It may have been a while since you stopped to think about your favorite childhood movies. Whether they were classic Disney films such as The Lion King, Aladdin or The Little Mermaid, or traditional Holiday films. Something you may never have realized before, though, oftentimes some of these very successful childhood movies have stories behind them that are not always good ones. They may appear as fairytale stories on the big screen, but believe us when we say that some of these have much deeper (and not always in a "good" way) meaning. We have compiled a list of some of the most shocking behind-the-scenes secrets of the movies in question. Your favorite childhood films. We’re warning you right now, some of these facts may taint your view of some of your favorite films from when you were a kid. If it helps though, we have also included a few nice facts about these movies. So, prepare to be both entertained and very shocked as you learn some very interesting and never before known facts….
Shortly after the release of The Princess and the Frog, it emerged that a significant number of young fans had been hospitalized with salmonella. All 50 children from the US were sent to hospital after they fell ill in December of 2010, as they had been kissing frogs just like Princess Tiana in the movie. In the film, the frog turns into a prince after Tiana kisses him, but medics soon began to warn children not to follow this trend as there were health risks involved. It’s clear these young girls wanted to be just like there onscreen hero and find their own prince. Most of the girls affected were under 10 years old and all made full recoveries. This case highlights how it can often be very dangerous when children attempt to be or act in the same way as their favorite onscreen characters.
The next incident on our list is a very sad one. Many are not aware that John Candy, who you will recognize from hit movies such as Uncle Buck, Home Alone, Spaceballs, and Cool Runnings, was all set to voice an animated turkey in Pocahontas before his tragic death in 1994. Redfeather was intended to be a sidekick of Pocahontas and was to be an important part of the movie. Unfortunately, the character was eventually scratched from the movie and replaced by Meeko. Candy was found unresponsive in his hotel room where he was vacationing while taking a break from filming the movie Wagon’s East! It is suspected that the actor died from a heart attack; he was 43 years old. It’s sad to consider what the movie would have been like had Candy lived to play the part of Redfeather; we’re sure he would have given an endlessly entertaining performance as he has done many times before.
You may be shocked to find out that the noises you hear from the terrifying Velociraptors in Jurassic Park is actually the sound of turtles mating. It may be hard to believe that the scary sound these creatures make can be something so amusing, but we’re not lying, we promise. Sound designer Gary Rydstrom was recording sounds for the film at Marine World when an employee asked if he wanted to record the sound of the turtles mating, as he believed it may come in useful later on in the movie process. Rydstrom went along with the employee’s suggestion and the rest, as they say, is history. Needless to say, you might feel a bit strange the next time you watch Jurassic Park. We bet you never saw this one coming.
Not many people know this–not even self-proclaimed music buffs–but the first use of double-tracking in music was in Cinderella. Double-tracking refers to when a performer sings or plays along with their own pre-recorded performance. Therefore, Walt Disney asked the singer Ilene Woods if she could sing harmonies to herself which was played over her earlier recordings. The technique has now become a staple in the music industry and this Disney classic is where it all began. It’s brilliant to think that a Disney-animated production could go on to have such an impact on the music world in general. This is a fact we are so happy to hear.
It’s been a big Toy Story mystery and debate for many years—where is Andy’s dad? The two biggest fan theories regarding his whereabouts is that he and Andy’s mom have separated or that he isn’t alive anymore. Fans seem to think that the first theory is more likely as in the screenshots from the background of the animation, family photos can be seen and there is no man depicted in them. This could make sense if Andy’s parents are divorced. Whatever the fictional reason Andy has no dad in the movies may be, the real-life one is simple—he was too expensive to produce. It would have cost the movie too much to make two human characters in the form of Andy’s parents, so that is why he only has one. It’s as simple as that, folks.
Don Ameche voiced the golden retriever Shadow in the terrific 1993 family favorite Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. If you can recall towards the end of the movie, you will remember how Shadow almost wants to give up on the journey because he feels too old. This detail is made even more tragic by the fact that Don Ameche passed away the same year the movie was released at the age of 85. Don Ameche may well have been feeling very tired when working on the movie but powered through in the same way that Shadow does at the end of the film. Just when everyone had almost given up on Shadow, he comes hobbling over the hill to be reunited with his family; he was finally home.
For the Pinocchio movie premiere, Disney thought it would be a great idea to hire 11 impersonators to dress up as the movie’s characters. This was all going great until they made the mistake of leaving the actors with an entire day’s worth of food and wine. Eventually, the 11 got so drunk that some of them ended up in the buff and shouted obscenities at the crowd who had gathered for the premiere. This was not the only Disney scandal revolving around alcohol. Years later, when Ratatouille was released, Disney planned to release a wine to market the movie. However, not all that surprising, the California Wine Institute warned them not to advertise alcohol with cartoon characters, and the plan was scrapped. Didn’t really think that one through, did you Disney? We have to admit we can’t help but find these couple of facts quite amusing.
Colby Curtin was just 10 years old when she was struck with cancer. The dying girl’s wish was to watch the Pixar movie Up, but she was too ill to make it to the movie theater. Thanks to a family friend who got in touch with Pixar, an employee of the company arrived at Colby’s home with a DVD copy of the movie along with stuffed animals of characters and other movie memorabilia. This meant Colby was able to watch the movie from the comfort of her own home. It’s reported that while waiting for the movie to arrive, Colby told her mother, “I’m ready (to die), but I’m going to wait for the movie.” Colby passed away that night a few hours later finally getting to see the movie.
This is without a doubt one of the most upsetting childhood movie facts on this list. The Wizard of Oz is such a classic family favorite that it’s difficult to hear dark facts about the movie. However, it was directed by a Nazi. Famed director Victor Fleming has, in fact, been described as “violently pro-Nazi.” The Wizard of Oz is widely considered to be one of the greatest films in cinema history. The movie which was released in 1939 starred Judy Garland as the lead character Dorothy Gale. Another strange story about the Wizard of Oz is one revolving around Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album. Apparently, the album aligns perfectly with the movie, and it’s become somewhat of a phenomenon to get high and watch the Wizard of Oz while listening to Pink Floyd.
You may not have realized it but 101 Dalmatians, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and Mulan are among the only animated Disney movies where both parents are present and don’t die during the course of the movie. In fact, if maternal figures aren’t absent from the start of the story, it’s very common that they end up killed, captured, or replaced by a “wicked stepmother” along the way. Take Snow White as an example. Snow’s mother is dead and has been replaced by the evil Queen. In Beauty and the Beast, Belle’s mother is never even mentioned. In the Emperor’s New Groove, Kuzko’s family is absent and believed to be deceased. In Lilo and Stitch, Lil and Nani’s parents died in a car crash before the movie commences. Well, you see where we’re going with this. Parents certainly don’t do very well as far as Disney is concerned. This is interesting, though, and we’re curious what Disney’s reasoning many be.
Many may classify Mary Poppins as one of their favorite childhood films, but for the author of the original book series, P.L. Travers, the movie was a disaster. Despite having script approval, Travers’ edits were largely disregarded, meaning the author was left stunned by the finished production. It’s said that Travers loathed the movie’s animated sequences and was annoyed that Mary Poppins’ strict side was downplayed. In the end, Travers’ agreed to the finished scrip, but reluctantly. It’s believed that the author almost didn’t even receive an invite to the movie premiere, only she shamed a Disney exec into inviting her. Travers spent most of the movie crying, and in the end, she refused to let Disney touch the rest of the series. This story later became a movie called Saving Mr. Banks, which starred Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.
Donnie Dunagan was an incredible marine. He dedicated 25 years to the service and was a decorated Vietnam War veteran who rose up the ranks quickly—13 promotions in 21 years, to be precise. In fact, Dunagan was the youngest drill instructor ever. When he retired at the age of 77, Major Dunagan finally revealed a secret he’d been holding on to for a long time—he was the voice of Bambi. Dunagan was a fairly successful child actor in the late 1930’s and early 40’s and was just six years old when he played the part of Bambi. It’s clear that Dunagan was a very talented child star and went on to be an even more talented marine.
For any huge Disney fans out there, these are nice facts about childhood movies that will certainly excite you. There’s nothing more exciting than cross-overs between different movies and this is just what Disney did. However, you will only have spotted it if you are an extremely eagle-eyed fan. If you look closely enough, though, Rapunzel and Flynn can be seen in the background of a scene. Not only this but Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck can all be seen making a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo in The Little Mermaid.
Okay, this one is truly shocking. Not only did the year 2002 release the adorable Lilo and Stitch but it also released a movie that still haunts our nightmares, The Ring. Amazingly, the same actress who voiced Lilo, Daveigh Chase, also played the part of Samara in The Ring. That’s right, we couldn’t believe it either. What makes this fact even more fascinating is that both movies came out that same year. Therefore, Chase was literally portraying a seriously cute animated character and a girl we still can’t think of without shuddering... at the same time. Apart from shocking us all, this also proves just how talented an actress Chase is. The year before these two movies were released, Chase played two other prominent roles in Donnie Darko and Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. In more recent times, the actress has been praised for her role on the HBO series Big Love.
In 1929, author J.M. Barrie gave the rights of Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street children’s hospital in London. Barrie, who was the original author of the story, did this so any royalties made would go to the children’s hospital. The Peter Pan play had been a success, so at the time, people thought the gift would be worth a few thousand pounds. Once the film took off, though, the rights became increasingly more valuable. In the years that followed, over 10 feature films were made from the book before the copyright expired in 2007. This meant that between 1929 and 2007, countless children’s lives were changed by Barrie’s generous donation.