I’m a Disney hater. I admit it. I’m one of those people that takes pleasure in the ridicule and abuse of the magic kingdom. I find the parks sterile and controlling, and the uplifting movies deeply false and saccharine. The whole Disney project, which grew from the brain of a penny pinching, union busting control freak, is a tidy, retro spinster’s fantasy that I find alien and life-sapping. It reminds me of Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America,” another ridiculous, upbeat Hollywood vision drenched in lies, and designed to hide shadowy prejudices and purposes. When you add in Disney’s lopsided influence on the rewriting of American copyright law, which now protects Mickey from unauthorized reproduction until 2048, crippling the free flow of images, and helping to solidify the corporate control of popular culture, you have a company worthy of deep scorn from all but its shareholders.
Thusly predisposed, I executed my purchase of this 1970 Disney takedown poster with a rare degree of bile and relish. Titled Disneyland After Dark, this 20 x 23 inch unauthorized and unsigned Day-Glo screen-print, originally sold in head shops around the country—a wildly underappreciated archipelago of dissent!—depicts Disneyland as a scene from a candy colored bukaki cartoon. Pluto has showered a smiling Mickey with a splatter of uric gold. Snow White gives way to the hungry hands of five of the seven dwarfs, while doc gives it to dopey from the rear. The three little pigs are in a daisy chain. Goofy is inexplicably riding Minnie. Cinderella’s legs are spread for Prince Charming, who is removing her shoe. The castle is emanating dollar sign rays of energy, while Tinkerbelle gives table dances to Peter Pan and the Lost Boys. Nice.
On the way back to my car, I ran into several old stoners who'd hung the poster in their childhood bedrooms back in the day, and who recalled how Disney had hounded the author, whose name appears nowhere, until all publication of the poster had ceased. My frustration at the company’s image obsession is only tempered by the pleasure in knowing the object’s scarcity will bump up its selling price. I paid $65 and expect to make something, dammit! The seller contends there was another version of the poster, in which the phrase No Longhairs! adorned the castle. That would improve this angry bit of 70s head shop corporate critique, but it’s pretty good as it is.