A massive log flume ride with some elements of a dark ride, Splash Mountain is a must-see at any theme park. Audience members tag along as Brer Rabbit outwits Brer Fox and Brer Bear en route to his “laughing place.”
What Movie Is Splash Mountain Based On?
Song of the South, the 1946 Disney film upon which Splash Mountain is based, is in turn based on the Uncle Remus tales written by white Southern author Joel Chandler Harris, who claimed to have heard the tales from black Americans in the 19th century (although there is debate over whether or not this is actually the case).
Anthropomorphized characters with stereotypically black characteristics and a romanticized relationship between a freed black slave and a young white boy give Song of the South a rosy portrayal of the Reconstruction-era South, but the film has been criticized for being too idealistic.
According to Karina Longworth’s, You Must Remember This podcast, which features an entire season devoted to the backstory of both Song of the South and Splash Mountain, the film was met with immediate backlash from groups like the NAACP following its initial release.
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“The same conversations we’re having today about who gets to tell people’s stories and who gets to profit off them and what the correct ways of doing that are,” Longworth told Rolling Stone last fall.
In spite of this backlash, Disney re-released the film four times between 1956 and 1986. Many fans mistakenly call it a “banned” movie because it has never been released on home video even though the company has not officially pulled the film. Disney Plus also doesn’t have it because, as CEO Bob Iger explained to shareholders, it’s “not appropriate in today’s world.”
While some Disney fans have fought for the release of Song of the South, arguing that it is an important piece of cinematic history, others have been working to have the park’s 1989 attraction, Splash Mountain, rethemed. Over 20,000 people have signed the petition to rebrand Splash Mountain as the Princess and the Frog on Change.org. Reading continues, to know about Song of The South.
Why Does Everyone Keep Asking You About Song Of The South?
The American author Joel Chandler Harris’s Uncle Remus stories served as inspiration for the plot of Song of the South, which follows Johnny, a white boy, as he moves to his grandmother’s plantation in the South to live with her. If you want to watch Song of the South, click here Song of the South
There, he meets Uncle Remus, a former slave, and African American, who gives him advice using the Br’er Rabbit stories brought to life in the style of Disney cartoons from the 1940s.
A Walt Disney promotional flyer provided the following summary of the setting:
The film takes place in the South, on a plantation not too close to Atlanta, Georgia. Despite common misconceptions, the picture takes place during the Reconstruction Era when slavery was abolished, long after the American Civil War. All of Harris’s original Uncle Remus stories took place after the end of slavery in the United States, in the years following the Civil War.
Harris, a journalist, and writer active in the movement for racial equality during the Reconstruction era was born in 1848. Many of the film’s details, such as Uncle Remus’s freedom to leave the farm at whim and the fact that the black field hands are sharecroppers, are allusions to the Reconstruction Era. know about why did Racism occur on Splash Mountain, keep reading.
Why Did Racism Occur On Splash Mountain?
It was James Baskett‘s wise Uncle Remus in the film Song of the South that served as inspiration for the trip. In the film, a young boy visits his grandmother’s plantation to learn from him about life.
White characters in the early draught of the Disney film referred to Uncle Remus as an “old darkie.” Disney’s Most Notorious Film: Race, Convergence, and the Hidden Histories of Song of the South was written by Oklahoma State University film professor Jason Sperb, who described Remus as a:
“one-dimensional character who has no purpose or identity beyond serving a white family.”
I'm just so confused why folks are acting like Splash Mountain is the pinnacle of Disney rides. It's a log flume with barely functioning animatronic characters from a racist movie from the 40's
— regan (@theindiealto) January 22, 2023
During the Civil War, the black characters referred to their white relatives using the term “massa,” which meant “master.”
Uncle Tom, a middle-aged black man who has accepted his status as a slave to his white boss and who, in the meantime, doles out advice to others around him, also appeared in the film. The fact that the film’s protagonists seem to romanticize the time of racial hierarchy in the Old South only adds to the worries.
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, a hit from the film, is based on a Civil War song originally titled “Zip Coon,” which perpetuates negative stereotypes about African-Americans. The song was so controversial that even Tokyo Disneyland had to take it out of its version of Splash Mountain.
Br’er Fox, Br’er Rabbit, and Br’er Bear all spoke a clichéd dialect that was, to put it mildly, irritating throughout the ride.
Splash Mountain defenders when the Tiana ride has the exact same ride system but it doesn’t have characters from a 75 year old racist movie on it pic.twitter.com/GrGk8z944Z
— Kayla 💛 (@kobcritic_) January 22, 2023
A congressman from Harlem, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., called the film an “insult to American minorities and all that America as a nation stand for.”
In an interview, Jason Sperb also claimed that the film Splash Mountain tries to “sanitize Disney history” by excluding those parts that were deemed contentious.