10 Parents Disney Didn't Actually Kill

Whenever a mom or dad dies in a Disney movie, everyone shakes their heads. “Disney just has to kill off the parents every time,” they say, rolling their eyes. And it’s not just Disney. Plenty of other studios make movies that feature deceased or ambiguously missing parents. Kung Fu Panda, Despicable Me, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Hotel Transylvania, even The Lorax—all missing at least one parent.

But the truth is, up until very recently, most Disney movies were taken from and inspired by pre-existing books and fairy tales, from Rudyard Kipling to The Brothers Grimm. So, here are 10 parents that Disney really isn’t responsible for killing.

1. Snow White’s mother

In the Grimm version of the story, published in 1812 in Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Snow White’s mother dies shortly after giving birth to her.

2. Bambi’s mother

One of the most famous instances of Disney killing off the mother first happened in the book it was inspired by—Bambi, A Life in the Woods, by Felix Salten. Like the movie, mom is taken down by a hunter.

3. Cinderella’s mother

In Charles Perrault’s Cindrillon, the wicked stepmother and stepsisters are still in the picture because Cinderella’s father remarried after her mother’s death. The father is still alive in Perrault’s version, but he’s obviously neglecting his daughter: “The poor girl bore all patiently and dared not complain to her father, who would have scolded her if she had done so, for his wife governed him entirely.”

4. Mowgli’s parents

Just like the movie, Rudyard Kipling’s story features the infant Mowgli abandoned in the jungle, presumably orphaned.

5. Oliver’s parents

Oliver & Company is based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, the poster child for mistreated orphans.

6. Ariel’s mother

Hans Christian Andersen mentions almost immediately that “the Sea King” is a widower—though Anderson did include a grandmother mermaid that Disney omitted from the movie.

7. Belle’s mother

Beauty and the Beast has been around since at least the mid-1700s. Belle didn’t have a mother in those early versions, either, but she did have three brothers and two sisters who were left out of the movie.

8. Tarzan’s parents

The famous Edgar Rice Burroughs book also kills Tarzan’s parents right away—there wouldn't have been much of a book if they were alive.

9. Rapunzel’s parents

Disney actually did Rapunzel a favor in Tangled—not only was the long-locked princess reunited with her parents at the end, but those parents actually wanted her. In the Brothers Grimm version, Rapunzel’s parents gave her up because her mom had a craving for some rapunzel (a leafy green) growing in a garden that wasn’t theirs. A baby for a salad? Seems like a fair trade.

10. Penny’s parents

Though Margery Sharp’s orphan was named Patience, not Penny, the little girl in The Rescuers has always been parentless. Patience didn’t show up in Sharp’s first Rescuers book, by the way—she wasn’t featured until the sequel, Miss Bianca.

Also, I might note that all of these Disney movies feature two perfectly healthy parents/couples: Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Mary Poppins, Brave, Frankenweenie, The Incredibles, Brave, 101 Dalmatians, and Mulan.

Pop Culture
Rare Disney Artifacts From Early Imagineer Rolly Crump Head to Auction

If you’ve ever marveled at the fantastical facades of Disney’s "It’s a Small World" attraction, you can partly thank Imagineer Rolly Crump. Throughout the 1960s, the animator and designer helped bring to life some of Walt Disney Parks’s most iconic attractions, including the "Enchanted Tiki Room," "Haunted Mansion," and "Adventureland Bazaar."

Later this month, some of his original pieces will go under the hammer at Van Eaton Galleries in Sherman Oaks, California. The most valuable of the 400-plus lots is Crump’s original model for a clock in "It’s a Small World," which could sell for up to $80,000, according to the auction house. The design was mocked up from fellow Disney artist Mary Blair’s original sketch, and the end result is now a permanent fixture of the boat ride attraction.

A few other items up for grabs are a Polynesian-style shield that Crump sculpted for the "Enchanted Tiki Room," an original devil prop from "Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride," an original "Haunted Mansion" poster, and a costumed character head from "Babes in Toyland." A ticket for the grand opening of Disneyland in 1955 is expected to sell for as much as $5000—although unfortunately it won't grant the buyer entry to the park these days.

In addition to pieces created for Disney, the collection also includes Crump’s original artwork, some of which dates back to his high school years. One such illustration of a colorful character wielding a sword and smoking a pipe was entered into a radio contest in 1947 by Crump’s mother, unbeknownst to her son. He didn’t win, but his consolation prize came five years later when he was hired to work at Walt Disney Studios at age 22.

The “Life and Career of Disney Legend Rolly Crump” auction is scheduled for April 28, 2018.

Disney/Marvel Studios
Success of Black Panther Inspires Disney to Donate $1 Million to Youth STEM Programs
Disney/Marvel Studios
Disney/Marvel Studios

Since opening in U.S. theaters on February 16, Blank Panther has already defied industry expectations more than once. The blockbuster now holds the records for biggest February opening, biggest standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, and highest-grossing film featuring a black cast. To celebrate the film's groundbreaking success, Disney is donating $1 million to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Fortune reports.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school programs to young people from low-income households. They offer kids a place to build their athletic, artistic, and leadership skills, but Disney's donation will go specifically toward funding STEM programs (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).

The technology of the fictional African nation of Wakanda plays a central role in Black Panther. Shuri, T'Challa's sister and the head of all things tech in the film, has been praised for potentially inspiring young women to take an interest in STEM. "It is thrilling to see how inspired young audiences were by the spectacular technology in the film," Robert A. Iger, Disney's chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "So it’s fitting that we show our appreciation by helping advance STEM programs for youth, especially in underserved areas of the country, to give them the knowledge and tools to build the future they want.”

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use Disney's generous donation to help establish STEM Centers of Innovation in cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, where much of the movie was shot, and Oakland, California, the hometown of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler. Ten additional cities, from New Orleans to Chicago, will also be getting STEM centers of their own.

The donation is sure to make a huge impact on communities around the country, but it's just a fraction of what Disney is set to make from the film. According to some projections, it won't be long before film surpasses the $1 billion mark at the global box office.

[h/t Fortune]


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