Art of Disney – Romance
Block of Four
Issue Date: April 21, 2006
City: Orlando, FL
Mickey and Minnie
Walt Disney replaced his first star, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, with Mickey Mouse in 1928. Oswald had a habit of flirting with the females. Disney created Minnie Mouse as a love interest for his new star. Spunky Minnie Mouse was designed to be a flapper, like the fashionable girls of the period.
Mickey and Minnie were first seen together in Plane Crazy, released in May 1928. In that short, Minnie takes off with Mickey in his plane, but parachutes out when Mickey forces a kiss upon her.
In several short features after that, The Gallopin’ Gaucho (December 1928), Steamboat Willie (November 1928), and The Barn Dance (March 1929), Mickey and a rival compete for Minnie’s affections.
In Mickey’s Follies (June 1929), Mickey declares his feelings for Minnie by singing the song “Minnie’s Yoo Hoo” and calls her his “sweetie.” That song became the theme of the couple’s series.
In shorts like Wild Waves (August 1929), The Cactus Kid (April 1930), and The Fire Fighters (August 1930), Mickey saves his sweetheart from one disaster after another. On the Mickey and Minnie stamp of The Art of Disney Series, Minnie plants a grateful kiss on her hero’s cheek.
Cinderella and Prince Charming
Cinderella, or cinder maiden, is the heroine of an old folk tale. The Cinderella theme appears in many stories and in many countries. More than 500 versions of the story have been found in Europe alone.
The Aarne-Thompson classification of folk tales lists Cinderella as folk-tale type 501A, the persecuted heroine. It features a youngest daughter mistreated by her jealous stepmother and elder stepsisters, or by a cruel father, the intervention of a supernatural helper, and a prince who falls in love with her and marries her.
The familiar English version of Cinderella is from Charles Perrault’s “Cendrillon” (1697). Perrault was a French author whose best-known tales include “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Puss-in-Boots.” Some features of Cinderella, like the fairy godmother and the use of a glass slipper to find the young woman, are unique to Perrault’s version.
Walt Disney adapted Perrault’s story to make his feature-length animated film Cinderella (1950). In a charming variation, Disney created several animal friends for Cinderella, all with distinctive characters. The Art of Disney Series stamp of Cinderella and her Prince Charming shows the romantic couple dancing at the ball, with stars swirling around them.
Beauty and the Beast
In 1910, Finnish folklorist Antti Aarne classified different types of folk tales. Later, American folklorist Stith Thompson enlarged and created numbers for the categories. The Aarne-Thompson system lists “Beauty and the Beast” as type 425C, search for a lost husband.
In 1740, Dame de Villeneuve published La Jeune Ameriquaine et les Contes Marins, a type-425C story of more than 200 pages.
The “Beauty and the Beast” story that is familiar to most people was adapted from Villeneuve’s by Madame Prince de Beaumont in 1756. Beaumont was highly regarded in her day and wrote more than 70 books. Today, however, she is remembered only for her version of “Beauty and the Beast.”
“Beauty and the Beast” is one of the few fairy tales where the main characters spend a long time with each other before falling in love. The message is that true beauty is within. In Beaumont’s version, Beauty says “it is neither wit, nor a fine person, in a husband, that makes a woman happy, but virtue, sweetness of temper, and amiability....”
Disney’s film Beauty and the Beast was based on Beaumont’s telling of the tale. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture in 1992.
Lady and the Tramp
Disney’s Lady and the Tramp was the first animated feature produced in the widescreen process, Cinema-Scope. On a screen twice as wide as usual, characters were able to move around more freely by themselves and in relation to one another. The film took over three years and approximately $4 million to produce.
The main character of Ward Greene’s story “Happy Dan, the Whistling Dog” was the basis for the mutt named Tramp in the film. The cocker spaniel co-star, Lady, was developed by Joe Grant, a Disney writer. In the animated feature film, released in 1955, Lady lives a pampered life in a rich home. Tramp, on the other hand, is a free-wheeling stray who lives on the streets.
Lady is attracted to Tramp and goes with him for a night on the town. Romantic moments occur when they add their paw prints to a heart drawn in wet cement, and when they admire the moon from a lover’s lane.
Lady and Tramp dine on spaghetti and meatballs at the back of Tony’s restaurant, while Tony and his cook provide musical accompaniment. The most famous scene of the movie is the kiss the two dogs share while nibbling on the same strand of spaghetti. The Lady and the Tramp postage stamp from The Art of Disney Series captures that moment.