Morning at Magic Kingdom. Afternoon at MGM Studios.
Crowds were down significantly today, which was a huge relief. We went on Splash Mountain which is a very interesting ride for one overwhelming reason.
The theme of the ride is the 1946 Disney movie, “The Song of the South”.
That is not the interesting fact. The interesting fact is that “The Song of the South” has NEVER been issued on VHS or DVD in the United States. Its the flim that Disney is now embarssed to have ever made. The only remaining thing in the Disney corporation, that I know of, that acknowledges the existance of this movie is Splash Mountain, which was created back in 1971.
Wikipedia gives this brief summary of the movie:
Song of the South is a feature film by Walt Disney, first released on November 12, 1946 and based on the Uncle Remus cycle of stories by Joel Chandler Harris. It was one of Disney’s earliest feature films to combine live action footage with animation and was the first Disney feature film in which live actors were hired for lead roles. The live actors provide a sentimental frame-story, in which Uncle Remus relates the folk tales of the adventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends; these anthropomorphic animal characters appear in animation.
Splash mountain only deals with the animated characters and totally ignores Uncle Remus and the live characters. In the ultimate admission of how embarssed Disney is, the souviner store at the end of the ride has only a very very small number of items which show the animated characters from SOTS. The rest of the items are all generic Disney/Mickey Mouse items.
The controversy surrounding the movie is how blacks are portrayed with with respect to whites in the movie. The movie takes place in the reconstruction south, and the blacks have a very subserviant role to the whites in the film. Those relationships are not the focus of the flim, but nonetheless, its a pretty big scar on the movie.
There has been lots of rumor and debate surrounding Disney releasing it on DVD. The new Disney CEO Bob Iger stated last week at the Disney shareholder meeting:
I screened it fairly recently because I hadn’t seen it since I was a child, and I have to tell you after I watched it, even considering the context that it was made, I had some concerns about it because of what it depicted. And thought it’s quite possible that people wouldn’t consider it in the context that it was made, and there were some… [long pause] depictions that I mentioned earlier in the film that I think would be bothersome to a lot of people. And so, owing to the sensitivity that exists in our culture, balancing it with the desire to, uh, maybe increase our earnings a bit, but never putting that in front of what we thought were our ethics and our integrity, we made the decision not to re-release it. Not a decision that is made forever, I imagine this is gonna continue to come up, but for now we simply don’t have plans to bring it back because of the sensitivities that I mentioned. Sorry.
I think its a matter of time until they find some way to redo Splash Mountain to eliminate all references to SOTS.
….also, all the robot Brer Bear figures on the ride are really homoerotic. Really.
Tomorrow morning I’m finally taking the World Showcase Tour.