Thursday, March 26, 2015

Snow White Camembert Labels from France

Located in Charente-Maritime in southwestern France, the Chadenac Dairy Cooperative (Laiterie Coopérative de Chadenac) started producing a 40% fat camembert cheese circa 1938. This little bit of information is important to us why? Because the cheese bore a Snow White label and was called Blanche Neige Camembert Supérieur. The illustrations for this--and all of the labels--were created by H. Garnaud of Angoulême.

The distinctively Disney-like princess is pictured standing under a tree with two generic-looking dwarfs, warming their hands by a campfire.The lack of any Disney copyright markings is an indication that the dairy was using the Snow White likeness without permission.

This next label for the extra fine cheese also displays no Disney imprint, and yet, the princess looks even more like her motion picture character. The dwarfs, however, remain indistinct.

In a later label. it's clear that the Disney Company caught on, because not only does Snow White appear like herself, but she's also joined by a very identifiable Bashful and Happy. And now found along the bottom is the standard international imprint used in the day, "Walt Disney - Mickey Mouse S.A."

The same illustration and markings are seen on a square label, 45% fat Carré de L'ouest.

The evolution of the Chadenac Dairy labels is seen below with a yellow design in the middle, and a red "Belle Neige" on the right.

The Belle Neige label dates from the 1970s when the dairy stopped using the Disney characters--due to the high cost of the licensing fees. The co-op simply changed the name of the cheese to Beautiful Snow and created their own design personifications.


An advertisement for the Blanche Neige Camembert is seen on this ink blotter paper. In France, when school children were taught to write with fountain pens, these papers would be placed under the left hand (for right-handers) and slid as the writing progressed. When too much ink came out of the pen, the paper would absorb the stain. Some companies used them to advertise, including the Chadenac Dairy Cooperative.


French cinema and television producer, Pierre Tchernia, is a well-known personality throughout France. It's also common knowledge that his favorite film is Blanche Neige et les Sept Nains. In the early sixties, he was the host of a TV show called, The Public Friend #1 (L'ami public numéro 1). In the introduction to the first episode, he is talking with Jacqueline Huet. They’re discussing the concept of the program, showing clips of Disney features, shorts, and other materia--many of them for the very first time on French TV. In the brief excerpt that follows, they chat about Snow White camembert boxes that Pierre has collected.

Camembert information, images, and subtitled video generously provided by Greg Philip, author of A Lost Film blog.

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