Michael from Muckrock: "Union-busting Walt Disney became cozy with J. Edgar Hoover, the iconic animator's FBI files show, helping shut down dissident workers while infusing Disney programming with fond portrayals of federal enforcement. Disney even wanted to dedicate a special section of Tomorrowland to highlighting the Bureau of tomorrow -- which ended up being a step too far for America's head investigative agency."
Giving the Bureau a coveted spot in the “science of tomorrow” wasn’t the only way Walt Disney planned to catapult the FBI into the imaginations of American children. Between January 1956 and December 1957 Disney repeatedly approached the Los Angeles office about devoting an episode of the beloved children’s show “Mickey Mouse Club” to the FBI.
Although the objective was to, “acquaint American children with various employment opportunities in numerous fields of American endeavor,” the initial pitch was declined, but after years of negotiation, the episodes eventually aired in January 1958.
The Orwellian script has been immortalized within Walt Disney’s declassified FBI file. The script follows the precocious Dirk Metzger, a 13-year-old Mickey Mouse Club reporter and the son of a Marine Corps Colonel, as he meets J. Edgar Hoover, watches agents shoot at a fake Baby Face Nelson, and gets his fingerprints taken.
He also gives salient advice to kids like, “take my advice. Never throw a haymaker at a G-man.” The comfort this kid exhibits while learning about FBI investigation tactics and seeing agents shoot at targets with a name and a face is terrifying and exactly to the point. If Dirk Metzger is comfortable with trench-coated agents, why shouldn’t we?
Before the show could be made however, the FBI sent Disney three pages of script revisions including taking the gun out of Dirk’s all-American hands. “The handling of a supposedly loaded weapon by a boy of Dirk’s age is not considered appropriate,” a memo from October 22, 1957 reads.
"He has been quite helpful." Walt Disney's FBI file [Matthew Guariglia/Muckrock]