Tag Archives: seven

75 Years Ago: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Premiered at Carthay Circle Theater

Snow White Premiere

Seventy-five years ago on December 21st, Walt Disney’s first feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, premiered at Carthay Circle Theater. Click through for the details and some video footage from that day: http://bit.ly/TcOf71 – Happy anniversary, Snow White… 75, and still the fairest one of all!

Flash Forward: Pierre Boaistuau’s Hydra Monster (The Hoax)

In last Thursday’s episode of Flash Forward titled “Better Angels,” Mark shows Stan the Hydra Monster picture that would eventually end up on his Mosaic wall. The Hydra, as portrayed by 18th century French writer, Pierre Boaistuau, had seven heads and was eventually killed by Hercules.

Mark then segues the conversation into D. Gibbons who he now identifies as one Dyson Frost. Frost we learn is brilliant, reclusive, a Particle Physicist, trained in Engineering at MIT, minoring in Victorian Literature.  He had a domineering father who only spoke to him in French even though they grew up in Wyoming.  He also became a Chess Grandmaster at the age of 15 (Stan notes the White Queen chess piece they found).

Frost supposedly died in a boating accident in 1990 on a boat named Le Monstre de Boaistuau (The Monster of Boaistuau).

The Hoax of the Venetian Hydra

Many different authors discuss the hydra, among them Boaistuau, in terms of if it is real or if it is just a hoax. Through a sociohistorical analysis of the hydra in Giambattista Basile’s dragon-slayer tale “Lo mercante,” this essay challenges the universalizing interpretation of the dragon as a worthy foil for the hero. In depicting the hero’s struggle with the beast, Basile employs tropes that purposefully recall a creature that was crafted by charlatans and widely discussed in scientific texts (people in the kingdom of his story describe the hydra as having “had the crest of a cock, the head of a cat, eyes of fire, jaws of a race-hound, the winds of a bat, the claws of a bear and the tail of a serpent.”). Basile transforms the epic battle between dragon and slayer into a comic encounter in which the hero confronts a manufactured monster while playfully blurring the boundary between two seemingly disparate genres, the scientific treatise and the literary fairy tale.

Early engravings of the Hydra first appeared in Europe in Konrad Lykosthenes’ Prodigiorium ac ostentorum chronicon, Lykosthenes sought to teach Christians to recognize the divine messages that God transmitted to men through these marvellous occurrences (of the hydra). He also saw the hydra not as the bearer of a specific holy message but instead depicts the monster as the object of international trade.







Pierre Boaistuau’s Histoires prodigieuyses, similar to Lykosthenes, aimed to reform its readers through the contemplation of the prodigfies on it pages, which in turn was intended to spur the reader to expunge his or her own vice. Boaistuau cites Lykosthenes story of the hydra and muses: “If it is a true thing (as it is likely to have been, judging by the authority of the one who describes it) I believe that nature has never produced a more marvellous creature among all the monsters of this earth.”

Since Boaistuau was never able to verify that the defunct king (in Basile’s story) ever actually owned this creature, he tentatively questions its authenticity. although lacking the physical proof of the beast’s existence, Boaistuau concludes this chapter by suggesting that the monster is both a portent and a natural marvel, the most marvellous among all the monsters on earth. undoubtedly, his conclusion is motivated in part by the realization that an assertion of authenticity would be more likely to encourage his readers to reform than would be the unmasking of a hoax.

Source: Magnanini, Suzanne, Fairy-Tale Science: Monstrous Generation in the Tales of Straparola and Basile.