Saturday, November 08, 2008
The notion that Lemmings commit mass suicide became a full-blown urban legend in 1958, following a Disney documentary “White Wilderness,” that contains a lot of faked footage.
Instead of filming an actual migration, the movie team transported a few dozen lemmings to a riverbank in Alberta, Canada (not far from Vancouver, where I am writing this), which is not even coastal, and therefore not even part of the lemmings' range.
The Disney filmmakers then tossed the rodents off a cliff into the river. In the documentary, the river becomes "the sea." The cameras rolled as the lemmings drowned, and thus was born the longstanding urban legend. See a YouTube clip from the movie here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMZlr5Gf9yY
Despite faking the documentary, Disney won the Oscar that year for Best Documentary. Do they have to give it back?