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Clearing the smoke at Disney

August 05, 2007

Regarding "Disney is the latest to say smoking, cinema don't mix" (July 26): When I was a boy in the 1950s, my parents smoked, but I knew it was bad. Why? Because Walt Disney told me so in "Pinocchio," with one of the most powerful anti-smoking scenes a child could ever see: After smoking cigars, Pinocchio and his friend literally turn into jackasses. The sequence gave me nightmares for months, as did Cruella De Vil and her incessant smoking in "101 Dalmatians."

These images communicated to me that smoking was nasty . . . and I never smoked. Sadly, today's Disney Co. and other do-gooders would prohibit such scenes in order to "protect" the children. I'm very thankful that no one ever took it on themselves to protect me from such images.

Bob Gale Pacific Palisades

While I am as passionately against smoking as anyone I know, I feel that any edict that preempts creative freedom will have a chilling effect on free expression even beyond this ban.

Equally disturbing is the effect this ban would have on the depiction of historical material. Smoking wasn't always about the bad guy looking evil or the good guy looking cool. For most of our national and world history, smoking was merely a fact of life.

Art Verity

Van Nuys

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