Disney+ won’t include Song of the South, and Dumbo’s crow scene will be cut. As the race to create the most in-demand subscription streaming service continues to heat up, Disney has quickly become a prominent source of interest for many. The Mouse House has been making some pretty big moves as of late, and their new streaming service (which launches this fall) isn’t immune to those changes.
Disney is currently busy with their acquisition of Fox, paying a whopping $71.3 billion for the privilege and reeling in a lengthy list of titles, franchises, and still in-development projects that may or may not now see the light of day. With the details of that acquisition still being sorted out, Disney then went and bought out AT&T/Warner from the previous four-way joint ownership of Hulu, making them and NBCUniversal its sole owners. The move now makes Disney the major stakeholder in Hulu, taking a 60 percent share of the popular streaming platform. And, as if all this weren’t enough, Disney has been offering glimpses of what potential subscribers can expect from their upcoming family-friendly streaming service.
The latest bit of news to be revealed about Disney+ comes to us courtesy of Boardwalk Times and deals specifically with the new service’s content. Though Disney+ will offer subscribers access to their extensive list of titles, one title Disney fans won’t be seeing on offer is the 1946 Oscar-winning film Song of the South. Disney+ will also cut the Jim Crow scene from the original version of Dumbo.
Song of the South, which takes place just after the American Civil War, has long been unavailable on home video due to its insensitive manner of dealing with America’s slave-owning past and the insinuation that life on a plantation was enjoyable for those forced to be there. The snappy, upbeat "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" won an Oscar for Best Original Song in 1947, despite its at-odds nature when played alongside inaccurate depictions of plantation life. Though the film introduced the characters of Br’er Rabbit, Fox, and Bear to the Disney family, who later became part of the beloved Splash Mountain ride at Disneyland and Disney World, it remains a relic of a bygone era. As far as Dumbo goes, the Jim Crow scene has already been cut from Tim Burton’s live-action remake. The original animated film sees the crows help Dumbo learn to fly, but due to their manner and name (Jim Crow refers to America’s period of segregation laws beginning in the mid 1960s), Disney has dropped it.
Some might bristle at Disney’s decision to erase aspects of its history and will instead cite the WB approach (via: @CLXcool) of warning viewers beforehand that what they are about to watch is from another era, but Disney is making the smart choice here. With its recent increase in content, plus its own already monstrous selection, Disney has plenty to offer without having to provide programming that has no relevance in 2019. Some might argue that to remove aspects of or deny these productions is to sanitize history, but the fact of the matter is that history can be found in a myriad of other, much more reputable sources. Family programming should first and foremost always be open and friendly to all.