I’ve never been good at picking out birthday gifts. I usually get something the person doesn’t need or something they already have. But when I saw that it was Walt Disney’s 113th birthday, a thunder strike of thought went through me: why not celebrate the creator of Mickey Mouse and over-priced theme park fun with a retrospective on some of the greatest “frozen Walt Disney” jokes that have appeared in pop culture? Because if there’s one thing that everyone knows about Walt Disney, it’s that his frozen head is hidden away in the Disney vault waiting for someone to come up with a cure for lung cancer… and death… and head seperation.
The thing is, that isn’t actually true. No part of Walt Disney is frozen. He died of lung cancer almost 48 years ago and was cremated. This according to the man’s family, a group of people who probably aren’t thrilled with the impressive life-span of the cryogenic urban myth. And while I can’t blame them, how about the life-span of that urban myth, huh?
As I said, it’s been almost 50 years since Disney lived, and the lie has overtaken the truth to a lot of people who seemingly assume that Disney was a mad futurist who put his head into a guillotine and his faith into the hands of science.
Maybe the willingness to believe in such things is triggered by our inherent need to seek out contrast in the lives of those who bring wholesome and bland things to life. Or maybe it’s our desire to chase immortality and our want to know that someone else may have found a loophole in our unbreakable contract with grim death. It could be those things, or it could just be that it’s an awesome f*cking fairytale.
Whatever the motives, that narrative has been kept alive by jokes about Walt Disney’s frozen head, and consequently, they’ve helped turn a living giant into a giant in death whose intriguing end continues to make him relevant. Not, you know, in the best way possible, but my point is, they could say worse things about you five decades after your death. Like nothing at all, for instance.
Walt Wakes Up — Family Guy
Oh, yeah. They could also say that you’re an anti-Semite.
In this clip, the usually restrained and respectful entity known as Family Guy threw Walt Disney under a bus for a 6-second cut scene. It’s a really easy joke, but it earns a smirk because of the rumors about Walt Disney’s views with regard to women, black people, and jews. Like the cryogenic rumors, these have persisted for quite some time. Is there any truth to them? I don’t know. There have been many conflicting reports, but Vulture has a helpful breakdown.
The repeated pairings of the frozen Walt Disney jokes and jokes about the man’s alleged anti-Semitism aren’t as helpful, but some of them are awfully funny and well represented on this list.
Walt vs. Elian — Robot Chicken
This isn’t really a Walt Disney frozen head joke, but it does imagine a world where Disney’s head was severed after his death and attached to a mechanical spider-body that lives within the Matterhorn and feeds on the bodies of Cuban children.
Why does Disney only eat Cuban children? Apparently forbidden fruit tastes the best, hence Disneyhead Spiderbot’s freak-out when he learns that Elian Gonzalez has returned to Cuba.
The Re-Animation of Walt Disney — Robert Selander
Robert Selander’s lengthy and amusing sketch about the un-freezing of Walt Disney adds jokes that Disney hated children and Mickey Mouse to the already too-tall pile while also doing his part to live up to the legacy of the “Walt hated jews” jokes.
I laughed the loudest when Selander’s thawed Walt Disney showed his disappointment with our resistance to monorail technology and our decision to elect Barack Obama.
I’m pretty sure that if we thawed out any 65-year-old dead man from the 1960s after 45 years, he’d be as confused and angry as Selander’s recovering Disney-sicle is, but I doubt that they’d close with the line, “You can all suck on Donald Duck’s cloaca for all I care! Wake me up when everyone is white!”