|Disney Gets Dissed
At Cinema Village, irreverent & racist spoofs slip a Mickey to Walt’s wonderful world of animation
by Lewis Beale
|Daily News Staff Writer
RACIST, SEXIST, POLITICALLY IN-
correct and totally out of control. Not to mention screamingly funny. That’s the best way to describe a cartoon series opening tonight at Cinema Village.
Titled “Screw the Mouse: Rip-Offs, Parodies and Deviant Versions of Disney
Cartoons and Characters,” the series
features a number of cartoon shorts that satirize hallowed Disney characters, themes and plotlines.
“These hark back to an era when the rival cartoon production studios were a lot more fun,” says Ed Arentz, programer for Cinema Village. “Studios like Warner
Bros. felt they had a license to mock,
mimic and parody Disney, something you
don’t see in today’s corporate climate. It
harks back to a period when animated
shorts were being done for an adult audience as well as children.”
Like in “Corny Concerto” (1943), where a bumbling Elmer Fudd stands in for Leopold Stokowski in a sendup of “Fantasia ” Or “Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs” (1943), a tasteless, racist and absolutely fascinating parody of Disney’s “Snow White.”
“[In the era of cartoon shorts], you had
a more auteur-driven environment,” says
Arentz. “These guys were allowed to do
|what they wanted. That’s not the case now — the animator’s not given the free hand, and some of the anarchic spirit is gone.”
Tonight’s program, which runs through
Jan. 9, comes from the collection of Dennis Nyback, a local collector who once ran the Lighthouse Cinema on the lower East Side. Other esoteric gems from Nyback’s collection form the basis of a seven-week series featuring American jazz stars in short films that are no longer shown due to their racist content, clips and shorts with cross-dressing stars, wacko educational films from the 1950s and other weird stuff.
The material is interesting as much for
its strangeness as its now-forbidden na-
ture. But despite the repugnant content
of some of the films, Arentz says they have educational value.
“Racist sentiments and characters are
interesting as a period piece,” he says,
“and as a way of making it very obvious
that these attitudes were very prevalent. I
don’t think anyone today will be offended
by them. They’ll just see them as part of a
pop culture that has largely vanished.”“Screw the Mouse” shows tonight
through Thursday at 9:30 p.m. at Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St. Admission zs $8, $4 for seniors. The series of films from Dennis Nyback’s archive run every Wed. at 9:30, Jan 15-Feb. 19. For further information, call (212) 924-3363.