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Disney Recalls ‘The Rescuers’ Video

January 9, 1999

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Walt Disney Co. is recalling 3.4 million copies of the animated video ``The Rescuers″ after employees discovered the photographic image of a nude woman embedded in the tape.

Disney recalled the cartoon on Friday, advising customers to mail in their tainted tapes for a new copies. The recall applies only to videos purchased since Jan. 5, when the film was re-released.

A spokeswoman declined to characterize the image other than to say it was objectionable. However, sources familiar with the video told The Associated Press it showed a woman’s nude torso.

The image cannot be seen when the tape is viewed at normal speed, spokeswoman Claudia Peters said.

Disney recalled the video ``to keep our promise to families that we can trust and rely on the Disney brand to provide the finest in family entertainment,″ Ms. Peters said. She would not say how much the recall would cost.

``The Rescuers″ follows the exploits of a group of courageous mice who try to rescue a little girl from kidnappers.

The offending picture was inserted into the film after the cartoon was drawn and was on prints distributed to theaters in 1977, 1982 and 1989, Ms. Peters said. As with the video, the picture was not visible on the film prints when shown at normal speed.

The image was not on copies of the video released in 1992 because it was made from a different print, Ms. Peters said.

Asked if Disney knew who tampered with the film, Ms. Peters would only say it was an internal matter.

``This is something that was done more than 20 years ago,″ she said.

The recall is a first for Disney, although conservative religious groups claim other animated features have included risque words or images.

In 1995 the Virginia-based American Life League urged a recall of ``The Lion King,″ arguing that in one scene rising clouds of dust spelled the word ``sex.″

The group also wanted Disney to excise portions of ``Aladdin″ and ``The Little Mermaid.″ In ``Mermaid,″ the group said, a minister becomes aroused during a wedding ceremony and in ``Aladdin″ the title character purportedly mumbles a phrase urging teen-agers to remove their clothes.

The company has denied the allegations in each case, calling them misperceptions.

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