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Mickey Mouse gets high

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Found while surfing: An episode of the Mickey Mouse strip that features Mickey and Goofy getting all hopped up on goofballs. While they don’t go out and murder some hookers while high, they do go to Africa so they can encounter uncomfortable racial stereotypes of the era. Was this the work of a rogue writer who slipped some crazy shit past Disney censors? Well, according to the site hosting this — which offers “reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues”, this was really part of those wacky, wacky ’50s and their unexpected propaganda:

During the 1950s, at the height of the post-World War II expansion of U.S. suburban modernization, a number of stimulant and sedative drugs were widely used and were promoted in the mainstream press. At the time, many were available over the counter without a prescription. The inclusion of clear, positive drug references in mainstream children’s literature and film seems both archaic and surprising given the taboos around psychoactive drugs in place in the 21st century. We hope you’ll enjoy this glimpse into the history of Disney’s characters that Disney itself is unlikely to acknowledge in the modern anti-drug cultural climate.


[Via Roger Ebert]

  1. I direct your attention to:
    Huey, Dewey and Louie Junior Woodchucks #8, dated January 1971.

    In the lead story, “Let Sleeping Bones Lie” (Carl Barks script, John Carey art, story code: W JW 8-01) the Woodchucks (actually, troop mascot Pluto) discover a completely INTACT dinosaur skeleton on one of Uncle Scrooge’s construction sites.

    Uncle Scrooge beats the Woodchucks to the county office, and files a claim on the skeleton. (Didn’t he already have the proper paperwork with the construction site?) Scrooge then plots the exploitation of the fossil, dreaming of a ritzy themed restaurant!

    Dejected, the Woodchucks continue with their field work, noting that a natural herb has hallucinogenic properties. Pluto, a dog, is not subject to the JWW rulebook, and slips the herb into Scrooge’s nutmeg tea. (Yeah, nutmeg has it’s own “properties”.) Scrooge then hallucinates that the fossil has come to life, and will devour Scrooge! Scrooge, agitated, then hastily signs away his ownership of the fossil to the Woodchucks who plan to preserve the site for future generations.

    Wrong on so many levels. I read it as a kid.

    Daan Jippes was re-drawing the HDLJW stories written by Barks. No idea if this story was re-created.

  2. Well, with various cartoon characters getting drunk since almost the beginning of animation…such as the “Pink Elephants on Parade” scene from Dumbo or the “drunk stork delivers the wrong baby” Looney Tunes cartoons…I suppose Mickey and Goofy popping Peppy pills isn’t that much of a break from the (then) norm…so it probably wasn’t anything they had to slip past the censors.

  3. It’s no worse that that Mickey sequence from the 30’s, (written by Walt himself), where Minnie dumps Mickey and he’s so depressed about it he attempts suicide, (really). Drugs are one thing, but suicide, that’s great kid’s entertainment.

  4. As more evidence that attitudes toward drugs were different in the ’50s, Slate’s Jack Shafer has a piece up describing how Henry R. Luce (Time and Life) and his wife got high on LSD, and how his magazines promoted the drug.

    SRS

  5. Torsten:

    Daan Jippes did indeed redraw “Let Sleeping Bones Lie.” It appeared in the US in Uncle Scrooge 358, published by Gemstone.

  6. Carl Barks used drugs as a plot device more than once. Two stories that immediately spring to mind are “In Old California”, in which Donald is given “some mighty strong stuff” by Native Americans who give him some sort of psychedelic herb tea that causes Don to hallucinate a fantasy in which he exists in “Old California”; there’s also a WALT DISNEY’S COMICS AND STORIES tale by Barks in which a canister of ether in Donald’s car leaks, causing him and his nephews to hallucinate a wiggly, wobbly Duckberg with bendy rubber buildings. And yeah, $crooge McDuck’s ongoing nutmeg tea habit is another drug reference created by Unca Carl.

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