(PCM) Like us, I’m sure that many of you were left pondering just why it appears that so many Disney characters are lacking a mother figure or that the mother figures are often tragically killed within the beginning of the film. For the first time, that answer has been revealed and it is an incredibly tragic story.
Recently, “Maleficent” executive producer Don Hahn spoke with Glamour Magazine and revealed two stories that are rarely spoken about, but certainly shed light on the motherless child theme that we see in so many classic Disney tales.
Hahn says “One reason is practical because the movies are 80 or 90 minutes long, and Disney films are about growing up. They’re about that day in your life when you have to accept responsibility. Simba ran away from home but had to come back. In shorthand, it’s much quicker to have characters grow up when you bump off their parents. Bambi’s mother gets killed, so he has to grow up. Belle only has a father, but he gets lost, so she has to step into that position. It’s a story shorthand.”
The second reason is where things definitely take on a more tragic turn as it is revealed that Walt Disney himself, felt responsible for his own mother’s death after he purchased his parents a home in 1940. Hahn revealed “He had the studio guys come over and fix the furnace, but when his mom and dad moved in, the furnace leaked and his mother died. The housekeeper came in the next morning and pulled his mother and father out on the front lawn. His father was sick and went to the hospital, but his mother died.”
Hahn went on to say that Disney never spoke about his mother’s death, nor did anyone else, “because he personally felt responsible because he had become so successful that he said, ‘Let me buy you a house.’ It’s every kid’s dream to buy their parents a house and just through a strange freak of nature — through no fault of his own — the studio workers didn’t know what they were doing. “There’s a theory, and I’m not a psychologist, but he was really haunted by that. That idea that he really contributed to his mom’s death was really tragic.”
Such a sad, sad story, but it definitely makes a lot of sense and certainly sheds some light on why we see so many of Disney’s characters lacking their maternal role models.