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YouTube/Erin McCarthy
YouTube/Erin McCarthy

Walt Disney Made a Cartoon About Menstruation

YouTube/Erin McCarthy
YouTube/Erin McCarthy

You know all about Disney's animated princesses, dwarves, and fairies. You might even know about his wartime propaganda cartoons. But there's one animated short from 1946 that you might not have heard of. It's called "The Story of Menstruation," and no, this is not a joke.

This, obviously, is not standard Disney fare. How did this little gem come to be? According to Film Threat, "World War II shut off the lucrative European theatrical market, which cut off a significant source of Disney’s revenues. At home, the ambitious feature Fantasia was a major commercial failure, draining more money from the company treasury." In need of funds, Disney began taking commissions from the government and corporations, creating films like “The Right Spark Plug in the Right Place” for the Electric Auto-Lite Company and “The ABC of Hand Tools” for General Motors.

"The Story of Menstruation" was commissioned by the International Cello-Cotton Company (now Kimberly-Clark) and features a female narrator who matter-of-factly gives young girls the facts and some "helpful" advice, including: Don't get tired, emotionally upset, or catch colds—it will throw you off your schedule; keep a personal period calendar, a "useful record of past performance" that "comes in handy when you have to plan ahead"; make sure to bathe during your period (that myth about it being ill-advised is just not true); and feel free to exercise, as long as you don't go to extremes.

Most girls, the narrator notes, will have no trouble with their periods, but some will feel a little less peppy or experience more discomfort. "Don't let it get you down," the narrator advises. "After all, no matter how you feel, you have to live with people. You have to live with yourself, too. And once you stop feeling sorry for yourself and take those days in your stride, you'll find it's easier to keep smiling and even tempered. You can do practically everything you normally do." Also: Don't slouch. "Slumpy posture is just as bad inside as it looks outside," the narrator chastises. And avoid constipation, too. (Seriously.)

The short film was played in health classes up until the 1960s, according to Film Threat, and was accompanied by a handy booklet, "Very Personally Yours," filled with information from the film and more handy advice. You can see a full PDF here.

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British Film Institute
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Where to Watch Over 300 British Animated Films for Free Online
British Film Institute
British Film Institute

The history of animation doesn’t begin and end with studios in Japan and the U.S. Artists in the UK have been drawing and sculpting cartoons for over a century, and now some of the best examples of the medium to come out of the country are available to view for free online.

As It’s Nice That reports, the British Film Institute has uploaded over 300 films to the new archive on BFI player. Dubbed "Animated Britain," the expansive collection includes hand-drawn and stop motion animation and many distinct styles in between. Viewers will find ads, documentaries, films for children, and films for adults dating from 1904 to the 21st century. Episodes of classic cartoons like SuperTed and Clangers as well as obscure clips that are hard to find elsewhere are represented.

The archive description reads:

“Through its own weird alchemy, animation can bring our wildest imaginings to life, and yet it can also be a powerful tool for exploring our everyday reality. Silly, surreal, sweet or caustic, this dizzyingly diverse selection showcases British animation's unique contribution to the art form, and offers a history ripe for rediscovery.”

This institution’s project marks their start of a whole year dedicated to animation. UK residents can stream the selected films for free at BFI player, or check out their rental offerings for more British animated classics.

[h/t It’s Nice That]

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Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
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You Can Still Visit This Forgotten Flintstones Theme Park in Arizona
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0
Amy Meredith, Flickr // CC BY-ND 2.0

Like many pop culture institutions of the 20th century, Hanna-Barbera’s The Flintstones hasn’t been relegated to just one medium. The animated cast of America's favorite modern Stone Age family sold cigarettes, starred in a live-action 1994 film, and inspired all sorts of merchandise, including video games and lunchboxes. In 1972, it also got the theme park treatment.

Bedrock City, located 30 minutes from the Grand Canyon in Williams, Arizona, was the brainchild of Linda and Francis Speckels, a married couple who bought the property and turned it into a 6-acre tourist attraction. Concrete houses were built to resemble the Flintstone and Rubble residences and are furnished with props; a large metal slide resembles a brontosaurus, so kids can mimic the show’s famous title credits sequence; and statues of the characters are spread all over the premises. The site also doubles as an RV campground and parking site.

A Flintstones theme park house
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Bam-Bam at the Flintstones park in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

A statue of Wilma Flintstone at Bedrock City in Arizona
Matthew Dillon, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

When it first opened, Bedrock City employed actors to stay in character, but the remote location proved challenging to retain both employees and visitors. Over the past four decades, it's had a steady stream of tourists, but not enough to turn a huge profit. Atlas Obscura reports the attractions are in various stages of disrepair.

Linda Speckels put the property up for sale in 2015 with an asking price of $2 million, but it has yet to sell. One possible hold-up: The new owner would have to negotiate a fresh licensing deal with Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. for the right to continue using the show’s trademarks. (A separate Flintstones park in South Dakota, owned by another member of the Speckels family, was sold and closed in 2015.) With its proximity to the Canyon, the 30 total acres could be converted into almost anything, from a mall to a golf course. For Flintstones enthusiasts, the hope is that the park’s unique attractions won’t be reduced to rubble.

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