For American citizens currently 50 years of age, and older, what did the Disney logo, the magic kingdom castle, mean to them when they saw it on television screens preceding the "Disney's Wonderful World of Color," and other Disney-made movies and Television specials during the 1960s and '70s? What did it mean for Walt Disney, himself, when he put his personal recommendations on his earliest television and movie productions, wishing America's children good benefit from watching them? To me, and probably 90 percent of the nation's children and their parents during that historical timeframe, it meant quality entertainment for the American family that would inspire good peaceful feelings and thoughts, and serve as redeeming bedtime stories for all preadolescent children. Walt Disney had his faults, but one of them was not the burning desire to create cartoons, like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck and fantasy movies like "Cinderella," which would uplift the childhood mind, evoke tasteful humor, and engender peaceful imaginative thoughts . The old Mickey Mouse Club and Disney's childhood ambassadors, like Annette Funicello, were symbols of a supernal Disney culture centered by its creator to promote peace, tranquility, and redeeming moral values
Nonetheless, the present day Disney Corporation is certainly much more concerned about appealing to the appetites of the typical adult American mind, and the gross profits garnered by graphic portrait of shockingly violent and unnatural themes, not fit for children's eyes and ears. When Disney CEO Ron Miller acquitted Touchstone movie studios in 1984, Disney began cranking-out motion pictures, under another trade banner, that would attract more adult viewers than children through an appeal to the typical adult appetite, emphasizing sexual promiscuity instead of modestity and virtue , Graphic violence instead of ordinary situational discord prudently displayed for a child's understanding, and graphic immorality showing the shadowy value of criminality instead of an absolute right, and an absolute wrong, about thievery, murder, and vice. When the Disney Corporation made such movies under the Touchstone label, most adults who saw the "R" and "PG-13" rated movies did not notice a direct connection to Disney. But when the Disney Corporation began putting the Disney logo on such movies, they had a purely pecuniary amoral motive. By doing this, Disney knew that American mummies and daddies would buy expensive tickets to such movies, and would probably take along the children, because, after all, they are advertised as Disney movies.
As a case in point, the recent 2013 Disney movie, "The Lone Ranger," is a certain a movie that should have been rated "R" for violence and morbidity. I saw this movie with an adult friend, three years my junior, and I was shocked by what I, both, saw and heard during the showing. Just because the movie story was told by a mystical old Indian, in a side-show, to a young boy dressed-up with a mask like the "Lone Ranger,"; And just because the dry humor elicited by the Indian character Tonto, portrayed by Johnny Depp, appeared to provide a very thin veneer over the limited lack of moral virtuous through the movie, the motion picture conveyed some deeply confused themes that would serve to disturb And perplex most adults and certainly the preadolescent minds of most young children. The graphic violence and morbidity depicted in the movie by actor William Fitchener, in the character of Butch Cavendish, was as graphic, or, perhaps, more graphic, as that played by Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs," and "Hannibal . " Cannibalism, murder, vengeance, and gross immorality were the only attributes conveyed by the character Butch Cavendish. The idea placed in the viewers' minds that Cavendish was, above all else, a cannibal preceded the scene that turned the morbid suggestion into a reality when Cavendish killed the brother of John Reid, Texas Ranger Dan Reid, played by James Badge Dale, gutted Him with a knife, and ate his heart. As Ranger Reid's brother, John Reid, portrayed by Armie Hammer, which I doubt is his real name, opened his eyes, and a reflection of Cavendish eating his brother's heart appeared in one of his eyes for the viewers to see, the vivid remembrance of The scene in "Hannibal" where Hannibal Lector served-up character Paul Krendler's, Ray Liotta's, brain came to mind. Furthermore, frequent close-up murderers, the utterly-graphic blood-letting, the awful scene of military Gattling guns killing all of the Comanche warriors, and, worst of all, the suggestion, transformed into a bold proclamation, that violence and killing is Justified when all else fails to provide true justice made the movie into an "R" rated feature akin to a James Bond or Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.
My younger friend, with whom I saw the movie, very much liked the graphic murals of sex, blood, violence, and morbid cannibalism, and said that it did not bother him, at all, that it was produced and made by Disney. He looked at the issues purely from a financial point of view, saying that Disney had a right to make the kind of movies that would appeal to adults more than children; And that it was the parents' responsibility to determine if their children should see it. My polemic response to him was based upon what parents had expected from Disney in an earlier age to provide uplifting entertainment for their children. Why had not it been made by Disney's Touchstone studio, to accompany its other utterly violent movies? Why did it have to have the Disney logo on it? Fortunately, my friend had never been in war to see, close-up, his comrades actually killed and decimated; He had never been a peace officer faced with using a handgun on a real bad guy. But had seen all the spine-tingling Client Eastwood "Dirty Harry" movies, and, of course, the Charles Bronson, "Death Wish" movies. My friend, like 85 percent of the current adult population in the United States, had been inured through the years of his youth to consider violence and morbidity while entertaining, and as American as cherry pie.
I'll wager that 80 percent of the American parents who buy movie tickets to see "The Lone Ranger" will also buy tickets for their young children, because, currently, most American parents under 45 years of age, with small children, have cut Their teeth on the graphic violence and immorality prominently portrayed in the movies and television shows made, and shown, during the 1980s, '90s, and during the first decade of the 21st Century. For some obtuse reason, they see nothing wrong with them.
I might be in a minority of reviewers when I say that "The Lone Ranger" should have been rated "R," instead of PG-13, but the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" could have been made without one foul word, or without showing Nudity, and it would have still would have been a purely "R or X" rated movie. There are certain things that still blatantly offend the minds of all prudent men and women. When US Supreme Court Justice Potter Stuart made his infamous statement about obscenity and pornography, "that he would need to see it to know it as such," he, then and there, offered a pernicious license to film makers and pornographers to produce the most Violent and morbid films and magazines for the American viewing public to watch and read, in order to make their own individual determinations about their pornographic and obscen content. I, for one, was very offended by the movie, and I sincerely hope that there were others who are feeling and thinking the same way. As a final note, if the original Lone Ranger, Clayton Moore, and the original Tonto, Jay Silverheels, could see the current movie, and what damage a 21st Century America has done to their moral legacy, they, both, would probably turn sadly In their graves with their most definitely down. Moore and Silverheels considered themselves much more than actors. They considered themselves role-models.