Candice Bergen. Candice Bergen is the daughter of ventriloquist Edgar Bergen who was a good friend of Walt Disney. Candice has always claimed that Walt Disney was her godfather. As a little girl she was fixated on the Disney animated feature, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. For her 21st birthday, she had a private screening of the Disney classic as part of the festivities.
Loni Anderson is Snow White. “I wanted to be an animator before I became an actress, stated actress Loni (“WKRP in Cincinnati”) Anderson in the Pomona, California “Progress Bulletin” May 7, 1983. “I really am Snow White in my fantasies. My dad used to call me Snow White when I was little because I had hair black as night, skin as white as snow and lips as red as rose. Snow White was the only princess around I could identify with. Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty were all blondes.” Loni did not become a blonde until the mid-1970s.
Le Goof Is a Non-Non. From the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, January 19, 1979: “Goofy may be in at Disneyland, but he’s out in France—at least as the mascot of the French Olympic team. Jean-Pierre Solsson, minister of youth and sport, told the press last week that due to protest by members of the National Assembly, Goofy’s gig as mascot was cancelled. According to ‘Variety’, one Communist member of parliament, Francios Leotard wrote to Prime Minister Raymond Barre to say that Goofy generally symbolized ‘ridicule, awkwardness, and a form of stupidity’. He demanded that French athletes in the Moscow Olympics in 1980 be allowed to wear on their suits, the Wattoo-Wattoo Bird, hero of a French animated film series.” The Wattoo-Wattoo bird was a French cartoon series that began in 1978 meant to teach children by showing the clever bird rescuing silly geese from their many follies.
Cleaning Up. In 1991, there was a good deal of publicity when three Florida Day Care centers were forced by the Disney Company to paint over unauthorized depictions of Mickey and Minnie and other Disney characters. While the press tried to make Disney the villain and a bully, the Disney Company was trying to protect its copyrights and trademarks from being violated which they had to do aggressively in order to legally maintain them. But what happened to those empty white walls? Representatives from Hanna-Barbera and Universal Studios contacted the centers and painted the walls free of charge. Yogi Bear, Fred Flintstone and Scooby Doo frolicked where Disney characters once did. Of course that artwork did include the suitable copyright and trademarks acknowledgements.
Yogi To The Rescue. In 1959, a Seattle TV-radio station phoned voice actor Daws Butler (who did the voice of Yogi Bear) and told him that a bear had escaped from the local zoo and asked him for something they could put on the air to stop people from panicking. Butler got down to work and within the hour, the voice of Yogi Bear (transcribed by phone) was soothing Seattle with the phrase, “Duhhh, it’s not me, folks. It’s some kind of an imposter!”
Gender Bender. It is not unusual for female voice artists to supply voices for animated male characters, especially young boys. In 1973, there was a Saturday morning cartoon series based on the popular Addams Family characters. Who supplied the voice for the tough young male Pugsley Addams? Academy Award winning actress Jodie Foster who was then eleven years old. Voice actress Janet Waldo (who was voicing the mother, Morticia Addams) remembered that Foster acted “like a little lady, all grown up and acted totally cool, no childishness at all. She was cute and honest.”
Mrs. Brisby’s Kids. Don Bluth’s animated feature, “The Secret of NIMH” (1982) had voice work by two young actors who went on to perform in more highly recognizable projects. Shannen Doherty, who became famous on the original “Beverly Hills 90210” television series, gave voice to Mrs. Brisby’s daughter. Mrs. Brisby’s eldest son was voiced by Wil Wheaton, better known as Wesley Crusher on the television series “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.
Not Knowing is Half the Problem. After an episode of the “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” television series (1985-86), showed the Joes battling evil forces trying to destroy the Earth’s ozone layer by siphoning chlorofluorocarbons from giant aerosol tanks of shaving cream, the Consumer Aerosol Products Council launched an educational campaign directed at young people. The Council wanted to point out that aerosols have not contained CFCs since they were outlawed in 1978, nearly seven years before the animated episode was produced.
A Trip to Brazil. During the filming of the Disney live action film, “The Marrying Man” (1991) directed by Jerry Rees (animation director of “The Brave Little Toaster” in 1987), actress Kim Basinger went to Brazil for two weeks. Reportedly, she was visiting her psychic but she later revealed that the purpose of the trip “was going to see a man named Mauricio de Sousa, an animator who’s known all over the world. I had written an animated film that he loved so much that he was going to help put it into production. He came to California to meet me and in return, I said that one day I would go to Brazil, and this was when I decided to do this.” Later, Basinger claimed that Disney tried to smear her for being unprofessional during the shooting of the film. De Sousa has been referred to as “the Brazilian Walt Disney” and spent over fifty years in cartooning. His “Turma da Mônica (Mônica’s Gang)” series was a huge hit in Brazil.
Genie Outtakes. In Disney’s animated feature “Aladdin” (1992), comedian Robin Williams as the Genie mimics fifty-five different personalities. However, even more personalities ended up on the cutting room floor including imitations of President George Bush and Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Williams also did some alternate versions of certain readings. For example, when he says with a Jack Nicholson leer, “If ya wanna court the little lady, ya gotta be a straight shooter”, Williams originally did the line reading as John Wayne.