Podcast Corner: Song Of The South out of tune with modern age

Podcast Corner: Song Of The South out of tune with modern age

The latest series from the long-running podcast You Must Remember This concluded last week.

The six-part ‘Six Degrees of Song of the South’ was released to coincide with the arrival of the Disney Plus streaming service — Song of the South is a film conspicuous by its absence from the archive.

The racially insensitive film is still hidden in the Disney vault, says podcast host Karina Longworth, even though it was rereleased four times over the decades following its original 1946 outing — indeed its most successful run was in the 1980s.

It probably never will be released, she says, quoting Disney CEO Robert Iger from 2011 who said he had decided the film “wouldn’t feel right to a number of people today” and that “it wouldn’t be in the best interest of our shareholders to bring it back even though there would be some financial gain”.

The film was visually impressive, mixing live action and animation, but overtly racist, suggesting black characters were actually happy with plantation life.

Longworth is a strident, clear host, comparing and contrasting certain defensive reactions with the far-right movement today.

The first episode explains the plot and problems with Song of the South. Episode two is a biography of co-star Hattie McDaniel, the first black performer to win an Oscar for her role as ‘Mammy’ in Gone with the Wind.

The third concerns its theme tune, ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’, which has as its origin Minstrel music (one curiosity is that it won best song at the Oscars in 1948 despite its 1946 release — Longworth can’t figure out this anomaly; we’re left to believe it’s all part of Disney’s electioneering).

At times, it sounds like Longworth is reading a thesis — one that occasionally meanders, such as its diversion to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s — but it’s always shockingly entertaining.

Indeed, it’s hilarious in parts. For example when ‘Commie-hating’ Walt Disney, fearful his film might be perceived as racist, hires known Communist Maurice Rapf to rewrite the script.

You Must Remember This is a treasure trove of 20th-century Hollywood stories.

Podcast Corner: Song Of The South out of tune with modern age

YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS: Prince: The Story of 1999 — an official four-part series, from the Prince Estate, on one of his most renowned albums, which has just been reissued.

More on this topic

Podcast Corner: Dolly mixture makes for some sweet talesPodcast Corner: Dolly mixture makes for some sweet tales

Podcast Corner: Angela Scanlon grateful for new Thanks a Million podcastPodcast Corner: Angela Scanlon grateful for new Thanks a Million podcast

Podcast Corner: Heavy-hitters go live for Dublin Podcast FestivalPodcast Corner: Heavy-hitters go live for Dublin Podcast Festival

Podcast Corner: Cork city gears up for inaugural Podcast FestivalPodcast Corner: Cork city gears up for inaugural Podcast Festival

More in this Section

Scene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music newsScene + Heard: The most played artist on Spotify and all the latest music news

Brilliant books and Christmas collectables  - here's our wish listBrilliant books and Christmas collectables - here's our wish list

‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album‘I’ll write you a song for €1,000' - John Spillane's unique way to fund new album

Ireland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible yearIreland’s next big thing: Niamh Algar on her incredible year


Latest Showbiz

The Girls creator is living in Wales while filming for new HBO series Industry.Lena Dunham explains why dating sober in the UK is a ‘roughie’

Her new look was endorsed by her celebrity friends.Pink shaves off her hair saying she is ‘letting go’

Kelly married then 15-year-old R&B singer Aaliyah in 1994.R Kelly charged with paying bribe before marriage to Aaliyah

The pair had previously starred in a play together.Phoebe Waller-Bridge reveals how she pitched Fleabag role to Andrew Scott

More From The Irish Examiner