Last week I stumbled upon a link between Walt Disney and Dr. Seuss, his first wife, Helen Marion Palmer.
In the mid 1940s, Helen Palmer Geisel was an author for Walt Disney’s Little Library series, which was part of The Little Golden Books company. One of her authored books is titled, Walt Disney’s Uncle Remus copyright 1946, 1947. This is actually a retelling, since the original Uncle Remus stories were by Joel Chandler Harris.
Haven’t heard of Uncle Remus? Uncle Remus is a character within Disney’s Academy Award winning film, Song of the South. Not only did the film win an Academy Award, but it inspired a popular Disney attraction found in several of its parks, Splash Mountain. The attraction features a fun-loving character, Brer Rabbit, whom I among many, have really come to adore. After watching the animatronic characters and listening to the music while on the attraction, I came to the conclusion that Brer Rabbit outwits Brer Bear and Brer Fox. But other than that I didn’t know much about their story. Since Song of the South has never been released for purchase within The United States of America, I presume many of you reading this are also curious to know more about this film. After doing a bit of on-line searching, how excited I was to find the Uncle Remus book available for purchase on Amazon.
After reading critics concerns about the movie, I decided to read the book to myself before reading it to the kids. The book arrived late last week and for a Little Golden book, it’s an interesting read. The book is written in eye dialect, which took a bit to get use to reading. It’s broken down into three cute stories and two of the three stories were used in the theming of Splash Mountain. What I found in reading the stories is that Brer Rabbit likes to get into a bit of mischief, tormenting Brer Fox and Brer Bear. In a way, it reminds me of the mannerisms, of dare I say, Warner Brother characters, Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Uncle Remus was a fun read and I plan to share the two stories that can easily be connected to Splash Mountain, with my kids by end of this week. I have to admit that I doubt I’ll be reading Uncle Remus using the exact eye dialect, but the overall story will hopefully come across. Today I’ll share a bit of it with you!
The following pages and illustrations were scanned from the book. I’ve chosen these two pages to show you a glimpse at the writing style and to how the book’s stories fit within the attraction’s storyline. The illustrations are the work of Bob Grant for The Walt Disney Studios.
The first story within the book is Brer Fox an de Rabbit Trap.
The third story is called Brer Rabbit’s Laffin’ Place.
I’ve sure from looking over the two pages you can easily see scene’s in Splash Mountain! I hope you’ve enjoyed todays look at bit of Disney history. During this week of reading celebration in schools across our nation, I hope you have the opportunity to find a few moments to open a good Disney or Dr. Seuss book with your family.