty-three of the most honored and beloved artists in children’s literature talk informally to children—sharing secrets about their art and how they began their adventures into illustration. Fold-out pages featuring photographs of their early work, their studios and materials, as well as sketches and finished art create an exuberant feast for the eye that will attract both children and adults.
Self-portraits of each illustrator crown this important anthology that celebrates the artists and the art of the picture book. An event book for the ages.
Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning) MaryAnn F. Kohl, Kim Solga
MaryAnn F. Kohl is the coauthor of First Art and the author of Preschool Art. Kim Solga is the editor or coauthor of several books in the Art and Activities for Kids series, including Art Fun! and Craft Fun!
Great American Artists for Kids: Hands-On Art Experiences in the Styles of Great American Masters (Bright Ideas for Learning) MaryAnn F. Kohl, Kim Solga
Fun and easy art-appreciation activities abound in this resource that features 75 American artists from colonial times to the present. A brief biography for each artist tells why his or her work is important, and a kid-tested art activity tries out the artist’s approach. For Georgia O’Keeffe, the activity is a desert painting; for Frederic Remington, a face cast; for Leroy Nieman, a sketch of athletes; and for James Whistler, a clay engraving.
Projects stress the creative process and encourage kids to try unusual techniques such as block printing, soak-stain, and stone carving as they learn about architecture, drawing, painting, photography, and sculpture. A resource guide provides a glossary of art terms, a list that groups the artists by style, a list of the artists’ birthdays, an index of art supplies, and websites for viewing art online.
Tao of Pooh and Te of Piglet Boxed Set Benjamin Hoff
This provides a remarkable comparison between the original Winnie the Pooh stories and Taoist writings.
Living Without the Screen: Causes and Consequences of Life without Television (Lea's Communication)
Living Without the Screen provides an in-depth study of those American families and individuals who opt not to watch television, exploring the reasons behind their choices, discussing their beliefs about television, and examining the current role of television in the American family. Author Marina Krcmar answers several questions in the volume: What is television? Who are those people who reject it? What are their reasons for doing so? How do they believe their lives are different because of this choice? What impact does this choice have on media research?
This volume provides a current, distinctive, and important look at how personal choices on media use are made, and how these choices reflect more broadly on media’s place in today’s society.
A compelling exploration of the motivations and rationales for those who choose to live without television, this book is a must-read for scholars and researchers working in children and media, media literacy, sociology, family studies and related areas. It will also be of interest to anyone with questions about media usage and the choices families make regarding the role of media in their lives.
365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do With Your Child: Plus 50 All-New Bonus Activities Steven J. Bennett, Ruth Bennett
This was a great find in a first-grade classroom in Roseville, Newark, NJ.
365 Ways to Unplug Your Kids (for awhile anyway): How to have fun without TV or computer Ted Burbank
This book is designed to be used as a source of ideas and a listing of choices of things to do instead of watching TV or playing computer and video games. Activities segregated into twenty two categories for convenience and ease of use.
The Psychology of Harry Potter: An Unauthorized Examination Of The Boy Who Lived (Psychology of Pop Culture)
The dark world of Harry Potter wizardry and occult is examined under the psychologists microscope in this interesting and insightful look into J. K. Rowling's constructed universe.
The Psychology of the Simpsons: D'oh! (Psychology of Popular Culture series) Alan S. Brown, Chris Logan
If you want to go a little deeper with The Simpsons, this is the place.
The Psychology of Superheroes: An Unauthorized Exploration (Psychology of Popular Culture) Robin S. Rosenberg, Jennifer Canzoneri
Superheroes such as Superman and Spiderman have been described in terms of a Messiah-persona for children. Young children often cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality. This book is the first to explore the subject of Superheroes from a psychology perspective.
Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self Esteem, and the Confidence Gap Peggy Orenstein
Orenstein, who has written about girls for nearly two decades (Schoolgirls), finds today's pink and princess-obsessed girl culture grating when it threatens to lure her own young daughter, Daisy. In her quest to determine whether princess mania is merely a passing phase or a more sinister marketing plot with long-term negative impact, Orenstein travels to Disneyland, American Girl Place, the American International Toy Fair; visits a children's beauty pageant; attends a Miley Cyrus concert; tools around the Internet; and interviews parents, historians, psychologists, marketers, and others.
While she uncovers some disturbing news (such as the American Psychological Association's assertion that the "girlie-girl" culture's emphasis on beauty and play-sexiness can increase girls' susceptibility to depression, eating disorders, distorted body image, and risky sexual behavior), she also finds that locking one's daughter away in a tower like a modern-day Rapunzel may not be necessary. Orenstein concludes that parents who think through their values early on and set reasonable limits, encourage dialogue and skepticism, and are canny about the consumer culture can combat the 24/7 "media machine" aimed at girls and hold off the focus on beauty, materialism, and the color pink somewhat. With insight and biting humor, the author explores her own conflicting feelings as a mother as she protects her offspring and probes the roots and tendrils of the girlie-girl movement. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture Peggy Orenstein
Troubled by the 1990 American Association of University Women report on the loss of self-esteem by American girls between the ages of nine and 15, journalist Orenstein sought the human stories behind the statistics. She worked for a year with girls from two California schools, interviewing students, their families, teachers, and the administrators of the two schools. She also observed classes, school ground behavior, and home life.
Not aiming for an academic study, Orenstein places information from various studies in footnotes to the children's narratives. Her text focuses instead on situations ranging from subtle but definite discouragement of female students to a blatant devaluing of all students. Although there were other factors involved, she concentrates on the stories from school in describing the wrenching and all-too-typical conditions many girls face. Recommended for public libraries, high school libraries, and academic libraries with women's studies or education collections. Sharon Firestone, Ross-Blakley Law Lib., Arizona State Univ., Tempe - Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
What's Wrong with Cinderella (off-site), New York Times Magazine, Peggy Orenstein
Drawing Faces - Internet-linked (Usborne Art Ideas) Rosie Dickins, Jan McCafferty, Fiona Watt, Carrie A. Seay, Howard Allman
Children similarly love this book. There is nothing more thrilling than for a child or teen to draw the human face and see how close they actually come to the reality.
Planet Earth, BBC Video
One of the best nature videos ever made. Spectacular footage from all over the world. Rare footage, exciting. All in the family can learn and enjoy. 11 Part Series. This is the complete version. Enjoyed it thoroughly! Turn on nature films instead of horror films for a more well-adjusted child.
501 TV-Free Activities for Kids (501 TV-Free Kids) by Diane Hodges
There are a number of books like this that parents and teachers can use for ideas keeping their children busy in positive, screen-free activities.
How to Unspoil Your Child Fast: A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents by Richard Bromfield
The following 13 books for children are from the AYCNP list of 200 of the
Best Books for Children (on-site)
Explore a Tropical Forest - Hardcover Pop-up Book by Peggy D. Winston , also Strange Animals of the Sea
Part of a series of books, as described on the main books list page here, kids love this series and are attracted to it, being somewhat interactive.
The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
Good early childhood choice for girls through third grade. Girls do like this book (in class).
Here Is the African Savanna (Web of Life), by
Madeleine Dunphy, Tom Leonard
Delightful poem with delightful pictures through 3rd grade.
Noah and the Ark Paul Guernsey, Lori Lohstoeter, Kelly McGillis
Based on Biblical account, accurate in most details, delightfully written for children, imparting good moral lesson on doing good rather than bad.
Almost Gone: The World's Rarest Animals Steve Jenkins
Grade 2 book of immense interest and importance for children. This is very nicely done for children.
Secret Place by Eve Bunting
Almost all of Eve Bunting's books are of worth and superior quality. This early childhood book takes children on a journey with a city boy who finds a "secret place" of wilderness.
Once Upon a Springtime (Hello Reader, Level 2)
Jean Marzollo, Jacqueline Rogers
Beautiful (non-violent) "Bambi alternative" featuring deer and fawn for early childhood, grades 2 and younger.
All About Deer (All About Series)
by Jim Arnosky
This is a great concept book teaching positive values and love of nature. The book is good for children from 1st through the 3rd grade, even some 4th graders. The illustrations are a bit skimpy, as are the graphics. It is a good book for parents to read to children.
Into the Sea Brenda Z. Guiberson, Alix Berenzy
Strikingly and colorfully delightful, educational for young children.
When the TV Broke Harriet Ziefert, Mavis Smith
Clever story children love, and that would solve a lot of problems if it actually happened.
Draw 50 Animals Lee J. Ames
For children with a little artistic interest, a good place to start.
Akiak: A Tale From the Iditarod
by Robert J. Blake
Adventure picture book for young readers
Snowflake Bentley Jacqueline Briggs Martin, Mary Azarian
Based on true life work of American snowflake photographer. Ages 5 through 8.
Page updated: March 21, 2015
Walt Disney Biography
-------------and the Psychology of Children's Cartoons
Disney Biography Introduction
Walter Disney was born December 5, 1901 in Chicago.
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His family bought a farm and his father struggled
to raise his family. Four years of back-breaking work and the family sold out their farm, barely breaking even on his
It was four years work with nothing to show. The family then found themselves in Kansas City
in 1910 when Walt was 8.
When Walt lived on the farm, he had his first exposure to movies in
a nearby theatre. Movies had just come into existence around 1895 and 1896, largely the creation of Thomas Edison
in NJ, and by the years 1904-1914, movie theatres proliferated throughout the United States and other parts of the world. Millions in
the United States attended weekly by 1914. Disney became enamored with the movies and they became a regular part of his life.
He and his wife would date, going to the movies, Disney was married at 24 years of age.
Vaudeville and Burlesque, also were influences on his life.
was fond of drawing and sketching, especially caricatures, which he made for 25-cents a piece in local barber shop. For
the better part of his childhood and into his teenage years he had an arduous newspaper route, for which he received only
a small allowance, his father taking most of the money for family expenses. Neither he nor his father were heavy drinkers;
Walt enjoyed a scotch in the evening as an adult after he had become successful.
Charley Chaplin was a Disney idol, the creation of Mickey Mouse
was influenced by Chaplin, however, Disney stated that Mickey Mouse was a creation devoted to Horatio Alger.
was a writer that had studied under Henry W. Longfellow with the hopes of becoming a poet. He wrote scores of novels concerning
the American Dream, of a poor boy becoming rich through hard work and diligence. For a time he was
a minister, but was found guilty of molesting young boys. Nonetheless, his novels became a popular American
literary tradition during the early 1900s.
Disney Biography - Disney and Politics
father was a socialist, his family had English and Irish roots. Disney sketched political cartoons for his father's
socialist newspaper, however, he did not stick to his father's political persuasions and became more and more conservative,
in the American political tradition (more along the lines of Reagan's ideology), as he got older. He became staunchly
anti-communist, as Hollywood, of which Disney was a part, was effected by labor strikes and struggles with communist ideology
from within. Disney felt he would be a political cartoonist, but ended up pursuing what was gaining popularity in the early
1920s , that is children's cartoons.
Disney's first cartoons
The first children's cartoons produced started appearing from before 1914, and Felix the Cat (not Disney) preceded
Mickey Mouse, but failed to gain the huge success that Mickey Mouse did, although many of us can still remember the TV jingle,
"Felix the Cat, the wonderful wonderful cat.. whenever he gets in a fix he reaches into his bag of tricks," But Disney stated that Felix the Cat never evolved, had remained two-dimensional, and didn't
grow in personality. Mickey was different, and much of Disney's own animated personality
was incorporated into the Mickey persona. When Mickey Mouse was first created he was to be known as Mortimor Mouse. His wife
objected, and the name was changed to Mickey. Disney had originally created a cartoon rabbit, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, which had become somewhat popular. However, the company for which Disney was working, stole, or took over, Disney's cartoon character, as Disney had not taken the necessary legal steps to protect his creation, and so Disney morphed his rabbit into a mouse, changing the ears, coloring and body. Oswald the Lucky Rabbit became Mickey Mouse.
Mickey Mouse's first film, wasn't Steamboat Willy, as most of us might think, but rather it was a flick of Mickey humorously flying a small plane, "Plane Crazy". This was a reflection of Disney's infatuation with airflight, influenced by the writings of Russian militarist Alexander P. DeSeversky's, Victory Through Air Power. His second cartoon feature was that of dancing skeletons, a horror-spoof. Disney next featured Mickey Mouse in The Gallopin' Gaucho. Neither of the first two Mickey flicks were successful, until finally Disney created Steamboat Willy, which succeeded in iconizing Mickey Mouse.
Disney provided the voice for the original Mickey Mouse, until excessive smoking rendered his voice incapable of carrying the character, at which point another actor took over the role.
In December of 1933 the Disney's had a little girl Diane Maria Disney. They later had a second little girl, their only
two children. The Disney's remained together until his death of cancer and circulatory failure in the 1960s, at the
time that the plans for Disney World were being approved by the city officials in Orlando, Florida. His brother Roy was his
business partner for all of the years of the Disney legacy, and continued to work with the Disney empire even after
Walt Disney's death. He was more sensible and level headed, but frequently got into blowout fights
with his impetuous brother Walter. Walt never got to see Disney World.
had something a volatile temper. His family was aware of his temper and were cautious with him. He had two daughters, and on one occasion, he reached
across the table and slapped his girl across the face. When he went to work he looked forlorn. An employee asked him
why, and he told her. "There must have been a good reason," the worker said. "Damn right," Disney,
she gave me "that dirty Disney look." After getting into a head to head battle with his brother, he always
seemed to be the one to go and make amends. His older daughter is said to have inherited his hot temper, and frequently got
into clashes with her father. Whereas his younger daughter is described as "his little girl," and didn't
inherit the fiery disposition.
On the other hand, with the foregoing in mind, Disney was considered by his family to be a good father. His wife spoke fondly of Walt Disney, as a good husband and father, and his family is very loyal to their father to this day. So while Disney had a temper and was explosive at times, was a work and smoke-aholic, he was also a good person to his family and others, and was not ill-liked, he had a sense of humor about himself and although he was very ambitious with his ideas, he still didn't take himself all too seriously, as is reflected in his humorous work, which gives his most fondly remembered characters their folksy appeal, which has lasted for generations.
Disney, Child Abuse and Implications for Disney Fantasies and Films
Disney was the victim of child abuse
himself from his boyhood years until the time he was 14, his father apparently thrashing him often with whatever he could get his hands on to strike or beat the boys with.
The last event of child abuse occurred when Walt was 14 years old, his father didn't like the speed of his work and sent him to the basement for a beating. His older brother Roy shouted out encouragement, "Don't let him do it to you again. Don't let him treat you like a
boy." When his father grabbed the handle of a hammer to beat Walt, Walt grabbed it from his hands and held his father's
arms. His father broke down and cried and never beat him again. Interestingly, a scene in the animation Disney film
, so vividly corresponds with this experience of Walt at 14, that it is striking. It demonstrates that memories of
child abuse are long-lasting, even for adults many years later.
Disney's own troubled upbringing is a reminder that often times child abuse takes place behind the scenes, and
that it is passed on from generation to generation, but at the same time, it is possible to break that chain of
abuse. Some have found their escape in fantasy, however, children and victims of abuse need to be anchored, they
need nurturers and protectors. Some who are aware of the prevalence of child abuse, both in the United States and other countries, can think about taking up work in assisting and caring
for children. In some states in the U.S. and other countries, there is a need for early childhood or special education teachers. Preschool and Kindergarten
teachers of high quality are of much value. Special education teachers perform a vital role in caring for children with
Sigmund Freud made the accurate comment before
WWI that we are enamored by fairy tales (Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty were folk tales for centuries in Germany
and some other countries. The Brother's Grimm were the first, in the 1700s, to collect and document these folk tales and put them
in writing), as a result of trying to regain the childhood that we may have lost through oppression experienced in childhood. This seems to be true of Disney. His abusive childhood may have led him on a campaign to create the perfect fantasy world that he did not experience as a boy. One co-worker observed that Disney worked with an almost demonic fervor, like he was being driven by demons. While Disney was a creator, his past, apparently still haunted him, and his workaholism in creating and re-creating childhood fantasies may have had deeper psychological roots of efforts to escape from the past.
Sigmund Freud astutely observed that our interest as adults or children in the fantasy world of fairy tales, is often the result of attempting to regain a childhood that may have been lost due to abuse. This may have likely been the case with Walt Disney and part of what drove him to create an ideal fantasyland for children.
In a way, Mickey Mouse became bigger than his creator. Referring to Mickey Mouse as a "little idol," Disney is quoted as saying, “We’re restricted with the mouse,” Walt told me. “He’s become a little idol. The duck can blow his top and commit mayhem, but if I do anything like that with the mouse, I get letters from all over the world. ‘Mickey wouldn’t act like that,’ they say.”
Violence in Children's Cartoons
On the other hand,
Disney was not a purist when it came to artworks, nor was he an idealist, "Give the people what they want,"
he stated; his driving ambitions were success-oriented, popularity and commercialism played a vital role in his choices. He encouraged a young artist to abandon
pure art in favor of where money could be made and popularity achieved.
especially true during the making of such movies as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, when the company was under much financial
pressure. Action and violent scenes were deliberately added and accentuated, to hook the audience and draw crowds in Disney's Peter Pan. (Violence
in children's cartoons continues to be a problem today. A 1996 survey revealed that 8 out of 10 Saturday morning children's cartoons contain violent characters.
George Gerbner, Media and Democracy: A book of Readings and Resources 1996 - Media Violence-Opposing Viewpoints,
NY p.154. )
Exposure to violence, even
in cartoons, can effect a child's mental, emotional and neurological development.
Maleficent, Dragon Incarnation - Disney Films
Children's mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorders, sleep disorders, some attentional problems and childhood depression, might be connected to exposure to frightening scenes in movies, and terror. Some children have nightmares as a result of seeing frightening scenes in such movies as Sleeping Beauty and Snow White.
Because many children see children's movies such as Disney films or TV cartoons, hundreds or thousands of times during their childhood years, it can have a big impact on a child's cognitive and emotional development, establishing thought, emotional, even behavioral patterns, which can be carried with them even into adult years.
Disney Studios and War Propaganda Films During World War II
World War II, troops occupied Disney studios in California. Disney plunged wholeheartedly into the war effort. It was during
that time that Disney was creating both Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Bambi, as well as some other projects. All of these
projects were postponed until after the war, with the exception of Bambi, which continued. One animator left for the war,
and returned four years later, resuming his animation work on (a film concurrent with Bambi) the very same sequence that he had
left behind for the war four years earlier.
studio, during these years produced "Chicken Little," reproduced in recent years, which was originally a
war propaganda film that depicted the evils of mass hysteria. The studio had been
preparing for its wartime role since before Pearl Harbor. Disney succeeded in "exerting a vast influence on the thinking
of both the public and policy makers." This was at a time when other movie companies were entertaining an "entertainment
hungry"; United States with war musicals and war movies. It was a few years after the war finished that Disney started
making plans for his Disneyland dream in California.
1941 Disney was raw: threats of workers, dissatisfaction, political tensions and alliances, he was saying and doing
things he later realized were unwise. He had suffered a nervous breakdown of sorts at one point around 1931 and left
for an extended vacation with his wife to recuperate and regain his health, his doctor tried prescribing treatments, until
the time that he returned from his rest, and told his doctor that he was no longer in need of such help. The prolonged vacation
seemed to help. In 1935, during the production of Snow White, he again started having the same feelings of emotional
fatigue, and took another extended rest, which again gave him sufficient strength to continue his work.
After World War II Disney was under financial pressure for hits, and Alice in Wonderland, completed
after the war, had the pace of a three-ring circus, but in Disney's words, has plenty of entertainment and should
satisfy everyone. Animators tired of the project, as did Disney, calling it punishing work and everyone,
including Walt, were relieved when it was finished. As it turned out, the movie wasn't financially successful.
Dumbo, by contrast, which was made on a limited budget, less than $1,000,000,
was, though, successful financially.
the war years, Disney and his organization, were responsible for scores of war-training and war-propaganda movies for the
navy, army, and especially the air force. Disney had read the book, “Victory Through Air Power, written by a Russian
author, Alexander P. DeSeversky, that became the basis for the most pivotal of Disney's war films, and that gave strong
persuasion for the success inherent in airpower. When Bambi was finally completed, a long project, he immediately started
to work on the movie "Victory Through Airpower," Seversky even coming in to assist. He [Disney] applied
his skill to explaining bomb sights and factory methods with the "same zeal that he had to recounting the exploits of Mickey
Mouse and Snow White." The Dwarves themselves were actually featured on a war film produced during that time period.
Donald Duck also was used in a cartoon where he wakes up from a dream working in a Germany munitions factor, with a song and
the famous duck saluting Adolph Hitler. It delighted audiences, although it was banned in Germany.
Disney team often did their wartime work with little thought to making money. Disney animators designed 1,400 insignia emblems
for military uniforms at the mere cost of $25 each, making no money on the project. "I had to do it," Disney is
quoted as saying, "Those kids grew up on Mickey Mouse, I owed it to them."
The ideology of heavy use of air
power, was part of Disney's
philosophy for the war, and his movies on this subject had a profound
influence on Winston Churchill, who sent to the United States for a copy of Disney's war film. This led to a decision by Churchill in the use of airpower, which broke a deadlock in war strategy, when the United States and Britain were
planning assaults on Germany. Churchill was in conference at the time with Roosevelt. The Disney movie proved to be the tie-breaker,
and a huge air offensive was planned and implemented; it proved to be a part of the Allied forces winning strategy for D-Day.
Roosevelt was amazed by the way Disney's airplanes masterfully wiped ships off the seas. The Joint
Chiefs of Staffs also viewed the film and it had a powerful influence on their war plans.
of ways to eliminate hydropower dams of the enemy were visualized by Seversky and animated by Disney, before actually carried
out by the Royal Air Force, who went on to bomb the Rhineland dams, in almost the exact method proposed by Seversky and later
in Disney's films. When Walt was in Washington he was invited to a meeting with high naval offices who complained about
his neglect of naval power and emphasis on air power. Walt stuck to his strong support for air power and it continued to be a major theme of
his war effort in animated films until the end of World War II, when Disney studios resumed their emphasis on children's cartoons.
Background of Bambi Film and novel by Felix Salten
The Disney classic Bambi was the only film that continued to be produced during WWII by Disney animators during WWII. The
story behind the movie is of interest; the novel Bambi, ein Leben im Walde (Bambi, A Life in the Woods) is a book
by Felix Salten, first printed in 1923. Felix Salten was the pen-name of Siegmund Salzmann, a Jewish author, who
was born in Budapest, Hungary but grew up in Vienna, Austria. The book was translated from German into English by Whittaker
Chambers, who needed to supplement his income while working at a Communist newspaper. Felix Salten wrote a sequel, entitled
Bambi's Children. Salten's works also inspired The Shaggy Dog, a Disney film in the '60s. Salten, being Jewish,
fled to Switzerland during the Nazi occupation.
The 1906 book
Josephine Mutzenbacher - The Life Story of a Viennese Whore, as Told by Herself, was an erotic novel first published anonymously
in Vienna, Austria in 1906 that is also attributed to Salten and that is famous in the German-speaking world, having been
in print in both German and English; for over 100 years it has sold over three-million copies, becoming an erotic bestseller
described as a "pornographic classic". It has been translated into English, French, Spanish, Hungarian and Japanese, and
been the subject of numerous films, theater productions, parodies, and university courses, as well as twenty sequels, still being
The novel Bambi is a deep symbolic representation, not only of the perils of hunting, but also has a striking
or symbolic comparison, a foreboding prophecy of sorts, of what Jews and others would experience in the "man hunt" of
humans by the Nazis. The novel is shockingly violent at times, and glimpses of Salten's past work in pornography, are
apparent in certain scenes. Incest and even lust directed towards children, or sexuality involving children, is
part of the landscape in the original novel. One child's librarian stated that the novel Bambi, was not for young children,
but one would be better to wait until being older to read it. Disney's version, while containing scenes of terror, removes any of the sexual inferences that were part of the original novel.
Development of Disney Characters, Directing of Cartoon Features and Ideology of Disney Cartoons
Donald Duck made his debut in 1934 in Silly Symphony, The Wise Little Hen, and Donald Duck is described as "the
explosive Donald Duck." Disney stated, that he could do whatever he wanted with "the Duck," but that with "that idol" Mickey Mouse, there were certain lines that he could not cross. If he pushed the Mickey Mouse character too far, the public responded unfavorably. So, in a way, his creation, became bigger than Disney himself. Donald Duck, on the other hand, did not reach the idolic proportions of Mickey Mouse, and Disney, apparently, had greater liberty in the way he presented the character.
A silent version of Snow White had been produced in 1915 that Disney had seen. This formed
the basis for Disney's first feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Disney acted out each part, every
dwarf, the Evil queen, with his face beaming while depicting the dwarfs. He gave a two-hour performance when presenting his idea, which sold the idea of Snow White to his production team, as the future major-feature movie. Snow White is described as a 14-year-old girl, Prince Charming was 18. The
end of the movie is when the Prince’s kiss awakens the sleeping Snow White. Some had tears in their eyes at the end of Disney's performance. The Queen
is described by Walt's directing as “A mixture of "Lady Macbeth and the Big Bad Wolf". "Her beauty is sinister, mature,
plenty of curves, she comes ugly and menacing when scheming and mixing her poisons. Magic fluids transform her into an old
Disney movies provide a sharp dichotomy between "snow white" purity, and pure evil and wickedness. Greg Fouts, Ph.D., of the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, in studying this tendency in Disney films notes that the stereotyping of totally pure and totally evil, can become deeply ingrained in a child's mind, causing her (or him) to view people in sharp boundaries of pure or evil.
Andrea Lawson, associated with Fouts, notes that Disney fairy tale films can encourage fear of the mentally ill, as most of the classic cartoons feature characters who "go mad," or "crazy," are usually violently, and which give a strong and distorted stereotype of mental illness.
Child psychology: Disney Princesses have a powerful influnece on the mind and psyche of a child.
kiss and Princess Culture
fantasy movies often involved a "climactic kiss," as one mother and New York Times Magazine writer described,
but as far as discussions about or movies about sex, Disney preferred to leave such discussions as private matters (good advice
for parents today and for film-makers. Children's PG and even G-rated movies today often have much in the way of sexual innuendo,
some of which goes over children's heads, but some of which keeps them thinking for days and weeks afterward.)
The fantasy romances of such movies has evolved, according to the Time article, into a
(See December 24, 2006 New York Times Magazine for full article) and taken on a life of its own. Some parents
are concerned with the lessons that such movies teach children. Day after day exposure to the idea of a Prince Charming, firmly
plants such idealistic seeds in the mind and hearts of little girls. This may be of concern for many parents. Also, the escalating nature
of the violence of children's movies is also a concern, as is the sexual content and innuendos of many children's movies today.
The sexual innuendo in children's films has increased in recent years.
Fantasia, based on the earlier
feature, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," was made in 1940 featuring Mickey as the blundering Sorcerer. A new version entitled The Sorcerer's Apprentice, was released by Disney Studios in 2010. The Reluctant Dragon was released in 1941, based on a story from the late 1800s, portrays the Dragon as a friend rather than foe. Of all the Disney films,
by the time of World War II, only three or four actually were profitable, which put some pressure on Disney and the company.
Disney went on to produce the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in
1938, which was an old fairy tale, interpreted from a poem. Mickey was the apprentice whose sorcerer's powers
ran astray disastrously, choreographed from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring (Sacre De Printemps), music of primitive
people of the Russian Steppes with weird dissonances. Walt complained one day that it seemed as if artists had
never grown up. "How can you grow up in this atmosphere, for God's sake?" replied one observer, it's
like living in Santa Clauses workshop. Disney tried to perpetuate the myth of Santa Clause with his girls
as long as he possibly could. (Many of his most popular movies come from childhood myths and stories written in the late
1800s.) The spiritistic nature of Disney films has often been a subject of discussion and also of psychological study. A recent
study published in Child Psychiatry, analyzed negative stereotyping and use of "demonizing" words in Disney films, finding
an average of 5.6 per film. The psychological implications for children are many, according to the study. (Much in children's
programming similarly embraces the spiritistic theme. One example is Scooby Doo, the new movie of which has a long and poignant
scene of voodoo euphoria. Some of the Scooby Doo books have prolonged conversations or discussions on witchcraft and wicca,
ghosts and the paranormal.)
Snow White, Disney produced Pinocchio, which was originally written by Carlo Collidi (Lorenzi) in 1880. Collidi saw himself
in the character of Pinocchio, a boy who was always in trouble, always doing something wrong. Disney "pursued the
new project almost demonically," and he was determined to make Pinocchio even greater than the preceding Snow White
feature. "Pinocchio should use every ounce of force he has in his swimming to escape the whale. This should be the equivalent
of the storm and the chase of the queen in Snow White," he directed.
trying to get started in finishing Peter Pan after the war, Roy and Walt got into one of many angry shouting matches. Roy
yelled back to at Walter, "Look you're letting this place drive you to the nuthouse. That's one place I'm
not going with you!" Walt later tried to reconcile saying, "Isn't it amazing what a horses ass a fellow
can be sometimes," both smiled and the argument was assuaged.
Separation Anxiety and Horror Movies for Children
It has been noted by psychologists that many Disney films, and other children's films in more recent years, capitalize on
the emotions involved with "separation anxiety" and in that respect, Disney and some other children's films, can lead to emotions
in children that might not be healthy in their formative years. Some have referred to Disney films as "horror movies for children,"
although today, horror movies that are truly horrifying are part of the social landscape of a large percentage of children,
with and without parents knowing what their children are watching through cable and satellite television systems; Disney movies introduced children to movies and to the idea of horror for excitement in children's movies.
Background History, Company Debt, Snow White and Cinderella
became the first hit movie since Snow White and helped to shrink the companies debt in the 1950s to $1,700,000. Cinderella
was a French/German children's fairy tale from the 1500s, that the Grimm brothers recorded in their book on children's tales
in centuries past. Actually, it is believed that the first Cinderella story originated in China in the 9th
Century. Cinderella is a story, that is really about child abuse, a wicked stepmother and evil sisters who abuse Cinderella
in various ways, and it is one reason why the story is such an enduring tale, any woman or girl who might have experience
abuse as a child, can relate to this simple, yet compelling story.
Disney received a medal
from the League of Nations for his Mickey Mouse creation. He met with a number of presidents, receiving a medal from Lyndon
Johnson, and was even received by such politicians as Mussolini of Italian (WWII) fame. After WWII, visitors and employees
were often perplexed by his silence and manner, his disinterest, and gruffness.
Winnie the Pooh
A. A. Milne, author of the original Winnie the Pooh story (1926). The story was eventually sold by his widow to
Disney movies (1961). Milne was also wrote novels, plays and poems.
Christopher Robin was the son of
the author of Winnie the Pooh. Christopher wanted to name Milne's character, and
without stopping to think,
the boy said
"Winnie-the-Pooh," "And so he was," stated Milne. (The "Pooh" part of the name Winnie the Pooh, came from a real swan of
that name on the family property.) Thus, the name of the famous lazy bear in the stories became Winnie the Pooh even though traditionally "Winnie"
is a girl's name and Winnie the Pooh is definitely a boy bear.
Unlike Bambi, there is nothing scandalous about the roots of the Winney the Pooh story, although in a couple of illustrated scenes in Winnie the Pooh series, Christopher Robin does invite Winnie the Pooh to watch him take a bath.
In the way of textual criticism, Winnie the Pooh (the book series), of which there were four, are simple enough and gentle
enough for any child. The theme of a single boy or girl in the midst of fantasy creatures or animals, is something that
had been developed already in literary history, most notably in Lewis Carrol's Alice in Wonderland. Carrol,
a pen name, was an epileptic, and quite possibly on medications for his epilepsy. There has been much written about the fantastical
story of Alice in Wonderland, as it relates to Carrol's severe epilepsy. Also, there has been speculation about Carrol's relationship
with Alice, a real girl, some have said, his daughter, other's have said a friend of his family, but these allegations seem
Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh, wrote for a politically satirical journal in the
early 1900s in London, and the illustrator of Winnie the Pooh Ernest Shepherd, was a political cartoonist in the same paper.
Winnie the Pooh, seems to be have written during World War I, when Milne was in the army in England, as a diversion from the rigors
of army life, according to what we can piece together from comments in his biography, although it was not published until
the mid-1920's. Following the primary book, Milne wrote three others, for a total of four Winnie the Pooh books. Some of these
give the impression of a lazy summer vacation and were all written prior to World War II.
There are references in Winnie the Pooh that seem to reflect Milne's preoccupation
or comic satire concerning the subject of medicine for children. In two scenes, in separate books, Piglet,
first, is given "medicine," "MMMM...medicine," says Piglet, "I don't need any mmmm.....medicine," he says with trepidation.
medicine!!!!!!" is the reply of an overbearing adult.
In the second book in the series, Tiger is similarly given "medicine" to help him
with "energy". At the least, this documents the idea, that even during the 1920s, giving medicine to children for "energy" and behavioral issues may have been a source of some controversy.
There have been books written that analyze
the characters of Winnie the Pooh and their significance. Eeyore, you might say, displays the traits of a, sometimes volatile,
depressive alcoholic. Winnie the Pooh sometime resembles a (honey) alcoholic, in his activity, or a "binger," when it comes
to his passion for honey.
Milne was a passionate smoker, pipes being the order of the day in early
20th century England, and some of the scenes in Milne's stories remind one of a group of men sitting around a bar
and "chewing the fat," telling "fish stories" and the like, over drafts of beer. Also, Milne was a prolific writer, and a
dry English humor. He wrote scores of plays, novels, articles, and an interesting, if not dry, autobiography as well. But
unlike Salten of Bambi, his books for children are not Orwellian in nature, (as Bambi is), but are merely books for children,
that reflect Milne's own experiences and concerns in life, a childish escape and fantasy.
The illustrations, by Earnest Shepherd, of Winnie the Pooh have remained
largely unchanged since they were created in the 1920s, (designed after the book had been written, which perhaps accounts
for the gap between the later years of World War I, when Winnie the Pooh was most likely written, and when the book was published
in the mid-1920s). Shepherd's wife of many years died after the first Winnie the Pooh book, and before the second book
was written, from health problems associated with asthma and medication.
Winnie the Pooh, Bambi and Mickey Mouse are elaborated on this page because these
characters form deep emotional bonds with children from the child's earliest ages, and from the first days of a child's
life, Winnie the Pooh is inculcated into their hearts through songs, toys and paraphernalia for babies. These type of cartoons, Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny, today's Dora the Explorer; Bambi,
Square Pants Bob, that is Sponge Bob, the Flintstones, are or contain emotionally-bonding characters, "soft-bonding" cartoons.
(Bart Simpson and friends, Rug Rats, are a little more advanced in satire and crudeness, but the same principle applies, Family Guy characters (and South Park cartoon characters), known for their off-color jokes and profanity, while considered to be "adult" cartoons, are probably most often viewed by children, the characters are bonding and at the same time repulsing. There are more advanced in terms of crudeness- adult-children cartoons, but these are the most well-known and most talked about in school.)
Unlike Felix the Cat, the characters are well enough developed that children bond to them emotionally. This bonding process lasts well into high
school and for some adults, an emotional bond exists with these characters well into adulthood.
Winnie the Pooh has been linked with Taoism, and a best selling book has been written entitled,
the Tao of Pooh. There are striking parallels between Taoist holy writings and those of the Winnie the Pooh novels for
children. (A recent biography on Charles Schultz, the creator of the popular Snoopy and Peanuts characters, interestingly
gives insight into Shultz's Buddhist persuasion and how that is reflected in and may have influenced his comic series.)
Walt Disney's Later Years
Disney was a passionate smoker, and despite the warnings from his doctor and family, continued to smoke until the time
he contracted lung cancer. He often smoked his cigarettes down to the butt and beyond! Smoking eventually led
to his physical decline and he died at the age of 67. He had other health problems, a polo accident led to a back problems.
Rather than having an operation, he made visits to a chiropractor. As he result, though, Disney believed, of the chiropractic visits,
he continued having back pain until his death, for which he found no relief (he felt that the chiropractic treatments contributed
to the continued back problems rather than assuaging them). In has last years, he suffered with many pains, hot compresses
were necessary to assuage the pain in his face throughout the night.
Disney believed in God
and was a non-practicing roman Catholic. Christmas and Birthdays were strong Disney traditions. Disney is said to have respected
all religions. His daughter attended Catholic school, but was married in a Protestant Church, she and her husband-to- be, were baptized
there shortly before the wedding, but neither he or his family were religious. Disney's daughters had a number of grandchildren, the fifth child
of the oldest daughter, being named, finally, to Walter's relief, after himself, Walter.
Disney had been told by
a fortune teller before his work started in earnest, that he would die before his life's work was completed. It became something he never forgot, and he did in fact
die before seeing the approval or ground breaking of what might be considered the greatest achievement in his name, Disney
World. His brother and son-in-law remained a part of the team after Disney died, carried the work to completion, and Disney World has become a Universal
symbol for more than 40 years.
Conclusion on Disney movies for Children
and the Psychological Impact of Movies and Childhood Fantasies on Children
Children often draw strong religious and spiritual mental imagery and ideas from children's movies, such as The Lion King, which theme revolves around the religious beliefs and practices of African animism.
"Hercules" is a another example of a children's film that draws heavily on religious elements, as well as Aladdin, to a certain extent, blending myth, religious traces, and romantic fantasy.
For some children weaned on Disney movies and Disney World, the Disney Princess fantasies that are marketed heavily in the past ten years, children's formative years, the way of thinking and psychological development of a child can be strongly influenced by Disney fantasies and culture. For a child whose video collection has 100 Disney and similar films, this can have a strong influence on their way of thinking and way of life into adult years. Disney, and the children's film industry in general, is a powerful cultural influence throughout the world.
In addition to separation anxiety, childhood depression may be linked with overindulgence in children's fantasies, especially for emotionally sensitive little girls. Also, because Disney made horror for children acceptable and marketable, horror movies of the most violent type have become part of the cultural fabric of most children and teens in this decade. Disney movies broke ground for children's horror movies in future years.
The cartoon violence can be as real or have as much impact as other forms of violence for children, and much of it is added
to even Disney films to make it more catchy and marketable. (e.g. Peter Pan, Bambi). Some psychologists have expressed concern
over negative stereotyping in Disney films both of the mentally ill and other negative, or "demonizing" terminology
and the effects this may have on a child's psyche and personality. Because films are constantly reinforced, since the
advent of the VCR and CDs, the lessons taught in children's films are very powerful, much more so than in previous generations
of children. Parents, then, need to be selective in their choices in children's entertainment.
Parents should endeavor to direct and mold the minds of their children in positive ways. Also, it is of interest to note, is that unresolved issues in childhood, can be noted in the works of many adults, such as the case in Disney, and his difficult childhood, the abuse by his father, may have been part of what drove Disney in the creation of his fantasy world for children.
Parents might consider cultivating in their children what got Disney started in the beginning, that is a love for drawing, a peaceful art, that can help children to learn to focus, films and TV for children tend to scatter the mind of a child, or cause emotional highs and lows, drawing and art is a peaceful pastime that can relieve stress and anxiety and that can help children develop self-esteem and positive thought patterns. So rather than spoil or overindulge children in every new (and old) movie that comes out, encourage a child to develop his or her own talents in art, have art tools handy for a child, provide coloring books and crayons, easel and paints. This can help a child to be a "doer" rather than just a "viewer"! See page: Some ideas to help children develop skill and a taste for art.
Also, reading can be more strengthening mentally for both children and adults than viewing films and television. When parents thoughtfully provide books for children, it can mold their personalities in positive ways, can be a part of character education, and at the same be mentally strengthening for a child. The Amazon book list below provides examples of wonderful books for both young children up until their teen years.
Disney Biography and Psychology of Children's Cartoons - References
1. Fouts, G., Callan, M., Piasentin, K., Lawson, A. (June 8, 2006).
Demonizing in Children's Television Cartoons and
Disney Animated Films. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. Vol. 37, No. 1. pp. 15-23.
2. Gostin, N. (March 2005). Tears for a Deer. Newsweek.
It's got an adorable hare, a gangly fawn and one of the most disturbing death scenes in the history of animation. We're referring, of course, to the 1942 classic "Bambi," in which the hero loses his mom to the sharp crack of a hunting rifle. With the film out on DVD this week, parents will be wondering how to cope with the inevitable question: "Mom, are you going to die?"
3. Hallett, V. (October 31, 2004). The Pain Behind Peter Pan
US News & World Report
4. Lawson, A., & Fouts, G. (2004).
Mental illness in Disney animated films. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 49 (5), 165-169.
5. Ornstein, P. (December 24, 2006). What's Wrong With
Cinderella? New York Times Magazine. One mothers concerns with Disney and Princess Culture for little girls.
6. Olfman, S. (2009). The Sexualization of Childhood.
7. Parmer, N. (Sep/Oct 2004). Lunatic Toons. Disney Films may Teach Children to Fear the Mentally Ill, (By portraying characters as "crazy" and "nuts"). Psychology Today.
8. Thomas, Bob, (1994). Walt Disney - An American Original. Disney Productions.
Pages related to Disney - off-site
Disney's Effect on Children, Andrew Tennyson
Pages Related to Walt Disney Biography
Children's Movies Effects
Child Abuse Information
Children and Art - Positive effects of art and children. Ways to get your children involved with art.
Disney Television and Music Hannah Montana and Child Psychology