Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South? And Other Forbidden Disney Stories

Written by George Taylor. Posted in Disney History, Features, The Disney Review

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Published on February 16, 2013 at 4:04 am with 3 Comments

George: Jim Korkis is well known in the Disney community. When I heard that he was going to write a book about Song of the South, I was hoping to learn a lot about the film’s background. Based on the full title of the book, Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South? And Other Forbidden Disney Stories, I was expecting some very non-Disney Disney tales!

Jeff: For those of you familiar with Jim’s work on other websites, and in his book Vault of Walt, then you already know what you’re in for: some very heavily researched topics about the Walt Disney Company that may have otherwise slipped under the radar. Being one of the very first Disney Historians, there is no denying that Jim knows his stuff!

George: The subtitle that mentions other forbidden Disney stories might catch people’s attentions. It’s a great marketing device and does offer the reader some insight into stories that Disney has swept under the carpet. The real meat of the book, though, is the coverage of the Song of the South. Jim does a great job of talking about the film and the socio-political history, but the majority of the book is a really in-depth look at the different pieces that made Song of the South.

Jeff: I did enjoy the book, but I was looking for a little more insight into the film than was provided. Granted, the information presented did extend my knowledge of the film bit more, but it didn’t dive as deep as I would have liked it too. Jim knows more about the film than probably anyone else, and I’m sure there are a few other bits he held back. Like the aforementioned “Vault of Walt,” the rest of the book brings a few other stories to light that you may not have heard before.

George: It’s a good collection and I really enjoy Jim’s work. He has an amazing grasp on the history of the company. As Jeff mentioned, I was looking for more insight. I think Jim’s strength is also his weakness in this format. He’s a great storyteller and he’s really good at crafting articles that hold your attention. Jim’s folksy style (that’s a compliment) doesn’t hold up for a more academic-based article, which might be what people are looking for about Song of the South. Personally, I want more of a discourse on the film and the social ramifications.

Jeff: Off the main topic of the book, I did enjoy the few extra stories that make up the rest of the pages. I’ve always known about the film Disney did on venereal diseases, but getting some more information on it was good. Also, Ward Kimball’s obsession over UFOs never ceases to amaze me.

George: So, who should buy this book? For me, any Disney historian is going to pay attention when Jim talks. There are some great stories and even though some are rehashed from his online writing, it’s always nice to have a book version (since I’m a huge book nerd). If you’re interested in more information about the people behind the film or the making of (sort of), then this will be more interesting.

Jeff: Just like George said, a number of these entries are expanded and revised columns that Jim has written for various websites and other publications over the years. At times, you may find yourself thinking “I may have read this before,” and you would be correct. But, for us Disney history nerds, it’s worth it to have the stories in book form for prosperity.

By Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

The Disney Review is written and edited by Jeff Heimbuch and George Taylor

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About George Taylor

George has been obsessed with Disney theme parks since the first time he saw a photo of the Haunted Mansion in the early 70s. He started writing about Disney in 2007 and has amassed one of the world's largest Disney-related libraries.

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  • indianajack

    How does this book compare to the recently released academic treatise on Song of the South by Jason Sperb? Has MC done a review of that book yet?

    • Jeff Heimbuch

      Not yet. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my TBR pile. From the looks of it, though, that one is more of a text book than an actual “stories” book like this one is. Much more academically based.

      I’m sure it’ll get more in depth there, though. I’ll definitely do a write up of it after I read it!

  • blueohanaterror

    >>>But, for us Disney history nerds, it’s worth it to have the stories in book form for prosperity.<<<

    While there might be a way for you to eventually make a profit off such specialized knowledge, I think you actually meant to write "for posterity."