In the film Aladdin, the hero whispers, "Good teenagers, take off your clothes."
This quip occurs during a scene in which Aladdin, in the guise of Prince Ali, flies up to Jasmine’s balcony on his magic carpet to convince her that he is not just another self-absorbed, empty-headed prince. When Aladdin steps onto the balcony, Jasmine’s tiger Rajah threatens him and backs him up against the railing. As Rajah growls, Aladdin tries to shoo him away with his turban and then purportedly whispers, “Good teenagers, take off your clothes.”
One Disney representative claimed that the script called for Aladdin to say, “C’mon … good kitty. Take off and go,” while the closed captioning had him uttering, “Good kitty. Take off.” However, neither one of these phrases seemed to match what is heard on the soundtrack. A close listening to the audio track revealed Aladdin speaking the words “C’mon … good kitty,” and just as Aladdin said the word “kitty,” a second voice began to whisper, “Pssst … take off your clo- …”. Who this second voice was, and exactly what he said, is a mystery.
Lisa Bannon penned a 1995 story in the Associated Press about the rumor, with one mother calling the line of dialogue “a toddler introduction to porn”:
Anna Runge, a mother of eight, was so enamored with Walt Disney Co. that she owned stacks of its animated home videos, a Beauty and the Beast blanket and a Disney diaper bag. “Disney was almost a member of the family,” she says.
Until, that is, an acquaintance tipped her off to a startling rumor: The Magic Kingdom was sending obscene subliminal messages through some of its animated family films, including Aladdin, in which the handsome young title character supposedly murmurs, sotto voce, “All good teenagers take off your clothes.”
“I felt as if I had entrusted my kids to pedophiles,” says the Carthage, N.Y., homemaker, who promptly threw the videos into the garbage. “It’s like a toddler introduction to porn.'”
Disney quickly fired back. “If somebody is seeing something, that’s their perception. There’s nothing there,” says Rick Rhoades, a Disney spokesman. Aladdin’s line is “Scat, good tiger, take off and go,” Disney says.
There is no other character in the scene who could conceivably be speaking: the tiger doesn’t talk, the voice is male (eliminating Jasmine), and both the genie and the rug are below the balcony and off-screen. Perhaps the overlapping voices were merely the product of bad editing, and some stray bit of chatter (or a piece of dialog that was supposed to have been clipped) was accidentally grafted onto the soundtrack. Whatever was being said, to the casual listener the resulting phrase can certainly sound like, “Good teenagers, take off your clothes,” although the phrase is clearly the combination of two different voices speaking in two different tones. Once people have been told what they’re “supposed” to be hearing, however, they find it difficult to maintain objectivity and therefore swear that Aladdin couldn’t possibly be saying anything else.
The “take off your clothes” rumor started soon after Aladdin was released on home video in 1993. A garbled and whispered portion of dialogue that could barely be heard in the theater was being replayed over and over in millions of homes, but was difficult to distinguish. Someone came up with a salacious phrase that sounded somewhat like the original portions of dialogue, and the power of suggestion took over. People began to hear what they were being told they should hear, much like Beatles fans eagerly sharing backwards-masked Paul is dead aural clues.
The Aladdin rumor spread by word of mouth during 1994 and was eventually printed in Movie Guide magazine, an Atlanta-based Christian entertainment review. Due in part to that article, the controversial phrase was brought to the attention of the American Life League, a religious organization that had been boycotting Disney films since the previous April as a protest over the movie Priest. The American Life League gave new prominence to the rumor in September 1995, when it claimed the phrase was yet another piece of evidence that Disney had been sneaking “sexual messages” into their animated films (The Little Mermaid being the most notorious example) for the past several years.