In a Nutshell
Everyone knows Walt Disney, and if you don’t, you’ll certainly be familiar with some of the Disney Films. The likes of Robin Hood, The Lion King and Alice in Wonderland lit up – and continue to do so – screens around the world. But, would you ever had thought the American entrepreneur was pally-pally with the FBI? Well, according to old files, Mr. Disney was working closely with the Bureau…
The Whole Bushel
From the very start of his entrepreneurial life, Walt Disney had a vision of the culture that he wanted to create. Not only was he a stern businessman that was an expert of finding opportunities and capitalizing on them, but he was also a talented animator and a hero figure to young children.
You see, Walt turned his own surname into a global brand; a brand that was at the top of the movie, theme park and vacation industries. Throughout his life, he made brilliant decisions, forged spectacular destinations and generated a shed load of revenue. But, on top of those things, he made some powerful connections. One of those was with J. Edgar Hoover, the man who spearheaded the FBI.
However, very few people are aware of Disney’s close ties with the Bureau. The first person to bring it to public attention was March Eliot, a writer than was composing a book about the business mogul. During his research, he discovered documents through the Freedom of Information Act which was actually Walt Disney’s FBI file. That same file was verified by New York Times investigators.
Moving on, the whole thing was 750 pages long, but the majority of those were censored out. Although, the ones that weren’t were still very intriguing. A decent chunk of that was regarding communists, and Disney stated he was more than happy to help the FBI find troublemakers in Hollywood.
Back in 1941, the whole of the Disney studio workforce went on an official strike. Those involved pointed towards poor leadership and bad morale as the catalysts, but Disney firmly believed it was down to communist interference. So much so, he even testified to the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Almost a decade later, in1955, Disney opened his first theme park. A document in the file highlighted how he was prepared to give the FBI free use of the complex. Then, when the animator decided to open a Tomorrowland section in the park, which showcased science-based exhibits, he reached out to the FBI for a display that explained how science is used in investigations. The FBI quickly declined.
Further transcripts show that Disney and Hoover were in constant communication about TV shows, and three episodes of the Mickey Mouse Club were specially dedicated to the FBI. When Disney died in 1966, he’d left behind a company that would continue to capture the attention for millions of years to come but, how involved was Walt Disney in the persecution of alleged communists? How influenced were Disney TV shows by the Federal Bureau of Investigation? These are questions that may never be answered.