In reviewing my comic book collection, I have Walt Disney’s Chip ’N’ Dale DELL comic issue December-February 1956. Besides the zany adventures of these two mischievous rodents from the Sciuridae family, it has Donald Duck, Goofy, Tinker Bell, Pluto, Foxy Fox and Butch the Bulldog caught up in their wacky adventures.
On the back cover the following statement from DELL declared:
A PLEDGE TO PARENTS
The Dell Trademark is and always has been, a positive guarantee that the comic magazine bearing it contains only clean and wholesome juvenile entertainment. The Dell code eliminates entirely, rather than regulates, objectionable material. That’s why when your child buys a Dell Comic you can be sure it contains only good fun.
“DELL COMICS ARE GOOD COMICS” is our only credo and constant goal.
Of course back in the 50s anything associated with Walt Disney’s name would have to be “wholesome” and “good fun.” He had a set of standards in his playbook which he expected to be followed.
One example was the Disney star Annette Joanne Funicello. Under contract Walt Disney allowed her to be in several of the beach movies of the 1960s with the proviso that she would not wear a bikini but a full bathing suit.
“Mr. Disney said to me one day, ‘Annette, I have a favor to ask of you. I know all the girls are wearing bikinis, but you have an image to uphold. I would appreciate it if you would wear a one-piece suit.’ I did, and I never regretted it.” http://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2013/04/annette_funicello_famed_mousek.html
Unfortunately, the days of wholesome entertainment probably ended in the turbulent 60s and 70s where the innocence of childhood suffered a cultural shock and betrayal.
The fading innocence was like the song—“Where have all the flowers gone? It was lost a long time ago when children, like fields of flowers, bathed in the soft rain and dried in the warm sun.
Comic magazines are a far cry from the pristine memories of grandparents and great grandparents. The same could be said about all forms of entertainment today.
Edna St Vincent Millay wrote in 1931 “Childhood is the kingdom where nobody dies.”
Today childhood is bombarded with stories and images of death, and the kingdom of childhood fades too soon into the tomorrows of unending violence, political controversies and hostile religious ideologies.
Perhaps in all the madness childhood should have a refuge from the reality of 2017. Children grow up too fast and endure experiences which rob them of the innocence which should be their inalienable right.
The following words from last century could be the beginning of that refuge.
“Heritage and ideals, our code and standards – the things we live by and teach our children – are preserved or diminished by how freely we exchange ideas and feelings.” Walt Disney
G. D. Williams © 2017