Despite previous claims, I don't know the first thing about making movies. If you asked me for filmmaking tips, I'd probably panic and mumble something about casting Daniel Day-Lewis as Batman before trying to escape through a toilet window.
OK, that was a lie. I'd never fit through a toilet window. I also do have one piece of advice for aspiring filmmakers: If you ever decide to cut a scene from your movie, make sure you're not doing it for incredibly stupid reasons. Otherwise you risk accidentally scrapping an important part of cinematic history, like when ...
5 The Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World" Was Nearly Cut Because of Dropped Popcorn
Walt Disney Pictures
The Little Mermaid could have been just another Disney fairy tale about a princess who wants "more" and searches for it down the pants of some dude she just met. The film's theme song, "Part of Your World," thankfully changed all that.
Not 15 minutes into the movie, Ariel sings a deeply personal song about her fascination with the surface world and her Hoarders episode-worthy collection of random human junk. The tune might sound like your typical musical exposition, but it actually gives us much-needed insight into the mind of a rebellious teenager who seems to view dry land as a romanticized utopia, with lyrics such as: "Bet'cha on land they understand. Bet they don't reprimand their daughters."
Walt Disney Pictures
"Bet they understand that YOU'RE RUINING MY LIFE, DAD! GAWD!"
So when Ariel later saves Prince Eric and instantly falls in love with him, we understand what's going through her head, because to her, Eric is just the nearest available symbol of her lifelong obsession. (Also: literally the only guy she knows who has a penis.) Even when Ariel finally decides to sell her voice to Ursula, it's only after her father destroys her collection, which means that without "Part of Your World," the plot of The Little Mermaid simply makes no sense.
How We Almost Lost It:
Jeffrey Katzenberg, then chairman of Walt Disney Studios, didn't want the song to be a part of the movie's world because he thought kids would find it boring. He arrived at that conclusion after a kid in the test audience spilled his popcorn during the scene, which to Katzenberg meant that the sequence was so mind-numbingly dull, it actually caused the child's higher motor functions to commit suicide.
To be fair, though, paying close attention to the audience's reactions is why studios hold test screenings in the first place. So it's not that unthinkable that a child dropping his snack was enough to make Katzenberg examine what exactly made him lose his concentration. It is, however, hilarious that his response was to point at "Part of Your World" and basically go: "Shut. It. Down!"
"Then help me find a way to finally defeat He-Man!"
Fortunately, the rest of the staff fought Katzenberg by, I assume, asking him to please explain the reasoning behind his decision out loud to them. The scene was back in the movie a few minutes later.
4 The Producers of A Charlie Brown Christmas Feared That the Speech About the True Meaning of Christmas Wasn't Commercial Enough
A Charlie Brown Christmas has been a staple of Christmas programming ever since it first debuted in 1965, and I'm betting a lot of it has to do with the message that Linus delivers near the end about how the holiday is really about the birth of Jesus:
All Christmas movies have their own personal take on what makes December 25 so special: A Christmas Story says it's about the everlasting memories it creates; How the Grinch Stole Christmas emphasizes rising above the commercial aspect of the holiday; Die Hard stresses the importance of staying one step ahead of German sort-of terrorists (a lesson also spread by It's a Wonderful Life, I'm pretty sure). But A Charlie Brown Christmas is probably the most famous special to actually mention the Bible, even quoting it directly during Linus' speech. And you know what? If that viewpoint has to be represented by someone, I'm glad that the job has gone to the Peanuts gang.
Although I'm putting it out there that, according to the Bible, Snoopy has no soul.
How We Almost Lost It:
A Charlie Brown Christmas was originally conceived as a 25-minute advertisement for Coca-Cola by a New York advertising agency that wanted Charles Schulz to write a quick and forgettable Christmas special for them. So it's no surprise that when he instead delivered a poignant story about the Christian origin of Christmas, the shocked admen nearly dropped their cigarettes on the backs of their secretaries' heads.
The Nativity scene was tentatively OKed, but everyone worried that the one-minute reading from the gospel of Luke by Linus would scare off sponsors. A decision was hastily made to cut the scene and bury it at the bottom of the Mariana Trench where it wouldn't be able to hurt any innocent profits ever again with its message of love and unity.
"Why would you even show us something like that?!"
The religious Schulz unsurprisingly argued like crazy to save Linus' speech because he believed he really was fighting for the true meaning of Christmas. He might also have made the argument that the producers were acting like the villain in every Christmas special ever. The scene was eventually saved, and the special became an instant hit. And with all the money it made, it probably also helped a bunch of ad guys finance at least four of the seven deadly sins, but the less we think about that, the better.