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The Death of Old Yeller

Something talk about: Walt Disney provided family entertainment for millions of baby-boomers. Sadly, that is no longer the case.


A few years back, I attended a church leadership training seminar. During the course of one session the leader/moderator ask the group of men the following question; Name someone other than a family member who has influenced your life? Each member was asked to share with the group his person and that influence.   

Some men listed teachers, others listed co-workers or ministers. When my turn came to name an influential person in my life, I called out Walt Disney. Needless to say, I received quizzical looks and was asked to explain my answer. 

I never met the man, but his work had a tremendous impact on me during early childhood. Growing up in the 1950’s television was a new home furnishing. Although, black & white the technology was new and entertaining. Each afternoon, Monday thru Friday, the Mickey Mouse Club aired and found me seated on the floor watching and singing along. I was a want-to-be Mouseketeer. Jimmy and Roy were the two, adult co-host, but the heart throb of every American boy was Annette. 

I first learned of the Book of Proverbs (ref. The Holy Bible) while listening to Jimmy sing the short song, “Proverbs, Proverbs they’re so true. Proverbs, tell us what to do. Proverbs help us all to be, better Mouseketeers.” Afterwards, would come the scripture reference and illustrated moral teaching. Each Friday would be “Mickey Mouse Club Talent Roundup that included the short mini-series titled, “The Adventures of Spin and Marty.” 

In the early days, Disney movies were suitable for all audiences. This even before ratings existed. The very first Disney film I saw was, Old Yeller. The story of a pioneer family in Texas and how a dirty yellow stray dog wandered onto their homestead and came to be a part of the family. When a rabid wolf attacked the family, Old Yeller saved the day. But, in the process was bitten and later contracted the fatal disease. Travis, the older son, had to shoot the family dog that have saved them because he was suffering. No cure for rabies existed. Oh, how I cried!  

Later, Disney films included Davy Crockett, The Shaggy Dog, The Parent Trap, The Snowball Express, Lt. Robinson Caruso and many others in the 1950’s and 60’s. All films of good moral character and values. Values that inspire honesty and truth, forgiveness and reconciliation, and doing the right thing between groups and individuals. Walt Disney provided family entertainment for millions of baby-boomers. Sadly, that is no longer the case. The Disney corporation has embraced Woke culture. 

Disney corporation now celebrates World Gay Pride month in June. Disney World now has gay pride food in its restaurants and gay pride merchandise in retail establishments. The corporation is in a legal dispute with the state of Florida regarding the corporation’s support of sexual identity legislation in public schools. 

Old film classics such as Davy Crockett, now have a disclaimer at the beginning to warn viewers, this film depicts the mistreatment of native Americans. Why is that necessary? Most of us baby-boomers grew up to be good people. The games we played as children included Cowboys & Indians and cops & robbers. Are we to expect a disclaimer prior to a 12-year-old boy shooting a rabid dog as inhuman treatment? Why not put a disclaimer prior to Pride Month stating this is not biblically acceptable? As far as I am concerned, when Old Yeller died, Disney’s values died with him.    

Walter Allen has a BA degree from Auburn University and is retired from the paper industry. He is a published author and lives in Laurens County.