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Latest Update: March 29, 2010

Scariest Tribute to Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Dark Secrets
of the Dungeon

Many people would claim that the entire storyline of "The Captured Prince" - the heavily chained and gagged young man tortured by a psychotic older woman - does not belong to "Disney". However, with the Mickey Mouse cartoons and comics of the early 1930s Walt Disney had already produced several adventures with the mouse, his dog and girlfriend being tied up, chained, gagged, abused and sometimes left in a definite death trap - with the rescue coming in the nick of time. The most shocking example of these adventures is The Mad Doctor cartoon (1933) in which Mickey and Pluto are captured by the title character who wants to cut Mickey in half with a whirling buzz-saw. Many decades later, the title character of Disney's Aladdin (1992) was to endure an even more shocking drowning attempt than Snow White's Prince. (More about these and many other Disney horrors at the supplementary section "Disney Dungeons" starting on page 7!)

Conceived in October 1934 and defined with several preliminary sketches, the full concept of "The Captured Prince" is surprisingly detailed. In the dimly-lit dungeon, amidst grisly skeletal remains and several instruments of torture, the Prince is chained heavily to the wall - with at least five separate padlocks sealing his fate. Cruelly gagged, tight collar chaining his neck against the wall, arms spread wide apart in merciless manacles and chained feet barely touching the ground, the Prince can only strain at his bonds while the Evil Queen personally taunts him. The original sketches feature also some alternate, even more cruel chaining methods for the Prince; in addition to all aforementioned padlocked manacles his spread legs were chained wide apart, which would have indeed made his tight collar even more torturous. Another sketch shows the young man blindfolded, dangling helplessly against a pillar as the Queen steps closer. (KenNetti is currently unable of presenting the aforementioned original sketches [as shown in the second disc of 2001 Collector's Edition DVD] and hence some of the sketches have been re-drawn for this Tribute).

Pointing out a particular skeleton of Prince Oswald, the Evil Queen makes sure her new prisoner understands the gruesome fate awaiting him if he still refuses her marriage proposal. At the Queen's command, the skeletons start a macabre dance to "entertain" the chained Prince. Suggested horrors take place as the Evil Queen leaves the Prince in the hands of the royal torturers (who are specified as Nubians). Later in the night, when the Evil Queen finds out that Snow White is still alive, the torture of the Prince leads to a cruel attempt to drown him.

The idea of Oswald the skeleton may have been a hidden but biting sarcasm for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, the character who was "kidnapped" from Walt Disney in 1928 by Charlie Mintz - an act that lead Walt to the creation of Mickey Mouse. The concept of dancing skeletons was naturally based on the famous 1929 Silly Symphony cartoon The Skeleton Dance. Silly as it sounds, one may only imagine how powerful and macabre the end result could have been through the gorgeous 1937 final animation - something like Fantasia's "Night on the Bald Mountain".

It seems that some details of this abandoned storyline ended up in California Disneyland's 1983 Snow White’s Scary Adventures dark ride and also its counterparts in Tokyo Disneyland and Disneyland Paris. The Dungeon scene in all three rides features one skeleton chained to the wall almost exactly like Prince Oswald's grisly remains in the principal sketches for the movie. (Photo evidence from California's Disneyland, taken in 2007). In the 1937 finished animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs there is not a single so grotesquely chained skeleton on any wall - so it seems quite apparent where these terrifying dungeons in the Snow White's Scary Adventures dark ride have found their inspiration. (Read more by hopping straightly to the Dungeons page of KenNetti's Snow White's Scary Adventures Tribute).

The highly dramatic subplot would have continued after the Evil Queen's transformation into an old hag (generally known as the "Wicked Witch"). In her disguise the Queen pays one last visit to the Prince, who is still hanging chained to the dungeon wall. The old hag tells him about the poisoned apple - and possibly even makes her famous movie soliloquy of "she'll be buried alive!" in front of the desperately struggling Prince. In the final 1937 movie the Witch taunts her pet raven during this soliloquy, but the words would serve a far more dramatic purpose if the raven was replaced by the chained and gagged Prince - as the Witch thrusts the apple into his face: "Have a bite? Ahh-heh heh heh hee! It is not for you, it is for Snow White! When she breaks the tender peel to taste the apple in my hand, her breath will still, her blood congeal! Then I will be Fairest in the Land! Heh heh hee! But wait! There may be an antidote. Nothing must be overlooked. Aah, here it is! The victim of the Sleeping Death can be revived only by Love's First Kiss. Love's First Kiss! Bah! No fear of that - the Dwarfs will think she's dead. She'll be buried alive! Heh heh heh hee! Buried alive! Heh heh heh hee!"

After such words, one may just imagine the desperation of the chained and gagged Prince, as the Witch begins to flood the dungeon and exits with a victorious cackle, leaving the helpless Prince to drown.

The cruel drowning of the Prince may seem the biggest quirk in the abandoned concept. Regarding the Evil Queen's motive, the decision to drown the young man seems downright odd. Why does she suddenly want to get rid of the Prince? Wouldn't she want some company after her return from the Dwarfs' cottage? There are at least two major reasons, the first one being that a dead Prince can not revive Snow White from the spell of the Sleeping Death. The second reason for flooding the dungeon is that by this time the imprisoned Huntsman may have joined the Prince in the deepest dungeon. So, by flooding the dungeon the Evil Queen may want to kill two flies with one blow. (And if someone wonders the mechanism of the dungeon flood, it should be noted that the Evil Queen's castle is located close to a lake - and the deepest dungeons, actually subterranean chambers, have been built really deep inside the cliff overlooking the lake).


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KenNetti Presents
T H E - F A I R E S T

Scariest Tribute to Disney's Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs

Research, analyse, text,
and image processing by
Kenneth Sundberg

Very special thanks to
Charles Routh

All original artwork © Disney

P r i n c i p a l
information & image sources

Richard Holliss & Brian Sibley:
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs & the
Making of the Classic Film (Hyperion, 1987/1994)
The Complete Story of Walt Disney's Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
New York, Times Mirror Books, 1987)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - The Collector's
Edition 2-Disc DVD (Disney DVD, 2001)
Katherine & Richard Greene: The Man Behind
the Magic - The Story of Walt Disney (1991,
Viking Penguin / Penguin Books USA Inc.)
Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas:
The Disney Villain (Hyperion, 1993)
Christopher Finch: The Art of Walt Disney
(Harry N. Abrams, Inc. New York, 1983)
Neil Sinyard: The Best of Disney (Portland House,
Twin Books Corp, 1988)
David Tietyen: The Musical World of Walt Disney
(Hal Leonard Publishing Corp, 1990)
The 1937 Snow White comic book (published in
Finland by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö in 1973, in the
Finnish "Aku Ankka" (Donald Duck) magazine)

Golden Stamp Book (1957) - Snow White
and the Seven Dwarfs (published in Finland
in 1970 by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö)
Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains (Hachette,
1973, "Bibliotheque Rose" -series)
La Ronde des Héroines - Mes Histoires
Enchantées (Hachette, 2001)
Die Filme von Walt Disney - Die Zauberwelt des
Zeichentricks (Cinema / Kino Verlag GmbH, 1987-88)
The "Aku Ankka" (Donald Duck) magazine
(published in Finland by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö
and Helsinki Media Company Oy)
How To Draw Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
(1992, Walter Foster Publishing, Inc. /
Joshua Morris Publishing, Inc.)
"Minä Mikki Hiiri" (Io, Topolino) 1970-1981
(published in Finland by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö)
Comics Scene magazine # 8 (year unknown)
Mickey Mouse Movie Stories (Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
New York, Times Mirror Company, 1988)

The "Aku Ankan Taskukirja" pocketbooks

(published in Finland by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö)
The "Roope-Setä" (Uncle Scrooge) pocketbook # 124
(12/1989, published in Finland by Sanoma Osakeyhtiö)
David Koenig: Mouse Under Glass - Secrets of Disney
Animation and Theme Parks (Bonaventure
Press, 1997, 2001)
Tim Hollis & Greg Ehrbar: Mouse Tracks
- The Story of Walt Disney Records
(2006, The University Press of Mississippi)
Paul Sassienie: The Comic Book
(Chartwell Books Inc, 1994)
The StoryboarD magazine (various issues)
The archives of Charlie Routh
The "Golden Books" (published by Western
Publishing Company, Inc.)
"Tammen Kultaiset Kirjat"
(published in Finland
by Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi)

Kenneth Sundberg's extensive research on
countless Snow White publications
(not specified here individually) and other
comic books, storybooks and magazines

(not specified here individually)

T h e -T r i b u t e -I n d e x

Front Page
The Fairest ...and the Scariest of Them All
Introduction to KenNetti's "Scariest Tribute"
The Scariest Tribute Main Index

Page 2
A Doomed Love Triangle
The Original 1934 Prince Charming
The Prince, the Princess ...and the Queen
Death of the Dramatic Subplot

Page 3
Dark Secrets of the Dungeon
The Prince Is Captured
Taunted by the Queen,
Tortured by the Wicked Witch

Skeletons in a Dark Ride

Page 4
The Rescue of the Prince
A Cruel Drowning Attempt
Miranda and the Doves to the Rescue
An Alternate Witch Demise

Page 5
An Epic Love Story
Snow White's Dream Sequence
Spell of the Magic Wishing Apple
The Happy Ending

Page 6
The 1937 Merrill de Maris Comic Book
The Legendary Official Comic Book Version
A Less-Scary Captured Prince Subplot
The "Scariest Tribute" Image Gallery

Page 7
"Disney Dungeons" - Part I
So you think Disney means only
sunshine and happiness?
Take a look at
some of the most shocking scenes of
capture, bondage, abuse and torture
from the authentic Disney cartoons,
comics and movies.

Page 8
"Disney Dungeons" - Part II
Featuring Prince Phillip

Page 9
"Disney Dungeons" - Part III
Featuring Aladdin


The Tribute to Disneyland's Original "Spook Ride"

The Scary Adventures Front Page

The Home for All Things Scary and Beautiful
The Snow White Database Front Page


KenNetti is a totally non-commercial website by Kenneth Sundberg to pay tribute and to honour the work of talented people behind some of the most wonderful things found on this planet. All the material is gathered here only to inform, to promote things that need to be noticed, and to entertain people all over the world. KenNetti and Kenneth Sundberg are not affiliated to any of the companies, theme parks, movies, people, ghosts or other things appearing on this site. No rights of reproduction have been granted to KenNetti or Kenneth Sundberg, except where indicated. If You feel that some image or material whatsoever should not appear on this site, please CONTACT Kenneth Sundberg so that we can quickly resolve the problem.