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For a long time the true fairytales of Disney's animated classics have been bundled up with the "Disney Princess" trademark. In this huge business, aimed at young girls, the world of fairytales has been presented as pink, bright and shiny and totally irritating. The true enchantment of original Disney Classics, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, has been reduced to make-up kits, cheaply produced dolls, pink dresses and highly questionable beauty boutiques. The thrilling traditional quality of these powerful original folktales has been replaced with stories where the princesses and other heroines plan what they are going to wear in an upcoming grand ball.
And what about the princes and other male heroes in these fairytales? These poor, badly misinterpreted and underrated guys have to go along with the silly "Princess" business to support the belief that they are just pretty faces without any significance or inner character whatsoever.
Another general misinterpretation places Disney movies in the category of kids' entertainment. However, this was not Walt Disney's original idea. Walt aimed his productions to the "child in every adult" even when he was forced to make compromises for his movies. Unfortunately Walt seemed to lose his interest in movies when his escapist utopia Disneyland became reality. During the 1960s the real Walt was to be found at his theme park not in his movies. (When one compares, for example, The Jungle Book with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and Song of the South with Mary Poppins, it is evident that Walt had changed a lot during the decades). But then the true tragedy struck; the man passed away in 1966. Today, more than 45 years after Walt's death, the company he initiated has dissolved into a grand misinterpretation of the word "Disney". The culmination was the movie Enchanted (2007) which, despite of its warmth and some witty remarks, totally forgot that Walt had laughed at the expense of his own style already in his second animated motion picture Pinocchio (1940). The way Enchanted represented the Disney princes, however, was horrendous and unforgivable.
Princes and heroes have been criticized and maligned for ages. No one has
tried to give a second glance and more closer look
to these guys. Many important details of them have been left unearthed even
by professional critics and Disney historians alike. That is why KenNetti's
Disney Hunks Database pays homage to the authentic original
Princes and other male characters of Disney's animated classics and
sheds some light on the lesser-known tidbits, alternate lives, deep dark
secrets and happily ever afters.
30, "Isn't It Romantic"
of a Disney Hunk
One of the most important aspirations of KenNetti's Disney Hunk Database is to prove that the Disney entertainment is not only "for kids". That's why you won't find much saccharine on this Database. What you will find is, hopefully, new views and perspectives on an underrated subject.
The Disney studio has always believed in the same bible that the entire Hollywood has been built upon: beauty prevails. No matter how black and white this religion is, in it beauty is synonymous with goodness. Thus, you won't find many ugly-looking Disney Hunks (although there are a few great exceptions, such as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1996). The typical Disney hunk has always had a big smile from a toothpaste commercial and clothing that emphasizes his lean, muscular body tight tights, a tunic that teases the eye, or (as in the case of the 1999 Tarzan) only an impossibly small loincloth.
Political correctness started dictating the Disney product during the 1990s but surprisingly, it didn't effect on the clothing of the animated heroes. After the change of millennium things got really worse. The Walt Disney Company became over-cautious by not wanting to offend anyone by producing "harmless" entertainment. A fine idea in theory, but a deathblow to dramatic storytelling. If you want to stir people's emotions the way they did in the "good old days" of Disney you simply can not be colourless, odourless and tasteless.
Sure, there will always be people who get offended. Then there are those who see the devil everywhere even where there is none. Of course the corporation bearing Disney's name has a huge responsibility, but the people behind the magic should also remember that they can not fight against the eye of the beholder which is unfortunately the most powerful instrument on earth.
Yet the eye of the offended beholder is surprisingly often blurred with double standard. Even though the first decade of the 21st century has ended, double standard prevails stronger than ever before. Humanity has been disappearing from humans, and movies and television reflect the same shallowness. Sex is everywhere, women have to be thin, big-breasted and eternally beautiful and yet simultaneously the men of the 21st century have been virtually castrated by baggy pants and every possible trinket to hide their masculinity and sexuality. This particular double standard entered the Disney product during the late 1990s. Especially in Disney theme parks the Princesses and other heroines look usually beautiful and feminine, but the Princes and other male heroes are dressed in oversized, protruding clothes to hide every possible hint of their masculinity. These "princes in potato sacks" don't usually resemble their original animated counterparts.
That's why KenNetti strikes back, by saluting the true men from Disney's stable. On the Disney Hunks Database you will find some of the most original hunks from the cinematic works produced by Disney. We will not hide the fact that almost all the "Classic" hunks included here were originally designed and drawn to please the eye of the adult beholder. There were no child artists in Disney's animation department, but only men and women who hid some of their deepest emotions into their artwork. This does not necessarily mean that the Disney characters would contain hidden sexual innuendo. As the breathtaking Jessica Rabbit says in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988): "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way."
Our Database can be seen as a tribute to Mrs. Rabbit's philosophy. Although all these marvelously drawn hunks are appealing and arousing, they do possess much more than just pretty faces and muscular bodies. Even the lamest of Disney Princes have personalities. This Database analyzes all of them as deeply as possible.
However, if Jessica Rabbit's philosophy and our other quotes (from the legendary Disney-produced television sitcom The Golden Girls) do not amuse you, we recommend you to exit these pages now.
154, "Henny Penny
Officially it all started with a mouse, but in this chronicle Oswald, the Lucky Rabbit (1927) is worth of mentioning. Oswald, who was robbed from Disney by the distributor, would have made an ironic hidden cameo in one of the many abandoned concepts for the very first realistic Disney hero, the Prince of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Before this original and realistically convincing Prince Charming, Disney had experimented with various male characters, ranging from the 1920s care-free guys of "Laugh-O-Gram" cartoons to a bit more sophisticated ones: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, two dogs, three pigs, several wolves, elves, trees, birds, toys, grasshoppers, ants, tortoises, hares, dwarfs, giants, ghosts, skeletons, mad doctors, biblical persons, mythical lords, musical instruments, gingerbread men and polo players (not forgetting some great caricatures of Hollywood legends such as Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers).
Snow White's Prince, however, was Walt Disney's first attempt to capture a realistic male in cartoon form. If Walt had chosen another of his favorite fairytales, Alice in Wonderland or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as his first feature-length animated film, and made Snow White as his second, the Prince would have definitely been given a bigger role since the animators were finally able to handle a male figure. Mainstream audience would also know a very different Snow White movie, a truly epic adventure in which the captured Prince battles for his own life in horrifying dungeons of the Evil Queen's castle, where the grisly remains of a certain "Prince Oswald" and other skeletons torture him. Maybe it was after all better that Walt did Snow White as his first feature and abandoned these terrifying sequences.
Disney's second feature-length animated movie, Pinocchio (1940) featured a cast dominated by male characters, but not a single one of them was given as much realism as for the only human-like female in the movie (the breathtaking Blue Fairy). Presenting Disney's golden age of animation at its highest peak, Fantasia took the realistic male figure to true heights with Chernobog the devil, while the centaurs and centaurettes of "The Pastoral Symphony" segment offered a basis to 1940s trademark style of more cartoony human characters. The 1940s prototype of Disney's male character with a round, rubbery face and a muscular torso was probably designed to look believable with the "Freddy Moore Girls" (named after their creator, Disney animator Fred Moore).
Bambi (1942) created another basis for Disney's male characters; even though only animals, the stags had very human facial features and convincingly emotional expressions. Over fifty years later, a same kind of startling humanizing was used on the character of Simba in The Lion King (1994) whom many consider as the true "sexy beast" of Disney movies.
The 1940s (after the release of Bambi) have often been described as the low point in Disney's animation. The claim is mostly rubbish. It is true that the overall impression of Disney's 1940s movies may not have been as artistically ambitious as with the earlier masterpieces, but all the era's movies do feature extremely imaginative animated art, astonishing colour palettes and vibrant character animation with some of the best animated dancing ever to grace the Disney movies. These wonderful "package films" include Saludos Amigos (1943), The Three Caballeros (1945), Make Mine Music (1946), and Fun and Fancy Free (1947).
Especially with Melody Time (1948) and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad (1949) the Disney animators became masters of keeping a perfect balance between bouncy exaggeration and earthbound realism in the animated male characters. This great new formula became apparent in the character of Johnny Appleseed in Melody Time. Johnny is one of Disney's quintessential animated male characters, sympathetic, convincing and appealing. However, the true embodiment of the era's greatest achievements is "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad which includes not one but three magnificent male characters with distinctive personalities: self-confident weirdo Ichabod Crane, the very jealous and very hunky Brom Bones and the powerful Headless Horseman with his handsome black stallion.
And while speaking of the 1940s we should definitely not forget Donald Duck who, despite of being just a plump cartoon duck, became a true dancing heartthrob in Mr Duck Steps Out (1940). Feature-length movies Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros shaped Donald's personality into a woman-crazy "wolf in duck's skin". The military cartoons especially Donald Gets Drafted (1942), Sky Trooper (1942) and Fall Out, Fall In (1943) underlined his sweetly desperate macho image, something that would have never worked with his biggest rival, Mickey Mouse. Outside animation, Donald has had a similarly illustrious career wider than Mickey's. In addition to the legendary adventures by Carl Barks, Donald has had even an Italian-based secret identity as a superhero and probably more troubles with women than any other Disney character.
While the title character of Disney's Cinderella (1950) may have been the last remnant of the "Freddy Moore Girls" of the 1940s, the character of Cinderella's Prince seemed total regression taking the Disney animation back to the 1930s when the animators were completely afraid to animate a man. This Prince (called officially as Prince Charming) is the real dud of Disney Classics. However, vast improvement was on the way in the form of a flying boy with a strong personality. The title character of Disney's Peter Pan (1953) is definitely one of the studio's most liveliest and convincing male characters despite of his adolescence. In Disney's version Pan was pushed to the extreme limit of pre-puberty, thus making him, perhaps, too hunky for "the boy who never grew up".
The bubbly personality of Disney's Peter Pan was used also as the basis for the studios's third fairytale prince even though the egotism and bustling state of mind were now changed into a more composed form in Sleeping Beauty's (1959) Prince Phillip. Although the movie was highly stylized in both look and character design, in Prince Phillip the Disney animators managed to create an adult hero with credibility, appealing charm and distinctive personality (which professional critics, unfortunately, condemn only as a big cliché). Phillip is actually more central character in Disney's version than the slumbering princess. He has distinctive roots in the abandoned concepts of Snow White's Prince.
After an epic fairytale the Disney animators concentrated on realism, even though the character of Roger Radcliff in 101 Dalmatians (1961) returned to a more comic caricature style. Roger is, however, one of the most earthbound of Disney's animated male characters. As his predecessor Prince Phillip, Roger has a definite personality of his own; he's an artist and has an artistic temperament. Nowadays Roger can be considered also as one of Disney's bad good guys, because he smokes a pipe.
Literal magic was concocted in The Sword in the Stone (1963), but the character styling started changing into an increasingly bizarre direction. The only hunks of the movie may be the few knights in shining armours. The overall style and quality of Disney's animated movies had completely changed into a less ambitious direction. Walt's thoughts were obviously elsewhere; California's Disneyland was receiving major additions and updates, WED Enterprises was busy preparing attractions for the 1964-1965 New York's World Fair, and among all this Walt had even initiated his "Project X", which became Florida's Walt Disney World.
In the 1950s and 1960s Disney featured some great live-action hunks in non-animated movies and television series. Fess Parker was the totally awesome Davy Crockett (1954) and Guy Williams played the masked mystery-man Zorro (1957). The very young Sean Connery dreamed about Irish girls in the atmospheric Darby O'Gill and the Little People (1959). Teen heartthrob Tommy Sands starred in the beautiful musical fantasy Babes in Toyland (1961). Actor Grant Williams (the one who got shrunk in The Incredible Shrinking Man, 1957) was especially dashing as the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky in Disney's short television film The Peter Tchaikovsky Story (1959), which told a rather silly story of how the Sleeping Beauty ballet was created.
The Jungle Book (1967) was the last animated movie that Walt supervised before his death. The quality of Walt Disney Productions' animated products lay dormant until the new generation of animators replaced the old ones during the production of The Fox and the Hound (1981). The movie's Tod (a fox) and Copper (a hound) characters were the initiation of the big familiar eyes on such future hunks as Aladdin (1992) and The Little Mermaid's (1989) Prince Eric. However, nearly eight years earlier another fox character, Robin Hood (1973), had gained a loyal fanbase who still regard the cunning hairy figure in the green tunic as one of the most "sexy" human-like animal figures in Disney Classics.
The Black Cauldron (1985) brought another dimension to Disney's animated movies and yet seemed to be too tied up with the studio's "cute" past with many of its characters. Pig-keeper Taran was, however, designed significantly closer to a teenager than his completely adolescent and scrawny predecessors Arthur and Mowgli in The Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book. In the following movie The Great Mouse Detective (1986) the super sleuth Basil was surprisingly dashing and appealing for being only a mouse with caricature human qualities.
In 1989 a new era began for the Disney studio with The Little Mermaid, revitalizing both the female and male character standards in the long Disney tradition. Prince Eric resembled enormously his voice actor (Christopher Daniel Barnes). Compared to the wild title character Ariel, Eric was significantly more composed and thus, a great counterforce in the romance. But when needed, Eric was as determined and courageous as his obvious predecessor, Prince Phillip.
Eric's clothing style was also daring: he had tights but no tunic. It is no surprise then, that beginning with The Little Mermaid too many audience members started regarding the Disney product as something worser than the Devil. Worried parents and other adults started seeing sexual innuendo in places where there were none. Several hunk favorites were born during this era.
Disney's most ironic hunk individual must be the Beast from Beauty and the Beast (1991) whose human form was a complete dud compared to his beastly form. Audiences everywhere have preferred the beast over his human form. The real bad guy in the movie was the hunky Gaston, a 1990s version of 1940s Brom Bones. Before this critically acclaimed musical fantasy, the Disney studio produced also its very first sequel to a feature-length animated movie. The Rescuers Down Under (1990) brought even more depth to the original mice characters of The Rescuers (1977) and developed the meek Bernard into a true hero instead of the more hunky Australian adventurer mouse by the name of Jake.
During its production, Disney's version of Aladdin (1992) transformed drastically and became more of a parody of Hollywood rather than a genuine tale of the One Thousand and One Nights. "Al", as he was called by the hilarious Genie, was ultimately designed as Tom Cruise in traditional harem pants. Despite of the movie being a very incoherent whole and its hero a very mixed-up kid, Aladdin remains an all-time favorite among hottest Disney hunks. Maybe its because "Arabian Nights... are hotter than hot in a lot of good ways", as the late great lyricist Howard Ashman put it in his lyrics.
In the highly-stylized Pocahontas (1995) the humans were designed in strikingly different style than in previous Disney movies. The entire movie bore a resemblance to Sleeping Beauty's (1959) Gothic styling, and yet managed to create something fresh and very alive. The character of John Smith was created with a square face and a manly figure resulting in a character who may at first seem disastrously wooden, but who opens up into one of the most likable and believable Disney hunks. The movie did also feature two other hunks for different tastes: the meek and pleasant Thomas, and the noble yet unassuming Indian warrior Kocoum.
In the wake of Prince Eric some of the new Disney hunks threw away tunics and started roaming around in tights or reduced clothing (Aladdin, Hercules). The new fashion lead ultimately to Disney's animated version of Tarzan (1999) in which the very hunky title character roamed around the jungle in a very provocative loincloth. This resulted in serious troubles with the live actors portraying Tarzan in the politically-correct Disney theme parks.
Great male characters, for nearly every possible taste both heroes and villains were introduced in the animated movies The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Hercules (1997) and Mulan (1998). Unfortunately, the sloppy Aladdin-plagiarism of The Emperor's New Groove (2000) brought Walt Disney Pictures into a new era. During the first years of this era, countless older fans lost their faith in the magicless, gutless Disney Company. As almost everyone else in Hollywood, also Disney joined in the desperate quest of making each of their movie a money-making blockbuster. This resulted in motion pictures that were computer games and not movies.
The series of "Disney Classics" should have been stopped with Fantasia 2000, which included several beautiful segments and one unusual hunk in "The Steadfast Tin Soldier". Disney's next animated movie was Atlantis The Lost Empire (2001), which featured a "nerd" hero. The following Treasure Planet (2002) had a heartthrob juvenile delinquent. Lilo & Stitch (2002) and Brother Bear (2003) featured wonderful cultures and some beautiful people but the movies ended up just repeating stories and characters from previous Disney hits, with terrifyingly increasing amount of computer animation.
But luckily there have been a few bright exceptions. Meet the Robinsons (2007) had many weird characters with minimal screen time, but this movie managed to touch an adult audience with its bold way of handling a cliché story. Furthermore, in the wonderfully rubbery Wilbur Robinson the movie featured a surprisingly appealing adolescent "hunk" in the great Peter Pan tradition, but with a significant troubled personality of his own. Wilbur's future made him and his relationship with the main character Lewis even more intriguing. Not forgetting an outrageously funny villain with a totally believable human personality.
The Princess and the Frog (2009) showed that the magic of Disney had not vanished. The movie was basically The Jungle Book modified for a fairytale-hungry audience; it had great characters, extremely bouncy music and a feel-good-feeling but most importantly, it had a terrific story with gorgeous heart. And, indeed, the movie also featured a long-awaited adult hunk! Although Prince Naveen shared similar facial resemblance with 1959 Prince Phillip, the character had other qualities that made him exceptional. Naveen's jazzy, delightfully boyish personality and its elegant development were outstanding not forgetting his amazing rubbery body.
The movie Enchanted (2007) possessed (as already said in the introduction) warmth and some witty remarks, but misrepresented the Disney princesses and princes badly. Nevertheless, Prince Edward is quite a "hunk" (in the second meaning of the word) mixing in one guy a variety of different Disney characters, such as Gaston, Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and a bunch of non-Disney princes (such as Derek from The Swan Princess, 1994, and Cornelius from Thumbelina, 1994). Yes, we understand that Enchanted was meant to be a parody, but its writers and producers made one huge mistake: the "typical" Disney prince is hardly ever fun, nor a clown! Despite their tendency to belt out love ballads, the Disney princes are all quite serious blokes. (Of course, in heat everyone goes a little crazy and may act stupid). Thus Enchanted's composed Robert, played by Patrick Dempsey, is the movie's real embodiment of a Disney prince. And a hunk he is.
Of course, Disney hunks continued to roam also in live action movies and television. They are too many to list here. Honourable mention must go to Brendan Fraser who starred two years before Disney's Tarzan in the movie version of George of the Jungle (1997). This great original 1960s animated character would not have survived the live action remake without Fraser's boyish charisma and his very hunky body. In the next decade, there was no hunk bigger than Zac Efron who bounced into teen idol status thanks to the High School Musical (2006).
Disney and Pixar have certainly travelled a long road. From Toy Story (1995) to Monsters University (2013), the Disney/Pixar movies have always included funny, unforgettable characters but only a few with "hunk" characteristics. Of course, Buzz Lightyear and Woody are Pixar's top hunks. Tangled (2010) wasn't a Pixar production, but as computer-animated 3D-movie it topped nearly everything, especially James Cameron's overhyped Avatar (2009). As far as Disney hunks are concerned, we doubt no one can top Eugene "Flynn Ryder" Fitzherbert. This perfect hunk succeeded in what Enchanted's Prince Edward failed: "Flynn" was a parody of nearly every Disney hunk since Aladdin, and yet, when the time arrived, he was ready to admit being a phoney. Adult audiences loved the real Eugene. True hunks are those who have the courage to be themselves.
We probably won't need another hero.
DISNEY HUNK DATABASE
Adventures of Ichabod
Black Cauldron (1985)
Little Mermaid (1989)
and the Beast (1991)
Little Mermaid II
to Never Land (2002)
the Robinsons (2007)
and the Frog (2009)
secrets about the Disney Hunks
A R N I N G :
White and the Prince
special thanks to
All original artwork © Disney
r i n c i p a l
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