Saturday, November 25, 2023

The Readers Reply with Favorite Disney Movies

Recently, I asked readers to tell me their favorite Disney animated movie. I received an avalanche of emails, the most ever in response to any column I’ve ever written, including the infamous Bagpipes Fiasco of 2018. If you missed that one, I wrote a snarky essay about bagpipes, and within minutes of it appearing in print I started receiving really angry emails, including some from people in foreign countries, such as Scotland, Australia, and Naugatuck. Most of the notes expressed the writers’ strong desire to shove various components of a bagpipe — bass drone, tenor drone, chanter, etc. — up my nose.
Anyway, my request that readers tell me their favorite Disney animated movie, plus the reason why, actually generated more email replies, none of which, thankfully, mentioned the desire to shove large, noisy objects up my nose.

Many people wrote that their favorite Disney movie is the same as mine, and for the same reason. “The Little Mermaid” was released when my two daughters were young, and we had a wonderful time watching that film together a couple of times. (I am using, of course, the definition of the phrase “a couple of times” that means: more numerous than the stars in the sky.)

Others had similar daddy-daughter experiences, but with different Disney “princess” movies, such as “Beauty and the Beast,” “Aladdin,” and “Frozen.”

Here are other Disney films mentioned multiple times by readers as their favorite: “Fantasia,” “Jungle Book,” “Pinocchio,” “Lady & the Tramp,” “Snow White,” “Cinderella,” “Sleeping Beauty,” Peter Pan,” “Dumbo,” “Bambi,” and “The Lion King.”
It’s interesting to note that most of the movies mentioned are from the so-called golden age of Disney animation, that is, the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. This means one of two things: either the Disney studios produced more heart-warming, family-friendly films back in those days, or the average age of my readers is, um, let’s call it “middle-aged.” (I am using, of course, the definition of the term “middle-aged” that means: been collecting Social Security for at least two decades.)

Another interesting aspect of all the emails I received is the fact that I quickly recognized the titles of all of the golden age Disney movies, but I’ve never actually watched them. I’ve seen short clips from the films on TV or the Internet, but back when I was a kid the only way to watch an entire film was to buy a ticket at a movie theater. Raising five kids on a puny teacher’s salary meant my dad’s stock answer whenever we asked to go to the movies was, “Go out in the backyard and run around. It’s free.”

So, I’ve got a daunting assignment this winter: I need to watch a couple dozen classic Disney films. Since I’m already paying $20 per month for the Disney+ streaming service, it won’t even cost me anything extra. At my age, it makes a lot more sense to watch movies indoors than to go out in the backyard and run around, which won’t be free once I include the co-pays and deductibles for the inevitable visits to orthopedic specialists.
One final observation. A reader sent an email and explained that her favorite animated movie is not from Disney, but from Warner Brothers: “The Iron Giant.” (Never heard of it, but online reviews are positive. I’ll have to track it down.)

Then, this reader made my day by noting that her favorite animated character is Bugs Bunny. Yes! Bugs has been my hero since I was 10 years old. He taught me the art of sarcasm (which my 5th grade teacher did not appreciate).

Well, I think we’ve all got a lot of work to do. Those movies are not going to watch themselves. 

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