Revisiting Song of the South

Thank heavens for Disney historians and the historians in particular who refuse to participate in revisionist history. These are the men and women who are compelled to tell the story as it should be told. No pandering to corporate interests or the companies' desire to whitewash events and present their own sanitized versions of the past. Naturally such books will not be “blessed” by the big corporation and that's all well and good. Yet, it's a pretty clear sign that the book is one of substance and not just another corporate puff piece.

This new book authored by my pal, Jim Korkis details the creating of the Disney motion picture, “Song of the South.” This is a story I've wanted someone to tell, and good for Jim to step up to the plate. Naturally, I was delighted when Jim requested I write the forward for the book. I've always given this rather controversial motion picture special attention and I've even done my own research concerning the Disney film. I've no personal agenda, either with the Disney Company or Walt Disney in particular. I've always loved this delightful film and began supporting it even as a ten year old kid. Years later, I even pushed my own experiment by screening unofficial showings of Song of the South to black audiences to test Disney's assessment of the motion picture. Not surprisingly, audiences of color loved the motion picture and even requested a second viewing. Of course, there were always civil rights activists with their own personal agenda. They found traction in continually painting Walt Disney as a racist and the movie as an insult to black people. None of this is true, of course. However, risk adverse corporate interests are always eager to avoid controversy of any kind. I suppose we shouldn't be surprised.

So, if you're a fan of Disney and Disney history in particular I encourage you to pick up a copy of Jim Korkis' new book “Who's Afraid of the Song of the South.” Animation historian and author, Jerry Beck got it right when he said, “Everything the Disney Company did in its Golden Age is worth watching and discussing.” I guess it's too much to expect the Disney Company to respect its own legacy. I'm just glad we have dedicated historians like Jim Korkis who do.

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Reader Comments (3)

Wow, I'm looking forward to reading this as I have never quite got my head around the level of controversy surrounding this film. I love it, and in fact it's one of my favourite Disney films. Of course the animation is beautiful. I wonder if there'll ever be a time when it is officially released on whatever the home entertainment format of the time is. I remain hopeful, but until then I will cling to my bootleg version!

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Latham

We would run the film all the time when I worked at Disney back in the day. All of us loved the Disney classic but the company continually remains in fear of the film. It's all truly stupid, really.

January 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterFloyd Norman

Can't imagine how Mr. James Baskett felt when they wouldn't let him in through the front door to even watch the movie premiere he stared in, same thing happen to Hattie McDaniel in Gone With The Wind.

April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDISTRAKT

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