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Huffington Post: Jim Hill - "Disney Studios is still struggling with controversial cartoon characters from its past"

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Huffington Post: Jim Hill - "Disney Studios is still struggling with controversial cartoon characters from its past"

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"Disney Studios is stiIl struggling with controversial cartoon characters from its past"

A buck-toothed, squinty-eyed Chinese cook. A pickaninny centaurette who shines hooves. A tar baby. A red-faced Indian Chief who says "Ugh" and "How."

Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

What do these characters all have in common? They were created by Walt Disney Productions artists for inclusion in feature-length animated films that this Studio released in the 1940s and 1950s. But as America's attitude toward racial stereotypes began changing as the country entered the 1960s, Disney started making trims to the productions that these controversial characters appeared in. And in the case of 1946's Song of the South (i.e. the live-action animated Academy Award-winner which served as a precursor to Disney favorites like Mary Poppins, Bedknobs & Broomsticks and Pete's Dragon), it's been a quarter century since that movie was last shown theatrically in the United States.

To read more: Click on the title above or go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-hill/disney-controversial-cartoon-characters_b_1028420.html

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  • I have never really understood Hollywood's double standards on this issue. Disney refuses to release Song of the South for fear of angering people, yet no one protests when Gone with the Wind gets another re-release. Gone with the Wind is at least (if not more) racist than Song. I bet if song had won a ton of Oscars Iger would be talking up how important it is not to gloss over the past and pretend that racial issues never existed.

  • given how Disney rep is being family orianted and even though they have been even asked to release song of the south by the naacp as a learning lesson. Disney is too worried about riisking its pc wholesome family rep . by ever finaly putting song of the south on dvd. though who ever replaces iger in 2016 could always have a different view for disney will always be asked about song of the south till they finaly dare to put the thing on dvd and blue

  • If Disney thought that they could make a fortune on Song of the South, they would release it. But they probably think that there just isn't enough money there to make it worth the risk, bad press and headache.

  • "Disney refuses to release Song of the South for fear of angering people, yet no one protests when Gone with the Wind gets another re-release."

    Gone with the Wind is a film adults and Song of the South is a family film. An adult would understand the context of when Gone with the Wind was originally created. The same can't be said for a child watching Song of the South.

  • Jim; I always get a laugh when you write about the "Song of the South" and Disney being politically correct issue. Though I'd love to see an official version of it, It's just too charged an issue for Disney to want to bother with. I have an excellent quality bootleg and for those wanting to see additional features, there are Song of the South out takes on youtube. (Not to mention, the entire film is posted on youtube, like you said)

    The problem with this whole Disney P.C. issue is that many if not most people are not smart enough to know the context and time period in which they were made. The African Americans (note my politically correct term) who appeared in "Song of the South" probably felt extremely blessed that the Disney Company was giving them work. Not mention the star James Baskett. He didn't just play Uncle Remus, he did many of the cartoon voices as well. How many studios were hiring a lot of African Americans in 1946, let alone having one African American actor contribute so much in a feature film?

    The whole issue can be compared to the revisionist thinking about Abraham Lincoln. There's been a bunch of stuff printed in recent years about how he didn't actually free the slaves. Plus stuff that's been written using Lincoln's written words regarding African American's and people coming to the conclusion that Lincoln was a racist. You can't really learn about Lincoln if you don't study the time period. The same thing goes with old films. Not just old Disney films, but any old film.

    Being that many people aren't smart enough to do this, coupled with the fact that Disney is now a multi national corporation with the label "family entertainment" why should they awaken that sleeping dog, so to speak.

  • America Sings had a few character changes when a Hollywood star who saw it overreacted.  Then it was America Sings and the Jungle Cruise that had to make adjustments.  Even Indianna Jones got a couple of letters.  There will always be critics who have to find  something to complain about.  They try their best to problem solve and gauge the mindset of it's audience.   Disney should release Song of the South.  The fear of these same critics affected Splash Mountain which spun off of this film, and one of its characters was omitted as a result.  "Song of the South" has been compared to "Gone with the Wind".   Will Rodger's "Judge Priest" was done just about 11 years before South came out and I saw it on cable recently.   Can't we all just get along?

  • I say to hell with whiney people. Bring Song of the South to DVD NOW!

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