Mysteries of Huntington Beach: Dirty Donald Duck and Johnny's Saloon

Mysteries of Huntington Beach: Dirty Donald Duck and Johnny's Saloon

​Those who drop by Johnny's Saloon in Huntington Beach to listen to a little Johnny Cash on the jukebox and have a drink will find a relic of the Magic Kingdom that imagineers would probably prefer you didn't see. It's a kiddie ride, similar to what you would find outside supermarkets, in the form of Mickey Mouse's apoplectic nemesis Donald Duck. Designed for kids to climb on, it rocks back and forth while playing the tune "It's a Small World."


But there's something dirty and unnerving about this Donald, going well beyond the fact the rageaholic sailor wears no pants. Whomever straddles this Donald for a little of the old "back and forth" will find the duck's bill stuffed firmly in their crotch, his eyes affixed south of the belt line like a predatory bus rider. 

Shall I bill you now, or later?
Shall I bill you now, or later?
Taylor Hamby

This is all well and good for the crowd at Johnny's when that drunken pinup girl wanting to entice the boys in the room with a little girl-on-waterfowl action wraps her stems around Donald's face. But when you put the intended user on the ride--a 5-year-old child--you're running the risk of winding up on the Megan's Law registry.

File this under Disney's boners. Like previous "uh-ohs" by the House of Mouse during its illustrious history, Disney has probably done its best to erase this latest evidence of its crime against common decency. Only a few pictures of this ride can be found online. Most feature a young girl with a perplexed look on her face, as if she knows uncle Donald is acting weird.

Multiple requests for comment from Disney were lost in the company's vast PR machine, but thankfully, we have tavern keeper Johnny Kresimir, who didn't try to duck the obvious questions.

"The way the story was told to me was that Disney licensed [Donald's image] to someone and let it be made," said Kresimir. "Then they realized what it looked like, and that it wasn't proper."

The result? This Dirty Donald isn't available on just any street corner. Still, Kresimir wanted one for the saloon that would substitute for a photo booth (take that, Alex's Bar). He initially contacted a company in China that offered to manufacture one, but he bided his time and waited five years for the real deal.

"One of my employees knew I wanted it, and her boyfriend at the time found one somewhere in LA," Kresimir said. "I thought this was a cooler photo opportunity, if you will. Sure enough, everybody loved it."

Though he declined to divulge the item's price tag, Kresimir says Dirty Donald came with a hefty bill.

Inspection of the ride's glittery blue pedestal reveals a metal plate emblazoned with Disney's logo, as well as that of a manufacturer located in Germany. A quick Google search leads to Merkur Gaming, which announced a licensing agreement with the Walt Disney Co. in London in 2006. According to Merkur Director Rolf Klug, the agreement allowed for the "development, production and marketing of Disney Kiddie Rides for the whole of Europe, the Middle East and other selected countries." Interestingly Merkur, a division of the Gauselmann Gruppe, also produces gambling machines for European casinos and money-management systems.

Mysteries of Huntington Beach: Dirty Donald Duck and Johnny's Saloon
Gauselmann Press Release

Is there any surprise something so perverse would come from the mind of a German? This Donald Duck thing is weird, too.

But Dirty Donald isn't the first PR brushfire Disney has had to piss on, as the company has a long history of sexually suggestive slipups. An Arkansas woman sued the company in 1995 over what she believed were shimmering golden penises in the background of the Little Mermaid VHS box. Though the woman quickly dropped the suit, Disney altered the image in subsequent releases. 

VHS cover art for 1989's Little Mermaid, the real deal, or a total pipe dream?
VHS cover art for 1989's Little Mermaid, the real deal, or a total pipe dream?

YouTube also features a neat little video of a wedding scene from the Little Mermaid wherein the officiating priest steals focus when a bulge in his pants mysteriously appears. Disney flacks said this was actually the priest's knee moving, though the scene was subsequently altered.


So are these images simply fevered delusions springing from the overactive imaginations of litigious viewers? Or are they an artistic rebellion by Disney animators splashing onto the silver screen despite their master's iron-fisted attempts to present a sterilized fantasy universe? We may never know. It could be awhile before Disney publicly acknowledges a world in which the prince actually bends Snow White (or another prince, for that matter) over a log while the dwarves watch intently from the trees. 

We know our readers can envision such a world. Please feel free to comment on your favorite Disney boo-boos. And keep them coming.

Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >