Mickey Mouse: A Humorous Joke Or Actually Sinister?

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Disney, for all, is merely happiness sunshine; a world with a very bubbly and adorable ‘Chip and Dale’, a frisky and impish Pluto, a commendably stunning and regal Disney princess and, Oh, how can we forget the world bursting of colors.

Mickey Mouse; the most recognized and loved of all Disney characters, is the heart of Disney; so much so that apart from being its mascot, he has also metaphorically become its logo. We postulate Mickey Mouse as one blissful, jolly and ‘incapable-of-undertaking-anything-immoral’ kind of character. However, instances from the 1930’s call to question this belief: Is Mickey really as ‘jolly’ as kids believe?

An unreleased Mickey Mouse cartoon series from the 1930’s, published in parts, was, in recent times, converted into DVD’s and is the sole reason behind the “SuicideMouse.avi” controversy. Leonard Maltin- a high up producer in Disney Creations was one of the handfuls of people ‘honored’ to have seen this morbid video.

As per his explanation, the audio-visual is a loop of our ‘esteemed’ Mickey Mouse walking past the same six buildings endlessly-  a hammering clash of piano keys playing in the background, with a certain sour expression on his face. It then blacks out between the 1st and 2nd minute and then resumes at the 6th minute. Through this stretch though, the banging noise of the piano keys is replaced by a woman’s ‘gurgling screams’ and Mickey Mouse’s morose face, by a criminal smirk. At the end, the ear-splitting noises get louder and louder, and the character’s face then dissipates into a tangled mass of eyeballs and liquefying skin.

A perfect illustration of the ‘not-so-happy’ theme of Disney, this video gives us a wakeup call and lets us question whether Disney, and all cartoons in general, were ever as good-humored as we imagined? Correspondingly, of the countless theories, more than a few believe that this ‘SuicideMouse.avi’ was one of the only reels worked on by Walt Disney- the proprietor of Disney productions, alone- thus questioning his ‘cheerful’ outlook to things.

Walt Disney was believed to be kind and friendly by the world. However, through various stories that went around, he had been described as a troubled and lonely man. Due to his attitude he had lost his relationship with his son, meanwhile treating his employees in an unpardonable way. A doubt that stems from here then is- Was Walt Disney’s creation of Disney really his dream, or just a hoax and means to cover up his loneliness?

Further too, occasions illuminating the morbidity of the clip take us back to the experience of Leonard Maltin. According to his claims, after the 7th minute, the video became awfully disturbing and so, as a result, he directed an employee to take comprehensive transcripts of the reel instead. He described the next minute as far more horrific but wasn’t able to acquire any information of the last 30 seconds; a security guard alleged that the member of staff later stumbled out- pale faced, and then exterminated himself on spot;  saying “Real suffering is not known”. Later they also recovered a note in Russian- written by the late employee stating, “the sights of hell bring its viewers back in”.

Concluding, I believe as though this clip is sort of Walt Disney’s personal endeavor. As distressing as this video might have been, I feel that though in a highly exaggeratedly way, it emphasized on his past thoroughly. For him it became a means to pour out his feelings on camera, and tread away from the happy and cheerful attitude of most his cartoons- more intent on what he really was feeling, and not on what he was covering up. In a way, this clip represented the real Walt Disney, thus explaining to us that behind the elated exterior of most animations, there may very well be an unseen dark yesterday – something the public may not identify; just like in the example of Walt Disney.



Meghna Gupta

Image Source: The Viewspaper