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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Two Items from Cinematical, Two Items From My Childhood (or Youthier Youth)

posted by on March 28 at 16:18 PM

From Cinematical comes news of two possible releases:

On DVD: Disney is “strongly considering” releasing the notorious Brer Rabbit/Tar Baby tale Song of the South, featuring Uncle Remus, a happy story-telling slave (or worse, a happy, post-Civil War, voluntary virtual slave).


I know I saw either Song of the South (which was rereleased in theaters in 1986) or, possibly, the expurgated Brer Rabbit and the Wonderful Tar Baby (released on video in the ’90s) as a kid—I’m pretty sure I saw the original, actually, and I definitely had a record or tape of the soundtrack. In some ways, I’m almost more offended by the fact that kids can see cleaned-up versions of Song of the South (like the 2006 The Adventures of Brer Rabbit)—it’s weird to know and cite Tar Baby stories (not to mention the Oscar-winning song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”) without being aware of their charged “publication” history. Americans always seem to prefer to suppress memories (blackface minstrelsy is another good example) instead of acknowledging them as a problematic cultural inheritance. I can’t endorse that. And any parent who lets their kid watch Song of the South without pointing out its racist elements is probably already feeding them prejudice with their Cheerios.

In theaters: David Duchovny is again forecasting a feature-length The X-Files sequel. Erik Davis at Cinematical wonders whether the plan will work: “One thing Duchovny did note back in 2005 was that the sequel will not pick up where the last film left off, or involve some sort of alien conspiracy. Instead, it will be a regular old supernatural horror film. No word on what that means for Agent Mulder (will he be hunting down ghosts on MySpace alongside Sarah Michelle Gellar), but ditching the whole “alien aspect” might not sit well with those die hard fans.” Don’t be ridiculous. Any real die-hard fan (10th grade through senior year of college, ladies and gentlemen!) will tell you that the alien through-line didn’t start until the second season (when Gillian Anderson was 8 months pregnant and Scully had to be abducted) and never made any coherent sense. The stand-alone episodes, usually featuring some isolated supernatural horror, were always the classics. Remember Flukey?

RSS icon Comments


The Peacock Brothers saga needs closure, dammit.

Posted by Andrew Wright | March 28, 2007 4:34 PM

The stand-alones were top-notch. These days I'm reminded of those interminable alien-hunting detours, sadly, by the "explanatory" flounderings on Lost.

Posted by MvB | March 28, 2007 4:48 PM

I think Song of the South should be released on DVD, but not marketed as a film for children, but for its historical importance, and it should include documentaries/debates from historians of both film and race.

Warner Brothers is going to do something similar with the racist cartoons from their past.

Posted by elswinger | March 28, 2007 4:48 PM

Flukeman was awesomely gross, but the El Chupacabra episode was the best - combining actual Mexican folk legend, freaky space rain, and familial horror. More burning pee from the sky that makes mold that turns you into an alien-looking dude!

Posted by JTR | March 28, 2007 4:48 PM

The alien episodes were around from the beginning, with several in the first season, but the strength of the show was always the stand-alone episodes.

For a brief glorious time in about the fourth season, I actually thought they could make a connection between the main arc and the other episodes, but instead the show jumped the shark big time as it became clear Chris Carter was making it up as he went along.

The best episode of all, though, was "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space'". Alex Trebek as a man in black!

Posted by Cascadian | March 28, 2007 5:03 PM

@5: The alien episodes were there in the first season, but the through-line alien conspiracy storyline was not.

Posted by annie | March 28, 2007 5:09 PM

My favorite X Files episode had Peter Boyle in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose".

Posted by amazonmidwife | March 28, 2007 7:08 PM

Guess my mom was way ahead of you. I had never even heard of such a movie, and I am kinda glad I didn't. I did hear Zipity do dah a few times on the Disney Channel though when I was really little but never knew where it came from.

Posted by Brandon H | March 28, 2007 7:47 PM

Yes, the stand-alone episodes were the best and the old fans will love a movie with a supernatural "monster of the week" mystery. It doesn't have to be about aliens. If they bring some humor into it, like Bad Blood (the vampire episode), Jose Chung, Clyde Bruckman, Small Potatoes, etc, then it'll be golden. I'd like to see Morgan/Wong on the writing credits, thanks.

Posted by Kristi | March 28, 2007 9:24 PM

My grandparents had a VCR cassette of Song of the South. Could never get that song out of my head. Also, I have a Disney CD with the song on it.

Still listen to it for my childhood nostalgia.

Posted by Simon | March 28, 2007 10:36 PM

(try to disprove it)

Posted by Above the Radar | March 28, 2007 11:51 PM

I know I saw it as a kid, probably on TV's "Wide World of Disney" sometime in the early 70s. But the racial subtext didn't leave much impression in my northern home, where the holy trinity --according to my mother -- was Louis Armstrong, Martin Luther King, and Muhammad Ali.

Posted by Joe | March 29, 2007 12:51 AM

That (banned for several years from re-runs) episode with the in-breeding family is still more frightening than some of the horror films released to theatres today...

Posted by Mickymse | March 29, 2007 8:18 AM

I actually still have the "Song of the South" album along with many other Disney albums. I got them all in 78 when i was 4. oh the memories

Posted by Faux Show | March 29, 2007 9:25 AM

I fully agree with the stand-aloners: some of those episodes were the best written and wryest in humore. The Jose Chung episode (better known as the Frickin' Aliens) is still one of the dryest comedy episodes of any show. Also, Jesse Ventura as a MIB is great. And Alex Trebeck. I'd take it over their first movie any day.

And the Peacock's episode (Home) is still banned from daytime showings, they can only show it after 9 and then only with a viewer's discretion warning 24 hours in advance. America's not keen on rampant incest, I guess.

Posted by Hickey | March 29, 2007 10:19 AM

As racist as my grandparents were I'm surprised I've never see Song/South but like everyone else I do remember Zippity Do Da... but more from Blazing Saddles than anything else.

Posted by monkey | March 29, 2007 11:08 AM

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