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Worst. Disney Poster. Ever.

I guess this is slightly O.T. as the film referenced here is a live action short.

I was at a horror movie convention in Burbank yesterday (Monsterpalooza ’09) and found this piece (above) in a box of cheap lobby cards. I couldn’t take my eyes off it, nor could I couldn’t stop laughing at it. This has to be the worst Disney poster/ad art/promotional painting I’ve ever seen! It looks like a Bruce McCall-National Lampoon spoof – but it’s the real thing. It’s so stupid looking, so God-awful, even the logo/typeface is so boring; I can’t believe they thought this would be an effective come-on to a film, even a short. I bought it for $2.

Is this the worst poster Walt Disney’s name was associated with? I don’t mean worst film… I mean, of all the films Walt produced in his lifetime, was this the lamest movie poster to bear (no pun intended) his name? If not, do you have a better candidate?

UPDATE: Kevin Kidney posted a follow up on his blog, with a full image of the original painting used in this poster.

  • Haha it looks a bit like the bear is farting out that man haha…


    don’t know if this will work…but this one beats yours…. I can’t even tell what Disney film they’re marketing….


  • Brian O.

    Looks like a label on a pack of Japanese firecrackers.

  • You’re totally “nail on the head” accurate with your Bruce McCall reference !

  • Polish posters don’t count. They were made by native-born artists for “foreign films” during the Communist regime, and are individualistic, and almost always awesome for various reasons. Interesting story about them you’ll have to google for.

  • Reminds me those old primary school book covers. I didn’t even notice at first glance it was a Disney.

  • Looks like a 1960’s LP record cover.

  • Merlin Jones

    I like it!

  • B. Baker

    Bruce McCall must own a copy of this.

  • Gordan


    Rodan’s poster is not in Polish, it’s in Serbo-Croatian (a.k.a. Serbian or Croatian). It literally translates as: “The Desert Lives: Water Birds – a documentary film in colour”…

  • yeah that pretty much beats it.

    but if you look at these guys in that “hipster” ” kitch” way…
    They sort of rock!

  • I meant to say Kitsch.

  • RODAN: I actually think that poster’s pretty funky/sweet! me likey.

  • amid

    You got a great deal for $2, Jerry! The composition, color and drawing are a heck of a lot more solid and appealing than garish eyesores like this:


  • Killroy McFate

    Why is that tiny little man kicking that poor bear in the ass?

  • captainmurphy

    I’m with Amid, you picked up a steal there. Look at that ugly Alladin mess.

    I love the early sixties, as the film business was getting wobbly, and the creative staff remaining just sort of floundered along with the marketing department. Lovely Gauche gauche paintings of the oddest things, such as Bob Hope hyping PopSicles to promote a contest to win a Swimming pool, in conjunction with whatever film he was promoting at the time, some cheap live action thing barely up to TV quality, except three times as long. Magazines and advertising still hadn’t embraced photography as much; it was easier to shoot large film of artwork for separations and easier to match a creative directors idea, that it was to blow up something from a smaller negative or transparency.

    Ha, Ha! The bears are driving a boat!

  • Katella Gate

    I guess what happened was the original sketch showing bears in a boat was approved and painted, and at the last second, somebody “important” complained, “It doesn’t have the Disney Magic… I need to see more mirthful mayhem, with fishermen or boats or something. And don’t go into overtime, and don’t loose your slot with the camera department.”

    So a few ungainly figures were wedged into the negative space between the bears. I doubt the paint was even dry when it was sent out.

    BTW, given the aspect ratio, I wouldn’t be surprised if they re-used it as the cover art for the record.

  • I really like that desert poster! But yeah, I’d say that Aladdin one is worse than the wonky bear poster, Amid.

  • The Bears!

    “Who is driving the boat? Oh no, Bear is driving? How can that be?!?”

    (Really, nobody else thought of this?)

    Aaaaaaa-ny-way, it’s the easiest thing in the world to make fun of this movie, but y’all are forgetting the ugly-ass posters for “Dinosaur”. The teaser poster is pretty lame in of itself. This one is just a nightmare. (Bonus points for the barely-hidden McDonald’s plug in the corner.)

  • Killskerry

    I dunno I’ve always held particular hatred for this Hunchback of Notre Dame Poster.

    I mean just look at it. Theres no chain of command here, most of the figures are the same size. You have no idea what to look at first, your eye just wanders all over the place. Shouldn’t Quasi Modo be the central figure? Yeah hes the only one wearing green but Frollo is the biggest so….who should I be looking at?
    I mean seriously just look at it. Look how busy it is. Why is EVERY SINGLE CHARACTER on the poster? Phoebus looks tacked on the side there …his horse looks like its about to K.O. the movies main character. The characters aren’t even interacting in any tangible way they are just….there. Totally oblivious to each other but exsisting in the same space. Half of them are looking off the frame two are looking out…what do they want from me?? Oh and don’t get me started about the …”Color Scheme.” They are just screaming at me PLEASE …PLEASE COME SEE THIS MOVIE.

    And you know what on that note what about this monstrosity.

    I admit that this is not nearly as bad as the above which I could have torn apart over several pages but its still horrible. It has a large central figure so and a little bit of negative space to relax in but damn…look at all those tiny wandering figures. If you saw this from a distance you would have no idea what you were looking at. Even the movie name is difficult to read.
    Why did they feel it was important to show you hercules young and hercules old next to each other on a movie poster. Think on that. They had to show so many characters they put the main character twice. How completely unessecary.
    Yeah and the color scheme is big pink/purple mess don’t forget that.

    In conclusion the 90’s was a HORRIBLE time for Disney movie posters. Terrible. I believe someone posted a horrible aladdin poster above me somewhere. Good show.
    But lets leave on a good note. When I saw this poster for the first time it was 20 stories high on a building in LA and it was damn GORGEOUS.

    THIS is a movie poster.

  • It got your attention, didn’t it? It fulfilled its poster duty. Leave bad poster alone!

  • The bears poster can be redrawn to be very cool. Dramatic boat turn with the driver bear watching straight to the observer, and the other hanging by the bow (sort of pinky&brain comic duo), with mayhem in background. So much promise.

  • Oso

    I wonder if the Grateful Dead saw this thing and adapted the bear on the left for their smiling bruin logo? It’s mesmerizing all by itself.

  • Gerard de Souza

    It wouldn’t be such a bad composition if they remove the boater in the bg from behind the bear’s ass for starters.
    Just the bears as they are in the boat with scenery would work.
    Amid’s garish example is a poster meant to appeal to the kiddies. I remember Disney in the 90s always had a more graphically , artsy appealing poster and then a kiddy/family type poster of the same film…to appeal to different demographics, I guess; the date crowd as well as families.

    God bless Rex Allen. I loved his narrations.:
    “Well sir…..”

    I miss that age of illustration.

  • I like that Oddball YELLOWSTONE CUBS (it could be sub-titled FUN WITH TANGENTS) a whole ot better than the one-sheet for the 1970 (?) re-release of FANTASIA, designed to invoke the “trippy” vibe of dance posters printed by the Family Dog and other San Francisco counterculturists. It felt utterly lame then, and after all these decades, it’s even lamer, looking more like a poster for MY LITTLE PONY — THE MOVIE:

    It’s positively schlockedelic!

    (I recall that poster on being display when, while in college, I attended a triple-feature of FANTASIA, FRITZ THE CAT and YELLOW SUBMARINE while enjoying a tab of acid. Yow!)

  • While not a perfect poster, by any means, it does suggest the era’s Disney animal films which I liked when I was at the right age for them. So, for me, it’s nostalgia.

  • gregaloha

    When I was a kid growing up in the late 60’s early 70’s those colorful disney posters were the coolest thing. Through the eyes of a child- there was a picture book sense of fun and my eye was always drawn to them. Yes through the aged eyes of a cynic it may stir up entirely different feelings but for me the colorful simplicity of these ‘lame’ posters helps me reconect to an age of innocence that unfortunately seems too long ago and would otherwise be forgotten.

  • So you were the bratty little kid who kept flinging stale Ju-Ju-Bs at the back of my head through the entire “Rite Of Spring” sequence, Gregaloha!?! I was flyin’ on LSD — and all you could think of was tryin’ to majorly bum my trip!

    Now THAT was lame, man.

  • I love the 2 old posters. All of the more recent airbrushed, collaged, day-glo posters are hideous. At least the bear poster has a cute illustration and fun painting style. Similar to children’s books. Much easier on the eyes.

  • Donald Benson

    For me, the best posters say a lot about the period when the movie was released.

    The original “Snow White” poster with its not-quite-on-model storybook art is very 1930s (more so than the movie itself).

    “Mary Poppins” had the title suggesting electric lights behind giant faces of Andrews and Van Dyke, clearly intended to scream “Big Time Hollywood” instead of Disney fantasy.

    On my cubicle wall I have “Legend of Lobo”, printed in black and orange and decorated with little inset photos and drawings. It instantly evokes a summer matinee in a rural town on a really hot day.

  • Jason

    Well, I don’t like the cub poster (nor did I ever care for the “cute little destructive animals”-type films Disney put out for a while). But I don’t have a problem with the “Aladdin” poster (so it’s garish and cartoony. It’s advertising a garish – but fun – cartoon! What did you expect, Norman Rockwell?) and I really dig the hippy-dippy Fantasia poster.

    Guess I’m an uncultured slob. And maybe having flashbacks to my Deadhead days…

  • I’ve always hated this poster for Beauty and the Beast

    This is the poster for the only animated film to ever be nominated for a Best Picture Oscar? What an embarassment. It looks worse than most of the VHS box art for Disney films in the 90’s. Yuck!

    Drew Struzan on the other hand did the artwork for the album and it looks fantastic.

    They should have hired him to do all the promotional artwork for the movie. Look at what the guy did for posters for Muppet Treasure Island and The Muppet Christmas Carol, beautiful again!

    It is unfortunate that Struzan also did the artwork for Return to Oz and Ducktales the Movie. Ducktales might be forgivable, but Return to Oz is butt-ugly.

  • This constitutes a post??* It’s a movie poster, nothing else.

    *On second thought.. RODAN’S Cat-on-Cactus poster is pretty funny (hee-hee)!

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Surely you haven’t forgotten this billboard abomination?

    Generic and dull is one thing, but creepy and disturbingly bestial is something else entirely!

  • Chuck R.

    I’m with Jeffrey T. McAndrew —the Beauty and the Beast poster is just awful. I also agree with Tim Rauch —the desert poster’s kinda funky-cool.

    Killskerry, you have great taste. The Mulan poster is mind-blowing (it’s hanging in my TV room). Chris Sanders must have liked it too, because it makes an appearance in Lilo and Stitch.

    The Yellowstone Cubs poster is a bit bland, but not the worst by a longshot. I’m going to get attacked for saying this, but it’s the honest truth: almost every poster for an MGM cartoon is far far worse. It hurts my eyes to look at any of them.

  • dan

    I still say that Chicken Little Men in Black parody for some reason poster is the worst.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    I remember seeing this film in school around the mid 80’s on 16mm, and somehow had my first MST3K moment as if I was getting attention from the class in doing so! Can’t remember if I liked this film or not, but something about it felt bland and campy at the same time. Still, this poster isn’t really that bad, nor is it great at all.

    > “Who is driving the boat? Oh no, Bear is driving? How can that be?!?”
    > (Really, nobody else thought of this?)

    Deep in my mind, I thought of that, but I didn’t want to be the one to make that statement!

  • Inkan1969

    If we’re including live action post Walt movies, Disney had this movie called “The Big Green” out a few years back. I really wish I could forget the poster.

    Wow, how charming….