Walt and J. Edgar toeing the line? Maybe for a conga

MIKE LITTWIN

May 14, 1993|By MIKE LITTWIN

Ordinarily, I am not a squeamish person. As an example, I once saw Roseanne and Tom Arnold in a hot tub together, and I was able to eat again in only a matter of days.

But I've been having this vision recently that comes late at night and haunts my dreams. It's got me so shaken I'm afraid to fall asleep.

As soon as I do, I always see the same thing: Walt Disney and J. Edgar Hoover doing the rumba, dancing rouged cheek to cheek.

Invariably I wake up in a sweat, with the same unanswered question: Which one was leading?

Am I nuts . . . cha, cha, cha?

Probably. The whole world's gone nuts. The world is slipping completely over the edge into madness, and there's nothing -- nothing at all -- left to hold onto.

You know what I'm talking about, don't you? It's these books that keep coming out that take our heroes and reveal them to be, well, not exactly heroic. Someone, please make them stop.

It's because of these books that Walt and J. Edgar end up starring in my own private remake of "Paris Is Burning." Or is it "Some Like It Hot"?

The new bio coming out on Disney -- the man who gave us "Snow White" and "The Shaggy Dog," not to mention Mickey Mouse -- says he was a hard-drinking, FBI-informing, crypto-fascist liar who would secretly wear his mother's clothes.

And those were his good points.

According to the latest on Hoover, he was gay (not that there's anything wrong with it) and liked to dress in women's clothing when he wasn't using mobster Frank Costello as his bookie and spying on ordinary American citizens.

Let's examine the situation a little more closely.

In Disney, you had the American century's leading advocate of American Family Values.

In Hoover, you had the primary enforcer of Law and Order and the self-proclaimed arbiter of All Things Good who stood up, much as Disney, for something called the American Way.

And now?

Now, you might as well tell me the reason John Wayne walked funny was that he wore women's underwear. What is there left to believe in?

They always tell you that the days before Madonna and cable TV represented the golden era of our country. Now you don't know what to think. Is nothing sacred? It's gotten to the point where I'm left wondering whether Herbie, the Love Bug, really could fly.

It gets scarier.

If Hoover and Disney didn't literally dance together (I picture J. Edgar in a black chiffon number and Walt in something scandalously low-cut), they did work together.

Like many studio heads of the day, Disney did his Hollywood Red Scare informing bit -- naming names of those he suspected to be Communists.

But what was different about Disney is that he apparently also gave Hoover access to his movie scripts.

In other words, theoretically, the FBI got script approval on, say, "Son of Flubber."

Let your mind roll over this one. The FBI would actually suggest changes in movies. You think Goofy was originally a Communist sympathizer? Were Mickey and Minnie really the same mouse? And just who were those seven little dwarfs and what were they really up to?

Here's something, according to "Walt Disney: The Unauthorized Biography," that really did happen. The FBI didn't like "That Darned Cat." You probably didn't like it either, but maybe for different reasons.

The FBI's problem was that the star of the movie was supposed to be, in Disney style, an undercover FBI agent. And yet, this FBI agent who was also a cat was pictured going through people's garbage cans, although looking only for old fish rather than incriminating pictures.

But Walt went to the wall on this one and respectfully refused any changes. You know, artistic integrity and all that.

According to the book, however, he did allow some minor changes on the "Mickey Mouse Club." Can you tell me today whatever happened to Cubby?

Remember the little song that ended the show? This might have been an earlier version:

M-I-C . . .

See ya real soon.

K-E-Y . . .

Why? Because we've got pictures of your parents in compromising positions.

M-O-U-S-E.

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