IF YOU HAVE children, or if you like Robin Williams, you've seen the movie "Aladdin." Actually, if you have kids, or if you're closely related to Robin Williams, you have seen the movie a minimum of 400 times.
And so you must know all about the subliminal sex message, right?
Get your copy now (it's hidden under the Power Rangers board " game). Fast-forward to the scene where Aladdin is up on the palace balcony wooing his beloved, a certain Princess Jasmine, who, as princesses will, is hanging out with her pet tiger.
Aladdin, wolf that he is, whispers to her these forbidden words: "All good teen-agers take off their clothes."
He would say this because Jasmine is a teen-age princess. Or he would say this because somebody at Disney -- is Kevin Nealon working there now? -- thinks that subliminal sex messages will turn American children into something you might see in Times Square or in a Calvin Klein ad.
You don't believe me? Slow down the tape. Slow the tape wayyyy downnnn. Listen carefully. It's either, "All good teen-agers take off their clothes," or, "There's a bathroom on the right."
You see, Walt Disney Inc. -- I know, salute when you say those words -- is plotting to ruin our children. Yes, people actually believe that. Of course, certain people also believe that alligators set up shop in the New York City sewers and that if you listen carefully to "Helter Skelter," it says, "Charlie Manson, call your service."
According to a recent page-one piece in the Wall Street Journal, a respectable news organization that rarely makes stuff up, rumors of Disney's alleged kiddie porn campaign are sweeping the country. Wait till Bob Dole finds out.
The rumors don't stop with "Aladdin."
There's also "The Lion King," in which, when Simba kicks up some dust, you can see the letters s-e-x, which spell t-r-o-u-b-l-e. Also, in "The Little Mermaid," you can pick out a noticeably, um, aroused minister.
Nothing, though, apparently about Cruella De Vil, my personal favorite Disney character.
Disney, of course, denies the rumors and says that it's just as squeaky-clean as ever. It says this knowing that Mickey and Minnie Mouse live together with their pet dog, and yet you don't see a wedding ring on any of their three fingers.
Also, didn't you ever wonder about Spin and Marty? Didn't they seem just a little too clean?
(Disney's image took another hit with the release of the movie "Powder," whose writer-director, Victor Salva, just happens to be a convicted child molester. Fortunately for him, Disney is an equal-opportunity employer. In other Disney news, the company is offering family benefits to gay couples, to the great horror of gay-bashers everywhere who think "sexual" and "orientation" are the two ugliest words in the language. Wonder what old Walt would make of all this.)
Anyway, the Disney folks insist that what Aladdin was really saying up on the balcony was, "Scat, good tiger, take off and go" and nothing about the removal of clothes.
Is that believable?
What kind of writing is that -- scat, good tiger, take off and go?
If it's me, I'm saying, "Take off tiger, baby," or, maybe, "Hit the road, Jack." But nobody has ever said, "Scat, good tiger, take off and go."
Not with a straight face, anyway.
The movie rumor gained currency some months ago from an article in a movie magazine that exists to warn parents of the smut in movies.
Given the high-smut ratio these days, the magazine is, of course, a going concern.
The magazine, called the Movie Guide, wrote about "Aladdin" and the clothing-removal line in one issue. And then wrote a retraction in the next, saying there is no subliminal message after all, just a story about a boy and his genie. But you know about retractions. Nobody reads them. It's like taking back a knife to the neck. And so the rumors just won't go away.
Personally, I'd like to believe the rumors could be true, if only because rumor and scandal so enrich our lives.
In my youth, there were at least three important rumors. One was that the Beaver -- Jerry Mathers -- was killed in Vietnam. It was either him or Cubby.
Another was that "Louie Louie," the Kingsmen hit with the indecipherable lyrics, was smut-filled. Could not have been smuttier. We'd slow that baby down, believe me, from 45 rpm to 33 (those were record speeds for those of you who don't remember records) and sing about every night at 10 and leer and salivate and try to pretend that anything in the song might actually pertain to our own love lives. Turns out, the record was completely clean. Broke my heart.
And the best rumor, of course, was about Paul, and, how, if you listened to "I Am the Walrus" backward, you could hear "Paul is dead."
And he was, of course, walking barefoot on the cover of Abbey Road. And you know what that means.
# Wait for the movie.