Controversy: How to Deal with Stereotypes in Old Movies

Oh, I just hate it when another studio one-ups my favorite studio, Disney ! But credit where credit is due. It goes to the Warner Brothers Studio for releasing a controversial film. And how did they manage such a tricky and potentially explosive feat and preserve a piece of cinematic history?

By using four title cards. My question: Why couldn’t Disney do this with Song of the South?

But first, the Warner Bros. movie: Irving Berlin’s This Is the Army (from 1943)

And yes, that’s a very young Lt. Ronald Reagan, actually in the army during production

Reagan again on the left with George Murphy on the right, playing his father

This film was called “buoyant, captivating, as American as hot dogs or the Bill of Rights” by Theodore Strauss of The New York Times. He left out racist and highly offensive. Or maybe he missed this part of the picture:

A Minstrel from a number with white actors in blackface

But with Hollywood, one is never enough, so why not fill the entire stage with highly offensive stereotypes:

Yes, that’s an enormous banjo in the background

If five Minstrels in the background weren’t enough, how about twelve in the foreground dancing and singing ‘Mammy’ with another twelve guys dressed in blackfaced-drag with an additional six banjo-playing Minstrels, three to a side? If only they could have worked in a plate of fried chicken and collard greens somehow.

There were actual African-American singers/dancers in this picture, but they were used in a typically exaggerated way for comic relief. However, a Fun Fact: The Army was still segregated at this time (WWII) and so the production of this film, with a predominantly all-army cast, was the only integrated deployment of men during the war.

So, again, how did Warner Bros. manage to get this film released in 2014 on DVD? Answer:

T I T L E     C A R D S

 

So it made a lot of money for charity. But still unacceptable.

Open acknowledgment of the mistaken views held at the time.

Point: Does banning movies with this stuff in them mean the stuff never happened?

Blackface Minstrelsy has a long history and is not practiced today, even in jest. But it is a large part of American history and won’t go away simply by burying movies that contain sequences depicting it.

With that in mind, couldn’t Disney place similar Title Cards at the beginning of a DVD release of Song of the South and let the scenes depicting the attitudes of the freed slaves and their interaction with former masters speak for themselves, also speak to the history of the period, and allow such scenes to “remind all how far we have come as a nation”, or nations?

I’ll leave this thought here and end this post on a lighter note. Did you know that The Skipper’s dad was in this movie too? Yup, Alan Hale Sr. played a key role in many movies long before his son, Alan Hale Jr., became Gilligan’s buddy:

A l a n    H a l e   S r.

Celebrating the Lord!

philippians-noyes

Hello my friends, and welcome to this week’s Prayers for the Week post!  Today we were out shopping for some clothes for Sophie, and we ran into Cindy’s former co-worker, whose husband we prayed over after he contracted ALS.  It’s been almost a year since he passed away, and it was a joy to see Janice and her mom.  After catching up a bit, we talked about the memories — memories of our family, our friends, those we love, whether they are here now or not, and we celebrated the time that Janice and her husband had together.  In short, we rejoiced.

It’s been a while since we did a lot of rejoicing — most of the time, we spend a lot of time praying for those things that we need, but far too little time spent rejoicing all that God has given to us.  Today, I aim to change that.  Of course, we have some prayer requests, just like we normally do, but at the end of each request we are going to give at least one praise that goes along with that request.  As always, I invite you to pray along, and to add your prayer requests at the bottom in the comments, or email them to prayer@mydreamsofdisney.com and we’ll add them for you, and pray over them.  Thank you for praying with us as we spend some time celebrating the Lord!

Prayer Requests and Praises!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice!” ~ Philippians 4:4 (ESV)

  • Reader Julie has a prayer request. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:You are a true blessing in a seemingly dark world! My request is for my husband, who will be preaching for the first time in about a decade. Thank you for being salt!And my reply:Thank you Julie! I will gladly pray for your husband — for his courage, for his nerves, but most of all, that God would use his mouth and his mind to speak the words that God wants him to say. I have no doubts that your husband will do great things for the Lord!Our praise with Julie’s request is this: After a decade, a man of God is back in the pulpit, helping to spread the Word of God to all of us! Thank you God for leading him on this path!
  • My cousin Michelle wrote this prayer request on Facebook:A friend of a friends 13 yo boy is lost in the mountains, it has started snowing, I can only imagine what his mom is going through. He has survival training, praying The Lord keeps him safe and he is found quickly!Please pray for his safe return!
    The Praise for this request is that he was found and has been reunited with his family!  Praise God!
  • Please pray for my friends Mike and Jane. Mike lost his father today, here is what Jane wrote on Facebook:I feel that the VA hospital in Durham represented “home” to Mike’s dad.
    He left his home in coal country Pennsylvania at the tender age of 17 to join the Army and the Army became his “family”. He went “home” last week and died peacefully early this morning. RIP Michael G. Oniffrey, Sr. – your battle is over.Please pray for God’s Peace, Comfort, and Strength to descend upon Mike, Jane, and their family in their time of grief. Thank you everyone!As sad as it is to lose those we love, what Mike and Jane have is their memories of Mike’s dad, which is a big thing if you ask me.  Additionally, Mike’s dad went like I think we all would like to go — peacefully, and without struggle.  That’s a huge praise!
  • My friend Terri needs prayers for her daughter Jane. Here is what she wrote on Facebook:Tomorrow morning, Jane will be having surgery at Children’s Hospital. Both of her eyes will be operated on – she’s been diagnosed with Dissociated Vertical Deviation. We’d appreciate your prayers! Thanks.Please pray with me:Healing God, we ask for Your Hands to guide the hands of Jane’s medical team tomorrow when she has her eyes operated on. Father, please be with her, allow Your Peace, Comfort, and Strength to descend upon Jane, her team of doctors and nurses, and her family and friends as they struggle to keep fear and doubt out of their minds. Grant them a measure of Faith strong enough to endure all that Jane goes through tomorrow, Faith in knowing that all will be well. Heavenly Father, we have seen evidence of Your Miracles on our fallen world — just take a look at the story of Baby Ryan, now over a year old, and able to come home, as proof of Your work in our lives. Lord, we know with You all things are possible, and we pray that Your Will would be for a successful operation and easy recovery for Jane, so that Your Glory may be displayed yet again for all the world to see. We ask these things in the wonderful name of Your Son Jesus. Amen.

    Thank you for praying for Jane!

    Jane’s surgery was on Friday, and was a huge success!  Give praise to God for all of Jane’s medical team, for all that they did for her, and for her recovery, which has so far been great!  Thank you everyone!

  • Please continue to pray for Dee’s father-in-law Jim.  Things don’t look good for Jim at all, but despite that, and the fear, worry, and stress that they are all going through, despite all of that, the praise is that every day they have is one more day than they had the day before.  Please pray for all of them, for healing, for Peace, for Comfort, for Strength, for all of the things we normally pray for.  But additionally, pray that they would appreciate each and every day they have with one another, that they would love one another, not let the stress get in the way of that love, and that they would follow God’s direction and let His Will be their guide.

Thank you for praying with us, my friends.  Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught his Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Holy Spirit

Prayers for the Week – the Holy Spirit

Holy Spirit

26Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ~ Romans 8:26 (ESV)

Sometimes my friends, I have trouble forming the words in my heart to speak with my lips in my prayers to God.  Sometimes they come very easily, but sometimes they don’t.  The beauty of being a Christian, though, is that the Holy Spirit lives within me, and when I lack the words I need to speak, the Holy Spirit is able to translates the feelings I have for the prayers I need to pray, and He does this for me.  That is the message for today’s Prayers for the Week post.  As you will see, in many of our prayers you may see that the words are hard to frame, but rest assured, the Holy Spirit knows what our heart is saying to us, and the Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf.  Please remember that the Holy Spirit is our link to God, to Jesus, and that it is one part of the Holy Trinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Ask the Holy Spirit for direction, for the path to take, and you will not be let down.  Now, please pray with us our prayer requests and give God praise for the praises you see as well!

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Please pray for friends of my friend Torri. Here is what Torri wrote on Facebook:Asking all of my friends to remember in prayer Jerry and Brittany in the loss of their sweet, angel daughter Leila. Leila passed away this morning just 6 weeks after her precious brother Hudson passed away. Please pray for this family that they would be comforted beyond all measure.Please pray with me:Heavenly Father, we turn to you in anguish, in grief, in sorry over the passing of Leila and her brother Hudson. Lord, we don’t know Your ways, and we will never fully understand Your ways, but Lord, we know that Your way is perfect, so we turn to You with our grief. Lord, please be with Leila and Hudson’s family, comfort them, strengthen them, give them Peace, Your Peace, which is the greatest gift in times like this. Lord, reassure them that they would know that their sweet Angels are now with Jesus, and that He is taking good care of them now. Lord, remind them that their children are in no pain, no sorrow, no anguish, and Lord, place in Jerry and Brittany’s minds great memories, the memories that they will carry with them the rest of their lives.

    Lord, we don’t know why Leila and Hudson were called home so soon, we only know the hole that is left with their passing. Please be with Jerry and Brittany and all of their family, now and forevermore. It is in Jesus loving name that we pray. Amen.

  • I wish to give God praise for the wonderful news that we heard — my friend Torri is engaged, and getting married!  Please pray for God to be with Torri and Michael, to lead them in their steps, and to remind them to turn to Him together so that their marriage will be built on God’s solid foundation.  Thank you for praying!
  • Please pray for Ann Marie, the friend of my niece Stephanie.  Ann Marie is having some health issues, so please pray for healing for her, and for Peace, Comfort, and Strength for her and all of her family and friends.  Thank you everyone!
  • Please continue to pray for Jim, the father-in-law of our friend Dee.  The news is not good for him on the medical front, so please continue praying for healing, but in addition, please pray for his Peace, his Comfort, his Strength, and that of his family and friends.  My friends, in Jim’s case, this may be a time where Dee, her husband Robert, and all of their family and friends may be having trouble forming the words to pray, but the Holy Spirit knows what is needed, and is interceding on their behalf.  Please be with them in this hard time of tribulation in their lives.
  • Please continue praying for my friend Sheila’s friend Kitty.  Her health is slowly improving, so please keep that going with strong prayers for healing for her.
  • My friend Heidi had a prayer request.  Here is what she wrote:Can I ask a few friends to commit to praying for an unspoken request (aka a decision that needs to be made) today?
  • Lastly, please continue praying for my wife Cindy’s cousin Lori, who is recovering from a stroke.

Thank you everyone for praying each and every week.  I lift you all up in my prayers each night, and hope that you are feeling the Peace that comes from being prayed for.  Now, let’s pray the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.

Magical Blogorail: Disney Legends – Floyd Norman

D I S N E Y       L E G E N D S

Welcome to those of you joining me from My Pixie Dust Diary and those of you just hopping aboard. I am the Final stop on our Magical Blogorail. And I’d like to introduce you to:

Floyd Norman

MrFunsBlog

Much has been written about animation in the early days being a man’s world, with women being relegated to the ink and paint departments or other ‘secondary’ disciplines. This, as in most other professions, has changed. But we could go back again to the early days of animation and say that it was also a largely white world. This too has changed.

Some Disney detractors have used such observations to label Walt anti-semitic or racist, or whatever other derogatory label would get them the most publicity for their publications. But in all fairness (?) it should be mentioned that women and minorities didn’t enjoy the same opportunities as white males in North America in the early days and the Walt Disney Studio was hardly unique in its employee demographics.

But I don’t want to turn this article into a soap box sermon just because the Disney Legend I’m highlighting just happens to be an African-American. However, the points I’ve shared thus far are a part of established history and so do become a part of Floyd Norman’s life story. He was and is the first black animator at the Walt Disney Studios.

Please join me in the hope that things like that will no longer be relevent or worthy of mention as our world becomes more universal and accepting!

So now I’d like to let the man himself tell you…

Who the hell is Floyd Norman?

I began my career at the Walt Disney Studios many years ago and I’ve worked on more animated feature films and television shows than I can remember. What’s really cool however, are the awesome people I’ve known and worked with throughout my career at Walt’s magic factory. It’s truly a who’s who of animation and it includes Walt’s famous “Nine Old Men” as well as the top story men who created the Disney classics. It was an amazing mentoring opportunity as well as a master class in Disney animation. My career eventually spanned several decades and I even witnessed the arrival of the “young turks” who would take the torch passed to them by the Disney Masters.

My first animated feature film was Walt’s masterpiece, “Sleeping Beauty” which wrapped in 1958 and ushered in the Old Maestro’s final decade. In 1966 I was blessed with the opportunity to work with Walt Disney on his final animated film, The Jungle Book. I capped off my career in 1999 with the Pixar production of “Monster’s Inc.” and I reluctantly “retired” from animation in the year 2001. However, I never retired from cartoon making. Since that time I’ve worked on several feature and television productions for various studios and I continue doing so even today. I’ve never considered myself top in my class and I certainly don’t buy into the “Disney Legend” thing. There are far too many forgotten talents out there that continue to go unrecognized. So, what’s my secret, you ask? It’s easy, really. I simply won’t stop working. Recently, I’ve been kept busy on various projects including Reel FX’s “Free Birds,” Cartoon Network’s “Annoying Orange” and some cool new projects for Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Italic text and picture from Mr. Fun’s Blog

I bolded the type above because it caught my eye and sensibilities. There are many underrated contributors behind all of our favorite Disney Classics and we should appreciate them as much as we do our heroes. It’s nice to see someone who has certainly stood out give a shout-out to everyone else! Sorry Floyd, but that makes your Disney Legend title well-earned to me!

Behind every Disney Legend is a rich history and an interesting story to tell. Please check out his blog and be sure to immerse yourself in the creativity of a man who always seems to be smiling. Obviously he’s up to something, and I think you owe it to yourself to find out what! You may find clues at AFROKIDS.com

Oh, and by the way Floyd, Ward Kimbal called and he wants his glasses back! (Kidding!)

Thank you for joining Magical Blogorail Blue this month. We will be back on November 13th with an all new theme. Keep checking in with our blogs in between loops to keep up to date with our Disney info, photos and stories. If you are looking for more Disney magic, you can make your way over to The Magical Blogorail website to see all our members and their blogs, as well as all our previous loops.

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail if you happened to make a stop along the way and want to reboard:

1st Stop ~ Home is Where the Mouse Is – Mary Blair and Yale Gracey

2nd Stop ~ Rolling with the Magic – Dorothea Redmond

3rd Stop ~ Disney Babies Blog – X Atencio

4th Stop ~ My Pixie Dust Diary – Lee Cockerell

Final Stop ~ Cool Nouns by Lee Beatens – (you are here)

P. S. – Thanks for liking Song of the South, Floyd! (But that’s another post!)

Prayers for the Week – The Lord Comes First

The Lord comes first in our family.

The Lord comes first in our family.

Hello everyone, and thank you for joining us today in our weekly Prayers for the Week post.  So much has happened during the past week, so many legal rulings affecting same sex marriage, that I debated for a long time how to address this, or whether I should even address it at all…in the end, though, I went to the source of all the answers — the Truth: the Bible, God’s Word for us all.  As always, God spoke to me to reassure me, to show me what really matters.  It’s important to remember that the Lord comes first, and if He isn’t coming first in your life, then you need to decide why that is the case.

Psalm 16:8

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” ~ Psalm 16:8

My friends, my brothers, my fellow Christians, those words were the Bible verse of the day on my Bible App on my phone on Friday October 10th.  With all the debate over same sex marriage, and the rulings by the Supreme Court and the 4th Circuit court of appeal, I feel like our country has taken yet one more step away from our roots, one more step towards the evil one, the one that makes us think that everything is great when in fact we are walking towards the abyss that we will never recover from.  So when I saw that verse written for me, I knew that this one verse contained the answer I need — I will put the Lord first, as He should always be, and everything else will be okay as a result.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord -- He will not lead you astray!

Trust in the Lord — He will not lead you astray!

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I don’t know about all of you, but for me personally, Proverbs 3:5-6 speaks directly to me.  There is so much about this world that I do not understand, and I have learned over the years of my life that this is actually a good thing for me.  If I understood the world better, I might be more likely to try and take on the world myself, without God’s direction and leadership.  I already do that too much now, and I don’t need to do that any more, so I will try to live the Proverbs verse as God would lead me.  Please pray for me in this regard.

2Timothy 1:7

Fear not!

Fear not!

7for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

The last verse I’m sharing with you this week is from 2nd Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7.  I’ve learned that fear, no matter what form it takes, is not an emotion that comes from God, but rather, stems from the evil one.  What do you fear in your life?  If you could say just one thing, what would it be?  For me, my overriding fear is that I’m not the father and husband that my daughter and wife need me to be.  That, my friends, is a daily prayer I pray, and I would love it if you would pray that for me as well.  If you want me to pray for one of your fears, or many of your fears, please leave us a comment, or if you prefer, send me an email directly to prayer@mydreamsofdisney.com.  Now, please continue reading and pray for those prayer requests that we have received this week.  Thank you everyone!

Prayer Requests and Praises…

  • Please pray for my friend and fellow Pixie Mike. Here is what his wife wrote on Facebook:Mike went into surgery at the Cleveland clinic to attach his bladder to his kidney. Please pray that this surgery goes well and ends his pain and kidney stone problems.Please pray healing prayers for Mike, and prayers for Peace for his wife and him too. Thanks everyone!
    • Here’s a followup (or a precursor, if you will) to my friend Mike’s surgery:
      So the original hope was for reconstructive surgery that would fix the problem and to have it done over winter. After meeting with the director of the surgery program at Cleveland Clinic and a specialist in robotic surgery and going back and forth for a whole day, we are going to try to fix the problem in a very unique way, with a similar recovery time. However, God decided I’ve learned enough patience for now and the surgery will be tomorrow. I am asking for all the prayers and positive thoughts I can get, for me and my family. I’ll be offering up my pain for my niece, who will be undergoing kidney surgery to, on Tuesday. I”ll be in the hospital several days and may need up to 2 weeks after that to recover enough to go to work. But, we are hoping this is the fix we’ve been waiting 20 years for.So please keep praying for Mike and his wife Amy, but also pray for his niece who is going through kidney surgery on Tuesday the 7th! Thanks everyone for praying!
  • My friend David has a prayer request. Here is what he wrote on Facebook:Asking for prayers for an 11 month old child. A friend of our family found out their 11 month old has leukemia. He will undergo surgery today and has to receive chemo treatments each week for the next year. Prayers for him and the entire family as they start the journey to get rid of this terrible disease.Please pray healing prayers for the child, as well as prayers for Peace, Strength, Comfort, and Love for all of them in their time of struggle. Thank you everyone.
  • Please pray for the friend of my friend Joy. Her name is Hallie, and she is suffering from a brain tumor. Please pray for her healing, for her family, for their strength and comfort and peace in their time of struggle.Thank you everyone.
  • My friend Amanda has an update on her husband Daniel. Here is what she wrote:Hello again! It’s been a long while but there hasn’t been much to report. With all the support you all have given us, we should have updated you sooner so my apologies! Now for the details!
    Daniel has had 2 of the 8 rounds of chemo thus far. Round 2 was delayed a week due to low platelets and we found out today, round 3 will also be delayed for the same reason. They cut his dosage for round 2 by 10%. We have to wait and see how his platelets are next week before they determine if the dosage will be cut more. They also added Avastin into the mix in round 2. This drug targets cancer cells specifically (the others he’s been receiving target any cell in the dividing phase). They couldn’t add this to the mix sooner because it also effects healing so we had to wait until 8 weeks post surgery. His blood cell counts have been within normal range so right now we are just fighting with the platelets. Nothing we can do to raise the platelets but pray and wait! Due to the delays, it looks like chemo will run into the first part of January which will probably push the hernia repair back into March.
    Daniel’s next scan will happen a few weeks after we get through round 3 to make sure we’ve gotten all the cancer and it’s not showing up anywhere. Then we need to get a colonoscopy and EGD to check for additional polyps. This will all take place while we are in the midst of chemo!
    It’s a weird feeling to not have a major treatment milestone to work towards but still be involved in the fight! It’s taking some adjusting on our part as we try to find what our current normal is until we can get thru the current treatments. I’d like to ask you to pray that Daniel has the strength and endurance to handle all of this, that his scan and scopes come back cancer & polyp free, that his platelets come up into normal range and stay there so we don’t have any more delays, and that Daniel, Cate and I can find our current normal allowing us some peace and calm over the next few months. I’ll try to send out another update after we get the scan done so it may be a month or so.
    Thank you all for your support, love and prayers (and patience on the delayed updates!)! We thank God for you in our lives every day! We hope everyone is enjoying fall and has a safe and fun Halloween!!
  • Please continue to pray for Sami and her Mom.  You may remember that Sami suffers from Ewing’s Sarcoma and is undergoing treatment.  Also, Sami’s dad passed away over the summer, so she and her Mom are struggling with that also.
  • Please continue praying for Sheila’s friend Kitty.  The progress is slow, but she does seem to be getting better, one day at a time.
  • Please continue praying for Cindy’s cousin Lori, who is recovering from a stroke she had some weeks back.  Please keep praying for her.  Thank you everyone!
  • Lastly, please continue praying for Peter and his wife Naomi, who’s marriage is struggling.  Please lift them up daily.

My friends, I don’t know the answers that the world keeps asking us questions about, but I do know that God knows all of the answers, and shares them in His Word.  Turn to God, let Him be your guide, and your life will be much better as a result.  Now, please pray the prayer that Jesus taught His Disciples to pray:

Our Father, who art in Heaven,
Hallowed by thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory forever and ever.