This tribute to Joel Chandler Harris aired on the television show “Disneyland” on January 18, 1956 to coincide with the theatrical re-release of Song of the South.  Walt Disney himself hosted the program.

The video concludes with the Song of the South version of “The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story” (37:45).

Items of note–

1.  Young Joel Chandler Harris is played by David Stollery, who went on to design the Toyota Celica A40 series in 1978.  Thank you, David.

Toyota Celica A40 1978

2.  Joseph Addison Turner is depicted as Colonel Sanders himself.  In reality he was probably 35 or so when he hired Harris.

Joseph Addison Tuner NOT Colonel Sanders

See what I mean?

Colonel Sanders NOT Joseph Addison Turner

3.  My apologies if this video gets taken down.  If I go to jail for posting this, please call my mom.

Comments (10)

  • If anyone were allowed to post that video, I would think it would be you, Lain. You had better send me your mom’s number just in case, though.

  • Notice how Disney cleans up JCH parentage…his father disappeared eh? And how all the slaves are happy and treated well. Ah the 1950’s…such a magical time….

  • Deb, that’s one thing that I neglected to mention, mostly because it’s sort of complicated for a brief blog post.

    A lot of people get upset in Song of the South when the slaves sing happily and sound like a lily white church choir. Then, other people get upset and point out that since it’s well after the Civil War, the black people aren’t slaves, they’re sharecroppers (as if that’s much better).

    What this show does to complicate things is recycle the Song of the South footage of black folks singing happily. This time, however, it’s about 1862 and they are indeed slaves. So, that’s confusing.

    At any rate, the Disneyfication of this situation is not exactly kosher. While in some ways it exemplifies the spirit of the stories, in other ways it’s totally inappropriate.

    Joel Chandler Harris looked back on his childhood with nostalgia, but much of that was in direct response (a) to the pain, violence, and racial tension so prevalent in the South’s Reconstruction and (b) his tough upbringing as an Irish bastard (also Disneyfied here) before he found solace on the plantation.

  • Actually Lain I wasn’t even referring to the singing in the video. I was referring to the part where JCH goes to the plantation and the Narrator says something like “where everyone was happy, worked together, and were well treated”. That’s the part that cracked me up. Vintage Disney.

  • I might add that the singing in SONG OF THE SOUTH was provided by the all-black Hall-Johnson Choir, regardless of how “lily white” some people might have thought it sounded.

  • That’s not a bad biographical intro, but I could have sworn I remembered he was left at the house during Sherman’s march to protect it while everyone else took off. Cute kid, and he designed a heck of a car 🙂

  • A few years ago tried to obtain video of song of the south. None anywhere on the net. I wonder if the video is shown at the wrens house. Civil war scholars has their semiannual conference next year in Atlanta . Perhaps Give me a chance to view.
    Btw. The write up of what you don’t know about Remus is pretty good. I’ve been to the other museum. Self guiding type tour. Pretty bad.

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