Some of the most loved children’s movies are—to put it lightly—downright depressing.
It’s no secret that some of the best Disney movies are missing someone important to all children—a mother.
Don Hahn, the executive producer of Maleficent recently sat down and revealed two explanations why classics such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Bambi all feature motherless protagonists.
In the early 1940s, an already successful Walt Disney bought a home for his parents when disaster struck.
“He had the studio guys come over and fix the furnace, but when his mom and dad moved in, the furnace leaked and his mother died,” Mr. Hahn said.
“The housekeeper came in the next morning and pulled his mother and father out on the front lawn. His father was sick and went to the hospital, but his mother died.”
During his lifetime, Walt never felt comfortable addressing the situation.
“He never spoke about that time because he personally felt responsible because he had become so successful that he said, ‘Let me buy you a house,’” Mr. Hahn said.
“It’s every kid’s dream to buy their parents a house and just through a strange freak of nature — through no fault of his own — the studio workers didn’t know what they were doing. There’s a theory, and I’m not a psychologist, but he was really haunted by that. That idea that he really contributed to his mom’s death was really tragic.”
The other reason has to do with timing, Mr. Hahn said, “One reason is practical because the movies are 80 or 90 minutes long, and Disney films are about growing up,” he explained. “They’re about that day in your life when you have to accept responsibility… In shorthand, it’s much quicker to have characters grow up when you bump off their parents.”