Tim WhytePauline HartePatti RasmussenRichard RiouxLeon Worden

Black N Whyte

What did Disney do with the 15 missing Dalmatians?

Tim Whyte · October 26, 1997

In this season of controversy, with a contemptuous water board election looming and developers' lawsuit threats vanishing into thin air, I feel compelled to alert you, the unsuspecting reader, to a conspiracy that will rock society to the core. I am here to tell you, for the first time, that we have all been duped.

It's 116 Dalmatians.

Not 101.

It was all a big lie.

Don't believe what the Disney juggernaut tells you. It was never 101 Dalmatians. All along, Das Disney has been hiding an extra fifteen puppies.

This bothersome fact became evident one recent morning. As the parent of a 2-year-old, I have the pleasurable task of reviewing, on a repeated basis, the best of Walt Disney's classic animated films. Over and over and over and over. Each morning, before breakfast, Luc and I pop a video tape into the VCR. It's my own animated snooze button: Luc watches, while I try to catch a few more minutes of shuteye.

As a result, I have dissected and analyzed many of the classics and found them, for the most part, to be truly free of offensive material. They are generally solid entertainment that, despite my best efforts, haunts me throughout the day.

For example, one recent morning we watched "The Aristocats" for the umpteenth time. Later that day, I was strolling through the newsroom, and a rare moment of happiness overcame me -- or was it gas?

Anyway, I felt like singing. So I broke into song, but it was no current popular tune.

"Everybody wants to be a cat, because a cat's the only cat, who knows where it's at...."

I know the animated characters' lines. I've pondered the voice casting decisions and speculated what it would be like to cast some of those classics using voices of the '90s. I've searched for hidden meanings in the story lines, wondered whether any Shakespearean themes were intended to be evident in "Lady and the Tramp."

And, one recent day, I counted the Dalmatians.

If you have a VCR, pop in a copy of "101 Dalmatians." The original animated version, not the recent live-action wannabe. Fast forward to the scene where the cat is trying to rescue the stolen puppies from Cruella De Vil's old place, where the dogs are kept under close watch by Horace and Jasper.

The cat slinks into the room and asks a puppy if he and all the other puppies in the room are stolen.

No, the puppy informs the cat, they are all bought and paid for, having come from pet stores.

"There's 99 of us all together," the puppy says.

As most of us do, I normally do the mental math right there: 99 puppies, plus Pongo and Purdy at home looking for their missing puppies, that makes 101.

But then -- and I never noticed this the first 99 times I saw the movie -- the cat asks about the cluster of puppies who are watching the television, the ones who, unlike the others, have collars.

The puppy informs the cat that -- unlike the others -- those fifteen puppies with collars did not come from the pet store.

And here's the clincher. The puppy says to the cat:

"We never counted them."

Go ahead. Rewind it and play it back, just to be sure.


So. If they never counted the stolen, collar-wearing puppies, it's impossible that they could have been included in the total of 99, so that actually makes 114 puppies, plus Pongo and Purdy, so Disney for several decades now has been falsely advertising a film that should have been called "116 DALMATIANS!"

Then, later in the movie when the happy ending occurs and the puppies have escaped the evil Cruella, we come to find out that there are, indeed, 101 Dalmatians, as Pongo and Purdy's owners do a head count.

So here's what I want to know: WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MISSING FIFTEEN PUPPIES?? They are never accounted for.

If you thought the Case of Newhall Land's Phantom City Council Arm-Twisting Letter was a puzzler, just try figuring that one out. I don't know about you, but I lose sleep at night over these things.

And don't even get me started on the subliminal messages I found in "The Jungle Book."

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