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John Musker & Ron Clements Clear Up Rumors About Their Movies


One of the most legendary creative forces in Disney history has been the team of Ron Clements and John Musker, who created The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and Hercules in a row (and then Treasure Planet). They both sat down with E! Online recently to discuss some rumors the Internet has been passing around about their movies, some very old, some new.

One of the sillier stories is that Aladdin actually takes place in a post-apocalyptic Earth (I’m willing to bet this rumor didn’t exist until Adventure Time went on the air). Musker and Clements debunked it immediately, but then added the movie was originally meant to happen in a real place. “We kept it Baghdad in our first treatment, and then the Gulf War happened—the first Gulf War. Roy Disney said, ‘This can’t be in Baghdad.’ So, I took letters and did a jumbled anagram and came up with Agrabah. We came up with a few alternates. But no, we never thought it was post-apocalyptic, futuristic or in some other time.” The proofreading stickler in me would like to point out you can’t make the word “Agrabah” with just the letters in “Baghdad,” the letter D is not in the former.

How about the Peddler from the beginning of the movie being Genie in disguise? That’s true. “That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.”

Some people think that when Hercules sings “Go The Distance,” the shooting star that appears over his head is Aladdin and Jasmine riding by while singing ‘A Whole New World.’ Not quite. “Pegasus is sort of watching over Hercules until he joins with him. The shooting star, we were thinking, is Pegasus. Though no one, I guess, can ever know for sure…” Besides, everyone knows Hercules met an older, married Aladdin when he was a teenager training with Phil.

Scott Weinger was there to clarify, if you haven’t heard the first twenty denials, that he NEVER EVER recorded Aladdin saying “Take off your clothes.” “Let me tell you,” he said, “being in the recording studio with Robin Williams, wanting to do a good job and not blow it, there’s no way I would have made some dirty joke.” Which is interesting, because another rumor (that wasn’t brought up) is that there are tons and tons of outtake reels in the Disney Vault consisting of Robin ad-libs too blue to release.