Craziest Cartoon Secrets You Won’t Believe Are True
Here are some of the craziest cartoon secrets you won't believe are true!Entertainment
Cartoons are what childhoods are made of. However, we all must grow up, and one thing life teaches us is that not everything is as it seems, cartoons included! Let's uncover some hidden truths, ranging from the practical secrets of animation that will blow your mind, to the peculiar reason why the Simpsons are yellow.
We’ll also explore the adult jokes you missed in SpongeBob and a sprinkling of very sinister theories and interpretations that may just ruin your childhood favorites forever. Here are some of the craziest and darkest cartoon secrets you won’t believe are true!
The Simpsons Theory: Ralph Wiggum Isn't Actually Chief Wiggum's Son
Since debuting in 1989, The Simpsons has certainly earned its place in pop culture’s hall of fame. With a perfect mix of relatable family life moments and hilarious satire, even predicting the future at times, The Simpsons is, seemingly, a fountain of eternal entertainment.
Needless to say, in its long-running history, a few strange mysteries have arisen, with some remarkable theories attempting to explain them. For instance, the question of who Ralph Wiggum’s real dad is.
You are probably certain that Chief Wiggum is Ralph’s dad but you just might be wrong. If you think about it, the two of them bear virtually no resemblance. Ralph has similar features to his mom, Sarah, such as her eyes and nose, but he seems to have inherited none of Chief Clancy’s ruggedly handsome good looks. The question is: if Wiggum isn’t Ralph’s father, then which Springfielder is?
For a while now, fans have had one gentleman caller on their radar: Eddie, Chief Wiggum’s colleague! And it makes sense, both he and Sarah would be naturally acquainted. Not to mention that Eddie and Ralph have strikingly similar hairdos. But, of course, that is all just conjecture, right? Well, until recently, yes. But in a season 34 episode, "Lisa the Boy Scout", the show writers actually addressed the rumors. Have a look at the footage below.
So, there you have it! Eddie is, in fact, Ralph’s dad and it seems like Sarah has some explaining to do! However, that clip is from an episode that, according to the Simpsons Wiki, isn’t actually considered canon, meaning it was purely a self-aware, throwaway joke. So, right now, the mystery seems to be officially unresolved.
Cartoons Have Four Fingers
By their very nature, cartoons aren’t intended to be realistic. How many grand pianos have you been crushed by lately? But besides sky-falling pianos, there’s something distinctly unrealistic about classic cartoons: their fingers.
Just take notice of your favorite cartoon characters, chances are they only have 4 digits. That is because, around the early 20th century when animation was still new, it was a very costly process. In fact, adjusted for inflation, Disney’s 1928, 7-minute short, Steamboat Willie, cost over $87,000!
Granted, Pixar movies nowadays cost as much as $100,000 per minute of animation, but those modern flicks are way more complex, and Disney has a ton more resources available now than it did back in the Steamboat Willie days. Back then, Disney animators had to be thrifty. They realized that drawing just 1 less finger saved a ton of time which, in turn, saved heaps of moolah.
The cost-effectiveness is part of the reason why classic cartoons look like cartoons. Realism was just far too arduous and expensive, so characters were aesthetically simplified. Even in more recent times, animators have created similar shortcuts, such as Ursula the octopus having only 6 tentacles instead of 8.
Intriguingly, given that cartoon fingers need to be large enough to see individually, animators have also concluded that 5 fingers just don’t look right. Walt Disney even said himself that if Mickey Mouse had 5 fingers, his hands would look like bunches of bananas and that’s an image no one wants to imagine.
But speaking of Mickey’s hands, what is the deal with those gloves? What’s he hiding? While it’s possible Mickey’s fingers may look all kinds of weird under those gloves, there are a few key official reasons classic cartoon characters like Mickey wear white gloves. Similar to the 4 fingers situation, drawing gloves was quicker and easier, which ultimately cut down costs.
The thing is, hands present several time-consuming challenges, such as joints and nails. Gloves, on the other hand, were an easy way for animators to convey hand gestures without the need to worry about finer details.
It also had to do with color. Colored TV wasn’t mainstream until around the 1960s, and consequently, characters like Mickey Mouse began their life in black and white. For Mickey, a mostly black character, it made sense for him to have contrasting white hands, as they’d otherwise get lost when interacting with his black body.
This can actually be seen, in Steamboat Willie, when Mickey didn’t yet have gloves! In addition to that, Walt also revealed in his 1957 biography that gloves were intended to make Mickey, a rodent, look a little more human!
Ring Around The Collar
Four fingers aside, you can spot that some iconic cartoon characters often have something like a neckpiece. And it's completely intentional. In 1940, the animation duo William Hanna and Joseph Barbera created what is now a cartoon icon, Tom and Jerry.
By 1957, the pair formed Hanna-Barbera studios and began churning out hit after hit. Titles included The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Yogi Bear, and The Jetsons, to name a few. Hanna-Barbera was going pedal to the metal and it needed a way to streamline things, which was achieved by the unlikely addition of neckpieces!
They discovered that if they added something around the neck to divide the head from the body, they could get away with animating only the head and using the same static drawing for the body when characters stood still.
Just take notice in the footage below, how both Wilma and Betty’s bodies are completely still, while their heads, divided by their necklaces, are the only things moving. There’s no doubt, those classic cartoonists were true masters of the phrase: why work harder when you can work smarter?
The Reason Why The Simpsons Are Yellow
Part of what makes the Simpson family so iconic is their unique design. But do you actually know why they have yellow skin and such bizarre-shaped heads? In 1985, producer, James L. Brooks, proposed that Matt Groening adapt his comic book strip, Life in Hell, for short animations to be featured on The Tracey Ullman Show.
Fearing that it might entail him giving up ownership of his characters, Matt decided to create some new ones instead. The story goes, that one day he was left waiting over an hour for a meeting, so he got to doodling. During that time, he claims he created the Simpson family, which was essentially based on his own.
Matt’s real-life parents were called Homer and Margaret. He also had two little sisters, Lisa and Maggie, and an older sister called Patty. And there’s an argument to be made that Matt himself is Bart. After all, no one else seems to fit that mischievous slot, and Matt wrote a novel in high school where the main character was also called Bart Simpson.
Naturally, Groening’s family didn’t look all that much like the Simpsons, and it'd be pretty concerning if they did. But why do The Simpsons have such strange appearances, haircuts, and head shapes, even when compared to their fellow Springfield residents?
Well, not only does it make them memorable to us, the audience, but it also distinguishes them from other Springfielders, they’re the principal characters and as such, they have the most exclusive design that cannot really be seen in any other characters. But the real mystery is: why are The Simpsons yellow? Why aren’t they normal skin color? Or why not blue or red, or another arbitrary color?
Aside from being an eye-catching color that gives the show a memorable, distinctive look, there’s the fact that Bart, Lisa, and Maggie have no line to differentiate their hair from their skin. So, the designers felt that yellow could kind of pass for hair and kind of pass for skin, so that’s what they went with!
Having been on our screens since 1969, Scooby-Doo has certainly earned its legendary status. In that time, it’s had countless series, movies, and spin-offs, which have all added to the rich Scooby lore. And they’ve all been pretty darn entertaining (that recent Velma show aside, of course).
Many people wonder about what kind of dog Scooby Doo is and, while he's thought to be a male Great Dane, a strange theory suggests something different. The 2010 spin-off series, "Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated", revealed perhaps the biggest plot twist of the entire series. In the series, it’s officially revealed that Scoob is actually an Annunaki.
The Annunaki are thought to be a race of extra-terrestrial creatures, some of which are good, while others are pure evil and want to destroy the world. During a cosmic event known as Nibiru, which occurs every few thousand years, the barrier between the Annunaki’s world and our own grows weak, enabling them to visit Earth.
Interestingly, the Annunaki have no physical form of their own, so when they do visit Earth, they inhabit the bodies of various animals, which explains sentient ancient and mythological creatures. And one of those creatures is none other than Scooby Doo! Yes, in the lore of the 2010 series, Scooby-Doo is literally an interdimensional alien!
So, while we might be safe to assume that our old pal Scoob is one of the good Annunakis, we cannot be sure he’s not one of the evil ones who is secretly plotting to destroy the world! He would’ve gotten away with it if too, it wasn’t for those meddling show writers giving him a completely new and off-the-cuff origin story!
Tarzan And Frozen Theory
Modern Disney films are loaded with covert clues and references to past and upcoming movies, also known as "easter eggs". Those are usually found lurking in the background and, to the untrained eye, go completely unnoticed! As a result, die-hard fans often theorize that certain movies must exist within the same timeline. If you couldn’t guess, that theory centers around Frozen. The 2013 box office smash features many a secret, including a guest appearance from Rapunzel from Tangled, post haircut, of course.
But one secret is a little less easy to spot and notably darker. In the film, we see Elsa and Anna’s parents go on a ship voyage, where they ultimately meet their demise. But while we’re led to believe that Elsa and Anna’s parents died at sea, that might not be the truth!
According to a popular theory, they actually washed ashore on a jungle island. There they would have a little boy and start a new life. Alas though, they would eventually be tragically devoured by a leopard, leaving their defenseless baby orphaned.
But then, in a crazy twist of fate, the baby is raised by apes, which is precisely the plot of Tarzan, meaning that Tarzan is actually Elsa and Anna’s brother. And while in the movie, evidence of that is somewhere between scarce and nonexistent, don’t be too quick to assume that it is just some theory fabricated by Redditors with too much time on their hands. It was actually shared by Chris Buck, who literally co-directed both movies!
Naturally, Disney fans have been quick to point out that the 2 stories don’t perfectly align. Specifically in regard to character design, time period, and locations. However, Chris prefaced that, it is just his personal theory and not the official canon to either of the films. Still, it’s pretty fun to think that Tarzan and Frozen might be connected!
Pixar's A113 Easter Egg
Sticking to the theme of movie easter eggs, A113 is perhaps one of the greatest and most elusive ones there is. If you look closely enough, in almost every Pixar feature you’ll find that enigmatic code concealed in the depths of CGI. But what exactly does it mean?
The answer takes us back to Pixar’s origins. The spirit of Pixar was cultivated by names such as John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, and Brad Bird. Those folks are all alumni of the prestigious California Institute of Arts. What’s more, they and many future Pixar animators all learned their craft in the same classroom, A113.
It was a dingy and cramped room, mind you, but nevertheless, it was the place where Pixar would essentially be born. It’s thought that Brad Bird began the fun tradition of hiding A113 in Disney films, starting with 1987’s The Brave Little Toaster.
The tradition continued with the development of Pixar, appearing in the studio’s first feature, Toy Story. So, A113 isn’t some kind of covert subliminal code, but rather a nod to the studio’s humble beginnings! So, keep an eye out for it in the next Disney or Pixar flick you enjoy.
Finding Nemo Hermaphroditic Theory
We’ve all seen Pixar’s Finding Nemo but did you know that Finding Nemo, if it were more realistically based on the real laws of nature, would be far less child-friendly? Let me paint you a picture; and fair warning, things are about to get kind of horrific. Here's a flashback: Marlin and his wife Coral were admiring the deep blue when out of nowhere, a barracuda gobbled up Coral and her nest of unhatched eggs. But wait! There was one left. The ray of hope, Marlin named Nemo.
With Nemo born, there was only one thing left for Marlin to do: become a woman. And, as Nemo grew into an adult fish himself, his mother Marlin suggested the unthinkable: that it was time for the two clownfish to have some children of their own.
That might just be the worst thing you've ever read. But, technically, in the wild, that is pretty much exactly how it would’ve gone down. Clownfish are sequential hermaphrodites, meaning that they are all born biologically male, but can transform to become female to meet the needs of their social hierarchy.
Should the group’s breeding female die, as with Coral in Finding Nemo, the former breeding male partner will change sex to replace her and mate with its own male offspring. No wonder why Marlin was so desperate to find Nemo!
Since hitting our screens in 1999, SpongeBob SquarePants has become an icon. But it seems there might be more to the show than one silly little sponge’s shenanigans. For example, did you know that the show is actually a big metaphor for environmental issues?
That is at least according to one theory. According to online theorists, each character personifies a different aspect of global warming and wider societal issues, let me explain.
SpongeBob, who resembles a human-made kitchen sponge more than the naturally occurring sponges of the sea, represents sea pollution. Meanwhile, Patrick, SpongeBob’s incredibly stupid friend , is said to represent society’s obliviousness to what’s going on, in terms of climate change and pollution. After all, he literally and metaphorically, lives under a rock.
Meanwhile, money-hungry Mr Krabs is an embodiment of the big corporations, AKA the main culprits of pollution. And finally, perhaps the most relatable SpongeBob character, Squidward. The misunderstood cultural fiend is thought to represent liberalism, what with his artistic passions and enlightenment often ignored, if not ridiculed, leaving him forced to work for a corporation he dislikes.
While that socio-political and ecological commentary is all just theory and not part of the show’s canon, there are other hints in the show that might actually corroborate that. Take the houses in Bikini Bottom, what exactly are they? Some say they look a lot like car mufflers.
Potentially meaning that Bikini Bottom is so polluted that its residents have no option but to live in human trash! Do you think any of that checks out?
The question that is on everyone’s mind, though, is: why does SpongeBob live in a pineapple? Show creator, the late Steven Hillenburg, explained that while things in the show might often seem random, everything is quite thought out.
For instance, much of the visual imagery is inspired by Hawaiian and Polynesian cultures, and pineapples are often a recurring motif in those cultures’ art and fabrics. But besides that, Steven also explained how he thought SpongeBob would simply like the smell of a pineapple!
Moving over to Squidward’s humble abode, we can see how he lives in what looks to be one of the famed Easter Island head statues. How one of those ended up under the sea remains a mystery, but what is interesting is that Squidward’s home probably has a secret underground body!
While they’re often referred to as just heads, the Easter Island statues actually have buried torsos, meaning our pal Squidward probably has a pretty gnarly basement! Though, of all the real estate in Bikini Bottom, the Krusty Krab is not just odd; it’s disturbing.
While it might be the town’s favorite fast-food joint, the Krusty Krab conceals a dark secret. The Krusty Krab is, in fact, based on a crab trap! But why would Mr Krabs, a crab himself, set up shop in a crab trap? That’s where things get twisted.
For over 20 years now, Plankton and fans alike, have yearned to know the Krabby Patty’s Secret Formula is. After being reportedly released on the Nickelodeon website, only to later be removed, the recipe states the patty is made from imitation crab meat!
Imitation crab meat is typically made of pulverized whitefish, which already has pretty disturbing connotations, but with the Krusty Krab literally being a crab trap, it might be less imitation and more real thing. So, is Mr Krabs a cannibal?
Well, there’s not enough evidence to say for sure, and the show’s producers have more recently claimed Krabby Patties are actually plant-based. But we wouldn't be surprised about some wildly inaccurate ingredient labeling from that money-loving crustacean.
Disney's Recycled Animations
Disney has been known to reuse the odd idea or two; being resurrected from the dead via acts of true love is just one of them. However, it’s not just plot lines Disney has recycled, but actual animation too! Just take a look at the footage below.
And while the evidence is there in plain sight, the question is: why? The rumor goes that in the 1970s when Disney movies like Robin Hood came out, the studio was broke, and recycling old animation was a cheap way to make ends meet.
However, while that would’ve certainly saved some time from designing and planning new movement sequences, it isn’t the whole truth. According to Floyd Norman, a Disney Animator, the director of Robin Hood and Winnie the Pooh, Wolfgang Reitherman, wanted to play it safe by using animation he knew worked.
The thing is, after Walt died in 1966, the studio essentially lost its guiding star and it showed, as Disney’s profits from their animation features began to decline. What Wolfgang was doing was perhaps an attempt to recapture some of the Walt Disney magic by sticking with the old charm.
This is why some films from that period feature direct copies of the studio’s older animations. It’s kind of like some of the nostalgia-baiting unnecessary sequels we see today, only at least those Disney movies were pretending to be original!
Hidden Adult Jokes
It just so happens that many “children’s” cartoons aren’t all that child-friendly! The top suspect is our old pal Mr SquarePants. Throughout the series, his nautical nonsense has oftentimes resulted in some pretty adult jokes that, granted, went completely over our heads as children, but when watching now are pretty on the nose!
Just check the clip below from the season 2 episode, Your Shoe’s Untied.
Of course, all we see is a dancing anemone, but judging by SpongeBob’s sheer panic, we can assume he may’ve been watching a sea creature’s equivalent of a one-handed workout video, if you catch the drift.
Moving onto something equally PG unfriendly, check out this scene from the season 7 episode, The Play’s the Thing.
And just in case you still didn’t get the joke, let’s just say that those were not balloons. No idea how that one got past the censor, but perhaps the sponge’s prophylactics look just enough like balloons to slip through.
Admittedly, it’s not just SpongeBob who’s been up to no good, Donald Duck too! And, trigger warning: you may never look at him the same way again.
Looks like Donald just pitched a tent there. Thankfully, that uncomfortable image from 1947’s Wide Open Spaces short film is later revealed to be a rock poking through Donald’s sleeping mat and beyond. But it’s safe to assume that those Disney animators had a good laugh, even if they have just ruined all of our childhoods!
But it’s not just Donald’s unwanted protrusions that made for an awkward moment in a Disney cartoon. Take a look at those sausages in the background of the 1933 Three Little Pigs short. The three little pigs have a jig, all the while a portrait of their father immortalized in the form of sausage can be spotted in the background.
Is Heinz Doofenshmirtz Phineas's father?
If you are a millennial, or older, you might not be as familiar with the next one. Phineas and Ferb was a cartoon that first aired on Disney Channel in 2007, with the premise being 2 stepbrothers who would embark on wild adventures and constructions each episode.
During the series, we’re never introduced to Phineas’ biological dad and while it’s not an important part of the plot, it has left fans wondering who the mystery man might be. Phineas’ head is distinctly triangular and, in fact, if you look at both Phineas and Ferb, notice how their silhouettes reference their initials P and F.
And while Phineas’ triangular head is unique to him, there is one other character with a similarly shaped head: Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the show’s villain who will stop at nothing to rule the tri-state area.
Of course, the initial resemblance might not be striking, but notice how they both not only have triangular heads, but little hair sprouts at the top.
Fans have even extended the theory to Candace, Phineas’ sister. From her slouch and long neck to the fact that both she and Doofenshmirtz are lactose intolerant! But then again, an estimated 68% of the population also is. So, for now, Phineas and Candace’s dad remains a long-necked triangular mystery.
Powerpuff Girls and the Three Good Fairies
In the intro to The Powerpuff Girls, we’re told that those superhuman gals were created in a lab, made from sugar, spice, and everything nice, not to mention the all-important Chemical X, which bestowed them their superpowers. However, behind the scenes, there was actually another source of inspiration, and it came from a Disney classic!
The three Powerpuff Girls each have distinct personalities, booted with their own trademark colors red, blue, and green. And you know which other famous trio also share those same colors? No, not Alvin and the Chipmunks, but the fairies from Sleeping Beauty! Even the Powerpuff Girls’ personalities overlap with those of the fairies, there’s the sweet one, the energetic one, and the tough one.
Perhaps you could even theorize that the Sleeping Beauty fairies are the Powerpuff Girls grown up, after traveling through some kind of whacky, MCU-logic time portal to medieval times.
If you enjoyed investigating these cartoon secrets, you might want to read about the scariest Pixar movie theories, theories that will ruin your childhood, and the scariest Disney movie theories. Thanks for reading!