Have a question about Song of the South? Your answer is probably here!
Q. How can I help get this movie re-released?
A. Right now, there are several important steps you can take:
1) Add your name to the Song of the South Petition, hosted by Change.org. (Our old petitions had over 130,000 signatures, but the web site that hosted it shut down).
2) Nominate Song of the South to be added to the Library of Congress' National Film Registry. New to 2017, you can now fill out their online form. Previously, nominations were submitted by sending an email to Donna Ross, Boards Assistant of the National Film Preservation Board, explaining why you feel that the film is culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
3) Spread the word! Song of the South has a Facebook page and a Twitter account. This is one of the most important steps you can take. Tell family and friends about our efforts to get Disney to release this film to the American public. You may be surprised at how many people don't know about this historic movie. And I think that's exactly what Disney wants...
4) Let Disney know. Call Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Guest Relations at (800) 723-4763 and tell them that you want Song of the South to be released on DVD/Blu-Ray. Their office hours are Monday through Friday, 9:30AM-6:30PM Central time. If you're a Disney shareholder, you can also bring up Song of the South at the annual Disney shareholder meeting. You can also fill out this old form to send a request through Disney's Movie Finder. (Please note: this web form is about 15 years old and probably doesn't work anymore.)
Q. Is Song of the South officially available on DVD/Blu-Ray?
A. No, Song of the South is not officially available on DVD or Blu-Ray. Any DVDs, Blu-Rays or VCDs of Song of the South you may see for sale are bootleg (unauthorized) copies, so buy at your own risk.
Q. Has Song of the South really been banned?
A. No. This is one of the long-standing myths surrounding this movie. It has been said that the NAACP banned the movie, but that simply isn't true. The NAACP did show their disapproval of the portrayal of African-Americans in the film even when Song of the South was being produced, however there hasn't been any official "banning" going on anywhere. As far as we know, Disney has taken it upon themselves to withhold this movie from the public. Supposedly, the NAACP has no current position on the film.
Q. Why can't I find this movie anywhere?
A. You cannot find this movie anywhere because after Song of the South's last theatrical release in 1986, Disney decided not to re-release it again, most likely because of the movie's "racist" stigma (although there are no documented complaints stemming from the movie's 1986 theatrical release that I'm aware of.) The movie has been released on video and laserdisc in many other countries, but never in the United States. As of December 2001, Song of the South was withdrawn worldwide.
Q. What is so "racist" about this movie?
A. The general objections lie in the depiction of African-Americans within the live action sequences of the film, such as stereotyping. Some also mistakenly believe the movie depicts slavery, and consequently believe that Disney tried to "sugarcoat" slavery. In the 1940's, the NAACP charged the film with giving the impression of "an idyllic master-slave relationship." Some people also find the Tar Baby animated sequence to be objectionable. For more in-depth discussion on the issues surrounding this film, please read my defense on the matter.
Q. Is the movie set before or after the Civil War?
A. After. Just as the original Uncle Remus stories written by Joel Chandler Harris, Song of the South is set in a time period after the Civil War and the abolition of slavery. This is evident by the fact that in the movie Uncle Remus is able to freely leave the plantation. It's possible Walt Disney assumed that people already knew this fact, and may have felt that stating the date was unnecessary. Nevertheless, it has remained a cause for confusion.
Q. Will this movie ever be re-released?
A. Yes, eventually. We just don't know when. Various rumors have cropped up over the years hinting at this movie's release, but none have actually occurred. You can read all of the latest rumors in the News section.
In any event, Song of the South will become public domain in 2039, and you can bet Disney will release it before they lose the copyrights and the opportunity to make a profit.
Q. Is there a soundtrack available?
A. Yes, but currently only on out-of-print record albums. Disneyland #1205 (1963) is the most easily obtained Song of the South soundtrack album. It contains all 9 songs from the movie, minus the instrumentals. If you want the instrumental tracks as well, you'll need to find Disneyland WDL-4001 (1956) instead. As this was Disney's first soundtrack album, it is consequently quite desirable and usually demands a higher price.
Four of the movie's nine songs have been released on CD in the box set entitled Classic Disney, but that's it. If you want the other five songs on CD, you'll need to convert the record album yourself, or find someone with the equipment to do it for you. As with the movie, remember that selling CD copies of the record album violates copyright law; I do not recommend it.
Q. Does Bill Cosby own the rights to this movie?
A. No, this is just an urban legend. (See this article over at Urban Legends Reference Pages for more info.) Bill Cosby did not buy the rights to Song of the South so that it would never be shown again. If anything, Cosby has expressed concern over the amount of African-American history that has been lost, stolen, or strayed.
Q. Where can I express my opinion about this movie?
A. I have set up the Community section for just that purpose. The Community section is a central hub of resources for fans to communicate with each other, share their opinions and reviews with the public, and vote for/rate the film. Additionally, all of the articles posted in the News section can be commented on.
Q. What does "Brer" mean?
A. "Brer," also sometimes seen written as B'rer, Br'er, or Bre'r, is simply a shortened form of Brother, just as "Sis" is a shortened form of Sister. Brother and Sister are Christian terms of kinship especially prevalent in the South.
Q. Where can I get my PAL VHS tape converted?
A. For those who already own the official British Song of the South VHS in PAL format, and are looking to have it converted into NTSC format, I suggest that you do a search in your local area for video conversion services. They will often perform a PAL to NTSC conversion. The NTSC copy is supposedly legal as long as you own the original PAL format tape. Finding these sources varies depending on your location, so I can't give you any specific sources.
Q. Why does the PAL VHS run 3 minutes short?
A. Song of the South's theatrical runtime is over 94 min., but the British PAL VHS only runs about 91 minutes. This is not due to any scenes being cut; the British PAL VHS simply runs 4% faster, a common phenomenon known as "PAL speedup." Over the course of the movie, the change in speed is not noticeable.
Q. When are you going to submit the petition to Disney?
A. The Song of the South Petition is an ongoing effort to show Disney how many people want this film released. There is no set number we are trying to reach, and no deadline for when we have to submit it to Disney. I know for a fact that Disney has visited this web site on several occasions over the years (hi guys!), so they are well aware that we have a petition.
Q. Are your memorabilia and collectible items for sale?
A. The items pictured within the Memorabilia Museum are from my personal collection and are not for sale. If you are looking for Song of the South Memorabilia items for sale, please visit the Song of the South Store. Sorry, I cannot take requests for specific items.
Q. How can I support SongoftheSouth.net?
A. I have set up the Song of the South Store with items that might be of interest to Song of the South and Disneyana enthusiasts. Your purchases help me defray the monthly costs of hosting this web site. Alternately, if you wish, you can make a donation through PayPal by clicking the button below. Any amount is greatly appreciated!