This story motif is one of the oldest and most popular: Making a deal with the Devil. It’s even used to sell cars! One of the most popular versions of this story is Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s play Faust. A scene in F.W. Murnau’s 1926 Faust in which the shadow of the demon Mephistopheles falls over the village is said to have inspired the opening to Fantasia‘s “Night On Bald Mountain” segment. Variations on this story in appear in modern culture the likes of Stephen Vincent Benét’s short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, Charlie Daniels’ song The Devil Went Down To Georgia, and Al Pacino vehicle The Devil’s Advocate, and Marvel comics’ Ghost Rider.
This same basic story has continued to be popular because it’s archetypal. It represents a common dilemma faced by people striving to achieve a certain level of success, power or fame.
How does a person manage to get ahead without compromising one’s own moral integrity in the process? This article intends to explore this Faust/Mephistopheles dilemma using as its example the career of Walt Disney. Continue reading The Devil & Walt Disney