Did the Los Angeles Times unwittingly use an air-brushed photo with its obituary on famed choreographer Marc Breaux Thursday? An eagle-eyed commenter on this weekend's post about Breaux named Aeroz noticed that in the photo of Breaux rehearsing with Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews for "Mary Poppins," he is clearly holding a cigarette in his right hand. In another version of the very same photo — poof — no cig.
The smoking photo came from a Breaux photo album on the University of Norther Iowa website, which apparently maintains an archive on the dancer. The altered photo is credited in the LA Times to Walt Disney Archives. So was this a regular thing at Disney, sending less than wholesome images down the memory hole? To be clear, I can't see how the LA Times is at any fault here, but what does the paper have to say?
(ETA: I tipped this to media blogger Jim Romenesko who posted about it (no Crosstalk mention, alas). Here's what he has found out so far: "I've asked the Times and they're looking into it. | Update: "I am having morning editors check on this, but we would never photoshop the cigarette out," says Calvin Hom, a Times photo editor. | Update 2: "The photo came that way from Disney," writes Hom." He's also checking with Disney.)
Interesting to note that Walt himself was a well-known chain smoker (Lucky Strikes!) who died of lung cancer — but his big movie self won't light up in the coming Tom Hanks/Emma Thompson movie "Saving Mr. Banks." Filmmakers telling the story behind the making of "Mary Poppins" had to abide by the Disney Studio's blanket policy from 2007 against showing lit cigarettes in its movies.