TV and film’s biggest myths…

Are Disney films full of subtle references? Is Michael Grade responsible for cancelling Doctor Who? And did Wile E Coyote ever catch the Road Runner? investigates...

MYTH: The word ‘SEX’ is hidden in The Lion King


TRUTH: There is a hidden word, but it allegedly isn’t ‘sex’. When The Lion King was first released on VHS in 1996, many viewers – including conservative protestors – thought they had stumbled upon a subliminal message in a scene where Simba flops down on a mountain edge, sending dust in the air. But in the dust wasn’t spelt out the word ‘SEX’. According to Disney, it was ‘SFX’, an Easter egg for the animation effects team who worked on the film.

MYTH: A penis was planted in a Little Mermaid poster by a disgruntled animator 

TRUTH: Not to go all Freud on you here, but apparently there is only a penis in the picture if you want there to be, with the phallic imagery being entirely unintentional. Instead of an artist taking revenge on Disney for letting him go (as the myth says), the artist told Snopes that he didn’t even work at Disney, and was actually an external hire who was working late and rushing to finish the art, leading him to totally miss the fact that he had inadvertently drawn something that could be considered rude. Well, that’s his explanation, anyway. 

Myth: Wile E Coyote never catches the Road Runner


TRUTH: Wile E Coyote is perhaps one of the most unlucky characters of all time, as he fails time and time again to catch the speedy (and quite annoying, actually) Road Runner. Legend has it he never caught him, but in fact he actually did. During the episode Soup or Sonic, the pair run through a pipe that causes them both to shrink in size, but when Roadrunner returns to normal length, a tiny Wile E Coyote manages to grab hold of his giant leg. The punchline? After chasing the bird all these years, he has absolutely no idea what to do with him.