January 25, 2023

"Some fans tried to mount a 'Save Splash Mountain' campaign, even urging opponents of the switch to enlist the help of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)."

"Others acknowledged they would miss a classic but were looking forward to a new chapter for the ride. Still others argued that it was past time for the original to go, given its source material."

Splash Mountain was based on "Song of the South," the "1946 film set in post-Civil War Georgia that has been under fire since its release" and that Disney CEO Bob Iger has said is "just not appropriate in today’s world." Is he right? Who can say? Who has seen this movie? 

I've only ever seen the "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" sequence. 

The singer is James Baskett (Wikipedia), who "appeared with Louis Armstrong on Broadway in the 1929 black musical revue Hot Chocolates and in several all-black New York films, including Harlem is Heaven (1932)."
["Song of the South"] was one of the first Hollywood portrayals of a black actor as a non-comic character in a leading role in a film meant for general audiences.
Baskett was prohibited from attending the film's premiere in Atlanta, Georgia, because Atlanta was racially segregated by law.

Although Baskett was occasionally criticized for accepting such a "demeaning" role (most of his acting credits were that of African-American stereotypes), his acting was almost universally praised, and columnist Hedda Hopper, along with Walt Disney, was one of the many journalists and personalities who declared that he should receive an Academy Award for his work. 
On March 20, 1948, Baskett received an Academy Honorary Award for his performance as Uncle Remus. He was the first African-American male actor to win an Academy Award.

I don't think hiding the film is the best solution. Straightforward confrontation with the bad should go along with honoring the good and understanding the past. Disney protects its own interests and deserves little credit for acting in accordance with the prevailing elite opinion.

What is the good? I don't know! I haven't seen the film. But obviously Baskett himself was good, the song was good, and the animation was good. 

And, my God, Baskett was only 42 years old in that clip. He died 2 years later, less than 4 months after they gave him that Oscar. Why should his work be buried? Maybe there's a great answer, but it's hard to discuss when we can't see the movie. Disney lets us see "Dumbo," despite the crow characters, one of whom, Fats Crow, was voiced by Baskett.

Anyway, Splash Mountain finally embarrassed Disney enough that it's turning the flume ride into "Tiana’s Bayou Adventure," based on "The Princess and the Frog," which had a black princess character.  

106 comments:

rcocean said...

So, Disney based on a ride on one of their films, and they did so to sell product. Now they've decided not to sell the movie anymore, so the ride got axed. And, they've got a new ride based on more recent product. They're still selling that movie.

Guess that's the "Free market". The real question is this: Song of the South was made 77 years ago, why is it still under copyright?

CJinPA said...

Temporary foray into the Twilight Zone Comment Section. All good.

Carol said...

Not my favorite Disney movie by any means. Just couldn't get into that guy. Maybe it was sentimental dreck.

One I'd like to see again is Legend of Sleepy Hollow. What ever happened to that one?

Mike Sylwester said...

I've seen the movie Song of the South, several years ago. As I remember, it was shown on the TCM cable-television station.

I've seen Birth of a Nation at least twice on TCM.

Nancy said...

You don't remember the scene with the happy darkies singing in harmony around the fire?

RNB said...

"...past time for the original to go, given its source material." The ultimate source material was the Uncle Remus stories set down by Joel Chandler Harris, which were based on West African folk tales recounted by African-Americans around the South, many of them former slaves. Harris was also given credit for transcribing the vocabulary, accents, and speech patterns of African-Americans of that period and circumstances long before the WPA projects that aimed to do the same. Along with praise, Harris was also criticized by some then and after, but be clear that in suppressing his work you are also suppressing the memories and culture of African-Americans as set down by a man who -- for his time -- was very egalitarian.

gilbar said...

this IS Great! we, as a People, NEED to remove ALL mention of people of color from our culture!
There is NO PLACE in Amerikkka for amusement park rides that Pretend that THOSE PEOPLE are humans
Once we've REMOVED them from our culture, we can continue REMOVING them from our midst.
This, is The Point; isn't it?

Deirdre Mundy said...

We found a library with a copy of the DVD (there is a weird bootleg one) and... it was a pretty good movie. The main character is sent to live with his grandma on the old plantation because his dad owns a newspaper publishing articles supporting reconstruction and the family is getting death threats.

The plantation has black and white sharecroppers. The Black sharecroppers are portrayed as hardworking, thrifty, and family-oriented with a strong sense of community. The white sharecroppers are portrayed as racist, slovenly, selfish and cruel.

So it IS a very racist movie, but only against Scotch-Irish redheads.

Kate said...

I remember riding Splash Mountain in Anaheim after it opened. It was a boring boat ride with a terrifying plunge at the end. Tianna can't fix that. It's funny, though, to think that some people consider it a classic. It was never OG.

RMc said...

Why should ("Song of the South") be buried?

Because doing so costs nothing, and it signals that you're on the Right Side. (You don't want to tick off the commissar, er, I mean, the Diversity and Inclusion Officer.)

Gravel said...

I'd be surprised if you've never seen the animated portions. Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear; the tarbaby and the briar patch.

Dude1394 said...

Please WHEN will companies QUIT listening to probably 10 people on an email list. I bet that legitimate complaints surely do not get this type of "yes sir, how high" response.

10 people write an email and the CEO quakes, why? Because the democrat media is always looking for something else to scream racism about.

Dude1394 said...

Oh, I've seen song of the south many times and enjoyed it. But I also really enjoyed the old uncle remus stories and have read them many times to my kids and grandkiddos. They are wonderful.

James said...

I fondly remember the ride, but it wasn't my favorite. I am still bitter that they axed "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride", that one was awesome and I was bummed a few years ago with my son and it wasn't there. Surprisingly, "Captain Eo" was still playing, a special limited run or something. Make of that what you will.

RideSpaceMountain said...

Unlike splash mountain, the great thing about riding space mountain is that you can ride space mountain everywhere. You can ride space mountain at Disneyland, even if they closed it.

You can ride space mountain in a ship
You can ride space mountain in a plane
You can you can using cool whip
Or a private bathroom on a train
You can ride space mountain in a chair
You can ride space mountain anywhere!
You can you can three times a day
Sometimes even when your wife's away
Space mountain is a state of mind
Wherever you are so inclined

Ann Althouse said...

The main argument in Disney's favor, as I see it, is that a Disney movie is so specifically Disney that its representation of the brand cannot be eradicated. It's not like letting people see "Birth of a Nation," where there is no existing entity that has its reputation attached to it. To let people see "Song of the South" would make a big showing of Disney's having created it. They could do a big confrontation, as I said, but that would be distracting and complicated, and they choose not to do it.

Ann Althouse said...

It's weird that they've had a ride based on it all this time!

Why wasn't that changed 30 years ago? Why change it now? Who even remembered what it was supposed to be? I mean, who the hell was Mr. Toad?

Lyssa said...

I don’t have an opinion on Song of the South; like most people old enough to have kids old enough for Disney, I’ve never seen it, though I agree it’s a shame that the actor’s apparently good work is lost. But I’ve always thought it seems weird to have an attraction themed on IP that the majority of guests aren’t even familiar with, so the change makes a lot of sense and it’s surprising it’s taken this long. FWIW, I think Princess and the Frog is underrated in the Disney cannon (she’s American! I just loved that.), so I’m happy to see it get a prominent place here.

Sid said...

My mother was honored by the North Carolina county she taught in for 30+ years for her role in integrating those schools in the Sixties. Song of the South was one of her favorite movies, to the extent that she kept a bootleg VHS of it until her death, and would loan it out on the sly to whomever asked.

As to Uncle Remus, he was a freedman, not a slave, and "Remus saves the Confederate family, saves the Union soldier whom he has wounded as a loyal rebel, and then gives himself and his labor to all in happy reunion. Uncle Remus, therefore, was the ultimate Civil War veteran—he fought on both sides, he saved the Union, and as the old representative of his race, he demanded nothing in return. Perhaps most poignantly, the “little boy” to whom all the Brer Rabbit stories were told is the son of the North-South marriage that Remus had so deftly arranged. Harris’s artistic achievement was to create a world where on the one hand the Civil War never really needed to have happened, but on the other, all the deception, cunning, and bare-bones competition the underdogs of life could muster was necessary for their very survival.

BLIGHT, David W.. Race and Reunion (pp. 228-229). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.

Sid said...

My mother was honored by the North Carolina county she taught in for 30+ years for her role in integrating those schools in the Sixties. Song of the South was one of her favorite movies, to the extent that she kept a bootleg VHS of it until her death, and would loan it out on the sly to whomever asked.

As to Uncle Remus, he was a freedman, not a slave, and "Remus saves the Confederate family, saves the Union soldier whom he has wounded as a loyal rebel, and then gives himself and his labor to all in happy reunion. Uncle Remus, therefore, was the ultimate Civil War veteran—he fought on both sides, he saved the Union, and as the old representative of his race, he demanded nothing in return. Perhaps most poignantly, the “little boy” to whom all the Brer Rabbit stories were told is the son of the North-South marriage that Remus had so deftly arranged. Harris’s artistic achievement was to create a world where on the one hand the Civil War never really needed to have happened, but on the other, all the deception, cunning, and bare-bones competition the underdogs of life could muster was necessary for their very survival.

BLIGHT, David W.. Race and Reunion (pp. 228-229). Harvard University Press. Kindle Edition.

Witness said...

it's okay to change up the rides at a theme park guys. there doesn't even really need to be a reason.

Ann Althouse said...

"The main character is sent to live with his grandma on the old plantation because his dad owns a newspaper publishing articles supporting reconstruction and the family is getting death threats. The plantation has black and white sharecroppers. The Black sharecroppers are portrayed as hardworking, thrifty, and family-oriented with a strong sense of community. The white sharecroppers are portrayed as racist, slovenly, selfish and cruel. So it IS a very racist movie, but only against Scotch-Irish redheads."

Applying Critical Race Theory, I presume everything that was done was done to serve the interests of the white power. You've done the analysis. The movie is being hidden to protect white supremacy.

Sid said...

My mother was honored by the North Carolina county she taught in for 30+ years for her role in integrating those schools in the Sixties. Song of the South was one of her favorite movies, to the extent that she kept a bootleg VHS of it until her death, and would loan it out on the sly to whomever asked.

As to Uncle Remus, he was a freedman, not a slave, and "Remus saves the Confederate family, saves the Union soldier whom he has wounded as a loyal rebel, and then gives himself and his labor to all in happy reunion. Uncle Remus, therefore, was the ultimate Civil War veteran—he fought on both sides, he saved the Union, and as the old representative of his race, he demanded nothing in return. Perhaps most poignantly, the “little boy” to whom all the Brer Rabbit stories were told is the son of the North-South marriage that Remus had so deftly arranged. Harris’s artistic achievement was to create a world where on the one hand the Civil War never really needed to have happened, but on the other, all the deception, cunning, and bare-bones competition the underdogs of life could muster was necessary for their very survival.

From "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory" by David W. Blight.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'd be surprised if you've never seen the animated portions. Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear; the tarbaby and the briar patch."

I guess clips of it must have been on "The Mickey Mouse Club" or "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" and that I saw it when I was a child.

Known Unknown said...

Timely. I just did a deeper dive on the Uncle Remus stories created by Joel Chandler Harris.

Harris's biography is an interesting one. Illegitimate. Never knew his father. Irish. Red-haired. Ostracized from Georgian society due to his hair and Irish roots. Worked in a news office on a plantation. Spent more time with the slaves (whom he felt more comfortable with) than with contemporaries.

Learned the oral histories of the African slave stories, and became fluent in the dialect enough to record it later in his countless Remus stories (upon which the Disney film is based.)

Critics say he appropriated culture, but in a way, without him writing it down, it might have been lost given its oral traditions. However, even other Black scholars and writers have praised his work as being an important piece (and maybe even the most prominent) part of American folklore.

He also gained praise from Mark Twain and W.E.B. DuBois among others.

Now, his alter ego was Joe Harris, columnist and eventual editor at the Atlanta Constitution. He wrote editorials denouncing racism, urging education of the Negro, and espousing racial harmony. He was quite a progressive man for his time and place.

Of course, we suffer from continual cultural amnesia in this society, so his history and work is largely (and conveniently) forgotten.

Wikipedia link

JayG said...

I have a bootleg DVD I got maybe ten years ago, which is how long ago I watched it. My memory is that it's definitely unacceptable now, but not as horrible as one might think. I'd rank it lower on the racism scale than Gone With the Wind. It's absolutely nothing like Birth of a Nation.

In any case, I'm against the practice of ghosting offensive movies, TV shows, books, etc. People should see how casual and common this stuff was.

Ann Althouse said...

They're switching the theme to a princess movie, but that makes them vulnerable to the charge that they are reinforcing traditional gender roles.

I'm sure the recent princesses are feisty and have some feminist views, but the princess theme generally is a time bomb.

Sid said...

My mother was honored by the North Carolina county she taught in for 30+ years for her role in integrating those schools in the Sixties. Song of the South was one of her favorite movies, to the extent that she kept a bootleg VHS of it until her death, and would loan it out on the sly to whomever asked.



As to Uncle Remus, he was a freedman, not a slave, and "Remus saves the Confederate family, saves the Union soldier whom he has wounded as a loyal rebel, and then gives himself and his labor to all in happy reunion. Uncle Remus, therefore, was the ultimate Civil War veteran—he fought on both sides, he saved the Union, and as the old representative of his race, he demanded nothing in return. Perhaps most poignantly, the “little boy” to whom all the Brer Rabbit stories were told is the son of the North-South marriage that Remus had so deftly arranged. Harris’s artistic achievement was to create a world where on the one hand the Civil War never really needed to have happened, but on the other, all the deception, cunning, and bare-bones competition the underdogs of life could muster was necessary for their very survival.



From "Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory" by David W. Blight.

Mike Sylwester said...

In my blog about the movie Dirty Dancing, I've posted a couple of articles discussing the song "Putting on the Ritz". There I complained that videos showing this song being performed in black-face have been removed from YouTube and other platforms.

The relationship of this song to the movie Dirty Dancing is that the character Robbie Gould mocks Baby Houseman by saying that he too has "gone slumming". In other words, Baby has "gone slumming" with Johnny Castle like Robbie had "gone slumming" with Penny Johnson.

The expression "gone slumming" was made famous by an Irving Berlin song, "Slumming on Park Avenue". That song portrays higher-class people visiting places or consorting with people below their own place or dignity.

Irving Berlin wrote a contrasting song, "Putting on the Ritz", which portrays lower-class people visiting places or consorting with people above their place or dignity. More specifically, the song "Putting on the Ritz" portrays poor Negroes in Harlem acting like rich Whites on Park Avenue.

The Harlem Negroes do so with great humor and artistry, and the song celebrates those qualities.

=======

So, if Whites want to perform the song and celebrate those qualities, they really should do so in black-face. However, doing so has become taboo.

The best video I ever saw of "Putting on the Ritz" was broadcast on The Lawrence Welk Show. When I first wrote about the song in a blog article in 2017, YouTube still provided a video of that Welk performance. Later, though, YouTube removed that video.

YouTube has removed likewise an excellent video where a White, German singer Taco performed the song in black-face.

=======

As a consequence of this foolish sensitivity about black-face performances, young people now think mistakenly that the song "Putting on the Ritz" is about rich White people showing off their wealth. I complained about this false interpretation of the song in a blog article in November 2022.

rcocean said...

As for Song of the South, I saw the movie as a kid, and was bored with it, and I'm bored with it now. It had a couple good songs, but that's it. It was a "pro-black" movie back in '46, which was why the black actor got awards for it.

Using the "but its not really racist" arguement ALWAYS Loses. You're banking on the SJW's, and liberal moral-signallers to see reason and go "Wow, I guess I went too far. You're right, its NOT racist". When does that EVER happen? Never. That's because all the incentive is be "Holier than thou" and show that you're even more Anti-racist then anyone.

But go ahead and say its not racist. Its just about feelings anyway.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

After Disney bases everything on princesses - what will the Trans woke Army do?

Look out.

Ampersand said...

The film was developed as part of a propaganda campaign AGAINST racism (the Double V campaign championed by the Pittsburgh Courier). But it's in the nature of propaganda to age poorly. Watch how the current propaganda is diminished once some of the current insanities run their course. For instance, the film Everything Everywhere etc. (though brilliantly filmed and edited) propagandizes a view of plasticized gender and sexuality that I expect will be obsolete in the future after the inevitable malpractice suits. I'm predicting that lots of these action films and streaming series, in which attractive female characters weighing about 110 pounds defeat strong men in hand to hand combat, are going to look very foolish in the future. I could be wrong of course. Maybe some future Marie Osmond will beat some future Mike Tyson if they only schedule the match.

rcocean said...

Birth of the Nation is a milestone film. But its just a historical curiousity like "Battleship Potemkin". As a movie its a bore. I'll give it credit, its more interesting than "Potemkin" but its still a 100 year old silent movie with bad acting.

Its talked about today, mianly by Libtards that rail against it and film snobs who want to show how sophisticated and knowlegable they are.

Birches said...

I'm meh on the whole thing. I like Splash Mountain and I've never seen Song of the South either. But Disney these days is all about marketing. They changed the submarines from 10,000 Leagues Under the Sea to Finding Nemo. I don't see this as much different.

Lyssa said...

Princess theme may ultimately be a time bomb, but, from the perspective of someone with a 7 year old daughter, I think it’s still a very long fuse. As far a I can tell, Princess-theming is much stronger, commercially, now then it was when I was a little girl. If princesses are a ticking time bomb, the whole Disney apparatus is.

That said, Disney seems bound and determined lately to destroy almost all of its good work to lazy IP-mining and fake wokeness (though I don’t think this is a good example -this move makes sense), so maybe the whole thing’s on borrowed time.

rcocean said...

Mr Toad's wild ride was my favorite.

Gusty Winds said...

Brer Rabbit punching the tar baby is a classic life lesson. The more Brer Rabbit fights the more he becomes entangled.

The Uncle Remus stories are from the 1880's. A reflection of the times I'm sure. Seems the problem with the Disney Movie is Uncle Remus is too jovial and happy. You're not supposed to be happy and singing Zip-A-De-Doo-Da when you're an oppressed share cropper.

I saw the movie a few times when I was a kid. And I've been on that ride. Both seem harmless to me. But it's the 2020's and America has lost it's collective mind to the woke mind virus.

Seems this is much like censoring Huckleberry Finn because of the use of the "N" word, and not realizing it is actually a story against racism.

Leland said...

Let me know when they get rid of “It’s a Small World” ride. It is full of racial stereotypes, so it should be easy to get rid of it. I’ll admit I just hate the tune and avoid that part of the park because of it. Then again, I just avoid the park these days.

Cappy said...

File this under WTF.

RNB said...

"Why wasn't that changed 30 years ago?" As I heard it, Disney decommissioned another ride and had a lot of audioanimatronic animal chassis left over. Splash Mountain allowed them to recycle the chassis as Uncle Remus characters and save money.

"Why change it now?" Splash Mountain sits right next to New Orleans Square, devoted to 'The Princess and the Frog.' Incorporating the ride into NO Square expands the merchandising opportunities for 'Princess and Frog' princessware.

Gusty Winds said...

We're not allowed to see a 1940 cartoon with based on 1880 Uncle Remus stories, but Disney is ok with animating a same sex kiss for the kiddies in the last Buzz Lightyear movie.

Maybe Disney could edit Song of the South with today's technology and add a scene where Uncle Remus is making out with a red haired Scotch-Irish white guy. That would make everyone happy, no??

They could replace Zip-A-Dee-Do-Da, and have Uncle Remus teach the children in the movie how to rap "I love it when you call me big pa-pa".

Gusty Winds said...

"Let me know when they get rid of “It’s a Small World” ride."

On The Pirates of the Caribbean ride they introduced Captain Jack robots that looked just like Johnny Depp.

They should keep up with the ever changing world on "It's a Small World". You know, the Ukranian boy could be dressed like Zelensky in all army green. They could have kids crossing the US Southern border into Texas. How about showing kids mining for cobalt? Or the ones in NY, California, and IL wearing masks and getting mRNA shots?

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lurker21 said...

After Disney bases everything on princesses - what will the Trans woke Army do?

Coming soon. Disney Prince movies. Little girls aren't limited to marrying princes or being tougher than any man. They can now become princes and men.

It is strange that years of telling girls that they can be strong and tough and fierce, and some girls believe that if they are that way they are actually boys.

BTW: Interesting piece by Rod Dreher (I know. Whether or not those words are an oxymoron they do make one's heart sink a little, but this article is mostly what was written to him, not what he came up with on his own).

Jim Gust said...

"I mean, who the hell was Mr. Toad?"

The main character in The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908.

The Disney ride was inspired by the chapter in which Mr. Toad acquires and car and learns to drive. Comedy ensues.

The ride was relatively primitive in execution, compared to other nearby Disney rides. In the Peter Pan ride you were lifted into the air and looked at 3-d scenes from above. That must have cost a lot to design and build. With Mr. Toad you rode in a car with flat, 2-d scenes going by, and occasionally it seemed you would crash into one, only to have it open up to reveal the next scene.

Very 1950s. Nothing controversial about it, as with Uncle Remus. Could be updated with new tech, if anyone knows the story any longer.

loudogblog said...

I actually have a copy of Song of the South. It was actually released in Japan on laserdisc. That's where the original source for the DVD bootlegs comes from. It's not a great film, but it's not the big racist film that the activists, most of whom have probably never seen the film, claim it is. Holiday Inn and Dumbo are actually more racist. I also suspect that it was actually aimed at a black audiences of the time.

Tim said...

I saw it, and remember nothing that would justify banning the film. I do not have the VHS, but I do have a copy of the Disney picture book with pictures of Uncle Remus and drawings of all the characters. As I recall, it was a really wholesome picture, but was made according to the current standards when it was filmed. I see it as more revisionist history.

Saint Croix said...

Is he right? Who can say? Who has seen this movie?

I have! I was 6 or 7 and I saw it in the theater. It was great.

Unfortunately my childish film criticism is notoriously unreliable.

When I was 9 I saw Star Wars in the theater. I was very proud of myself for watching an adult movie. My first PG movie! I was kicking ass, out of that G category, so happy.

When I saw Green Slime on a late-night sleepover, my buddy Chris and I both decided it was awesome. "Better than Star Wars!" somebody said, might have been me.

I also thought Disney's The Black Hole was really, really good. Some people would bitch about Disney's output in the 1970's, but I wasn't one of them.

I was a sweet, non-judgmental boy!

Bonkti said...

Somewhere I have a photograph of my children and me descending the flume, taken digitally by a Disney employee or robot for purchase later in the day.

Those three and five year-old girls, now adults, live under the shadow of face recognition and that evidence of complicity.

Pianoman said...

I have the movie on my home server. While it does have a few stereotypes, the hero of the movie, and the wisest person on the screen, is a black man. The whites are mostly idiots. Except the kids, who are fully racially integrated, and innocent.

Biden might say, "There's no 'there' there." But in this supercharged age, Song Of The South must be burned at the altar.

Mrs. Pianoman and I are big Disney fans -- we go to the park all the time. Overlays aren't uncommon, as it's a relatively inexpensive way to give an aging attraction a facelift ... so I'm not as upset about this as some Disney fans are. We'll see what the Imagineers come up with.

What Disney really needs to do is build a Creole restaurant right next to the new Splash Mountain, and call it "Tiana's". They should feature gumbo.

One other thing -- the whole idea that the Governor will get involved in "saving" a Disney attraction is just idiotic.

Saint Croix said...

I think the criticism is basically that Uncle Remus was too damn happy. That may be valid criticism. When I was 6, I had no idea he was supposed to be a slave. He was just a happy guy, and it was a happy movie.

I don't remember any slave scenes or evil stuff in the movie. He was an authority figure to the white kids, teaching them how to be happy and good.

I can't actually watch the movie as an adult, as Disney has been censoring Uncle Remus for decades. At least, in the U.S. They used to ship it abroad, spreading our racism to foreigners, I guess.

The people who want to censor it are the same people who want to censor Gone With the Wind. I don't mind the criticism. The critics have a point! But to whitewash your past -- which is what Disney is going -- is repression and dishonesty. And that's dangerous, too. I don't think Walt Disney (the man) was racist and evil. He was out in California and his art made people happy.

Lem Former Twitter Aficionado said...

Disney is writing over their racist rides… or something.

PM said...

In the late sixties, the Anaheim Disney wouldn't let longhairs in. They stopped us in the parking lot. Today, they wouldn't dare stop me were I wearing a micro-mini, twelve-inch platforms, a water-balloon bustier, a three-day beard and my head shaved to read FU. Progress!

Saint Croix said...

Still others argued that it was past time for the original to go, given its source material.

My suggestion to people who want to make symbolic protests against historic racism is simple.

Find a $20 bill. That's the one with Andrew Jackson on it, the founder of the Democrat party.

In the privacy of your home, rip the shit out of your $20.

Flush all the pieces of that slave-owning, Indian-killing, evil Democrat down the toilet.

Flush the toilet.

And have a song in your heart. You have made your protest. God has seen it, and he loves you.

You can do this in public, too! But pick on Jackson if you want Republicans to applaud.

Also Republicans should learn to say "party of Lincoln" to any fucking person in the world who wants to criticize the Republican party.

You Democrats want to have a Jackson-Lincoln throw down?

That's a fucking wipeout of UGA proportions. Bring it, dummies! History is on our side!

Leora said...

I saw the movie as a child and loved it. I had a record of Zippity Doo Dah that I played over and over. My husband purchased a copy of the DVD for me from a Canadian source. It is a delightful movie with amazing animation portraying a servant as a wise man and protector to young children. The stories of the Tar Baby and the Briar Patch as part of our American heritage and documents our African American heritage as preserved by Joel Chandler Harris from his childhood memories of stories told by his black caregivers. It ought to be venerated not censored.

Big Mike said...

Admit it, guys. The only point of saving Splash Mountain is the young women who lift their tops to flash the camera on the ride down.

Mr. D said...

I remember seeing “Song of the South” at the Viking Theater in Appleton — must have been in the early 1970s. I also remember hearing about Brer Rabbit in bedtime stories when I was little. We also had bedtime stories about Sambo, as I recall. My parents told me those stories, but they also told me not to use the N-word when I picked it up on the playground. I also remember Redd Foxx using the word quite freely on original run episodes of Sanford and Son. How does one sort all this out? Apparently we should listen to our betters, as always.

Anthony said...

Just erasing yet another black face from history. . . . .

Ficta said...

There is a copy of Song of the South "out there" based on a collector's 35mm print that looks a bit better than old Japanese laserdisc. I don't think it's a particularly racist movie. Many of those yelling about it seem to think it takes place before the Civil War (sheesh!). The live action sequences (apart from Baskett's performance, which is great) are pretty dull stuff. The cartoon sequences for the stories, with Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear, and Brer Fox are classic.
Disney ran out of money when building Splash Mountain and cannibalized the audio-animatronic "cast" of the America Sings show, a show about of the history of American popular song developed for the Bicentennial. It had a "cast" composed largely of "Southern" anthropomorphic animals. Disney then only had to provide new animatronics for the Brers. Since The Princess and the Frog is set in New Orleans, they'll probably continue to use the old animatronic cast and just add a few new characters from the movie. Those Disney folk are clever.

marybeth said...

I tried watching the movie a few years ago when I found it online. I did not watch the whole thing. It made me think that there was more than one reason to bury it.

If you were completely unaware of the movie, the ride would have seemed like it was about the African-American folk stories of Br'er Fox, Br'er Rabbit and Br'er Bear. The ride isn't any more interesting than the movie was, but when it's hot out, a ride that starts indoors and has a big splashy, watery end can be attractive.

MikeD said...

I saw Song of the South in the late 40's but, probably mistakenly, remember it as Tales from Uncle Remus. That said, my only true memories of the movie are the animated stories Uncle Remus told. Does anybody remember the Golden children's books? I believe they published the much read book we had containing the "Tales".

Saint Croix said...

I think the people of California should visit the South and talk to people and find the people in the South who hate Song of the South.

Maybe they exist! I never met one.

People of California!

You have a well-earned reputation of being a state full of phonies.

Phony, phony, phony, phony, phony. That's right, your performance is inauthentic! Go back to waiting tables!

It's mean but it's true.

(Sorta true, anyway)

Saint Croix said...

Also, if you're paying reparations...

send some checks to North Carolina!

Quaestor said...

Re: Mike Sylwester on "Puttin' on the Ritz"

The lyrics he refers to were written by Fred Astaire as an expurgation of Irving Berlin's original song:

Have you seen the well to do
Up on Lenox Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air?

High hats and narrow collars,
White spats and fifteen dollars,
Spending every dime
For a wonderful time.

If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where Harlem flits?
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Spangled gowns upon the bevy of high browns
From down the levy, all misfits
Putting' on the Ritz.

That's where each and every lulu-belle goes
Every Thursday evening with her swell beaus
Rubbin' elbows.

Come with me and we'll attend their jubilee
And see them spend their last two bits
Puttin' on the Ritz.


Lenox Avenue is the main street of Harlem, which is uptown by traditions dating to New Amsterdam. Fred Astaire wrote new lyrics referring to much, much tonier downtown Park Avenue intended to satirize wealthy white rather than indigent blacks.

Have you seen the well-to-do
Up and down Park Avenue
On that famous thoroughfare
With their noses in the air?

High hats and arrow collars,
White spats and lots of dollars,
Spending every dime
For a wonderful time.

Now, if you're blue
And you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where fashion sits,
Puttin' on the Ritz?

Different types who wear a daycoat,
Pants with stripes and cutaway coat
Perfect fits,
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Dressed up like a million-dollar trooper,
Trying mighty hard to look like Gary Cooper,
Super-duper.

Come, let's mix where Rockefellers
Walk with sticks or "umberellas"
In their mitts,
Puttin' on the Ritz.

Tips his hat just like an English chappie
To a lady with a wealthy pappy,
Very snappy.

You'll declare it's simply topping
To be there and hear them swapping
Smart tidbits,
Puttin' on the Ritz.

TickTock said...

I remember Song of the South very well. A great film.

At least three items in it would be considered racist by todays standards. As I recall there was a black narrator/singer(?) for part of it, and then the campfire scene discussed above. All with poor blacks, with heavy Southern accents. An then my personal favorite, the tar baby with its instructional tale. I still talk about the tar baby and Brer Rabbit when I want to make a point

None of those made me a racist. I became a "racist" by today's standards for other reasons. When I was much older.

Readering said...

Saw it as a kid, or maybe just briar patch scene on Wonderful World of Disney, all i remember. Has the best song Oscar been returned and removed from lists? Replaced with nominee Pass That Peace Pipe?

Quaestor said...

Many of those yelling about it seem to think it takes place before the Civil War (sheesh!).

The antebellum setting is quite clear. Song of the South contains a parallel live-action plot to the more familiar animated plot narrated by Uncle Remus that makes little sense outside a pre-Civil War Southern plantation setting. The clothing worn by the two white children who adore Uncle Remus and their father look like they were rented from the Gone with the Wind property shop. Perhaps the Japanese laserdisc source was expurgated.

RideSpaceMountain said...

"Admit it, guys. The only point of saving Splash Mountain is the young women who lift their tops to flash the camera on the ride down."

I'm getting a vibe you don't agree this is an acceptable reason. Why do you want to control women's bodies Big Mike? The magic kingdom is magic for everyone in different ways. Some like the teacups. Some ride space mountain. Others freedempuppies.

Static Ping said...

I have a bootleg copy of the film on VHS. Not the best quality and I don't know where it is anymore, but I wanted to see the film and so I did. If you really want to see it, you can get it.

I never really understood the problem with the film. The "briar" animations are very enjoyable, the music is good, and Uncle Remus comes across as very likeable such that you would want to be his friend. Definitely an idealized version of the post-Civil War South, but idealized versions of things can be useful.

Static Ping said...

Ann: Why wasn't that changed 30 years ago? Why change it now?

Um, you may have noticed that the country was on fire for a while. It was "mostly peaceful," I know. Everyone was falling over each other to submit to the new order more virtuously, and an obscenely woke corporation like Disney had to do something.

rcocean said...

"Holiday Inn and Dumbo are actually more racist."

LOL! Yeah, Dumbo Elephant is true symbol of white supremacy. As for Holiday Inn, you can't get any more "White supremist" than "WHite Christmas" Bing Crosby crooning and Fred Astaire tap dancing.

rcocean said...

My love for Mr. Toad's wild ride, is based a lot on my love of the book. wind in the willows is a truly great children's book. I also liked the Tiki Hut with the talking birds. This was Dad's favorite Disney "ride", probably because he got to sit down and rest.

rcocean said...

BTW, the author of "Uncle Remus" was a DEMOCRAT.

Gosh, they really are the REAL racists.

Known Unknown said...

"I mean, who the hell was Mr. Toad?""

Another somewhat timely Althouse comment.

Known Unknown said...

Ignore my latest comment. Wrong book. Wrong Toad.

mccullough said...

Like college, Disney is for girls.

Lurker21 said...

It would be hard to find things that were anti-racist 70 years ago that aren't regarded as patronizing and offensive today. That may go for much that is considered anti-racist today. White Savior Complex, etc.
_

I didn't get to do "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" when we went to Disney. There were so many rides and only so much time. But I've made up for it with my driving record as an adult.

Nowadays, the word on The Wind in the Willows is that it's "homosocial" -- no women in the story.

It's uncertain whether praising homosociality or condemning it is the politically correct response.

If Mole and Rat or Mr. Frog and Mr. Toad had been going to town on each other it would all be so much clearer.

Ann Althouse said...

I took my kids on "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride" a few times over the years. Thought it was weird to have a whole ride based on something that I never saw come up as a Disney thing. But it was an exciting little ride.

Václav Patrik Šulik said...

It's available for download in several versions (or you can watch it online, although not as good). Follow the links.

Japanese laserdisc (English with hardcoded Japanese subtitles. The .mkv version has the Japanese dubbing as a separate audio track.)

User Restored

I recommend doing the very large Matroska (MKV) version for best quality.

Decide for yourself. (I think it's racist, but wouldn't ban it.)

Ann Althouse said...

Disney made Pooh and Alice in Wonderland into Disney characters, but I never noticed Wind in the Willows in a Disney version. It just seemed like a random toad. Didn’t even give him a name.

pious agnostic said...

It's not like letting people see "Birth of a Nation," where there is no existing entity that has its reputation attached to it.

You mean, other than Democrats?

Ficta said...

Wikipedia's article on Song of the South claims that the film is set during Reconstruction (there are citations to back this up, including Disney's official release booklet from 1946, which, unfortunately is not online, so it could all be a fabrication, I suppose). I'm not a clothing historian, but people who do know this stuff say that the costumes are clearly late 19th century (see this article on Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah for instance).

Joel Chandler Harris who wrote the original book grew up in the Reconstruction South and heard the stories from an old black man (or so he said, and that's the conceit of the books). So why would Disney move the story to an antebellum setting? That seems very strange to me.

Jim at said...

And now it's theme-park rides.

I asked this question the other day and got no answer.

Is there anything you leftists haven't politicized? Anything at all?

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Finding Nemo /update to old ride -
That reminds me...
13 years ago I visited Disney World in FL for the first time.

(I had been to the one in Anaheim as a kid.) Anyway - I had a list of rides I wanted to go on that are also at the CA theme park - as I wanted to recall what had dazzled me as a kid. 2 on the list: The Haunted house and the Pirates Ride.
The haunted house was awesome - which means the woke nazi will soon destroy it - but that's not my point. I recall the pirate ride was papered over with images of Johnny Depp's character in Pirates of the Caribbean. It was so stupid! The same ride - but likenesses and mannequins of Depp lurking and skulking in dark corners... Made me laugh.

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Gusty Winds 10:19 - LOL

Hunter Biden's tax payer funded Hooker said...

Slaves Mining Cobalt for Tim Cook - the wild ride.

Mike (MJB Wolf) said...

Since Disney is a "magic kingdom" they will be able to hang onto princesses long after the woke have ruined much of the real world.

Kevin said...

Song of the South? We are two generations away from that being a "hoax".

Disney has always been at war with Eastasia.

mongo said...

Mike Sylwester said, “ The best video I ever saw of "Putting on the Ritz" was broadcast on The Lawrence Welk Show. ”

Personally, I preferred the version performed in Young Frankenstein.

James K said...

Then there’s the joke that Splash Mountain is the highest elevation in Florida.

I took that ride 15 years ago with my then 8-year-old and had no idea it was connected to a movie, much less to that particular movie. I doubt that anyone else taking the ride did either. The main impact of this will be a sort of Streisand effect of people looking for copies of this mostly forgotten film to see what the fuss is about.

rcocean said...

Its hard to Disneyfy Wind in the willows. The only real "wacky Character" is Toad, and he's a silly, boastful, irresponsible English Gentlemanly Toad. And being a Toad, is a drawback. How many great cartoon characters are Toads? You got "kermit the frog" but he's a muppet.

I've said its a children's book, but adults can read it with pleasure, and I think you'd have to be a rather bookish Child to really love it. Most kids would be happier reading Willy wonka and the chocolate factory or whatever.

KellyM said...

"Song of the South" is available via Archive.org. I don't know whether the film's copyright has expired but it's downloadable.

I've never seen the whole movie, and the only version of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah I can recall is the parody version done in "Fletch Lives". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsBtuhWw7RM

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Mark Twain on Uncle Remus:

MR. JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS (‘Uncle Remus’) was to arrive from Atlanta at seven o’clock Sunday morning; so we got up and received him. … He deeply disappointed a number of children who had flocked eagerly to Mr. Cable’s house to get a glimpse of the illustrious sage and oracle of the nation’s nurseries. They said—

‘Why, he’s white!’

They were grieved about it. So, to console them, the book was brought, that they might hear Uncle Remus’s Tar-Baby story from the lips of Uncle Remus himself—or what, in their outraged eyes, was left of him. But it turned out that he had never read aloud to people, and was too shy to venture the attempt now. Mr. Cable and I read from books of ours, to show him what an easy trick it was; but his immortal shyness was proof against even this sagacious strategy, so we had to read about Brer Rabbit ourselves.

MountainMan said...

The Joel Chandler Harris home, The Wren's Nest, a beautiful Victorian home, is located in the southwest part of Atlanta in the neighborhood known as West End. It is a well-known Atlanta landmark and is the site of many cultural events and is often visited by school groups for tours and story-telling. Some of my mother's large family lived in and around this area from the 1930s until the 1970s. I have been to the home several times, I had an aunt and uncle that lived just a block or so from it. I grew up and lived not far from West End until I left Atlanta for TN in 1974. The area is now seeing a renaissance as a residential and commercial area.

Harris and the Uncle Remus stories are still considered an important part of Georgia's cultural heritage. Occasionally, in order to bypass the horrible traffic on I-75 when going to Savannah or FL, I follow I-20 east over to US441 and drive south through Putnam County and its county seat of Eatonton, which is where Harris lived an picked up the stories from a former slave when he lived on a plantation there prior to the Civil War. There is a small statue of Brer Rabbit on the courthouse square.

dgstock said...

I have somewhere a volume of Joel Chandler Harris (white) which is almost incomprehensible in its patois detailing the exploits of Brers Rabbit/Fox/Bear etc., etc. that would be anathema in any current public library. Song of the South is small beer compared to the original. How low can we go? Time will tell.

Lazarus said...

There is still a Splash Mountain in Tokyo Disneyland. It's the centerpiece of "Critter Country" one of the "lands" the park is divided into. But Asia, of course, is different.

Bob said...

I saw Song of the South as a boy in Florida, it played as a Saturday morning children's matinee. There wasn't an empty seat in the theater.

Marc in Eugene said...

Nowadays, the word on The Wind in the Willows is that it's "homosocial" -- no women in the story.

It does also feature the poor laundress (I remember only vaguely) whose trust Toad abuses (?) and the jailer's daughter who assists him to escape. I'm sure those two can be made to play their parts in the narrative-makers' melodramatics.

Saint Croix said...

I rated Song of the South a solid C of mediocrity in my movie book. Not sure how the hell I did that, since I haven't seen the movie in 40+ years. That's kind of suspicious!

#3126 Song of the South (1946)

Corporate suits at Disney are still censoring this live-action cartoon in the United States. Anybody who's seen it knows that's ridiculous. What kind of fascist idiot do you have to be to censor a G-rated movie? I'll bet even Castro wouldn't censor Song of the South. You'd have to be some sort of toupee-wearing Disney midget fascist nitwit to censor Song of the South. If I can handle Bugs Bunny wearing a dress and kissing a man on the lips, you can handle Uncle Remus whistling zip-a-dee-doo-dah. It's harmless, you clueless clods. Free Song of the South!

DrSquid said...

seriously,this has been the most interesting and enjoyable post and string I’ve read on Althouse in years. I leaarned a lot. Tapped out unironically on my iPad from WDW, where I’m visiting with my granddaughter for her first ever visit (probably my 100th). Bummed that we missedSplaash mountain by just a few days.

Tina Trent said...

No excuse for slavery but there were scores more starving white sharecroppers at this time than black ones, and they were also more malnourished and trapped in usorius contracts that resembled slavery in many ways, according to impeccable historical records. They were not protected by federal government and were statistically underrepresented among the Klan, which was a club mostly comprised of the professional and wealthy classes.

Disney could care less. The villain of the story, of course, is an impoverished female child sharecropper on the same farm, and she is blamed for all that goes wrong and is punished with public humiliation by the heroic figures.

Hollywood producers made scores of films with similar themes, projecting racism onto poor whites who never owned shoes, let alone slaves, while frequently enobling the tiny fraction of slave owners. Projection ain't just what happens in the movie theater.

Tina Trent said...

Viz the popular Disney Pirates ride, the Muslim Barbary pirates attacked many thousands of ships, enslaved more than a million people, forced the U.S. to pay them tribute, but continued attacking our ships resulting in two wars and the founding of the U.S. Navy.

Disney has sanitized and romanticized this mass slaughter, to great profit to them.

Facts suck.

MacMacConnell said...

Bob said...
"I saw Song of the South as a boy in Florida, it played as a Saturday morning children's matinee. There wasn't an empty seat in the theater."

Had the same experience in Greenville, Miss, in third grade.

DavidD said...

Why should people who are able to tell fact from fiction, who are able to process complexity and ambiguity, be unable to find and purchase a copy of Song of the South on DVD if they so desire?

Joel Chandler Harris’s books are still available; why would a movie based on them not be available?

Rocco said...

Static Ping said...
I have a bootleg copy of the film on VHS. Not the best quality and I don't know where it is anymore, but I wanted to see the film and so I did. If you really want to see it, you can get it.

About four decades ago, that is what people were saying about porn. Times sure do change a lot.

Saint Croix said...

they're still shipping it abroad!