Over the years, Disney has told us about many of their first: The first animated film, the first sound cartoon and many more. While Disney has created many great things over the years, probably first among their creations is the illusion that they were first for many animation milestones. Yes, as hard as it may be to accept its true: Disney lied to you.
We’re not talking simple story-telling fictions to move films along, like every girl will grow up to find her Prince Charming…. or that if you wish hard enough your dreams will come true. Those we recognize as plot tools and can excuse them as entertainment. Nor are we talking little white fibs of little to no consequence. We are talking deceptions that are core of who the Walt Disney Company is, and how they represent themselves.
OK, so maybe lied is a bit strong. Is bent the truth a bit better? Or omitted certain facts? How about ignored their predecessors? Or just pushed the myth along. Maybe they just fed us a bit of disinformation? No, actually, lied is just about right when you look at how pervasive these statements are through the whole company’s culture. To be sure, bending the truth and stretching weasel words to make the company look good is what any good promotional departments do, and more power to them for getting the Disney Version of animation history accepted as fact. But much of what you grew up accepting as truths about Disney and their films are- quite simply- not correct.
This does not mean we discount their technical or artistic achievements- no, Disney has done quite well in the popular animation marketplace. They have done much to be proud of, and have, in fact, pioneered many firsts… which makes their claims about feats they never accomplished even stranger.
So lets set the facts straight. Lets take a look at five of the major achievements Disney has claimed for themselves through the years, and see who really made them first, despite what the Disney promotional juggernaut says…