The old puppet-maker wished upon a star and the Blue Fairy turned Pinocchio into a real boy but like all fairies she possessed a nasty streak and didn’t tell him about his nose. Foulfellow and Gideon sold him for gold. Being a real boy didn’t make him any less a wooden head, Jiminy Cricket despaired. And if he was swallowed by a whale, still it was Disney so you knew it would all be okay in the end.
I can distinctly remember the rare occasion when my mother gathered up her three children and took them on an expedition to the city to see the film. It stayed in my memory the way hardly anything else did at the time. Such an excursion must have occurred to see Bambi, for instance, but it is Pinocchio I remember. It received a special re-release to mark its tenth anniversary, which meant it was on in the city in 1951. It can’t have been easy for her—I was six at the time, Howie in the pram and Rosely at eleven couldn’t have been much help to her. Which was why it didn’t happen often—but it did happen.
It didn’t take you long to figure out that telling lies did not make your nose grow longer at all. It was itself a lie. Armed with that intelligence, you began to tell every untruth you could think of. No one would have dreamed how good at it you would become.
If not as good as others, like national leaders for instance. For who would have guessed that it was with harmless cartoon trifles like this that the complete transformation of the society we lived in had begun.