Song of the South
Animation / Family / Musical
Walt Disney Productions
Directed by Harve Foster and Wilfred Jackson
James Baskett as Uncle Remus
Bobby Driscoll as Johnny
Luana Patten as Ginny Favers
Glenn Leedy as Toby
Ruth Warrick as Sally
Lucile Watson as Grandmother
Hattie McDaniel as Aunt Tempy
Erik Rolf as John
Olivier Urbain as Mr. Favers
Mary Field as Mrs. Favers
Anita Brown as Maid
George Nokes as Jake Favers
Gene Holland as Joe Favers
Johnny Lee as the voice of Br'er Rabbit
James Baskett as the voice of Br'er Fox
Nick Stewart as the voice of Br'er Bear
Roy Glenn as the voice of Br'er Frog
During the Reconstruction Era in the Deep South lives Johnny, a seven year old boy that has been sent to reside at his grandmother’s. At his grandmother Miss Doshy’s plantation dwells a legendary black storyteller by the name of Uncle Remus that interests Johnny. However, the young boy becomes confused when his father, John, returns to their home in Atlanta while his mother stays with him at her mother’s place. Johnny believes that his father has deserted them, and sneaks out of the house to find him. As he walks along, he discovers Uncle Remus sharing tales with a group. Johnny hides behind a tree to listen to stories about Br’er Rabbit, but runs off when some servants come looking for him. Uncle Remus assures them Johnny is in his care, and consequently catches up to the boy. He agrees to take off with him to Atlanta, but insists they stop at his cabin for provisions first.
While there, the storyteller tells Johnny a Br’er Rabbit tale, in which the rabbit tries to run away from his home but cannot seem to run away from trouble. The boy understands the moral of the story, and decides to stay at the plantation. Just then, Toby, a young black child assigned to watch over Johnny, finds the two together. He takes Johnny back to his mother, Sally, who is very upset that he tried to run away. She also decides that his behavior is due to Uncle Remus, and tells the man to stop putting stories in the boy’s head.
On top of making friends with Toby, Johnny meets Ginny, a poor white neighbor, and her two mean brothers, Joe and Jake. As Ginny’s brothers are trying to drown her new puppy, Johnny comes along. The two become friends, and she gives the puppy to him. Sally won’t let him keep it, but Uncle Remus offers to take the small dog in. Joe and Jake threaten Johnny in order to get the dog back, but he is comforted by Uncle Remus with a story about reverse psychology. Learning this new skill, Johnny employs it in dealing with the brothers, who proceed to tell their mother about the dog. They receive a good whipping, but then angrily also tell Sally their story, blaming Uncle Remus for putting nonsense in Johnny’s head. Sally orders the old man to stop telling stories to her son. He returns the puppy and tells Johnny he can longer talk to him.
A week later the boy’s mother throws a birthday party for him, allowing him to invite Ginny. Johnny skips towards her house, but Ginny’s brothers push her into a mud puddle and dirty her only good dress. She refuses to attend the party. Johnny then attacks Joe and Jake, but Uncle Remus intervenes and scolds the brothers. Joe and Jake run off, and the storyteller comforts the two dejected children with a tale of Br’er Rabbit and his “laughing place”. They begin searching for their own laughing place, but are caught by Sally and reprimanded for missing the party. Ginny mentions that Uncle Remus told them a story, making Sally engraged. She warns Uncle Remus to cut off contact with Johnny. The old man decides to pack and up leave. Johnny sees him departing and cuts through a field to stop him. While running, the young boy is attacked and injured by a bull. He is rushed to the plantation, causing his father to return from Atlanta to be with his seriously wounded son.
While in bed the boy deliriously calls for Uncle Remus, who promptly comes to his bedside. He tells him the story of Br’er Rabbit and his laughing place, causing Johnny to miraculously survive. Realizing they must set aside their problems and focus on their son, John and Sally reconcile and remain together at the plantation. Uncle Remus is forgiven, and is seen watching Johhny, Ginny, the puppy, Br’er Rabbit, and all of his other story characters skipping and singing to the theme song “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.