There is nothing like a dream to create the future. – Victor Hugo
Walt Disney’s Song Of South was released on this day in 1946.
History never looks like history when you are living through it. – John Gardner
If you’re a child of the 1960’s like me, you watched a lot of Walt Disney movies! Yes I know, by today’s standards this movie would never have been made – but back in 1946 it was a different story. As a kid I saw Uncle Remus as a nice man with a song in his heart and a wonderful outlook on life – who happened to talk to cartoon friends. Nothing weird or racist about that (well, except the whole talking to cartoon friends thing). There’s nothing wrong with starting the day with a Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah attitude, is there?
In my defense, I was five years old when I saw the movie, so I’m not exactly the most qualified critic. As a matter of fact, I think I may have fallen asleep the night my family went to see it at the Landmark Drive-In here in Wichita – on that summer night in 1966. Our local drive-in had DISNEY MOVIE FRIDAYS when I was a kid. We packed a picnic basket with my mom’s fried chicken & fixin’s… took the ol’ Rambler station wagon – backed into a spot and put the tailgate down. Sat there and ate dinner while we watched the movie. I almost never saw the end of the movie because after all that good food… well – I went to sleep!
Disney has kept the film locked in its vault for the past 25 years. If you were born after 1980, you’ve almost certainly never seen it in full, and it’s unlikely that will change anytime soon. For better or for worse… who knows?
I still like this song!
How something as benign and pure as Uncle Remus could incur the scorn of some people indicates a warped mind. These days it seems to me that some folks are looking for things to call racist. Why can’t we celebrate diversity instead of allowing ourselves to be divided by it? Song of the South, the performance, cartoons and especially the music were designed to bring a smile to children’s faces. By the time I saw the movie in 1966, it was already 20 years old – and it brought a smile to my face! It did what it was intended to do.
Disney bought the rights to Uncle Remus’ Tales by Joel Chandler Harris in 1939 and built the movie scenario from there. I found a wonderful website dedicated to this movie. Everything you would ever want to know (and a few things you didn’t think you cared about) are here. There are trailers and all sorts of facts about the movie.
I hope we don’t over-analyze these older movies and determine that they should be banned based on ideals that were clearly not considered at the time the movies were made. It really was a different era in the late 1940’s. World War II was finally over and people were needing someone to come along and make them feel happy. That person was Uncle Remus and we have Walt Disney to thank for bringing Song of the South to us. 🙂