Classic Movie References in Disney Movies

Disney filmmakers are notorious for slipping old movie references, in-jokes, and running gags into their projects. Most times even the avid viewer would never pick up on them, especially the younger ones, nor would the casual movie-goer.

So this post contains three of the best ones I have seen to date. We’ll start with the most obvious one first, and then move on to the most obscure.

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Wall-E: Hello, Dolly!

We all saw the film clips (via hi-tech VCR tape) that Wall-E played again and again of the man and woman who make a connection by holding hands. This becomes pivotal to his romance with Eve:

The film clips were from the blockbuster movie Hello, Dolly! starring Barbara Streisand, and the man who taught Wall-E to hold hands was Michael Crawford (the Phantom of the Opera). The movie is a 1969 romantic comedy musical. It follows the story of Dolly Levi (a strong-willed matchmaker), as she travels to Yonkers, New York, to find a match for the miserly “well-known unmarried half-a-millionaire” Horace Vandergelder. In doing so she convinces his niece, his niece’s intended, and Horace’s two clerks to travel to New York City.

But did you know that these two clerks, Cornelius (Crawford, below far right) and his friend Barnaby (below far left) weren’t interested in holding hands? In the song “Put On Your Sunday Clothes” (the first song you hear on Wall-E’s tape) the boys sing about visiting New York City, and they vow not to return until they kiss a girl. So although Cornelius does eventually hold hands with his lady fair (below, second from right), he succeeded in his mission only after he kissed her.

I guess the makers thought it would be easier to show robots holding ‘hands’ than to have them kiss without lips.

FUN FACT: “It Only Takes a Moment” is the second song from Hello, Dolly! that you hear on Wall-E’s vintage tape.

R E F E R E N C E    T W O

The Emperor’s New Groove: The Fly

This movie reference is indeed classic, going all the way back to 1958 to the Vincent Price film The Fly. In this movie, an earnest scientist, intent on creating the first working teleportation device, gets over-confident and turns himself into a monster with a large fly head and one fly arm. In the process, he also creates a small fly with his head and arm on it. You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

The iconic scene from the film happens near the end when the scientist, now a fly, is trapped in a spider’s web. As the spider inches closer and closer, you can hear the famous “Help me! Help me!” plea that chilled audiences to the bone back in 1958. And it’s still one of the creepiest moments in film history today! If you dare, see it for yourself:

In The Emperor’s New Groove, Kuzco is lost in the woods and getting more creeped out by the minute, when he too comes across a spider’s web. He hears the famous “Help me! Help me!” line before witnessing, and hearing, the crunch of the fly’s demise. Ick. Want to see that too?

For the full impact, please pop in your copy of The Emperor’s New Groove. It really is more chilling if you hear the plea for help and the crunch!

FUN FACT: A theory about this moment in the film surfaced on Facebook. The writer postulates that the fly who dies in this scene must have been a human at one point in the film, and thus this was actually equivalent to watching a murder. He supposes that only animals that were once human talk in the film, like Kuzco (Llama), Yzma (kitten), and the guards (“Hey, I’ve been turned into a cow. May I go home?”). So if the fly is talking, it too must have been a human at one time. The writer goes even further to assume that it would be the old guy that Kuzco had thrown out the window earlier in the film (but that guy is seen by Pacha soon after, and returns in the end scenes).

Obviously, this theory is wrong, and the scene of the spider and the fly was only an homage.

R E F E R E N C E    T H R E E

The Muppets: The Fork Dance

For this last example, we have to go back to the silent era of film, to 1925 to be exact. The movie is Gold Rush and it stars the immortal Charlie Chaplin. One of the signature comedy gags in the film is the famous ‘Fork Dance’, pictured below:

These dancing ‘feet’ become one of the funniest moments in silent film history! Have a look for yourself:

It’s a small moment in the movie, The Muppets, but Amy Adams rocks this homage to Chaplin during her duet with Miss Piggy called “Me Party”:

Again, this moment in the musical number goes by pretty fast, but it is very funny and stuck out in my mind, but perhaps only because I’m such a huge Chaplin fan and remembered the iconic scene from Gold Rush.

FUN FACT: Although Chaplin is accredited by many as using potatoes for his ‘feet’, Adams definitely uses bread rolls.

By now, I think it goes without saying, that we all need to pay close attention while watching Disney movies! Did you catch these brilliant homages to earlier classic films? Do you have a favorite that you like to point out to family and friends? If so, please leave it in the comments below and we’ll all look out for it the next time we watch a Disney classic!

Prayers for the Week – Praying for Dennis

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6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

My friends, on this past Wednesday, my co-worker and friend Dennis turned 48 years old.  During that day, he started having heart problems, and towards the end of that day, he had a full blown heart attack.  When that happened, the incredible people that work with me sprang into action.  911 was called and staff members stood by looking for the medical teams to arrive.  Others grabbed our AED at work and put it to use, probably saving Dennis’ life in the process.  Still others assisted in ways that I can’t even imagine, and by the grace of God and all of the help by those incredible people, Dennis made it to the hospital okay.  He still wasn’t out of the woods, though, and throughout the night, myself and others prayed for Dennis, lifting up our petitions to God, and doing our best to have a positive outlook.  We learned that the medical team took incredible efforts to help Dennis, putting him in an induced coma so his body could calm down, and doing other things that I can only begin to imagine.

The next day, those of us that came into work worried about what might have happened overnight learned that things are getting better, even if it is slowly.  One of our staff, Vicki, organized an optional prayer for anyone that wanted to join her — there were at least 30 people that gathered around and we were praying for Dennis.  The business at work had to continue, but suddenly, the mood in the building was different.  For some weeks, I’ve felt like the mood in the building was one of fear — fear for those that are leaving, uncertainty over those that are staying behind, wondering what is next, and so forth.  But suddenly, in the span of a few hours, the mood in the building became one of camaraderie — Dennis was in trouble, and people across the building, in jobs that didn’t even work that closely with him, were pitching in to do things for him and to help him.  We communicated with his girlfriend, we stopped by to make sure she was okay, we delivered things for him that were in his office that she needed, we took care of his car, and the list goes on and on.  Through it all, the work was still progressing — people still had their jobs to do — but instead of an underlying fear of what was happening to us in our jobs, the fear, at least in my mind and heart, anyway, that fear turned to resolve that we were going to see Dennis through this, with God’s help.

At this point, Dennis is still fighting, and he still needs our prayers.  If you can, please pray with me:

Heavenly Father, we know that Your servant Dennis is still fighting for his life.  We know that You are hearing our prayers, and that through You nothing is impossible.  You are the God of second chances, Lord, and we know that You have Dennis close to you while he fights.  Lord, show the world what You can do, and if it is in Your Will, show the world the miracle of Dennis’ heart healing.  We also ask that You let Your Peace, Comfort, and Strength descend to Dennis’ family and friends so that we may wait on Your Miracle to occur for Dennis.  We ask these things in the name of Your Son Jesus with Thanksgiving!  Amen.

Thank you all for praying for Dennis with me.  Now, please pray for these other requests we have this week:

  • Kelli’s husband has some health concerns, please pray for his bulging disc that it would be healed.
  • Also please pray for Kelli’s daughter in her new job, pray for her stamina as she adapts to working on her feet for 8 hours a day.
  • Pam has an unknown prayer request, please pray for her.
  • Josie’s husband is battling cancer, and it is very serious.  Please pray for Josie, her husband, and their two sons.
  • My Brother in Christ Don passed away this week.  Please pray for his family, for their Peace, Comfort, and Strength in the days, weeks, and months ahead as they struggle in his loss.
  • Please pray for Mark, who had his shoulder surgery this week.  Please pray for his healing, and for Peace, Comfort, and Strength for him and his wife Jan.

Now, please pray with me the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. Amen.