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Disney Recalls ‘Rescuers’ Video

January 8, 1999 GMT

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The Walt Disney Co. on Friday recalled 3.4 million copies of the animated video ``The Rescuers,″ apparently because the photographic image of a nude woman was inserted into the film.

The image was discovered by Disney employees after the re-release this month of the cartoon, which appeared in theaters in 1977, 1983 and 1989.

Disney spokeswoman Claudia Peters declined to characterize the image, other than to say it was objectionable.

However, sources familiar with the recall told The Associated Press there was a photo of a woman’s nude torso embedded in the video.

The image cannot be seen when the video is watched at normal viewing speed.

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

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

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 image was on only two of the cartoon’s 110,000 frames. ``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, Ms. Peters said. The image was on copies sent to theaters, but as with the video, was not visible 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.

The recall applies only to videos purchased since Jan. 5. The company shipped 3.4 million.

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.

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.