The Origins of Disney’s Jewish Princess

As they drew preliminary sketches of Cinderella, her cruel stepmother and jealous stepsisters, Irv Kaplan and Marc Davis loved talking about world affairs.

Davis had been a Disney animator since the mid-Thirties — AKA Walt’s glory days.

His team animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — Disney’s first princess.

Kaplan landed his Disney job after returning from the Pacific theater.

Mark wondered, “How did Irv — a Jew — get this job?”

He had seen Walt posting the invisible sign at the entry of the personnel office: Jews Need Not Apply.

But he also remembered, “Walt made exceptions for the very talented.”

Mark observed that Irv had the talent.

As Irv drew Cinderella’s hand, he asked, “Mark, do you think the British will ever leave Palestine?”

“Maybe, if United Nations votes for partition.”

And after the UN voted, Irv asked, “Do you think the Jews have a chance of survival against the Arab onslaught?”

“Yup, these future Israelites are ingenious.

They got guts.

They’ll figure out a way.

Irv, you know that Jewesses will have to fight in this war for independence.

And we both know how tough they are.”

A year or so later, Cinderella’s horse-drawn carriage rolled across the screens of American theaters.

Now Irv asked, ” Marc, since there’s an armistice in Israel, do you think Walt will ever create a cartoon about a Jewish Princess?”

“As long as Walt’s alive and hell doesn’t freeze over, that ain’t going to happen,” Davis snickered.

“That’s what a lot of Jews told Herzl when he proclaimed his goal of Jewish homeland.”

“Well maybe in seventy years you’ll get your Jewish princess,” Davis conceded.

“But just for the hell of it Irv, draw me a mental picture of your Jewish Princess and give me the plot line of your story.”

“Well, I’d name her Sabra—the Princess of Israelia.

She’s a  brave and intelligent princess/soldier.

A warrior in her kingdom’s quest for Independence.

Princess Sabra is in a death struggle to protect her Kingdom from the evil Mufti and his hoard of marauders.

The princess is a petit, shapely 21-year-old.

A brunette with long curly hair and jet-black eyes.

She gotta cute shisha nose and her skin is snow white.

In her khaki shorts and a olive-cotton military shirt you can see her muscular arms and legs.

The princess carries a Sten gun flung over her shoulder and a first-aid kit attached to her belt.

Sabra, the Princess of Israelia, fights alongside her prince charming, Moshe, in the battle to keep the road to Jerusalem opened.

Moshe is a commander in the Palmach.

His mission is to defeat in mortal combat the evil sorcerer, the Mufti of Jerusalem.

Moshe has been promised by Sabra’s father that if he is successful he can have the hand of Sabra in marriage.”

“Irv, I like your story, but your princess and her prince will never see the light of day.

Even if Disney opens a studio in Tel Aviv.

But if it ever were to happen, Disney would turn your princess into a dark-skinned Jewess.

A Latina from some Latino Jewish kingdom where the audience will watch her light the menorah on the eighth night of Hanukkah.”

“Well Marc, you’ve been at Disney for a lot longer than I have, but I doubt in the future, that our employer would act like Cinderella’s stepmother and her jealous stepsisters when it comes to the Princess of Israelia.”

Marc laughed.

About the Author
Florida's Jewish short-story writer, speaker, film producer and retired attorney. He has authored, "A Hebraic Obsession", "The Hanukkah Bunny" and "The Greatest Gift." He produced an award-winning short film entitled, "The Stairs". Movie can be viewed on my TOI blog. ChatGPT says, Mort is known for his works that often explore themes of love, loss, and the human connection. Laitner has published several books , including “A Hebraic Obsession.” His writing style is characterized by its emotional depth and introspection. Laitner’s works have garnered praise for their heartfelt expression and keen insight into the human experience.
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