Snow White’s release date was February 4th 1938, but it was this day in 1937 that Snow White premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles.
At 8:45pm on December 21st 1937 Walt Disney made history as he debuted the first ever, full-length animated motion picture, Snow White. Had Walt been wrong and this movie not been as well done, or as well received, this date would have marked the end of all things Disney. He dismissed all the naysayers and sunk everything he had (even mortgaging his own home) into the movie’s production. It took a team of 700 people over 3 years and nearly $26million (in 2017 dollars) to bring to life, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
At the premier more than 30,000 fans who couldn’t get one of the $5 ($90) tickets, gathered outside the theatre just to be a part of this historic event. Huge floodlights illuminated the scene. Costumed characters such a Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and even the Seven Dwarfs worked the crowd. Shirley Temple, Charlie Chaplin, Ginger Rogers, Cary Grant, and George Burns were just a few of the many celebrities in attendance.
When all was said and done, not only did Disney succeed at enticing an adult audience to sit through a 90-minute cartoon about a fairy tale; but Snow White became the highest-grossing movie of all time and would hold that record for another 3 years.
Disney elected to base the movie off of a softer version than the one originally published in Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
For starters the wicked step-mother only visited Snow White once in an attempt to murder her. In the original telling, Snow White kept ignoring the advice of the dwarfs, allowing herself to be poisoned three separate times.
Another drastic difference is the ending. At the end of the original tale, the evil women did not fall off a cliff to her death; but rather the Prince and Snow White invited the unsuspecting woman to their wedding, where she was made to wear red-hot iron slippers and dance to death in front their guests. I can see why this scene did not make it into the cartoon. But if you are at all curious, you can read the original tale of Snow White below (as told by the Grimm Brothers in 1812). It’s a quick 16 minute read.
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