While not directly related to Song of the South, this is a very significant breakthrough in the realm of cartoon censorship. The Censored Eleven is a collection of Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies cartoons created between 1931 and 1944 that were withheld from syndication by United Artists in 1968 because they were deemed too racially insensitive. This censorship persisted through Ted Turner’s acquisition of pre-1948 Warner Brothers cartoons in 1986. While commercially unavailable, these cartoons have been circulating around the Internet for years, including sites such as YouTube. (Sounds like some other film we know of… hmmm…)
Then, in February of this year, Warner Brothers purportedly tested the waters to release these censored cartoons by having a special screening at the first annual TCM Classic Film Festival. Most recently, at the New York ComicCon held this month, Warner Brothers confirmed that they will indeed be releasing the Censored Eleven on the Warner Archives collection sometime in 2011. Source: ToonZone
What impact could this potentially have for Song of the South? If these cartoons are indeed released, perhaps Disney will follow suit and finally make this much maligned (and much tamer) film available to the American public. Interestingly, some of the other Warner Brother cartoons released on DVD in the past include a foreword by Whoopi Goldberg, stating that while many of the cartoons contain behavior which was, and still is, not acceptable, these cartoons are a vital part of history and should not be forgotten. Sound familiar? Many supporters of Song of the South‘s release have suggested this same type of introduction. Maybe with Warner Brothers leading by example, Disney will finally listen?
More information about the Censored Eleven can be found on Wikipedia. Thanks to Zack and Wiwille for the news report!