Song Of The South

This Disney charmer is also the studio's most controversial production. Set in the Reconstruction South, it stars Bobby Driscoll as Johnny, a white little boy who goes to live on his grandmother's plantation after his parents separate. Upset by things he can't understand, Johnny runs away and meets former slave Uncle Remus (James Baskett). Uncle Remus decides...read more

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This Disney charmer is also the studio's most controversial production. Set in the Reconstruction South, it stars Bobby Driscoll as Johnny, a white little boy who goes to live on his grandmother's plantation after his parents separate. Upset by things he can't understand, Johnny runs away

and meets former slave Uncle Remus (James Baskett). Uncle Remus decides to trick Johnny into going home, telling the boy he would also like to run away, but must stop home for a few things. As Uncle Remus packs, he tells Johnny a story, and the film moves into a marvelous combination of live

action and animation in a bright cartoon setting in which Brer Rabbit, too, has an adventure while running away from home. SONG OF THE SOUTH's cartoon sequences are as fine as anything produced by the Disney animators. The live action projected into a cartoon setting transcends gimmickry, with the

actors and caricatures carefully matched within the frame. Baskett's excellent performance (for which he received an honorary Academy Award) makes the technique work that much better. The film's idyllic portrayal of the Reconstruction setting was controversial, however, particularly among black

Americans. The NAACP and the National Urban League, among others, protested the stereotypes in the film, though Disney officials of course maintained the film was "a sincere effort to depict American folklore, to put the Uncle Remus stories into pictures." Included is the well-known song "Zip A

Dee Doo Dah."

MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
MYKAL-MICHELLE HARRIS, ARICA HIMMEL, ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

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