It’s been 72 years since we saw the original transformation from boy to donkey in Pinocchio, but it’s still vaguely horrifying if you watch. If you can’t access the video above hit the link for YouTube and it’ll take you directly there. But when you think about how much people harp about cartoons today, which isn’t all that much really considering what’s out there, just watch this and remind people where our modern day cartoons came from. In fact look back at the old children’s stories that were written long before there was TV and you’ll understand that children had a right to be horrified back in the day simply because the fairy tales that we know now are like dusted candy topping compared to the stories that spawned them.
Pinocchio’s case is pretty tame when you think about the origin of some of these tales and how they came to be. A lot of them were cautionary in nature, a means to get children to behave and think about the consequences of their actions. Others were for effect and to make kids think about what might happen if they didn’t change their ways. But this image of kids turning into donkeys and then being sold to the salt mines and other locations is just horrific enough to give kids nightmares. It’s a cartoon, yes, but it’s also something that kids tend to watch and get certain ideas about at times if they’re really paying attention. To say that it goes to extremes is pretty accurate, but to state that it’s well within the lessons of the time period is just as accurate.
Keep in mind that kids weren’t coddled during every time period. There was no time to do so unless that extravagance was afforded to a family. Once kids were able to get up, walk, and do for themselves they were expected to help out occasionally and contribute to the family in some way. Nowadays some kids are never expected to do such a thing even when they reach adulthood, as some parents will allow their kids to sit around like lumps and claim that they’re ‘free spirits’ or some such nonsense. There’s little if any accountability for a person and their actions these days as compared to back then, which is the biggest lesson of this part of the movie. If you’re going to act like a jerk and go against the wishes of those that have cared for you, raised you, and done their best to provide for you, then there will be dire consequences. The world outside your door doesn’t care about your survival, it will chew you up and spit you out before the sun sets and will do it again if you didn’t learn the lesson the first time.
That’s the lesson here, that obeying your parents and being a good and decent human being isn’t the square thing to do, it’s what keeps you alive and grants you the knowledge and wisdom to know how to deal with life when it comes along. There’s nothing wrong with having fun, but learning how and when to cut loose is a huge lesson that some people still haven’t learned.