The heartbreaking trailer for Disney's live-action version of Dumbo came out recently, reminding us all that in Dumbo, the mother meets a tragic ending.
In fact, this seems to be a pattern in almost every single Disney movie. The parents die in a shipwreck in Frozen, we're still reeling from Mufasa's tragic murder in The Lion King, and let's not forget Bambi's mom. So what's the deal, Walt Disney?
There are a couple theories and they go all the way back to Disney's first feature length film, Snow White. The story is based on the classic fairytale, as are many other Disney films, which features an absent mom, a common theme in traditional fairytales. This first film made a template for future Disney movies to follow.
While Walt Disney didn't come up with the whole absent parent idea the question still remains as to why he chose so many dark and often twisted tales to make into kids movies. Turns out the answer may lie in his own tragic history.
Walt's mother Flora died tragically at the age of 70 in 1938. She was killed by carbon monoxide in her home which caused her to suffocate. This was tragic enough to affect Disney, but to add insult to injury he was wracked with guilt because he had bought her the house.
The home was a gift, but his mother didn't live there long, dying only a month after moving in. She had reportedly been complaining about fumes from the furnace for a while leading up to her passing. The death stuck with Walt, and his colleagues believe it paved the way for years of tragic Disney parent deaths to come.
There's very few, if any Disney films where someone doesn't die, or the parents aren't around, and now we know why.