Watch Family Planning, Walt Disney’s 1967 Sex Ed Production, Starring Donald Duck

In 1951, Carl Djeras­si, a chemist work­ing in an obscure lab in Mex­i­co City, cre­at­ed the first prog­es­terone pill. Lit­tle did he know that, a decade lat­er, 1.2 mil­lion women would be “on the Pill” in Amer­i­ca, exer­cis­ing unprece­dent­ed con­trol over their repro­duc­tive rights. By 1967, that num­ber would reach 12.5 mil­lion women world­wide.

It was for­tu­itous tim­ing, see­ing that the post-war glob­al pop­u­la­tion was start­ing to surge. It took 125 years (1800–1925) for the glob­al pop­u­la­tion to move from one bil­lion to two bil­lion (see his­tor­i­cal chart), but only 35 years (1925–1960) for that num­ber to reach three bil­lion. Non-prof­its like the Pop­u­la­tion Coun­cil were found­ed to think through emerg­ing pop­u­la­tion ques­tions, and by the mid-1960s, they began pub­lish­ing a peer-reviewed jour­nal called Stud­ies in Fam­i­ly Plan­ning and also work­ing with Walt Dis­ney to pro­duce a 10-minute edu­ca­tion­al car­toon. You can watch Fam­i­ly Plan­ning above.

Even­tu­al­ly trans­lat­ed into 25 lan­guages, the film avoids any­thing sex­u­al­ly explic­it. The fam­i­ly plan­ning advice is vague at best and, per­verse­ly but not sur­pris­ing­ly, only male char­ac­ters get a real voice in the pro­duc­tion. But lest you think that Dis­ney was break­ing any real ground here, let me remind you of its more dar­ing for­ay into sex-ed films two decades pri­or. That’s when it pro­duced The Sto­ry of Men­stru­a­tion (1946)a more sub­stan­tive film shown to 105 mil­lion stu­dents across the US.

You can find Fam­i­ly Plan­ning and The Sto­ry of Men­stru­a­tion housed in the Ani­ma­tion sec­tion of our col­lec­tion, 4,000+ Free Movies Online: Great Clas­sics, Indies, Noir, West­erns, Doc­u­men­taries & More.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

No Women Need Apply: A Dis­heart­en­ing 1938 Rejec­tion Let­ter from Dis­ney Ani­ma­tion

How Walt Dis­ney Car­toons Are Made

Don­ald Duck Wants You to Pay Your Tax­es (1943)

Walt Dis­ney Presents the Super Car­toon Cam­era (1957)


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Comments (11)
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  • Hanoch says:

    “Repro­duc­tive rights”? When antibi­otics were dis­cov­ered did peo­ple speak of exer­cis­ing con­trol over their micro­bial rights?

  • W Scannella says:

    Thank you for this excel­lent exam­ple of sophistry. Aquinas would be very proud of you, like a son, if he had had any chil­dren.

  • Truly S. says:

    I find it inter­est­ing that fam­i­ly plan­ning is dis­cussed direct­ly only with the man–the woman has to whis­per her own ques­tions about it in his ear so he can ask them on her behalf–yet when it comes time to go to the doc­tor to find out the details, SHE’s the one who has to do it!

  • Michelle says:

    I love how there are only 4 sons in the pic­ture, but when it’s time to split the land there are sud­den­ly 7. Bias much?

  • Jessica says:

    I’m actu­al­ly inter­est­ed in the issues of race here. As far as I know, Post-War pop­u­la­tion was increas­ing rapid­ly most­ly in “1st World” coun­tries. Yet, “every­man” is clear­ly South Amer­i­can, and instead of show­ing how White Amer­i­can’s pop­u­la­tion increase is unnec­es­sary, they focus on small poor farm­ing com­mu­ni­ties, who’s mul­ti­ple chil­dren would be a nor­mal part of life–needed for help­ing farm the land.

  • Barrie says:

    If “every­man” were tru­ly rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the world pop­u­la­tion today, he’d Asian. Chi­na and India togeth­er account for 38% of all humans. Birth rates in “edu­cat­ed” coun­tries (USA, Europe, etc) have trend­ed down­ward. Mul­ti­ple chil­dren are NOT need­ed to help farm the land–a sin­gle farmer with mod­ern equip­ment can eas­i­ly farm 200 to 400 acres by him­self. Jes­si­ca is look­ing for racial ani­mos­i­ty where none exists.

  • Noor Saadeh says:

    There is so much messed up in this. For starters we focus not on the tra­di­tion­al anglo sax­on, white Euro­pean but ‘oth­er’ races such as Lati­no, Arab, Asian etc. The main char­ac­ter what? Lati­no per­haps. So once again it is ‘their’ prob­lem and ‘those’ peo­ple we don’t want mul­ti­ply­ing. Also note where the plague is locat­ed and where life is good! Hmmm…can we say pro­pa­gan­da Walt?!

  • Maurice says:

    I think we are miss­ing the point. It’s sad that an “Every­man” cho­sen in 1967 can offend so many peo­ple in 2014.

    2 ques­tions.

    1. Who would the infor­ma­tion benefit(in 1967)? — A fam­i­ly unit.

    2. Who need­ed the most persuasion(in 1967)? — The douche… sor­ry I meant Dad.

  • August says:

    The issue of race is crit­i­cal here and Bar­rie is an idiot. The farmer and fam­i­ly are sup­pose to be amal­gams of peo­ple in the Glob­al South, not rep­re­sent any par­tic­u­lar region or peo­ples. They are poor, non-white farm­ers, that is explic­it. Although there were pop­u­la­tions booms in the West post-WWII this tapered off and sky­rock­et­ed else­where (see demo­graph­ic tran­si­tion the­o­ry). This video was made by Dis­ney for the Pop­u­la­tion Coun­cil, a Rock­e­feller NGO which focused on “health” in the third world. The video is as a pro­pa­gan­da piece to con­trol pop­u­la­tion growth in the Glob­al South which was a major impe­r­i­al con­cern in the 60’s and 70’s (see Eduar­do Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin Amer­i­ca).

  • Max Publius says:

    Noor Saade­h’s com­ments are tru­ly grotesque, as is her mind, appar­ent­ly. Dis­ney rep­re­sent­ed a man as he did because that is 90% of the world. If he showed a Brit, it would­n’t make sense since they had and have a stag­nant growth rate. Saadeh would have prob­a­bly said some­thing along the lines that using a Brit as rep­re­sent­ing man was unrep­re­sen­ta­tive and racist also. Saadeh in short is a nasty per­son.

  • Nanna Sally says:

    The MAN was high­light­ed because for a long time it was the MAN who need­ed to be con­vinced — many peo­ple did believe the num­ber of chil­dren equat­ed to ‘man­li­ness’ — view this film in the time it was made.

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