One of its usual features on the website and podcast The A. V. Club is HateSong. In HateSong, guest musicians, writers, comedians, actors, and so forth are asked to expound on the one song they hate most in the world. Yesterday’s HateSong guest was director David Lynch. Lynch is a director known for creating rather creepy fare, like the TV show Twin Peaks and the movies Mulholland Dr. and Blue Velvet. I find it interesting then that this creep show director is in turned creeped out by the likes of “It’s a Small World!”
“It’s a Small World!” is a 1964 Sherman Brothers song that has been made popular by Disney through their theme park ride by the same name. This ride first appeared at the 1964 Worlds Fair in New York. It has since migrated to the Disneyland theme parks. I rode it once in Florida, without any ill effects, while on business. Visitors are conveyed through the ride in small boats, surrounded by tableaux full of tiny animatronics children from around the world. All the while the Sherman Brothers’ song serenades the ride’s guests. I suppose that I could have claimed workmen’s compensation, if I had any of the experiences that some other people have experienced with this ride or song.
Lynch’s bad experience with this song occurred when he took his daughter to Disneyland. The song acted as an earwig and bore into his brain. In his own words, the experience was “traumatic”. “The tune got suck in my head,” Lynch said, “and it was like having a disease.” Later he added, “like the swine flu.” Lynch was so traumatized that he required The A. V. Club to only refer to the song using the code word, “flappy”. This is because, even hearing the song’s title was too painful for him to hear.
Lynch is not the only person to have suffered at the hands of “It’s a Small World!” Earlier this year Jose Martinez won a lawsuit against Disney. This litigation of many years stemmed from both the ride and the song. In 2009, Martinez, a disabled man was left stranded on the ride when it broke down, half in the cave and half out. The non-disabled passengers were evacuated, but Martinez was left in his seat by Disney personnel. According to his attorney, “The music was blaring. They couldn’t get it to go off.”
Both of these proceeding incidents pale in comparison to the one that I’m about to describe next. This run in with “It’s a Small World!” occurred when the ride was still at the NYC Worlds Fair. This was year’s before I ever knew Anne or her family, so I can only relate the interested parties different stories. I don’t know if the above family portrait that Anne took was taken while at the Worlds Fair or not, but it is certainly contemporary. According to Jane, who had to be only two or three at that time, she was left at “It’s a Small World!”, for hours. The parents of course deny that this event ever occurred. Still, both the ride and the song have been shown to exhibit a pattern of abuse.