I was reading a post the other day on Mag's blog which mentioned the
famous 1937 Walt Disney animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Getting curious, I decided to see who did the voice of Snow White.
Disney conducted an extended search for the right voice for the movie,
going through 150 auditions. They finally settled on Adriana Caselotti,
who at that time had been doing minor chorus girl roles for MGM Studios.
The Disney people bought up her contract and the role was cast.
As reported by the New York Times:
Miss Caselotti said she was paid $20 a day to sing and read the lines
for the role, for a total of $970, and that she did not realize she was
working on a full-length animated film.
"They had told me that it was going to be a little longer than their
shorts, which were 10 to 12 minutes," she said. "So I thought it would
be 20 minutes long or so. I didn't realize what had happened until I
went to the premiere. I saw all these movie stars — Marlene Dietrich,
Carole Lombard, Gary Cooper — everybody was there. I discovered this
thing was an hour and 23 minutes."
Disney kept Caselotti in a veritable prison with their contract. She
was not allowed to perform in other roles after that, nor to make
public appearances and perform, saying that they did not want to
spoil the illusion of Snow White. Nor did they give her new roles.
Caselotti was to perform in only three future films in her entire
career, background bits in The Wizard of Oz, and It's a Wonderful
Life. Years later, in 1983, she worked for Disney in the television
movie The Fairest of Them All.
But Caselotti, regretfully, ended up working for Disney yet again.
In the early 90s Disney Studios, working to issue a technologically
enhanced version of Snow White, brought her back to do the vocals
for a newly discovered scene. But evidently the Disney people didn't
like Caselotti's voice at that point. So they brought in another singer,
Mary Kay Bergman, to replace her. Caselotti was not informed about
this replacement, nor did she know until 1993 when the Snow White
character appeared in a segment of the Academy Awards. Bergman had
not known of the duplicity either, saying in 1995 that "Adriana was
cringing, and I know she was livid, and I don't blame her. I felt so
bad for her because that's not the way it should be. In fact, I consider
Adriana to be the definitive Snow White."
Regretfully, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs doesn't seem quite so
magical to me all of a sudden. "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me
twice, shame on me" goes the old saying. And it is true that most
studios back then treated their people under contract as little more
than cattle. But I would somehow have expected better of Walt Disney.
And it is impossible for me not to cast Disney as the Evil Queen in
 Lawson, Tim and Alisa Persons. The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's
Who of Cartoon Voice Actors, University Press of Mississippi, 2004.
Yes, a sad story. Knowing is better than not knowing, but I almost wish I had never discovered all of this.
There's always been a disconnect between Disney's image and Disney's business practice. I am not surprised by this, but it is still a sad story. Fascinating post, Ed. 🙂
Originally posted by musickna:
Interesting. I worked with a woman in the early 90s whose husband had been an animator for Disney. Evidently he didn't have very good things to say about them. So it seems they treated their production people in a similar manner.
Originally posted by edwardpiercy:
I've been feeling that way about a lot of stuff I've been learning lately, Edward.The end of the innocence.:(:heart:
Originally posted by Stardancer:
You are so right about that, Star.
Funny how you stumbled across that, Ed. There is a book called, "Disney: the Mouse Betrayed: Greed, Corruption, and Children at Risk" I haven't read it, but its authors felt the same way you do.I think Walt Disney intentions were good, but the almighty dollar and the greed within the corporation have spoiled the entire Disney dream. (It cost a fortune to go to one of their "family" parks)I enjoy their children's movies but have noticed they cross the line and throw in adult humor that shouldn't be there. Interestingly, the majority of the films have scenes that make children feel awful, too. I've cried watching a handful of movies.I especially came to dislike Disney when I saw how they exploited girls like Britney Spears and Hannah Montana. That should never be.
@ Star.Well we may have lost our innocence, but hopefully we haven't lost our marbles. :)@ Mags.Yeah, I guess most of you were more informed than I was about Disney. But its still disappointed me.I was thinking Disney could release an animated musical version of Anne Rice's The Queen of the Damned. :p
Years ago I was reading something about Walt Disney and that was not nice. As Richard said, "There's always been a disconnect between Disney's image and Disney's business practice." So I was not surprised about that but back then, when most of people in Serbia hated USA a lot (it was around 1999.) I thought it was some kind of propaganda from our side.Now I have a proof it was not :irked:
@ Darko.You know I visited Disneyland twice when I was a kid. This was when the only Disneyland was in Anaheim, California. It was expensive. And the lines could be incredibly long. But I did love the experience. I hope that young kids today get to experience that — if the "Magic Kingdom" still in any way exists.
that was awful! I never knew! thank you Eddie for the research and the info .It is sad that even to this day,unless you have a smart Agent and a good Lawyer , young actors do have to compromise for a 15 minute under the sun.I hope is OKif I added a sexy snow white here :p just for "the good old times sake ":) http://buyhalloweenonline.com/images/ClassicSnowWhiteAdultCostume.JPG
What? No sexy Dwarfs to go along with the sexy Snow White? Just what kind of Disney production is this? :pThanks for the pic. I really like the little red ribbons on the white hose. :heart:
Yes, Disney was supposed to be so family-oriented and lily white, and it was a long time before his perfidies became general knowledge. Since he died, many of the Disney films are not actually fit for underage kids to watch, but I enjoy many of them.
I liked Beauty and the Beast, which was one of the first new generation Disney films and helped save them from bankruptcy. And I saw The Lion King, which I didn't like very much. Have seen bits and pieces of The Little Mermaid (which generated a hilarious skit with Reese Witherspoon on Saturday Night Live). Haven't seen the others.
early Disney cartoons were hardly 'lily white'. :lol:.They were often vulgar and close to obscene. Mickey Mouse is depicted as a lazy lout with a filthy mouth in the classic, "Steamboat Willy". :p.
One thing I'll say — that Mickey Mouse sure lived a long time for a mouse. 🙂
that's because Toons are immune to everything except "dip". :insane:.