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Disney Cartoon #44: "Ocean Breeze Soap Will Get You Clean" (July 13, 1984) - published November 5, 2011

by Albert Gutierrez

If you've been following From Screen to Theme's "Where in the World," you'll notice some mischievous Muppet Mayhem courtesy of Animal. Inspired by Animal's wacky irrelevance changing seemingly-normal pictures, we'll be bringing some of that irrelevance here to Saturday Matinee. Each Saturday in November we'll try to find wacky irrelevance in Disney shorts or movies.


Image courtesy of the April 9, 1953 episode of "The Guiding Light"

This week's irrelevance is soap.

"Soap?" you ask.

Yes.

Soap is featured rather prominently in several Disney pictures. A whole song is devoted to cleanliness in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow White declares that the dwarfs must go out and wash, otherwise they'll not get any supper. Each dwarf does so begrudgingly, but Doc makes washing fun with the song "Bluddle Uddle Um Dum." For Dopey, he ends up swallowing a bar of soap by accident, and we never see what happens to that soap. The deleted scene and song "Music in Your Soup" reveals how Dopey rids himself of the bar of soap.

Even though the bar of soap isn't really prominent, it is what Timothy S. Mouse uses when he's cleaning Dumbo after their clown act. In a poignant moment, he uses Dumbo's tear to help lather up the soap. The scene is brief and shows Timothy trying to cheer Dumbo up, mainly because he's got a nice surprise. Once they get cleaned up, Timothy's going to take Dumbo over to visit his ma, which leads into the most touching and tear jerking song in a Disney film: "Baby Mine."

Over in the live-action canon, a desperate Eddie Valiant has to hide Roger Rabbit in the sink while he pretends to wash some laundry. The suspicious weasels almost would have discovered Roger, had it not been for Eddie shoving a bar of soap into the head weasel's mouth. Their ensuing laughter and explanation by the weasel provides Eddie (and the audience) with vital information used later on in the film. Toons can die of laughter, who knew?

 

However, my favorite use of soap is in a scene from The Muppets Take Manhattan. True, this is a non-Disney movie. Both this film and Muppets from Space were produced entirely by Columbia Pictures, hence their exclusion from 2005's Disney DVD re-releases of Muppet films. However, since the Muppets are now Disney-owned, this scene can now be considered to be co-shared by Disney and Columbia, even if the latter owns the distribution rights. Plus, this is my column and I say it's allowable.

An amnesiac Kermit wanders throughout a building, looking for the employment agency. Instead, he comes across Bill, Gil, and Jill. The three frogs are having trouble with their ad campaign for Ocean Breeze soap. Kermit has understandably never heard of the product. After hearing the slogan ideas, it's no surprise why:

Ocean Breeze Soap: For people who don't want to stink!

Ocean Breeze Soap: It's just like taking an ocean cruise, only there's no boat and you don't actually go anywhere!

Kermit, now known as Philip Phil, suggests something so crazy that it might just work: telling the consumer what the product actually does! The new slogan, Ocean Breeze Soap will get you clean, is a hit as evident by the fast-paced montage that shows his success as an advertiser while the rest of the Muppets are preparing "Manhattan Melodies" for its Broadway premiere.

Yes, soap is quite important in the Disney films. So maybe it's not so irrelevant after all. Hopefully next week I'll find something more irrelevant to cover.

 

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