Tag Archives: Pinocchio

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (reprise)” (1940)

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Having been rescued from Stromboli with the timely assistance of the Blue Fairy (who also warned that this was the last time she could directly help), Pinocchio is heading straight for home, determined to be a good boy and go to school. Jiminy Cricket is very happy too, as this time Pinocchio seems to thoroughly mean what he says. Unfortunately, who does the young puppet run into on the way home but Honest John and Gideon (again!! Honestly those two seem to be everywhere don’t they?) Having received orders from the Coachman to round up every naughty boy they can find (as detailed in the beginning of my Disturbing Disney series), the wily con men see Pinocchio as the perfect target.

Stopping Pinocchio, Honest John insists that the puppet looks deathly ill and that he simply must have an examination (so apparently Honest John is a doctor too, amazing for a talking fox who can’t read).

Pinocchio “Examination and Hi Diddle Dee Dee (reprise)” (1940)

While Gideon literally scribbles down a “report,” Honest John gives Pinocchio a thorough “examination” including this “diagnosis” of his heart:

“Now that heart. Ooh, my goodness! A palpitating syncopation of the killer diller with the wicky wacky stomping of the floy joy.”

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Honest John solemnly pronounces the results: “My boy…you are allergic.” It’s hysterical how he pronounces the word like it’s the most terrible disease in the world, when that’s not even close to how it works (as we all know, you’re allergic to something, it’s not just a case of being “allergic.”) Of course Pinocchio has no way of knowing that, but even so, when Honest John pronounces that the only cure is a holiday on Pleasure Island, the puppet weakly insists that he can’t go. But that’s no problem as Honest John gives Pinocchio his very own “ticket” (the Ace of Spades, otherwise known as the Death card) and lead the puppet away with a stirring reprise of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee” :

Hi Diddle Dee Dee, it’s Pleasure Isle for me!

Where every day is a holiday, and kids have nothing to do but play

Hi Diddle Dee Doo, if what I hear is true,

At noon each day there’s a big parade, the river’s flowing with lemonade,

A land of pudding and marmalade, it’s Pleasure Isle for me!

Jiminy Cricket (who had walked on ahead), realizes that Pinocchio is going the wrong way (again) and chases after the group as they lead Pinocchio to the carriage that will be departing at midnight for Pleasure Island!

And that’s the reprise of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee!” Let me know what you thought about it in the comments below!

 

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See also:

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!)” (1940)

Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

For more the more disturbing aspects of Pinocchio, see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

 

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Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Having been unwittingly sold by Honest John and Gideon to the gypsy Stromboli, Pinocchio is all set to make his big debut in the puppet* theater as the star attraction. Nearby, Jiminy Cricket watches the proceedings with disgust, he can’t believe Pinocchio has fallen into this “I’ll be a big star” trap so easily. The show begins and Pinocchio is introduced by a chorus of puppet trumpeters.

To my knowledge, “I’ve Got No Strings” is the only Disney song to have a false entrance. For you see, as the music begins and Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) begins his first line “I’ve got no strings to hold me do-” he trips over his own feet and somersaults down the stairs to land in a heap on the stage, to the great amusement of the audience.

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Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

In a big dose of foreshadowing, Stromboli nearly loses his temper and only his hastily remembered knowledge that there is an audience present stops him from beating the puppet on the spot. Stromboli encourages Pinocchio to try again (I shudder to think of what might’ve happened if Pinocchio had messed up a second time) and the song properly begins:

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I’ve got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret
Or make me frown
I had strings
But now I’m free
There are no strings on me
 
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That’s the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
 
I’ve got no strings
So I have fun
I’m not tied up to anyone
They’ve got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me
Pinocchio is a hit with the audience! To the delight of the young puppet, the audience applauds his performance and Pinocchio joins in the applause until the scene changes and a coy Dutch girl puppet descends to the stage:
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You have no strings
Your arms is free
To love me by the Zuider Zee
Ya, ya, ya
If you would woo
I’d bust my strings for you
After a group of Dutch girl puppets dance around Pinocchio (knocking him around a little in the process), they retreat only to be replaced by a sultry French girl puppet:
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You’ve got no strings
Comme ci comme ça
Your savoire-faire is ooh la la
I’ve got strings
But entre nous
I’d cut my strings for you
After this solo, Pinocchio is joined by a group of French girl puppets dancing the can-can, a revealing dance where (in real life), the dancers raise their skirts to show off their legs and petticoats. This is the one dance that attracts the attention of Jiminy Cricket who whips out a pair of spectacles to get a better look at the dancing girls. Of all the puppets, I liked the French puppet the best (just my preference). At the end of the dance, the scene changes once more and Pinocchio is joined by a Russian girl puppet:
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Down where the Volga flows
There’s a Russian rendez-vous
Where me and Ivan go
But I’d rather go with you, hey!
Unlike the other verses, this time the Russian girl is replaced by a troupe of male Russian dancers doing the traditional Hopak dance (often mis-labeled as “The Cossack Dance”), which is actually Ukrainian in origin. Pinocchio is so taken with this dance that he does his best to imitate the puppets with varying degrees of success. When the puppets move to wildly spinning, Pinocchio attempts to copy them, but as you might expect, the young puppet ends up tangling himself in all the puppets and proclaims to the audience:
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There are no strings on me!
To his relief, the audience’s laughter is complimented by wild cheers and applause and money begins raining down onto the stage (to the great delight of Stromboli). Jiminy is saddened by Pinocchio’s success, as it seems now like the young puppet will never want to go home and learn how to be a real boy.
 
Of all the songs in Pinocchio, “I’ve Got No Strings” is widely considered to be one of the most popular and enduring songs along with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The music was composed by Leigh Harline, with lyrics provided by Ned Washington. The song was (in)famously used in the marketing for Avengers: Age of Ultron when a twisted rendition of the first verse played in the background of several trailers (ending with Ultron finishing the line “there are no strings on me.”) In the film, this song serves the purpose of giving the audience a lighthearted moment before the story takes another turn for the dark; in this case, when Stromboli locks Pinocchio into a birdcage and promises to chop him up for firewood if he doesn’t behave and keep making money for the gypsy.
*I know technically the “puppets” are all marionettes because they’re manipulated by strings, but I referred to them as puppets because that’s easier to type out than saying marionettes over and over again.
What do you think of “I’ve Got No Strings”? Besides Pinocchio, is there a puppet in this song that you like the best? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂 Thank you so much for supporting the blog, it means the world to me.

 

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Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!)” (1940)

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Geppetto the toy maker is overjoyed to find that his wooden puppet Pinocchio has come to life. And though he is not yet a “real” boy, he treats him as his own son regardless and decides that Pinocchio needs to go to school, since that’s where all good little boys go during the day. After some persuasion, Pinocchio sets off with his new school books and a spiffy little vest to go with his regular outfit. Though he’s meant to be his conscience, Jiminy Cricket is nowhere to be found as yet.

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee” (1940)

On the way to school, Pinocchio attracts the attention of a fox and his cat companion, who can hardly believe that they’re seeing a puppet walking and talking without strings! The fox stops Pinocchio and introduces himself as “Honest” John (his full name is John Worthington Foulfellow) and the cat, who doesn’t speak, is Gideon. Pinocchio informs the pair that he is on his way to school, but Honest John (voiced by Walter Catlett) says that this is a ridiculous notion.

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Why should this young boy be going to school when it’s perfectly obvious he’s a natural actor (said with a wink and a nod to Gideon who quickly understands where Honest John is going with this conversation). The pair quickly divert Pinocchio from his path to school and begin describing the wonderful life he could have as an actor and this is the subject of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!):

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. An actor’s life for me!
A high silk hat, and a silver cane.
A watch of gold, with a diamond chain.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Day an actor’s life is gay!
It’s great to be a celebrity.
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dum. An actors life is fun!
With clothes that come from the finest shop.
And lots of peanuts and soda pop.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee an actor’s life for me.
It’s great to be a celebrity.
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee, an actors life for me!
A waxed moustache and a beaver coat.
A pony cart and a billy goat.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dum, an actors life is fun!
You wear your hair in a pompadour!
You ride around in a coach with four!
You stop and buy out a candy store!
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. An actor’s life for me!
A high silk hat, and a silver cane.
A watch of gold with a diamond chain.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Doo. You sleep ’til after two!
It’s great to be a celebrity, an actor’s life for me!

Honest John paints the rosiest picture imaginable: if Pinocchio goes off to be an actor, he’ll be fantastically rich and able to do anything he wants! He’ll wear the finest clothes, be able to buy out candy stores, it’s a grand life! The puppet is easily persuaded to follow the fox and cat to the theater (in this case the travelling puppet theater owned by Stromboli), all thoughts of school and being a “real” boy forgotten for the moment. Of course the naive puppet has no way of knowing that this “actor’s life” wouldn’t apply to him, not where he’s going anyway. Pinocchio doesn’t know it, but Honest John and Gideon are on their way to sell the young puppet to Stromboli for however much they can get from the Italian (it’s rather disturbing when you think about it).

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And where is Jiminy Cricket? It turns out the newly minted “conscience” overslept on his first day and now he’s racing to catch up to his charge, figuring that Pinocchio couldn’t possibly have gotten into too much trouble yet (oh how wrong he is!!) The trio quickly passes him in the street and Jiminy is stunned to see Pinocchio walking with the fox and cat in the opposite direction of school! The cricket chases after them, but being so small, he is unable to make them stop and they journey on to Stromboli’s.

“Hi Diddle Dee Dee” is notable for being the first Disney villain’s song ever performed. Originally, Gideon was going to have a voice too (in fact the legendary Mel Blanc was hired to record his lines), but it was later decided to make the cat a mute comedic figure similar to Dopey and so all of Blanc’s lines were cut except for a few hiccuping sounds. I’d also like to point out that the song uses “gay” to mean “happy/wonderful” (just in case there was any confusion).

What do you think of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee”? It’s a rather short but enjoyable song (and certainly not what you picture for a “villain’s” song. Let me know your thoughts about the song in the comments below!

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For more Disney songs, see here

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See also:

Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (reprise)” (1940)

For the more disturbing aspects of Pinocchio, see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

This will be the final entry for Pinocchio and it involves a moment that deeply disturbed me the older I got. But before I get there, I need to tell you how Pinocchio and company get into this mess in the first place.

Searching for (and escaping from) Monstro, Pinocchio (1940)

So….while Pinocchio is off getting into all kinds of trouble (i.e. Stromboli and Pleasure Island), poor Geppetto has been waiting and waiting (along with Figaro the cat and Cleo the goldfish). Finally, he packs up and goes looking for his wayward son, eventually ending up far out at sea, where his ship is swallowed by Monstro the whale (all of this is relayed to Pinocchio by a message from the Blue Fairy).

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Yup…that’s Monstro (I had to be reassured as a kid that most whales weren’t like this)

Monstro IS a pretty disturbing character if you think about it. He’s a cross between a sperm whale (hence the teeth) and a blue whale (overall size) and possesses a vile temper to boot. Even little Jiminy Cricket has heard of this monster and it’s all bad news: Monstro swallows “entire ships” and is not to be trifled with. Nevertheless, Pinocchio wants his father back, so off the pair goes to take a stroll on the ocean floor in search of Monstro (the very mention of the name sends any and all sea life fleeing for their lives). Since Pinocchio is made of wood, he doesn’t have to worry about breathing underwater (as to why Jiminy can do it, being a cricket and all, well, it IS a Disney movie, so anything is possible).

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Side note: the animator who created these fish is still alive at the ripe old age of 103

After much searching, Pinocchio is reunited with Geppetto when Monstro pursues a school of tuna for a meal, bringing along Pinocchio in the process (but not Jiminy, he’s stuck outside!). It’s a happy reunion, except for the awkward moment when Geppetto finds his son has grown donkey ears and a tail, but since they’re together again, all is forgiven. Pinocchio wants to escape, but even when Geppetto patiently explains that “nothings comes out” once Monstro has eaten, that determined puppet isn’t giving up. He plans to make the whale sneeze by creating lots of smoke, and the sneeze should force out the small raft that Geppetto built a while back.

The plan works!!! Monstro lets out a mighty sneeze and the raft is sent way out into the ocean, but now the great whale is furious (and I do mean FURIOUS!!) that prey has managed to escape him, so he sets off in hot pursuit. The only hope Geppetto, Pinocchio and company have now is to reach the safety of the rocks on shore before Monstro smashes them all to pieces. They nearly make it, but Monstro smashes the raft, forcing Pinocchio to frantically swim the rest of the way, dragging Geppetto along so he doesn’t drown.

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Giant whale incoming: AHHHHHHH!!!!!!

This is the first disturbing moment: in the last part of the chase, Monstro becomes truly frightening (even more so than before), and when you see this shot up above, how can anyone not be terrified, especially if you’re a little kid?

At any rate, Pinocchio makes it to the edge of the rocks mere moments before Monstro comes barrelling in like a freight train, smashing the rocks to pieces and sending everyone flying in separate directions.

Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo and even Jiminy are all shown on the beach, but where is Pinocchio? Well…the answer is what made me add this to the Disturbing list. Jiminy is searching for Pinocchio when suddenly we hear this terrible gasp and see THIS:

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Now I know technically Pinocchio hasn’t drowned (he’s made of wood and all that) and it was the force of Monstro’s impact that likely killed him but COME ON DISNEY!!! This is a disturbing, horrifying image. Granted it only lasts for a moment, but this image has been permanently burned into my brain. It is messed up that they would show a kid (wooden or not) dead like this. And it’s a pretty major shift considering in the previous animated film, when Snow White falls “dead” we only see her arm as she collapses to the floor.

Of course I should mention that we do get our happy ending shortly thereafter. The Blue Fairy determines that Pinocchio has done very well and brings him back to life, but this time as a real flesh and blood human boy, to the overwhelming joy of Geppetto, Jiminy and everyone else.

Despite the happy ending, the entire encounter with Monstro is very disturbing and rightly deserves to be included on this list. Let me know what you think about this scene in the comments below, did you find it disturbing as well?

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

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For more Disturbing Disney, see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5: The death of Bambi’s Mother (1942)

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster

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Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Before we get to what makes this scene so disturbing, we need a little context first:

So as you might expect, Pinocchio is talked into taking a little trip to Pleasure Island (despite Jiminy’s best efforts to stop him). They join a carriage full to the brim of rowdy boys pulled by eight donkeys (remember that detail). It’s so crowded in fact, that Pinocchio is sitting up front by the Coachman with an older boy named Lampwick. They bond as kids tend to do when they’re traveling together and after a long ferry ride to Pleasure Island, the pair stick together once they get inside.

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Pleasure Island looks like the world’s biggest amusement park. There’s the typical rides, a Ferris Wheel, and lots of deliciouis food to eat (pies, ice cream, popcorn, etc.) along with other attractions you wouldn’t normally find: a tent devoted to fistfighting, a model house that the boys are free to rip apart, even “Tobacco Row” where the boys can have all the cigars they want (remember, this is 1940). And above all the clamor is the repeated sound of voices saying “Help yourselves boys, it’s all FREE, everything is FREE!” Jiminy Cricket smells a rat from the start though, but he’s lost Pinocchio in the crowd, so there’s really nothing he can do at the moment. In all the chaos, nobody notices when the Coachman orders the gates to be shut, remarking ominously “give a boy enough rope, and he’ll make a jackass of himself before long.” It’s an odd comment, but it’s meaning becomes too clear in a few minutes:

Pinocchio “Pleasure Island part 1” (1940)

After a short scene break, we see that Pleasure Island is now deserted. All the rides are dark, the place is a mess, but there’s no boys, anywhere! We know they haven’t gone home because even Jiminy is wondering where the boys are. Actually, the place isn’t entirely empty, Pinocchio and Lampwick are busy playing pool while drinking and smoking cigars, but we’ll get back to them in a moment. After Jiminy gets into an argument with the pair, finally telling them to go ahead and “make jackasses” of themselves, he heads to the gate to leave, but on the other side, he hears the sound of donkeys….a LOT of donkeys.

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It’s horrifying to hear this little donkey cry “I want to go home to my mama!” When you know that’s NEVER going to happen!

Through a crack, Jiminy emerges to find the Coachman and his minions loading crate after crate of donkeys back onto the ferry used to take the boys to the island. What happens next is the first disturbing part of this scene:

Pinocchio “The Donkeys/Lampwick’s Fate” (1940)

As you see, the Coachman is screening the donkeys to see if they’re still capable of speech. If they bray in response, they’re stripped of their clothing and sent into an available crate (labeled for the salt mines and the circus, among other places). But in the case of others, like Alexander, who CAN still talk, they’re sent back to a waiting area, until presumably they lose their ability to speak. This is the moment that disturbs me and breaks my heart: when Alexander is thrown back, you can hear him and the others begging to go home, they don’t WANT to be donkeys, and then the Coachman snaps “QUIET!! You boys have had your fun, now PAY for it!” Remember earlier when the carnival promised the boys that “everything is free?” Of course it wasn’t free, that’s one of the first lessons we learn in life, but now these boys have to learn it the hard way.

Now back to Pinocchio and Lampwick (this is the REALLY disturbing part): Lampwick is still making fun of Jiminy, when suddenly his ears turn into donkey ears (to Pinocchio’s surprise).

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The oblivious Lampwick continues to mock, and then a donkey tail sprouts out!

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“What does he think I look like, a jackass?” Lampwick doesn’t realize it, but his face IS that of a donkey’s now.

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Based on Lampwick’s reaction, I think he’d heard stories about Pleasure Island, but had never believed them (hence his cry “I’ve been double crossed (betrayed)”, I bet the Coachman assured him those stories were lies.)

Pinocchio laughingly tells him he does until his laugh changes into a donkey bray. Lampwick finds that funny until HE brays too. Then, Lampwick realizes that something is wrong with HIM! “What…what’s going on?” he asks desperately as he feels his changed face and discovers he has long donkey ears. And then…he sees his face in the mirror and screams “I’ve been double crossed!! Help! Help!! Somebody help!!” Lampwick is running through the pool hall desperately but there’s nothing anyone can do. Pinocchio can only watch in horror as the rest of Lampwick’s body begins to change (an especially horrifying part is when Lampwick’s hands, clawing at Pinocchio for ANY kind of help, turn into hooves before the puppet’s terrified eyes).

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Lampwick’s final change is a disturbing moment, especially since you can hear him fighting against losing the power to speak as a human

And then, like a scene straight out of a horror movie, we see Lampwick’s final change in silhouette. With a final cry of “Mama, MAMA!!!” Lampwick is forced down to all fours and begins frantically braying, kicking and smashing everything in sight. It’s a horrifying fate for anyone to experience, but these are all young kids that are now condemned to a lifetime of cruel torture and servitude. There’s no happy ending for these boys, not even a glimmer of hope. And the same fate nearly comes to Pinocchio as well as HE begins to change also (though noticeably he’s changing into a GRAY donkey, everyone else turned brown.) Fortunately, Jiminy finds Pinocchio in time and the pair flee the cursed island quickly enough that Pinocchio only has donkey ears and a tail.

What a horrifying, disturbing fate for all those little boys. And just imagine all the families who are waiting for children that will never come home? The more you think about the situation, the more disturbing it becomes. And remember at the beginning when I pointed out the coach was drawn by donkeys? I have no doubt that the Coachman uses boys-turned-int0-donkeys to help carry more boys to Pleasure Island for the same fate. Oh the disturbing irony of it all. Without a doubt, THIS is one of the most disturbing moments in all of Disney animation, not just because of Lampwick’s terrified reaction to his transformation, but also because these hundreds of boys are left to their fate, with no hope of rescue.

Next time will be one more example from Pinocchio; see, even though he’s escaped Pleasure Island, Pinocchio isn’t out of danger yet. That’s because his father Geppetto has been swallowed by a whale…

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

See also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5: The death of Bambi’s Mother (1942)

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

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Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

I think it should go without saying that Pinocchio is one of the most disturbing Disney movies ever created. It will certainly occupy quite a few places in this series (which is why I’m starting out with it), and one of the most disturbing parts of this film is the character of the Coachman (voiced by Charles Judels, who coincidentally also voices Stromboli in the same film).

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The Coachman is introduced about halfway through the film. At a sleepy tavern one night, the tricksters “Honest” John (a fox) and Gideon (a cat) are regaling the Coachman with how they tricked Pinocchio into going with Stromboli, the latter paying them a (tiny) modest fee in return. The Coachman appears bemused by all of this, and finally asks the two if they’d like to make some REAL money, thumping down an enormous bag of money on the table. To get paid, all Honest John and Gideon have to do is find as many naughty boys as they can and direct them to a coach that he has leaving at midnight. A few of the details are obscured in whispers, but the conclusion is that by the end of it all, the Coachman will be taking all the boys off to Pleasure Island.

Pinocchio “The Coachman’s Proposition” (1940)

“PLEASURE ISLAND?!!?” Honest John appears petrified for once and questions what will happen if the law finds out?? (Note how the music rises in “panic” along with Honest John’s words). Given the disregard for the law Honest John has shown before, it speaks volumes that he’s worried about it now. But the Coachman isn’t worried as there’s no risk: “You see…” he says “they never come back…as BOYS!!!”

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THIS is what makes this a “Disturbing Disney” scene, not just the Coachman’s threat about the boys never returning (as humans) but also his unexpected transformation into this monstrous/demonic figure. When I re-watched the film for the first time in many years, I literally leaped back in my seat as I hadn’t remembered this part at all!! It’s a truly disturbing moment that makes the skin crawl. Clearly, the Coachman isn’t an ordinary human, in fact, I don’t think he’s human at all! Based on what we’ll see in the second installment, I think it likely that the Coachman is a literal “devil in disguise” (he is wearing red after all) or at the very least he’s a dark spirit working in league with the devil.


One last note, I just wanted to mention my thoughts on something I read while researching for this post: for those who say that this scene is a metaphor for pedophilia (i.e. they never come back as “boys” because he’s going to use them in THAT way, etc.), I would say consider WHEN this film was made. I’m not saying that issue didn’t exist in 1940, but films were still highly censored when it came to taboo subjects and if the review board had the slightest inkling that’s what this moment referred to, the scene would have been cut for sure (or the line would have been altered). That’s all I wanted to say about that; I believe the Coachman’s words can be interpreted literally, they’re not coming back as “boys” because they’re not going to be human when they return.
And to think this is found in a movie watched by children…*shudders* and if you think THIS is bad, just wait until #2, that’s when I’ll tell you the secret of Pleasure Island (and what happens to Pinocchio’s friend Lampwick…I nearly started with this scene instead but I thought it would be better to build up to it.)

What do you think of the first installment of “Disturbing Disney” ? I promise I’ve got plenty more to share with you. I can’t wait to see Logan tonight and share my thoughts on it with you 🙂

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For more Disturbing Disney, see also:

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5: The death of Bambi’s Mother (1942)

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman