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Not exactly the fairest in the land ...

Not exactly the fairest in the land ...

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Oh, sure. There are those that will tell you that Mickey's arch nemesis, Black Pete, should take the honors as Disney's first villain. Or -- better yet -- the Big Bad Wolf. But -- for me -- the first (and -- arguably -- the most frightening of the) Disney villains is the Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.

I'm betting that the old manager of Radio City Music Hall would agree with me. After all, he was the guy who supposedly sent Walt Disney a bill for all the seats that he'd had to replace. As the story goes, these seats had been ruined because of all the little kids who'd peed their pants with fright whenever the Witch came on screen.

And perhaps there actually is something to this story. Given that Walt (in an effort to make the picture less frightening) actually clipped 30 seconds of footage out of "Snow White." You can see an image capture from that scene -- which shows the Witch cackling madly as she prepares the "Sleeping Death" potion in her cauldron -- below.


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc.

And -- given that the Witch had obviously made a huge impression on moviegoers -- Walt knew that he had to give this old crone a home when he finally got around to building Disneyland. So -- while it was the little princess who got top billing in "Snow White's Scary Adventures" -- it was the Witch who actually provided all the thrills in this dark ride. Spinning around and revealing her hideous form in front of the mirror ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Suddenly sliding out of the shadows, cackling "Have an apple, dearie?"


Photo by Jeff Lange

Speaking of which: One of the most highly prized (and -- I should also point out -- one of the more illegal) Disney collectibles was an apple that had been snatched straight from the clutches of this Audio Animatronic crone. Below, you'll find a photo of one of these infamous apples. Which was provided to JHM by one of my corrupt pals out west (Hi, RB!).


Photo by ... Wooden Hugh Liektuneau

You can tell that this plastic apple is actually one of the ones that was used in the "Snow White's Scary Adventures" ride. Notice the obvious swirls of paints on its exterior. This was because the apple had to be painted with special paint so that -- when it was bathed in black light -- this plastic piece of fruit would glow ominously in the gloom.

Anyway ... The Witch has proven to be such a popular Disney villain that she has a featured role in "Fantasmic!" ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Not to mention a starring role in Disneyland's now-on-hiatus "Snow White: An Enchanting Musical" ...


Photo by Jeff Lange

Not to mention that this cranky old crone moves an awful lot of merchandise this time of year. Below, you'll find a picture of my usually-lovely wife, Florence Lange. Who -- once she was dressed as the Witch -- suddenly felt the need to strangle Nancy Stadler.


Photo by Jeff Lange

So here's to the Witch. Who (If the recent rumor coming out of DisneyToon Studios proves to be true and that a CG sequel to "Snow White" is in development) we may see dropping (a rock) in on all of us again someday soon.


Photo by Jeff Lange

Jeff Lange is the staff photographer / archivist here at JHM. He recently released his very first DVD, "Jeff Lange's Trick or Treat." Which offers full coverage of last year's "Mickey's Not-so-Scary Halloween Party" at WDW's Magic Kingdom. If you'd like to learn more about this entertaining recording, we suggest that you follow this link.

 


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