To this day, guests might experience at Disneyland, Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland the classical log flume ride called Splash Mountain. Little remembered now except by dedicated researchers is the fact that this attraction is based on a 40s Disney film that hasn’t been exhibited for decades now.
Song of the South (1946) is a musical film that blends live-action and animation, that frames a time spent by children in a Southern plantation post-Civil War, being entertained by elderly farmhand Uncle Remus with folktales about animals like Br’er Rabbit, Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear, in three full-animation segments.
Since its original release, public sensibilities have changed to the point that the movie was burdened with controversies: racism, white supremacy propaganda and denial of the cruelties of slavery in the Antebellum South (erroneous because its source storybook was written in the 1870s). Ever since 1986 Song of the South was banned from public release.
Still, we’ll give a list of the animated segments of Song of the South, all based on folktales collected by Joel Chandler Harris as of 1880, and presented as being told by Uncle Remus about Br’er Rabbit and his friends. They are, in chronological order:
- Br’er Rabbit Earns a Dollar a Minute
- Br’er Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
- Br’er Rabbit and His “Laughing Place”
Perhaps counting as a segment by itself, is Uncle Remus taking a stroll while singing “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” accompanied by animated forest creatures. This is likely the most memorable part of the film, other than the Splash Mountain ride which “adapts” the stories above.