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Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? And Other Forbidden Disney Stories Paperback – December 12, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Theme Park Press (December 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984341552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984341559
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #320,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roger Farnham on December 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
I saw "Song Of The South" as a first run movie as a kid and the whole country was singing "Zip-a-de-doo-dah" for months. I recently saw it again as an import DVD and my question is, where is it racist? The hero is Uncle Remus, a black ex-slave who is not treated as a slave. He is, in fact, the hero of the story. Most people object to the fact that the "slaves" are happy and singing, showing that they are not mistreated. Contrary to popular belief, the story takes place after the U.S. Civil War, during the period known as "Reconstruction" so the workers are not slaves but hired hands. The book delves into this and into many other facets of the production. I can't improve on the other reviewers reviews so all I can say is, if you are at all interested in an almost forgotten and very controversial Disney movie this is the book for you.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Jim Korkis is one of those rare individuals in any field, the kind of expert who's a friendly, one-stop "go to" guy for anything on Disney. If he doesn't know the answer, nobody does. And if he does know, he'll let you know for free, just out of sheer love for his vocation. What more could you ask for in a historian?

His latest book, "Who's Afraid of Song of the South?" is a much-needed account of Disney's most notorious work. Though talked about endlessly, there is actually very little written about the movie based on hard facts and anecdotes from the key players. Jim rectifies this with a most excellent history of how SONG OF THE SOUTH was conceived, made, and received. If you feel that the film is a product of its time, you would be right. But did you also know that there was a general concern over perceivable racism in the film's material at the time while it was actually being made? No spoilers from me: to find out why, read the book.

If there is a flaw with this tome, it's that there isn't even more on the actual movie in it. More than half of the book is devoted to articles by Jim about the more 'verboten' side of Disney. Granted, I always like whatever Jim has to say about Disney, and the included articles are mostly excellent. But it felt like I had bought something of a misnomer, given it's a book about SONG OF THE SOUTH and not even half of it is devoted to the film. Maybe there's something to that - that the movie simply isn't good or interesting enough to warrant an entire book solely about it. I certainly don't feel slighted or have any unanswered questions after reading Jim's account, so perhaps there's really not much more to say about the film and its history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because I found it on a website and it looked really interesting.

Pro: Jim Korkis-- one of the top Disney historians who really knows what Disney has been up to over the years. He not only talks about Song of the South, a breakthrough in animation/storytelling, but addresses the controversy around it with a historian's eye. Also, he looks at other topics that are more "salacious" in Disney history. I liked this, as it is a little controversial for your average Disney book but not The Dark Side of Disney dark. I feel that he represented many ideas that the big D may not want to address, but did it with a historian's eye.

Con: I am unsure if this book transcends beyond Disney fans--most of these books hit the more "hard core" Disney nerd then your usual "general history of Disney" type books. However, if you are not a super fan then consider getting this book because of the other themes (like racism in TV/Film history, revisionist history and how corporations deal with skeletons in their closet) that are in this book.

Get it. Fun reading, and just a pleasure.
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Format: Paperback
In the mid-nineties, I got hold of a copy of a Japanese release of Walt Disney's SONG OF THE SOUTH on VHS (with Japanese subs!). I had never seen it before and loved the animated parts very much! By that point, however, the film was locked away in Disney's vault, never to see the light of day again in the US (apparently). For the next week, I asked every black person I knew or who just happened to come in my store if they were familiar with the film and if it offended them. Honestly, most of them started singing songs from it and several insisted I had to make them copies (which I did). Not a one was offended and many were quite upset when I informed them Disney said they should be!

Now comes WHO'S AFRAID OF THE SONG OF THE SOUTH? by premier Disney historian Jim Korkis. This recent volume, one of a couple on the subject, details every aspect of the film from its original inspirations through its early protests (Which I had not been aware of previously), the exploitation of the characters in comics, several successful film re-releases and the eventual burial of the picture itself. All of this follows an enlightened and enlightening foreword by Disney's legendary first black animator, Floyd Norman.

It's a convoluted tale at best and one of the odder ones in Disney history for any number of reasons but Korkis is the one to streamline it. Arguably the best Disney historian of them all, having been so both officially and unofficially for decades now, he knows where the bodies are buried...or in this case frozen...or contrary to persistent rumor, not.

Jim categorizes all of the different aspects of SONG OF THE SOUTH into separate chapters, giving the reader easy to digest doses of how the individual aspects all fit into the larger image.
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