Walt Disney Tried To Remove The Famous Spaghetti Scene From Lady And The Tramp

"Lady and the Tramp" is by no means one of Disney's greatest films, but the time and effort it took to bring this story to the screen for nearly two decades make it a worthy addition to their original roster. Although it has aged rather poorly in terms of distasteful stereotypes concerning the Siamese cats, the one area that holds up spectacularly well is in its animation. The 1955 feature was the first film to be fully animated for Cinemascope, as the widescreen format was gaining plenty of momentum around that time, so of course, the breathtaking vistas of this early 20th-century midwestern town still look so beautiful.

If there were only one scene that solidifies the film's legacy, however, it has to be none other than the spaghetti dinner date where Tramp (Larry Roberts) and Lady (Barbara Luddy) share their first tender moment together. Even if you've never seen "Lady and the Tramp," you know about the kiss by means of the very long spaghetti strand that brings the domesticated Cocker Spaniel and charming stray Mutt together.

The kiss has become one of those iconic movie moments that have transcended the film itself, as you've likely seen a number of parodies surrounding the romantic scene. There's even a hilarious subversion in "Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Great Adventure," where the new generation is bit by the puppy love bug and digs into the scrumptious plate as dogs would, before Scamp (Scott Wolf) licks some sauce off of the nose of Angel (Alyssa Milano).

It's impossible to think of "Lady and the Tramp" without one of the great moments of movie romance, but if Walt Disney had his way, it never would have happened.

Frank Thomas animated the scene anyways

Despite wanting to show the canine protagonists portray human emotions, according to former Disney archivist Steven Vagnini, Walt Disney had initially vetoed the scene that is arguably the lynchpin of the film during the storyboard process (via Yahoo!):

"Walt wasn't convinced that that would be a very clean-cut scene [...] As you can imagine, if you have two pets and they eat a plate of spaghetti, it's hard to envision that being too graceful."

It's strange to think that Walt thought the idea of two dogs sharing a romantic meal was too off base, but at the same time, nothing like this had ever been done before. According to the documentary "Lady's Pedigree," Frank Thomas ("Bambi"), one of the company's greatest animators, went against his bosses' wishes, and put something together anyway. "Aren't we grateful that Frank actually persisted, that he didn't listen to Walt? He said 'No, I'm gonna make this work and I'll show him. I'll show him that it's gonna be entertaining,'" said art director Andy Gaskill ("The Lion King"). The rest, they say, is history. 

Thomas' perseverance is just a great lesson that shows that collaboration, especially in the world of animation, is crucial to making the impossible a reality. One of the biggest names in entertainment nearly missed out on one of the studio's most recognizable scenes because he didn't believe in his animators to make it look as beautiful as it turned out.

"Lady and the Tramp" is currently streaming on Disney+.