Growing up, most of your time is spent in an idyllic bubble made of ice cream and puppies. And unless you lived in a Dickensian wasteland, your childhood was probably pretty good. If, like many, you spent your formative years in the ’90s, you not only had access to great Disney films, but there were teenage turtles who were also mutants AND ninjas. There was also a glut of life affirming movies featuring teen geniuses who were wise beyond their years. But like that gross ear in Blue Velvet, this list is here to pull back the curtain of your beatific childhood and reveal the dark secrets that bubbled beneath your favorite pieces of pop culture. These hard facts might not be fun to learn, but knowledge is power, people.

Whether you grew up on classic children’s fairy tales, or the stories created by the Disney Corporation, you were definitely lied to. The disturbing facts on this list are sure to make you look back on your childhood in a new light. From where Air Bud is today, to the disturbing minds of Lewis Carroll, Walt Disney, AND the guy who directed The Wizard of Oz, it turns out that the bliss of childhood wasn’t so blissful after all.

So be the adult you are today and face the facts behind your childhood favorite movies, TV shows, stories, and fairy tales with this list. Upvote the most interesting facts below that totally ruin your memories of being a kid and try not to think about what that little piggy was doing at the market for the rest of your life.


Flipper Committed Suicide

Photo: Miami Seaquarium/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

As anyone who’s seen the documentary Blackfish knows, trained aquatic animals haven’t always received the best treatment. As you can imagine, it was more difficult to monitor the treatment of animal performers in the ’60s than it is now.

Kathy, one of the dolphins that starred on the TV series Flipper, reportedly killed herself due to the conditions of her captivity.

“Dolphins and whales are not air breathers like we are,” he said. “Every breath they take is a conscious effort. They can end their life whenever. She swam into my arms and looked me right in the eye, took a breath and didn’t take another one. I let her go and she sank straight down on her belly to the bottom of the tank.”

Ducky From ‘The Land Before Time’ Died Before You Even Saw The Movie

Photo:  The Land Before Time/Universal Pictures

The original voice of Ducky, 10-year-old Judith Barsi (who also voiced Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven) didn’t live to see the release of the animated classic.

For years, Judith’s father physically and mentally abused both her mother and her and regularly threatened to kill them. In July 1988, he shot his wife and daughter before killing himself. The Land Before Time was released a few months after the tragedy.

Elmo Is Reportedly A Creep

Photo:  Peabody Awards/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Several men accused Kevin Clash, the actor who provided the voice of “Elmo” on Sesame Street for 28 years, of sexually abusing them when they were minors. One of the alleged victims said Clash used his “unique position” in the industry to target children.

Clash resigned in 2012 when the claims came to light, but a judge dismissed the case the following year because the claims were made outside of the state’s statute of limitations.

The Director Of ‘Powder’ Is A Convicted Child Molester

Photo:  Powder/Buena Vista Pictures

Victor Salva directed Powder, a Disney film that told a generation it’s okay to be different (as long as you have lightning powers). But Salva had already spent 15 months in prison for molesting a 12-year-old boy who had acted in some of his earlier films. Salva also videotaped one of the incidents. He pleaded guilty to five felony counts including procurement of child pornography and lewd and lascivious conduct. 

But Salva has maintained a Hollywood career years later. He’s the writer and director of the Jeepers Creepers horror franchise.

Ferris Bueller’s Principal Is A Creep

Photo: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off/Paramount Pictures

Principle Rooney isn’t exactly the coolest guy in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But it’s still shocking to find out that Jeffrey Jones, the actor who plays him, pleaded no contest to paying a 14-year-old boy to pose for sexually explicit photos in 2003. He received probation and was required to register as a sex offender in California. But he’s since been arrested twice for failing to notify authorities he was moving to Florida and not updating his sex offender status.

Everything Was Not A Little Dream For The Coreys

Photo: Dream a Little Dream/Vestron Pictures

Were there any cooler actors in the ’80s than Corey Felman and Corey Haim? Probably. But they were still great. In Feldman’s memoir Coreyography, he wrote that both he and Haim were given drugs, sexually assaulted, and sodomized by older men during the filming of The Lost Boys

Haim also revealed to Feldman that he was raped during the making of the 1986 comedy-drama Lucas and that the man who did it is “one of the most successful people in the entertainment industry.”

Although the Coreys went on to star together in movies like License To Drive and Dream A Little Dream, both battled addiction for years and Haim died in 2010.

The Cowardly Lion Is Made Of Actual Lion Skin

Photo: The Wizard of Oz/Loew’s, Inc.

In an effort to make The Wizard of Oz look as real as possible, the costume designer used a costume made of real lion skin for the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). The wig and mane were also made of human hair.

The Wizard Of Nazis?

Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

There are rumors that Victor Fleming, the director of The Wizard of Oz, was a Nazi sympathizer and hated the British. Not only that, he reportedly slapped Judy Garland in the face after she giggled during a scene with the Cowardly Lion.

Sleeping Beauty Originally Had A Darker Story

Photo: Sleeping Beauty/Buena Vista Distribution

In the original tale of Sleeping Beauty by Giambattista Basilea king happens to walk by Sleeping Beauty’s castle and knocks on the door. When no one answers, he climbs up a ladder through a window. When she doesn’t wake up, he rapes her and leaves. She only awakens after she gives birth.

The King returns and despite all the rape, they fall in love. But then, his wife (yup!) finds out about everything. She tries to burn Sleeping Beauty at the stake and have the twins killed, cooked, and fed to the king.

Little Red Riding Hood Ate Her Own Grandma

Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In the original text of Little Red Riding Hood, author Charles Perrault almost seems like he had a bone to pick with pre-teen girls. In the story, the Big Bad Wolf forces Red Riding Hood to eat her own grandmother, then makes her strip off her clothes and get into bed with him. It’s still not known if Perrault was making a commentary about virginity or if he was just a sadist.

Roald Dahl, Beloved Anti-Semite

Photo: Hans van Dijk/Anefo/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Roald Dahl, author of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and James And The Giant Peach, admitted he was anti-Semitic. In addition to suggesting that the US government was “dominated by the great Jewish financial institutions,” he said in 1983: “There’s a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity… I mean there is always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason.”

More like James and the Giant YIKES.

Pocahontas Was Much Younger Than You Thought

Photo: Pocahontas/Buena Vista Pictures

To be fair, if you’re just now figuring out that Disney’s Pocahontas is a million miles away from the truth, you may need to read more.

In real life, Pocahontas never saved the life of John Smith, and she would’ve only been about 10 or 11 at the time. Smith was about 27 at the time, and they were never romantically involved. Pocahontas was actually held hostage and eventually taken to England when she was 17. She died at the age of 21. 

Ten Little What Nows?

Photo: Ten Little Indians/Peter Pan Records

You might remember singing “Ten Little Indians” with your grandma on warm summer days. But it’ll probably put your jaw on the floor to learn that another variant of the rhyme existed: “Ten Little N*****s.”

It’s unclear which of the two came first, but both were used in minstrel shows starting in the late 19th century. Though the lyrics for “Ten Little Indians” changed over time, the original verses for both songs referred to young Native Americans and African Americans disappearing one by one (often through violent acts) until there are none. 

The Blue Power Ranger Was Bullied

Photo: Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Fox

While kids were running around the playground and screaming, “It’s morphin’ time!,” David Yost (the actor who portrayed the Blue Ranger) was dealing with real-life evildoers. In 2010, Yost revealed that he left the show after years of constant abuse for being gay.

Harry Got AIDS While Making ‘Harry And The Hendersons’

Photo: Harry and the Hendersons/Universal Pictures

Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, actor Kevin Peter Hall played plenty of memorable characters including the alien in Predator, but he’s perhaps best-known for portraying the Bigfoot-inspired “Harry” in 1987’s Harry And The Hendersons.

While filming that movie, Hall was involved in a serious car accident and was rushed to the hospital for a blood transfusion. Unfortunately, the blood he received was tainted with HIV, which he contracted as a result. Shortly after his diagnosis, he developed pneumonia and died in 1991.

Walt Disney Was The Worst

Photo: Boy Scouts of America/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Even though he’s responsible for some of the most beloved cartoon characters of all time, Walt Disney has a pretty terrible reputation.

Not only was he the co-founder of the Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals (an anti-Communist group that supplied witnesses for the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings and had several anti-Semitic members), he also reportedly wasn’t fond of employing female artists. He allegedly told one applicant to the Inking and Painting Department that “girls are not considered for the training school” because “that work is performed entirely by young men.”

The Author of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Might Have Been A Pedophile

Photo: Oscar Gustave Rejlander/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

After a photographic collection of naked young girls was found in his home, the legacy of Lewis Carroll became tainted, to say the least. While it’s possible those kind of photos were regarded differently during the 19th century, it’s hard to shake the perception of a pedophiliac author transcribing his fantasies in Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland.

This Little Piggy Went To Market (And We Mean His Death)

Photo: Amanda Slater/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Why were our parents wiggling our toes and telling us about pigs being sent to the market to die? Were they going to chop off our toes and sell them to toe merchants? As Twitter user @AngelicGirlxD points out, “’This little piggy went to the market’ doesn’t mean he went food shopping.”

All this time we just thought he was going out to pick up something for dinner!

Cinderella Has More Violence Than You Would Think

Photo: Cinderella/RKO Radio Pictures

Oh, dear reader, the Brothers Grimm version of Cinderella is especially morbid. In that version, one of the evil stepsisters cuts off Cinderella’s toes and the other cuts off her heel so they can both fit into the tiny glass slipper. Um… no man is worth cuttin’ up your feet for, ladies. 

And things get even grosser. When the stepsisters attend Cinderella’s wedding, birds peck out their eyes.

The Red Power Ranger Killed A Man With A Sword

Photo: Power Rangers Wild Force/Fox

Ricardo Medina Jr., who played Cole Evans, the Red Lion Wild Force Ranger on Power Rangers Wild Force, was moonlighting as a male stripper when he got into an argument with his roommate and fatally stabbed him with a sword. 

Medina claimed he acted in self-defense and pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to six years in prison.

Gak Was Named After Heroin

Photo: Adam Dachis/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Double Dare host Marc Summers revealed that “Gak,” the slimy goo that Nickelodeon used in the ’80s, got its name from a seedy place. Summers said the rowdy crew came up with the name from a street slang term for heroin in Philadelphia, PA. Does that mean heroin makes that weird, farty sound, too?

Did You Know This About E.T.?

Photo: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial/Universal Pictures

Despite being slightly creepy, E.T. definitely informed many kids’ affinity for red hoodies and Reese’s Pieces. But it might surprise you to learn that a boy with no legs named Matthew DeMeritt played E.T. in the scene in which he gets drunk and falls over. Matthew used his hands to walk.

Humpty Dumpty May Have Been Just A Dumb Ol’ Cannon

Photo: John Tenniel/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

In the 18th-century nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty is an egg-shaped creature. But some believe Humpty Dumpty might actually have been a big, heavy cannon in real-life. Owned by the supporters of King Charles I, the cannon was used to gain control over the city of Colchester during the English Civil War in 1648. Once in Colchester, the cannon sat on church tower until a barrage of cannonballs destroyed the tower and sent Humpty into the marshland below. Although retrieved, the cannon was beyond repair.

The Animal Stars Of Your Favorite Movies Are Probably Dead

Photo: Air Bud/Buena Vista Pictures

Free WillyAir Bud, and Homeward Bound were all released in the ’90s, so it’s highly unlikely they’re still alive today. Burn the village, wrap it up, tear it down. We’re outta here folks. At least all dogs go to heaven?

Hitler Reportedly Loved Snow White

Photo: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs/RKO Radio Pictures

This one’s a little iffy, but it’ll still make you squirm. It’s been widely rumored that Hitler’s favorite film was Snow White And The Seven Dwarfsalthough he didn’t allow the film to be released in Germany. Hitler was an aspiring artist before he rose to power, and in 2008, a Norwegian museum director claimed to have discovered several cartoons (including likenesses of Bashful and Doc) that were drawn by Hitler.

Adult Theater Pee Wee

Photo: Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office via The Smoking Gun

In the early ’80s, Paul Reubens created Pee-wee Herman, a childlike man who lives in a world filled with cowboys and talking furniture. But things took a turn in 1991, when police arrested Reubens for indecent exposure at an adult theater in Florida. Although Pee-wee lives on, the incident tarnished the childhood of kids who spent their Saturday mornings watching Pee-wee’s Playhouse.

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