Thursday, March 4, 2010

Snow White's Blind Date With Rob Lowe

Do you have ten minutes to spare? Do you want to watch a train wreck?

Maybe "wreck" is a little too strong of a word, but what I'm referring to is the Alan Carr ("Grease") produced opening number for the Oscars, 21 years ago. You'll see Snow White shake hands with Tom Hanks, dance alongside her "blind date," Rob Lowe, sing a special version of "Proud Mary," attempt some Tina Turner moves, bump and grind in a lineup of chorus boys, and share the stage with Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Vincent Price, Dorothy Lamour, Cyd Charisse and Alice Faye. Did I mention that the number also features Merv Griffin singing, "I've Got A Lovely Bunch Of Coconuts?"

The number ends with Snow White coming out in a dress that rivals a Disneyland Electrical Parade float, while at the same time donning a headdress in the shape of Grauman's Chinese Theater....which Lily Tomlin ends up hiding inside of! Do you think I'm making this up? Have I completely lost you all at this point? Well, you can watch a clip of the whole thing here, but watch it soon if you have any interest because many of the YouTube listings for this that I have seen in the past have been removed because of copyright infringement. Disney even sued the Academy over the use of Snow White's likeness without their permission and defamation of the Snow White character. They later accepted an apology and a settlement that the footage never be aired or seen again.

Here's what a New York Times article dated March 31, 1989 had to say about that lawsuit:

"The Walt Disney Company filed suit Thursday against the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, alleging unauthorized use of its Snow White character in what it called an unflattering opening number of the nationally televised Oscar awards ceremony Wednesday night. The suit, filed in United States District Court, alleges copyright infringement of the Snow White character, unfair competition and violation of the state anti-dilution law, which protects the value of a trademark. The show began with an actress dressed as Snow White being interviewed in the lobby of the Shrine Auditorium, and then following a chorus to the stage. The actress then sang spoofs of popular songs rewritten with Oscar-oriented lyrics. The show was broadcast live on ABC. Bruce Davis, the academy's executive administrator, declined comment on the suit, saying, ''Not only do we not have any comment, but we haven't even seen it.''"

A few months later, the incident was parodied by a certain artist.....

Happy Oscar Weekend, everyone!


Davelandweb said...

That is horrendous. Cyd Charisse is the one bright spot in a godawful number. With all the talent in Hollywood, how the hell did they select that off-pitch Snow White?!? Just proof that less is more.

Dan Alexander said...

Oh my, I remember this! At least it was memorable (that's my "glass half full" answer).

Darrin.. said...

HA! My how these shows have changed!! SO funny they didn't even ask Disney for permission!